Monthly Archives: May 2012

Reducing Obesity in NYC

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I’ll give Mayor Bloomberg some credit here for trying to do something about the obesity epidemic. It’s not only sugar that you have to worry about, but also high fructose corn syrup and possibly aspartame (so I’ve heard from people). The beverage industry has a powerful lobby which has successfully stopped similar attempts to regulate soda and other sugary beverages in the District of Columbia.

Scott Walker is John Doe


At first I thought I thought the Overpass Light Brigade in Wisconsin was saying that Governor Scott Walker had become persona non grata; due to the John Doe reference on their sign.  They were instead referring to Walker’s legal fund.

Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign has transferred another $100,000 to the defense fund used to pay his pricey criminal defense lawyers in the lengthy John Doe investigation into activities during Walker’s time as county executive.

A governor with a legal fund is not who Wisconsin needs running the state. Especially because of his union-busting antics of last year. He denies regular people the opportunity to have decent lives; all the while he’s conducting what appears to be gangster capitalism.

Trouble in Madoff Trustee Land

Someone is getting paid big time.

So far, Mr. Picard’s efforts have created a whopping $554 million in legal and other fees. How much have Mr. Madoff’s victims actually received from all of the cases and motions he’s made? Only $330 million. And how much does Mr. Picard estimate the fee spigot will pour out by 2014? A mere $1 billion.

At $850 an hour, Mr. Picard and his law firm, Baker & Hostetler, are starting to look more like the princes of the Full Employment Act for Lawyers than storybook heroes.

Tepco Tuna! Radioactive import from Japan floats to US

Due to the many failures of Tepco as outlined in Greg Palast’s latest book Vulture’s Picnic; Tepco Tuna is now on the menu in the states.

 Across the vast Pacific, the mighty bluefin tuna carried radioactive contamination that leaked from Japan’s crippled nuclear plant to the shores of the United States 6,000 miles away — the first time a huge migrating fish has been shown to carry radioactivity such a distance.

“We were frankly kind of startled,” said Nicholas Fisher, one of the researchers reporting the findings online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Apparently the radioactive levels are still “safe” they say, but radioactive tuna doesn’t sound all that appetizing.

Spain bails out Bankia

Looks like Spain is following in the footsteps of the rest of the world most notably the United States of America.

The state takeover of its fourth-largest lender, Spain’s biggest bank rescue, has intensified fears that the rising cost of helping banks may force the euro zone’s fourth largest economy to seek an Irish-style international bailout.

What’s sad is that they would bailout Bankia but make everyone else in Spain suffer from austerity measures. As for the United States, the TARP bailout wasn’t as effective as the auto industry bailout. That goes to show you that it is probably a better idea to bail out industries that produce things.

Photo by mjaniec

The CEO whistleblower formerly of Olympus

I just found it amazing that the CEO of Olympus would blow the whistle like that. Usually this sort of stuff never comes from that high a level within a corporation.

By bringing a claim on the grounds of whistleblowing and discrimination in the employment tribunal in east London, Woodford’s damages are unlimited, depending on whether he is likely ever to regain a career at global CEO level again.

Investigators have uncovered accounting fraud among other things at Olympus in Japan.

Photo by Daniel Y. Go

Will we be able to continue our economic growth?

It’s a good question when we look at our limited natural resources and the damage we’re inflicting on our environment.

In this Op-ED in the Times by Tim Jackson we’re alerted to another factor that could limit growth.

Ever-increasing productivity means that if our economies don’t continue to expand, we risk putting people out of work. If more is possible each passing year with each working hour, then either output has to increase or else there is less work to go around. Like it or not, we find ourselves hooked on growth.

So it’s either we find a way to continue growth or we look at low-growth models. I would think that there are still opportunities for growth in technology, alternative energy and biotech, but I don’t know how many jobs these areas will create in the future.

A low-growth model on the other hand does start to make sense.

The endemic modern tendency to streamline or phase out such professions highlights the lunacy at the heart of the growth-obsessed, resource-intensive consumer economy. Low productivity is seen as a disease. A whole set of activities that could provide meaningful work and contribute valuable services to the community are denigrated because they involve employing people to work with devotion, patience and attention.

Tweet of the day: Olbermann-Style

I have to agree with Keith here. I am a believer in the commons. Some things are to be held in common for use by people. Government should not be run like a business because a business is about making profit. A government is about delivering services to its people, among the other things it must do. For example look at what happened when Bolivia privatized its water services and let Bechtel come in and take over.

Hilarious: Instead of raising taxes, actually collect the ones owed! Duh!

Seriously, it took a recession and lack of revenue to local governments to realize that they should actually be doing their job! It’s not all about those 1 percenters hiding their money in the Cayman Islands. There are locals who aren’t paying their share either. Some of them don’t even realize it as governments have been lax in their enforcement.

Of course Vermont is leading the charge:

Vermont is among a handful of cash-strapped states getting more aggressive about collecting every tax owed — hiring more collectors, hounding scofflaws and exploiting corners of their tax laws that haven’t been enforced in years. It’s an effort to avoid what politicians from both parties are dead set against: raising taxes.

“You don’t want to raise taxes until you’re very sure the taxes that people are supposed to pay are being paid,” said Rep. Janet Ancel, chairwoman of Vermont’s House Ways and Means Committee.

Makes sense to me. This must be making Grover Norquist toss & turn in his bathtub!