November 4, 2011
By Peggy Lowe
Since McDonald’s announced the seasonal revival of its popular McRib sandwich last month, there’s been a round of reports about what’s in the sandwich that have ranged from glib (on its 70 ingredients) to McFib (on the alleged inhumane treatment of the pigs that go into it).
But even though there’s not a rib to be found inside the sandwich, that pork patty drenched in barbecue sauce actually represents one of the greater innovations in meat science of the last century.
Roger Mandigo is an emeritus University of Nebraska animal science professor credited with the technology that made the McRib possible. And here’s its story, straight from the meat scientist’s mouth.
Back in the 1970s, Mandigo tells The Salt, he was approached by the National Pork Producers Council (the folks who later brought you “the other white meat”) to create a product with pork trimmings that could be sold to the fast food giant.
“The pork producers wanted to see more pork on the menu, and they were targeting McDonald’s,” Mandigo said.
Mandigo went to work in the lab and came up with a new take on an old-fashioned technology: sausage-making. Instead of just stuffing pork meat inside a casing, Mandigo used salt to extract proteins from the muscle. Those proteins become an emulsifier “to hold all the little pieces of meat together,” he says.
“All we did was reuse the technology that had been around for hundreds of years and emphasize that we could shape products to shapes people wanted,” he says.
November 4, 2011
2012 Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul recently displayed uncommon leadership sorely needed in Washington through a willingness to unite Congressional reformers on both sides of the aisle in defense of the American taxpayer.
“Ron Paul is the most conservative member of Congress, yet he understands how best to work with coalitions and bring people together to solve problems. He can unite Washington without sacrificing one ounce of principle”
Before heading to Iowa, Minnesota, and North Dakota for hard campaigning, Representative Paul showed why he is the only candidate who can unite people and bring our country authentic change.
Paul joined with a coalition of Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats to call for deep and meaningful spending cuts from the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (or “Super Committee”) that is charged with presenting the full Congress with deficit reduction options, reflecting Paul’s commitment to working in a bipartisan manner to reduce the burden imposed on the American people by spending and taxes.
Paul also joined with House conservatives and Republican Study Committee (RSC) Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (OH-4) in pledging to fight any attempt by the Super Committee to raise taxes. He co-signed a letter urging the Super Committee to avoid deficit-reduction actions that balance the federal budget on the backs of the American taxpayer.
Dr. Paul also worked with Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-8) and others to assemble members from across the political spectrum to call for a cut in Congressional pay, sending Americans a message that Washington too must curtail its spending as it requests belt-tightening from the public. The letter to the Super Committee also notes that Congress last cut its own pay in 1933, during the Great Depression.
Paul’s own ambitious ‘Plan to Restore America,’ recently cited by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad (R) as “the boldest plan to reduce the federal deficit,” proposes that President Paul will take a salary of $39,336, approximately equal to the median personal income of the American worker.
“Ron Paul is the most conservative member of Congress, yet he understands how best to work with coalitions and bring people together to solve problems. He can unite Washington without sacrificing one ounce of principle,” said Ron Paul 2012 National Campaign Chairman Jesse Benton.
November 4, 2011
By Fredreka Schouten
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, grappling with disclosures about sexual harrassment allegations from the late 1990s, now faces a formal complaint about his campaign finances.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a liberal-leaning watchdog group, today filed the complaint with federal regulators, charging that Cain illegally accepted tens of thousands of dollars in goods and travel from a nonprofit organization founded by a top campaign aide.
The action comes after The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel obtained documents that suggested Prosperity USA, a tax-exempt group established by Cain’s chief of staff Mark Block, helped underwrite Cain’s early campaign costs, paying for computer equipment and travel to Iowa, Louisiana, Texas and Nevada.
November 4, 2011
By JOE STEPHENS and CAROL D. LEONNIG
Republicans on a House Energy and Commerce Committee panel on Thursday overrode vigorous Democratic objections and took the apparently unprecedented step of authorizing subpoenas for internal White House communications related to a $500 million taxpayer loan guarantee for the failed solar company Solyndra.
Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado, ranking Democrat on the panel, called it a “sad day” for the committee and “an act of irresponsible partisanship,” stressing that the committee had never before subpoenaed the White House.
