Dunkin’ Donuts is dropping titanium dioxide from its powdered sugar donuts after pressure from a public interest group who argued it is not safe for human consumption.
Titanium dioxide is used to make the powdered sugar appear brighter. It is also used in sunscreen and paints. The group As You Sow argues titanium dioxide that can cause DNA and chromosomal damage when consumed. The decision by Dunkin’ Donuts (DNKN) was recently disclosed by the advocacy group.” This is a groundbreaking decision,” said Danielle Fugere, president and chief counsel of the group. “Dunkin’ has demonstrated strong industry leadership by removing this potentially harmful ingredient from its donuts.”…More
William Jefferson Clinton is like the Democrat’s answer to Reagan: a highly respected two-term president who just about everyone agrees was awesome. In a 2013 poll, CNN ranked him as the third-greatest president of all time. Over three-quarters of registered voters today see his tenure as positive. He’s just about the only living Democratic figure even Republicans admire. It’s too bad he was responsible for some of the worst disasters in living memory…more
The world’s top industrial powers threatened further sanctions to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin from taking over other parts of Ukraine and suspended Russia from participating in the Group of Eight.
Meeting for the first time since last week’s annexation of Crimea by Russia, Group of Seven leaders said last night they won’t attend a planned G-8 meeting which was to have been held in Sochi, site of the Winter Olympics, and will instead hold their own summit in June in Brussels…more
**As if anyone actually gives a…..hoot.**
President Obama has promised to send military aid to the rebel forces in Syria. Senator McCain and ex-President Clinton both had publicly chastised Obama for hesitating. On Tuesday evening, Clinton warned Obama that he risked looking like a “total wuss” and a “total fool” if he continued to sit to the sidelines. On Wednesday, Obama made his pledge to do what Clinton recommended. The White House has not yet identified which accusation President Obama is trying to avoid: being a total wuss or a total fool. This announcement was good news for the Jabhat al Nusra Front, which is one of the rebel groups. Its chief recently swore allegiance to Sheik Ayman al-Zawahri, who is generally regarded as having replaced Osama bin Laden as the head of Al Qaeda. USA Today reports the following….more
Have you ever Tweeted a politically subversive message, attended a protest, or signed an oppositional petition? If so, you may have a dedicated file on you kept by the FBI and/or the NSA….more
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Until she introduced “magic cheese” to her sick and aging bulldog, Laura Bugni-Daniel watched him suffer for two years. He’d spend his days lying down or throwing up. Today, at age 12, he plays like a puppy through the day, his fur is soft and he sleeps at night, soothed not by magic, but by the dose of marijuana in that cheese. Bugni-Daniel is part of a growing movement to give medical marijuana to pets in pain. Many urge caution until there’s better science behind it. But stories abound about changes in sick and dying pets after they’ve been given cannabis — even though it isn’t a proven pain killer for man or mutt, and it’s an illicit drug under federal law despite being legal for people in 19 states and the District of Columbia. Leading the charge is Los Angeles veterinarian Doug Kramer, 36, known as the “Vet Guru,” who felt it was his duty to speak out while he has no family that would feel a verbal or financial backlash. “I grew tired of euthanizing pets when I wasn’t doing everything I could to make their lives better,” he said. “I felt like I was letting them down.” Pot eased his Siberian husky’s pain during her final weeks, after she had surgery to remove tumors. Not only did Nikita stop whimpering while using cannabis, but she started eating, gaining weight and meeting him at the door again. It gave him six extra weeks with his dog before he had to euthanize her, he says. It wasn’t a cure, but he thinks it freed her of pain and improved her last days....more
Pelosi: “I Don’t Remember Saying that Everybody in the Country Would Have a Lower Premium.”….Just a few weeks ago the honorable Congresswoman from San Francisco, Nancy Pelosi, made the stunning claim that health insurance in America would be cheaper than ever before. “Many of the initiatives that he passed are what are coming to bear now, including the Affordable Care Act,” she said at a recent press conference about legislation championed by the President. “The Affordable Care Act is bringing the cost of health care in ourcountry down inboth the public and private sector.” Of course, days later we found out what the future of ”affordable” health care and lower costs actually meant, when the IRS admitted that prices would top $20,000 per year for the average American family. It seems that these are the ramifications for passing a sweeping overhaul of the U.S. health care industry without having first read the bill to find out what was in it….more
Media members thinking the Republicans are overplaying their hand with the Internal Revenue Service scandal should pay attention to what happened on NBC’s Tonight Show Monday. When host Jay Leno joked that President Obama should close the IRS rather than the terrorist detention center in Guantanamo Bay, the audience erupted in thunderous applause (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
JAY LENO: President Obama says he’s renewing his efforts to close Guantanamo Bay. Guantanamo Bay? How about closing the IRS? Why don’t we do that?
