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31 August, 2011

Empty Shelves: Hurricanes, Disasters and Civil Unrest – a Contingency Plan

Empty Shelves: Hurricanes, Disasters and Civil Unrest – a Contingency Plan: "If you think that you’ll be able to simply drive to Wal-Mart or the grocery store and load up on food, water and supplies during an actual emergency, you are living in a fantasy world. We now experience freak weather on a regular basis. Oklahoma has experienced... record-breaking... temperatures, a massive hurricane... [hit] Washington, DC and the New York City area, and NASA continues to amplify their warnings regarding solar storms disrupting our way of life..."

Officially Declared Nuclear Nightmare

Officially Declared Nuclear Nightmare | Dr. Mark's Blog: "Nothing good about the nuclear news at the end of August as we have official recognition (finally) of what is going on in Japan and thus what is threatening the rest of the world, especially the northern hemisphere. It is now being said that the amount of radioactive cesium that has leaked from a tsunami-hit nuclear plant is about equal to 168 of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima at the end of World War II, Japan’s nuclear agency said Friday the 26th.

That’s like dropping one nuclear weapon a day since the beginning of this disaster and this is what they have been calling safe, no problem, don’t worry about it, go home and go to sleep..."

Hurricane Irene vs. The Idiots

U.N. Warns of Possible Bird Flu Resurgence

U.N. agency warns of possible bird flu resurgence - Yahoo! News: "The United Nations warned of a possible major resurgence of bird flu and said a mutant strain of the H5N1 virus was spreading in Asia and elsewhere.

The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Monday urged increased surveillance and preparation for a potential outbreak of the virus, which it says has infected 565 people since it first appeared in 2003, killing 331 of them.

The virus was eliminated from most of the 63 countries infected at its peak in 2006 after mass poultry culling, but since 2008 it has been expanding geographically in both poultry and wild birds, partly due to migration patterns, the FAO said..."

3, 2, 1: Global Debt Meltdown

3, 2, 1: Global Debt Meltdown: "We are steamrolling toward a massive global debt meltdown, and at this point world leaders seem to be all out of solutions. Over the last 30 years or so, the greatest debt bubble in the history of the planet has produced unprecedented prosperity in the western world. But now that debt bubble is starting to burst and the bills are coming due. Many believe that 'ground zero' for the coming global debt meltdown will be in Europe. Unlike the U.S. and Japan, the nations of the EU can't just print more money to cover their debts. Nations such as Greece, Portugal and Italy must repay their debts in euros, and those nations are rapidly getting to the point where their debts are going to overwhelm them. Unfortunately, major banks all over Europe are very highly leveraged and are also very heavily invested in the sovereign debt of nations such as Greece, Portugal and Italy. If even one EU nation defaults it will start tipping over financial dominoes. If more than one EU nation defaults it could cause a cataclysmic wave of bank failures all over Europe.

But Germany and the other more financially stable countries of the EU cannot bail out nations like Greece, Portugal and Italy indefinitely. Pouring money into Greece is like pouring money into a black hole. When you take money from financially stable countries and pour it into hopeless messes, you may stabilize things for a little while, but you also cause the financial condition of the financially stable nations to start deteriorating..."

Weather Satellites And Storm Warnings Threatened By Federal Budget Cuts

Weather Satellites And Storm Warnings Threatened By Federal Budget Cuts: "Detailed images taken by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellites over the last several days enabled weather forecasters to provide a fairly precise picture of just when and where Hurricane Irene was headed and how strong she would be. The satellites also relayed this critical information early enough so that people along the storm's path had days to stock up on food and water and, if necessary, move to higher ground...

... But with the recent decision by Congress to allocate less than half of the billion dollars of funding needed to maintain and upgrade the fleet, officials warn of an upcoming gap in the service relied upon by weather forecasters, as well as the armed forces, search-and-rescue teams, energy companies and climate modelers..."

30 August, 2011

Hurricane Irene, Unusual Earthquakes, Unprecedented Tornadoes, Historic Flooding And Horrific Drought: Why Is All Of This Stuff Happening To America?

Hurricane Irene, Unusual Earthquakes, Unprecedented Tornadoes, Historic Flooding And Horrific Drought: Why Is All Of This Stuff Happening To America?: "What in the world is happening to America? In more normal times it would be easy to dismiss Hurricane Irene as an isolated incident, but so far this year we have had some sort of a 'major disaster' almost every single month. In addition to Hurricane Irene, this year we have also had truly unusual earthquakes, unprecedented tornadoes, historic flooding along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, horrific drought, massive wildfires and a continuous onslaught of nuclear radiation from Fukushima. Almost every single area of the United States has been affected by at least one of these disasters. So why is all of this stuff happening to America all of a sudden? Does anyone have any theories? Right now we are having a 'once in a century' disaster every few weeks, and either we are just extremely 'unlucky' or there is a reason why all of this is happening..."

God, Help These People In The Face Of Any REAL Disaster!!!



Hurricane Irene lobster: Shoppers fight over the bottled water, flashlights and lobster... How a city prepared for a very New York hurricane | Mail Online: "I knew something was amiss before I even left my apartment.

My flatmate has locked the front door, presumably in the fear that hurricane Irene would try the handle first before barging in.

He also pulled down the blind on the kitchen window, apparently in the belief that it would stop the 100mph gusts should the glass fail to do so.

‘We’ve got to be prepared,’ he said with a face fit for a funeral. ‘Who knows what might happen’.

I thought he was overreacting to the arrival of the storm in New York, but out on the streets I realised it was I who was out of step.

Inevitably the supermarkets became raw wounds of fear, with shoppers stocking up on what they saw as essential provisions to get them through the hard times ahead.

New York city officials had given explicit instructions that everyone should prepare a ‘Go bag’ in case of disaster containing bottled water and nonperishable food such as granola bars.

But in Gristedes in 1st Avenue by lunchtime on Saturday the shelves had been cleared of frozen pizzas, pastries and potatoes with plenty of cereal bars to spare.

All of the mulitgrain pitta chips had been taken, although even the prospect of a hurricane was not enough to convince anyone to buy the Italian Harvest flavour.

One woman was carrying a shopping list which included soy sauce, crackers and cider.

At the very top she had written, with a star next to it: ‘Lobster’.

‘It’s not very practical, I know,’ she admitted, her cheeks glowing red with embarrassment.

Also in Gristides Giovanna Levy was doing some last minute shopping. Her basket contained tins of tuna, toothpaste and hot dogs.

She said: ‘This is the second supermarket we’ve been to.

‘We’re going to order in loads of food from restaurants and have it just sitting there ready to eat.

‘We’re not sure where we are going to stay yet. We were thinking about going to a hotel downtown but I don’t think we’re doing that now.’

I asked another lady in her early 20s how she was preparing for what could be the worst natural disaster in 26 years to hit New York.

‘I’ve left my air conditioning unit on all day today so my bedroom is nice and cool,’ she said.

‘If the power goes off it won’t work’. I told her: ‘It seems like a sensible precaution’, and she agreed, nodding her head.

Her boyfriend chipped in: ‘You can’t be too sure’.

Gracefully supermarket on 1st Avenue was closed but through the window you could see there was no bread, only one Yucan gold potato but lots of butternut squash left on the shelves.

At Morton Williams supermarket on 23rd St Beth and Jeff Rooney had stocked up on bagels, cream cheese and peanut butter to see them through.

Mrs Rooney said: ‘We’re not really taking it that seriously. People are acting like there will never be any more food but the trucks will start running tomorrow or Monday.

‘It’s like Christmas, only worse’.

Shops which bragged about staying open 24 hours now looked foolish at best and suicidal at worst.

At the CVS on 23rd st staff had been told the store would close at 9pm on Saturday night and reopen at 10am on Sunday, when Irene was right overhead.

‘I don’t know how they expect us to get into work,’ a lady at the checkout said, referring to the closure of the entire New York transit system.

‘Maybe they’ll get us a flying carpet’.

Throughout Manhattan shop closures were widespread but utterly random.

On 1st Avenue the laundries were open but the bars were shut.

You could get a KFC but you couldn’t get a McDonald’s. You could buy computer games but you couldn’t get a coffee.

