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Archive for May, 2007

OHIO-BASED COMPANY THE LATEST NAILED ADDING MELAMINE TO FISH AND ANIMAL FOOD.

Posted in Conscious Actions, Health Watch, News Brief, Toxic Food, Toxin Alert! on May 31st, 2007

THE FDA REPORTS THAT FEEDS MADE WITH THESE INGREDIENTS HAVE BEEN EATEN BY LIVESTOCK AND FISH MEANT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION.

Beagle_600.jpg Earlier today I had the sad task of attempting to comfort a friend as she tried to come to grips with the news that her beloved 5-year-old beagle was suffering from the effects of systemic kidney failure.

The disease, rare in a dog so young, is not the result of illness or of anything one could call organic. It is, and this is the really sad part, just the latest in a long line of dog and cat illnesses believed to be the result of contaminated pet food, in this case the ‘wet’ Kirkland brand available from big-box retailer, Costco.

Apparently Kirkland, usually a top tier pet product, is one of over fifty dog and cat foods offered for sale in the US alleged to have been contaminated with melamine, a nitrogen-rich chemical, derived from coal, that is used in the making of plastic and which, we now know is added to gluten products, by less than ethical Chinese manufacturers to give the illusion of enhanced protein content.

Complicating the matter for my friend and by extension for pet lovers across America, of which I am proud to say that I am one, is that the odds are pretty much stacked against recovery for the animals poisoned with this chemical.

Particularly troubling about this situation is that it did not have to happen. The fact that it did is just another in a long line of corporate missteps committed in the name of higher profits and lower costs.

In today’s Wal-Mart world, it is no longer sufficient to manufacture a stellar product. While this is an admirable and something to aspire to, today’s reality is that it is far more important that the product manufactured be completed in the cheapest way possible.

Couple this with corporate America’s ongoing mandate to continually boost returns to both shareholders and top-level execs, and what emerges is a scenario for disaster.

As most any student of business or life will tell you, it is rarely possible to serve such two distinct masters as quality and price. It is even more rare to do so in an entirely ethical fashion.

What results from this misguided attempt to serve these two-masters is that some of the corners cut are less acceptable than others. Clearly, the purchase of raw ingredients from China, among the world’s least regulated markets, was one of these.

But as easy as it is to blame the Chinese exclusively for this disaster, the reality is they would probably not be driven to cut these corners if the occupants or American corporate suites were not demanding the impossible.

Similarly, wouldn’t you think that with the amount of ink and public attention this entire matter has captured these past few months, that any other company guilty of similar ethical irregularities would be smart enough to change their ways and thank their luckly stars that it was not their group in the hot seat of global scrutiny?

You would think that wouldn’t you?

NOT!!!

So I guess then you will not be all that surprised to find out that another company has been caught red-handed juicing animal feed ingredients with melamine. Even more distressing is the news from the FDA that feeds manufactured by this company with these ingredients have been eaten by livestock and fish meant for human consumption.

The company, Tembec BTLSR of Toledo, Ohio, accoring to a release from the FDA, sold melamine-laden ingredients to Uniscope of Johnstown, Colorado, which used them to make finished food products for cattle, sheep, goats, fish and shrimp.

The contamination came to the light after Uniscope officials tested the ingredients sourced from Tembec and found melamine to be present. It is the position of the FDA that while the melamine levels in Tembec’s livestock feed are so low that they should not pose a risk to the animals, or to consumers, this is not the case for the fish and shrimp feed where the amount of melamine is high enough to raise some concerns about those animals, but are still “very unlikely to pose a human health risk.”

Perhaps someone could tell me why I am not all that reassured by this?

-LIB

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OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS AT WORK: NEW ANTI-WIND LEGISLATIVE PROVISION WOULD MAKE IT A CRIME TO PRODUCE CLEAN WIND ENERGY

Posted in Clean Energy, Eco Thugs, Government Shenanigans, Health Watch, Renewable Energy on May 30th, 2007

‘UNPRECEDENTED EFFORT TO STRANGLE CLEAN ENERGY’ UNDERWAY

windturbine.jpg Currently there is wending it’s way through Congress, a new bill, introduced by the Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, Democrat Nick Rahall of West Virginia, which would “essentially outlaw the generation of electricity from new wind power plants in the United States and even phase out power production from existing wind turbines.”

The provision, Subtitle D of H.R. 2337, would:

Bar any new wind power project until new Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) rules are issued – a process likely to take years – and require FWS certification of every turbine.

Require all existing turbines, even small residential units, to cease operating 6 months after issuance of new FWS rules until they are “certified,” an unwieldy bureaucratic process applying to many thousands of turbines that, again, will take years.

