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Project Gulf Impact – BP Oil Spill: Is The Seafood Really Safe? NRDC’S Gina Solomon: Where’s the Testing?

October 24, 2010 Leave a comment

From ProjectGulfImpact | October 24, 2010

More information can be found in Dr. Solomon’s recent blog entries, linked below:

“Gulf Shrimp Testing: Is a Dozen Samples in 5000 Square Miles Enough to Reassure You?”

http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/gso…

And “Six Months, Five Shrimp, and One Nasty Mess: Health & Seafood Safety Concerns from BP Spill Still Linger in Gulf Today”

Here: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/gso…

Where she writes, “…the Federal government reopened 2,927 square miles of the Gulf to fishing and shrimping, just South of the Mississippi Delta. The Feds confirmed that the area was safe for shrimping by performing a “sniff test” for oil odors on five shrimp samples. They confirmed the sniff test with three composite samples of shrimp sent for chemical testing from an approximately 1,000 square mile area. No information was provided to the public on the size or location of the shrimping grounds or why so few chemical analyses were performed. This does not seem sufficient to assess the safety of the seafood coming out of the Gulf right now.”

Transcript of introduction:

“The seafood testing so far has been so frustrating because it has been so, really unscientific. It’s not that hard to do a basic seafood testing program. You go out and you figure out how many samples you need in order to have adequate statistical power to pick up a problem if it’s really out there, and then you go out and you do it. But what’s happening right now is this sort of sporadic, willy-nilly re-openings by different agencies, by state and federal government agencies, sometimes on the basis of really almost no testing results.”

Project Gulf Impact
http://www.projectgulfimpact.org

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Project Gulf Impact – NRDC’s Gina Solomon on Trying to Pin Down The FDA for Answers

October 24, 2010 Leave a comment

From ProjectGulfImpact | October 24, 2010

More information can be found in Dr. Solomon’s recent blog entries, linked below:

“Gulf Shrimp Testing: Is a Dozen Samples in 5000 Square Miles Enough to Reassure You?”

http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/gso…

And “Six Months, Five Shrimp, and One Nasty Mess: Health & Seafood Safety Concerns from BP Spill Still Linger in Gulf Today”

Here: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/gso…

Where she writes, “…the Federal government reopened 2,927 square miles of the Gulf to fishing and shrimping, just South of the Mississippi Delta. The Feds confirmed that the area was safe for shrimping by performing a “sniff test” for oil odors on five shrimp samples. They confirmed the sniff test with three composite samples of shrimp sent for chemical testing from an approximately 1,000 square mile area. No information was provided to the public on the size or location of the shrimping grounds or why so few chemical analyses were performed. This does not seem sufficient to assess the safety of the seafood coming out of the Gulf right now.”

Project Gulf Impact
http://www.projectgulfimpact.org

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Dave Johnson – Eight False Things The Public “Knows” Prior To Election Day

October 24, 2010 Leave a comment

From www.ourfuture.org:

Eight False Things The Public “Knows” Prior To Election Day

By Dave Johnson

October 22, 2010 – 1:07pm ET

There are a number things the public “knows” as we head into the election that are just false. If people elect leaders based on false information, the things those leaders do in office will not be what the public expects or needs.

Here are eight of the biggest myths that are out there:

1) President Obama tripled the deficit.
Reality: Bush’s last budget had a $1.416 trillion deficit. Obama’s first budget reduced that to $1.29 trillion.

2) President Obama raised taxes, which hurt the economy.
Reality: Obama cut taxes. 40% of the “stimulus” was wasted on tax cuts which only create debt, which is why it was so much less effective than it could have been.

3) President Obama bailed out the banks.
Reality: While many people conflate the “stimulus” with the bank bailouts, the bank bailouts were requested by President Bush and his Treasury Secretary, former Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson. (Paulson also wanted the bailouts to be “non-reviewable by any court or any agency.”) The bailouts passed and began before the 2008 election of President Obama.

4) The stimulus didn’t work.
Reality: The stimulus worked, but was not enough. In fact, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the stimulus raised employment by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million jobs.

5) Businesses will hire if they get tax cuts.
Reality: A business hires the right number of employees to meet demand. Having extra cash does not cause a business to hire, but a business that has a demand for what it does will find the money to hire. Businesses want customers, not tax cuts.

6) Health care reform costs $1 trillion.
Reality: The health care reform reduces government deficits by $138 billion.

7) Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, is “going broke,” people live longer, fewer workers per retiree, etc.
Reality: Social Security has run a surplus since it began, has a trust fund in the trillions, is completely sound for at least 25 more years and cannot legally borrow so cannot contribute to the deficit (compare that to the military budget!) Life expectancy is only longer because fewer babies die; people who reach 65 live about the same number of years as they used to.

