If the only tool you have is a hammer you tend to see every problem as a nail.



No New Info? Go here to CLEAR YOUR BROWSER'S CACHE




Walmart's Latest Scheme to Replace the Middle Class With an Underclass Forced to Buy its Shoddy Goods

Walmart's planned takeover of urban markets threatens to cut off other viable economic development options.

Photo Credit: walmartmovie.com

August 21, 2013  |  

 

This article was published in partnership with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance .

Almost 30 years ago, as the U.S. was bleeding jobs, Walmart launched a "Buy America" program and started hanging "Made in America" signs in its 750 stores.  It was a marketing success, cementing the retailer's popularity in the country's struggling, blue-collar heartland.  A few years later, NBC's Datelinerevealed the program to be a sham .  Sure, Walmart was willing to buy U.S.-made goods — so long as they were as cheap as imports, which, of course, they weren't.  Dateline found that Walmart's sourcing was in fact rapidly shifting to Asia. 

This year, Walmart is back with a new "Buy America" program.  In January, the company announced that it would purchase an additional $50 billion worth of domestic goods over the next decade.  This week, Walmart is convening several hundred suppliers, along with a handful of governors, for a summit on U.S. manufacturing 

This sounds pretty substantial, but in fact it's just a more sophisticated and media savvy version of Walmart's hollow 1980s Buy America campaign.  For starters, $50 billion over a decade may sound huge at first, but measured against Walmart's galactic size, it's not.  An additional $5 billion a year amounts to only 1.5 percent of what Walmart currently spends on inventory.

Worse, very little of this small increase in spending on American-made goods will actually result in new U.S. production and jobs.  Most of the projected increase will simply be a byproduct of Walmart's continued takeover of the grocery industry.  Most grocery products sold in the U.S. are produced here.  As Walmart expands its share of U.S. grocery sales — it now captures 25 percent, up from 6 percent in 1998 — it will buy more U.S. foods.  But this doesn't mean new jobs, because other grocers are losing market share and buying less.  What it does mean is lower wages.  As I reported earlier this year, Walmart's growing control of the grocery sector is pushing down wages throughout food production 

Groceries now account for 55 percent of Walmart's U.S. revenue, up from 24 percent in 2003.  The company is planning to grow that ratio even further, with about 100 Neighborhood Market stores (Walmart's new-ish supermarket format)in the pipeline this year alone, along with 125 new supercenters.  So we can expect that at least half of Walmart's new spending on U.S. goods will be for groceries, with no net gain in jobs and, very likely, a further decline in wages. 

As for the rest, to a large extent, Walmart is simply taking credit for a shift that has already happened.  Over the last few years, U.S. manufacturing has undergone a modest revival, owing mainly to rising labor costs in China.  Unfortunately, it's not at all clear that this revival will do much to resurrect the American middle class, because a lot of the new production is highly automated and located in the anti-union South. 

This is especially true for the companies supplying Walmart.  Take 1888 Mills, a Georgia towel maker that has a new (and much-publicized) contract to produce American-made towels for Walmart.  The company, which plans to maintain its overseas workforce of 14,000 for the bulk of its production, will be adding only 35 jobs at its U.S. factory to meet Walmart's multi-year purchase agreement.  The jobs pay $12-14 an hour.  

In a way, Walmart's Buy America program represents the home stretch of the economic transformation the company set in motion decades ago, when it set out to replace the American middle class, rooted in small business ownership and unionized jobs, with a vast underclass that has little choice but to rely on theshoddy, short-lived products sold at big-box stores to get by. 







Why Are Walmart Stores Underperforming? Blame Their Terrible Wages.

by  

Walmart’s same-store sales are falling as the surrounding retail market surges. What’s the problem? By screwing its workers with low wages, the nation’s largest private-sector employer is preventing a huge chunk of the American workforce from shopping at its stores.

Walmart is losing in America. The company, the nation’s largest retailer and largest private-sector employer, reported its quarterly results Thursday morning. And they were a disappointment.

A Walmart employee pushes shopping carts at a store in La Habra, California, in May. (Jae C. Hong/AP)

MORE










Wal-Mart Welfare

In the midst of all the discussion about welfare reform, it turns out that the major welfare beneficiary in our country is the Walton family of Wal-Mart fame. The wealthiest family in America is worth more than $100 billion. One way they got so rich is by paying workers so little that tens of thousands of Wal-Mart employees use food stamps to feed their families and Medicaid to pay doctor bills. So with the number of Americans living in poverty in America near a 60-year high, with the gap between the rich and the rest of us growing wider and with youth unemployment in America at staggering levels, one proposal Bernie backs is raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. It’s been stuck at $7.25 an hour since 2009. In addition to helping workers, a catch-up raise would have a side benefit. There would be “real savings for taxpayers who would not have to subsidize Wal-Mart because of its low wages,” Bernie told Chris Hayes on MSNBC. Some Republicans don’t just want to keep the minimum wage from going up. In a blunt exchange at a Senate hearing, Sen. Lamar Alexander told Bernie the minimum wage, on the books since the 1930s, should be abolished.







The Perfect Scam: How Walmart Is Screwing Employees Out of All of Their Benefits


wrote an article a while back detailing how evil Walmart really is as a company.  I have a source who works for them who often details the disgusting business practices of this company and how it treats its employees.

Well, it’s getting even worse.

My source actually works for Sam’s Club (which is owned by Walmart) in a different city than where I live. But they’ve assured me that if each club isn’t experiencing this yet, they soon will.  I have also seen and verified all documentation backing up my source’s claims, and have verified with certainty that they are true.

See, what Walmart has done is set the bar for which part-time associates (employees are called associates at Walmart) can receive benefits at an average of 24 hours per week.  At this threshold an employee is given the most minimal options for health coverage, about 8-12 hours of personal days and maybe 12 or so hours of vacation per year.  It really all depends on how long you’ve worked for the company.

In general, the more hours you average, the better benefits packages you qualify for and the more personal/vacation time you get.

However, recently an email was sent out from corporate to all clubs with instructions not to allow part-time associates to go over 24 hours.  They’re essentially treating going over 24 hours just like they do overtime pay.  Meaning if you go over, someone’s getting written up.

What this does is ensure part-time associates are prevented from hitting that magic 24 hour average which would qualify them for minimum benefits.

Oh, but it gets better.

They’re not scheduling associates for two or three 8 hour shifts — oh no, they’re scheduling them four or five 4 hour shifts.  They’re still working associates the equivalent of a 5 day workweek, just drastically reducing their hours.  So they’re making it very difficult for these associates to even get a second job.

In fact, at this Sam’s, they do schedules 3 weeks at a time and they just pulled the already made schedules for the next 2 weeks, completely redoing them to make the required cuts.

Then if you want to get the max 23.99 hours per week, you’ll need open availability—otherwise you might end up being scheduled zero hours, which has already happened to a few associates at my source’s club. Yes, you’ve read that right, there are people who “work” for Walmart that are now getting scheduled absolutely no hours simply because their new scheduling system is set around open availability and punishes those who might have a limited schedule.

So what Walmart is wanting is for their part-time employees to have wide-open availability, yet work less than 24 hours per week.

And if you happen to be scheduled, say, 22 or 23 hours and want to pick up more—nope, you won’t be allowed.

Then don’t even think about full-time.  About 15% of the associates at this club are full-time and it’s nearly impossible to get one of those spots.  And no, they don’t create more for hard work.

In fact, hard work doesn’t even matter.  My source said after one of their supervisors bent over backwards to get their numbers up and fix a lot of problems they were experiencing on the front end of the club, their hard work and dedication was rewarded with—a 20% reduction in their hours after this email was sent out.

Even better, recently when a 3 year associate turned his 2 weeks notice in after having their hours cut from 36 per week to 18—he was told to not even bother coming in for the next 2 weeks of his shifts.  They just cut them completely.

And this was a recent “Associate of the Month.”  Which just goes to show you how little Walmart actually values people.

The greed of Walmart is reprehensible.  And while I know other corporations treat their employees similarly, many of them don’t have the enormous wealth of Walmart.

Now I know there will be some who say they just love working for Walmart and most of this is untrue, and that’s fine.  I’ve known my source for over a decade and verified all of the information myself.  And yes, for a very select few they might see Walmart as “great place to work.”  But I promise you, for 90% of Walmart associates, their experience working for the company is terrible.

What they’ve essentially done is set up the perfect scam.  They’re attempting to hold employees to such low economic levels, the only place they’ll be able to shop at is—Walmart.  And much of the shopping they’ll be doing at Walmart will be with funds the government has provided to them, because of how poor they’ve become by working at Walmart.

Walmart is the poster child for the greedy, morally bankrupt corporation, and their recent actions prove that they’re proud of that fact.





#Wal-Mart Will Not Open D.C. Stores if Forced to Pay Living Wages, Claims 'Business Discrimination' alternet.org/news-amp-polit…


A single Walmart's low wages could cost taxpayers $900,000 Per YEAR




Sources:

http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/retail/walmart.pdf
http://sandiegofreepress.org/2012/10/the-starting-line-local-labor-activist-banned-from-all-walmart-stores/
http://teamsternation.blogspot.com/2012/06/biggest-us-food-stamp-recipient-wal.html
http://www.goodjobsfirst.org/corporate-subsidy-watch/hidden-taxpayer-costs



969126_658624584166562_495272418_n




That Cheap Stuff You Just Bought At Walmart? Turns Out It Cost $6,000 More Than You Thought.

According to a Congressional study, $6,000 is the average amount taxpayers are being dinged per employee. Walmart's wages and benefits are so low, it forces workers to go on Medicaid and receive housing assistance, childcare subsidies, food stamps, and more. Yes, it's totally insane, but it's true. 

Brandon Weber




Blending classical literature with the computer technology of subterranean imaging, scientists have made an astonishing discovery – namely, there is a tenth level of Hell!

In the 14th century, Dante, a renown Italian poet, detailed a horrendous descent through nine layers of eternal damnation that he had charted, with the bottom floor reserved for the most wretched of sinners. Yet, apparently in recognition of today's realities, Satan has had to add a new basement to his punishing Inferno – a special level of Hell to accommodate the top executives and profiteers of Walmart.

Their sins are many and well-documented: Paying poverty wages, using child labor, making products in global sweatshops, cheating US workers, bribing public officials, bankrupting local competitors, producing shoddy products, etc. In recent weeks, though, the massive chain's bosses earned their assignment to Beelzebub's basement by their abominable performance in Bangladesh.

First came their deliberate choice to profit from their suppliers' abuses of powerless garment workers paid $37 a month. Second was their intentional turning of a blind eye to the blatantly unsafe factories they use, including the hellhole that collapsed in April, killing more than 1,100 workers. Third was their diabolically-shameful denial of responsibility, claiming that the dead workers were not making clothes for Walmart on the day of the collapse.

This is Jim Hightower saying… And now, they have fiendishly refused to join nearly 40 other global retail giants in an agreement to help finance such minimal safety upgrades as putting fire escapes on Bangladesh's factories and allowing rigorous, independent inspections. Walmart executives explained that non-binding, unenforceable, self-regulation would be best for all concerned. And you could hear Old Lucifer cackling as he prepared their rooms in his new, tenth level of Hell.




5 New Reasons Not to Buy Matzah at Walmart

Before you succumb to those everyday low prices, here are some things you should know.

Photo Credit: Frying Pan News

If you’re like me, right now you may be scrambling to stock up on all of your Passover essentials. So what if I told you that you could get 12 boxes of matzah – more than enough to cover the eight days and nights of breadless revelry – for just over $40 bucks?

Ah, but there’s a catch: You’ll have to buy this miracle matzah pak at Walmart. Moral dilemma? You bet.

Last year we provided a short list of reasons you might want to think twice about a Walmart matzah binge. We wish we could report that Walmart had cleaned up its act since then, but alas, the world’s largest retailer has racked up a series of alleged corporate crimes and indiscretions that would make a pharaoh blush.

So before you succumb to those everyday low prices, here are five more reasons not to buy matzah at Walmart:

1)  Hunger Strike: Remember those passages in the haggadah about the bread of affliction? When workers stop eating to protest conditions, you know things are really bad. That’s what happened in Cambodia earlier this month, when workers who sew clothes sold at Walmart staged  a hunger strike because they weren’t being paid the extremely meager wages they were owed.

2)  Forced Labor: If this doesn’t hit close to home, you really need to brush up on your Passover narrative. Last summer Walmart suspended one of its  seafood suppliers after an investigation discovered that workers were being forced to work up to 24 hours consecutively and had been locked in the plant. The same team found workplace violations at a dozen other Walmart food suppliers. Many of the aggrieved employees were foreign workers – strangers in a strange land indeed.

3)  Fatal Factory Fire: Last November, in a tragedy eerily reminiscent of the Shirtwaist Triangle Factory Fire of 1911, 112 workers died in a blaze at an Indonesian factory that supplied clothes to Walmart. The  New York Times discovered soon after that Walmart had played  a leading role in blocking efforts to address safety concerns at Bangladeshi factories.

4)  Quashing Freedom of Speech: As you prepare your Passover meditation on the meaning of freedom, keep in mind that among the most basic of liberties is the right to speak freely. This is not a right enjoyed by Walmart employees, which is why last December Walmart workers in 10 countries participated in a global protest against the company’s use of intimidation and firings to silence disgruntled workers.

5)  Bribery Scandal: Last April, the  New York Times broke the story that Walmart had allegedly covered up  a bribery scandal in Mexico. The corporation’s Mexican subsidiary reportedly gave tens of millions of dollars to government officials to grease the wheels for store development there, and Walmart’s head honchos back home in Bentonville turned a blind eye. What’s the connection to Passover? We’re not sure, but we know your bubbi would not approve.





Costco Proves Republicans Wrong By Paying a Living Wage and Watching Profits Soar


Costco is proving Republicans and the Wal-Mart wrong by paying workers a living wage while also earning record profits.

While Wal-Mart experienced February sales that were considered, “total disaster,” Costco’s earnings for the second quarter of the year climbed 39%. The New York Times reported, “Costco Wholesale’s net income for its second quarter climbed 39 percent as it pulled in more money from membership fees, sales improved and it recorded a large tax benefit.”

