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(ENVIRONMENT) READ: Gizmos’ Energy Draw Alarms Experts…

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294955-6-20090919194543.image(Newser Summary) – All around the house, electronic gadgets are blinking, buzzing, computing—and drawing on an immense amount of energy, the New York Times reports. Worldwide, they take up 15% of household power, and will likely consume three times as much by 2029, making it harder to combat global warming. Two hundred and thirty nuclear plants would be needed to fuel that demand, the International Energy Agency says.

Most experts say regulations are needed to limit gadgets’ energy draw, but manufacturers have resisted such mandates. A federal attempt to limit the power draw of TVs—flat-screens are the biggest energy offender—died in the 1990s due to industry opposition. But Congress has done it before, limiting the energy use of appliances like refrigerators and washers. “Standards are one of the few ways to cheaply go after big chunks of energy savings,” one advocate says.

Neal Colgrass

Source: New York Times

Written by dnnnewshound

September 26, 2009 at 10:34 am

Posted in Ecology, Economics

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(ECONOMY/OUTRAGEOUS) READ: Chicago Cabbies Want To Charge For People Tossing Their Lunch!…

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s-CAB-largeSource: The Huffington Post

Chicago could become the first major city in the country with a puking ordinance if cab drivers get their way.

Chicago taxi drivers proposed a package of fee and fare hikes Thursday designed to offset their plunging income during the recession. Among the more controversial revenue-boosting ideas brought to the City Council is charging customers $50 for vomiting in cabs.

If enacted, Chicago would become one of America’s least friendly cities for drunks and people who eat bad shellfish. Customers who barf in cabs in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington, D.C., Houston or San Francisco may face the driver’s wrath, but they won’t see any additional charges.

“No, we do not have a puking fee,” Boston Police spokesman Joe Zanoli told the Huffington Post. “To my knowledge it’s free to puke in a cab.”

Raymond Turner, president of Yellow Cab Houston, said Friday that of the nearly 3.7 million cab trips his company makes yearly only a fraction involve incidents of reverse peristalsis.

“It’s a fairly rare event,” Turner said. “From my perspective, putting a city ordinance that applies to all cab rides for something that happens only three or four times a month is not very prudent.”

Turner added that while Houston has no law allowing for a fee, drivers often work out arrangements with customers who ralph while in transit. Some passengers agree to pay for a car wash, while others give larger tips.

Written by dnnnewshound

September 26, 2009 at 10:09 am

Posted in Economy, Outrageous

Tagged with ,

(ECONOMICS) READ: Cash-strapped States Are Hoping You’ll Sin, But There’s Not Enough Sinners!…

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Source: ESQUIRE

las-vegas-strip-1009-lg-2694219

The Las Vegas of 2009 has become much more reliant on high-end customers looking to splurge.

It’s never quite accurate to describe Las Vegas as a ghost town. Even at five in the morning on a Tuesday, it’s liable to be more lively than your average main street or shopping mall. But when I arrived there for a brief getaway last November, it was not the same bustling town I’d been used to. My flight from Houston was barely a third full. There was no line at the taxi stand, and my cabbie told me that several of his friends had recently been laid off from construction work on a variety of new developments, many of which had been halted in midstream after financing dried up. And when I arrived at Las Vegas Boulevard in the heart of the Strip, I found as many locals handing out postcards for dodgy escort services as tourists.

None of this, I suppose, should have been surprising: November was the nadir of the worst recession since the Second World War. Nevertheless, conventional wisdom has long held that gambling is recession-proof. In Las Vegas, it’s been anything but. Gaming revenues received by local casinos were down 12 percent in 2008 as compared with a year earlier. (This figure and all others in this article are reported on an inflation-adjusted basis.) And 2009 will be even worse: So far, revenues are off almost 15 percent from 2008’s already depressed figures. The recession, then, appears set to cost Las Vegas more than a quarter of its business.

This is sobering news not just for those who have purchased property in Las Vegas — economist Tyler Cowen recently stated that the real estate market would not recover there for another twenty years — but also for cash-strapped state legislatures that are turning to casino gambling as a way to raise revenue. Delaware, which already offers horse racing and slot machines, now plans to extend its law to permit table games like blackjack and, more controversially, sports betting. In July, Ohio governor Ted Strickland signed an executive order to permit slot machines at horse tracks, while California began to allow offtrack betting on horse races for the first time. Philadelphia will soon become the largest American city to permit casino gambling within city limits, although play will initially be limited to slot machines. And in Texas — where, ironically, no legal game of Texas hold ’em is available — gaming advocates are hoping that Kay Bailey Hutchison will defeat gambling-averse incumbent Rick Perry in next year’s governor’s race, which would empower the state legislature to consider casino gambling there.

