June 21, 2012 archive

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GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks, oil, gold fall on growth worries

By Caroline Valetkevitch, Reuters

June 21, 2012

NEW YORK, June 21 (Reuters) – Global stocks fell more than 1 percent and Brent crude hit its lowest since December 2010 on Thursday following data showing Chinese, European and U.S. manufacturing activity had slowed further.

The weak data came just a day after the Federal Reserve extended its monetary stimulus program aimed at boosting the U.S. economy.

U.S. stocks added to losses after Goldman Sachs recommended shorting the benchmark S&P 500 index. All three major U.S. indexes were on track for their worst day since June 1.

Gold fell and was on track for its biggest decline in more than three months, hurt by global economic worries, while the U.S. dollar rose against the euro and yen as the Fed’s move disappointed investors who had hoped for a more aggressive policy.

Business activity across the euro zone shrank for a fifth straight month in June and Chinese manufacturing contracted, while weaker overseas demand slowed U.S. factory growth, surveys showed.

Moody’s Said to Be Poised to Announce Bank Downgrades Today

By Howard Mustoe, Bloomberg News

Jun 21, 2012 2:04 PM ET

Moody’s Investors Service has told banks it may later today announce downgrades of the credit ratings of as many as 17 lenders and securities firms with global capital markets operations, according to two people with knowledge of the plans.

The company said in February it may lower the ratings of firms including UBS AG (UBSN), Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN) and Barclays Plc (BARC) as part of a review of how Europe’s sovereign debt crisis was hurting more than 100 lenders. Any downgrades could raise borrowing costs and force banks to increase collateral.

UBS, Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley (MS)’s credit ratings may be cut by as many as three levels, Moody’s said in February. Barclays, BNP Paribas SA (BNP), Credit Agricole SA (ACA), HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA), Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), Deutsche Bank AG (DBK), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Citigroup Inc. (C), and Royal Bank of Canada (RY) may be lowered by two, Moody’s said.

Bank of America Corp., Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (RBS) and Societe Generale SA (GLE) may be lowered by one grade, it said.

Oil falls below $90 for first time since Dec 2010

By Gene Ramos and David Sheppard, Reuters

Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:04pm EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Brent crude oil slid nearly 4 percent in heavy trading on Thursday, dropping below $90 a barrel for the first time in 18 months as weak economic data from China, the United States and Europe pointed to prospects for slower oil demand.

Other major commodities also tumbled as gloomy global data darkened the demand outlook for raw materials.

“Supply is outstripping demand and whatever other data you see out there won’t change that,” said Dominick Chrichella, senior partner at the Energy Management Institute in New York.

China’s factory sector shrank for an eighth straight month in June as export order sentiment hit its weakest since early 2009, according to a survey indicating the country’s economic trough may extend well into the third quarter.

U.S. jobs data added to the gloom with little change last week in the number of Americans filing new unemployment claims.

Data also showed U.S. manufacturing grew in June at its slowest pace in 11 months, with hiring in the sector hobbled as overseas demand for U.S. products weakened, compounding the dreary economic outlook in the world’s largest oil consumer.

Business activity across the euro zone shrank for a fifth straight month in June, according to the closely watched Markit Flash Composite Purchasing Managers Index.

“Really, what we’ve been calling ‘downward momentum’ would now be better described as ‘panic selling,'” said Tom Mooney at Southeast Energy in Houston, Texas.

“Even the most convinced bulls have had to face the reality that, at least for now, their portfolio has been getting ripped up, no doubt with margin calls forcing some to get out.”

Dow down -250.82.  Maria Bartiromo is a hopeless shill, even now plaintively whining “Isn’t there any valuation at which you’d buy banks?”

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Health and Fitness News, a weekly diary which is cross-posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette. It is open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here and on the right hand side of the Front Page.

Quinoa Salads With Spring Vegetables


Quinoa makes great salads because it has such a vegetal flavor. It can be the main ingredient or a lesser element added for texture and variation. This week’s recipes have great staying power, so make some of these on a Sunday and take them to work during the week.

Quinoa and Asparagus Salad

A lemony buttermilk dressing gives this salad a tangy richness.