Costco CEO Craig Jelinek openly supports raising the minimum wage to $11.50 an hour, “At Costco, we know that paying employees good wages makes good sense for business. We pay a starting hourly wage of $11.50 in all states where we do business, and we are still able to keep our overhead costs low. An important reason for the success of Costco’s business model is the attraction and retention of great employees. Instead of minimizing wages, we know it’s a lot more profitable in the long term to minimize employee turnover and maximize employee productivity, commitment and loyalty. We support efforts to increase the federal minimum wage.”

Costco is proof that the Republican idea that labor must be stomped on in order for our economy to prosper is wrong. It is possible for companies to earn record profits while respecting their workers and paying them a living wage. Wal-Mart embodies the conservative ideology that the country functions best when wealth is concentrated at the top. To match the Walton family’s fortune, an average Wal-Mart employee would have to work for the company for 7 million years. This model is what Republicans are advocating for the entire country, and it is failing to lead to prosperity.

Given Costco’s record profits, Wal-Mart’s blaming of the payroll tax and gas prices for their decline in sales doesn’t wash. Costco’s customers also faced higher gas prices and payroll taxes, but their sales were up six percent during the first quarter of the year.

Despite what both Wal-Mart and Republicans have been saying, companies can prosper and still have a conscience. When companies pay a living wage, workers benefit. When workers make more money, they spend more money. When people spend more money, the economy is stronger. When the economy is stronger, the nation as a whole benefits.

The economic virtuous circle that Republicans and their corporate benefactors thought they killed is alive, well, and living at Costco.



Here's something to think about.

QuikTrip, Trader Joe’s, and Costco operate on a different model, says Ton. "They start with the mentality of seeing employees as assets to be maximized," she says. As a result, their stores boast better operational efficiency and customer service, and those result in better sales.

Walmart, on the other hand, treats their employees like crap, and still makes tons of money. But everyone hates Walmart and loves Trader Joe's and Costco.

The Economic Case for Paying Your Cashiers $40K a Year »

Companies like Trader Joe's and Costco are proving that the decision to offer low wages is a choice, not an economic necessity.


Sam's kids grew up privileged and mean. That is what happened


You, as a tax payer, subside Wal-mart because 80% of their employees are on some federal/state subsistance.





Career advice.

Police: Oregon panhandlers raking in the green »

A police survey says panhandlers outside Wal-Mart in Coos Bay can make $300 a day. Inside, it takes a clerk a week to make that much.





155693 427571770639935 605466925 n



Pit Bulls

http://www.ricjr.org/pit%20bulls/ 



Given the content of my site, and the wingnutty pious predilections of the American public and government, and the enmity and known censorious habits of Christians and creationists, how long do you think this place would stay up if SOPA/PIPA went into effect?




"Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare." ~ Japanese Proverb







They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.
~ Carl W. Buechner




081130 001




See my other blog:

  http://ricjr.blogspot.com/




nomatter




"Love your own, leave others alone," 

it's a good principle for kids to learn. 




"If dogs don't go to heaven, when I die I want to go wherever they went." 

    --  Attributed to Will Rogers










For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;

a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

a time to kill, and a time to heal;

a time to break down, and a time to build up;

a time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

a time to seek, and a time to lose;

a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

a time to tear, and a time to sew;

a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

a time to love, and a time to hate;

a time for war, and a time for peace.





Heidi cropped





10 REASONS TO ADOPT AN ADULT DOG

1. Have you really thought about what getting a puppy means?  If not, CLICK HERE!

2.  Puppies are not housebroken!  Most people work during the day and are gone for 8 hours or more at a time.  Puppies need to go out on a regular schedule so they have frequent opportunities to eliminate where you want them to.  Puppies can't wait for the boss to finish his meeting or the kids to come home from school.  Adult dogs can "hold it" for longer periods and, often, a Rescue will have the dog housebroken before it is adopted.

3. Intact Underwear.  Puppies chew!  You can count on at least 10 mismatched pairs of socks and a variety of unmentionables rendered to the "rag bag" before a puppy cuts all its teeth.   Shoes?  yes, puppies like to chew them also.  Expect holes in your carpet (along with urine stains), backs and pages missing from books, stuffing exposed in couches, and at least one dead remote control. No matter how well you watch them, it will happen. This is a puppy's job!  An adult dog can usually have the run of the house without destroying it.

4. A Good Night's Sleep.  A puppy can be very demanding at 2am and 4am and 6am. Puppies naturally miss their littermates and a stuffed animal is not a substitute for puppy pile with littermates in the dark of night. Prefer peace and quiet, an adult rescue dog usually sleeps through the night?

5. Finish the Newspaper.  With a puppy loose in the house, you will NOT be able to relax when you get home from work. Do you think kids ever really feed the dog?  Clean up the messes?  Walk in the pouring rain every hour to get the dog housetrained? If so, you probably have a severe case of denial.  An adult dog will generally sit calmly beside you as your workday stress flows away and your blood pressure lowers as you pet it.

6. Easier Vet Trips.  Puppies need a series of puppy shots and fecals, then a rabies shot, then surgery to spay/neuter them, and generally a trip or two to the emergency vet after eating something dangerous. (All of this usually adds up to substantially more than you paid for the dog!) When adopting an adult dog, the adoption fee should get you a dog with current vaccinations, this is altered, heartworm negative and on a preventative, at the minimum.

7. What You See Is What You Get.  How big will the dog get?  What will its temperament be?  Is it easily trained?  What will its personality be like as an adult?  Will it be hyperactive?  Adult dogs are, to steal a term from Internet lingo, WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get.)  All of your questions are easily answered, because the dog is already an adult.  You can pick large or small; active or couch potato; goofy or brilliant; sassy or sweet.  Further, the rescuer and/or foster homes can help guide you in choosing just the right match for you. (Rescues are FULL of puppies who became the wrong match as they got older!)

8. Unscarred Children (and Adults).  If a puppy does not teeth on your possesions, it will teeth on you and your children. Rescuers often get calls from panicked parents sure their dog is about to seriously injure their children.  It usually turns out the puppy is just doing what puppies do, i.e., mouth or nip. Parents, too emotional to see the difference, just want to get rid of the dog.  A growing puppy is going to put anything and everything in their mouth. It must be taught bite inhibition. As the puppy grows, the puppy's jaws become stronger and its teeth are replaced by its adult teeth.  The mouthing and nipping it did as a puppy now can have serious consequences.  Far better to get an adult dog that has "been there, done that, moved on."

9. Matchmaker Make Me A Match.  Puppy love is emotionally appealing.  They are so cute!  But, in reality, cute is not a sufficient reason to get a pet, a pet that will probably live 15+ years.  It may be cute, but cute can grow up to be hyperactive.  It may be not want to share your home with anyone else, including your spouse, children, or other animals.  It may want to be a couch potato, when the main reason you got the dog was to run with you every day.  Pet/owner mis-matches are the MAIN REASONS owners "give-up" their pets.  60% of the animals in shelters nationwide are there for this reason.  Good rescuers extensively evaluate of dogs and applicants to insure both will be happy with one another until death do them part.

10. Instant Companion.  With an adult dog, you have a dog that can go everywhere and do anything with you NOW.  You don't have to wait until the puppy grows up and hope it will like to do what you to do with it.  With an adult rescue, you select the dog most compatible with you.  You can find one that travels well, loves to play with your friends' dogs, has excellent house manners, etc. You can come home after a long day's work and spend your time on a relaxing walk, ride, or swim with your new best friend (rather than cleaning up after a small puppy.)

11. Bond - Rescue Dog Bond.  Dogs that have been uprooted from their happy homes or have not had the best start in life are likely to bond very closely to their new owner.  Yes, dogs that have lost families through death, divorce or lifestyle change can go through a mourning process; however, once they become attached to their new family, they seem to want to please as much as possible to make sure they are never homeless again!  Those dogs that are just learning about the good life and good people seem to bond even deeper. They know what life on the streets, life on the end of a chain, or worse, is about, and they revel and blossom in a nurturing, loving environment. Most rescues make exceptional, extremely loyal companions.

Sadly, some people seem to think dogs that end up in rescue are genetically or behaviorally inferior.  In reality, rescues get dogs that have outlived their novelty with impulsive owners who really did not have the time, energy or willingness to shoulder either the responsibility or expense required to be a good dog owner.  

Choosing an adult rescue over a puppy does not guarantee you will never have any problems with a new pet, it just increases the probability that you won't.  Of course, with any new pet, there is an adjustment period while the dog learns what you expect of it.  The difference is that an adult dog, specially chosen for various traits compatible with you and your home situation, are not having to learn as much as a growing puppy, so they usually fit into their new families very quickly.  For most of us, an adult dog is much more suited to our needs than a puppy. 

Cute as they are, puppies are a tremendous responsibility and, with the busy schedules that most of us have, impossible to housebreak completely, socialize well, and train adequately.  If you are not able or willing to do what is necessary to raise a puppy correctly, you may end up wanting to surrender a dog yourself! 

Adopting an adult rescue can be the best decision, and addition to your family, that you ever make. Rescue a dog and get a devoted friend for life!  Go ahead, do a "GOOD DEED," adopt a dog in need of a home.  Give a dog a chance it otherwise would not have.  But, beyond doing a "good deed", do yourself a favor and adopt an adult dog.



Visit BrainyQuote for more Quotes




















"We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.” ~ David Mamet


“There are two kinds of people in the world: those who love chocolate, and communists.” ~ Leslie Moak Murray


“I am starting to think that maybe memories are like this dessert. I eat it, and it becomes a part of me, whether I remember it later or not.”
―~Erica Bauermeister







10 Percent of Youths Cause Sexual Violence

Study Results May Change the Way You Think About Rape





Picture Archive: Washington Monument, 1940s

On its 125th anniversary, the Washington Monument is shuttered to the public.

When Will Your City's Climate Change?

Using a new metric they call "climate departure," researchers have analyzed when climate change will result in "environments like we have never seen before."

Diamonds in the Sky

Precious gems are generated by lightning storms, according to a recent study.

A Dimmed Picture of Gas Flaring

New satellite technology offers a clearer view of the growing natural gas flaring problem, but the U.S. budget mess has slowed the effort.





Business Groups See Loss of Sway Over House G.O.P.

By ERIC LIPTON, NICHOLAS CONFESSORE and NELSON D. SCHWARTZ

Washington's traditionally cautious and pragmatic business lobby could slip into open warfare with the Tea Party faction, which has grown in influence since the 2010 election.

Extremist Group Gains Foothold Among Kenyans

By NICHOLAS KULISH and JOSH KRON

Among disaffected and neglected Muslims in Kenya, the Shabab are finding a source of fund-raising and recruits.

 'Imperfect Intelligence' Said to Hinder U.S. Raid on Militant in Somalia

Yellen's Path From Liberal Theorist to Fed Voice for Jobs

By BINYAMIN APPELBAUM

Janet Yellen, President Obama's pick to run the Federal Reserve, has backed aggressive steps to promote employment but shown only limited willingness to tolerate higher inflation.








DIY Halloween Wine Bottles



Fall is certainly in the air around here. Not only is the weather cooler, but all things pumpkin, fall and Halloween are filling up the stores... and our house :) I went to Aldi yesterday and they completely sucked me in with their fall food! I went to get things to make some simple cupcakes, and left with that and pumpkin cider, pumpkin cookie mix, and butternut squash pasta sauce. But tonight I'm not here to share a recipe, but rather a craft project that I first made last year after seeing it on a blog somewhere. I wish I could remember where so I could give them credit.

Joe and I save most of our wine bottles and we have several of them lining the tops of our kitchen cabinets (classy, I know). But when we have duplicates or ones that I don't feel like displaying, I typically save them because I know they'll get used for something. That's where this craft comes in!

126K+

To start you need to remove the labels from your bottles and make sure that all the residue is gone as well. Sometimes I use a little Goo Gone for the labels, but just make sure that you clean the Goo Gone off too. Then, depending on the design you want, you could tape off part of the bottle with painters tape. The designs I made were a jack-o-lantern, a ghost and Frankenstein. For the ghost you'll need a clear bottle and some frosted glass spray paint, but no taping is required. The jack-o-lantern will need a green bottle, orange spray paint, and the neck of the bottle will need to be taped off. Frankenstein will need a green bottle, black (and maybe green) spray paint, and painters tape for his hair. When taping off his hair, you could either cut notches out of the tape first with scissors, or put the tape around the bottle then use an X-acto knife or utility knife to cut out the notches.

126K+

126K+

I tried making Frankenstein two ways. First was to paint the entire bottle green and then tape off the hair and paint the top black. But for some reason, the green paint I bought (Krylon brand) was NOT sticking to the bottle! I just could not make it work, and there were little spots all over the bottle. I moved forward with it anyway and my attempt to tape off the hair only ruined it more. I did end up hand painting over the green with acrylic paint, so it ended up OK I guess. The more successful way to make Frankenstein was to not paint the bottle bright green and just paint the top black for hair. I do think that I could have made the green spray paint work if I would have used a spray primer first. But the Rustoleum orange spray paint that I used worked just fine, so maybe it was just a problem with the brand.

126K+


126K+

The green bottle only looks ok in this picture, but it was not good in real life.


126K+

So once the bottles are taped, sprayed and dried, it's time to add the faces. A paint pen works really great for this, but acrylic paint and a brush would work just fine as well. If you plan on covering the face parts with glitter, then you could even just use a Sharpie marker to draw the faces on. Just don't be impatient like me and try and rush things before the spray paint is dry. If you want to add the glitter then use something like Mod Podge or any kind of craft glue to paint over the face you drew, then sprinkle the glitter on and tap off the excess.

126K+

This project is actually really quick and I think they turn out super cute! But I like wine and glitter, so they're kind of right up my alley :) Now for the giveaway!

126K+
Since I made these this year and last year, I've actually got 3 sets of Halloween wine bottles! So I'd like to give two of the sets away to two of you. I'll let you pick glitter or no glitter, and bright green or plain Frankenstein :) All you have to do to enter the giveaway is leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite thing about Fall is! Everyone should be able to comment even if you don't have a Gmail account, just select "Anonymous"  on the list of profiles. If you can't seem to comment for some reason, then just email me and I'll be sure to get you entered. I'll choose 2 winners at random on Thursday evening, then this weekend I'll mail the bottles! (Giveaway is closed now, but you can still tell me your favorite things about fall!)