But desperate state governments looking to casinos to bail them out of their budget nightmares are likely to be disappointed. The same may be the case with trying to tap other “sins” for revenue. Nationally, sales of alcohol for off-premises consumption were down significantly last year, an unprecedented 9.3 percent in the fourth quarter, according to the Commerce Department. The largest previous drop had been just 3.7 percent, between the third and fourth quarters of 1991.

Alcohol consumption can at least be expected to bounce back a bit — right? — but a lot of the potential customers of the new casinos may be tapped out. The year 2008 was the first time in history that total casino gaming revenues declined throughout the United States (by about 5 percent according to industry estimates). In most jurisdictions, gambling revenues max out quickly. In Atlantic City, for example, which opened for business in 1978, gaming revenues were no higher in 2008 than they were in 1986, and 2009 is on pace to be the slowest year since 1983. Gambling revenues peaked in 2002 in Illinois, in 2000 in Mississippi, and in 2006 in Detroit, which had only begun to permit gambling ten years earlier. The boom years in Vegas, when revenues nearly doubled, between 1989 and 2006, might have led states to misread casino gambling’s upside potential.

What we’ve witnessed, indeed, is something of a race to the bottom. Shortly after President Reagan signed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988, which expressly permitted Indian tribes to open casinos under tribal-state compacts, states like Mississippi, Illinois, and Colorado — seeing no reason to split their profits with the Seminoles or the Cherokee — decided to permit their own state-run facilities. Neighboring states, worried about losing their customers across state lines, then followed suit: Louisiana a year after Mississippi, Indiana and Missouri three years after Illinois, Michigan two years after Ontario, Canada. Meanwhile, the Indian tribes continued to up the ante, their casino revenuesapproximately tripling from 1997 to 2006.

Read more: http://www.esquire.com/features/data/nate-silver-sin-tax-1009?src=rss#ixzz0Rm0Qi3Kb

Written by dnnnewshound

September 21, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Posted in Economics

Tagged with , , ,

(OUTRAGEOUS) READ: Loving Couple Divorces To Stay Afloat Financially….

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Source: The Huffington Post

s-RONMARY-largeFor Mary McCurnin and husband Ron Bednar, money trouble has followed health trouble. In 2003, the couple declared bankruptcy after their insurance covered only 10 percent of treatment costs for her breast cancer and his intestinal bleeding. In 2004, McCurnin’s breast cancer returned, and Bednar underwent open heart surgery.

Now, after repeatedly refinancing their house to pay medical bills and living expenses, they’re broke. To improve their chances of growing old together, they’ve filed for divorce.

“It occurred to me that I could get my first husband’s Social Security,” said McCurnin. Her first husband, to whom she’d been married 20 years, died in 1989. When she turns 60 in November, McCurnin said she will be eligible for $1,200 in monthly survivor’s benefits from the previous marriage. As the Social Security Administration told her, she can’t have the survivor benefit if she’s married to someone else.

The Rancho Cordova, Calif. couple has been scraping by with the occasional freelance gig — both are graphic artists — and Bednar brings in $1,000 a month in Social Security benefits. They haven’t made a payment on either of their mortgages in two months and fully expect a foreclosure. McCurnin told the Huffington Post that they don’t bother opening mail from their credit card companies, to whom they owe at least $10,000.

McCurnin said she suspects their horrendous credit is a huge obstacle to either of them landing a job, and Bednar talks about the “gray wall” that faces perfectly qualified older workers.

“We literally live from week to week,” said McCurnin. “We got $300 in the bank.”

McCurnin has health insurance via Medi-Cal; Bednar is hoping to stay healthy until next August, when he turns 65 and will be eligible for Medicare.

The couple first attempted to file for divorce in February, but ultimately hired a paralegal when their paperwork kept getting rejected for errors. They expect the divorce to be finalized in the coming weeks. There’s a bright side: After the widow’s benefits kick in, they could remarry without her losing them.

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“She could divorce him now to collect short-term benefits on her earlier husband, and then at some later point after age 60 remarry him without it affecting her widow’s benefits,” said Lowell Kepke, a spokesman for the San Francisco regional office of the Social Security Administration. “Congress put that in precisely to stop encouraging elderly couples from not getting married.”

But the widow’s benefits aren’t the only reasons for the divorce. McCurnin and Bednar will be able to earn more money working before reaching a cap that would reduce their Social Security payments. Married couples are allowed to earn much less than the sum of what two individuals can earn separately.

“It’s always significantly less for the couple than it is after a divorce,” said Mary Thuerwachter, an elder law attorney in California, in an interview with the Huffington Post.

And, potentially more importantly, McCurnin and Bednar will be indemnified from each other’s future debts, should expensive medical problems come up.

“They will be off the hook,” Thuerwachter said.

The couple will be glad to get a break, but it’s not exactly the ideal kind.

Bednar, the couple agrees, is a little more romantic about it.