Rainbow Quinoa Salad With Fava Beans and Herbs

Toasting the grains in a hot pan before cooking the quinoa gives this richly textured salad a deeper flavor.

Quinoa, Pea and Black Bean Salad With Cumin Vinaigrette

Fresh English peas, a springtime treat, are ideal for this salad, but in a pinch you can use frozen peas.

Red Quinoa, Cauliflower and Fava Bean Salad With Buttermilk Curry Dressing

This colorful and brightly flavored salad is packed with protein and other nutrients.

Quinoa, Spinach and Mushroom Salad

Quinoa lends bulk to the classic pairing of spinach and mushrooms, and walnuts add richness.

A Brief History of Modern Egyptian Politics

As Mubarak Lay Dying

Posted by Lawrence Wright, The New Yorker

June 20, 2012

Sixty years ago, a group of military officers, led by Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar Sadat, forced Farouk I, an Ottoman leftover who styled himself King of Egypt and Sudan, Sovereign of Nubia, Kordofan, and Nubia, to rush to his yacht and seek exile in Monaco. In this effort, they were assisted by the C.I.A., which was dismayed by the decadence and corruption that characterized Farouk’s reign. The operation was known informally as “Project FF”-Fat Fucker. It was one of the many attempts to steer Egypt in what American policymakers think might be the right direction. They must look back at that period with a sense of woe-if, indeed, they ever reflect on history at all.

Nasser’s charisma and energy awakened the entire region to the postcolonial era, but he failed to find an accommodation with the Islamic trend, and he turned to Israel as a scapegoat. Sadat, his successor, had the courage to reach a peace treaty with Israel. He saw the foolishness of depending on the Soviet Union as an ally and socialism as an economic model. He also tried to find a way to incorporate the Islamists into civil society, at least by letting them out of prison, and they responded by murdering him.

Hosni Mubarak, who now may be dying-Tuesday, he was briefly reported clinically dead-was an excellent military officer, and a capable bureaucrat, but he had no independent vision and no idea how to escape the impediments to progress that the original coup had imposed. Immediately after Sadat’s assassination, in 1981, Mubarak imposed emergency rule, which essentially authorized unbridled dictatorial power masked by a fa├žade of democratic elections. Under his rule, freedom of speech and assembly were tightly constrained. These restrictions on liberty crushed other forms of political expression, so that the Islamists-the Muslim Brotherhood and more radical forms of political Islam-became the only real way to voice opposition to Mubarak’s reign. Military dictatorship and Islamism became the axis upon which Egyptian politics revolved.

The decision by the Egyptian military to dissolve a freely elected parliament earlier this month-predicated on a court decision by Mubarak holdovers-amounts to a second military coup. Once again, it has been assisted by the American decision to continue to support the antidemocratic forces that have retarded the development of Egypt. A moderate Islamist government, responsive to the social needs of the country, is the best that the U.S. can expect now, and what the people of Egypt have demanded by their votes.

America is unlikely to have any influence on the future of Egypt if it continually opposes and demonizes the longing of Egyptians to achieve real democratic expression, with all its hazards. Sixty years of unaccountable military dictatorship have shown how sterile the alternative is. … (I)t’s time to pull the plug on American support of this antidemocratic, military regime.

Of course it could merely be a bathroom slip and fall.  Nothing to see here.

On This Day In History June 21

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

Click on images to enlarge.

June 21 is the 172nd day of the year (173rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 193 days remaining until the end of the year.

On non-leap years (until 2039), this day marks the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere and the winter solstice in the southern hemisphere, and this is the day of the year with the longest hours of daylight in the northern hemisphere and the shortest in the southern hemisphere.

On this day in 1964, Civil rights workers disappear.

In Neshoba County in central Mississippi, three civil rights field workers disappear after investigating the burning of an African American church by the Ku Klux Klan. Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, both white New Yorkers, had traveled to heavily segregated Mississippi in 1964 to help organize civil rights efforts on behalf of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). The third man, James Chaney, was a local African American man who had joined CORE in 1963. The disappearance of the three young men garnered national attention and led to a massive FBI investigation that was code-named MIBURN, for “Mississippi Burning.”