126K+

126K+

126K+
Oh, and one last thing! You may have noticed that there is now a "Pin It!" button under each picture. That is in case you want to add one of these pictures to your Pinterest board. Now if you don't know what Pinterest is, (that's probably for the best) but it is an online bulletin board of sorts where you can organize all of the ideas you see online that you might like to try one day. It's a little addicting!  :) I hope you all have a great week and don't forget to comment so you can win these super sweet wine bottles haha








OCEAN CITY – City staff members received a tongue lashing this week after the town’s advertising agency’s notice period of its contract expiration slipped and was automatically renewed for another year.


At the conclusion of this week’s Mayor and City Council legislative session, Councilman Brent Ashley brought up then contract extension of the town’s advertising agency, MGH, expressing frustration with how the opportunity for the town to re-bid went to the wayside.


Ashley approached the subject a few weeks ago asking if a Request For Proposal (RFP) to re-bid the town’s advertising contract had been considered. Staff was unsure of the expiration date on MGH’s contract and replied it would be looked into and brought back for discussion.


In September of 2012, Tourism Advisory Board (TAB) Chair Greg Shockley made a request for the council to reconsider the town’s contract with MGH, the town’s advertising agency for 10 years. A month prior, the council had voted 4-3 to not renew MGH’s contract and to have a RFP prepared for when the contract expired.


Tourism Director Donna Abbott explained the agreement with MGH commenced on Jan. 1, 2011 and was for a two-year period that ended on Dec. 31, 2012. The agreement renews automatically for an additional one-year period unless terminated by either party with 120 days’ notice prior to the termination date.


Ocean City last conducted an agency review in 2009 and selected MGH to continue out of a field of several advertising agencies who submitted proposals. The agreement was and still is the agency is paid nearly $23,000 a month totaling an annual expense of about $275,000.


At that time, City Manager David Recor’s Strategic Planning Initiative was in its initial phase that would later result in a specific layout of the town’s goals moving into the next 15 years, including an advertising plan. Since the town was taking on the initiative, the council decided to put the RFP process on hold.


The City Council voted 5-2 to instead extend MGH’s contract for one year and in all future contracts that the notice be 180 days to give adequate time to properly place a RFP.


Since the last meeting, it was brought to Ashley’s attention MGH’s contract had been renewed for another year as of result of the 180-day notice time having passed.


“This is what I was talking about at the last meeting and everyone seemed confused. Is everyone clear now?,” Ashley asked. “My question is, at what point was it decided not to do the RFP and who decided it?”


Recor responded there was not a conscious decision not to do a RFP. He added that since the Tourism Commission was re-established in the beginning of the year, TAB’s role has diminished and strides have been made between MGH and the commission with a number of significant tourism initiatives.


“You have a valid motion, a second, and a majority vote to do this and it never happened,” Ashley said. “We set policy up here, and we pay salaries for professional people to follow the directive of the council.”


Recor claimed responsibility and refused to provide an excuse.


“You know what Mr. Recor, we just had a case a couple of weeks ago with a parking lot where the lease wasn’t paid for two years and nobody knew it. Who is watching the store here? It is not up to me as a council member. When a motion is made to move forward with a majority vote, it is up to you to make sure that happens. So, now we don’t have a RFP, it’s too late to do it again,” Ashley said. “Is there anything else we should be checking here before it slips through the cracks?”


Councilwoman Margaret Pillas motioned to have City Solicitor Guy Ayres review the appropriate documents to determine if a proper notice was given or not. The council voted unanimously to approve.








Labor Day: The High Price Of Cheap Labor

By 

When I first heard about the strike at the fast-food restaurants, my joke writing ideas went into full tilt… I was even going to submit a few to Conan (via Conan’s website submit idea). In the end I thought I would just keep them to myself for a while.  Instead, let me tell you this story:

Labor Day 2013

The other day I was with the kids in Publix. A food sampling booth was set up. The woman handing out the samples was so sweet, maybe in her later 60′s. She started up a teaching conversation with me and the girls. We talked for over 10 minutes. She kept giving the girls different samples and teaching them about the history/etymology of their names;  among other things.  This sweet lady feeding my kids’ body and mind, was an out of work professor (with 30 years experience) serving samples–making minimum wage, I’m sure.  Now, there is someone that should get $15.00/hour. I don’t think she’s making $15.00 at Publix.

Pay raise may raise customer service. But the price and cost of the rate hike for minimum wage will trickle down to the poor, who eat at the fast food joints, anyway. The price of a burger could go to $10.00 and fries $5.00. We will pay it because 90% of Americans are hooked on junk food.





Fact of the Day
Capers are the unopened green flower buds of the Capparis Spinosa, a bush grown mainly in southern France, Italy, and Algeria, as well as California. Manual labor is required to gather capers, for the buds must be carefully picked each morning just as they reach the proper size.








Black People Not Amused by White People







That Awkward Moment of the Day: A Flash Mob Fainting Incident at The Mall






Adrenaline Rush of the Day: Toy Car Racing at 205 Miles Per Hour!


In tether racing, the model racing cars are powered by miniature internal combustion engines and wired to a central post, allowing the motored vehicles to reach the speed of over 200 miles per hour.







This 14-Year-Old Was Expelled and Arrested Over a Piece of Paper

Kyle Thompson, 14, was joking around with his buddies at Harrison High School in Farmington Hills, Mich., last March, when one of those friends grabbed a...

read more






MEET THE ZOMBIE CHEMICALS THAT REASSEMBLE AT NIGHT AND CAUSE HARM

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water. We all know that endocrine disruptors like those found in disposable water bottles are bad...
read more

POWER UP SOLAR STYLE AT IKEA, NO ASSEMBLY NECESSARY!

IKEA has long been known for two things: affordable furniture that can be surprisingly fun, and assembly instructions that could baffle a member of MENSA....
read more

YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT A 9-YEAR-OLD CAN TEACH CONGRESS

It seems that just about everyone has an opinion about the government shutdown. Of all the reactions I’ve seen, however, the most spot-on responses...
read more






Stop Animal Cruelty at MarineLand

signatures: 98659
created by: Carin C
sign now

WHEN IS STARBUCKS BETTER FOR YOU THAN WHOLE FOODS?

As the Affordable Care Act begins to roll out across the country, Republican politicians and pundits would have you believe that the free market is on the...
read more

DAILY CUTE: CHARLIE THE PUPPY VERSUS…A DANDELION?

Apparently, this Keeshond puppy named Charlie isn't very happy with the dandelion before him.
read more

ONE CHIMP’S JOURNEY FROM LONELY ZOO TO SANCTUARY PARADISE

Terry the chimpanzee has lived the last 17 years of his life as the only chimp at the Las Vegas Zoo. On October 2nd, however, he began the trip of a...
read more

HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP GREENPEACE’S ARCTIC 30

This week, the 28 Greenpeace activists and two freelance journalists who were unlawfully detained in Russia following a peaceful protest at an arctic oil...
read more

REBUILDING FROM THE ASHES OF EL SALVADOR’S CIVIL WAR

On its surface, the town of Ciudad Romero, El Salvador is a lot like others around Central America. Small homes line dirt roads, walking and biking are...
read more

TWO DOGS, TWO SPECIAL NEEDS KIDS AND TWO HAPPY ENDINGS

Dogs help two young children with disabilities overcome challenges at home and in school.
read more

DERAILING OBAMACARE IS A MONEY MAKING SCHEME

On Tuesday, September 21, 2013, the junior senator from Texas, Ted Cruz, stood on the Senate floor in an effort to stop a spending bill that would keep...
read more

PENNSYLVANIA SCHOOL PROGRAM COULD KEEP KIDS IN THE DARK ABOUT CLEAN ENERGY

This is a guest post written by Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper I have often heard from my educator husband that power companies will pay for...
read more

BANGLADESH ARRESTS GAY COUPLES AND THREATENS SUPPORTERS

Two women from the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka have been arrested for their relationship, a move that demonstrates how the nation’s administration...
read more

WHY ARE 10,000 WALRUSES ON A BEACH? (IT’S NOT A PARTY)

In the past couple of weeks, more than 10,000 walruses have gathered on the northwest coast of Alaska. It may look like the walrus social event of the...
read more

9 REASONS NOT TO SHOOT BADGERS AND WHY THE UK IS TRYING IT ANYWAY

In the United Kingdom, the government isn’t just listening to an industry lobby group. It is treating the lobby as part of the government, and even...
read more

WOODBURNING STOVES COULD SOON BE ILLEGAL

Many of us have dreams of living off the grid (or at least escaping to a wilderness cabin for a few days). In almost every one of those dreams,...
read more

HERE’S THE VERY REAL (HUMAN) PRICE TAG FOR GIANT STADIUMS

"Modern-day slavery": That's the phrase that The Guardian uses to describe the brutal working and living conditions endured by Nepalese migrant laborers...
read more






Your Body: From Taste Buds to Toenails

How many taste buds are on the tongue? Get answers to many intriguing questions about the body.
Take Quiz ›







Sesame Chicken Cucumber Noodle Salad

This sesame chicken and noodle salad couldn’t be simpler to make. 

Recipe From EatingWell.com








"Nice Tits," by Sarah Lucas

A worker walks past artwork 'Nice Tits' by British artist Sarah Lucas at the Whitechapel gallery in London September 30, 2013. Photo: Reuters / Stefan Wermuth







T-Mobile pitches unlimited, no-charge global data roaming plan

The Verge's Dan Seifert on T-Mobile's growing divergence from the usual business of being a cellular carrier.

T-Mobile's new plans are significantly different than the industry is accustomed to — most international roaming plans are prohibitively expensive and have limited caps for data and text messaging. T-Mobile notes that 40 percent of traveling Americans turn off data services on their phones when they are abroad to avoid the exorbitant fees. The carrier says that by removing this bill shock, travelers will be more open to using their phones while overseas. CEO John Legere says that the included countries cover "pretty much everywhere people travel, about 95 percent of where people go."

T-Mobile also got rid of standard subsidy-style contracts, and was the first to develop an annual handset upgrade program as part of the usual bill.








‘Candy Corn’ Chicken Quesadillas

Boo!

I’m having a bit of difficulty holding back from one of my favorite holiday seasons; Halloween.  There are many things I love about Halloween.  The whimsy of it.  The chance to dress up, which I do every year.  The fun, more rustic decorations, with so many homemade options.  And the chance to come up with some spooky food!

I promise I’m not going to feed you with a fire hose of ghoulish treats from now until October 31 but this idea popped to mind late last week and I could not stop myself from trying it, and then in seeing how cute (and delicious) it turned out, from sharing it with you!

I think I horrified my 10 year old by declaring I was going to make Candy Corn Chicken Quesadillas.  Before his gag reflex fully engaged I slipped in that no candy corn were harmed in the making of this recipe, it was just that the quesadillas LOOK like candy corn thanks to three different types of cheese.

There are always so many sweet confections in October I love thinking up some more hearty, healthy options that are still playful.  This is a fun quick dish anytime this month or including before Trick or Treating.  The quesadilla is filled with roast chicken, your favorite salsa, sour cream and roasted green chilies.  It’s a simple savory dish, with a bit of crafting in creating the cheese mosaic.  Completely filling and delicious!

 


‘Candy Corn’ Chicken Quesadillas

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 6 quesadillas

Simple, flavorful food made fun for Halloween! This filling chicken quesadilla is laced with salsa, sour cream and green chilies and topped with cheese in a candy corn pattern.

Ingredients

  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups Roast Chicken, diced
  • 3 tablespoons Salsa,
  • 3 tablespoons Sour Cream
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Green Chilies (roasted, canned or fresh), chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 package sliced Monterey Jack or white Cheddar (white cheese)
  • 1 package sliced Mild or Sharp Cheddar (dark orange)
  • 1 small block Tillamook (light orange) cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut the tortillas into a triangle, leaving the bottom uncut and round (see diagram). Cut them in pairs so they will match together. Place all tortillas in a sealed zipper plastic bag to prevent drying out.

In a small bowl combine the salsa and sour cream; stir to mix.

In a medium mixing bowl combine the chicken, green chilies and salsa/sour cream and stir to completely combine. Salt and pepper to taste.

Place one side of a pair of cut tortillas on a large baking sheet. Spoon 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture onto the tortilla and evenly spread it over the tortilla. Place the corresponding tortilla on top of the chicken mixture. Repeat for all the tortillas to make 6 quesadillas.

Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife, cut the cheese to cover the top tortilla in a candy corn pattern: white for the tip, dark orange for the middle (the largest section) and light orange for the top. Cover the whole tortilla. Repeat for the remaining quesadillas.

Place quesadillas in the oven. Bake until the cheese has totally melted but don’t over bake until the cheese is thin and runny (about 5 minutes). Remove from oven, trim any extra cheese if desired and serve.








DIY Peter Pan's Escaped Shadow Costume (or Just a Regular Peter Pan Costume)

My children don't get to dress up for Halloween at their schools.  Instead, around here, we have the Literature Day Parade.  A day to dress up in a costume of a character from a favorite book (coincidentally timed right at Halloween!).  It's always fun, but this year, I think we have what will probably be my favorite DIY costume of all time.

Peter Pan's escaped shadow!  And it's so, so easy.  Basically a no-sew project.  And sure, you could make it in classic Peter Pan colors and just be Peter Pan, but really, who could resist being a mischievous shadow for Halloween (or Literature Day)?

It all starts with a black morphsuit.  I was kind of worried that my girls (I got one for each of them) wouldn't like wearing them, but I couldn't get them to take the suits off!  I bought mine from Amazon.com.   

I wrote a post a few months ago about how to make a felt Peter Pan hat.  It was an easy thing just to make one in black this time.  This was the only sewing I did in the entire costume, though really, you could get away with just using a glue gun.