“It makes me feel awful, to tell you the truth,” he told the Huffington Post. “It makes me sad. It really does. I believe in the marriage. I believe in the whole act of marriage, to declare that we are married in front of friends and family and God and all that. It just makes me sad to have to go through that process.”

“The only thing that happens is a check mark in a box in a courthouse,” said McCurnin, who takes a more pragmatic view. “It’s absurd… Having to get divorced in order to be able to eat. I have no idea why it’s like that.” READ MORE

Written by dnnnewshound

September 16, 2009 at 9:00 am

Posted in Outrageous, Recession

(CRIME/WORLD) READ: Peru Flooding US With Counterfeit Bills…

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About $8 million in fake greenbacks found in U.S., another $18 million in Peru

Fist of Money(Newser Summary) – American officials have seized some $8 million in high-quality counterfeit US bills made in Peru, reports the Los Angeles Times. South American raids have uncovered another $18 million. The massive number of fake bills costs businesses and individuals millions, and threatens to undermine confidence in US currency, warn officials. “It’s a form of economic terrorism,” said a Secret Service agent.

Early this year, US officials launched a special task force to train Peruvian police and bankers to identify and capture counterfeiters. Columbia used to print about 70% of fake dollars passed in the states until a similar crackdown cut production to about 5%—which still accounts for millions of fake bills. Police action may have driven some Columbian counterfeiters to Peru. Human “mules” bring the money across borders, often with it strapped to their bodies.

Mat Probasco

Source: Los Angeles Times

Written by dnnnewshound

September 13, 2009 at 5:23 pm

Posted in Crime, Economics

Tagged with , , ,

(POLITICS) NYT: Government Pays Legal Bills For Executives That Defrauded The Government…

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Source: NYtimes/The Huffington Post

www.huffingtonpost.com_Raines_s-RAINES-largePRECISELY one year ago, we lucky taxpayers took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage finance giants that contributed mightily to the wild and crazy home-loan-boom-turned-bust. In that rescue operation, the Treasury agreed to pony up as much as $200 billion to keep Fannie in the black, coughing up cash whenever its liabilities exceed its assets. According to the company’s most recent quarterly financial statement, the Treasury will, by Sept. 30, have handed over $45 billion to shore up the company’s net worth.

It is still unclear what the ultimate cost of this bailout will be. But thanks to inquiries by Representative Alan Grayson, a Florida Democrat, we do know of another, simply outrageous cost. As a result of the Fannie takeover, taxpayers are paying millions of dollars in legal defense bills for three top former executives, including Franklin D. Raines, who left the company in late 2004 under accusations of accounting improprieties. From Sept. 6, 2008, to July 21, these legal payments totaled $6.3 million.

With all the turmoil of the financial crisis, you may have forgotten about the book-cooking that went on at Fannie Mae. Government inquiries found that between 1998 and 2004, senior executives at Fannie manipulated its results to hit earnings targets and generate $115 million in bonus compensation. Fannie had to restate its financial results by $6.3 billion.

Almost two years later, in 2006, Fannie’s regulator concluded an investigation of the accounting with a scathing report. “The conduct of Mr. Raines, chief financial officer J. Timothy Howard, and other members of the inner circle of senior executives at Fannie Mae was inconsistent with the values of responsibility, accountability, and integrity,” it said.

That year, the government sued Mr. Raines, Mr. Howard and Leanne Spencer, Fannie’s former controller, seeking $100 million in fines and $115 million in restitution from bonuses the government contended were not earned. Without admitting wrongdoing, Mr. Raines, Mr. Howard and Ms. Spencer paid $31.4 million in 2008 to settle the litigation.

When these top executives left Fannie, the company was obligated to cover the legal costs associated with shareholder suits brought against them in the wake of the accounting scandal.

Now those costs are ours. Between Sept. 6, 2008, and July 21, we taxpayers spent $2.43 million to defend Mr. Raines, $1.35 million for Mr. Howard, and $2.52 million to defend Ms. Spencer.

“I cannot see the justification of people who led these organizations into insolvency getting a free ride,” Mr. Grayson said. “It goes right to the heart of what people find most disturbing in this situation — the absolute lack of justice.” READ MORE

Written by dnnnewshound

September 6, 2009 at 12:32 pm

(ECONOMY) READ: Cash-Strapped States To Set Inmates Free…

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www.huffingtonpost.com_Inmates_s-INMATES-largeMandatory sentencing laws are relaxed, parole is accelerated, and time off for good behavior is increased as states scramble to save money.

Reporting from Denver – After decades of pursuing lock-’em-up policies, states are scrambling to reduce their prison populations in the face of tight budgets, making fundamental changes to their criminal justice systems as they try to save money.

Some states are revising mandatory-sentencing laws that locked up nonviolent offenders; others are recalculating the way prison time is counted.

