Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Remembering Dick Clark: Seven Things You Didn't Know About The Veteran TV Host -

Remembering Dick Clark: Seven Things You Didn't Know About The Veteran TV Host - 

He was one of the most celebrated TV personalities of all time, now RadarOnline.com is taking a look back at Dick Clark's memorable life to reveal seven things which might surprise you about the American star who passed away Wednesday at the age of 82.

7. From Mailroom to Newsroom: While he went on to achieve great things, Clark's career started in the mailroom of WRUN, a New York radio station owned by his uncle and managed by his father. He worked his way up the ranks from weatherman to announcer.
6. His Nickname Became His Stage Name: He wasn't always known as simply, Dick Clark, he was actually born Richard Wagstaff Clark. Like many celebrities he shortened his name to make it more catchy. First he changed it to Dick Clay but soon picked up the name he became famous for.

5. All Shook Up By Elvis: When Bob Horn was dismissed from Bob Horn's Bandstand for a drunken driving arrest, Clark - who was already a regular substitute - assumed the full-time job as presenter. The show was bought by ABC and renamed American Bandstand. Clark's first interview on the new show was none other than Elvis Presley.

4. He Was Down With The Fresh Prince: In between hosting television and radio shows and running Dick Clark Productions, Clark made time for some TV cameos. One of which might surprise you. Clark appeared not once, but twice on The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air. In one episode he played himself at a Philadelphia diner and in the other he helped Will Smith's character host bloopers from past episodes of the comedy.

3. Three Decades Of Success: He hosted his seminal show American Bandstand for three decades. He was only 26 years old when he started.

2. Third Time Lucky: Not only was Clark married to his career, he was married three times to women too. The TV host first married Barbara Mallery in 1952 and had one son. They divorced in 1961. Just one year later he married Loretta Martin and had two children with her. Their marriage lasted nine years. His third marriage in 1977 to Kari Wigton was to be his last. He stayed married to her until his death on April 18 2012.

1. Re-Learning To Walk And Talk: After suffering a debilitating stroke in December 2004 at the age of 75 Clark had to learn to walk and talk again. One year later he retuned to TV to countdown the new year - something he was famous for - on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve.  "Last year I had a stroke," he said on air. "It left me in bad shape. I had to teach myself how to walk and talk again. It's been a long, hard fight. My speech is not perfect but I'm getting there."

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Eyeless shrimp, mutant fish in Gulf years after spill -

Eyeless shrimp, mutant fish in Gulf years after spill - 

Eyeless shrimp, fish with oozing sores and other mutant creatures found in the Gulf of Mexico are raising concerns over lingering effects of the BP oil spill.
On April 20, 2010, an explosion aboard the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 people and spewed an estimated 4.9 million barrels into the Gulf, in the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
Two years later, scientists and commercial fishers alike are finding shrimp, crab and fish that they believe have been deformed by the chemicals unleashed in the spill, according to an extensive report by Al Jazeera English.
"At the height of the last white shrimp season, in September, one of our friends caught 400 pounds of these," Tracy Kuhns, a commercial fisher from Barataria, La., told Al Jazeera, showing a sample of the eyeless shrimp.
'Eyeless fish, and fish lacking even eye sockets, and fish with lesions, fish without covers over their gills....'
- Darla Rooks, Louisiana fisher
Darla Rooks, another lifelong fisher from Port Sulfur, La., told the broadcaster she was seeing "eyeless fish, and fish lacking even eye sockets, and fish with lesions, fish without covers over their gills and others with large pink masses hanging off their eyes and gills."
Rooks added that she had never seen such deformities in Gulf waters in her life -- a refrain common to most fishers featured in the report -- and said her seafood catch last year was "ten percent what it normally is."
A survey led by the University of South Florida after the spill found that between two and five percent of fish in the Gulf now have skin lesions or sores, compared to data from before the spill, when just one-tenth of one percent of fish had any growths or sores.
Scientists blamed the mutations on the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) released from the spill's submerged oil as well as the two million gallons of the dispersant Corexit that BP used in an attempt to clean up the spill.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/04/18/eyeless-shrimp-and-mutant-fish-raise-concerns-over-bp-spill-effects/?test=latestnews

Mandatory ‘Big Brother’ Black Boxes In All New Cars From 2015 -

Mandatory ‘Big Brother’ Black Boxes In All New Cars From 2015 - 

The same Senate bill, 1813, known as MAP-21, that calls for the Secretary of State to revoke or deny a passport to any US citizen that the IRS Commissioner deems as having 'seriously delinquent tax debt', also calls for, in section 31406 of the bill. the mandatory installation of 'black box' event recorders to be installed in every new passenger vehicle starting with model year 2015:

(a) Mandatory Event Data Recorders-

(1) IN GENERAL- Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall revise part 563 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, to require, beginning with model year 2015, that new passenger motor vehicles sold in the United States be equipped with an event data recorder that meets the requirements under that part...