To make the tunic, start with a rectangle of felt.  I measured my daughter to figure out roughly how large I wanted it to be.  I knew I wanted it to be a few inches wider than her shoulders on either side (for a grand total of 22 inches), and about 25 inches long.  Cut the rectangle out of a folded piece of felt, so the rectangle is double thickness.  The fold of the fabric will be the top of the tunic.

Next, it's time to cut the V-neck opening in the tunic.  Fold the fabric rectangle in half again, so that the fabric is now four layers thick.  Up at the top, where you find the folded edges, cut a smallish diagonal line.  This creates a diamond shaped neck hole with one easy cut.  Start small--you'll need to cut away less than you'd think, and you can always cut away more.

Cut jagged edges around the top where the arms will be.

I tapered it in a bit so there'd be less bulk in the armpit area, too.  make the same kinds of jagged edge cuts at the bottom of the tunic.

Cut a long strip of felt to act as a belt for the tunic.  Then just put the tunic on, cinch the belt, and voila, it's a great looking Peter Pan costume!  And not a stitch or hem to be seen.

I decided that the belt needed a shadowy felt sword, so I just freehanded this little one.  I cut a tie-shaped piece--three of them, actually, for extra thickness and stability.  Then I just used the hot glue gun to adhere the layers together.  

The guard of the sword was just two layers.  I cut that piece on the fold of the felt so I'd be able to just thread it on the belt and not worry about having to sew it on or attach it with glue.

Ta da!  A Peter Pan shadow costume, ready to escape, play, and be on the lookout for bars of soap and sewing kits ready to put a stop to all the fun.









Must-Haves for Fall Allergy Relief

Whether your eyes are watery, your nose is stuffy, or your asthma is flaring, here’s what you need in your medicine cabinet.
View Slideshow ›






How the Owner of the Company That Handled Edward Snowden's Encrypted Emails Courageously Stood Up to the Feds' Massive Investigation

Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet

Bravery in the face of enormous FBI pressure to give up the store. READ MORE»

The Central Issue at the Heart of America's Growing Education Gap

Paul L. Thomas, Ed.D., AlterNet

It's time for some new thinking about how to address the persistent inequalities that plague our education system. READ MORE»

Republicans Finally Confronting Reality: They’re Trapped!

Brian Beutler, Salon.com

Obama's ironclad resolve not to negotiate over the debt limit appears to finally be sinking in among GOP leaders. READ MORE»

The Food Industry Is Intentionally Keeping You in the Dark About How Much Genetically Modified Food You're Eating

By Jill Richardson, Other Words

Most Americans have no idea whether genetically engineered foods are in our supermarkets. READ MORE»

Drugs Like Krokodil Are the Result of Irresponsible 'War on Drugs' Policy

By Meghan Ralston, AlterNet

A flesh-rotting drug is eye-popping, but the real story should ask why we aren’t doing more to help impoverished addicts. READ MORE»

What Would It Mean for Humanity If We Could Prove the Existence of God?

By Chris Francis, YES! Magazine

New book offers a crash course in the history of arguing both for and against God. READ MORE»

Is America Teetering on the Edge of the Hunger Cliff?

By Richard Schiffman, AlterNet

Poverty rates have not gone down and hunger in our country may be at its highest levels since the Great Depression. READ MORE»

In Praise of Lust, Love and Adultery

By Hanif Kureishi, The Guardian

People are awakening to new possibilities when it comes to love and sex. READ MORE»

Internships with Prestige... and 0$ Paychecks

By Kara Brandeisky, ProPublica

Colleges like Northwestern collect tuition for off-campus experiences that don't meet federal guidelines for unpaid internships. READ MORE»







Sea Glass Ball Jar Lantern and a bonus!

 

Good Morning!!!!

I am so excited to bring you this project today! I was given a challenge by Consumer Crafts to come up with something crafty using a ball jar.  Now I love me some ball jars. In fact, if you were to come by my house you would probably think I have an awesome jamming recipe or something because I have those jars everywhere.

I use them for decoration, for holding my candles, I put seashells in them, they hold my makeup brushes…the list could go on!  So naturally I was super excited when I had to come up with a craft using a mason jar. BTW I have no super awesome jam recipe.

So before I begin you can get most of the materials from Consumer Crafts! Here is the list

-Ball Jars

-Sea Glass (I used pink, frost mixaqua blueclear)

-Glass and Bead Glue

-Hot Glue/Hot Glue Gun

-String of White Lights

-Mosaic Grout Premixed White

Your first order of business is that you want to smash your sea glass into smaller chunks. I had a cute little helper. All I did was wrap the glass in a towel I didn’t mind to throw away after. Then I smashed it with a hammer. FYI – please be careful of the glass shards!! It didn’t get everywhere for me but I could see the project getting pretty bad with glass shards everywhere!

Once they were smashed I put them on paper plates and started the gluing. Here is where it got a little tricky for me. If you just use the glass glue it will start to slide off. So I made a line of glass glue then a line of hot glue on top. The hot glue will not hold the sea glass by itself so don’t think you can just skip the glass glue!! The hot glue just kept it in place so I could glue all around the Ball jar.

It takes over 24 hours for the glass glue to dry.

 

Here is what it will look like when your about done gluing!

Once everything is dried it is time to put on the mosaic grout. I used a premixed white mosaic grout.  I applied it with a butter knife all around the jar.

The directions said it take 25 minutes for the grout to set. So I waited for 25 minutes then I took a damp cloth and wiped the grout off the stones.

It takes about 24 hours for the grout to dry completely.

You can choose to put a candle in it or if you want it a little brighter like mine use a string of lights!

Now I didn’t stop there! No folks…this is a two-fer! I made two crafts with my Ball jar!

I had a few extra pieces from Consumer Crafts to use and a lot of extra sea glass! So I made a sea glass lamp as well!

This project takes less than 30 minutes!

I used:

Ball Jar 

Canning Jar Adapter

Sea Glass

Jute

Lamp Shade (Ikea)

I used a cheap lampshade from Ikea.

Secure the jute with hot glue. Then wrap the jute up the shade.  Secure the end piece of jute with hot glue.

 

 

Fill your jar up with left over sea glass.

Attach the lid and place the lamp shade on.

Makes a cute little beachy lamp!








This Will Save Literally Years Of Your Life








Time Not Found








Just Board it Up









DIY Roof Rack









Apparently People Didn't Like Surprises










It's Closed, Isn't It?







 

Better Than Big Pharma: 5 Herbs You Can't Do Without

Jill Richardson, AlterNet

Sometimes herbs can deliver up healing powers that pharmaceutical companies can only dream about. READ MORE»

 

How the Farm Bill Pays Millions to City Slickers Who Don't Even Step Foot on a Farm

Jim Hightower, Other Words

While relaxing in their often-luxurious urban nests, they till the government’s ridiculous “direct payments” system, harvesting millions of dollars each year from taxpayers. READ MORE»

 

How You Can Tell if Your Food Is Safe to Eat

Jocelyn C. Zuckerman , OnEarth Magazine

“Sell by” labels are confusing and meaningless. There are a lot better ways to determine if your food is safe to eat. READ MORE»

 

McTeacher Nights? Uncovering the Horrible Ways Food Corporations Infiltrate Kids' Lives

By Anna Lappé, AlterNet

A new MythBusters video pulls back the curtain on junk-food marketing aimed at young people, explains its harmful impact, and shows what we can do about it. READ MORE»

 

Famed Chef Alice Waters Leads the Foodie Fight Against Fracking

By Aviva Shen, Climate Progress

Waters, the founder of Berkeley’s Chez Panisse restaurant, and other foodie icons are protesting against fracking’s impacts on farming and food. READ MORE»

 

9 Nastiest Things In the Meat You Eat

By Martha Rosenberg, AlterNet

Meat contaminants are not likely to go away because they stem from Big Meat's desire to maximize profits by growing animals faster. READ MORE»

 

Everything You've Been Told About How to Eat Is Wrong

By Aaron Gordon, Pacific Standard

How bad science created a misinformed national diet—and did nothing to slow the growth of obesity. READ MORE»

 

The Secret Behind New York's Alternative to a Prison Economy? Milk

By Von Diaz, ColorLines

How the organization Milk Not Jails, an unusual intervention of both the prison and food justice movements, is working to reform New York's economy. READ MORE»

 

Barilla Pasta CEO: 'I Would Never Use Homosexual Couples in my Adverts'

By Jodie Gummow, AlterNet

Gay rights groups and MPs call boycott of Barilla products over homophobic remarks. READ MORE»







TRAVEL

Travel Hungry: Where your fave meals got famous

LOUIS' LUNCH

Since actually eating the first pizza ever made isn't possible, thanks to some Italian serf who selfishly wolfed the whole thing in the early 18th century, do the next best thing and travel to the restaurant that made it the staple it is today. Journey around the world to discover the humble beginnings of your weekly diet's highlights, as we take you to the birthplace of the slice, the hamburger, the wing, and more on this tasty trek through culinary history.

LOUIS' LUNCH

6. The Hamburger: Louis' Lunch, New Haven, Connecticut
Legend has it that Louis Lassen was dishing up hot lunches for local factory workers for five years before the fateful day in 1900, when a businessman in a hurry asked for something he could eat on the run, inspiring Louis to broil up a special blend of ground steak trimmings and serve it between toasted slices of white. Just like that, the world's first hamburger was born.
When you go: Jeff, the grandson of the original Louis, is still broiling burgers on the same 1898 cast iron grills. While you can order a "double cheeseburger and potato salad", you'll be ten times cooler if you order it in their lingo: "two cheeseworks and a salad".

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

5. The Pizzeria: Antica Pizzeria Port'Alba, Naples, Italy
Although the term "pizza" has been around since like 997AD, and it's believed some form of pizza dates back to the freaking neolithic age, it wasn't until Antica opened a Neopolitan-pizza-slinging brick-and-mortar in 1830 that the world had an official pizzeria. For nearly a century prior, Antica was selling the stuff street vendor-style.
When you go: Order the mozzarella di buffala, and when you're eating it make sure to dwell on the fact it was cooked in a pizza oven lined with lava rocks from MOUNT F-ING VESUVIUS.

ANCHOR BAR

4. The Buffalo Wing: Anchor Bar, Buffalo, New York
The Anchor Bar'd been a Buffalo dive since 1935, but it wasn't until late on the night of March 4, 1964, when some friends of the bartender came in ravenous, that the place became a legend. As the story goes, the 'tenders mom, Teresa (the owner of the Anchor), dropped the pieces of a chicken typically reserved for the stock pot into the deep fryer, then flavored them with a secret recipe. Her original spicy sauce was destined to launch a thousand orange copycats.
When you go: Get a double order (20 wings) to your spicy-liking (mild, medium, hot, or "suicidal"), then buy a couple bottles of sauce to go.

NATHAN'S FAMOUS

3. The Hot Dog: Nathan's Famous, Coney Island, New York
When it comes to the hot dog, the origins get a bit dicey -- the reason they're called "frankfurters" in the first place is that hot dog-esque pork sausages were originally created in Frankfurt, Germany in the 13th century. That said, they weren't served on rolls until 1870, when Charles Feltman began selling them as such from his Coney Island stand. Once Feltman's stand was long gone, his former employee, Nathan Handwerker, opened up shop and launched an empire.
When you go: See if you can beat Joey “Jaws” Chestnut's 2013 world record mark by eating 70 dogs in ten minutes or less (that weenie stopped at 69).

COZY DOG

2. The Corn Dog: Cozy Dog, Springfield, Illinois
Although by some accounts it looks like versions of the corn dog existed as early at the 1920s, it's Ed Waldmire Sr. who claims to have first dipped a hotdog in corn batter and deep fried it, while he was in the Air Force in the mid-'40s. When he was honorably discharged in '46, he opened the first iteration of Cozy Dog in Springfield, and the rest is history.
When you go: Make it a Tuesday and get the daily special of two Cozy Dogs and a medium fry for $4.95.

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

1. The Philly Steak: Pat's King of Steaks, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Pat and Harry Olivieri ran a run-of-the-mill hotdog stand until one day in 1933, when they were in the mood for something different for lunch. Digestive inspiration took over, and they thinly sliced and grilled some cheap steak and onions, put it in a roll, and sold it for 10 cents to a nearby cabbie who smelled the goodness cooking. The Philly Steak was born. Before long they'd stopped with the hot dogs altogether, started using rib eye-only, added cheese, and opened a brick-and-mortar.
When you go: Although Pat's offers a variety of cheeses, if you want yours served in the most iconic way possible, order it "Whiz wit" -- topped with Cheese Whiz and onions.







8 Stupid Things the GOP Said About the Government Shutdown

The government shutdown is lingering on, and Republicans are refusing to budge. For most of the Tea Party members of the House, it’s still defund...

read more







DAILY CUTE: STEALTHILY CRAWLING CAT CATCHES PUG BY SURPRISE

A pug is just minding his own business when, out of nowhere, a kitty decides to crawl around all over the place. By the looks of his face, the pug is not...
read more

GET READY TO SAY GOODBYE TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PROGRAMS AROUND THE U.S.

If the government is not reopened, certain domestic violence programs will cease operations and the programs won’t be able to draw down the funds they...
read more

4 NEW FUKUSHIMA-RELATED DISASTERS

This week, Japanese Prime Minister Shinto Abe delivered a statement to reassure his people: “Some may have concerns about Fukushima. Let me assure you the...
read more







Demand A Pay Freeze For Congress During Government Shutdown

signatures: 61033
created by: Michael McTernan
sign now

PUTIN WOULD BE IN GOOD COMPANY: 5 CONTROVERSIAL NOBEL PEACE PRIZE WINNERS

Much to the consternation of many, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work negotiating in the Syrian...
read more

IS THERE REALLY ANY NEED FOR “KID FOOD”?

Humans are the only animals who feed their kids something other than what they’re supposed to eat as adults. But there's no reason why "kid food" diets...
read more

REMEMBER YOUR FAVORITE TEACHER? TODAY’S A GOOD DAY TO SAY THANK YOU

October 5 is World Teachers’ Day (WTD) – a UNESCO initiative that celebrates teachers around the world. Since 1994, WTD is held annually on October...
read more

ALMOST EVERYONE REALIZES THERE’S NO REASON FOR GAY BLOOD BAN

Gay men are not allowed to donate blood. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) treats every man who has ever had sex with another man as a vector...
read more

7 GOOD DEEDS TO HELP YOU FORGET THE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN (FOR A LITTLE WHILE)

7 good deeds to take your mind off the government shutdown.
read more






Cornmeal-Crusted Chicken Nuggets With Blackberry Mustard

Tossing chicken tenders with cornmeal gives these chicken nuggets great crunch without deep-frying. 