California, with the nation’s second-largest prison system, is considering perhaps the most dramatic proposal — releasing 40,000 inmates to save money and comply with a court ruling that found the state’s prisons overcrowded.

Colorado will accelerate parole for nearly one-sixth of its prison population. Kentucky has already granted early release to more than 3,000 inmates. Oregon has temporarily nullified a voter initiative calling for stiffer sentences for some crimes, and has increased by 10% the time inmates get off their sentences for good behavior.

The flurry of activity has led to an unusual phenomenon — bureaucrats and politicians expressing relief at the tight times. “The budget has actually helped us,” said Russ Marlan, a spokesman for the Corrections Department in Michigan, which increased its parole board by 50% this year to speed up releases.

“When you’re not having budget troubles, that’s when we implemented many of these lengthy drug sentences and zero-tolerance policies [that] really didn’t work,” he said.

Though prison budgets grew steadily over the last 20 years, a recent survey found that 26 states cut their corrections budgets this year. The reductions range from the small-scale — such as putting in energy-efficient lightbulbs — to sweeping changes like the early releases.

“States are saying, ‘We can’t build our way to public safety, especially when budgets are tight,’ ” said Adam Gelb, head of the Pew Center on the States’ Public Safety Performance Project. “For the most part, state leaders are not holding their noses and making these changes just to balance their budgets. They’re beginning to realize that research-based strategies can lead to less crime at far less cost than prison.”

Many states have expanded credit for good behavior. Others have made legal tweaks, such as raising the minimum amount of damage required for a property crime to be a felony. Some, like New York, have overhauled long-criticized mandatory sentencing laws that sent nonviolent, first-time drug offenders to state prison. READ MORE

Written by dnnnewshound

September 5, 2009 at 10:25 am

(ECONOMY) READ: Recession over, Bank of Canada says…

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www.cbc.ca_Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney said Canada is on track for an economic recovery._mark-carney-cbc090423Source: CBCnews.ca

The recession is over, the Bank of Canada said in its quarterly Monetary Policy Report released Thursday.

After shrinking since the last quarter of 2008, the Canadian economy will grow by an annualized rate of 1.3 per cent in the current quarter, the bank said.

Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney said Canada is on track for an economic recovery.Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney said Canada is on track for an economic recovery. (CBC)“We are on track for the recovery both in Canada and globally,” Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney told reporters.

However, unemployment will continue to rise, he said.

For many Canadians, “it’s not a recovery until they start getting their jobs back. And on that score, we could still be in for a long wait,” Avery Shenfeld, CIBC economist, said in a report published Thursday.

“Don’t break out the champagne yet,” said Patricia Croft, chief economist of RBC Global Asset Management.

The return to growth after three quarters of decline signals the end of the recession, defined as two consecutive quarters of shrinkage.

Growth will accelerate through late 2009 and by the first half of 2010, the Canadian economy will be booming along with four per cent growth. But that will begin to taper off to less than three per cent by the last half of 2011, the bank said. READ MORE

Written by dnnnewshound

September 4, 2009 at 2:20 pm

Posted in Economy

Tagged with , , , ,

(ECONOMY) READ: USDA: 35 Million Americans on Food Stamps…

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uwkc.files.wordpress.com__food-stampSource: Time

More Americans than ever before received food stamps in June, the Department of Agriculture said on Thursday, with more than 35 million Americans receiving assistance.

The numbers are 22 percent higher than in June 2008. The number of Americans receiving food stamps rose by more than 700,000 people compared to May.
Read “How to Know When the Economy Is Turning Up.”

The USDA administers the food stamp program, which was renamed in October as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, through its Food and Nutrition Service. The program helps to cover grocery costs for poor Americans.

The food stamp program was established by Congress in 1964, which was then revised by the Food Stamp Act of 1977.

The average recipient of food stamps in June received more than $133 in assistance. The average household received more than $293. Overall, the USDA distributed more than $4.6 billion in food stamps in June. They went to 35,122,123 recipients.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1920538,…

Written by dnnnewshound

September 4, 2009 at 1:45 pm

(MONEY) READ: BP Discovers Huge Oil Store in Gulf of Mexico…

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i.telegraph.co.uk__oil-rig-404_673814c(Newser Summary) – BP discovered a massive oil cache under the Gulf of Mexico after drilling the world’s deepest exploration well, Bloomberg reports. The discovery at Tiber Prospect may hold reserves equivalent to 3 billion barrels. In order to find it, BP engineers drilled to a total depth of 35,055 feet—taller than Mount Everest.

Although the find will take years to develop, it is expected to increase BP’s output in the Gulf by 50%, to 600,000 barrels a day after 2020. “What today’s announcement proves is that BP is a very, very successful explorer,” said an industry analyst. “They’ve opened up the whole area for discoveries.”