(d) Revised Requirements for Event Data Recorders- Based on the findings of the study under subsection (c), the Secretary shall initiate a rulemaking proceeding to revise part 563 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations. The rule-- 
(1) shall require event data recorders to capture and store data related to motor vehicle safety covering a reasonable time period before, during, and after a motor vehicle crash or airbag deployment, including a rollover;

(2) shall require that data stored on such event data recorders be accessible, regardless of vehicle manufacturer or model, with commercially available equipment in a specified data format;

(3) shall establish requirements for preventing unauthorized access to the data stored on an event data recorder in order to protect the security, integrity, and authenticity of the data; and

(4) may require an interoperable data access port to facilitate universal accessibility and analysis.

(e) Disclosure of Existence and Purpose of Event Data Recorder- The rule issued under subsection (d) shall require that any owner’s manual or similar documentation provided to the first purchaser of a passenger motor vehicle for purposes other than resale--

(1) disclose that the vehicle is equipped with such a data recorder...

(f) Access to Event Data Recorders in Agency Investigations- Section 30166(c)(3)(C) of title 49, United States Code, is amended by inserting ‘, including any electronic data contained within the vehicle’s diagnostic system or event data recorder’ after ‘equipment.’

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4 Things Grosser Than Pink Slime -

4 Things Grosser Than Pink Slime - 

The specter of "pink slime"—pureed, defatted, and ammonia-laced slaughterhouse scraps—has caused quite the uproar over the past six weeks. (The latest: Propublica has a great explainer on pink slime and other filler products.) The current fixation on pink slime may well lead to the demise of the product; already, supermarket and fast-food chains and school cafeterias are opting to stop adding the stuff into their burger mixes. The company's maker, Beef Products International, has had to temporarily shut down three of its four plants in response to collapsing demand, which doesn't augur well for the company's long-term health.

But I'm wondering if focusing on the ew-gross aspects of "lean, finely textured beef" (as the industry calls it) doesn't miss the bigger picture, which is that the meat industry's very business model is deeply gross. Even if pink slime is purged from the face of the earth, the system that produces our meat and related products (eggs, milk) won't be fundamentally changed. A while back, I identified something about meat production that's "even grosser than pink slime"—proposed new rules that would privatize inspection at poultry slaughterhouses while dramatically speeding up kill lines. Here are four more.

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1. "Rodents on egg conveyor belts." Want to see for yourself what it is like inside a teeming livestock confinements—or at least read an account from a journalist who's been inside one? Good luck. The meat industry strictly protects its facilities from public view. That's why animal-welfare groups have taken to sneaking camera-toting undercover agents into facilities posing as employees. Over and over again, what they record is horrific. The latest: An undercover Humane Society of the United States investigation found stomach-turning conditions at a facility run by Pennsylvania egg giant Kreider Farms. Here are some highlights:

• Rodents on egg conveyor belts
• Rotting corpses in cages with hens laying eggs for human consumption
• Hens stuck by their heads, legs and wings in cage wires
• Mummified hen carcasses in cages
• Overcrowding of hens in cages that only provide 54-58 square inches [less than 8 inches by eight inches] of living space per hen (well below the national average for egg-laying hens)
• Flies in barns so thick that the investigator had to scrape off his boots after walking down each aisle
• Piles of dead hens on floors of barns
• Dead flies in hens’ feeding troughs
• Barns so dark that workers needed head lamps and flashlights
• Ammonia levels so high that workers often had to wear masks
• Manure and eggs from some barns tested positive for salmonella
• Each worker is tasked with overseeing more than 100,000 animals.

There is nothing unusual about what the Humane Society found at Kreider. Last year, an enormous Iowa-based egg producer caused a salmonella outbreak by releasing more than half a billion tainted eggs. It was only after the fact that the FDA, which is supposed to oversee the egg industry, took a hard look at the company's operations. The resulting report reads an awful lot like the Humane Society's recent one. A picture emerges of the company's egg-laying facilities as salmonella-ridden, dilapidated hovels characterized by rodent infestations, flies, and, everywhere, feces—both from the laying hens themselves and from wild birds scrounging for free feed.

