Sunday Reads: Relax, Take it easy…

Good Morning!

Since it is a lovely Sunday Morning, let’s just have a couple newsy links and make the rest of the post…lazy and easy.

Des Moines Register Poll: Newt Gingrich Leads in Iowa  …Ugh, how can this man even get a headline like that?

In yet another shakeup of one of the most erratic Republican presidential primaries in decades, a new Des Moines Register poll shows Newt Gingrich is the top choice of likely Iowa caucus-goers, while Mitt Romney has slipped into a contest for second place with Ron Paul.

I guess his comment about poor kids, from poor neighborhoods, who only know how to work, if it is illegal…hit its mark.

National Journal is also reporting Cain’s Endorsement Might Go to Fellow Georgian Newt Gingrich.

As my colleagues report, the remaining members of the GOP presidential field are already racing for the endorsement of now ex-candidate Herman Cain, who stated during his farewell address he plans to support one of his former rivals. The early front-runner? It has to be fellow Georgian Newt Gingrich, the ex-speaker of the House who has been overtly friendly to Cain and attracts a similar type of supporter.
In early November, Gingrich and Cain participated in an amicable two-person debate together, an unusual event for two men who are ostensibly rivals. Cain even made a point of praising his opponent.
Both men are from Georgia, and the former House Republican leader can relate to a candidate whose personal life thwarted his political career. Unlike fellow presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, who urged Cain to exit the race, Gingrich sympathized with his plight, calling it “very painful.”
“I am proud to know Herman Cain and consider him a friend,” Gingrich said in his statement released after Cain’s announcement. “I know from having worked with him for more than a decade he will continue to be a powerful voice in the conservative movement for years to come.”

Both men are also womanizers…so who would you expect to get the Cain endorsement? It will be announced soon,I  wonder if the bus “Further” will make another appearance? Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing that tea party fruitcake make the grand introduction.

Reuters had this article posted yesterday, you may have missed it: Exclusive: MF Global mixed funds, transferred abroad

Regulators investigating the collapse of MF Global have determined that the firm combined money between securities and futures accounts owned by customers, and transferred funds outside the country to at least one entity, a source said on Friday.

“The further we get into (the investigation) the more complex it is … but we’re making progress,” the source said, adding that the commingling and transferring of money is making it harder for regulators to determine what money belongs where.

MF Global took futures segregated money and put it into the account for customer securities, essentially mixing futures and securities that were both owned by customers, said an official familiar with the matter.

Until now, it was believed that only customer futures accounts were affected.

Oh, but you know it is always worse than first expected…

The source also told Reuters that MF Global had been using customer funds for “several days if not weeks” rather than just a few days before the firm collapsed.

Regulators had previously thought the firm was using customer funds on the Thursday and Friday before it filed for bankruptcy on October 31.

CME Group, the Chicago exchange where MF Global traded, said it had reviewed the company’s books a week before the bankruptcy and found no issues with the customer money.

If MF Global started improperly dipping into its customers’ accounts long before the firm’s collapse, the allegation would raise questions of why the regulators and auditors failed to spot such behavior.

That is an easy question to answer, they lied!  Well, okay that is my own answer…but what about the possibility of a cover up? It’s all good, Koch Brothers got their moola out before the shit hit the fan.

Last week, Mother Jones wrote about a recent study that found the herbicide Atrazine causes hormonal problems in women. Study: Common Herbicide Causes Menstrual Trouble

Yet again, scientists have looked at populations routinely exposed to the widely used herbicide atrazine and found trouble.

The latest: In a study published by Envionmental Research (summarized here), researchers found evidence that atrazine could be causing menstrual irregularities and low estrogen levels in women, even when it appears in drinking water at levels far below the EPA’s limit of 3 parts per billion.

The study showed that women in ag-intensive areas of Illinois, where atrazine has been shown to leach into drinking water from farm fields, were significantly more likely to experience menstrual irregularities and low estrogen levels than women in ag-intensive areas of Vermont, where atrazine use is much lower.

The Vermont/Illinois paper comes on the heels of an analysis of the Agricultural Health Study—an ongoing look at people who regularly apply pesticides and their spouses—that found similar trends among women exposed to atrazine, as well as a 2009 study finding that atrazine levels in drinking water tracked with low-weight birth incidences in Indiana.