Nick McMaster

Source: Bloomberg

Written by dnnnewshound

September 2, 2009 at 6:38 pm

(NOT SURPRISING BUT): Toyota to close domestic line…

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ceoworld.biz__toyota_logoSource: The Japan Times On-Line

Toyota Motor Corp. is planning its first long-term closure of a domestic assembly line as auto sales fall to their lowest level in more than 30 years.

Toyota, which cut domestic output 49 percent through June, will reduce output by about 220,000 units by shutting down the line at its Takaoka plant in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, from the first quarter of fiscal 2010 through the second half of calendar 2011, spokeswoman Ririko Takeuchi said Wednesday.

The automaker is considering reducing its annual global production capacity by around 700,000 units from 10 million to deal with the persistent auto slump, the company said.

As part of the effort, Toyota is also studying a plan to suspend factory operations in Britain’s Derbyshire for a production cut of another 150,000 units. The automaker will soon announce the closure of New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., a California-based joint venture with General Motors Co., for an output reduction of 300,000 units.

Read more: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nb20090827n2.htm…

Written by dnnnewshound

August 31, 2009 at 6:36 pm

(READ): America: Why So Furious?…

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cmsimg.detnews(Newser Summary) – With town halls gone mad and anti-Obama protesters toting guns, this is America’s angriest summer in recent memory, McClatchy reports. The fury of voters has deep roots, from a long history of hate groups to anti-Vietnam marches to rage against George W. Bush when he left office—but it’s only intensified under Barack Obama. Town halls “were the most visible sign of something that may be larger,” one expert says.

Fear of immigrants, terrorism, and a sinking economy are likely driving the anger, which has sparked 50 new militias and enough tax-refusnicks that the IRS created a National Tax Defier Initiative last year. Meanwhile, new technologies are quickly spreading anti-government conspiracies—like the belief that Washington is using 30,000 guillotines to harvest body parts. “In ’94, you had talk radio,” one expert says. “In ’09, you have talk radio, Fox, and the Internet.”

Drew Nelles

Source: McClatchy Newspapers

Written by dnnnewshound

August 31, 2009 at 4:05 pm

(READ): California Garage Sale: State Holds Giant Garage Sale To Raise Funds…

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Source: The Huffington Post/AP

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is hoping that the “Great California Garage Sale” will turn government clutter like surplus prison uniforms and office furniture into cash to bulk up the state’s depleted finances.

On offer as the state clears out clutter are nearly 600 state-owned vehicles and thousands of pieces of office furniture, computers, electronics, jewelry, pianos, even a surf board, a food saver and an Xbox 360 gaming system.

State officials estimate the giant two-day yard sale being held at a state warehouse will bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars. In addition to clearing out office products, the state is also selling unclaimed property from state parks and items confiscated by law enforcement, said California Department of General Services spokesman Eric Lamoureux.

The prison department contributed dental chairs and surplus prison shirts and jeans.

“This is a win-win for the state and for shoppers,” Schwarzenegger said in a statement Tuesday announcing that a selection of items also would be sold on eBay and Craigslist. “Together we are eliminating waste and providing great deals in this tough economy.” Read More

Written by dnnnewshound

August 28, 2009 at 8:38 am

(READ): Bernanke Victimized by Identity Fraud Ring…

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Source: Newsweek

If ever there were living proof that identity theft can strike the mighty and powerful as well as hapless consumers, look no further than the nation’s chief banker: Ben Bernanke. The Federal Reserve Board chairman was one of hundreds of victims of an elaborate identity-fraud ring, headed by a convicted scam artist known as “Big Head,” that stole more than $2.1 million from unsuspecting consumers and at least 10 financial institutions around the country, according to recently filed court records reviewed by NEWSWEEK.

Last summer, just as he was dealing with the first rumblings of the financial crisis on Wall Street, Bernanke learned that a thief had swiped his wife’s purse—including the couple’s joint check book. Days later, someone started cashing checks on the Bernanke family bank account, the documents show. “It’s fair to say he was not pleased,” said one close associate of Bernanke, who asked not to be identified discussing what the Fed chairman considers a private matter. Read More

Written by dnnnewshound

August 26, 2009 at 7:51 pm

Posted in Crime, Economics

Tagged with , ,

(READ): Big Business Wants to Put Global Warming on Trial…

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smogSource: Newser.com/Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Washington – The nation’s largest business lobby wants to put the science of global warming on trial.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, trying to ward off potentially sweeping federal emissions regulations, is pushing the Environmental Protection Agency to hold a rare public hearing on the scientific evidence for man-made climate change.

Chamber officials say it would be “the Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century” — complete with witnesses, cross-examinations and a judge who would rule, essentially, on whether humans are warming the planet to dangerous effect.

“It would be evolution versus creationism,” said William Kovacs, the chamber’s senior vice president for environment, technology and regulatory affairs. “It would be the science of climate change on trial.”