Recipe From EatingWell.com

 




How's Your Memory Holding Up?

Find out what turns a short-term memory into a long-term one. And learn what makes a long-term memory fade.
Take Quiz ›






How a Debt Ceiling Deal Might Make the Government Shutdown Longer

AP

Republicans appear to be on the verge of agreeing to a short-term increase to the debt ceiling. But the factors contributing to that push may have a side effect: making resolution of the government shutdown even less likely.
























Tired of Looking Tired?

Dark circles and under-eye bags can instantly age you. Learn simple tricks to brighten up the skin around your eyes.
Read Article ›








DIY Paper Flower Backdrop

We’re delighted to have Jenny of Hank & Hunt back with us today to share another DIY tutorial. Last week you saw her DIY Feather Clips, and today she’s teaching us how to make a low-budget, high-impact paper flower backdrop! We love the idea of playing around with colors and perhaps even patterns to fit the feel of your wedding day perfectly. Let’s get to it:

From Jenny of Hank & HuntThe best part about this backdrop is its portability. Ever wonder how they manage to move those huge photobooth backdrops? Or even how they set them up when you have a million and one other things to be doing on THE day of. The solution is this fun yet modern take on the traditional kid’s art project, a tissue paper backdrop. It’s cheap, it’s light and it’s fully customizable. I’m obsessed with deep blues lately and stayed solid, but think about doing patterns or watercolor styles with it.

For each board, you will need:
-white foam core board
-pack of 20×30″ 24 sheet fold of tissue paper
-roll of double stick tape
-scissors
-empty water bottle

Simply multiply your list by the number of boards you want; I made four. Each board takes about 30-45 mins depending on how fast you are; the first usually takes the longest. Bribe some friends to help and knock out a ton at the same time!

1. Unwrap the fold of tissue paper, keep stacked and cut 6″x6″ squares. Don’t worry about being exact, it doesn’t matter… yet another beauty of this project.

2. Take your board and make a row of double stick tape across the short side of the board. Take your squares and loosen them up from each other — this makes it faster to pick up while pressing.

3. Take one square and center it over the top of the water bottle and press down. Remember the pencil eraser trick from elementary school? Just like that, but we’re working bigger.

4. Hold the paper in place, flip and press into the tape. Presto. Repeat this down the entire line of tape.

5. Add another row using the same technique about 1-2″ over, depending on how dense you want the backdrop to be. Repeat until the board is covered.

6. Repeat on as many other boards as you want.

7. Hang your first board square to where you want it to start and use two small nails to hold it up. I know some venues are anti-holes, so you can use command strips if you need to. They are super light and it doesn’t take much to hold them up. Now that the first one is up, just line up additional boards, tack into place, fluff the lines and you have an instant backdrop with minimal setup time at the location.

After I made these, I realized how pretty an ombre version would look. The light plays off the different corners of the paper and is really pretty even in a solid color. Perfect for a simple shower or party as well. Photographers could even carry one around for some detail shots!







Healthier Party Treats

Caramel-raisin popcorn balls, rocky road brownies, and 8 more tasty snacks kids love.
View Slideshow ›







10 of the Most Appalling Statements from America's Right-Wing Madhouse Made This Week

Janet Allon, AlterNet

A full week of race-baiting, gay-hating, Christian god-praising and Obamacare hysteria. READ MORE»

America Has Become a "Cheater-Take-All" Nation

William K. Black, AlterNet

Why do people like Tyler Cowen still equate wealth with merit? Many rich people are just crooks. READ MORE»

Another Killer Using 'Stand Your Ground' to Defend Shooting a Black Teenage Boy

Sonali Kolhatkar, Truthdig

When will American society demand justice? READ MORE»

'Most Men Allow Harmful Shit to Happen to Women, But I Won't Anymore, and Neither Should You'

By Alyssa Figueroa, AlterNet

Read the first letter from the #31forMarissa project, in which men write about domestic violence experienced by women they know. READ MORE»

Understanding the Culture of White Right-Wing Rage That Produced the Govt. Shutdown

By Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com

What we can learn from the Philadelphia firebombing of 1985. READ MORE»

Get Ready for Extra Helpings of Feces, Pus and Chlorine on Your Plate — America is Deregulating Its Meat Industry

By Martha Rosenberg, AlterNet

Risks to food consumers will only increase as the government "washes its hands" of meat and poultry inspection. READ MORE»

Our Govt. Pays Millions to City Slickers Who Don't Even Step Foot on a Farm

By Jim Hightower, Other Words

While relaxing in their often-luxurious urban nests, they till the government’s ridiculous “direct payments” system, harvesting millions of dollars each year from taxpayers. READ MORE»

We're Addicted to Economic Growth and It Will Be the Death of Us

By Asher Miller, Rob Hopkins, Post Carbon Institute

The idea that economies must keep growing is an underlying cause of the climate crisis. READ MORE»

Secret Ballot Initiative Would Slash Retirement Benefits for Public Employees

By Gary Cohn, Frying Pan News

A copy of the under-wraps Calif. draft initiative has been revealed. READ MORE»

The Pitfalls of Early Screening for Autism

By Enrico Gnaulati , Beacon Press

Author of the new book 'Back to Normal' says early autism screening leads to misdiagnosis and other problems. READ MORE»








Finger Truther






Don't Make a Grown Man Cry: Men Who Have Cried in Their Movies.

"Baby Blue"
 is a Renewed Hit After Breaking Bad

10 Wonderful Ways to Eat Pigs' Feet

The Ghost of Speedy Cannon
. A sad tale about a young life cut short by the violence of football.  

The 25 Baddest Witches In Film And TV.
 You won't catch these women getting burned at the stake!

I've been watching The Walking Dead marathon, saying "You're dead, you're dead, you're dead, and you're dead, too."Let’s Remember All The Departed Characters By How The Internet Made Fun Of Them. (NSFW text)

The Battle of Mogadishu is better known in the American consciousness as Black Hawk Down. Twenty years later, the men who fought that battle look back on what it was to be there.

The Hidden Haunted History of 7 American Landmarks
. Some of those ghosts have no one to scare due to the government shutdown.


The 13 reasons Washington is failing. 

More Cowbell: How the Bovine Bell Became a Musical Instrument.  






A Fly







Cardboard Robocop Costume


Comic Book Girl 19 (along with Tyson and CBG19) made an entire Robocop costume out of cardboard, but you'd never know it because of the boss color job, created with a printer. She won Best in Show at Dragon Con! Bonus: we also get a glimpse of the other contestants.









Protect Yourself







Screenshot 10 10 13 11 22 AM


Top 100 April Fool's Day Hoaxes Of All Time

This will sound silly, but Halloween often makes me think about April Fool’s Day. Probably because both holidays can involve playing tricks on your friends, family, and in the case of Halloween on unsuspecting trick-or-treaters.

So in honor of the weird way my brain works, I’m sharing with you a site that looks at the top 100 April Fool’s Day Hoaxes (tricks) of all time!

The site is easy to navigate. All you have to do is scroll down. The list starts with number one and as you scroll down you’ll head towards one hundred, when you reach the bottom of the page use the Next link to continue navigating through the hoaxes. There are ten pages in all.

I love the one they start out with: The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest. It makes me chuckle every time I read it. I also enjoyed number fifty The Sheep Albedo Hypothesis which pokes fun at climate change.

Go check these out for yourself, today!

http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/aprilfool








Breast Cancer: Good Foods

Diet and nutrition can play a significant role in the chances of developing breast cancer, especially if you have a family history of the disease. The following foods may help to prevent or lessen the risks - Dr. Weil encourages all women to give them a try:


  1. Use healthy fats: Monounsaturated fats found in a high quality, extra virgin olive oil, and polyunsaturated omega-3 fats from freshly ground flaxseed and oily fish such as wild Alaskan salmon and sardines may help reduce your risk of developing breast cancer.
  2. Include whole soy products in your diet. Soy foods contain many cancer-protective substances, including isoflavones. Try to eat one to two servings of whole soy-based foods a day.
  3. Eat more fruits and vegetables! Especially cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, bok choy and cauliflower, which contain many different cancer-protective phytonutrients.





Taxpayer Subsidies Helped Tesla Motors, So Why Does Elon Musk Slam Them?

Silicon Valley has always relied on the government to jump-start innovative businesses—no matter how much it clings to the go-it-alone narrative. [READ MORE]






Which Airline Is Most Fuel Efficient?

Figuring out an airline's overall greenness is complicated business. Old planes tend to be less fuel efficient than new ones. A plane that spends more time taxiing on the runway burns excess fuel. Empty seats on a flight result in the plane burning more fuel than necessary per passenger.

Layovers, too, have a big impact. Let's say you're flying from San Francisco to New York, for example, and have the option of choosing a layover in Chicago or Atlanta. Choosing the layover in Atlanta adds 300 miles to your trip overall, and the plane will consume 11 percent more fuel over the course of the flight than it would have on the more direct route.

So, which airline to book? For the answer, click here.[READ MORE]






Mystery Surfer Saves Drowning Sea Turtle, Then Catches His Next Wave

On a good day, a surfer is one with the ocean waves. On a really good day, he’s a hero, too. A surfer enjoying a beautiful day recently on the water...

read more







DAILY CUTE: FIDO LEARNS THAT A DOGGY DOOR IS MUCH TRICKIER THAN IT LOOKS

Looks can be deceiving. That’s what this dog learns after a few go-arounds with the doggy door, though he finally gets through after a few tries....
read more

HOW A REPUBLICAN LEARNED TO LOVE OBAMACARE

Joshua Pittman doesn’t believe that Obamacare is perfect, but says Republicans in Congress should stop trying to repeal the law and give it a chance to...
read more

OUR BEES NEED US TO DUMP DIESEL AS A FUEL SOURCE

New research suggests that diesel fuel emissions may be interfering with how bees find flowers, something that in turn could contribute to Colony Collapse...
read more





Demand A Pay Freeze For Congress During Government Shutdown

signatures: 63041
created by: Michael McTernan
sign now

CAN A NEW GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP SAVE ELEPHANTS BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE?

Some of us who are alive today may never experience seeing an elephant in the wild, but we still know they’re out there. Future generations, on the...
read more

THEN AND NOW: THE TRUTH ABOUT GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWNS

For the purpose of understanding the history of shutdowns, there is very little difference between how the government operated when appropriations were...
read more

5 ANIMALS IMPACTED BY THE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

The government shutdown may be a nightmare for many American citizens, but humans aren’t the only ones to suffer the consequences. It turns out animals...
read more

DONKEY AMBULANCE DELIVERS FOR EXPECTING MOMS IN AFGHANISTAN

Most of us take it for granted that when the time comes to give birth, we’ll simply drive to the hospital, where doctors and nurses will ensure that...
read more

4 PLAYGROUNDS WITH GOOD, CLEAN ENERGY FUN (FOR GROWN-UPS, TOO)

What better way to teach kids about clean energy than by using it to power their schools and to help them study?
read more







LOS ANGELES

DONUT FRIEND

Like a Pinkberry, except for custom donuts. Seriously.

LOS ANGELES

Donut Friend is a colorful stand in Highland Park that's using the Pinkberry/Chipotle custom-food model on your favorite desserts that aren't birthday cakes or Flintstones Push Up pops, all from a dude who used to produce albums for bands like Blink-182 and Jimmy Eat World.

JEFF MILLER

So what's the process like? Step up to the sneeze guard and get your choice of daily-made 'nut: traditional, vanilla cake, chocolate cake, or "Gluten-Free-ish", which you won't be ordering, so don't worry about the fine print there.

JEFF MILLER

Then, start topping: they'll chop your sweet goodness up, and then you can choose spreads -- fresh jellies and jams, nut butters, etc....

JEFF MILLER

... and then you can put even more in the middle: fresh fruits, ricotta cheese, yogurt, and more.

JEFF MILLER

Then, they'll make it as glazed as your eyes (maple/fudge/etc.) and stick it with toppings ranging from crushed Oreos, to cayenne pepper, to bacon. So, yeah, you'll be getting bacon.

JEFF MILLER

Of course, if that seems like too much work, you can just order one of their pre-tested faves, mostly named after bands, like this Chocolate From The Crypt (chocolate glaze, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and chocolate shavings).

JEFF MILLER

Or this gruyere-&-honey-stuffed, sugar-glazed "GG Almond", which probably is not that hard to OD on.

JEFF MILLER

But let's be honest, you're probably gonna want to take down your own insanity, or our Thrillist special...

JEFF MILLER

... loaded up with apple jam, raspberry habanero jam, peanut butter, and banana, and topped w/ maple glaze, coconut, and bacon. And if you're concerned about health, fear not: the ricotta cheese is optional.







 

 

Loaf of Snickers







With Little Fanfare, Afghan War Hits 13th YearMonday marks 12 years since the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, and for a conflict that's been seemingly forgotten by most Americans who've grown weary of war, it seems fitting that the anniversary should be overshadowed by a domestic story: the federal government shutdown. Read More






What’s the story behind this?