8) Government spending takes money out of the economy.
Reality: Government is We, the People and the money it spends is on We, the People. Many people do not know that it is government that builds the roads, airports, ports, courts, schools and other things that are the soil in which business thrives. Many people think that all government spending is on “welfare” and “foreign aid” when that is only a small part of the government’s budget.

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WikiLeaks – Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki operated a “detention squad” for rounding up his political opponents.

October 24, 2010 Leave a comment

Related…

From Firedoglake:

Wikileaks Documents Complicate Selection of Iraqi Prime Minister

By: David Dayen Monday October 25, 2010 7:45 am

The US may not be so upset that Wikileaks released its Iraq war logs late last week. For one, the logs mainly implicate the previous Administration in various crimes and atrocities. More important to this White House, the revelations contained in the documents may make it impossible for Nouri al-Maliki to run the government.

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The Star – Haiti on precipice of cholera disaster

October 24, 2010 Leave a comment

From The Star:

Haiti on precipice of cholera disaster

Health officials confirm a rural outbreak has spread to the capital Port-au-Prince, with its armies of vulnerable tent dwellers left homeless by January’s earthquake.

A Haitian woman screams in agony in the back of a transport truck over the loss of her husband outside St. Nicolas Hospital after a cholera outbreak hit the rural countryside.

A Haitian woman screams in agony in the back of a transport truck over the loss of her husband outside St. Nicolas Hospital after a cholera outbreak hit the rural countryside.

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Economist’s View – One More Time with Gusto: Tax Cuts Do Not Pay for Themselves

October 24, 2010 Leave a comment

From the Economist’s View:

One More Time with Gusto: Tax Cuts Do Not Pay for Themselves

Republicans are selling snake oil once again:

Some Republican Senate candidates have suggested that extending the Bush tax cuts — which are scheduled to expire at the end of the year — will actually be good for the country’s bottom line, as the economic growth that results will more than offset the trillions of dollars in lost revenue. “By extending tax cuts you pay down the deficit, you grow the economy by giving people more money,” said Colorado Republican Ken Buck.

Today, on Fox News Sunday, Pennsylvania’s Republican Senate nominee Pat Toomey joined this club, telling Fox’s Chris Wallace that “it’s not clear” that extending the Bush tax cuts — while also lowering the corporate tax rate — would increase the deficit…

But, of course, the Bush tax cuts did not even come close to paying for themselves. The Bush tax cuts cost us around $1.7 trillion in revenue from 2001 through 2008, in part because of weak output and job growth following the cuts (contrary to assertions about how the tax cuts would stimulate economic growth).

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Dan Flynn – Letter From The Editor: Catfish

October 24, 2010 Leave a comment

From Food Safety News:

Letter From The Editor: Catfish

By Dan Flynn | Oct 24, 2010
Early during the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, I found myself in a small Mississippi take-out restaurant nearing the order counter while still reading the menu when I noticed there was a “Catfish Po Boy” on the menu.

Suddenly it was my turn, so I asked: “Domestic catfish?”

“There is no other kind, Hon,” I was told.

I was not disappointed with my choice.  It got me thinking that if the oil spill killed all the other seafood, the Gulf States still would have their catfish.

Gulf seafood is coming back, and the domestic catfish catch is having a good year.   About 360 million pounds processed through September and the price paid in September to producers was 81.6 cents per pound, up 4.4 cents from a year ago.

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SMIGLY: Sh*tcanned

October 24, 2010 Leave a comment
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Spencer Ackerman – Beaten, Shocked, Eyes Gouged: Iraq Abuse, WikiLeaked

October 24, 2010 Leave a comment

From Wired/Danger Room:

Beaten, Shocked, Eyes Gouged: Iraq Abuse, WikiLeaked

By Spencer Ackerman <a October 22, 2010

Torture was a signature feature of the state terror that Saddam Hussein inflicted on Iraq. The voluminous Iraq-war documents released by WikiLeaks today show that getting rid of Saddam didn’t eradicate the brutal tendencies of the revamped Iraqi security forces. Detainees were roughed up with pipes, knives, cables, electricity — even a cat in the face. Some suspects were so scared, they confessed to being terrorists, just so they could be shipped to the Americans.

WikiLeaks proved at least one thing through its release of nearly 400,000 U.S. military reports from the Iraq war: the brutalization of detainees continued years after the Abu Ghraib scandal, perpetrated largely by Iraqi police and soldiers whom the U.S. trained. In at least one case, Iraqi police even brawled with private security guards. While early press coverage of the WikiLeaked documents has zeroed in on the abuse, it’s barely scratched the surface.