The goal of the chamber, which represents 3 million large and small businesses, is to fend off potential emissions regulations by undercutting the scientific consensus over climate change. If the EPA denies the request, as expected, the chamber plans to take the fight to federal court.

The EPA is having none of it, calling a hearing a “waste of time” and saying that a threatened lawsuit by the chamber would be “frivolous.”

EPA spokesman Brendan Gilfillan said the agency based its proposed finding that global warming is a danger to public health “on the soundest peer-reviewed science available, which overwhelmingly indicates that climate change presents a threat to human health and welfare.”

Environmentalists say the chamber’s strategy is an attempt to sow political discord by challenging settled science — and note that in the famed 1925 Scopes trial, which pitted lawyers Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan in a courtroom battle over a Tennessee science teacher accused of teaching evolution illegally, the scientists won in the end.

The chamber proposal “brings to mind for me the Salem witch trials, based on myth,” said Brenda Ekwurzel, a climate scientist for the environmental group Union of Concerned Scientists. “In this case, it would be ignoring decades of publicly accessible evidence.”

In the coming weeks, the EPA is set to formally declare that the heat-trapping gases scientists blame for climate change endanger human health, and are thus subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act. The so-called endangerment finding will be a cornerstone of the Obama administration’s plan to set strict new emissions standards on cars and trucks. Read More

Written by dnnnewshound

August 26, 2009 at 12:05 pm

Posted in Economics, Legal System

Tagged with ,

(READ): Broke, California Holds Huge Garage Sale…

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Source: Newser.com/Los Angeles Times

yardsale(Newser Summary) – Just how bad has California’s budget crisis gotten? So bad that it’s holding what it’s calling the “Great California Garage Sale” this weekend, hoping to unload piles of junk and wasteful property that the state’s accrued over the years. Hundreds of items will be available, from BlackBerrys to desks to cars and CHiPs motorcycles,  [Governor] Arnold Schwarzenegger has even signed some of the items to drum up interest.

A few things have already been listed on eBay and Craigslist, because California is hip like that. But what could be the most interesting untold story here, writes Andrew Malcom of the LA Times, is how California got some of this stuff in the first place. Among the weirder items: a surfboard, antique piano, and dentist chairs.

Kevin Spak

Written by dnnnewshound

August 26, 2009 at 9:16 am

(READ): Next Clunkers You Can Cash In On? Appliances…

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Source: Newser.com

appliances(Newser Summary) – If you missed out on cashing in on that clunker in your driveway, your next chance may be no farther than the kitchen, USA Today reports. Stimulus funds that will give consumers rebates as high as $200 for replacing old, inefficient appliances with newer models are due to start flowing Oct. 15. Utilities in many states also offer rebates to customers who’ll recycle old refrigerators and freezers.

The $300 million program has multiple benefits: Consumers will see lower electric bills in addition to whatever they qualify for in rebates; retiring inefficient appliances will leave more power in the grid; manufacturers and retailers look likely to see the kind of boom that accompanied the cash-for-clunkers vehicle program; and old appliances that are often “environmental time bombs” will be disposed of safely or recycled.

W. McCahill

Written by dnnnewshound

August 25, 2009 at 10:51 pm

Posted in Economics

Tagged with

(READ): Coming Home: Appliance Maker Drops China to Produce in Texas…

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Source: The Wall Street Journal.
ASIA NEWS AUGUST 24, 2009
By TIMOTHY AEPPEL
HOUSTON — Farouk Shami, a Palestinian-born hairdresser who built a $1 billion manufacturing company around a popular line of hair irons, is moving all of his production of hand-held appliances from China to a sprawling new factory here.
"We’ll make more money this way — because we’ll have better quality and a better image," says the 66-year-old, who says his company, Farouk Systems Inc., spends about $500,000 a month fighting counterfeits, most of which he says originate in China. The company collects the fake products and tracks the source, and then brings action in China to shut down illegal producers.
….
"I think you’re starting to see more manufacturers rethinking outsourcing," says Daniel Meckstroth, an economist at the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI, a public policy and research group based in Arlington, Va., calling a June speech by General Electric Co. CEO Jeffrey Immelt, where he said that overseas outsourcing had gone too far and that U.S. companies needed to expand domestic production, a "bellwether of what’s happening in manufacturing."
….
The move is creating jobs in Houston at a time when factory jobs are evaporating in most places. On a recent afternoon, job applicants sat in the lobby of a cavernous new factory, hoping to be one of 30 people hired daily. The company expects to have 1,200 workers when the factory is at full speed in December.
Read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125107636394652753.html

Written by dnnnewshound

August 24, 2009 at 10:24 pm

Posted in Asia, Economy

Tagged with , ,

(READ): ‘Recession Is Over’ In The UK…

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Source: SKY News

money2The UK recession is at an end with business confidence enjoying a record recovery, according to one trade body.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) said optimism among professionals had moved to its highest level for two years.