Recycle Q&A







Doggy Death

 







Online Customer Parking






The Striking Challenge of Fracking: Who Does it Benefit and Who Gets Hurt

AlterNet

Two experts on fracking debate the controversial topic with strong — and sometimes opposing — points of view as part of a new collaborative media project . READ MORE»

5 Depressing Ways That 1%'s Huge Profits Have Broken the Back of America

Paul Buchheit, AlterNet

The American middle class is broken, and poverty is spreading. READ MORE»

Online Classifieds Is The Latest Loophole for Gun Nuts To Evade FBI Background Checks

Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet

A new report traces how dangerous people easily buy guns. READ MORE»

Class in the Classroom: Why Middle-Class Students Are Being Left in the Dust

By Gail Robinson, City Limits

It's well known that wealthy kids outperform poor kids in school, but now the rich are also pulling away from their middle-class peers. Why is that so? READ MORE»

Half the Republicans You Know Are Insane

By William Rivers Pitt, Truthout

Make no mistake about it: these people will vote in 2014. READ MORE»

Tea Party Radicalism Is Misunderstood: Meet the “Newest Right”

By Michael Lind, Salon.com

Our sense of the force currently paralyzing the government is full of misconceptions — including what to call it. READ MORE»

Why It's So Difficult to Face the Frightening Climate Change Reality

By Rebecca Solnit, Tom Dispatch

The corporate media aren’t exactly helping. READ MORE»

Unless You're a Very Healthy Rich Person Who Lives in a Cave, the Government Shutdown Affects You

By Ana Marie Cox, The Guardian

And it should make you mad. READ MORE»

Mental Health Patients Will No Longer Be Discriminated Against Under ACA

By Viji Sundaram, New American Media

When the Affordable Care Act fully unrolls, it will require insurers to offer mental health care benefits equal to physical health benefits. READ MORE»

What Would Our Country Look Like Without the EPA?

By David Lillard, Blue Ridge Press

Some in Congress want to drastically restrict—or abolish—the EPA. Let's imagine an America without the environmental protections that have improved our lives over the last 43 years. READ MORE»





9 Foods to Help You Lose Weight

Certain foods can help you shed pounds faster by curbing cravings and keeping you full for longer. Here’s what to eat.
Read Article ›







DRINK

The often-frightening amounts of caffeine in energy drinks, from Monster to 5-hour Energy

Despite the surprisingly high caffeine content of your favorite coffees, sometimes you just need bigger wings. And although every energy drink markets itself as a potion that'll turn you from a sleepy-eyed nobody into a rage-filled life of the party/king of the workplace, branding alone won't tell you which drink gives a buzz that's light-years above the rest.

So, in the name of science (kinda) and the pursuit of ultimate caffeination, we created this handy infographic of caffeine per fluid ounce, using stats culled from the jittery folks at EnergyFiend.com to show whether it's best to reach for that Mario Power Up, shoot a Spike Shotgun, or just be boring and down a 5-hour Energy... which somehow doesn't kill everyone who drinks it. (Just for reference, a cup of Dunkin' Donuts coffee is almost 13mg/fl oz.)








Myths and Facts About Bone Loss

Can you feel your bones getting weaker? If your mom has osteoporosis, will you get it, too? Get to the truth about bone loss.
Take Quiz ›








Crab Ball Recipe


INGREDIENTS

  1. 1 (8 ounce)packagecream cheese, softened
  2. 2tablespoonsprepared horseradish
  3. 1tablespoonketchup
  4. 2teaspoons finely choppedonions
  5. 1 1/2teaspoonsworcestershire sauce
  6. 1teaspoonfresh lemon juice
  7. 1 (6 ounce)cancrabmeat, drained and flaked
  8. hot pepper sauce

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, horseradish, ketchup, onions, worcestershire sauce and lemon juice.
  2. Stir until well blended.
  3. Add crab and stir until combined.
  4. Season to taste with hot pepper sauce.
  5. Form the mixture into a ball.
  6. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.







In general, 41 percent of people are OK with eating cheese from a spray can. But among those who are more likely to feel lonely when they're by themselves than when they're in a crowd of strangers, 61 percent are OK with eating cheese from a spray can.

Based on a survey of 85 people who are more likely to feel lonely when they're by themselves than when they're in a crowd of strangers and 406 people total.






Uh….that’s good?









Make the right choice!









Protect Yourself From Hepatitis C

Some 3.2 million Americans have hepatitis C, and about 17,000 more are infected each year. Are you at risk?
Take Quiz ›








EAT

17 things you didn't know about Heinz Ketchup

FLICKR/MAGERLEAGUES

Unlike the crowded field of hot sauce (which we definitively ranked right here), ketchup is essentially the Highlander of condiments: there can be only one. Heinz totally dominates the ketchup market, so we compiled 17 facts that will help you totally dominate any conversation on the subject.

WIKIPEDIA/HOITINTUNGS

1. Heinz sells a whopping 11bil packets of ketchup a year, which is two packets for every person on the planet, and two billion packets for every person currently in space (six!).

FLICKR/DGEROBERTSON

2. Tomatoes didn't make it into ketchup until the late 1800s, since most right-minded people considered it a poisonous cousin to nightshade.

GRANITESCHOOLS.ORG

3. Tap the 57 on the bottleneck in order to make the ketchup pour more quickly. Apparently 11% of Americans already know this trick while the rest of us silently suffer from snail-like pouring speeds.

DOVER CODE ENFORCEMENT DEPARTMENT

4. In 2012, bottles of red gold began exploding in a New Jersey warehouse. Turns out the culprits purchased regular Heinz, then re-bottled it fraudulently as the premium fructose-less Simply Heinz Ketchup for a 12.5% profit! Unfortunately, their plan was foiled by the fermentation of the sugars, which, when combined with heat, combusted and left them red-handed.


5. "Heinz: it's automatic!"

WENDY WILLIAMS SHOW

6. Proving ketchup goes well on everything (including calves), Twilight star Jackson Rathbone scarred himself for life with this gigantic Heinz tattoo.

FLICKR/STEVENDEPOLO

7. Malcolm Gladwell's excellent 2004 New Yorker article notes that Heinz effectively dominated the ketchup market by focusing on all five of the condiment's flavor attributes. Previously just a salty and bitter sauce, Heinz increased umami with a thicker consistency of ripe tomatoes, upped the sourness with acidity from concentrated vinegar, and used benzoate preservatives to double the sweetness, thus making consumers powerless to resist the five-flavor assault.

FLICKR/THE_EWAN

8. You might imagine Heinz buys a ton of tomatoes every year, but that's not accurate. They buytwo million tons of tomatoes every year.

FLICKR/TIM EVANSON

9. The main ketchup plant (like factory, not tomato) is in Fremont, Ohio, whose most famous native son is Everton Conger, known for ketching Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth.

WIKIPEDIA/JORRE

10. Coal tar was originally used as dye to give Heinz its red color.

WIKIPEDIA/KWANTONGE

11. Today's ketchup is a much-removed ancestor of Asian ke-tchup, which was a fish sauce made of fermented intestines, stomach, and bladder.

FLICKR/OVERTHINKINGME

12. The speed at which ketchup pours from a glass bottle is 0.0450km/hour, which is also the approximate speed of a garden snail.

JOEY GANNON/WIKIPEDIA

13. Heinz Field is home to the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Pitt Panthers. To honor Pittsburgh's metalworkers, the facility features 12,000 tons of steel in the design. To honor the locally based Heinz company, they serve a whole lot of ketchup.


BLIPPAR

14. Heinz is leaving all other ketchup brands in the dust (they'll never catch up!) by pioneering an augmented reality technology called Blippar, which allows them to deliver recipe tips via smartphone.

FRUGAL CAFE BLOG ZONE

15. Heinz sold more than 57 varieties of products when it first branded itself. The number was chosen because the founder considered it lucky, and because he just never gave himself enough credit.

WIKIPEDIA AND JOHN HEINZ LEGACY

16. The heirs of the Heinz fortune often cross over into politics, with John Heinz serving as the Republican senator of Pennsylvania and Teresa Heinz serving as John Kerry's wife.

MIAMI NEW TIMES

17. Heinz introduced kid-friendly colored ketchups (green! purple!) in 2000, then put back on their big-person pants in 2006 and discontinued the new colors.








Art Appreciation

If we stand immediately below a painting in a gallery, it appears foreshortened. But if we stand on the other side of the room, it appears small. Somewhere between these two points must be the optimum viewing position, where the painting fills the widest possible angle in our vision. How can we find it?

The German mathematician Regiomontanus posed this question in 1471. We can solve it using calculus, but it also yields to simple geometry: Draw a circle defined by the top and bottom of the painting and our eye level. Because inscribed angles on the same arc of a chord are equal, the angle subtended by the painting will be constant when viewed from any point on this circle; since the only available such point is the one at eye level, that’s the one we want.









In a Word

equitation
n. the art of horseback riding











Quick Thinking

During one of the many nineteenth-century riots in Paris the commander of an army detachment received orders to clear a city square by firing at the canaille(rabble). He commanded his soldiers to take up firing positions, their rifles leveled at the crowd, and as a ghastly silence descended he drew his sword and shouted at the top of his lungs: ‘Mesdames, m’sieurs, I have orders to fire at thecanaille. But as I see a great number of honest, respectable citizens before me, I request that they leave so that I can safely shoot the canaille.’ The square was empty in a few minutes.

– American psychiatrist Paul Watzlawick, Change: Principles of Problem Formation and Problem Resolution, 1974







Slow-Cooker Lemon-Garlic Chicken

Toss boneless chicken breasts, lemon juice, and fresh garlic into the slow cooker for an easy weeknight meal. 








27 Great Pumpkin Carving Stencils

Years of pumpkin carving projects have taught us that it’s much easier to create memorable designs when you start with a stencil. So we found the best pumpkin patterns, from eerie faces to clever emoticons, and turned them into easy-to-use, free carving templates.

Choose your favorite »






How Do You Clean the World’s Biggest Monuments?

It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it; Daredevil moves and high-powered tools keep Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, and others looking spiffy.

Read more »











Yucatán - Pollo Pibil Recipe


The historical Mayan pib is a pit, dug deep in the earth; it acts as an oven, heated with hot stones and wood, both green and dead, and is an ancient method of cooking very typical of the Yucatán Peninsula. Anything cooked in it is described as pibil (meaning buried), with cochinita pibil, a whole suckling pig rubbed with the typical achiote seasoning, being perhaps the most celebrated dish of the whole region. In the absence of a baby pig, let alone an underground oven, stewing pork may be used, or chicken as in the recipe below.

One of the main pibil characteristics is the presence of fresh banana leaves, which are used to wrap the meat. I have come across a number of recipes which state that the leaves are not essential and can be left out, but I do not agree. They impart a very distinctive and specific flavour to the dish – green, grassy, leafy, herby, impossible to describe but totally discernible and unique and a pibil is simply not a pibil without it. They are easily available by mail order and from Latin American and Asian shops, and they freeze well.

Another indispensable pibil ingredient is acidity, in the form of the very local sour orange, naranja agria, which is not easily come by outside Mexico or even the Yucatán. Seville oranges, which make an annual appearance during the marmalade season, are a good substitute, and at other times of the year, a mixture of fresh orange, lemon and lime juices is excellent, tenderising the meat and imbuing it with a sharp, barely sweet tanginess. 

Any meat cooked pibil style is wonderfully savoury, with a good hint of fruit as well as downright earthiness to its vibrant, brick coloured sauce. And the crowning glory of the Yucatecan cebollas encurtidas or pickled onions spooned over the top adds its crunchy, tart contrast, so do not be tempted to leave them out; they are quick to make, wonderfully gaudy and very traditional. 

Yucatecan Pibil Chicken - Pollo Pibil

Serves 6

For the chicken:-
30 ml/2 tbsp duck or goose fat, lard or olive oil
175 g/6 oz onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
200 g/7 oz tomatoes, coarsely chopped
225 ml/8 fl oz fresh orange juice, from about 2 large oranges
30 ml/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, from about 2 lemons
30 ml/2 tbsp fresh lime juice, from about 2 large limes
50 g/2 oz achiote paste or powder
5 ml/1 tsp dried Mexican oregano
5 ml/1 tsp salt
5 ml/1 tsp ground cumin
15 ml/1 tbsp corn flour/starch
75 g/3 oz banana leaves, thawed if frozen
1 whole fresh or dried habanero or Scotch bonnet chilli (optional)
1 large chicken, jointed into eight pieces
10 g/1/3 oz fresh coriander/cilantro, coarsely chopped
Warm tortillas or cooked rice, to serve (optional)

For the pickled onions:-
75 g/3 oz red onions, peeled and finely sliced
15 ml/1 tbsp cider vinegar
15 ml/1 tbsp fresh lime juice
Sea salt

Start off with the cebollas encurtidas by marinating the red onions in the vinegar and lime juice. Set aside until needed. They keep well for a day or two.
Heat the duck fat in a frying pan and add the onions. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they just start to turn golden. Add the tomatoes and continue to fry until they have softened and some of their moisture has evaporated.

While the tomatoes and onions are cooking, stir together the orange, lemon and lime juices, the achiote, oregano, salt, cumin and corn flour in a small bowl.

Preheat the oven to 175oC/325oF/gas 3/fan oven 160oC.

Line the bottom and sides of a lidded casserole or Dutch oven with the banana leaves, overlapping the pieces so that there are no gaps and letting any excess hang over the sides. Add the onion and tomato mixture, spreading it evenly. Place the whole chilli on top and arrange the chicken pieces over everything. Pour in the citrus and spice sauce. Fold the banana leaves up and around the chicken, using more if necessary to cover it all snugly. Tuck a piece of kitchen foil over the top and add the lid. If you do not have a lid, wrap the whole dish tightly in foil.

Place the casserole in the oven and cook for two hours. Turn the heat up to 200oC/400oF/Gas 6/fan oven 180oC. Remove the lid and foil and peel back the banana leaves. Cook for a further 30 to 45 minutes, until the chicken has browned and the thighs and drumsticks are easily pierced with the tip of a knife.

Sprinkle with coriander and serve immediately with warm tortillas or rice.

Buén provecho!