Other investigations by animal-welfare groups have shown similar conditions at hog and cow confinements.

2. Chickens on sex hormones. What sort of additives is the livestock industry feeding the billions of creatures in its cages? Hard to say, because feed rations are a tightly guarded trade secret. So researchers at Johns Hopkins recently took a backdoor route to getting information on feeding practices: they analyzed the ground-up feathers of post-slaughter factory-farmed chickens (a product known as "feather meal"), on the principle that what birds eat gets taken up by their feathers. (Abstract here.)

The researchers analyzed 12 samples—10 from the US, two from China. First, the headline finding: Two of the US samples contained something called norgestimate, which the study disturbingly calls a "sex hormone." The researchers found a range of other pharmaceuticals in the feathers as well. Ten of 12 samples contained caffeine, and the same number showed acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol. Four US samples contained diphenhydramin, active ingredient of Benadryl. Both Chinese samples contained the antidepressant fluoxetine, aka, Prozac. Prozac? What can all of this mean? It's not hard to conjecture that factory-farm operators dose birds with caffeine to keep them awake and eating as long as possible—the better to fatten them up for slaughter—and then hitting them with painkillers and antihistamines to calm them down for needed rest. (The sex hormone norgestimate, the authors report, is used to reduce anxiety in birds.)

Then there's the antibiotics. It's not surprising that all 12 samples contained traces of at least two and as many as 10 different antibiotics. We know that the livestock industry gobbles up 80 percent of the antibiotics consumed in the US, which is a pretty gross fact in and of itself. The weird part is that 6 of the ten US samples contained a class of antibiotics that have been banned in poultry production since 2005—suggesting that some poultry producers may be feeding their birds products that have been prohibited by the FDA. If producers really are flouting the FDA's mandatory rules, that's sobering news, given that the agency is crossing its fingers that the industry will comply with its new "voluntary" set of antibiotics guidelines.

The authors say that the industry generates 4 billion pounds of ground-up feathers each year. What happens to it all, and all of the weird pharmaceuticals it contains? According to the authors, a significant portion of it gets put into livestock feed—for pigs, cows, fish, and even, yes, chickens. It also ends up on cropland as fertilizer.

3. Flies and cockroaches carrying antibiotic-resistant pathogens from factory farms to surrounding towns. I've written a lot about how the meat available at supermarkets routinely carries bacteria resistant to a range of antibiotics—and how that uncomfortable fact occasionally leads to deadly outbreaks, like one last year involving a Cargill plant in Arkansas that sent out 36 million pounds of turkey tainted with antibiotic-resistant salmonella. Well, there's another way bacteria strains make their way from factory farms to what public-health officials call "the community" (i.e., potentially, you): through the cockroaches and flies drawn to the vast amounts of manure produced on factory farms. For a paper published last year in the journal Microbiology, researchers from North Carolina State and Kansas State universities took one for the team — i.e., the public. They did something few of us would want to do: rounded up common flies and roaches hanging around factory hog farms, and tested them to see what kinds of bacteria they were harboring.

Their finding? More than 90 percent of the insects sampled carried forms of the bacteria Enterococci that are resistant to at least one common antibiotic, and often more than one. In a press release, study coauthor Coby Schal, entomology professor at NC State, put the situation like this:

The big concern is not that humans will acquire drug-resistant bacteria from their properly cooked bacon or sausage, but rather that the bacteria will be transferred to humans from the common pests that live with pigs and then move in with us.

4. Slaughterhouse workers sometimes get weird brain disorders along with their crap wages. In a long and devastating Mother Jones article last summer, Ted Genoways described the plight of workers at the "head table" of a factory-scale pig-processing plant. Not only did they come down with a strange brain condition, apparently as a consequence of breathing in pulverized pig brains, but they also had to endure the evasions of their employer, Hormel, in its effort to escape liability.

The story's brain angle is spectacular, but the broader narrative Genoways lays out is all too routine. In a single long piece, Genoways lays out the crude history of US meat over the past 80 years. We get the unionization of the kill floor in the wake of Sinclair's The Jungle, the post-war emergence of meat packing as a proper middle-class job, the fierce anti-union backlash of the '70s, followed by corporatization, scaling up, plunging wages, and then, well, all manner of hell breaking loose, graphically documented by Genoways.