Make it a crime, punishable by a $50,000 fine or a year in jail, to construct or generate electricity from an unapproved turbine, even for home use.

Undermine state and federal efforts to promote renewable electricity generation and subvert the growing movement to reduce global warming pollution.

Create an unworkable bureaucracy that will delay clean, emissions-free wind energy projects throughout the U.S.

Allegedly, this new legislation is intended to bring an end to bird deaths caused when the hapless creatures fly into the turbines, but the data tells us otherwise. According to the National Academy of Sciences, bird deaths caused by wind turbines amounted to less than three of every 100,000 birds to die in calendar year 2003.

Moreover, existing evidence suggests that fossil fuel-fired electricity generation, not covered by H.R. 2337’s requirements, has far greater wildlife impacts, then the previously mentioned wind turbines.

Reacting to the proposed legislation, Gregory Wetstone, Senior Director of Government and Public Affairs of the American Wind Energy Association noted the obvious, “Wind energy requires no mining or drilling for fuel, no fuel transportation, no hazardous waste disposal, and no water use; and wind energy generates electricity without toxic pollutants like mercury, without greenhouse pollution, and of course without the conventional pollutants that cause smog and acid rain. Is this really an energy sector Congress should close down, for environmental reasons?”

The answer here is a rousing no. Quoting Wetstone once again, “Wind power is an essential element of the climate change solution. Further increasing the percentage of electricity wind produces in America will provide much needed price stability, generate tens of millions of dollars in revenue for farmers and rural communities, and create tens of thousands of jobs.”

Shouldn’t Congress be looking for ways to support this venture and accelerate its growth rather than placing roadblocks in its path? Here at Lib’sEarthWatch, we believe this to be the case.

That is of course unless this legislation is just another mealy-mouthed way for bought and paid for congressmen to do the bidding of their masters in the fossil fuel industry?

Perhaps an organization such as Mr. Wetstone’s could look a bit deeper into this possible link. In the meantime, it is up to those of us in the BLOGOSPHERE to keep this story alive.

-LIB

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CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS MOVE TO SUBSIDIZE COAL AS THE “KING OF ALTERNATIVE FUELS”

Posted in Global Warming, Health Watch, Pseudoscientific Babble on May 29th, 2007

BLATANT CORRUPT OPPORTUNISM, ONCE AGAIN, RULES THE DAY

coalplant.jpg In what can only be described as blatant corrupt opportunism, Congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle, many of the same ones to recently babble on about the dangers of global warming, are furiously moving to subsidize coal as the new “king of alternative” fuels.

The fact that coal is in no way an alternative fuel apparently does not factor into this decision.

Nor does the scientific reality – here’s that dirty word science again – that diesel based liquid fuels would do little, if anything, to slow global warming and could produce almost twice as much greenhouse gases as petroleum.

What the coal industry does have is aggressive well-funded lobbyists, and as we all know, in Washington, this is what really matters, anyway.

Among those bought and paid for with coal cash are key individuals in organized labor, the Air Force and the nation’s major airlines.

Sadly, presidential candidate, Barack Obama, is among those in the Senate supporting this insanity.

While it is no secret that we need to break our dependence on foreign oil, and the crap that we as a nation must put up with in dealing with the countries that have the oil, coal is not the answer.

Whatever short-term benefit would be derived from bolstering our country’s coal infrastructure would be more than offset by the damage done to people’s health. Furthermore, the money that this little venture would cost, would be better spent advancing the development of renewable, clean energy.

But that’s just my opinion. What do you think?

- LIB

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EAT YOUR WAY TO HEALTH WITH WHOLE GRAINS

Posted in Health Watch, News Brief on May 29th, 2007

THE FIBER AND OTHER NUTRIENTS IN WHOLE GRAINS BELIEVED TO LOWER CHOLESTEROL, BLOOD SUGAR AND INSULIN LEVELS, IMPROVE BLOOD VESSEL FUNCTIONING AND REDUCE INFLAMMATION IN THE CIRCULATORY SYSTEM.

barley.jpeg Americans should bulk up on whole grains like oatmeal, barley and brown rice to help lower their risk of clogged arteries, heart attacks and strokes, according to researchers.

In a review of seven major studies, the researchers found that higher whole grain intake was consistently linked to a lower risk of heart disease and stroke. On average, adults who ate 2.5 servings of whole grains per day were nearly one-quarter less likely to develop cardiovascular disease than their peers who rarely consumed whole grains.