This is some scary stuff. I plan to do a series on atrazine, like I did on hexavalent chromium, otherwise known as chrome 6…so look for it in the next week or so.

Going back to the article by Tom Philpott:

Meanwhile, as I reported three weeks ago, an independent scientific panel convened by the EPA found “strong” evidence linking atrazine to thyroid cancer and “suggestive” evidence linking it to ovarian cancer, also based on studies of human populations exposed to the poison through drinking water. The panel declared that the EPA had been seriously underestimating the cancer risk posed by atrazine in drinking water.

Now, assessing the danger of a toxic chemical like atrazine, the second-most-used pesticide on US farm fields, is tricky. You can’t ethically feed a suspected poison to people and see what happens.

You can use animals to gauge its effects, but it isn’t perfectly clear how the results apply to humans. And you can find human populations known to be exposed to it and see if any health concerns turn up—a practice known as epidemiology, and exemplified by the studies I cite above. But here, too, results are uncertain, because real-world situations contain infinite variables that can’t be controlled for.

But the absence of definitive proof that exposure to atrazine causes health trouble does not exonerate the lucrative agrichemical, as its maker, Syngenta, would have us believe. Until company execs volunteer to start quaffing the stuff and feeding it to their kids, animal studies and epidemiology are all we have. And for atrazine, both point to danger. (A recent University of California-Berkeley study found that low-level exposure to the chemical emasculates male frogs).

Philpott notes that according to a spokesperson at the EPA, atrazine won’t be banned any time soon, 2013 is the earliest the EPA could ban this very harmful chemical.

Did anyone see this article in the New York Times? After American Outcry, Israel Ends Ad Campaign Aimed at Expatriates h/t my mom…

For many American Jews, the Israeli government-sponsored ads, intended to cajole Israelis living in the United States to come home, smacked of arrogance, ignorance and cultural disrespect of America. Jewish groups in the United States expressed outrage, saying they were causing a rift with American Jews who support Israel. On Friday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu aborted the campaign.

The ads — short videos and billboard posters — were intended to touch the sensibilities of Israeli expatriates and tap into their national identity, according to the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, which oversaw the campaign.

But critics said the ads implied that moving to America led to assimilation and an erosion of Jewish consciousness. The Jewish Federations of North America called them insulting. Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, called the videos “heavy-handed, and even demeaning.”

…a blog was posted this week by Jeffrey Goldberg, a writer for The Atlantic.

“The idea, communicated in these ads, that America is no place for a proper Jew, and that a Jew who is concerned about the Jewish future should live in Israel, is archaic, and also chutzpadik, if you don’t mind me resorting to the vernacular,” Mr. Goldberg said.

The Ministry of Immigrant Absorption apologized, they know that a lot of financial support comes from American Jews…

Mr. Foxman called the campaign “a reflection of the ignorance that exists in Israel of Jewish life in America, its vitality, its creativity.” Still, he said, Israel’s decision to stop the ads showed “that they’re listening and it does matter how we feel.”

Alright, now for the easy…relaxing part of the morning round-up, after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sunday Reads: Amoeba, Mount Etna, London Riots and The Goat Man

Good morning!

Sunday is here, and I am just going to dive into today’s post because I have so much to share with you.

Well, lets start off here in the US…

Summertime in Florida is a lot like being in hell, the heat is unbearable and if you ever try to cool off in some fresh water lake or river, there are dangerous alligators and snakes that can come at you so fast in the murky water, you never know they are there until it is too late. Well, it looks like there is another deadly organism that lurks in the fresh water in Florida.

Amoeba brain infection: Brevard girl suffers amoeba brain infection –

Central Florida’s fresh water lakes and rivers offer swimmers a natural, scenic and cool respite from the summer’s scorching heat.

But beneath those sparkling waters lurks a microscopic single-celled parasite that thrives in the hot summer months and, if disturbed, can infect and kill an unsuspecting swimmer in less than a week.

State health officials Friday issued an alert about the deadly amoeba Naegleria fowleri, found in the silt at the bottom of most Florida lakes and rivers, after suspecting it infected 16-year-old Brevard County resident Courtney Nash.