The Business Confidence Monitor survey found “a remarkable upturn” in confidence in the banking sector while positive signs in the housing market have also helped boost optimism for property firms.

The IT sector was the most optimistic, followed by banking, finance and insurance firms.

Overall, the confidence measure jumped from minus 28.2 to 4.8, the largest quarterly improvement since the survey began in 2003. Read More

Written by dnnnewshound

August 24, 2009 at 9:40 am

Posted in Economics

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(READ): Where Yahoo Leaves Google in the Dust…

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money2Source: Nytimes

GOOGLE has an outsize image as the deft master of information. Its superior technology seems to pitilessly grind up its rivals. But Google’s domination in search has proved hard for it to match in some information domains. When serving financial news and information, for example, Yahoo draws 17.5 times the traffic of Google, according to comScore Media Metrix.

James Pitaro of Yahoo says users become anxious if too much financial information is presented on a page.

Yahoo Finance, which has occupied the top spot in the category for 19 consecutive months, drew 21.7 million unique United States visitors in July; Google Finance drew only 1.2 million unique visitors, placing it 17th in comScore’s rankings for the category, one slot above a site called FreePressRelease.com.

Yahoo understands that information about money — a user’s own money — presents some tricky psychological issues. James Pitaro, vice president of Yahoo’s audience group, said, “In our research with users, we found that the more information that was displayed on the page, the greater the anxiety.”

He said Yahoo deliberately adopted what he calls “the Apple model — simplicity in design; a clean, simple look, not overburdening our users with too much information on the page.”

Google seems to pay no heed to such psychology. Google Finance, which was introduced in 2006 and shed its “beta” label earlier this year, hews to its original strategy: offer the best data and charts. And when that doesn’t work, offer still more data and charts.

Yahoo Finance is organized into sections: investing; news and opinion; personal finance; customized portfolio tracking; and “Tech Ticker,” short video features that have supplied an average of 450,000 streams a day in recent months, Yahoo says. When you click on a link to a news story accompanied by a Tech Ticker video, it starts automatically and seems intended to insert a warm human presence on the page. The video player is on one side of the page and is stationary; the visitor scrolls down on the other side to read news articles.

“It’s made for multitasking,” Mr. Pitaro said. More Info

Written by dnnnewshound

August 23, 2009 at 9:21 am

Posted in Financial, Technology

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(READ): The Last Empress…

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Anna Wintour

Source: NYtimes

I ended up sitting a stiletto’s throw away from Anna Wintour at the Monkey Bar, after the Museum of Modern Art screening of the new documentary about her. Nuclear Wintour looked summery in a floaty print Prada dress so au courant it hasn’t yet hit the stores.

Just like Meryl Streep’s Miranda Priestly in “The Devil Wears Prada,” Wintour can be seen in the new film clutching a Starbucks cup in her office and the back of her chauffeur-driven car. It seems to be her only sustenance, so I was curious to get the skinny on what the Skinny One eats.

“I’ll have what she’s having,” I told a startled waiter, who assumed I was kidding and pointed me to the part of the menu he thought suited me better: Chasen’s chili and Mrs. Carter’s butter tart.

“Anna eats steak and burgers, protein, and drinks a little wine,” said the Vogue editor André Leon Talley, mesmerizingly mountainous in a navy Armani with a white saber-toothed tiger tooth necklace and Manolo framboise velvet Woodstock sandals.

The documentary by R. J. Cutler chronicles Anna and her courtiers compiling the September 2007 issue of Vogue. Setting a record at 840 pages, 727 of them ads, and weighing as much as a preemie — 4 pounds, 9 ounces — that issue is now detritus of the Golden Age of excessive spending.

So the question invariably arises: Behind those bangs and dark glasses, is Anna human? Or did she tie Hermès scarves together and make a daring escape from District 9 in a getaway car driven by Oscar de la Renta? Read More

Written by dnnnewshound

August 23, 2009 at 9:01 am

Posted in Economy, Fashion

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(MEDIA) READ: Movie Theaters Cut Listings From Newspapers…

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newspaperSource: The huffington Post

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Filmgoers who have long turned to the local newspaper to find theaters and show times for movies may have to start looking elsewhere as theater chains rethink the value of paper and ink in a digital age.

The top two U.S. chains, Regal Entertainment Group and AMC Entertainment Inc., have begun in recent months to reduce or eliminate the small-type listings showing the start times for movies at individual theaters. Theaters typically must pay newspapers to print that information.

Looking to cut costs, the theater chains are instead directing consumers to their Internet sites or third-party sites, like Fandango, Moviefone or Flixster, which offer those listings for free and make money from the fees they charge for selling advance tickets to movies. Many of those sites also feature film reviews and movie trailers.