Republicans said they had hoped to avoid the step but that the committee’s long-running investigation had failed to get to the bottom of why Solyndra, which collapsed in August and is now under criminal investigation, was selected to receive the Obama administration’s first loan guarantee under the stimulus act. President Barack Obama last year visited the company’s California operation, whose biggest investors were venture capital funds linked to Tulsa billionaire George Kaiser, a major Obama fundraiser.
Some Republicans have questioned whether the administration rushed stimulus funding out the door to benefit its political supporters. On Oct. 14, the White House told the committee that it would not comply with a request for all internal White House communications regarding the Solyndra loan.
First Large Global Conflict Where People Are Aligned by Consciousness and Not Nation State or Religion
November 4, 2011
by Naomi Wolf
America’s politicians, it seems, have had their fill of democracy. Across the country, police, acting under orders from local officials, are breaking up protest encampments set up by supporters of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement – sometimes with shocking and utterly gratuitous violence.
In the worst incident so far, hundreds of police, dressed in riot gear, surrounded Occupy Oakland’s encampment and fired rubber bullets (which can be fatal), flash grenades and tear-gas canisters – with some officers taking aim directly at demonstrators. The Occupy Oakland Twitter feed read like a report from Cairo’s Tahrir Square: “they are surrounding us”; “hundreds and hundreds of police”; “there are armoured vehicles and Hummers”. There were 170 arrests.
My own recent arrest, while obeying the terms of a permit and standing peacefully on a street in lower Manhattan, brought the reality of this crackdown close to home. America is waking up to what was built while it slept: Private companies have hired away its police (JPMorgan Chase gave $4.6m to the New York City Police Foundation); the federal Department of Homeland Security has given small municipal police forces military-grade weapons systems; citizens’ rights to freedom of speech and assembly have been stealthily undermined by opaque permit requirements.
Suddenly, the United States looks like the rest of the furious, protesting, not-completely-free world. Indeed, most commentators have not fully grasped that a world war is occurring. But it is unlike any previous war in human history: for the first time, people around the world are not identifying and organising themselves along national or religious lines, but rather in terms of a global consciousness and demands for a peaceful life, a sustainable future, economic justice and basic democracy. Their enemy is a global “corporatocracy” that has purchased governments and legislatures, created its own armed enforcers, engaged in systemic economic fraud, and plundered treasuries and ecosystems.
Around the world, peaceful protesters are being demonised for being disruptive. But democracy is disruptive. Martin Luther King, Jr argued that peaceful disruption of “business as usual” is healthy, because it exposes buried injustice, which can then be addressed. Protesters ideally should dedicate themselves to disciplined, nonviolent disruption in this spirit – especially disruption of traffic. This serves to keep provocateurs at bay, while highlighting the unjust militarisation of the police response.
November 4, 2011
By Jacob Sloan
In this youth-targeted television spot celebrating “self expression” and “putting it out there”, teens make their voices heard by creating art, decorating and personalizing their skateboards and guitars. But the most intriguing moment is the quick cut midway through showing kids demonstrating and waving a colorful banner (created with their new Sharpie markers) which reads, “Stop Protesting!”
Is it just a throwaway gag from an irreverent commercial? Or a perfect example of how corporations attempt to de-claw youthful unrest by channeling it into consumerism?
November 4, 2011
By Michael Kling
Interest rates on Italian bonds have simply risen too high to be sustainable, economist Paul Krugman writes in is column for The New York Times.
Investors were demanding 6.29 percent interest rates for Italian 10-year bonds when Krugman published his blog. At that level, the cost of rolling over its existing debt will lead to a default, even though Italy has a primary surplus, he predicts. The rate had fall slightly to 6.138.
Soaring interest rates on Italian debt will lead to an enormous bank run due to both fears that Italian banks will default and fears that Italy will leave the euro. That, in turn, will lead to emergency bank closings followed by a decision to drop the euro and bring back the lira.
“It all sounds apocalyptic and unreal. But how is this situation supposed to resolve itself?” Krugman asks.
The scenario can be avoided, he says, only if the European Central Bank changes its tactics – fast.
“Next stop, France,” Krugman writes, implying that France will be the next domino to fall.
Austerity measures designed to cut government spending will almost guarantee a recession, he asserts.