Fast Facts on Fats and Oils

Fats and oils make food taste better. See how to minimize fat content without compromising flavor.
View Slideshow ›






Signs of Skin Cancer

Worried that mole or rough patch of skin could be skin cancer? Here's what to look for.
View Slideshow ›





Eyedrops: An Ocean of Uses

From easing irritation to reducing redness, eyedrops are increasingly popular. Are they safe for long-term use?
Read Article ›











Tis the Season to Shed Your Outer-Gourd


























Fracking Is Pretty Hard To Understand — Until It Isn't

How 'Obamacare' Is Its Own Worst Enemy

The Craigslist Ad That Will Make The Government Shutdown Seem Hilarious

We Need to Talk About Depression And Everyone Needs To Listen

The Greatest Generation Puts Up A Fight To Get Into WWII Memorial













Water Discovered in Remnants of Extrasolar Rocky World Orbiting White Dwarf

Astrophysicists have found the first evidence of a water-rich rocky planetary body outside our solar system in its shattered remains orbiting a white ... full story




Newly Discovered Gene Regulator Could Precisely Target Sickle Cell Disease

A research team has discovered a new genetic target for potential therapy of sickle cell disease. The target, called an enhancer, controls a molecular switch in red blood cells called BCL11A that, in turn, regulates hemoglobin ...  > full story



Iron in Earth's Core Weakens Before Melting

The iron in Earth's inner core weakens dramatically before it melts, explaining the unusual properties that exist in the moon-sized solid center of our planet that have, up until now, been difficult to understand. ...  > full story






Dorothea Lange


Dorothea Lange, Resettlement Administration Photographer,
in California,
February 1936.
America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA and OWI, ca. 1935-1945

I stopped at a gas station to get some gas, and there was a car full of people, a family there at that gas station.... I looked at the license plate on the car, and it was Oklahoma. I got out of the car, and I approached them and asked something about which way they were going… And they said, "We've been blown out." I questioned what they meant, and then they old me about the dust storm. They were the first arrivals that I saw…. All of that day, driving for the next maybe two hundred miles- no, three or four hundred miles, I saw these people. And I couldn't wait. I photographed it…

Dorothea Lange, interview
Richard K. Doud, for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, May 22, 1964.

On October 11, 1965, photographer Dorothea Lange died in San Francisco at the age of seventy. Lange is best known for her Depression-era work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Lange's photographs humanized the tragic consequences of the Great Depression and profoundly influenced the development of documentary photography.

Lange began her career in New York, later migrating to San Francisco in 1918 where she eventually opened a portrait studio. With the onset of the Depression, Lange turned her camera lens from the studio to the street. Her searing studies of homelessness captured the attention of local photographers and led to her employment with the federal Resettlement Administration (RA), and its successor agency, the FSA. From 1935 to 1940, Lange's work for the RA and FSA brought the plight of the poor and forgotten, particularly displaced farm families and migrant workers, to public attention. Her poignant images quickly became icons of the era.


Drought Refugees Waiting for Relief Checks,
Calipatria, California,
Dorothea Lange, photographer,
February 1937.
America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA and OWI, ca. 1935-1945


Toward Los Angeles, California,
Dorothea Lange, photographer,
March 1937.
America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA and OWI, ca. 1935-1945

In 1941, after she had left the FSA, Lange was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to pursue her own work. She was hired in 1942 by the U.S. War Relocation Authority (WRA) to document the forced evacuation of Japanese Americans to armed camps in the American West. Selections from this controversial series, may be viewed through the Dorothea Lange section of Women Come to the Front—an online exhibition highlighting the work of women journalists, photographers, and broadcasters who documented World War II at home and abroad.

Learn more about Dorothea Lange and the Farm Security Administration:

Eleanor Roosevelt


[Mrs. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, head-and-shoulders portrait],
cJuly 20, 1933.
By Popular Demand: Portraits of the Presidents and First Ladies, 1789-Present

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was born in New York City on October 11, 1884. Orphaned by the time she was ten, the young niece of President Theodore Roosevelt was raised by her grandmother. After attending finishing school in England, she returned to America and became involved in various social service activities as well as teaching at the Rivington Street Settlement House in New York City, initiating lifelong work on behalf of the underprivileged.

In 1905, Roosevelt married her distant cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Over the next ten years she had six children, one of whom died in infancy. Although her duties as mother and wife took most of her time, Eleanor Roosevelt continued to volunteer for good causes. While her husband served in Washington as assistant secretary of the navy during World War I, she worked with the Red Cross and visited wounded troops in the Naval Hospital. Upon returning to New York City in 1920, Mrs. Roosevelt involved herself more actively with women's organizations, particularly those that dealt with political and labor issues.

In 1921, Franklin Roosevelt contracted poliomyelitis (polio) and was permanently paralyzed from the waist down. In order to maintain her husband's political career and to assert her own personality and interests, Eleanor Roosevelt significantly increased her political involvement. She participated in the League of Women Voters, joined the Women's Trade Union League, and worked for the Women's Division of the New York State Democratic Committee. In addition, she helped found Val-Kill Industries, a non-profit furniture factory in Hyde Park, New York. During this period she began to act as her husband's "eyes and ears" traveling to places and talking to people her husband found difficult to reach.

When Franklin Roosevelt was inaugurated as the thirty-second president in 1933, Eleanor Roosevelt continued to serve as a liaison between the president and the people. Beginning in 1936, her daily syndicated newspaper column, “My Day,” provided a constant means of communication with the American public.

At times, the First Lady surpassed the president in her commitment to the disadvantaged. She championed anti-lynching laws, for example, but President Roosevelt did not share her enthusiasm. He believed acceding to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's (NAACP) demands for federal anti-lynching laws would endanger congressional support for his New Deal programs. In March 1936, Eleanor wrote a "personal and confidential" letter to NAACP Executive Secretary Walter Francis White expressing dismay that the atrocity of lynching would not be addressed by the Congress or the president:


Letter, Eleanor Roosevelt to Walter White,
March 19, 1936.
Words and Deeds in American History: Selected Documents Celebrating the Manuscript Division's First 100 Years

Before I received your letter today I had been in to the President, talking to him about your letter…I told him that it seemed rather terrible that one could get nothing done…and asked him if there were any possibility of getting even one step taken and he said the difficulty is that it is unconstitutional apparently for the Federal Government to step in in the lynching situation…I will talk to him again about the Van Nuys resolution and will try to talk also to Senator Byrnes and get his point of view. I am deeply troubled about the whole situation as it seems to be a terrible thing to stand by and let it continue. . .

After Franklin Roosevelt's death in 1945, President Harry Truman appointed the former First Lady as a delegate to the United Nations. She chaired the Human Rights Commission during drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the General Assembly on December 10, 1948.

In 1953, Mrs. Roosevelt resigned her position, but maintained involvement with the United Nations and other humanitarian causes. The former First Lady spent most of her later years at Val-Kill Cottage, her home in Hyde Park, New York. Eleanor Roosevelt died on November 7, 1962, in New York City.

Learn more about the Roosevelt family and experiences of other first ladies:









FRIDAY - OCTOBER 11, 2013


TODAY’S FOOD QUOTE

“Probably one of the most private things in the world is an egg until it is broken.”
M.F.K. Fisher (1908-1992)
 

FOOD HOLIDAYS - Today is:

- World Egg Day (2013)

- National Sausage Pizza Day

- Feast of St. Gummarus, patron of cowherds

- Health Care Food Service Workers Week (Oct 7-13, 2013)

 

TODAY IN FOOD HISTORY

On this day in:

1844 Henry John Heinz was born. Founder of the H.J. Heinz company and creator of its slogan '57 varieties.'

1887 The first accurate adding machine patented by Don Eugene Felt. (The Comptometer).

1911 Nathaniel Wyeth was born. Nathaniel Wyeth, American chemist and inventor, received patent for PET (polyethylene terephthalate) beverage bottles. This was the first safe plastic strong enough to hold carbonated beverages.

1952 'Jambalaya (On The Bayou)' by Hank Williams was number one on the country music charts.

1983 The last hand cranked telephones in the United States were taken out of service as the 440 telephone customers in Bryant Pond, Main were switched over to direct dial service.
 

DID YOU KNOW?

Duck eggs have a richer, oilier taste than chicken eggs. When duck eggs are boiled, the white turns bluish and the yolk turns a reddish orange.

Ming Dynasty eggs, fermented eggs, ancient eggs, century eggs, thousand year old eggs, and hundred year old eggs.  These are all names for the Chinese preserved (usually Duck) eggs. They are really only about 50 to 100 days old.  The eggs are covered with a coating of lime, ashes, salt and rice straw and buried in shallow holes for up to 100 days. The lime petrifies the egg making it look very old. The yolks turn amber to black with a creamy dark green yolk. They are eaten uncooked with soy sauce and minced ginger.
 





Ficus obliqua, commonly known as the small-leaved fig, is a tree native to eastern Australia, New Guinea, eastern Indonesia to Sulawesi and islands in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It is a banyan of the genus Ficus, which contains around 750 species worldwide in warm climates, including the edible fig. Beginning life as a seedling, which grows on other plants (epiphyte) or on rocks (lithophyte), F. obliqua can grow to 60 m (200 ft) high and nearly as wide with a pale grey buttressed trunk, and glossy green leaves. The small round yellow fruit ripen and turn red at any time of year, although they peak in autumn and winter (April to July). Known as a syconium, the fruit is an inverted inflorescence with the flowers aligning an internal cavity. F. obliqua is pollinated by two species of fig waspPleistodontes greenwoodi and P. xanthocephalus. Many species of bird, including pigeons, parrots and various passerines, eat the fruit. It is used as a shade tree in parks and public spaces, and is well-suited for use as an indoor plant or in bonsai. All parts of the tree have been used in traditional medicine in Fiji. (Full article...)

Did you know...

From Wikipedia's new and recently improved content:






Recent deathsScott Carpenter – Ovadia Yosef

More current events...

On this day...

October 11National Coming Out Day (international)

Today's featured picture

The Munich Botanical Garden is a botanical garden and arboretum in Munich, Germany. Established in 1914, today it cultivates about 14,000 species. Pictured here is the garden's main building.

Photo: Diego Delso






Nearly $72 billion is spent on weddings every year in the United States.






The Aleppo Earthquake (1138 CE)

The ancient city of Aleppo was besieged twice by Crusaders in the early 12th century, but little did residents know that worse was yet to come. Located on the boundary between the Arabian and African geologic plates in what is now northern Syria, the city was hit by a small earthquake on October 10, 1138, prompting some residents to flee. The next day, Aleppo was rocked by one of the deadliest earthquakes in recorded history. It destroyed the city and the nearby Crusader citadel. How many died?

 

More...






Kidnapped Libyan Prime Minister Freed Unharmed

In a pre-dawn raid on a Tripoli hotel, Libya's prime minister Ali Zeidan was taken captive by armed gunmen. He was held for several hours before being freed by, as Zeidan called them when discussing the events of the day, "real revolutionaries." The identity of the group that took him as well as the circumstances of his release remain hazy, but it seems the abduction was likely motivated, at least in part, by the government's alleged allowance of a recent US raid on Libyan soil to capture a suspected terrorist leader.

 

More ...

 






Parallel Universes

A parallel universe—a self-contained, separate reality coexisting with one's own—has become a popular fantasy and science fiction trope. Time travel and altered states of consciousness are common access points for parallel universes, though authors have also transported their characters to fanciful lands through physical portals, like the wardrobe in C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia series. What interpretation of quantum physics posits that parallel universes actually exist?

 

More...






François Mauriac (1885)

The strict Catholic upbringing of Nobel Prize-winning French writer François Mauriac had a profound impact on his literary output. His austere, psychological novels, for which he is best known, often grapple with the problems of sin, grace, and salvation, as exemplified in Vipers' Tangle, his masterpiece. He also wrote polemical works against totalitarianism and fascism in the 1930s, worked with the Resistance during World War II, and later wrote the foreword of what Holocaust memoir?

 

More...







The Rise of Online Video






Foreigners train Syrian rebels in Afghanistan to use chem weapons - Lavrov

There are reports that some third countries are training Syrian rebels to use chemical weapons in Afghanistan, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. The intention is to put the skill to use in new false flag actions in Syria, he explained. 






Syria extremists financed by private Gulf donors carried out mass killings – HRW

At least 190 people were killed and more than 200 taken hostage by Syrian rebels financed by private Gulf donors in an August 4 military offensive in the Latakia governorate, according to a Human Rights Watch report.







WHEN IT RAINS

Cyclone Phailin is barreling towards one of India’s most volatile areas

By Heather Timmons

Surf's up. AP Images/Biswaranjan Rout

 

Take one of the biggest cyclones that India has ever seen, add a scene of violent civic unrest, and the result is a potentially catastrophic scenario for the southeastern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh this weekend.

+

As Quartz’s Eric Holthaus has reported, Phailin (Thai for “sapphire”) has the potential to become the equivalent of a category 5 hurricane, and the storm itself is already about half the size of India as it forms in the Bay of Bengal. Phailin is expected to make landfall on Saturday in the eastern Indian states of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh—and the latter happens to be experiencing some severe non-weather problems of its own.

+

The Indian government is proposing carving a new state out of Andhra Pradesh, which spurred violent protests this week. A strike by 80,000 state electrical workers led to blackouts and the closure of government offices, schools, businesses and transport links, as the The New York Times reported Oct. 10. Police have established a curfew and have orders to shoot violators on sight.

+

Faced with the prospect of the massive storm, the electrical workers decided to stand down and call off the strike temporarily, but tensions are still presumably high.

+

The adjacent state of Odisha has its own security problems in the form of a long-running Maoist insurgency. Odisha was also the place where India’s last major deadly storm made landfall, in 1999, killing 15,000 people and causing billions of dollars worth of damage.








DOWN ON THE FARM

French farmers are committing suicide at alarming rates

By Roberto A. Ferdman

So many sheep, so little profit. Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes

 

France’s agriculture sector has suffered its fair share of setbacks lately. But here’s a particularly gruesome one: Farmer suicides are adding to the industry’s struggles.

+

A new report (link in French) released yesterday (Oct. 10) by French health institute INVS reveals that nearly 500 farmers in the country took their own lives between 2007 and 2009. That’s roughly a suicide every other day, French news outlet The Local points out. The suicide rate among French farmers is more than 20% higher than that of the general populous, which is an even greater concern when one considers that France already has an alarmingly high suicide rate compared to its European neighbors; suicide rates in France, for example, are twice those of Spain and the UK. Only cancer and cardio-vascular disease are greater causes of death amongst French farmers.

+

France’s mounting suicide problem reflects its suffering agriculture sector, which has buckled amid rising prices for inputs like fertilizers and feed. The economic squeeze has been especially hard on the country’s livestock sector, which registered the highest farmer suicide rates. Livestock farmers face particularly slim profit margins and have been unable to pass along higher costs to food manufacturers and retailers. In January, French farmers took to the streets to protest new environmental regulations that have hiked up costs further.