How about shipping the IRS to Guantanamo Bay? That’s what we, yes! That’s how you do it.
Well, more problems with the IRS. A new report has found that they spent $50 million on employee conferences and retreats in just two years. They would have investigated sooner, but it turns out, you know, they don’t belong to any conservative groups. So nobody really noticed. They didn’t really see it. A little odd, yeah....more
Last week, I ran out of ink for my printer and ordered some more online. My computer automatically pulled up the previous order, and I was shocked to see that the price of the ink cartridges I was buying had gone up 25%. To my mind, ink always seems overpriced. Manufacturers sell printers cheaply because they know that they can make lots of money on the ink. For the same reason, John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil is said to have sold millions of cheap kerosene lamps in order to make big profits selling kerosene. But since ink cartridges were already priced way above cost and official statistics show little general inflation, why had ink gone up 25% in less than a year?...more
NEW YORK — Salaries of presidents of U.S. public universities rose almost 5 percent in the last fiscal year, even as tuition rose and student debt soared, with the median pay package topping $400,000, according to a report released on Sunday. Penn State’s Graham Spanier was the top earner last year at the time he was fired over the Jerry Sandusky scandal, according to the study by the Chronicle of Higher Education, though his compensation was inflated by $2.4 million in severance pay and deferred compensation. The median total compensation for the public university presidents in fiscal year 2011-2012 was $441,392, the study found. Four of the presidents earned more than $1 million, and the median base pay jumped 2 percent to $373,800. Spanier received total compensation of $2.9 million, the same fiscal year that he was fired for his handling of the Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. Jay Gogue of Auburn University in Alabama, E. Gordon Gee of Ohio State University, and Alan Merten of George Mason University in Virginia, who has since left his position, also received more than $1 million in the 2011-2012 fiscal year. Gee had the highest base pay, at $830,439, which accounted for 44 percent of his total compensation. Spanier – charged with two other former Penn State officials in the Sandusky case – is awaiting trial for perjury and obstruction of justice in what a grand jury called a “conspiracy of silence” to cover up Sandusky’s crimes. All three men have pleaded not guilty….more
**People still living in tents from Hurricane Sandy**
ALBANY — The Cuomo administration has set aside nearly $140 million for an advertising campaign called “New York State Open for Business,” with the money drawn largely from a state authority created to lower electricity bills and from federal disaster aid, records show.
Much of the money spent has been used to buy television ads, half of which are being broadcast outside New York, celebrating the state’s economic success stories as part of an effort to lure and keep business here.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration, which began the campaign, says the ads are a valuable tool for recruiting businesses, but critics say they are a backdoor way of elevating the governor’s stature, even though they do not mention his name and he is prohibited from appearing in them. “We are doing everything we can to level the playing field to bring businesses and jobs to the state of New York, and will continue to double down on those efforts as long as this governor is in office,” Melissa DeRosa, a spokeswoman for Mr. Cuomo, said….more
The stock market continues its winning streak: The Dow Jones hit another milestone today, tapping 15,000 for the first time, but closing just shy of the milestone.
This, of course, follows good news about the job market .
All of this : just how long does it take the Dow to climb 1,000 points. They explain:
“The answers vary, but the latest stretch from when the blue-chip average initially climbed over 14000 to its current level is one of the longest on record, underscoring the severe drought and subsequent comeback stocks have ridden over the past decade.
“The answers vary, but the latest stretch from when the blue-chip average initially climbed over 14000 to its current level is one of the longest on record, underscoring the severe drought and subsequent comeback stocks have ridden over the past decade.”…more
Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have filed a civil rights lawsuit against a Chicago public school district on behalf of a second-grade teacher who was suspended after he displayed garden-variety tools such as wrenches, pliers and screwdrivers in his classroom as part of a “tool discussion” in his class.