November 4, 2011
By Bill Fleckenstein
First up this week I want to point out a story carried by The New York Times on Oct. 23, not because regular readers aren’t aware of the issue it brings up, but because it is a problem we are going to see facing many, many state and local governments over the next few years.
Headlined, “The Little State With a Big Mess,” the story is reporter Mary Williams Walsh’s chronicle of Rhode Island’s financial plight. She notes, “As Wall Street fixates on the financial disaster in Greece, a fiscal wreck is playing out right here. And the odds are that it won’t be the last. Before this is over, many Americans may be forced to rethink what government means at the state and local level.”
She is exactly right about that.
I don’t want to reprise the entire article, but the fact of the matter is that many people have been distracted by the European financial melodrama. These longer-tailed issues like pensions and Social Security — loosely termed “entitlements” — are going to be a battleground for some time. They are examples of problems that don’t matter until they do, at which point they become the only thing that matters.
When that will be, I can’t say. It could be part of the funding crisis, in which governments will have increasing trouble financing their debts. But it will most likely become a focus before then.
As anyone who is paying even a little attention probably knows, certain cities and states are already running into trouble with regard to pensions. At some point, I suspect the federal government will be forced to help many of these constituencies since, after bailing out Wall Street, it will be difficult to say no to a state government in dire straits.
Gold bubble argument still doesn’t stack up
That leads directly to the subject of money printing — the protection from which is owning gold — so I thought I would touch on comments made by James Stack in his most recent newsletter.
I have the utmost respect for Jim and his track record with the stock market. His ability to negotiate the ups and downs over the last decade has been extraordinary. That said, he wrote what I think is a very misguided article about gold.
November 4, 2011
By Christina England
Recently, there has been a vast amount of media coverage exposing many leading stores sexualizing children through the marketing of inappropriate clothing. Mini skirts, crop tops, and sexy under-wear for primary school children, even high heels for toddlers fill the shelves, leaving parents shocked and outraged.
One little girl Suri Cruise, the daughter of Tom Cruise, is often seen teetering around in high heels whilst wearing bright red lip gloss at the tender age of five. In fact this very young child even has her own ‘fashion blog’, showing interested readers her vast array of tiny high heels whilst sharing her latest fashion tips.
Whilst many parents appear outraged by this seemingly blatant sexploitation of such a young child and are sharing their feelings of disgust on various blogs around the internet, the same emotion evades parents completely when it comes to vaccination. Parents are only too happy to have their little darlings vaccinated with the latest must have vaccine for sexually transmitted diseases and happily sign consent forms without giving it a second thought.
Why is it, that there is not the same level of disgust and outrage when drug companies recommend children from birth vaccinations for sexual diseases? Don’t American parents realize that the government has mandated a vaccination for a venereal disease at birth?
In fact Dr Judith Reisman goes as far as to say these vaccines are little more than ‘condoms in the veins’.
The US government insists that children are vaccinated with the Hepatitis B vaccine on the day that they are born. Hepatitis B is a STD or SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASE therefore, it is highly unlikely that a tiny baby is going to come into contact with this disease unless they have shared needles, had sex with an infected person or has received contaminated blood.
This being the case, the only possible way that a newborn baby can get Hepatitis B is by having an infected mother give birth to them. So why is the US government insistent that all babies are vaccinated? Why do they not simply identify pregnant mothers who have the disease and vaccinate just those babies? Or better still not give this highly toxic and dangerous vaccination at all?
Dr Reisman is clearly disgusted by what she sees and states:
“Just look at child vaccines. The more pornography and sexology increase juvenile sexual activity, the more big pharma can step in with an Hepatitis B vaccine for infants. HepB is a sexually transmitted disease, and there is no reason to give the vaccine to babies. But big pharma has been making a fortune on it ever since states have begun mandating that all of our little darlings, with their wee tiny hearts and lungs and no immune system functioning, be shot up with it (and recently small girls with Human Papilloma Virus, HPV vaccines) all in the name of protecting them. What we don’t want to do is turn off the pornography flood (no administration has chosen to do that) because it fuels so many other things. And in the wings are vaccines for syphilis and gonorrhea and a whole host of other sexually transmitted diseases.”