By 2005, things had gotten so dire for meat-packing workers that Human Rights Watch—typically on the lookout for atrocities in war zones—saw fit to issue a scathing report  on their plight. The report's title says it all: "Blood, Sweat, and Fear." Here's a taste:

Constant fear and risk is another feature of meat and poultry labor. Meatpacking work has  extraordinarily high rates of injury. Workers injured on the job may then face dismissal.  Workers risk losing their jobs when they exercise their rights to organize and bargain  collectively in an attempt to improve working conditions. And immigrant workers—an increasing percentage of the workforce in the industry—are particularly at risk. Language  difficulties often prevent them from being aware of their rights under the law and of specific  hazards in their work. Immigrant workers who are undocumented, as many are, risk  deportation if they seek to organize and to improve conditions.   

For their trouble, meatpacking workers earn median annual income of $24,190, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics—barely above the poverty line for a family of four.

So, yes, pink slime is gross stuff. Call me crazy, but I prefer my burgers without added ammonia. But it's not even close to the grossest thing about our meat-production system—far from it.

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Man Arrested after Posting Photo of Himself Siphoning Gas from Cop Car On FACEBOOK... -

Man Arrested after Posting Photo of Himself Siphoning Gas from Cop Car On FACEBOOK... - 
Copy of the picture Michael Baker posted on Facebook of him siphoning gas, an action that ultimately led to his arrest. (Credit: Jenkins Police Department)

A local man was arrested Monday for siphoning gas from a police cruiser. He may have gotten away with the crime — if he hadn’t posted a picture of himself in the act on his Facebook page.

Jenkins Police Chief Allen Bormes told CBS Cleveland that 20-year-old Michael Baker had posted the picture last Friday.

“It was then forwarded to one of our officers … and it went from there,” he added.

According to CBS affiliate WYMT, Baker’s girlfriend, Joann Sandelin, snapped the photo. The couple had intended for it to be a joke.

“We was just standing there and thought it would be funny to take a picture and then post it on Facebook,” Baker told the station.

The couple was initially apologetic for their actions.

“Yeah, we’re sorry, but it was just a joke,” Sandelin said. “I mean, if we was [sic] going to steal gas, we wouldn’t put it nationwide on Facebook. We don’t steal anyway, but we’re sorry.”

However, Baker later told WYMT that he did take some of the fuel, and was not truly sorry for his crime.

Baker was charged with theft by unlawful taking. He was held overnight in jail, but his bond was subsequently posted.

According to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report, the price for a regular gallon of gas in Kentucky is presently $3.90.


Al Sharpton still owes nearly $1 million as a result of his failed bid for 2004 Democratic presidential nomination -

Al Sharpton still owes nearly $1 million as a result of his failed bid for 2004 Democratic presidential nomination - 

MSNBC’s Al Sharpton is reeling in debt and back taxes.

The liberal provocateur owes nearly $1 million to creditors and the federal government as a result of his failed bid for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination.

His campaign’s unpaid bills exceed $888,000, according to federal filings.

It is unclear why Sharpton has not paid his creditors. He does not lack for income.

Sharpton has his own primetime talk show on liberal network MSNBC, a platform he used to drive the Trayvon Martin shooting story that rocked the nation and led to the arrest of Democratic neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman.

In August 2011, Sharpton took over the 6 p.m. slot from Keith Olbermann, who earned more than $4 million per year working in the same slot at the network. Sharpton also drew a $240,000 salary from his nonprofit group, National Action Network, in 2011 even as the group racked up nearly $1 million in unpaid federal payroll taxes, interest, and penalties.

NAN has dealt with major finance issues in the last few years. The nonprofit raised $3 million in 2010, and paid off its state back taxes in 2011, but still owed $883,000 in unpaid federal payroll taxes in December. The group also owed more than $200,000 in loans to one of Sharpton’s for-profit enterprises.

Sharpton, who has endorsed President Barack Obama’s calls for taxing the rich, has his own tax issues. He owed the IRS $2.6 million in income taxes in December 2011, as well as almost $900,000 in New York state taxes.

Sharpton financed his presidential run, in part, by borrowing large sums of money from his struggling nonprofit.

Sharpton borrowed more than $181,000 from NAN—money that is now supposed to be refunded. Sharpton also loaned $145,000 to the campaign to finance a fundraising push.

His largest creditor is the federal government; the campaign owes the Federal Elections Commission and the U.S. Treasury Department more than $225,000.

Sharpton could not capitalize on his national reputation as a rabble-rouser in the 2004 Democratic primary, losing out to Sen. John Kerry (D., Mass.). But he did make waves in the race, slamming then-frontrunner Howard Dean for not having enough minorities on his campaign—a charge that has also dogged the Obama campaign—during an Iowa debate.

