Monthly Archives: May 2011

Lead poisoning in China’s battery factories

Yep this is what happens when you offshore manufacturing. You get lax regulations.

About 74 people have been detained this year after reports that more than 100 people were affected by lead and cadmium poisoning.

Reports from China suggests hundreds of factories have been closed as a result of efforts to tackle poisoning.

It does seem that China is trying to clean things up a bit however.

Great farming bill passed by the NY State Senate

I think it’s great that the state is trying to help local farmers more easily transport food throughout the state. I mean local farmers and not agribusinesses.

On May 23, the Senate passed bill S.614-b/A.1389-a, which was introduced by Sen. Jeffrey Klein, D-Morris Park and would allow the Urban Development Corp. and the Empire State Development Corp. to make low-interest loans and award grants to assist farmers transport their agricultural products. The economic development financing would be made available for transportation projects that help farmers deliver New York farm products to institutional food service purchasers such as restaurants, schools and other food service operations, especially in underserved urban areas.

Urban areas are often under-banked, under-shopped and under-super marketed. So it’s good that they can have access to fresh produce and etc.

Damn you Jonahtan Franzen life is painful and I choose anesthesia!

Oh he loves life as it is—most certainly. I look forward to what it could be.

The big risk here, of course, is rejection. We can all handle being disliked now and then, because there’s such an infinitely big pool of potential likers. But to expose your whole self, not just the likable surface, and to have it rejected, can be catastrophically painful. The prospect of pain generally, the pain of loss, of breakup, of death, is what makes it so tempting to avoid love and stay safely in the world of liking.

I didn’t ask to be here Mr. Franzen. I was put here. The prospect of pain is too much to bare. This is why I hope for the chance of the singularity to come about so that I won’t be confined to this humanness and all its weaknesses. As far a anesthesia goes I don’t get mine from social media or technology like some would. Maybe it’s from my consumption of information and quest for knowledge? Either way I am able to block things about this world full of flaws and defects.

And yet pain hurts but it doesn’t kill. When you consider the alternative — an anesthetized dream of self-sufficiency, abetted by technology — pain emerges as the natural product and natural indicator of being alive in a resistant world. To go through a life painlessly is to have not lived. Even just to say to yourself, “Oh, I’ll get to that love and pain stuff later, maybe in my 30s” is to consign yourself to 10 years of merely taking up space on the planet and burning up its resources. Of being (and I mean this in the most damning sense of the word) a consumer.

You think you’re so clever don’t you? To go through life painlessly is to not have lived you say? Tell that to the sufferers of the world. I get your point on consumerism in your piece however. To continue, I should say If I had one “love” as you call it, this would be to make the world better because it is so screwed up. This is why I’m an activist, a liberal and a progressive. I have this real attraction towards fighting against injustice you could say. But even though I may “love” something I still choose anesthesia for life’s other faults.

Which is what love will do to a person. Because the fundamental fact about all of us is that we’re alive for a while but will die before long. This fact is the real root cause of all our anger and pain and despair. And you can either run from this fact or, by way of love, you can embrace it.

Yes, what you say above is the real cause of our anger and pain and despair but I don’t see how or why I would want to embrace that.

The Obama Administration on Illegal Immigration

The administration is actually doing what people have been asking the government to do for a long time. Instead of going after illegal immigrants go after the employers who hire and a lot of the times exploit them.

After months of criticism from Republicans who said President Obama was relaxing immigration enforcement in workplaces, the scope of the administration’s strategy has become clear as long-running investigations of employers have culminated in indictments, convictions, exponentially increased fines and jail sentences. While conducting fewer headline-making factory raids, the immigration authorities have greatly expanded the number of businesses facing scrutiny and the cases where employers face severe sanctions.

Why is Scott Walker giving so much away to insurance corporations?

Using a mask of “job creation” Scott Walker is planning to give away millions to his friends.

The portion of the bill that has drawn intense bipartisan criticism is the Jobs Now Fund, which would provide $200 million in state tax breaks to insurance companies in exchange for $250 million of their own capital. Out-of-state financial management firms known as certified capital companies, or CAPCOs, would use the money from the insurance companies to invest in or lend to Wisconsin businesses.

At the end of the fund’s life, the capital companies would be allowed to keep 75% to 80% of the profits. And the companies would not have to reimburse the state for the tax credits.

If I were a voter in Wisconsin I’d be concerned.

Fighting climate change starts in the cities says Clinton and Bloomberg

In the short term when you have hostile conservatives in control of the House of Representatives and their like minded ilk in the US Senate there’s not much that can be done to fight climate change. I think what President Clinton and Mayor Bloomberg are doing focusing on cities throughout the nation is a good approach.

Cities now house more than half of the world’s population, and while they occupy 2 percent of the globe’s land mass, cities consume 70 percent of global energy and produce 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. If anything meaningful is going to happen on climate in the short term, Mr. Clinton, Mr. Bloomberg and their advisers say, it has to start in the cities.

In a world of hostile conservatives it’s good to know that there are some people with influence still trying to make a difference on climate change.

Unions heart Oprah and she hearts them back


For all these years one word comes to mind and that word is class. Oprah Winfrey is a class act. I didn’t watch the show much but even as an adolescent in the 80’s all the way through my early adult hood (my 20’s) in the 00’s, Oprah was always a force for good on the air.

That’s right. The most influential celebrity, a woman who wields so much power the beef industry felt threatened when she said she wouldn’t eat a hamburger, an African American billionaire whose biography reads like a classic rags to riches storyline, has produced her show with union contracts.

For a woman at the pinnacle of her career for her to be about all these progressive values is amazing. Oh and the beef industry are cowards and fools. It is their fault that E. coli now is now so prevalent in our food system.

Here’s a great comment from someone who worked for her on the show.

Oprah’s a smart woman. Having worked all those years with her own union contract, she knows how important a union is to all employees. I worked on a couple of Oprah’s shows and she is exactly as she appears on TV; no nonsense, hard-working and extremely sensible. Oprah has never done anything that was bad; some things maybe didn’t work exactly right, but I believe her heart was always in the right place. I, for one, will miss her daily show but I will pay attention to what her network has on. For all the people who detest her, I can’t imagine what else she could have done that would have impressed you. And what have you done that’s even close?

In America we build jails not schools

There’s no funding for public education but there sure seems to be enough to keep jails going.

The superintendent, Nathan Bootz, noted to local newspaper the Gratiot County Scribe that the state hadn’t taken funding from prisons. In fact, some of the eliminated school funding would be redistributed to boost prison funds.

The superintendent is actually saying that Michigan should make his school into a jail.

No more trade deals and no more WTO

Now the WTO is interfering with how we label beef. You can tell this was a bad move because the Cattleman’s Beef Association loves the ruling. I bet they love E. coli too. These people are responsible for Barbara Kowalcyk’s two year old son dying from E. coli.

Consumers, ranchers, farmers and legislators worked hard to pass the labeling rules after seeing ground beef horror stories in Schlosser’s movie and book Fast Food Nation.

Heck, even free marketeers will be upset with the WTO ruling, since labeling transparency allows the consumer to make the free choice as to what kind of product they want to buy without the government dictating the outcome.

I have to agree with Public Citizen when they say:

WTO interference in these types of labeling schemes are likely to further erode support for so-called "trade" deals.

Until we can get trade deals right for the American people then I say no more.