The effort may be gaining some traction, as U.S. Internet traffic to AMC’s Web site rose 21 percent in July compared with a year ago, according to comScore Inc., while visits to Regal’s Web site were up 18 percent.

The Newspaper Association of America doesn’t track revenue that newspapers generate from print movie listings, but believes the amount is relatively small. Yet every dollar counts as newspapers are forced to cut staff, reduce the frequency of print editions or even close completely amid the recession. Read More

Written by dnnnewshound

August 21, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Posted in Economy, Media

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READ: Unemployment: The Worst-Hit States In July…

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Source: The Huffington Post

The state-by-state unemployment numbers didn’t change too much from June to July, the government announced on Friday. Fifteen states still have jobless rates above 10 percent, down from 16 in June.

The government announced two weeks ago that the national unemployment rate fell from 9.5 to 9.4 percent, although that may have been a statistical aberration.

Michigan continues to lead the nation in unemployment, with a rate of 15 percent, down from 15.2 percent in June. Rhode Island came in second at 12.7 percent (up from 12.4), followed by Nevada at 12.5 percent (up from 11.9). The largest increases occurred in Wyoming and Arizona, where unemployment rose from 5.9 to 6.5 percent and from 8.7 to 9.2 percent, respectively. Seventeen states saw their unemployment rates decline from June to July.

Here’s a chart from the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics showing the damage.

2009-08-21-Picture1.png

Written by dnnnewshound

August 21, 2009 at 10:45 am

Posted in Economy

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(MEDIA) READ: The End of Network TV as We Know It…

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tvnetworksSource: TruthDIG.com

The American television industry is in crisis, according to Advertising Age critic Bob Garfield, who figures prominently in The Wrap’s two-part look into the future of the industry. In fact, says Garfield, we’re seeing early signs of “the total collapse of the network television model.”  —KA

The Wrap:

If anything, things could get a lot worse before they get better. Some observers are even beginning to question whether there will ever be a turnaround, predicting that the business model which has sustained broadcasters for close to 60 years has begun an irreversible decline. Read More

Written by dnnnewshound

August 19, 2009 at 8:30 am

Posted in Economics, Economy

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(ECONOMY/WORLD) READ: Germany braces for second wave of credit crunch …

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money2Source: Telegraph.co.uk

Germany’s economics ministry is drawing up a raft of special measures with the Bundesbank to head off a fresh financial crisis, fearing that a loan squeeze by struggling banks will set off a serious credit crunch early next year.

“The most difficult phase for financing is going to be in the first and second quarter of 2010,” said Hartmut Schauerte, the economic state secretary.

“We are working as a government to create instruments that can offset a feared credit crunch or any credit squeeze in sectors of the economy,” he said.

Mr Schauerte said firms with weak balance sheets may struggle to roll over loans as they come due in coming months. Negotiations with banks could prove “very difficult”.

State support is likely to be concentrated on boosting the capital base of German firms and providing credit insurance for exporters, perhaps to the tune of €250bn to €300bn (£256bn). “If this service fails, we are going to see dozens of credit collapses,” he said. Read More

Written by dnnnewshound

August 18, 2009 at 7:13 pm

Posted in Financial, World

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(ECONOMY) READ: Reader’s Digest To File For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection…

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moneySource: The Huffington Post

NEW YORK – The publisher of Reader’s Digest, the country’s most popular general interest magazine, said Monday it will seek Chapter 11 protection from creditors amid declining circulation, an industrywide advertising slump and large debts.

Reader’s Digest Association Inc. said it has reached an agreement with a majority of secured lenders to restructure its debt. Under the plan, the lenders get ownership of the company and will erase much of the $1.6 billion they have in senior secured notes.

The monthly magazine, founded in 1922 as a collection of condensed articles from other publications, has been searching for a niche as the Internet upends the magazine industry’s traditional business models. Read More

Written by dnnnewshound

August 18, 2009 at 3:50 pm

Posted in Financial

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READ: Banks make $38bn from overdraft fees

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moneySource: Financial Times: (Editors Note: This really doesn’t fit into the “Underreported News” Section but I just thought It was interesting and would like to share it with everyone.)

By Saskia Scholtes and Francesco Guerrera in New York

Published: August 9 2009 22:52 | Last updated: August 9 2009 22:52

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US banks stand to collect a record $38.5bn in fees for customer overdrafts this year, with the bulk of the revenue coming from the most financially stretched consumers amid the deepest recession since the 1930s, according to research. The fees are nearly double those reported in 2000. Read More

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August 10, 2009 at 2:19 am

READ: Gucci sues credit processing cos for sales of fakes

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Gucci America sued several credit card processing companies for trademark infringement on Thursday on grounds those companies facilitated the sale of counterfeit Gucci bags on the Internet.
Read More

Written by dnnnewshound

August 10, 2009 at 2:15 am

Posted in Financial, Legal System

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