Whole grains are believed to benefit the heart in a number of ways. The fiber and other nutrients in whole grains may help lower cholesterol, blood sugar and insulin levels, as well as improve blood vessel functioning and reduce inflammation in the circulatory system.

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FED ADVISORY PANEL CALLS FOR THE FDA TO AGGRESSIVELY REGULATE TOBACCO

Posted in Health Watch, News Brief on May 29th, 2007

PLAN WOULD REQUIRE ALL INSURERS TO COVER SMOKING-CESSATION PROGRAMS

cigtray.jpeg A government advisory panel proposed sweeping changes Thursday to reduce the health burden of tobacco, which kills 490,000 Americans a year.

The report from the Institute of Medicine calls on Congress to allow the Food and Drug Administration to regulate cigarettes and tobacco, giving the agency control over ingredients, labeling and marketing. Authors from the IOM, a panel of independent experts who advise the government on health policy, say they aim “to reduce smoking so substantially that it is no longer a significant public health problem.”

The report says only bold action can help, including:

Requiring all insurers including the Medicare and Medicaid programs to cover smoking-cessation programs.

Licensing retailers that sell cigarettes, just as states issue licenses to sell alcohol.

Raising cigarette taxes as much as $2 a pack.

Banning smoking in all non-residential indoor areas.

The report’s authors say tobacco is a unique product because it kills more Americans than AIDS, alcohol, cocaine, heroin, homicides, suicides, car accidents and fires combined. Almost half of the USA’s 44.5 million adult smokers will die prematurely of a tobacco-related illness if they don’t stop.

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TURNING SALT WATER INTO FUEL?

Posted in Alternative Energy, Alternative Health, Health Watch, News Brief on May 29th, 2007

A FLORIDA MAN TURNS CRISIS INTO OPPORTUNITY

Kanzius_salt-water-burning_dye_jp70.jpg A Florida man may have accidentally invented a machine that could solve the gasoline and energy crisis plaguing the U.S., WPBF News 25 reported.

Sanibel Island resident John Kanzius is a former broadcast executive from Pennsylvania who wondered if his background in physics and radio could come in handy in treating the disease from which he suffers: cancer.

Kanzius, 63, invented a machine that emits radio waves in an attempt to kill cancerous cells while leaving normal cells intact. While testing his machine, he noticed that his invention had other unexpected abilities.

Filling a test tube with salt water from a canal in his back yard, Kanzius placed the tube and a paper towel in the machine and turned it on. Suddenly, the paper towel ignited, lighting up the tube like it was a wax candle.

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UNCLE SAM TELLS G8 TO POUND SAND ON MANDATORY EMISSION STANDARDS

Posted in Consciousness, Global Warming, Health Watch, News Brief on May 26th, 2007

BUSH ADMINISTRATION ALSO REJECTS PROPOSAL TO INCREASE OVERALL ENERGY EFFICIENCIES 20 PERCENT BY 2020

bushaltenergy.jpg Greenpeace on Saturday published a leaked document showing the United States has raised serious new objections to a proposed global warming declaration for next month’s Group of Eight summit.

In the document, US officials representing the administration of President George W. Bush reject the declaration prepared by Germany.

“The United States still has serious, fundamental concerns about this draft statement,” the document states.

Washington rejects the idea of setting mandatory emissions targets, as well as language calling for G8 nations to raise overall energy efficiencies by 20 percent by 2020.

With less than two weeks remaining before the June 6-8 G8 summit, the climate document is the only unresolved issue in the statements the world leaders are expected to sign there, according to media reports.

Representatives from the world’s leading industrial nations met the past two days in Heiligendamm, Germany, to negotiate over German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s proposed climate statement.

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SOURCE: AFP/Raw Story

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COMMENTARY: BUSH ADMINISTRATION THREATENS TO VETO GASOLINE GOUGING BILL

Posted in Corporate Polluters, Eco Thugs, News Brief, Pseudoscientific Babble on May 24th, 2007

PROTECTING BIG OIL HIS TOP PRIORITY

gaspump.jpg The ANTI-GOUGING LEGISLATION referenced in the Dow Jones posting appended to the end of this, my latest rant, is important because it represents a precious bit of sanity in a sea of craziness made all the more shitty by the fact that summer is almost here and gasoline is nearing four-dollars per gallon.

But I, your humble and oh-so-wise scribe, will take sanity wherever I can find it and I will sing the praises of the person or persons responsible for this all-to-precious gift.

In this case that is the current United States Congress. Because while the boys and girls on Capitol Hill have been unable to bring George Bush’s folly of a war to a timely conclusion, they did successfully pass spanking new legislation, which would make it an crime to financially gouge the American public.