She is a strong lady with powerful views and I believe she is correct in her assumptions.
At the ages of nine through twelve, young girls and boys are now recommended the HPV vaccine. Once again this vaccine, according to the manufacturers Merck and GlaxoSmithKline, is for an STD which has been said to cause cervical cancer. I say ‘said to cause cervical cancer’, as there appears to be very little evidence available to support this theory.
Dr Sin Hang Lee who now works with the group Sane Vax says:
The current type-specific HPV vaccines have claimed to be almost 100% effective against infection by HPV-16 and HPV-18, and perhaps also against HPV-31 and HPV-45 infections. However, we do not know if these four HPV types are the most prevalent carcinogenic HPV genotypes in the US. According to two published reports – one by the CDC, HPV-52 not HPV-16 or HPV-18 was found to be the most prevalent “carcinogenic” genotype infecting young American women.
It is not transient HPV infections, but a persistent high-risk HPV infection that may initiate cervical cancer… Therefore, it is the persistent infection, not the virus that determines cervical cancer risk.
Dr. Sin Hang Lee -Pathologist, Milford Hospital
Director, Milford Medical Laboratory, Milford, CT
Despite this lack of evidence however, Jerry Brown feels so strongly about children being vaccinated with this particular vaccine, he recently felt the compelling need to waiver parental rights to protect their children and has passed a bill stating that children can choose to have this vaccine without parental consent.
This move has led to discord among parents. I am beginning to wonder if the parental anger has more to do with their parental rights being taken away than their children being given a vaccine for a sexually transmitted disease.
This vaccine is being given to children at a time when they should be climbing trees, riding their bikes and enjoying life, not worrying about sexually transmitted diseases.
The next STD vaccine which has been lined up for our children is the Chlamydia vaccine. Scientists in Southampton have recently announced that they are confident that they will have the vaccine ready for use very soon.
November 4, 2011
By Mary Brophy Marcus
In a study published online Nov. 2 in Nature, Mayo Clinic scientists came up with a way to eliminate so-called “senescent” cells — aging cells that stop functioning properly but still stick around the body, damaging healthy tissues, explained study author Dr. Jan van Deursen, a professor of pediatrics, molecular biology and biochemistry at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
“This research has identified a cell class that makes you old and makes you have age-related declines. We can now start to think about how you can get rid of them,” he said.
According to van Deursen, “how organisms and people age is not really well understood, particularly not at a cell and molecular level. There are many theories about how we age and one of the theories that we investigated was that as we age, senescent cells start to accumulate and produce and secrete proteins and other factors that basically make the healthy neighboring cells that surround them less functional.”
After “deleting” senescent cells in mice genetically engineered to age quickly, tissues remained healthier and performed better, van Deursen’s team found.
Senescent cells are limited in number, making only up to 15 percent of cells in an elderly person, for example. To eliminate them in the mice, the researchers focused a tracer on a protein called p16, explained co-author Dr. James Kirkland, director of the Mayo Clinic’s Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging.
P16 stops cells from dividing and can trigger a series of steps that causes cellular senescence, Kirkland said.
“In healthy young cells the p16 gene is not expressed,” van Deursen added. “Later on, as we age, it becomes higher in our tissues.”
The scientists used p16 to activate a type of “suicide gene” within senescent cells. The protein made by this gene will kill senescent cells (without harming other normal cells) after a drug specifically designed to activate it is administered, said van Deursen.
Two sets of prematurely aged mice were involved. In one set, the researchers cleared senescent cells for the whole 15 months of the mice’s typical lifespan. In another set of mice, they waited until age-related problems were well underway and then cleared the senescent cells away for a few months, said Kirkland.
The result: Lifelong destruction of a mouse’s senescent cells kept age-related problems at bay, including cataracts and loss of muscle mass and strength. But the study also suggested that removing senescent cells later in life could slow down these age-related health problems.
What’s more, said Kirkland, improved behavior was noted — the activity level of the mice was considerably higher.
Still, the research is early and has not yet moved into experiments in humans. “It’s a proof of principle study. Now we know we can safely remove these cells in an animal model without causing any detectable harm,” said van Deursen.
Dr. Gary Kennedy, director of the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, and an expert in aging, said the work was exciting.