Courtney went swimming with her family in the St. John’s River and after a couple of days, she began showing symptoms of similar to primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) A infection caused by waterborne amoebas when they enter the human body through the nose, mouth or ears.  For people who become infected with the parasite, death comes within seven days.

The Naegleria fowleri amoeba lives in many Florida lakes and, when water temperatures rise as they have in recent weeks, health experts warn swimmers to stay out of fresh water.


Experts also caution swimmers to avoid lakes when the water temperature rises above 80 degrees because that’s when they think amoebas are most active.

It sounds like some sort of horror movie. I just wanted to bring it to your attention.

Twin Towers in Summer of 2000, a picture I took when we lived in an apartment in Hanover Square.

When we lived in Manhattan, and later moved to Connecticut, the Twin Towers were more than the place my husband worked at.  No matter where you were in the city, they seemed to stand tall and act like protectors. Especially, since we lived down in Hanover Square, and spent most of our time in Lower Manhattan.  It wasn’t until I went back to Manhattan after they fell that I realized just what a comfort those buildings were to me. Twin Towers photographer reflects on new Trade Center –

“When the Twin Towers were gone I felt disoriented in the city for a long time,” said Brian Rose, an architectural photographer with a degree in Urban Planning. He started taking pictures of the Towers from just about every angle imaginable in the late 1970s. Some of those photographs appear in his self-published book titled WTC.

“I started photographing the Lower East Side and I saw distant views from the Lower East Side where the Twin Towers were there,” said Rose. “Then, I photographed Lower Manhattan as part of a project. … The Twin Towers became very present in those pictures.”

It was hard not to include the towers. Rose would see them as he drove toward the city on the New Jersey Turnpike. There was the view from Kennedy Airport of the buildings rising above the New York skyline way off in the distance. But he most liked the glimpses that he would catch of the Twin Towers rising between smaller buildings as he looked downtown on many of the city’s streets.

“The buildings were really signposts. If you came out of the subway anywhere in the city and you were a little bit disoriented at first you could always look one way or the other and see the Twin Towers,” Rose said. “It was almost like a needle of a compass for me.”

Give that CNN link a click and look at some of the images Rose has taken over the years. The tenth anniversary is coming up a month from now. It is unbelievable to me that so many years have passed.

We have experienced a horrible summer here on the eastern side of the country, but over in the Northwestern US, the weather conditions have been colder than usual.  A Long, Cold Summer at Mount Rainier –

Matthew Ryan Williams for The New York Times

A hiker in August. Visitors to the Mount Rainier park are down by 30 percent this year.

Usually by August, most of the snow on Mount Rainier, the sleeping volcanic giant here, has long since melted. The meadows of wildflowers are abloom, and hikers galore are tramping along the trails.

But this year, temperatures have been colder than usual, keeping record mounds of old snow lying around. This has discouraged everyone, from the most rigorous climbers to backpackers, hikers and Sunday drivers.


The amount of snow still on the ground, as measured at Paradise, the park’s main visitor area, is setting records. Last Sunday, it set a record of 44 inches, said Stefan Lofgren, the park’s mountaineering district ranger. The previous record for Aug. 7 was 40 inches, set in 1974.

Another record was set Tuesday, when 43 inches remained on the ground. Mr. Lofgren said he expected records for another couple of weeks. At this elevation (5,400 feet), Paradise normally gets about 630 inches of snow a year, but this year it received a whopping 907 inches.

Heading over to some updates in World News, Tribal Rifts Threaten to Undermine Libya Uprising –

Saddled with infighting and undermined by the occasionally ruthless and undisciplined behavior of its fighters, the six-month-old rebel uprising against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi is showing signs of sliding from a struggle to overthrow an autocrat into a murkier contest between factions and tribes.

The increase in discord and factionalism is undermining the effort to overthrow Colonel Qaddafi, and it comes immediately after recognition of the rebel government by the Western powers, including the United States, potentially giving the rebels access to billions of dollars in frozen Libyan assets, and the chance to purchase more modern weaponry.

The infighting could also erode support for the rebels among members of the NATO alliance, which faces a September deadline for renewing its air campaign amid growing unease about the war’s costs and direction.

I really wonder how long Gaddafi is going to linger over there, and will the Rebel forces actually come together and put Libya back on track.