You couldn’t get your shoes repaired anywhere, and you definitely couldn’t go to the bank.

On 2nd Avenue you couldn’t even die - a sign on the door of the Andrett Funeral Home read: ‘ We are closed due to hurricane Irene’.

It added: ‘Sorry for the inconvenience’.

The predictable things had, of course, sold out. At Radioshack on 1st there were no digital clocks, radios and just a few batteries left.

At Walgreen’s by Union Square candles were in short supply, as were frozen pizzas again.

One man walked around with two bottles of Gatorade in his basket. An elderly gentleman was waiting in line clutching two bars of Lindt chocolate and four tins of sardines.

The hardware store close to my apartment had sold a number of foam guards which sit on top of air conditioning units to soften the noise of the rain falling onto them.

‘I don’t see the point of it,’ said David Rojas, who was working behind the counter at Town and Village Hardware. ‘I’d be more concerned about whether my building was going to stand up than the noise of the rain’.

At the best of times hearing other people’s conversations gives you an idea about what makes New York tick.

But in the new mood of subdued panic, they offered a chance to really see how people were planning ahead.

‘Is that Worcestershire sauce?’ a girl wearing wellington boots asked her friend in one store. ‘They haven’t got any. Damn. Let’s try somewhere else’.

Another woman scolded her husband as they crossed the road close to Union Square.

‘For God’s sakes Harold,’ she said, ‘We still don’t have the mint tea and we’re running out of time!’

Come on Irene...."

James Howard Kunstler: Katrina in Vermont

Katrina in Vermont - Clusterfuck Nation: "The same creeping nausea that followed the CNN 'all clear' sign in New Orleans six years ago happened again yesterday. Anderson Cooper seemed a little peeved that the lights didn't go out in Manhattan, but then the remnants of Hurricane Irene stomped up the Hudson Valley and stalled a while and commenced to rip apart the Catskills, the eastern Adirondacks, the Mohawk and upper Hudson valleys, and then almost all of Vermont, not to mention New Hampshire and western Massachusetts, and I can't even tell you much about whatever's going on in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Delaware, and Maryland this morning. Connecticut, Long Island, and Rhode Island are in there somewhere, and surely there's more than a few things out of place in North Carolina.

This is nowhere near Katrina's death toll of over 1800 souls, but the damage to scores of towns, businesses, houses, and basic civic armature is going to be very impressive as the news filters in later this week and the disaster is still very much ongoing Monday, even with the sun shining bright. Towns all over Vermont and New Hampshire are still drowning. The Hudson River is still on the rise. The Mohawk River is at a 500-year flood stage and is about to wipe the old city center of Schenectady, New York, off the map. Bridges, dams, and roads are gone over a region at least as big as the Gulf Coast splatter-trail of Katrina.

That story is still developing. A lot of people will not be able to get around for a long, long time, especially in Vermont and New Hampshire, where the rugged terrain only allows for a few major roads that go anywhere. Even the bridges that were not entirely washed away may have to be inspected before people are allowed to drive over them, and some of these bridges may be structurally shot even if they look superficially okay. There are a lot of them. If you live in a flat state, you may have no idea.

The next story is going to be the realization that there's no money to put it all back together the way it was. The states don't have the money. The federal government is obviously broke, and an awful lot of the individual households and businesses will turn out to not have any insurance coverage for this kind of disaster where it was water, not wind, that destroyed the property. I don't know what the score is insurance-wise along the mid-Atlantic beachfront towns - but remember, insurance companies were among the biggest dupes of the Big Bank mortgage-backed securities racket, and when the new claims are toted up they may find themselves in a bail-out line.

This is a warning to America that the converging catastrophes of climate change, energy scarcities, and failures of capital formation add up to more than the sum of their parts in their power to drive a complex society into a ditch - no matter what a moron like Rick Perry might say. But, of course, political ramifications will follow. There will be a lot of pissed-off people in the Northeast USA. Maybe they'll even start giving the grievance-bloated folk of Dixieland some competition in the politics of the bitter harvest. Oddly, the Siamese twin states of Vermont and New Hampshire are political polar opposites. Vermont, the land of Ben and Jerry's ice cream, and other squooshy culture tropes from the attic of Hippiedom, is about as Left-progressive as it gets. New Hampshire's license plate says, 'Live Free or Die,' and that same draconian mood defines the state's politics: hard Right. It's like a few counties of Georgia shook loose and drifted north somehow. My guess is that the political rage will be about equal on both fronts, as folks are left stranded, or homeless, or without a going business they thought they had only a day or so ago. And my further guess is that their mood will afford some insight into the extreme impotence, incompetence, and mendacity of both major political parties. As I've said before in this space, think of these times as not unlike the convulsive 1850s, preceding the worst crisis of our history.

Apart from the fact that the hurricane season is just gearing up, and that a procession of tropical storm blobs has commenced to pour out of West Africa, there is that other alternate universe of storms, brushfires, and fiascos called the fnancial system, which everybody sort of forgot about over the weekend. Well, it's ba-a-a-ck this morning, too, and the financial weather was deteriorating sharply last time I looked. You can stick a fork in the Euro Zone. Bank of America is panhandling for spare change like a dying wino as it whirls around the drain. Nobody knows what the shadow bets on all this action is, but you can bet on one thing for sure: the counterparties can't pay.

Oh, by the way, anybody remember that we had an earthquake here in the Northeast a few days before Irene rumbled in? Probably not, unless part of your building fell off. God's wrath, some might say, as we beat our path to a world made by hand."


James Howard Kunstler is an author and among the leading voices in the charge to be prepared to change how we live as Peak Oil approaches. He is the author of The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century as well as the fiction novel World Made by Hand: A Novel.

Contamination Spreads in Japan and Worldwide

New Data Supports Previous Fairewinds Analysis, as Contamination Spreads in Japan and Worldwide on Vimeo: "Newly released neutron data from three University of California San Diego scientists confirms Fairewinds' April analysis that the nuclear core at Fukushima Daiichi turned on and off after TEPCO claimed its reactors had been shutdown. This periodic nuclear chain reaction (inadvertent criticality) continued to contaminate the surrounding environment and upper atmosphere with large doses of radioactivity.

In a second area of concern, Fairewinds disagrees the NRC's latest report claiming that all Fukushima spent fuel pools had no problems following the earthquake. In a new revelation, the NRC claims that the plutonium found more than 1 mile offsite actually came from inside the nuclear reactors. If such a statement were true, it indicates that the nuclear power plant containments failed and were breached with debris landing far from the power plants themselves. Such a failure of the containment system certainly necessitates a complete review of all US reactor containment design and industry assurances that containments will hold in radioactivity in the event of a nuclear accident. The evidence Fairewinds reviewed to date continues to support its April analysis that the detonation in the Unit 3 Spent Fuel pool was the cause of plutonium found off site.

Third, the burning of radioactive materials (building materials, trees, lawn grass, rice straw) by the Japanese government will cause radioactive Cesium to spread even further into areas within Japan that have been previously clean, and across the Pacific Ocean to North America.

And finally, the Japanese government has yet to grasp the severity of the contamination within Japan, and therefore has not developed a coherent plan mitigate the accident and remediate the environment. Without a cohesive plan to deal with this ongoing problem of large scale radioactive contamination, the radioactivity will continue to spread throughout Japan and around the globe further exacerbating the problem and raising costs astronomically."

34 Pieces Of Evidence That Prove That The Middle Class In America Is Rapidly Shrinking

34 Pieces Of Evidence That Prove That The Middle Class In America Is Rapidly Shrinking: "Do you ever get the feeling that the middle class in America is shrinking? Well, you are not imagining things. A confluence of very troubling long-term economic trends has created an environment in which the middle class in America is being absolutely shredded. Today, most American families would be absolutely thrilled if they could live as well as past generations did. The dream of receiving a solid education, getting a good job, owning a beautiful home and enjoying the good things that America has to offer is increasingly becoming out of reach for a growing number of Americans. The reality is that even though our population has grown, there are less jobs than there used to be. A much higher percentage of the jobs that remain are low income jobs. Millions of middle class American families are desperately trying to hang on as inflation far outpaces the growth of their paychecks. Millions of others have fallen completely out of the middle class and are now totally dependent on the government for survival. We once had the largest, most vibrant middle class in the history of the world, but now way too much unemployment, way too much inflation, way too much greed and way too much debt are all starting to catch up with us. America is changing, and not for the better..."

