Wednesday, July 2, 2008

BREVITAS

WORD

When someone tells you something defies description, you can be pretty sure he's going to have a go at it anyway. - Clyde B. Aster

Newspaper shares slid $23B in 6 months . . . Wall Street's intensifying repudiation of the industry means that the companies in the group have lost a cumulative $49.7 billion in market capitalization in 3½ years, vaporizing 51% of shareholder value since Dec. 31. 2004 Newsosaur

President Bush announced that he would withhold funding from the United Nations Population Fund . . . This brings the total amount withheld over the past seven years to $235 million.. . . Planet Wire reports that John Negroponte, Deputy Secretary of State, justified President Bush's decision by claiming that the UNFPA supports "coercive abortions and sterilization." This claim has been conclusively disproved by several state department investigations, blue-ribbon commission investigations, and three international monitoring teams - Ms Magazine

On Sept. 4, 21-year-old Joshua Pomier will have served nearly four years in a detention center near San Bernardino, Calif. Pomier is charged with multiple counts of car theft and robbery. There are two deeply troubling problems with the amount of time he has spent behind bars. One, he has not been convicted of any of the crimes he's charged with. He had barely turned 18 years old when he and another juvenile were arrested for the crimes in September 2004. Pomier and family members vehemently protest his innocence. The even more tormenting problem is not Pomier's guilt or innocence, but the absurdly long length of time that he has been jailed awaiting disposition, any disposition, of the charges leveled against him. His bail was set at nearly a half million dollars, and there have been several delayed court dates. During that time, he has been relentlessly pressured to accept a plea bargain that will require him to serve a lengthy prison sentence. Pomier has refused, and continues to protest his innocence. Pomier is African American, and his dragged out incarceration without being convicted of anything is not unusual. In fact, he's a near textbook example of how thousands of mostly black and Latino young adults and juveniles languish for months, even years, in America's jails with high or no bail, receive shoddy or non-existent legal counsel, and are browbeaten and even threatened by harried, overworked, and often indifferent public defenders and prosecutors to accept deals. Mondo Globo

Craig Crawford - It is a simple question: Does the President of the United States have any authority for direct or covert (or privately contracted) action against Iran without congressional approval? But it is a question that official Washington prefers not to answer. Why? Because the answer is that both major party nominees want to preserve the option to conduct war against Iran without congressional approval. . . You would think that if Americans learned anything in the debacle that the Iraq War turned out to be, it would be that the nation's founders were absolutely correct in establishing Congress as the sole power for declaring war. Only in this way can the people play a direct role in deciding whether it is necessary to send their children to their deaths abroad. . . During George W. Bush's tenure, Congress has passed on every opportunity to assert its war powers. No matter who wins the presidency, the power to make war remains in the White House.

Italians are shirking pizza due to skyrocketing bills and turning increasingly to pasta, which remains comparatively cheap despite also seeing large increases in cost. . . In fact, the number of Italians who say their favorite food is pizza has dropped from 14.1 percent to 8.7 percent in the past two years, according to a survey from GPF Research Institute. . . Rising cereal costs, experts say, are pumping up the cost of the wheat flour used to make pizza dough. Wheat costs have grown 23.2 percent since April 2007, according to the national Institute of Services for Agricultural and Food Markets. Olive oil and mozzarella, both vital components of traditional Neapolitan pies, cost more as well. Olive oil prices have risen 10.9 percent and mozzarella prices 14.3 percent since April 2007. National Geographic

New data from U.S. government research shows that with agriculture using chemical fertilizers and herbicides, the U.S. food system contributes nearly 20 percent of the nation's carbon dioxide emissions. On a global scale, figures from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change say that agricultural land use contributes 12 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Organically managed soils can convert carbon from a greenhouse gas into a food-producing asset. Results from a 10-year study at the Rodale Institute showed organic systems have the ability to capture up to 2,000 pounds of carbon per acre per year meaning more than 7,000 pounds of carbon dioxide are taken from the air and trapped in that field soil.

In 2006, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion were estimated at nearly 6.5 billion tons. If the 7,000 pounds of CO2 per acre per year sequestration rate had been achieved on all 434 million acres of cropland in the United States, nearly 1.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide would be sequestered per year, mitigating close to one quarter of the country's total fossil fuel emissions. . . . Tree Hugger

Social workers and counselors are now among some of the nation's most in-demand professionals, according to this month's list of the 25 most desirable job candidates by Jobfox. Social workers and counselors ranked as the seventh most wanted professionals, according to the June report from McLean-based Jobfox. - Washington Business Journal

With less than six weeks before it plays host to the Olympic sailing regatta, the city of Qingdao has mobilized thousands of people and an armada of small boats to clean up an algae bloom that is choking large stretches of the coastline and threatening to impede the Olympic competition. Local officials have initiated an all-out effort to clean up the algae by mid-July. Media reports estimate that as many as 20,000 people have either volunteered or been ordered to participate in the operation, while 1,000 boats are scooping algae out of the Yellow Sea. The official news agency, Xinhua, reported that algae currently covered a third of the coastal waters designated for the Olympic races. International Herald Tribune

George Kenney interviews Tom Christie, a man with decades of high level experience at the Pentagon, who says that the system is broken, that the whole budget process should be scrapped, that we need "revolutionary" change, and that it might not be a bad thing to cut U.S. military spending by half.

1 Comments:

At July 2, 2008 10:02 PM, Blogger Richard Jennings said...

I just saw that jobfox was added to the About.com Top 10 Employment site list:

http://jobsearch.about.com/od/joblistings/tp/jobbanks.htm

 

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