Despite the fact that all potentially hazardous items were kept out of the students’ reach, school officials at Washington Irving Elementary School informed Doug Bartlett, a 17-year veteran in the classroom, that his use of the tools as visual aids endangered his students. Bartlett was subsequently penalized with a four-day suspension without pay – charged with possessing, carrying, storing or using a weapon...more
Starting in July, the U.S. gross domestic product will officially jump by 3%. The change isn’t due to some miraculous economic event but rather from a shift in the way the government looks at statistics in the digital age. Brent Moulton, an associate director at the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, says the revised benchmark economic number will take into account billions of dollars in intangible assets that have previously been left out. “We’re capitalizing research and development,” Moulton told the Financial Times, “and also this category referred to as entertainment, literary and artistic originals, which would be things like motion picture originals, long-lasting television programs, books and sound recordings.” For example, according to the FT, the output of iPads produced by Apple (AAPL +1.28%) is currently included in GDP, but the R&D needed to create those iPads isn’t. With the changeover this summer, R&D will now be considered an investment and will add to the overall measured size of the economy. Shortfalls in defined-benefit pension plans will also be reevaluated. “We will now show a liability for underfunded plans, which particularly has large ramifications for the government sector,” said Moulton, “where both at the state level and the federal level we have large underfunded plan.”...more
The Senate passed a bill today that would allow people with post-traumatic stress disorder to get medical marijuana cards, but not all lawmakers were sold on the idea….more
The Boston bombing suspects, brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, are from a region of Russia known as Chechnya. Some in the social media world have confused this republic with the similar sounding Czech Republic, which is actually some 2,000 miles away in Central Europe. The Czech ambassador to the United States has issued a statement to clear up any confusion between the Czech Republic and Chechnya. “The Czech Republic is a Central European country; Chechnya is a part of the Russian Federation,” Petr Gandalovič writes. Read Gandalovič’s full statement below….
“Kinda scary man, the black helicopter crowd is really upset,” Biden said, criticizing the National Rifle Association for promoting a “misinformation campaign” on background checks.
Biden insisted that there would be no central registry for background checks allowing government to keep records on gun owners.
“No way that Uncle Sam can go find out whether you own a gun because we’re about to really take away all your rights and you’re not going to be able to defend yourself and we’re going to swoop down with Special Forces folks and gather up every gun in America,” Biden added mockingly. “It’s bizarre. But that’s what’s being sold out there.”
What Shotgun Joe’s talking about
“Here Come the Black Helicopters” by Dick Morris & Eileen McGann
“Boomtown 1: Washington, The Imperial City” exposed the cronyism and luxurious lifestyle of Washington, DC’s power elite. On Friday “Boomtown 2: The Business of Food Stamps” Government Accountability Institute (GAI) President Peter Schweizer and Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon exposed how politicians and corporations have used the country’s food stamps program to profit on the backs of tax payers.…more
We recently received a question from a reader who is looking for help with a past due movie rental that went to collections:
“Today I received a letter in the mail from a collection agency stating that a DVD I rented from Family Video (probably 5 years ago) has gone to collections. The total that I owe is $8.97. Am I going to get a bad credit score for an unpaid bill of $8.97?! Help would be greatly appreciated.”
The debt collection industry has grown into a multi-billion dollar business, and in order to stay competitive and profitable, collection companies are buying collection account portfolios from almost any company that’s willing to sell them or commission them to collect on their behalf. This includes credit card issuers, auto and mortgage lenders, cell phone companies, utility companies (cable, Internet, water, etc.), public libraries, gyms — and even video stores, as evidenced in your case.