The Mississippi civil rights workers murders involved the 1964 lynching of three political activists during the American Civil Rights Movement.

The murders of James Chaney, a 21-year-old black man from Meridian, Mississippi; Andrew Goodman, a 20-year-old white Jewish anthropology student from New York; and Michael Schwerner, a 24-year-old white Jewish CORE organizer and former social worker also from New York, symbolized the risks of participating in the civil rights movement in the South during what became known as “Freedom Summer”, dedicated to voter registration.

The case also made salient the efforts of Jews in the civil rights movement.

The Lynching

The lynching of the three men occurred shortly after midnight on June 21, 1964, when they went to investigate the burning of a church that supported civil rights activity. James Chaney was a local Freedom Movement activist in Meridian, Michael Schwerner was a CORE organizer from New York, and Andrew Goodman, also from New York, was a Freedom Summer volunteer. The three men had just finished week-long training on the campus of Western College for Women (now part of Miami University), in Oxford, Ohio, regarding strategies on how to register blacks to vote.

After getting a haircut from a black barber in Meridian, the three men headed to Longdale, Mississippi, 50 miles away in Neshoba County, in order to inspect the ruins of Mount Zion United Methodist Church. The church, a meeting place for civil rights groups, had been burned just five days earlier.

Aware that their station wagon’s license number had been given to members of the notorious White Citizens’ Council and Ku Klux Klan, before leaving Meridian they informed other Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) workers of their plans and set check-in times in accordance with standard security procedures. Late that afternoon, Neshoba County deputy Cecil Price – himself a member of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan – stopped the blue Ford carrying the trio. He arrested Chaney for allegedly driving 35 miles per hour over the speed limit. He also booked Goodman and Schwerner, “for investigation.”

Schwerner, Goodman, and Chaney were all denied telephone calls during their time at the jail. COFO workers made attempts to find the three men, but when they called the Neshoba County jail, the secretary followed her instructions to lie and told the workers the three young men were not there. During the hours they were held incommunicado in jail, Price notified his Klan associates who assembled and planned how to kill the three civil rights workers.

While awaiting their release, the men were given a dinner of spoonbread, green peas, potatoes and salad. When the Klan ambush was set up on the road back to Meridian, Chaney was fined $20, and the three men were ordered to leave the county. Price followed them to the edge of town, and then pulled them over with his police siren. He held them until the Klan murder squad arrived. They were taken to an isolated spot where James Chaney was beaten and all three were shot to death. Their car was driven into Bogue Chitto swamp and set on fire, and their bodies were buried in an earthen dam. In June 2000, the autopsy report that had been previously withheld from the 1967 trial was released. The report stated Chaney had a left arm broken in one place, a right arm broken in two places, “a marked disruption” of the left elbow joint and may also have suffered trauma to the groin area. A pathologist who examined the bodies at the families’ request following their autopsies noted Chaney also had a broken jaw and a crushed right shoulder which were not mentioned in the autopsy report. As the autopsy photographs and x-rays have been destroyed, the injuries could not be confirmed.


5 x Five – Hot Button Issues – Birth Control 3:06

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

Kailash, when it rises

Late Night Karaoke

My Little Town 20120620: Keeping it Cool

Those of you that read this regular series know that I am from Hackett, Arkansas, just a mile or so from the Oklahoma border, and just about 10 miles south of the Arkansas River.  It was a rural sort of place that did not particularly appreciate education, and just zoom onto my previous posts to understand a bit about it.

Since the summer solstice just occurred a couple of hours ago, I thought it might be interesting to see how we kept cool(ish) in the summer all those years ago.  At that time, residential central air conditioning was just about unknown in my part of the country, with only the very newest homes sometimes having it.

It gets brutally hot in the summer in west central Arkansas.  As the summer progresses, pay attention to the national weather maps on the news and note that very often the temperatures there are comparable with (and connected to) those in the very hot areas of the desert southwest part of the country.

As a matter of fact, there are several flora and fauna characteristic of the desert southwest that are native to the Hackett area.  Roadrunners are quite common, and I have found many a tarantula.  Prickly pear cactus is also abundant.