April 21, 2010 archive

On Making Mining Safer, Part Two, Or, “Can We Appeal Safety To Death?”

It was about a week ago that we last got together to talk about safety in coal mines, and we have some new developments in the story that deserve a bit more of your attention.

As we discussed last time, there are a huge number of hazards inherent in the operations of underground coal mines, and there are a series of “mitigators” that can be applied to reduce those hazards.

Ironically, the biggest hazard these miners face today might not be underground at all.

In today’s story we’ll consider the possibility that the most dangerous location in the mining industry might actually be at the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, where an enormous backlog in enforcement actions is keeping dangerous mines open that might otherwise be closed.

It’s a “bad news, good news” story-but it really does have a potential happy ending, and with a bit of pressure, we can actually make life a whole lot better for miners, and their families, all across the country.  

Haiti: Three Months: Up Date

Moody’s Corp Issued Subpoena!

Going after some more of the best? of the best? of the best?……… in the financial Meltdown!

Financial crisis panel demands documents from Moody’s

For Your Consideration: “Yes, They are Serious” The Georgia Version

I thought that the South Carolina State Legislature was a little weird when they passes a Subversive Registration Act.

Now the Georgia State legislature is considering a bill to prohibit the involuntary implantation of microchips in human beings.

A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 1 of Title 51 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to general provisions regarding torts, so as to prohibit requiring a person to be implanted with a microchip; to provide for a short title; to provide for definitions; to provide for penalties; to provide for regulation by the Composite State Board of Medical Examiners; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

Warning the continued reading while eating or drinking may cause damage to you computer.

Open Conditioning


1% of what we need … yet an excellent WH announcement …

The day before the 40th Earth Day, VP Joe Biden kicked off a series of White House actions and announcements with an excellent initiative:

selection of 25 communities for up to $452 million in Recovery Act funding to “ramp-up” energy efficiency building retrofits.  Under the Department of Energy’s Retrofit Ramp-Up initiative, communities, governments, private sector companies and non-profit organizations will work together on pioneering and innovative programs for concentrated and broad-based retrofits of neighborhoods and towns – and eventually entire states.  These partnerships will support large-scale retrofits and make energy efficiency accessible to hundreds of thousands of homeowners and businesses.  The models created through this program are expected to save households and businesses about a $100 million annually in utility bills, while leveraging private sector resources, to create what funding recipients estimate at about 30,000 jobs across the country during the next three years.

This is, truly, a terrific announcement: the movement of real funding into paths for ramping up energy efficiency building retrofitting capacities and actions.

Sadly, however, it is only a fraction of already stated demand and a miniscule fraction of what we should be doing.

Re-Creation: Can The US Dollar Collapse? Part 4

In the first three segments of this six part interview we’ve heard Jane D’Arista, author of The Evolution of U.S. Finance: Federal Reserve Monetary Policy: 1915-1935 and research associate with the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), University of Massachusetts at Amherst, talk with Paul Jay about the end of the American consumerism as the driving ‘engine’ of the global economy, and about the decades long development of the offshoring of labor and the companies that have been doing that attempting to continue profiting by selling their goods back into a US market with steadily declining disposable income – – –  finally arriving at the point where massive government bailouts of the financial sector have been used to keep the illusion of a prosperous economy afloat at the expense of the average person, but that US workers wages are too low and there is no longer the cheap credit available to keep the system going that has been enabling people to live the ‘American Dream’ through debt, and why other countries are both unlikely and unwilling to take the place of the US as that importer of last resort that is needed to keep the illusion alive.

In this fourth segment D’Arista goes further in her conversation with Jay to give us the broad outlines of a solution she proposes to help reorganize the US and global economies – “an investment fund…in which you can attract, also, not only the savings that end up in central banks and government treasuries around the world, but the private savings, the important private savings, which are pension funds, not only in the US and other developed countries, but also in emerging market countries where pension funds are growing like crazy and they have no place to put them”, an alternative in a world where “politicians in the US, but certainly not only the US, in much of the world-are so entwined with the finance sector that the politics is pretty much as parasitical as the banks”

Real News Network – April 20, 2010

Can US dollar remain world’s currency? Pt.4

D’Arista: The world wants a new reserve currency – would be good for Americans too

Transcript here

Part 1 of this interview is here.

Part 2 is here.

Part 3 is here.

All four parts are under the tag Jane D’Arista

With Derivatives, you can Bet on anything — Even the Weather!

Introduction To Weather Derivatives

by Felix Carabello, Associate Director, Environmental Products, Chicago Mercantile Exchange

Weather: Risky Business

It is estimated that nearly 20% of the U.S. economy is directly affected by the weather, and that the profitability and revenues of virtually every industry – agriculture, energy, entertainment, construction, travel and others – depend to a great extent on the vagaries of temperature. […]

In a 1998 testimony to Congress, former commerce secretary William Daley stated, “Weather is not just an environmental issue; it is a major economic factor. At least $1 trillion of our economy is weather-sensitive.”


If there were only some way, to “Hedge that Bet” — against the ever present risk of Foul Weather.

No WorriesWhere there’s a Market Risk, there’s always a Wall Street Way!

Wednesday Morning Science Supplement

Wednesday Morning Science Supplement is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Science

1 Discovery returns to Earth

by Mark Carreau, AFP

Tue Apr 20, 3:49 pm ET

HOUSTON, Texas (AFP) – Discovery made a safe return to Earth Tuesday after a two-week resupply mission to the International Space Station that broke new ground by putting four women in orbit for the first time.

The shuttle and its seven-member crew finally touched down at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 9:08 am (1308 GMT) after a series of earlier delays due to rain and fog.

“Welcome home. Congratulations on an outstanding mission,” Mission Control said after the Discovery put more women in orbit than ever before, with three female crew joining one woman already on the space station.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning


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Another bank goes bust. This time, it’s personal.

Crossposted at Orange

On a few occasions in recent years, I’ve written about my mother’s death, the horrific relationship I had with my brother, and commented in various diaries about the status of healthcare, the financial meltdown, the state of the economy, etc.  In all of this, one common thread linking this has been my heartfelt relief that my mother died before the crash, before we had to rely on the sale of devaluing assets to care for her.  But she was not the only sick member of the family.  

The recent news of the SEC’s fraud case against Goldman Sachs coincided with other news of a much more personal nature.  The bank she invested in was taken over by the FDIC this past Friday, April 16, 2010.  Today, my estranged brother died of lung cancer.  He was 59, a longtime smoker.  

Late Night Karaoke

Open Thread

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