Searching the WikiLeaks Iraq trove for incidents of reported detainee abuse results in literally thousands of accounts of brutality. Some of them involve U.S. troops allegedly inflicting harm upon detainees in their custody. A detainee held by coalition forces in southern Iraq said in February 2006 that a U.S. task force beat him to the point where he lost one of his eyes. “Capture photo depicts a bandage over his right eye, and injury to his right forearm,” a report reads.

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CBO Directors Blog – CBO’s 2010 Long-Term Projections for Social Security: Additional Information

October 24, 2010 Leave a comment

From the CBO Directors Blog:

CBO’s 2010 Long-Term Projections for Social Security: Additional Information

October 22nd, 2010 by Douglas Elmendorf

Social Security is the federal government’s largest single program; outlays in fiscal year 2010 totaled $706 billion, roughly one-fifth of the federal budget. About 54 million people currently receive Social Security benefits. Most are retired workers, their spouses, their children or their survivors, who receive payments through Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI). The remainder are disabled workers or their spouses and children, who receive Disability Insurance (DI) benefits.

Tax revenues credited to the program totaled about $670 billion in fiscal year 2010, almost all from payroll taxes. A very small portion—about 3 percent—comes from income taxes on benefits. Revenues from taxes, along with intragovernmental interest payments, are credited to Social Security’s two trust funds—one for OASI and one for DI—and the program’s benefits and administrative costs are paid from those funds.

Today CBO released additional information about the long-term projections of the Social Security program’s finances that were included in The Long-Term Budget Outlook (June 2010, revised August 2010) and in Social Security Policy Options (July 2010). The methodology used to develop those projections is described in CBO’s Long-Term Model: An Overview, a background paper published in June 2009.

Today’s publication updates the projections included in CBO’s Long-Term Projections for Social Security: 2009 Update. As we reported in June 2010, the long-term gap between Social Security’s spending and revenues that CBO is currently projecting is larger than the shortfall projected in our August 2009 publication.

The first group of exhibits—exhibits 1 through 8—examines Social Security’s financial status from several vantage points. The second group—exhibits 9 through 16—examines the program’s effects on various categories of Social Security participants in terms of the average taxes and benefits for those groups.

As detailed in the first eight exhibits, CBO projects that:

  • Over the next few years, the program’s tax revenues (that is, the trust funds’ receipts excluding interest) will be approximately equal to its outlays. However, starting in 2016, as more of the baby-boom generation enters retirement, outlays as scheduled under current law will regularly exceed tax revenues. As a result, under current law, both trust funds will gradually be depleted.
  • The DI trust fund will be exhausted in 2018 and the OASI trust fund will be exhausted in 2042. It is a common analytical convention to consider the DI and OASI trust funds in combination. CBO projects that, if legislation to shift resources from the OASI trust fund to the DI trust fund was enacted, as has been done in the past, the combined trust funds would be exhausted in 2039. However, because of the uncertainty surrounding the various factors that affect the program’s revenues and outlays, that date could vary quite a bit.
  • The resources dedicated to financing the program over the next 75 years fall short of the benefits that will be owed to beneficiaries by about 1.6 percent of taxable payroll. In other words, to bring the program into balance over the next 75 years, payroll taxes would have to be increased immediately from 12.4 percent to 14.0 percent and kept at that higher rate, or the benefits specified in law would have to be reduced by an equivalent amount, or some combination of those changes and others would have to be implemented.

As shown in subsequent charts beginning with exhibit 9, the amount of Social Security taxes paid by various groups of people differs, as do the benefits that different groups receive. For example:

  • People with higher earnings pay more in Social Security payroll taxes than do lower-earning participants, and they also receive larger benefits. Because of the progressive nature of Social Security’s benefit formula, replacement rates—the amount of annual benefits as a percentage of annual lifetime earnings—are lower, on average, for workers who have had higher earnings.
  • The amount of taxes paid and benefits received will be greater for people in later birth cohorts because they typically will have higher earnings over a lifetime, even after adjusting for inflation, CBO projects. However, replacement rates will be slightly lower, on average, for later birth groups because their full retirement age (the age at which they can receive unreduced retirement benefits) will be higher.

In many of the exhibits throughout the publication, we created a distribution of outcomes to quantify the amount of uncertainty in our Social Security projections. The analysis was based on 500 simulations in which most of the key demographic and economic factors in the analysis vary according to historical patterns. For example, we examined the percentage of simulations in which the trust funds are exhausted by a specific year. In 37 percent of CBO’s simulations, the funds are exhausted before 2035. In 84 percent of the simulations, the trust funds are exhausted by 2050. In 97 percent of the simulations, the trust funds are exhausted by 2084.

The analysis was prepared by Noah Meyerson, Charles Pineles-Mark, Jonathan Schwabish, Michael Simpson, and Julie Topoleski of CBO’s Long-Term Modeling Group under the supervision of Joyce Manchester.

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