Market Crash "Could Hit Within Weeks", Warn Bankers

Market crash "could hit within weeks", warn bankers - Telegraph: "A more severe crash than the one triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers could be on the way, according to alarm signals in the credit markets.

Insurance on the debt of several major European banks has now hit historic levels, higher even than those recorded during financial crisis caused by the US financial group's implosion nearly three years ago.

Credit default swaps on the bonds of Royal Bank of Scotland, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank and Intesa Sanpaolo, among others, flashed warning signals on Wednesday...

... The cost of insuring RBS bonds is now higher than before the taxpayer was forced to step in and rescue the bank in October 2008, and shows the recent dramatic downturn in sentiment among credit investors towards banks..."

Home Alarm Monitoring: 10 Security Threats that Scare Homeowners

Home Alarm Monitoring: 10 Security Threats that Scare Homeowners: "Home ownership is something many American’s take for granted and for others is just a dream. What some don’t realize is that owning a home comes with a whole new set of responsibilities and problems. This is why homeowner insurance is so important and required by mortgage holders. Here are 10 of the security threats that scare homeowners..."

29 August, 2011

Is The Number Of Earthquakes Increasing? Why The 5.8 Virginia Earthquake Might Just Be A Preview Of Things To Come

Is The Number Of Earthquakes Increasing? Why The 5.8 Virginia Earthquake Might Just Be A Preview Of Things To Come: "Is the number of earthquakes increasing? Are major earthquakes becoming more frequent? In the aftermath of the magnitude-5.8 earthquake in Virginia, a whole lot of people are asking those questions. All over the mainstream media, 'experts' are coming on and assuring the public that all of this is 'normal' and that the number of earthquakes is not actually increasing. The USGS continues to insist that the frequency of major earthquakes has been 'fairly constant' and that there is no reason for alarm. But is that really the truth? In this article, you will be presented with evidence that the number of earthquakes is definitely increasing. Please approach the evidence with an open mind. The truth is that this year we are on pace to have more than twice the number of major earthquakes than we did just 10 years ago. The mainstream media is much more interested in keeping people calm than it is in telling them the truth. Our planet is becoming increasingly unstable, and the magnitude-5.8 Virginia earthquake that we just witnessed might just be a preview of things to come..."

21 Signs That The New Reality For Many Baby Boomers Will Be To Work As Wage Slaves Until They Drop Dead

21 Signs That The New Reality For Many Baby Boomers Will Be To Work As Wage Slaves Until They Drop Dead: "All over America tonight, millions of elderly Americans are wondering if their money is going to run out before it is time for them to die. Those that are now past retirement age are not going to be rioting in the streets, but that doesn't mean that large numbers of them are not deeply suffering. There are millions of elderly Americans that are leading lives of 'quiet desperation' as they try to get by on meager fixed incomes. Many are surviving on Ramen noodles, oatmeal, peanut butter or whatever other cheap food they can find in the stores. There are some that are so short on cash that they will not turn on the heat in their homes until things get really desperate. As health care costs soar, millions of elderly Americans find themselves deep in debt and facing huge medical bills that they cannot possibly pay. A lot of older Americans would go back to work if they could, but jobs are scarce and very few companies seem to even want to consider hiring them. Right now caring for all of the Americans that have already retired is turning out to be an overwhelming challenge, and things are about to get a whole lot worse. On January 1st, 2011 the very first Baby Boomers turned 65. A massive tsunami of retirees is coming, and America is not ready for it..."

In An Unsustainable System, A Warning of Collapse

In An Unsustainable System, A Warning of Collapse | International Forecaster Weekly : "We do not believe that Americans, particularly elderly Americans, understand what the elitists are up to in regard to Social Security and Medicare. The Council on Foreign Relations and the Peterson Foundation has for years been working on plans to terminate Social Security and Medicare. Cuts in these paid for programs were impossible to get through Congress. Thus, the ruse was born of getting around Congress. A flash issue was raised regarding a short-term debt extension that could have been passed in 15 minutes that demanded budget cuts for passage. In that process the Obama Enabling Act was formulated, patterned on the German Enabling Act passed in 1933 by Adolph Hitler. It allows a 12-person panel to bypass Congress regarding legislation. The changes are made in this committee and cannot be debated or amended and must be voted on via a straight up and down majority vote. While this was transpiring, as part of the plot, Standard and Poor’s downgraded the US debt rating based upon there not being large enough cuts in what Congress likes to call entitlements, which are not entitlements, but paid for benefits. The reason for the cuts is that both benefits trusts are broke, all the funds having been spent on other things over the years. S&P said that if major cuts are not made that they would cut the US debt rating again in November. Thus, you can understand the framework and what the elitists have paid the committee and Congress to do..."

USA Becomes Food Stamp Nation

USA becomes Food Stamp Nation but is it sustainable? - Yahoo! News: "Genna Saucedo supervises cashiers at a Wal-Mart in Pico Rivera, California, but her wages aren't enough to feed herself and her 12-year-old son.

Saucedo, who earns $9.70 an hour for about 26 hours a week and lives with her mother, is one of the many Americans who survive because of government handouts in what has rapidly become a food stamp nation.

Altogether, there are now almost 46 million people in the United States on food stamps, roughly 15 percent of the population. That's an increase of 74 percent since 2007, just before the financial crisis and a deep recession led to mass job losses..."

Pirate-Fighters, Inc.: How Mercenaries Became Ships’ Best Defense

Pirate-Fighters, Inc.: How Mercenaries Became Ships’ Best Defense | Danger Room | Wired.com: "It was a normal morning in April last year. Normal, that is, by the crazy standards of the fishermen, ship’s crews, navy sailors and Somali pirates plying their dangerous trades on 2.5 million square miles of lawless ocean stretching from India to Kenya.

'Dave,' a 44-year-old from Wiltshire in southwest England, was standing watch on the upper deck of a commercial car carrier bound from Mumbai to Mombasa. Scanning the horizon with a pair of high-powered binoculars, the former British Royal Marine of 24 years’ experience spotted something suspicious ahead of the carrier: a small freighter matching the profile of a pirate “mothership,” a sort of floating base for heavily armed sea bandits and their small boats.

What happened next was like something out of a Hollywood thriller. But for Dave and a fast-growing number of for-profit ship guards, it was just another day on the job — and evidence of a surprising turn in the years-old, international war on piracy.

The world’s governments are waking up to the sobering fact that the gazillion-dollar warships they’ve sent to the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean can’t keep up with the region’s elusive pirates. The hijackers’ simple, brutal tactics are too effective. Their business model is too attractive. And they’ve got nothing to lose but their lives.

The days are probably numbered for 10,000-ton Burke-class destroyers chasing down illiterate Somali thugs sailing in souped-up fishing boats called 'skiffs.' The future of the piracy war could belong to Dave and guys like him, standing lonely guard on gigantic, fortified commercial vessels speeding through pirate-infested waters..."

Layoff Misery on Wall Street Just Getting Started

Layoff misery on Wall Street just getting started - FierceFinance: "The layoff news 'du jour' is that UBS will begin a round of cuts, joining a herd of European and American banks rushing to wield the axe.

This follows news that Bank of America will cut about 3,500 jobs, as part of a cost-cutting effort that will eventually claim 10,000 jobs. So far this year, the number of financial industry job slashes has risen to 18,252. That's 6 percent higher than in the comparable period in 2010..."

26 August, 2011

Hurricane Irene Damage Could Exceed Katrina

Forecast: Irene Damage Could Exceed Katrina | Before It's News


Nano Patents and Innovations: Hurricane Irene Almost One-Third The Size Of US East Coast, Seen By NASA Satellites


Irene May Require Evacuations of Some New York City Areas, Bloomberg Says - Bloomberg


Irene destroys 90% of homes on one Bahamas island... now it's headed for US - Telegraph

At Least 7 Aftershocks Registered After Virginia Quake

At Least 7 Aftershocks Registered After Virginia Quake - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports: "The 5.8-magnitude earthquake that rattled the East Coast this week has produced at least seven aftershocks.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the aftershocks around the central Virginia epicenter ranged in magnitude from 4.5 to as little as 2.2, following the strongest earthquake to strike the East Coast since World War II. Two of them hit early Thursday.