A few years ago, these types of low dollar collections made headlines when a number of people began receiving collections for old, unpaid library fines that had been turned over to collections and reported in their credit reports. Yes, even minor past-due debts can turn into collections, regardless of how minor the amount. It’s something we should all be aware of….more
File this under “Unbelievable.” We now learn from the Washington Post that the Obama administration, in its relentless quest for “social justice,” is pushing banks to make more loans to people with weak credit ratings. It seems that Obama and his “economic advisers” have concluded that the current “housing rebound” is “leaving too many people behind”—most notably, undercapitalized first-time homebuyers and nonwhite minorities with low credit scores. To remedy this putative disaster, the administration wants banks to rely less on the time-tested, race-neutral lending criteria that have served as reliable barometers of credit-worthiness since time immemorial—income, net worth, credit history, etc. Instead, banks should “use more subjective judgment in determining whether to offer a loan” because, as Obama’s Federal Housing Administration (FHA) commissioner puts it, “there are lots of creditworthy borrowers … all the way down the credit-score spectrum.” And hey, if this policy ultimately causes borrowers to default on their loans, that’s no big deal. “Taxpayer-backed programs”—including those offered by the FHA—will magnanimously pick up the tab.
In a clear sign of its dissatisfaction with the direction of the company, the board of J. C. Penney gave its chief executive, Ron Johnson, a pay cut of almost 97 percent, to $1.9 million, for 2012, according to a regulatory filing on Tuesday.
In addition, not a single top executive received a cash bonus for the year.
“The C.E.O. is certainly being given a message,” said Kent Hughes, managing director at the proxy advisory firm Egan-Jones Ratings Company….more
**The Furniture industry in America is ancient history. The best analogy is to compare it to is the Detroit auto industry; It’s been a mess ever since Bill Clinton rented out the Lincoln Bedroom. Most industry insiders have NO idea where the industry’s going because they had no idea ten years ago when sales started to steadily decline. This is a case study of how the country was and is being gutted by our career minded leaders. **
ST. LOUIS — Hoping to keep its stock price above $1 per share and preserve its New York Stock Exchange listing, Furniture Brands International is asking shareholders to approve a reverse stock split.
Shareholders were notified in a recent proxy statement that two such proposals will be voted on at the company’s annual meeting May 2. One authorizes a 1-for-5 reserve split and the other a 1-for-7 reserve split.
**Forget the economy…or Detroit….or Camden, we need these sort of programs**
(Reuters) – The White House unveiled a sweeping new initiative on Tuesday to map the individual cells and circuits that make up the human brain, a project that will give scientists a better understanding of how a healthy brain works and how to devise better treatme
nts for injuries and diseases of the brain.
“There is this enormous mystery waiting to be unlocked,” said President Barack Obama of the ambitious project unveiled at a White House ceremony packed with scientists....more
Remember this one? Click Here…
ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Talk about streaming media: The Philadelphia Phillies’ top minor league affiliate is set to debut what it calls a “urinal gaming system” at its ballpark in Allentown....more
**”This heavy headed revel east and west makes us traduc’d, and tax’d of other nations;They clepe us drunkards, and with swinish phrase soil our addition; and indeed it takes from our achievements, though perform’d at height, The pith and marrow of our attribute.”**
(CNSNews.com) – The Congressional Budget Office is now projecting that the U.S. economy will never achieve full employment during the eight years Barack Obama serves as president.
That would make Obama the only American president during the post-World War II era who never presided over a year in which the U.S. economy offered full employment to the American people.
The CBO defines “full employment” to be when the national unemployment rate is at or below what it calls the “natural unemployment rate.”...more
A Florida Atlantic University student who filed a complaint against his professor after he was ordered to stomp on the name of Jesus has been brought up on academic charges by the school and may no longer attend class, according to documents obtained by Fox News….more
Vice President Joe Biden spent more than $1 million for two nights in hotels in London and Paris, according to government documents.
Biden and his hefty entourage spent the night at t
wo five-star hotels in early February – one night at the Hyatt Regency London for a total of $459,338.65 and another night at the Hotel Intercontinental Paris Le Grand for $585,000.50.
The cost of the trips was first reported by the Weekly Standard, which discovered the official contract filing online, showing how much the government paid for the hotel bill….more
**One thing is sure: he must have a “Good” explanation**
Paris may be known as the City of Light, but that title certainly doesn’t mean that visitors are light on spending as Vice President Joe Biden’s one day trip cost taxpayers more than half a million dollars.
When Mr Biden and his hefty entourage stayed in Paris for an evening in early
February and it cost $585,000.50 for that single night.