Sharpton skipped out on debts big and small. In addition to the six figure sums he borrowed from his nonprofit and leveraged from campaign consultants, he has not paid a $0.33 charge to a group called Xpedite, as well as a $2.50 ATM fee to Amalgamated Bank.

Sharpton’s presidential committee owed more than $900,000 to creditors late in 2011, according to Politico, after paying down the $208,000 in civil penalties the campaign owed the FEC for “failing to report accurately all receipts and expenditures, receiving excessive and prohibited in-kind contributions and accepting impermissible corporate contributions,” according to the FEC. The campaign has established a payment schedule to address the fines for campaign violations and other federal charges, according to the FEC.

“Now that the civil penalties have been satisfied, the campaign is contacting vendors to construct a debt resolution plan that must be submitted to the FEC for approval,” spokeswoman Rachel Noerdlinger told Politico in November. “While Rev. Sharpton, as candidate, helped to raise the money to resolve the civil penalties, the additional debt will be reviewed by the campaign and remedied in accordance to FEC’s rules and regulations.”


Dog Strangled by Phone Cord Saves His Own Life by Dialing Emergency Number -

Dog Strangled by Phone Cord Saves His Own Life by Dialing Emergency Number - 

George, a 2-year-old Basset Hound from South Heindley, West Yorkshire, U.K., was strangled by a phone cord — and miraculously saved his own life by calling 999, the British equivalent of 911, reports The Sun.

George knocked over a heavy-duty, old-fashioned phone in owner Steve Brown’s home; he became tangled in the cord and wound up with it wrapped around his neck. Somehow, George — in the midst of choking — managed to dial 999 with his paw.

The emergency operator heard heavy breathing and gasping on the other end and alerted the authorities, who entered the house with the help of a neighbor, Paul Walker, who had a key.

Walker saw the dog choking and ripped the cord free from the phone to save him.

He told The Sun: "Incredibly you could see where his paw print was on the phone to ring 999 — he literally saved his own life."

Lydia Brown, the daughter of George's owner, expressed equal amazement at the Basset's lifesaving feat, telling The Sun, "He's really dopey and just likes to chew socks."

George isn't sounding quite so dopey now, though.


Obama as a Boy Ate Dog Meat - #ObamaDogRecipes -

Obama as a Boy Ate Dog Meat - #ObamaDogRecipes - 

Much has been made about Mitt Romney, in 1983, putting his family dog Seamus in a kennel on top of his roof and driving from Boston to Canada, with said canine Seamus making his displeasure known in a rather scatological way.
Democrats have signaled they have every intention of making sure the American people — especially dog-lovers — know the tale. In January, senior Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod tweeted a photo of the president and Bo in a car, with the snide observation: “@davidaxelrod: How loving owners transport their dogs.”
The Romney campaign signaled tonight that they are not about to cede any ground when it comes to a candidate’s odd past with man’s best friend.
And the Obama campaign shot back, with a spokesman suggesting the Romney team was attacking a child, since the Obama act in question took place when he was a kid.
The Daily Caller noted that in President Obama’s best-selling memoir, “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance,” the president recalls being fed dog meat as a young boy in Indonesia with his stepfather, Lolo Soetoro.
“With Lolo, I learned how to eat small green chill peppers raw with dinner (plenty of rice), and, away from the dinner table, I was introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), and roasted grasshopper (crunchy),” the president wrote. “Like many Indonesians, Lolo followed a brand of Islam that could make room for the remnants of more ancient animist and Hindu faiths. He explained that a man took on the powers of whatever he ate: One day soon, he promised, he would bring home a piece of tiger meat for us to share.”
After his mother married Soetoro, Obama lived in Indonesia from 1967 until 1971, from roughly the age of 6 through 10.
The discovery that the president had eaten dog meat prompted wise-cracks on twitter (hashtag — #ObamaDogRecipes) and this tweet from Romney strategist Eric Fehrstrom, who re-tweeted Axelrod’s original message with a different take on the picture of the president and Bo.
“@EricFehrn: In hindsight, a chilling photo,” he wrote.
Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt tweeted in response:  “@BenLaBolt  What’s the next attack @EricFerhn and the RNC will surface on a 6-10 year old?”
The Seamus story was discussed again Monday when Ann Romney told Diane Sawyer that “the dog loved” traveling that way. “He would see that crate and, you know, he would, like, go crazy because he was going with us on vacation. It was to me a kinder thing to bring him along than to leave him in the kennel for two weeks.”
Certainly kinder than eating him.

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