When the number of aftershocks was still at five, geophysicist Amy Vaughan with the National Earthquake Information Center in Colorado, said the aftershocks so far had been remarkably few.

Vaughan said the agency isn't sure what to expect, but it's likely there will be some more for days, if not weeks. Typically, the larger the quake, the longer and the greater extent of aftershocks.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)"

"Recovery In Centuries, Not Years": Japan Using Fukushima People As Human Guinnea Pigs

Japan using Fukushima people as human Guinnea Pigs - YouTube

What Hunger in America Looks Like

What Hunger in America Looks Like | EcoSalon | Conscious Culture and Fashion: "Could you eat on $4 a day?

There are more people on Food Stamps, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), than ever before in the United States. As of May, 45,753,078 Americans were enrolled in SNAP, an increase of over 60% since the recession began in April 2008 and a jump of 12.1% over May 2010. That’s nearly 15% of the U.S. population, or around 1 in 7 people...

... Though the program was designed to be supplemental, according to data collected by The New York Times, about 6 million Americans receiving food stamps report they have no other income...

... What’s it like to rely primarily on food stamps to put food on the table?

The average amount food stamp recipients receive is $4 a day per person. In 2009 the amount was raised temporarily from $3 to $4, which makes a big difference. However this temporary increase was instituted as part of the economic recovery program and is due to expire in October 2013. To be eligible to receive any food stamps, gross income for a family of four must not exceed 130 percent or less of the Federal poverty guidelines ($2,389 per month/$28,668 per year for a family of four)

What can you buy for $4 a day?..."

14 Conspiracy Theories That The Media Now Admits Are Conspiracy Facts

14 Conspiracy Theories That The Media Now Admits Are Conspiracy Facts - BlackListedNews.com: "How many times have you heard the mainstream media dismiss certain points of view as 'conspiracy theories'? It seems as though one of the easiest ways to brush something off is to label it as something that only 'conspiracy theorists' would believe. Well, you know what? A whole lot of the time the 'conspiracy theorists' are right and the mainstream media is wrong. In fact, we owe a great debt to 'conspiracy theorists' because they will go places and investigate things that the mainstream media would never even touch. The reality is that the mainstream media only tells us what the government and the big corporations want us to hear, and much of the time it is those in the alternative media that are left with the task of trying to figure out what the real truth is. So don't look down on conspiracy theories or conspiracy theorists. In a world where almost everything we are told is a lie, the truth can be very difficult to find..."

Most Feared Food Bug in World is Stopped Again at U.S. Border

Most feared food bug in world is stopped again at US border | Colonel6's Blog: "... The Khapra beetle is infamous in the agricultural industry for its ability to destroy stored produce and has wrought havoc in parts of northern Africa, the Middle East, and even Europe, Asia and South Africa.

The beetle, which originates in South Asia, was found to have invaded California in 1953 and took thirteen years to eradicate.

According to US customs, the beetle has been intercepted in shipments over 100 times so far in 2011, an alarming increase compared to the average of 15 or so from 2007 to 2009 and around six per year in 2005 and 2006.

The beetle is so destructive and so feared by farmers that US Customs will reject an entire grain shipment based on larvae alone, no other species is treated with such stringency..."

25 August, 2011

Can You Survive If You're YOYO?

Can you survive if you're YOYO? | phones, yoyo, power - Colorado Springs Gazette, CO: "What if all power and water went out for a week or longer, cell phones didn’t work, businesses were closed, gas wasn’t available and chaos erupted in the streets? Would you be prepared to survive?

El Paso County Commissioner Peggy Littleton is on a personal and professional crusade to make sure every resident can answer “yes” to that question.

'If you can’t call anyone and go anywhere and YOYO — ‘You’re On Your Own’ — while structure is reorganized, will you be ready?' she asks. 'I want to make sure everyone has a personal preparedness plan with a 72-hour emergency kit packed and in the car or by the front door.'..."

Marc Faber Readies for Hyperinflation, Dollar’s Demise and Civil Unrest

5 money moves ‘Dr. Doom’ is making now - Money Talks - MarketWatch: “'Dr. Doom,' that is — also known as Marc Faber, the Hong Kong-based investment manager, author, and publisher of 'The Gloom Boom & Doom Report,' his monthly musing about the state of global economics and geopolitics.

Faber is to financial-market optimists what the Grinch is to Christmas. He doesn’t often like what he sees, and nowadays he finds even less to like about the world’s economic situation than he did in 2008 — as if that wasn’t bad enough..."

A Banking System Built On Lies And Deception

A Banking System Built On Lies And Deception – Hiding Commercial Real Estate Losses By Laundering Bad Loans Through The Federal Reserve. Trillions Of Dollars In Bailouts Were Made While Banks Told The Public All Was Well: "Part of the massive challenges facing our brittle financial system is the opaque and secretive nature of the Federal Reserve. It is difficult enough to confront a challenge with all information present but make it purposely convoluted and dark and we have a crisis of historical proportions. The recent market volatility is simply a dire reflection of a system unsure of what is going on. Markets despise distrust and that is what we are finding. A few years ago we were told that the banking system was fine yet we now have data showing over $1.2 trillion in emergency loans were made to countless too big to fail banks. In other words we were being lied to by both the Federal Reserve and the giant banks that largely created and spread this financial crisis like wildfire. As more information leaks out we are starting to get a grim picture of how the Federal Reserve assisted and is assisting banks not only to hide residential real estate loans but also toxic commercial real estate debt. Over $3 trillion in commercial real estate (CRE) values has evaporated since the crisis took hold yet banks continue to tell the public all is well while shifting these toxic bets onto the taxpayer balance sheet..."

Coin Dealer Robbed, Slain Near His Shop

Coin dealer Steve Halfon robbed, slain near his Brooklyn shop: "A Brooklyn coin dealer died Tuesday after a group of thieves pummeled him near his shop and dumped his battered body a mile away, police sources said.

Steve Halfon, 61, had just closed his shop, Liberty Coin Co. on Kings Highway in Gravesend, and was walking to his car when three men ambushed him just before 5:30 p.m., the sources said.

The men beat Halfon to a pulp, stuffed him in a black Volvo sedan and drove away, sources said. They dumped his body on East Seventh St. near Avenue N in Midwood and abandoned the car two blocks later, sources and a witness said..."

Chinese Think Tank Implies America May Be Falsifying Its Accounting, Says US On Way To Default

Chinese Think Tank Implies America May Be Falsifying Its Accounting, Says US On Way To Default | ZeroHedge: "Joe Biden came to China, saw, and failed to conquer the locals' ridicule. Punctuating just how 'effective' Biden's visit to China was in order to 'reassure that the US is solvent' (no seriously, that's the name of the article) is a just released article in the Securities Times by Wang Tialong, member of Chinese think tank Center for International Economic Exchanges in which he went on to blatantly say that 'The U.S. may be on its way to default on its debt despite the U.S. government's ability to print more money, a Chinese think tank researcher said Monday.' Now this is nothing new in the escalating war of words between the two countries, although increasingly China appears to be attacking the primary loophole that defenders of the unsustainable US debt use, namely the fall back to the USD as a reserve currency. Wang went on further to implicitly accuse the US of fabricating economic data: 'There is also no way to punish the issuer country if it falsifies its accounting and there is no way to restructure the issuer either, Wang said.' Well, when China accuses the US of 'falsifying accounting' you know you have hit rock bottom..."

24 August, 2011

Hurricane Irene Approaches

And our next big worry: Hurricane Irene | HamptonRoads.com | PilotOnline.com: "People stocked up on food, boarded windows and gassed up their cars Tuesday as Hurricane Irene threatened to become the most powerful storm to hit the East Coast in seven years. If the latest forecast holds true, Irene would hit the Outer Banks of North Carolina sometime Saturday.

All Navy ships in Hampton Roads were ordered to prepare to get under way within 24 hours as a precaution.

'We learned last hurricane season with Hurricane Earl that we must be prepared even sooner to make the decision to sortie,' Vice Adm. Daniel Holloway, commander of the U.S. 2nd Fleet, said in a news release.