In Somalia, the people are dealing with famine, rape, violence and now cholera.  WHO: Cholera on the Rise in Somali Capital « VOA Breaking News

The World Heath Organization says Somalia has seen a spike in cholera in the Mogadishu area.

WHO said Friday more than 4,000 cases of diarrheal disease have been reported in Mogadishu’s Banadir hospital this year.

It says children under five account for 75 percent of those cases.

We’ll leave Africa and head north to England.  This past week Boston Boomer wrote one hell of a post about the riots in London.  She discussed the social and political issues that have brought about the anger that was key within the scope of violence at the hands of young Londoners.  According to one controversial historian, Black Culture is to blame for the riots.  English Historian Blames Black Culture for Riots –

During a televised discussion of the past week’s riots in England on Friday night, a prominent English historian sparked outrage by insisting that black, Afro-Caribbean culture was to blame for the mayhem and looting, even when the rioters were white.

David Starkey, who has presented several documentaries on the Tudor period, said during a BBC debate: “the problem is that the whites have become black — a particular sort of violent, destructive, nihilistic gangster culture has become the fashion — and black and white, boy and girl, operate in this language together; this language, which is wholly false, which is a Jamaican patois, that’s been intruded in England, and this is why so many of us have this sense of literally a foreign country.”

Asked if he was saying that the prophecy of Enoch Powell — an English politician who claimed in a speech in 1968 that immigration would eventually mean, “the black man will have the whip hand over the white man” in Britain — had come true, Mr. Starkey replied: “That’s not true.” He added, “it’s not skin color, it’s cultural.”

At least the other people on the show spoke up…

The other participants in the debate quickly objected to Mr. Starkey’s remarks. Owen Jones, the author of a book about working class culture in Britain, told the historian: “It’s utterly outrageous, obviously, what you’re saying. What you’re doing is you’re equating black culture with criminality.”

A short time later, Emily Maitlis, the BBC journalist who was moderating the discussion, told Mr. Starkey that he was using the terms black culture and white culture as synonyms for bad and good.

Wow…Be sure to read the entire article. There is also video to the BBC debate.

One of the things that Boston Boomer mentioned in her post, was the possibility that the powers that be would take this opportunity to put the last remaining nails in the proverbial coffin of the poor and “social welfare” class.  Families of London Rioters to Be Evicted, and Denied Welfare. | MyFDL

According to BBC radio : Prime Minister David Cameron has gone back to court to obtain actions that will be served to convicted rioters. These actions will cause the eviction of the rioters families as well as the termination of welfare payments.

Prime Minister Cameron says “They should have thought of this before they were caught burgling”.

Refresh my memory if I’m wrong, but I seem to recall “social welfare” being increased for the banks after having been caught red handed committing the largest theft known to recorded history.

One such eviction action has already been served as of this evening, against the single mother and sibling of a minor convicted in the riots. Don’t know for certain, but the rioter’s juvenile status seems to have facilitated the speed of the justice exacted.

For more on the evictions and the reactions of this decision by Cameron that is sure to evoke more riots and violence.  England riots: coalition row grows over ‘kneejerk’ response | Politics | The Observer

Coalition efforts to present a united front over the riots have come under strain as senior Liberal Democrats call for an end to “kneejerk” reactions by politicians and warn that stripping those involved of their benefits could worsen crime on the streets.

In a clear sign of tensions between the governing parties, the Lib Dems’ deputy leader, Simon Hughes, insists that long-term solutions lie in supporting communities by offering opportunities and redistributing wealth, not slashing help from the state and cutting taxes for the rich.

This is how the process works:

With the support of David Cameron, Conservative Wandsworth council was the first to attempt to evict tenants who had been caught up in the rioting. The prime minister also pledged to support “zero tolerance” policing where minor offences are prosecuted and said a series of tough measures would be unveiled in coming months to fight crime and reclaim the streets. “We haven’t talked the language of zero tolerance enough but the message is getting through,” he said.

Wandsworth announced on Friday that the first eviction notice had been served – to the mother of an 18-year-old boy accused of violent disorder and attempted theft. The teenager has not yet been convicted but has appeared in court in connection with disturbances on Monday at Clapham Junction.

