The mass slaughter of millions of farm animals across the world is expected to push food prices to their highest ever levels.
Farmers across the world have begun a mass slaughter of their pig and cattle herds because they cannot afford the cost of feed, which has soared following the worst US drought in living memory, according to a report published on Wednesday.
Experts at investment bank Rabobank warn that the mass "herd liquidation" will contribute to a 14% jump in the price of the average basket of food [in the United Kingdom] by next summer.
Once again: thanks, drought.
It's important to note that this slaughter and the resulting food price spike is still mostly in the future. Mostly.
Gary Doer, Canada’s ambassador to the United States, is confident enough that the U.S. will approve the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline that he’s willing to bet beer on it.
“I will bet a six-pack that it is going to happen,” Doer said Tuesday.
Ha ha! How fun! That Gary Doer seems like a fun guy, having a good time talking about that little ol' pipeline that a major Canadian corporation wants to build across the United States to carry toxic tar-sands oil to refineries on the Gulf Coast. LOL, good stuff. Clearly Doer has too much time on his hands for some reason if he's spicing things up with such high stakes.
The reversal came after intense opposition to the plan from business groups and communities that host the country’s nuclear power plants, which have warned that abandoning nuclear power will damage Japan’s economy.
The cabinet of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda instead endorsed a vague promise to “engage in debate with local governments and international society and to gain public understanding” in deciding Japan’s economic future in the wake of the 2011 nuclear disaster at Fukushima.
The cabinet on Wednesday said only that it would “take into consideration” the goal to eliminate nuclear power by 2040, laid down in a policy document released last week. …
The deadline “was not a viable option in the first place,” Tadashi Okamura, chairman of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said at a news conference, calling the government’s move “welcome.”
The New York Times has a story that's getting a lot of traction today: The melting Arctic has set off a gold rush. Which … we knew. The Times article's focus, though, is largely on one player: China.
While the United States, Russia and several nations of the European Union have Arctic territory, China has none, and as a result, has been deploying its wealth and diplomatic clout to secure toeholds in the region.
“The Arctic has risen rapidly on China’s foreign policy agenda in the past two years,” said Linda Jakobson, East Asia program director at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney, Australia. So, she said, the Chinese are exploring “how they could get involved.” …
To ... improve relations with Arctic nations, its ministers visited Denmark, Sweden and Iceland this summer, offering lucrative trade deals. High-level diplomats have also visited Greenland, where Chinese companies are investing in a developing mining industry, with proposals to import Chinese work crews for construction.
On Tuesday, a group of 19 companies, using the silly name of BICEP, sent a letter to congressional leaders. The ask? Save the wind production tax credit (PTC), due to expire at the end of the year -- a key incentive for the wind power industry.
The letter reads, in part:
In the past decade American businesses have significantly ramped up their purchase of American wind energy. For consumers of wind electricity, the economic benefits of the PTC are tremendous. Electricity rates, which reflect marginal costs for power plant operations and fuel prices, consistently decrease when wind enters the market. Because wind prices can be locked in up front, businesses incorporating wind into their energy portfolios are better equipped to hedge market volatility in traditional fuels markets caused by supply shocks. We are concerned that allowing the PTC to expire will immediately raise prices for the renewable electricity we buy today.
Signed by Starbucks, Levi Strauss, Johnson & Johnson, and Pitney Bowes, among others, the letter was no doubt promptly placed into a manila folder and then filed away forever, Raiders of the Lost Ark-style.
The companies that signed the letter are lobbying to save a few bucks on their electricity bills. Wind companies, meanwhile, are lobbying to avoid financial ruin and massive layoffs. For many, it's too late.
Residents of Alaska, the state once governed by conservative firebrand Sarah Palin, will each receive $878 from the state's Permanent Fund this year. The Permanent Fund was created in 1976 to collect and distribute revenues Alaska generates from publicly owned resources: sales of oil and natural gas, etc. In other words, it's an example of the government holding a resource and distributing the proceeds from that resource to the entire population. It's like -- what's a good example? -- it's like how some entire nations used to maintain ownership of businesses and then distribute goods and services from those businesses to the citizenry. There's a name for that sort of government that escapes me.
The oil industry wasn't as good to Alaska this year as in years past. The peak of the government's munificence came in 2008, the same year that then-Gov. Sarah Palin ran for vice president while assailing Barack Obama's imaginary predilection for redistributing wealth. In 2008, Alaskans got an extra $1,200 due to windfall oil proceeds. The $1,200 was proposed by Palin, shortly before she hit the campaign trail alongside people like Joe "the Plumber" Wurzelbacher.
Fox News contributor and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is urging Mitt Romney to make his criticism of President Barack Obama "personal," and agreed that he should begin using words such as "incompetent, dangerous, socialist" to describe the president.
Last year, the Federal Trade Commission proposed new guidelines for advertisers marketing food products to children. With the obesity rate for children between ages 6 and 11 at 20 percent, the goal of the proposal is to "encourage stronger and more meaningful self-regulation by the food industry and to support parents’ efforts to get their kids to eat healthier foods." By limiting kids' exposure to pitches for deeply unhealthy foods, the intent is that kids will eat fewer of them. Aiming for implementation by 2016, the (voluntary) restrictions [PDF] would apply to TV, radio, print, websites, and "advertising and product placement in movies, videos, and video games."
Unmentioned in the proposal: iPhone apps. Particularly: iPhone apps that are nothing but ads for unhealthy food products targeting kids. From the Wall Street Journal:
Like many children, 4-year-old Anna Woltjen pesters her mother during shopping trips for sweets and snacks. She has a fondness for all kinds of goodies but saves the hard sell for her favorite brands: Cookie Dough Bites, SuperPretzel and Icee frozen treats.
The New Jersey preschooler also asks for her mother's iPhone to play some of her favorite games, including "Cookie Dough Bites Factory," "SuperPretzel Factory" and "Icee Maker."
In 1831, Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act, a piece of legislation that "encouraged" Native Americans to head away from their traditional land in the east and Plains states. The rationale was heavily economic -- the final stop for most tribes, Oklahoma, was dusty, dry, and poorly suited for agriculture. Not worth much of anything.
But that was before Oklahoma became a major player in the oil industry, both for the deposits underground and the pipelines that run above.
Now TransCanada is in the tricky situation of dealing with Native American tribes as it tries to build the recently approved southern leg of its Keystone XL pipeline. The pipeline route from Cushing, Okla., to south Texas stretches across the historic territory of numerous tribes, though the pipeline would be built on private land.
One way to increase the odds of getting a good job and salary on graduation is to choose the right university. A graduate of Harvard, for example, is far more likely to quickly land a high-paying gig than a graduate of, say, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.
Those leaving the college of 2,300 students this year got paid a median salary of $56,700, according to PayScale Inc., which tracks employee compensation data from surveys. At Harvard, where tuition fees are almost four times higher, they got $54,100. Those scheduled to leave the campus in Rapid City, South Dakota, in May are already getting offers …