From Florida to Maine, residents were told to brace for flash flooding and power outages..."


Red Cross Moving Supplies and Volunteers as Hurricane Irene Heads Toward the East... -- WASHINGTON, Aug. 23, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --: "Hurricane Irene is expected to make landfall along the eastern shores later this week with winds gusting as high as 150 mph, and the American Red Cross is getting ready for a full East Coast response by preparing shelters for evacuees, pre-positioning numerous emergency response vehicles and disaster supplies, and mobilizing disaster workers to parts of the country expected to see impact from this large storm.

'This storm is getting stronger as it moves toward the East Coast and people who live in or are vacationing in areas that could see its impact need to get ready now,' said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president of Disaster Services for the Red Cross. 'We urge them to take the threat of Irene seriously and finalize their hurricane preparations and get their emergency kits ready.'..."

Earth Changes: What Is Going On?

Unless you live under a rock, you are no doubt already aware of the earthquake on the East Coast yesterday.  Without being too long-winded, let it suffice to say that it was a rare occurrence that both thrilled and frightened many.

Unusual as it may be, yesterday's quake is not the only odd occurrence that I have noticed over the past few years.  I am not necessarily a proponent of anthropomorphic Global Warming, but anyone with eyes to see would be hard pressed not to agree that the Earth and her climate are definitely going through changes.  Where I live in the Appalachians, the climate is noticeably different than what it was when I was growing up 20 years ago.  As a kid in school, we always had Recess outside right up until the point when school let out for the summer, and I'm talking about without jackets or anything -- temperatures were consistently in the 70s and sometimes even the low 80s as early as mid- to late May.  Now, we wear our jackets throughout May and sometimes even into June.  The only really consistently warm temperatures are in July and August.  Don't get me wrong, there are warm days starting as early as April and extending into October/November, but they are few and far between.  The growing season for our gardens seems shorter because of later frosts.  Winters seem colder.  We seem to get less snow than when I was a child, but more ice and bitter cold temperatures.

On top of that, my area, which had not seen one actually touch down since the 1970s, seems to now be joining other parts of the country in having to deal with tornadoes.  We had a couple last year that, luckily, only caused a small amount of damage, but we were under more official Watches and Warnings than I can count.  I am 34 years old and, let me tell you, that has never happened before in my lifetime... until recently, that is.  My poor Mother was scared out of her wits; she couldn't recall ever having to hide and cower in an internal hallway during storms anymore than I can.  It is, quite simply, new to us -- something has changed.

And now, apparently, we're going to need to prepare for earthquakes as well.

One would have to be blind not to see that something is going on with the earth, climate, et cetera.

Libya's Deadliest Weapons Not yet Corralled

Libya's Deadliest Weapons Not yet Corralled - ABC News: "No one can be sure who controls the Libyan government's weapons stockpiles, a stew of deadly chemicals, raw nuclear material and some 30,000 shoulder-fired rockets that officials fear could fall into terrorists' hands in the chaos of Moammar Gadhafi's downfall or afterward.

One immediate worry, U.S. intelligence and military officials say, is that Gadhafi might use the weapons to make a last stand. But officials also face the troubling prospect that the material, which was left under Gadhafi's control by a U.S.-backed disarmament pact, could be obtained by al-Qaida or other militants even after a rebel victory is secured.

The main stockpile of mustard gas and other chemicals, stored in corroding drums, is at a site southeast of Tripoli. Mustard gas can cause severe blistering and death. A cache of hundreds of tons of raw uranium yellowcake is stored at a small nuclear facility east of the capital..."

New Company Grows High-Tech Organic Produce In Shipping Containers

Localize It: PodPonics Grows High-Tech Organic Produce In Shipping Containers | Fast Company: "... PodPonics started in 2010 when founder Matt Liotta--a serial entrepreneur who has launched Internet, software, and telecom startups--noticed that demand significantly outstripped supply in the local food business. '[My work] in Internet, telecom, and agriculture is all pretty similar in that the goal was to find a mature industry and come up with a disruptive technology,' he says. 'If you wanted to produce fresh produce at the point of consumption in a way that was economically viable, what would you have to invent to do it?'

Liotta decided to use recycled shipping containers as 'grow pods,' which are outfitted with organic hydroponic nutrient solutions; computer-controlled environmental systems to regulate temperature, humidity, pH levels, and CO2; and lights that emit specific spectrums at different points in the day. The system provides the exact amount of water, lights, and nutrients that a crop requires--so there is no wasted energy (though the pods are still hooked up to the power grid). In a 320 square foot area, PodPonics can produce an acre's worth of produce. The pods can be stacked on top of each other for more efficient use of space.

The startup already supplies 150 pounds of lettuce, arugula, and other microgreens to restaurants (and a smattering of independent groceries) throughout the Atlanta area every week..."

Soaring Price Of Gold Ignites Wave Of Robberies In Los Angeles

Soaring Price Of Gold Ignites Wave Of Robberies In Los Angeles at Pat Dollard: "That stunning rise in the price of gold is having a ripple effect: A rash of jewelry store robberies, street muggings and home burglaries. Now, merchants are stepping up security and police are warning everyone against flaunting their bling...

... So far this year, gold chains have been snatched from the necks of at least 110 people during street robberies in... South Los Angeles... officers are circulating fliers and showing up at churches and community centers to warn residents to stop wearing gold in public, or at least to tuck it under their clothes..."

23 August, 2011

Rare Earthquake Rocks U.S. East Coast

I doubt that it is news to anyone at this late hour that a very rare earthquake occurred earlier today with an epicenter just south of Mineral, Virginia and was also felt several states away, but I thought it prudent to mention here nonetheless so that together we can take a look at some of the news generated by the event.  Needless to say, we easterners are not accustomed to such things, so it is a big, big deal regardless of the small amount of damage and lack of fatalities (thank God!) that it caused.

East Coast quake felt in several states (from South Carolina to Maine)

Illinois residents may have felt Virginia quake

Strongest quake since '44 jars East Coast

5.8 earthquake leaves Central Virginia shaken, not stirred

Earthquake aftershock felt in Virginia, more aftershocks likely to come

Earthquake in Virginia felt across W.Va. (video)

Virginia nuclear plant shut down by quake

Quake raises safety concerns as US nuclear plant shut

Va. Earthquake Triggers 'Unusual Event' At Susquehanna Plant

Earthquake centered in Va. rolls across Pa.

Quake affects NYSE traders, sparks brief selloff

If We Don't Reverse Current High Food Price Trend, We've Got Until August 2013 Before Social Unrest Sweeps The Planet, Say Complexity Theorists

The Cause Of Riots And The Price of Food - Technology Review: "What causes riots? That's not a question you would expect to have a simple answer.

But today, Marco Lagi and buddies at the New England Complex Systems Institute in Cambridge, say they've found a single factor that seems to trigger riots around the world.

This single factor is the price of food. Lagi and co say that when it rises above a certain threshold, social unrest sweeps the planet.

The evidence comes from two sources. The first is data gathered by the United Nations that plots the price of food against time, the so-called food price index of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN. The second is the date of riots around the world, whatever their cause. Both these sources are plotted on the same graph above.

This clearly seems to show that when the food price index rises above a certain threshold, the result is trouble around the world..."

Hurrican Irene Strengthens On Path To U.S. Southeast

Irene grows on path to US Southeast - Weather - TODAY.com: "A rapidly strengthening Hurricane Irene roared off the Dominican Republic's resort-dotted northern coast on Monday, whipping up high waves and torrential downpours on a track that could see it reach the U.S. Southeast as a major storm by the end of the week.

Irene grew into a Category 2 hurricane late Monday and the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said it could reach Category 3 as early as Tuesday and possibly become a monster Category 4 storm within 72 hours.

'We didn't anticipate it gaining this much strength this early,' said center meteorologist Chris Landsea, adding that the ocean's warm temperatures and the current atmosphere is 'very conducive' to energizing storms..."

Home Canning Makes a Comeback

Home canning makes a comeback - southbendtribune.com: "Food-filled jars line the walls of Jenica Cory’s pantry, much like they did at her grandmother’s house.