The Vice President likely rented out more than 100 rooms in the Hotel Intercontinental Paris Le Grand, though they must not have gotten a group discount rate....more
**Personally, I wont drink it. It’s JUST cola. Why the need to sabotage it?**
So what exactly is this magic ingredient that will be appearing in a new version of Pepsi, and how is it made? Unfortunately, those questions are hard to answer. Senomyx… refers to them only as ‘enhancers’ or ‘ingredients’… The products work by triggering receptors on the tongue and tricking your taste buds into sensing sweetness — or saltiness or coolness, in the case of the company’s other programs…
So are Senomyx’s covert ingredients safe? That, too, is anyone’s guess… many of its enhancers have ‘been granted’GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) status, but all that means is that the company did its own assessment and then concluded everything was fine. We don’t know whether Senomyx did any testing since the company isn’t required to submit anything to the FDA.14
There’s no reason to think that Senomyx’s products will cause harm, but until or unless Pepsi decides to share details about how exactly it’s achieving a 60 percent reduction in sugar while keeping the taste the same, customers will be drinking their ‘scientifically advantaged’ sodas completely in the dark.”…(more)
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – A message from above? That’s what several South Florida residents thought after looking toward the sky on the day a new pope was named. Most saw an angel in the clouds and grabbed their cameras to document the vision. For some, it was a clear sign from heaven, maybe a message from God himself, showing his pleasure at the election of the first Latin American as the 267th successor of St. Peter. Read more:
The former lover of billionaire George Soros, who is suing the mogul for not buying her an apartment, will be named in a lawsuit for falsely accusing a man of rape....(more)
**Hint: They need cheap labor to repatriate US companies**
WASHINGTON (AP) — A record number of U.S. counties – more than 1 in 3 – are now dying off, hit by an aging population and weakened local economies that are spurring young adults to seek jobs and build families elsewhere. New 2012 census estimates released Thursday highlight the population shifts as the U.S. encounters its most sluggish growth levels since the Great Depression. The findings also reflect the increasing economic importance of foreign-born residents as the U.S. ponders an overhaul of a major 1965 federal immigration law. Without new immigrants, many metropolitan areas such as New York, Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh and St. Louis would have posted flat or negative population growth in the last year. “Immigrants are innovators, entrepreneurs, they’re making things happen. They create jobs,” said Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, at an immigration conference in his state last week. Saying Michigan should be a top destination for legal immigrants to come and boost Detroit and other struggling areas, Snyder made a special appeal: “Please come here.”...(more)
New York parents furious at program, inBloom, that compiles private student information for companies that contract with it to create teaching tools. Concerns have arisen that the information could be sold to other companies, which officials deny. The system contains names, attendance records, disciplinary histories, addresses, test scores and learning disabilities. New York joins eight other states that have adopted it….(more)
Most young couples could only dream of buying a luxury four-bedroom apartment in the centre of Manhattan. But Chelsea Clinton, 33, and husband Marc Mezvinsky, 35, are about to swap their $4 million pad for a huge new $10.5 million one nearby....(more)
AFP – Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Lisbon and other Portuguese cities Saturday to protest against the government’s austerity measures….(more)
**Just how long will it take for humanity to screw this one up? We are the Borg. Resistance is futile**
Researchers at Brown University have succeeded in creating the first wireless, implantable, rechargeable, long-term brain-computer interface. The wireless BCIs have been implanted in pigs and monkeys for over 13 months without issue, and human subjects are next.
We’ve covered BCIs extensively here on ExtremeTech, but historically they’ve been bulky and tethered to a computer. A tether limits the mobility of the patient, and also the real-world testing that can be performed by the researchers. Brown’s wireless BCI;...(more)
J.C. Penney Co. (JCP) slid after the department-store chain lost $4.3 billion in sales in the first year of Chief Executive Officer Ron Johnson’s turnaround plan.
The shares fell 17 percent to $17.57 at the close in New York, the worst performer in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. J.C. Penney yesterday said its net loss in the quarter ended Feb. 2 widened to $552 million from $87 million a year earlier. The Plano, Texas-based retailer’s annual revenue slid 25 percent to $13 billion, the lowest since at least 1987.
Johnson, the former Apple Inc. (AAPL) retail chief who joined as CEO in November 2011, has gone back on his everyday low pricing strategy by adding sales, promotions and new price displays in recent months. While Johnson yesterday reiterated a plan to install 100 boutiques inside most J.C. Penney stores, he also said.…(more)