Other authorities, including Westminster, Greenwich, Hammersmith and Fulham, Nottingham and Salford, are also considering evicting those found to have taken part in the unrest.

It really is disturbing to see governments and countries, like the US and Great Britain, doing these things to their own people. Wait, their own poor and middle class people.

From Minx’s Missing Link File:  While Romans burn: Italian sunbathers sizzle on Sicily beach as Mount Etna erupts | Mail Online

Relaxing: These sunbathers on a beach in Sicily seems unbothered by the eruption of Mt Etna in the distance

Relaxing: These sunbathers on a beach in Sicily seems unbothered by the eruption of Mt Etna in the distance

These Italian sunbathers seem to be making the most of their summer holidays

So determined are they to enjoy their time on the beach, they don’t even turn their heads to the sight of Europe’s largest volcano erupting behind them.

Or perhaps it’s just volcano fatigue – after all, this is the sixth time Mt Etna has erupted in the last month.

Hey, Sicilians have grown up with the Mafia, an erupting volcano is not going to scare them.

Easy Like Sunday Morning Link of the Week:  Here are a couple of links for you. I am curious if anyone has ever seen The Goat Man when he traveled the Dixie Highway, or any of the other back roads across the continental U.S. and Canada.  My father remembers seeing the Goat Man when he was a child in Tampa, FL. Imagine his surprise to see a picture of the same man and his goats in a Cherokee County, NC history book. This made my dad check out the Circle Box, and when he Googled “The Goat Man” he found out that memory he had of a smelly man, with a wagon full of clanking metal being pulled by a herd of goats was one he shared with many people across the country.  The Goat Man was even inspiration for some famous authors, like Flannery O’Connor and Cormac McCarthy, who based characters on him in their novels and stories.

The New York Times wrote this obituary about The Goat Man in 1998:  Charles McCartney, Known for Travels With Goats, Dies at 97 – New York Times

Whatever the scope of his travels, Mr. McCartney, who averaged seven miles a day and had a regular route between Iowa and Georgia, spent most of his time creating traffic jams throughout the South, primarily along the old Dixie Highway running through Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida.

As many who grew up in the South in the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s could attest, when the Goat Man came to town it was an event, one that inevitably produced a story and a photograph in the local paper.

So please enjoy these websites that highlight The Goat Man, America’s Legend

Charles “Ches” McCartney, the legendary “Goat Man”, was a wanderer, who spent decades traveling across the country while guiding a massive iron-wheeled wagon loaded with pots and pans, pails, bails of hay, car tags lead by a team of goats. “The Goat Man” entwined himself in the folklore of rural America for more than six decades.

The Goat Man lead a very colorful life. At age 14, having a reputation as an eccentric, his left his hometown in Iowa for New York. There he married a Spanish maiden and became a target for her knife-tossing act for two years. In the 1930’s McCartney hit the road with his wife and son. His wife later tired of the travels and returned home to Iowa while McCartney traveled on with his son.

The Goat Man and the Goat Boy, as his son Albert Gene was known as, would travel the roads together.

Albert Gene stayed in Iowa to attend school, rejoining Ches on his vacations. But Ches traveled on, gaining notoriety across the country as the “Goat Man.” His goat skin outfit eventually gave way to several layers of greasy, sooty clothes, which he would peel off depending on the weather. He never shaved or bathed, and it was said that his smell would roll into town long before he did. “[The goats] don’t care how I smell or how I look,” he later wrote. “They trust me and have faith in me, and this is more than I can say about a lot of people.”

At its height, the Goat Man’s junk-filled “goatvoy” consisted of two wagons pulled by a team of over thirty goats. The larger billies were hitched to the front of the wagon with homemade leather leads. Nannies were tied to the back with a couple of strong billies that served as the “brakes” on steep hills. The Goat Man also collected stray and neglected goats that he found during his travels, including a three-legged goat that rode in a special box on the front wagon. He referred to the goats as his “babies,” and called each of them by name as he walked beside them.

The Goat Man traveled over 100,000 miles, and covered 49 states, the only state he missed was Hawaii.  He even has his own Wikipedia page.

So check out these links and if any of you have ever come across The Goat Man please let me know…

That is all I have for you today, what else are you reading about today?