Stewed tomatoes, green beans, applesauce, chicken soup, pickles.

Cory, the mother of two young girls, didn’t grow up preserving, or 'canning,' food in her home. But now, her summer and fall are filled with days spent packing away fruits and vegetables, harvest from her families’ gardens and the area’s farms and orchards...

... She isn’t alone.

What was once thought to be a dying tradition, practiced by grandmothers and folks living in rural communities, the art of home preserving is making a comeback, both nationally and locally.

Bolstered by a recession that has people hoping to cut back on their food bills, and provoked by a new generation of consumers skeptical of mass-produced, trucked-in produce, home canning - the type that uses Mason jars and pressure cookers or hot water baths - is suddenly all the rage again..."

Wall Street Aristocracy Got $1.2 Trillion From Fed

Wall Street Aristocracy Got $1.2 Trillion From Fed - Bloomberg: "Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp. were the reigning champions of finance in 2006 as home prices peaked, leading the 10 biggest U.S. banks and brokerage firms to their best year ever with $104 billion of profits.

By 2008, the housing market’s collapse forced those companies to take more than six times as much, $669 billion, in emergency loans from the U.S. Federal Reserve. The loans dwarfed the $160 billion in public bailouts the top 10 got from the U.S. Treasury, yet until now the full amounts have remained secret.

Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s unprecedented effort to keep the economy from plunging into depression included lending banks and other companies as much as $1.2 trillion of public money, about the same amount U.S. homeowners currently owe on 6.5 million delinquent and foreclosed mortgages. The largest borrower, Morgan Stanley (MS), got as much as $107.3 billion, while Citigroup took $99.5 billion and Bank of America $91.4 billion, according to a Bloomberg News compilation of data obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, months of litigation and an act of Congress..."

Syria Mobilizing Troops For Possible War With U.S., NATO

Syria mobilizing troops for possible war with U.S., NATO : "Syrian President Bashar Assad is taking military measures to prepare for a possible U.S.-NATO campaign against his regime, KleinOnline has learned.

While Assad struck a conciliatory tone in an interview today with his state-run television network, he also instructed the Syrian military to be prepared for an air or ground campaign if the international community determines his pledges of reform are not enough.

Last week, KleinOnline first reported Turkey secretly passed a message to Damascus that if it does not implement major democratic reforms, NATO may attack Assad’s regime, according to Egyptian security officials.

The Egyptian security officials said the message was coordinated with NATO members, specifically with the U.S. and European Union.

Assad has been widely accused of ordering massacres on militants and protesters engaged in an insurgency targeting his regime..."

22 August, 2011

Buy a Gun

Buy a Gun: "Buy a weapon to prepare for what may be the most devastating economic downturn our nation has ever faced. As one trained in economics, I never thought I'd write those words.

However, I'll repeat them. Buy a gun.

The coming storm will not only impose financial hardships for those unprepared, but also entail a physical threat to you, your family and your property.

The threat will come from inside the halls of government with the constant attack on savings and investments through inflation, monetary gimmickry and, eventually, the destruction of our currency.

These events will be led by welfare programs gone awry. A recent nearby incident, and events in London, forced me to confront a reality too few wish to believe. Here's what FT.com's Gautam Malkani had to say:

The speed of the disintegration said everything. It took less than 48 hours for London to descend from self-styled capital of the world into a circuit of burning dystopian hells. The speed of BlackBerry messaging; the speed of kids on BMXs; the speed of Molotovs and petrol. Never mind the police, even the media couldn't keep up.

The world around us is deteriorating every day: socially and economically. It's not limited to London.

England seems pretty distant, but when the chaos rears up in your backyard, literally, you begin to prioritize and prepare. I suggest you do the same..."

Bad News

Bad News: "The bad news about the economy just keeps rolling in. If this is an economic recovery, what in the world is the next 'recession'going to look like? [Fri]day there was another huge truckload of bad economic news. The stock market had another 400 point 'correction', applications for unemployment benefits are up again, inflation is higher than expected, home sales have dropped again and Europe is coming apart at the seams. The financial markets have been in such a state of chaos recently that days like [Fri]day don't even seem 'unusual' anymore. But we should all be alarmed at what is happening. We haven't seen anything quite like this since the darkest days of 2008 and 2009. If more bad news keeps pouring in, we may soon have a very real panic on our hands..."

Long Term Food Storage - Baking with 25 Year Old Wheat

Paratus Familia: Long Term Food Storage - Baking with 25 Year Old Wheat: "There are a lot of methods for the long term storage of wheat touted in survival guides and on the internet but, most people, being fairly new to preparedness, have never had the opportunity to test the validity of any long term storage techniques. Although Sir Knight and I have been storing food for 15 years, we regularly use and rotate our supply, ensuring that our stored foods are never more than about 5 years old.

A month or so ago, my best friend from high school helped her mother prepare to sell their family home. They sorted through years of family memories and accumulations, kept a few precious memento's and prepared the rest for a huge estate sale. As they sifted, they came upon the remnants of their stored foods. Deciding they couldn't sell 25 to 35 year old stored foods, they forwarded them to us.

The foods that we inherited consisted of a number of 5 gallon buckets full of hard red wheat, about 20 quart jars of honey (harvest from their own bees!) and 25 pounds of pinto beans. What a treasure trove!

Knowing that wheat was recovered from a Pharaoh's tomb, and, after 2000 years was sown and successfully germinated, we thought we would we would attempt breadmaking with our very young 25 (to 35) year old wheat..."

Threat of Stagflation Looms as Prices Rise Despite Bad Economy

Investors: Threat of Stagflation Looms as Prices Rise Despite Bad Economy (NYSE:GLD, NYSE:SLV, NYSE:SPY, NYSE:TLT, NYSE:TBT) | ETF DAILY NEWS: "Few are willing to acknowledge the threat of stagflation, but reports showing inflation rising more quickly than expected – even as growth is slowing – indicate that this scourge of the 1970s may be stalking the U.S. economy.

Every economic report nudges the United States closer to the definition of stagflation – a condition marked by slow economic growth, high unemployment, and soaring prices..."

Get Ready For Even Higher Electric Bills

Getting ready for a wave of coal-plant shutdowns - Ezra Klein - The Washington Post: "Over the next 18 months, the Environmental Protection Agency will finalize a flurry of new rules to curb pollution from coal-fired power plants. Mercury, smog, ozone, greenhouse gases, water intake, coal ash—it’s all getting regulated. And, not surprisingly, some lawmakers are grumbling.

Industry groups such the Edison Electric Institute, which represents investor-owned utilities, and the American Legislative Exchange Council have dubbed the coming rules 'EPA’s Regulatory Train Wreck.' The regulations, they say, will cost utilities up to $129 billion and force them to retire one-fifth of coal capacity. Given that coal provides 45 percent of the country’s power, that means higher electric bills, more blackouts and fewer jobs..."

Economists See Growing Risk of Global Recession

Economists see growing risk of global recession - Yahoo! Finance: "Discouraging economic data from around the globe have heightened fears that another recession is on the way.

Fresh evidence emerged Thursday that U.S. home sales and manufacturing are weakening. Signs also surfaced that European banks are increasingly burdened by the region's debt crisis and sputtering economy.

The rising anxiety ignited a huge sell-off in stocks that led many investors to seek the safety of U.S. Treasurys.

Economists say the economic weakness and the stock markets' wild swings have begun to feed on themselves. Persistent drops in stock prices erode consumer and business confidence. Individuals and companies typically then spend and invest less. And when they do, stock prices tend to fall further..."

Community Gardens Plagued By Thefts

Community gardens plagued by thefts | The Columbus Dispatch: "When Bill Dawson returned to the community garden at the Franklin Park Conservatory on Tuesday, he saw someone who was busy reaping what others had sown.

Dawson parked his car and walked up to the woman who was wandering through the 40 garden beds, filling a trash bag with plump green tomatoes.

'I had to explain the system and that these vegetables were not hers to take,' said Dawson, community-garden coordinator for the conservatory.

While most gardeners expect rabbits, birds and squirrels to feed on their fruits and vegetables, many are learning that human bandits are lurking among the carrots, peppers and squash..."

