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Food Sunday: Food Fairy Tales You Can Use

7:04 am in Economy, Food by TobyWollin

photo: State Library of New South Wales via Flickr

Once Upon A Time, there was this organization in Los Angeles which wanted to promote kids’ growing organic gardens at their schools. Let us call this Organization A and it has people such as Rosario Dawson and Ed Begley Jr. working with it to promote this worthy cause. And because there is Organization A, there must, per force, be an Organization B, which is a company which produces fertilizers and compost products which are labeled as organic and which are described as “products you can trust.” A high level manager (and it would seem family member) of Organization B is on the Board of Directors of Organization A (you’re hearing the scary “Jaws” music too, right? Me, too.).

Organization A is: Environmental Media Association. Organization B is Kellogg Garden Products, the chief sustainability officer of which is Kathy Kellogg Johnson, who sits on EMA’s Board. The problem is that 70% of their fertilizer mixes contain (cue scary organ riff) UNLISTED treated sewage sludge from city of Los Angeles and as we all know by now, this is toxic stuff filled with heavy metals, chemicals, broken down plastics and so on. Now, Kellogg has the right to put anything they want into their products, but you can’t call something with heavy metals ‘organic’ and you can’t call something with heavy metals in it ‘safe’ or ‘products you can trust’, especially if you don’t list it as an ingredient.

And the reason this has come out is that Organizations C and D, The Food Rights Network and The Center for Media and Democracy, blew the whistle on Organization B to Organization A. EMA 1

This is making Organization A extremely uncomfortable and the saga rolls out here. EMA 2

Now, the interesting thing is that I can’t find a thing in the LA Times covering this story and the other thing is – it is not just that growing veggies in this stuff will have the result that the kids will be eating veggies that have taken up such ‘healthy’ items as chromium and arsenic and other heavy metal contamination. It’s that the kids will be having direct physical contact with this stuff and we all know that kids are not exactly surgeons when it comes to washing their hands and so on. So, the chances of their ingesting this stuff is also pretty good too. Sounds like some people need to start calling not only the EMA but also the school district and get the kids out of the gardens before someone gets sick.

Fairy Tale Numero Due: Goldman Sachs Controls This Too. Want to know why food prices have gone through the roof over the past couple of years? There’s a lot of talk about Russian wheat crop failures and weather and climate issues but a large part of the truth is that Goldman Sachs devised (I know you guys are getting GS Guilt Fatigue but) a product that, along with the deregulation of the Futures Markets, changed everything.
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Lying: They Don’t Know How to Do Anything Else

5:22 pm in Business, Economy, Financial Crisis by TobyWollin

photo: niznoz via Flickr

Two news stories came together in an exercise of irony at the top of one of the pages at the Huffington Post in a definite “light-bulb moment” for me:

Job Market Booming Overseas:

“Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria worries that the trend [companies increasingly hiring for overseas operations and not hiring for/closing down US operations] could be dangerous. In an article in the November issue of the Harvard Business Review, he says that if U.S. businesses keep prospering while Americans are struggling, business leaders will lose legitimacy in society. He exhorted business leaders to find a way to link growth with job creation at home.

Other economists, like Columbia University’s Sachs, say multinational corporations have no choice, especially now that the quality of the global work force has improved. Sachs points out that the U.S. is falling in most global rankings for higher education while others are rising.

“We are not fulfilling the educational needs of our young people,” says Sachs. “In a globalized world, there are serious consequences to that.”

[Source: Jobs Booming Overseas]


Obama and Wall Street: Still Venus and Mars:

“Along the gilded corridors of Manhattan’s largest banks, hedge funds and private equity firms and inside Washington’s financial lobby shops, Obama and the rest of his administration are regarded with a disdain so thick it often blurs to naked loathing, a fact that has significant implications for the president’s reelection campaign and his ability to operate over the next two years.
“You would really have to go back to 1934 to find a time when Wall Street was this angry at an administration following a crisis that was largely of Wall Street’s own making,” said Charles Geisst, a financial historian and professor at Manhattan College. “Back then, Wall Street basically went on strike and would not issue bonds for corporations. They stomped their feet like little kids. The same thing is happening now.”

[Source: Wall Street Whiners]

One of the things I recall vividly (because I wrote about it at the time) is that Hank Paulson’s argument for bailing out the banks was that there was no capital to lend. This was why there were no jobs. That if the government would front the money, the banks would lend, the spice would flow and American business would make jobs, hire people back (cue patriotic music please) and life would be beautiful again.  . . . Read the rest of this entry →

Seminal Watercooler – If Goldman Sachs Wrote Fables

7:00 pm in Uncategorized by TobyWollin

(promoted by Jim Moss – A nice piece of searing satire that would be funny if it weren’t so true.)

The way most people in the US feel about Goldman Sachs hovers around the homicidal these days, and the good folks at GS are going to try to do something about it.

"The bank said that it was working with its largest shareholder, the billionaire investor Warren E. Buffett, in a $500 million project to help 10,000 small businesses by offering them business and management education, mentoring and access to capital."

Why, this..this..this sounds just like…one of those barnyard fables of yesteryear….

"Oh, yes, said the fox to the hen as he talked to her through the chicken wire on the hen house. "I can teach you so many things."

"Can you teach me how to scratch," asked the little red hen.

"No," said the fox, "I don’t scratch for my food; I kill smaller animals."

"Can you teach me how to lay eggs," asked the little red hen.

"No," said the fox. "I can’t lay eggs; I eat what I can find, though."

"Can you teach me to fly up into the trees at night to stay safe," asked the little red hen.

"No," said the fox. "I can’t fly – but I can dig under fences."

"I have no use for animals who dig under fences," said the little red hen and she flew up into the nesting boxes at the top of the chicken house, far, far away from the fox, who stood outside watching a young, foolish rooster preening himself in the sun out in the yard right next to the fence.

Sidling up to the colorful young fellow, the fox said, "Say there rooster, could I interest you in some derivatives?"