+

To placate restless farmers, French president François Hollande redirected nearly a €1 billion in subsidies from the European Union last week to help those most affected by the sour economy. (France is the EU’s top agricultural producer as well as the biggest beneficiary of EU aid.) INVS plans to carry out another study to determine whether the suicide problem among France’s farmers extends into 2010 and 2011.











Janet Yellen is hardly a dove—she knows the US economy needs some unemployment

By Miles Kimball 3 hours ago

Miles Kimball is an economics professor at the University of Michigan. He blogs about economics, politics and religion.

Janet Yellen knows unemployment motivates the existing workforce in good times and bad. Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

 

President Obama was right to say his appointment of Janet Yellen to head the US Federal Reserve has been one of his most important economic decisions. As the graph below shows, from the mid-1980s through 2007, monetary policy kept US GDP growth fairly steady, without needing much help from Keynesian fiscal policy. Economists talk about this period when GDP growth was much steadier than before as “The Great Moderation.” Monetary policy has done less well in years since the financial crisis in 2008, because the Fed felt it could not lower its target interest rate below zero, and has not been fully comfortable with its backup tools of quantitative easing and “forward guidance” about what it will do to interest rates years down the road.

+

Yellen’s academic research on the theory of unemployment points to one of the key reasons it is important to keep the growth of the economy steady. Let me explain.

+

With her husband George Akerlof, who was among recipients of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2001, Yellen edited “Efficiency Wage Models of the Labor Market,” which gives one of the leading theories of why some level of unemployment persists even in good times, and why unemployment gets much worse in bad times. Yellen summarized the major variants of Efficiency Wage Theory. They all share the idea that firms often want to pay their workers more than their workers can get elsewhere. It might seem that employers would always want to pay workers as little as possible, but badly paid workers don’t care much about keeping their jobs.

+

Low pay affords workers an attitude of “Take this job and shove it!.” If workers have no reason to obey you because they are just as well off without the job—and owe you nothing—it will be hard to run a business. And if you hire someone at very low pay who actually sticks around, it is reasonable to worry about what is wrong with the worker that makes it so that worker can’t do better than the miserable job you are offering them. The way out of this trap is for an employer to pay enough that the worker is significantly better off with the job than without the job.

+

It might sound like a good thing that firms have a reason to pay workers more, except that, according to the Efficiency Wage Theory, firms have to keep raising wages until workers are too expensive for all of them to get hired. The reasoning goes like this: There will always be some jobs that are at the bottom of the heap. Suppose some of those bottom-of-the-heap jobs are also dead-end jobs, with no potential for promotion or any other type of advancement. If bottom-of-the-heap, dead-end jobs were free for the taking, no one would ever worry about losing one of those jobs. The Johnny Paycheck moment—when the worker says “Take this job and shove it”—will not be long in coming. If they were free for the taking, bottom-of-the-heap, dead-end jobs would also be subject to high turnover and low levels of emotional attachment to the firm.

+

The only way a bottom-of-the-heap, dead-end job will ever be worth something to a worker is if there is a something worse than a bottom-of-the-heap, dead-end job. In Efficiency Wage Theory, that something worse is being unemployed. To make workers care about bottom-of-the-heap, dead-end jobs, employers have to keep raising their wages above what other firms are offering until workers are expensive enough that there is substantial unemployment—enough unemployment that being unemployed is worse than having one of those bottom-of-the-heap, dead-end jobs. For the worker, Efficiency Wage Theory is bittersweet.

+

Some of what counts as unemployment in the official statistics arises from people in between jobs who simply need a little time to identify and decide among all the different jobs potentially available to them. And some is from people who have an unrealistic idea of what kinds of jobs are potentially available to them. But let me call the part of unemployment due to this Efficiency-Wage-Theory logicmotivational unemployment. In the case of motivational unemployment, there will be people who are unemployed who are essentially identical to people who do have jobs. It is just bad luck on the part of the unemployed to be allotted the social role of scaring those who do have jobs into doing the boss’s bidding.

+

In criminal justice, swift, sure punishment does not need to be as harsh as slow, uncertain punishment. Just so, in Efficiency Wage Theory, the better and faster bosses are at catching worker dereliction of duty, the less motivational unemployment is needed. Because it is easier to motivate workers when worker dereliction of duty is detected more quickly, firms will stop raising wages and cutting back on employment at lower levels of unemployment.

+

There are other conceivable ways to reduce the necessity of motivational unemployment in the long run.

+

  1. If all jobs had advancement possibilities—that is, no jobs were dead-end jobs—it might be possible to motivate workers by the hope of moving up the ladder. This works best if workers actually learn and get better at what they do over time by sticking with a job.
  2. If doing what needs to be done on the job could be made more pleasant, it would reduce the need for the carrot of above-market wages or the stick of unemployment.
  3. If workers could trust firms not to cheat them and were required to pay for their jobs, they would be afraid of having to pay for a job all over again if they were fired.
  4. There could be a threat other than unemployment, such as deportation.
  5. Unemployment could be made less attractive.
  6. Worker’s reputations could be tracked more systematically and made available online.

To make possibilities 5 and 6 more concrete, let me mention online activist Morgan Warstler’s thought-provoking (if Dickensian and possibly unworkable) proposal that would make unemployment less attractive and would better track workers reputations: An “eBay job auction and minimum income program for the unemployed.” The program would require those receiving unemployment insurance or other assistance to work in a temp-job—within a certain radius from the worker’s home. The employer would go online to bid on an employee to hire and the wages would offset some of the cost of government assistance. Both the history of bids and an eBay-like rating system of the workers would give later employers a lot of useful information about the worker. Workers would also give feedback on firms, to help ferret out abuses. It is obvious that many of the policies that Efficiency Wage Theory suggests might reduce unemployment would be politically toxic and some (such as using the threat of deportation to keep employees in line) are morally reprehensible. But some of those policies merit serious thought.

+

What does Efficiency Wage Theory have to say about monetary policy? The details of how motivational unemployment works matter. Think about bottom-of-the-heap, dead-end jobs again. As the unemployment rate goes down in good times, the wage firms need to pay to motivate those workers goes up faster and faster, creating inflationary pressures. But the wages of those jobs at the bottom are already so low that when unemployment goes up in the bad times, it takes a lot of extra unemployment to noticeably reduce the wages that firms feel they need to pay and bring inflation back down. This is one of several, and possibly the biggest reason that the round trip of letting inflation creep up and then having to bring it back down is a bad deal. And a round trip in the other direction—letting inflation fall as it has in the last few years with the idea of bringing it back up later—is just as costly. (You can see the fall in what the Fed calls “core” inflation—the closest thing to being the measure of inflation the Fed targets—in the graph below.) It is much better to keep inflation steady by keeping output and unemployment at their natural levels.

+

The conventional classification divides monetary policy makers into “hawks,” who hate inflation more than unemployment and “doves” who hate unemploymentmore than inflation. Most commentators classify Janet Yellen as a dove. But I parse things differently. There can be serious debates about the long-run inflation target. I have taken the minority position that our monetary system should be adapted so that we can safely have a long-run inflation target of zero. But as long as there is a consensus on the Fed’s monetary policy committee that 2% per year (in terms of the particular measure of inflation in the graph above) is the right long-run inflation target, it is entirely appropriate for Janet Yellen to think that inflation below 2% is too low in any case, so that further monetary stimulus is beneficial not only because it lowers unemployment, but also because it raises inflation towards its 2% target level.

+

To see the logic, imagine some future day in which everyone agreed that the long-run inflation target should be zero. Then if inflation were below the target—in that case actually being deflation–then almost everyone would agree that monetary stimulus would be good not only because it lowered unemployment, but also because it raised inflation from negative values toward zero. Anyone who wants to make the case for a long-run inflation target lower than 2% should make that argument, but otherwise they should not be too quick to call Janet Yellen a dove for insisting that the Fed should keep inflation from falling below the Fed’s agreed-upon long-run inflation target of 2%.

+

Nor should anyone be called a hawk and have the honor of being thought to truly hate inflation if they are not willing to do what it takes to safely bring inflation down to zero and keep it there. Letting inflation fall willy-nilly because a serious recession has not been snuffed out as soon as it should have been is no substitute for keeping the economy on an even keel and very gradually bringing inflation down to zero, with all due preparation.

+

There is also no special honor in having a tendency to think that a dangerous inflationary surge is around the corner when events prove otherwise. One feather in Yellen’s cap is the Wall Street Journal’s determination that her predictions for the economy have been more accurate than any of the other 14 Fed policy makers analyzed. For the Fed, making good predictions about where the economy would go without any policy intervention, and what the effects of various policies would be, is more than half the battle. Differences in views about the relative importance of inflation and unemployment pale in comparison to differences in views about how the economy works in influencing policy recommendations. Having a good forecasting record is not enough to show that one understands how the economy works, but over time, having a bad forecasting record certainly indicates some lack of understanding—unless one is learning from one’s mistakes.

+

In the last 10 years, America’s economic policy-making apparatus as a whole made at least two big mistakes: not requiring banks to put up more of their own shareholders’ money when they took risks, and not putting in place the necessary measures to allow the Fed to fight the Great Recession as it should have, with negative interest rates. It is time for America’s economic policy-making apparatus to learn from its mistakes, on both counts.

+

As the saying goes, “It’s difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.” But I will hazard the prediction that if the Senate confirms her appointment, monetary historians 40 years from now will say that Janet Yellen was an excellent Fed chief. There will be more tough calls ahead than we can imagine clearly. As president of the San Francisco Fed from 2004 to 2010, and as vice chair of the Fed since then, Yellen has brought to bear on her role as a policymaker both skills in deep abstract thinking from her academic background and the deep practical wisdom also known as “common sense.” It is time for her to move up to the next level.









Treasured memories of a matriarch: Rose Kennedy's family album reveals rare pictures of America's celebrated dynasty

The new book Rose Kennedy's Family Album features personal letters and some 300 images taken between 1878-1946, when John F. Kennedy won the Democratic nomination during his first run for Congress. The photo history of the Kennedy clan told from the perspective of the spirited matriarch, Rose Kennedy, covers everything from the family's first home to beach vacations, children's birthdays to first Communions. Caroline Kennedy, President Kennedy's daughter, wrote the forward for the book and helped cull the images and accompanying materials presented in the volume from the thousands in the archives of the Kennedy Library.






Revealed: How Pentagon FAKED repatriation of fallen soldiers for years with bodies that had spent months in labs and planes that couldn't even fly

For seven years, the Department of Defense has faked repatriations in which military personnel carry honored dead soldiers from planes when they return to the U.S., it has emerged. While the Pentagon insists most coffins do contain soldiers' remains, it has admitted that the Hawaii arrival ceremonies often attended by a tearful audience aren't actually arrivals at all. In fact, the coffins are toted out of planes that can no longer even fly, but must be towed onto the runway for the phony ceremonies and the remains have sometimes been back in the country for months. Now, the events will be known as 'honor ceremonies'.







Inside the secret bunker stocked with 30 years of supplies and hidden under a luxury hotel to keep America's most influential alive in a nuclear fallout

The bunker, a vast box protected by 5-foot-thick concrete walls and 18- to 25-ton blast doors, was built under the Greenbrier Hotel (top left) in West Virginia at the direction of President Eisenhower and completed in 1962, when the United States and the former Soviet Union were bracing for what appeared to be an inevitable nuclear war. The attacks never came, so the bunker was never used.









Kentucky pastor 'murdered husband and wife then attended their funerals and offered his sympathies to grieving family'

Kenneth Allen Keith (pictured), pastor of Main Street Baptist Church in Burnside, Kentucky was arrested on Wednesday and charged with murder and robbery.








Obama signs bill to pay military death benefits during government shutdown

Families of fallen troops will be assured of receiving death benefits during the government shutdown under legislation President Obama signed today.





Shutdown backfires on Republicans as they score worst poll rating of any political party for the last 20 years

Gallup poll finds just 28 per cent of Americans approve of the GOP, the lowest number since it started polling the question in 1992, while Democrats are steady at 43 per cent.





Out of money, out of time: 200-year-old clock stops ticking at U.S. Capitol due to government shutdown

The historic Ohio Clock inside the U.S. Capitol Building has stopped ticking since the team of curators that kept it wound were furloughed.







Obie the formerly obese dachshund shows off his astonishing weight loss on the beach after shedding 50lbs on a year-long diet

The pup, living in Portland, Oregon, with owner Nora Vanatta, had previously tipped the scales at whopping 77lbs (left). Now, he is down to a healthy weight of 27lbs (right). This week, Vanatta and the new and improved Obie celebrated his drastic makeover with a trip to the beach. Photos posted by Vanatta on the Facebook page Obie Dog Story dedicated to the pup's stunning weight loss show the 5-year-old dachshund looking healthy and trim.





South Dakota devastated by apocalyptic scenes of up to 20,000 dead cows killed by freezing blizzards

Some ranchers saw up to half of their herds wiped out last weekend as blizzards swept the South Dakota countryside leaving their livelihoods in ruins. And today their black and bloated corpses still scarred the picturesque flatlands to the west of the Roughrider State as the cleanup began.









Shocking moment cops shoved a woman face-first into a concrete jail cell: 47-year- old landed so hard she needed facial reconstructive surgery

Cassandra Feuerstein, 47, from Illinois, claims in a federal lawsuit that excessive force was used and she needed surgery to 'replace the bones that had been shattered'. The video of the incident clearly shows the 47-year-old being roughly shoved into a cell by an officer later identified as Michael Hart after she was initially searched by a female officer.









Amazing! Cops Wearing Cameras Cut Complaints 88%

Who could have guessed this would happen? Or that cops wouldn’t like being recorded?

Police officers in Rialto, Calif., carry cameras to record their every action while on duty. The city says the program has reduced complaints against police officers by 88 percent during the first year.










Guns, religion, and alcohol. What a great idea.


Lies may be easier to tell and to hear, but they don't make the truth disappear.


"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”
Mahatma Gandhi


If you are the owner of an image on this page and would like it removed, please send an email to rcrockett2000 at yahoo dot com with proof of ownership and I will gladly remove the image.

© Roy Crockett 2013