At Vacant Homes, Foraging for Fruit

At Vacant Homes, Foraging for Fruit - NYTimes.com: "As she does every evening, Kelly Callahan walked her dogs through her East Atlanta neighborhood. As in many communities in a city with the 16th-highest foreclosure rate in the nation, there were plenty of empty, bank-owned properties for sale.

She noticed something else. Those forlorn yards were peppered with overgrown gardens and big fruit trees, all bulging with the kind of bounty that comes from the high heat and afternoon thunderstorms that have defined Atlanta’s summer.

So she began picking. First, there was a load of figs, which she intends to make into jam for a cafe that feeds homeless people. Then, for herself, she got five pounds of tomatoes, two kinds of squash and — the real prize — a Sugar Baby watermelon.

'I don’t think of it as stealing,' she said. 'These things were planted by a person who was going to harvest them. That person no longer has the ability to. It’s not like the bank people who sit in their offices are going to come out here and pick figs.'

Of course, a police officer who catches her might not agree with Ms. Callahan’s legal assessment. And it would be a rare bank official who would sign off.

But as the world of urban fruit and vegetable harvesting grows, the boundaries around where to grow and pick produce are becoming more elastic.

Over the last few years, in cities from Oakland, Calif., to Clemson, S.C., well-intentioned foraging enthusiasts have mapped public fruit trees and organized picking parties. Volunteers descend on generous homeowners who are happy to share their bounty, sometimes getting a few jars of preserves in return.

There are government efforts to turn abandoned land into food, too. In Multnomah County, Ore., officials offer property that has been seized for back taxes to community and governmental organizations for gardens..."

20 August, 2011

Fukushima Radiation Alarms Doctors

Fukushima radiation alarms doctors - Features - Al Jazeera English: "Scientists and doctors are calling for a new national policy in Japan that mandates the testing of food, soil, water, and the air for radioactivity still being emitted from Fukushima's heavily damaged Daiichi nuclear power plant.

'How much radioactive materials have been released from the plant?' asked Dr Tatsuhiko Kodama, a professor at the Research Centre for Advanced Science and Technology and Director of the University of Tokyo's Radioisotope Centre, in a July 27 speech to the Committee of Health, Labour and Welfare at Japan's House of Representatives.

'The government and TEPCO have not reported the total amount of the released radioactivity yet,' said Kodama, who believes things are far worse than even the recent detection of extremely high radiation levels at the plant..."

Fukushima Worker On Camera: "The Holes And Cracks In The Ground Are Terrifying"

20 Signs That The World Could Be Headed For An Economic Apocalypse In 2012

20 Signs That The World Could Be Headed For An Economic Apocalypse In 2012: "If you thought that 2011 was a bad year for the world economy, just wait until you see what happens in 2012. The U.S. and Europe are both dealing with unprecedented debt problems, the financial markets are flailing about wildly, austerity programs are being implemented all over the globe, prices on basics such as food are soaring and a lot of consumers are flat out scared right now. Many analysts now fear that a "perfect storm" could be brewing and that we could actually be headed for an economic apocalypse in 2012. Hopefully that will not happen. Hopefully our leaders can keep the global economy from completely falling apart. But right now, things don't look good. After a period of relative stability, things are starting to become unglued once again. The next major financial panic could literally happen at any time. Sadly, if we do see an economic apocalypse in 2012, it won't be the wealthy that suffer the most. It will be the poor, the unemployed, the homeless and the hungry that feel the most pain..."

Free Clinics Say A Mouthful About Economy

Free clinic in Brighton says a mouthful about economy - The Denver Post: "Despite missing, throbbing or rotting teeth, hundreds of Coloradans were all smiles Friday as they received dental care at a free clinic that also is open today.

'This is a godsend,' said David Hathaway, 49, of Arvada, who is unemployed and doesn't have insurance.

He received two root canals and a filling, had a tooth extracted and got his teeth cleaned.

Hathaway had heard Thursday afternoon about the opportunity for free dental care and headed to the Adams County Fairgrounds, where the temporary clinic is set up. When he arrived at 5:20 p.m., he discovered that he was second in line, behind Robin Kelley, 59, of Westminster, who came at 5 p.m....

... They, like the hundreds of others who followed, slept on the sidewalk. Dental students handed out blankets and water throughout the night..."


"Thousands flood uptown for free dental clinic | WCNC.com Charlotte: "Thousands of uninsured showed up in uptown for a free dental clinic on Friday and more are expected Saturday.

More than 1,000 volunteers are giving the free exams. Even that high number of dentists, oral surgeons and hygienists isn't enough to help everyone in need...

... All the dental work is free, and like thousands who showed up at the convention center, she's without insurance and in need of dental work..."

Wild Swings Return As Dow Plunges 419 Points

Wild swings return as Dow plunges 419 points - The Denver Post: "Just when Wall Street seemed to have settled down, a barrage of bad economic reports collided with fresh worries about European banks Thursday and triggered a global sell-off in stocks.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 420 points — a return to the wild swings that gripped the stock market last week.

Stocks were only part of a dramatic day across the financial markets. The price of oil fell more than $5, gold set another nominal record, the government's 10-year Treasury note hit its lowest yield, and the average mortgage rate fell to its lowest level in at least 40 years.

The selling began in Asia, where Japanese exports fell for a fifth straight month, and continued in Europe, where bank stocks were hammered because of worries about debt problems there, which have proved hard to contain.

On Wall Street, the losses wiped out much of the roughly 700 points that the Dow had gained over five days. Some investors who bought in the middle of last week decided to sell after they were confronted with a raft of bad news about the economy..."

First Free Gome Goes to Detroit Officer

Depending on the area where the house is located, I could see where this might cause some problems for this officer and his family in the future. Still, at least the city of Detroit seems to be trying to make something good out of a bad situation. I know that there were plans not long ago to abandon large outlying sections of the city and allow them to, more or less, return to nature. Not sure if that is still where they are headed, but, if so, the idea of drawing law-enforcement personnel into homes within the central areas of the city makes a lot of sense.  And, at least these homes didn't actually cost the city anything.


First free home goes to Detroit officer | Detroit Free Press | freep.com: "... The project is designed to help the city reduce blight and crime and add a sense of security to its neighborhoods.

William Booker-Riggs, 38, a mayoral bodyguard, was the first to take advantage of one of 10 free houses donated to the city by Bank of America.

'I'm so glad to be here,' Booker-Riggs, who moved from a house in Southfield, told reporters in his spacious new home in the Green Acres neighborhood just south of 8 Mile. The home had been abandoned for about a year and is to receive about $100,000 in repairs..."

19 August, 2011

Fukushima Now Radiating Everyone: 'Unspeakable' Reality

Fukushima now radiating everyone: 'Unspeakable' reality - National Human Rights | Examiner.com: "Australia's CBS exposed the "unspeakable" realities of the Japanese catastrophe in its 60 Minutes program Sunday night during which leading nuclear scientist Dr. Michio Kaku said radiation from Fukushima will impact of all of humanity. The nuclear energy power industry violation of the right to health is apparent throughout the new Australian report.

'In fact the whole world will be exposed from the radiation from Fukushima,' Dr. Kaku told CBS reporter Liz Hayes.

'We are already getting radiation from Fukushima,' Dr. Kaku said.

Just as Australia's SBS exposed in depth the reality of the 2010 BP Gulf of Mexico catastrophe unlike any U.S. mainstream news station, Sunday, Australia's CBS has now exposed in depth the Fukushima catastrophe..."

Fukushima Ground is Cracking / Steam Rising

High-Ranking Iranian Military Commander Predicts Massive Deployment of U.S. Police Forces in Major Cities

Iranian commander predicts massive deployment of US police forces in major cities [Voltaire Network]: "A senior Iranian commander said that the US plans massive deployments of police forces in major cities fearing the eruption of popular protests similar to the recent developments in the Middle East, the Arab world and the European countries.

The Deputy Head of Iran’s Armed Forces Joint Chiefs of Staff Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri described the deployment of US police forces in cities as 'military rule,' which basically aims at a quick crackdown on political unrest in the country under a 'threadbare' pretext of preventing terror attacks in the US.

He noted how incumbent US President Barack Obama has followed in the path of his predecessor, George W. Bush, in inflicting huge costs on US taxpayers through the continuation of the Bush-era war policies.