Best of all, the aptly named ANTI-GOUGING LEGISLATION would expose the leaders of any business proven guilty of gouging, think Exxon/Mobile, Standard Oil and BP, here, to significant jail time for their actions.

There is only one problem; our president, George W. Bush, has pledged to veto this legislation.

According to Mr. Bush, the ANTI-GOUGING LEGISLATION would “exacerbate shortages” and “increase fuel hoarding after natural disasters”.

Now, maybe I am not the most sophisticated kid in the class on matters of global oil policy, but could someone please explain to me how preventing a company from making usurious profits would worsen shortages and increase hoarding?

Unless of course, the President is, in effect, threatening the American people. In this context, what he is really saying in his charming, verbally-challenged way is if we attempt to reign in the oil companies, they being the corporate slugs that they are, will cut off the flow of oil to us.

Sure sounds like blackmail to me.

Once again the irony here, and bear in mind that this is an administration of ironies, is that the threat is being delivered by one of our own elected officials, the man who some of our fellow citizens, in a moment of cloudy thinking, selected to look out for our best interests.

I guess, in light of his previous actions and of his family affiliation, I shouldn’t be all that surprised that he is doing just the opposite and taking the case of big oil over the very people he was elected to lead.

His oil patch pedigree notwithstanding, this is no justification for blackmail and in a perfect world he would be forced to answer for this crime. But ours is not a perfect world, at least not for some surreal reason where he’s concerned.

It is my position as a self-proclaimed, hybrid-driving, green-loving environmentalist that the oil companies are lucky to be in business at all.

First off, they are lousy corporate citizens more interested in manipulating the geo politic than in pouring some of their zillions of ill gotten gain into developing new energy sources.

But worse than that in their greed for additional sources of liquid gold these unscrupulous bastards have soiled some of our most pristine natural reserves with their ugly oil platforms and leaky, rusted tankers.

My perspective is that there is no line too hard to take with these people. So perhaps Mr. Bush should call up his friends at Exxon/Mobile, Texaco and BP and tell them that this legislation is going to go into effect and if they don’t like it Congress could always nationalize their asses for a respectable amount of time so that wiser, less-greedy boys and girls could get a handle on this situation.

And while we are talking turkey we could lay on them that effective immediately, they have to start investing a significant amount of their ongoing profits into researching alternative fuels.

Truth be told, there is no way that our country can immerse its military men and women in any more squabbles with animalistic third world countries just because dinosaurs died within their borders a million years ago, the fossilized waste of which is now crude oil.

The American people have had it. We are so done.

Hopefully George Bush will get that message too.

-LIB

(DOW JONES) President Bush is likely to veto legislation that would create hefty fines and criminal penalties for gasoline price-gouging, the White House said Wednesday.

The threat came as the House prepared to vote on a Democratic plan aimed at battling rising gasoline prices by requiring the Federal Trade Commission to define “price gouging.” The bill would create fines and criminal penalties, including jail time, for industry executives found guilty of gouging.

Read On….

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SMITHSONIAN BUCKLES AND CENSORS GLOBAL WARMING EXHIBIT

Posted in Global Warming on May 24th, 2007

PLAYS DOWN GLOBAL WARMING’S CONNECTION WITH MAN SO AS NOT TO ANGER REPUBLICANS

globetemperature2031.jpgThe Smithsonian Institution toned down an exhibit on climate change in the Arctic for fear of angering Congress and the Bush administration, says a former administrator at the museum.

Among other things, the script, or official text, of last year’s exhibit was rewritten to minimize and inject more uncertainty into the relationship between global warming and humans, said Robert Sullivan, who was associate director in charge of exhibitions at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

Also, officials omitted scientists’ interpretation of some research and let visitors draw their own conclusions from the data, he said. In addition, graphs were altered “to show that global warming could go either way,” Sullivan said.

Read On….

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IS AMERICA READY FOR ELECTRIC CARS?

Posted in Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Eco -Chic, Miscellaneous, Sustainable Transportation on May 24th, 2007

zap.JPG The ZAP Xebra is a three-wheeler running on basic batteries, silent and easy to maneuver. It is more than a golf cart and less than a compact car and costs just under $10,000.

“They are cute in their own ugly way. They are the VW of the electric cars. They are the car of the people,” said ZAP CEO Steve Schneider said, pointing to a Xebra fleet painted in Kiwi Green, Lipstick Red or Zebra Flash (with stripes).

While others hammer away at battery technology to make all-electric cars go further and cost less, ZAP (as in zero air pollution) believes it has the formula in its tiny Xebra cars made in China: Plug it in at home and go up to 40 miles per hour for up to 25 miles).

Read On….

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