Difficult living conditions, unemployment, an increasing suicide rate among US troops and the Americans’ inability to pay off their mortgages are among other hardships the Obama administration has brought about for the people in the United States, Jazayeri added..."

Tornado Shelters Dominate Joplin's Rebuilding Plans

Apparently, some folks have learned the value of living a more prepared lifestyle.

PhotoBlog - Tornado shelters dominate Joplin's rebuilding plans

Gov. Peter Shumlin 'Very Concerned' Over Radioactive Leak from Connecticut Nuclear Plant

Gov Peter Shumlin 'very concerned' at radioactive leak from Connecticut nuclear plant | Mail Online: "A radioactive form of hydrogen has leaked from a U.S nuclear plant into soil and groundwater has reached the nearby Connecticut River, according to health officials.

State Department of Health Commissioner Harry Chen said water samples from the shoreline near the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant last month tested positive for small amounts of tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen which has been linked to cancer when ingested in large amounts.

Governor Peter Shumlin wants more wells to pull contaminated water from the ground on the Vermont Yankee site. He says he is 'very concerned'..."

Ultimate Survival Kit in a Water Bottle

ThinkGeek :: Ultimate Survival Kit in a Water Bottle: According to the folks who build those awesome rovers that drive around on Mars, water is a pretty essential element for the existence of life. Liquid water is an especially important form necessary to support life, and fortunately for us, we have plenty of that here on Earth. Most other places in our solar system the water is all locked up as ice.

The Ultimate Survival Kit in a Water Bottle doesn't contain any liquid water (but of course you can easily add your own) but that doesn't mean it cannot help support life. What is does contain could help with your survival while you roam around the surface of our planet in search of outdoor adventures.

Comes packaged as a 32 oz (1 liter) water bottle containing the following supplies.

  • 32 oz/1L water bottle (Color varies)
  • Carabiner
  • Multifunction tool
  • Multifunction whistle/compass
  • Flashlight
  • Batteries (2 pcs)
  • Survival blanket
  • Hand warmer packet (2 pcs)
  • Candle
  • Box waterproof matches
  • Emergency poncho
  • 20pc First aid kit
  • Reusable zipper-lock bag

Chavez: Venezuela Recalling $11B in Gold Reserves

Chavez: Venezuela recalling $11B in gold reserves | National Business News | Idaho Statesman: "President Hugo Chavez announced Wednesday he is nationalizing Venezuela's gold mining industry and intends to bring home $11 billion in gold reserves currently held in U.S. and European banks.

He said the recall of the gold reserves is intended to help protect this oil-producing country from the economic woes in the United States and Europe..."

Texas Crop Losses Top $5 Billion

Report: Crop losses in Texas top $5 billion - CNN.com: "With Texas scorched by a blistering hot summer and parched by a 10-month drought, state agriculture officials are counting a record $5.2 billion in commodity losses, according to Texas A&M agriculture economists.

'The drought of 2011 will have a lasting impact on Texas agriculture,' said Travis Miller with the university's AgriLife Extension Service and a member of the Governor's Drought Preparedness Council.

Livestock took the biggest hit, with producers losing nearly $2.1 billion. Next was cotton, with producers losing $1.8 billion. Other commodities hurt by the drought were hay, corn, wheat and sorghum, the agriculture economists said.

The estimates released Wednesday do not include losses to fruit and vegetable producers, horticultural and nursery crops, or other grain and row crops.

The drought began for much of the state nearly a year ago in September..."

Ground Turkey Salmonella Toll Climbs to 111

Ground turkey salmonella toll climbs to 111 - Health - Food safety - msnbc.com: "At least 111 people in 31 states have been sickened with salmonella in an ongoing outbreak of food poisoning tied to ground turkey manufactured by meat giant Cargill. One person has died. The new total reflects cases reported between Feb. 27 and Aug. 9 with both an original outbreak strain of salmonella and a second closely related strain, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. States with the highest number of victims include Texas, with 15 cases, Illinois with 14 cases and Michigan with 12 cases..."

Japan to Refrain from Claiming Safety of Japanese Foods

Japan to refrain from claiming safety of Japanese foods - The Mainichi Daily News: "Japanese Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto has instructed his ministry to refrain from claiming the safety of Japanese foods, changing its stance after radiation-contamination beef was found to have been sold to consumers in Japan, sources close to the matter said Sunday.

The change is due to discoveries of radiation-contaminated meat from cattle fed rice straw laden with radioactive cesium spewed from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which was crippled by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami..."

18 August, 2011

Light Day

Light day today as far as posting goes.  Sorry.  My whole area lost utility service for most of the day, and it just barely came back on in time for me to post at all.

Guest Post: Handguns: The Ultimate Form of Self-Defense

by Madison Parker

You do what you can to protect your family and your home. You install a state-of-the-art home security system. You avoid posting personal information to Twitter or Facebook. You’re careful about who you let into your home. You might take a self-defense course, and you teach your children the basics of what to do when they’re approached by a stranger or when a home invasion occurs.

There’s one way to protect your home, however, that serves as both a last-line deterrent to burglary and the ultimate form of self-defense: the handgun.

If you intend to use a handgun to protect your home and family, you need to come to terms with some things ahead of time:

·        Be ready and willing to kill. Handguns are deadly. That’s one of the things that make them such an effective method of self-defense. If you’re going to wield a handgun, you need to be prepared for the fact that anything you point that handgun toward may die.

·        Pick the right gun. A handgun that you have trouble handling, that isn’t sighted correctly, or that has a reputation for poor craftsmanship isn’t going to help you much in an emergency. If you’re trusting a handgun for self-defense, you need to pick a gun that’s reliable. It needs to be one that’s comfortable in your hands, enjoys a solid reputation for quality, and that isn’t going to misfire.

·        To be used for self-defense, a handgun needs to be accessible. Your handgun doesn’t do much good if you can’t get to it. However, you still need to follow all of the basic safety rules about how you store your gun. A gun safe with a keypad lock is always a good choice, as is a gun box that you can get into quickly. A gun that you can’t get to or that you can’t get to in time does nothing for self-defense.

·        A handgun is the last line of self-defense. There are a hundred other obstacles that someone should have to get through before they find themselves staring down the barrel of your gun. From your home security system to deadbolts to motion-sensitive lighting, there are other deterrents that should do the trick. Having a handgun for self-defense also implies hoping that you never have to use it, but being ready if you do.


Image Credit: Flickr

This is a guest post by Madison Parker. Madison is an expert writer on subjects related to home security systems. Read more on her blog HomeSecuritySystems.net.

World Bank Chief: Global Economy in 'New Danger Zone'

World Bank chief: Global economy in 'new danger zone' - CNN.com: "The head of the World Bank warned Sunday that many key market players have lost confidence in recent weeks, pushing the fragile global economy into a 'new danger zone.'

Speaking to members of the Asian Society in Sydney, Australia, Robert Zoellick said events the past few weeks in Europe and the United States already have had an adverse impact, and could signal even bigger problems ahead. Several European nations continue to struggle with high debt, slow economies and other issues, while U.S. politicians went to the wire before they raised its debt ceiling -- only to see credit agencies downgrade its credit rating, and stock markets flounder...

... This reflects growing sentiment that years after the start of a major recession conditions could continue to deteriorate, the World Bank president said..."

Do-It-Yourself Battlefield Medicine Saves Lives

Do-It-Yourself Battlefield Medicine Saves Lives: "When Army Ranger Leroy Petry's hand was blown off by a grenade as he was saving his comrades in battle, he knew just what to do. He used his remaining hand to twist a tourniquet around his arm to avoid bleeding to death.

Sgt. 1st Class Petry, awarded the Medal of Honor last month, was with a regiment trained in do-it-yourself battlefield treatment. That kind of quick care on the field led to a 92 percent survival rate for the regiment over more than seven years, a study found.

Of the 32 deaths, just one had wounds considered potentially survivable, in this case massive bleeding. That Ranger died from post-surgery complications.

The study found a 3 percent death rate from potentially survivable causes in the 75th Regiment between October 2001 and April 2010. That compares with a 24 percent rate in a previously reported set of U.S. military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, which included troops who didn't have the Ranger-style training, the study authors said..."