Monthly Archives: August 2009

Latest in Stimulus: ‘Cash for Refrigerators’


A $300 million cash-for-clunkers-type federal program to boost sales of energy-efficient home appliances provides a glimmer of hope for beleaguered makers of washing machines and dishwashers, but it’s probably not enough to lift companies such as Whirlpool (NYSE:WHR – News) and Electrolux out of the worst down cycle in the sector’s history.

Beginning late this fall, the program authorizes rebates of $50 to $200 for purchases of high-efficiency household appliances. The money is part of the broader economic stimulus bill passed earlier this year. Program details will vary by state, and the Energy Dept. has set a deadline of Oct. 15 for states to file formal applications. The Energy Dept. expects the bulk of the $300 million to be awarded by the end of November. (Unlike the clunkers auto program, consumers won’t have to trade in their old appliances.)

“These rebates will help families make the transition to more efficient appliances, making purchases that will directly stimulate the economy,” Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement announcing the plan. Only appliances covered by the Energy Star seal will qualify. In 2008, about 55% of newly produced major household appliances met those standards, which are set by the Energy Dept. and Environmental Protection Agency.

The money can’t come soon enough for the home appliance industry, which is mired in an unprecedented sales slump that began when the housing market cooled in 2006. Since then that slump has worsened considerably. Shipments of washers, dryers, refrigerators, and ovens dropped 10% in 2008 and are down 15% through July, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers. “It’s brutal,” says Raymond James (NYSE:RJF – News) analyst Sam Darkatsh.

a marketing push around rebates

The leading appliance makers have felt the pinch. Whirlpool of Benton Harbor, Mich., which controls about 40% of the U.S. market, has seen its sales drop 20% through the first two quarters of this year. North American shipments for its Stockholm-based rival Electrolux, meanwhile, have dropped for a dozen consecutive quarters. Both companies have laid off hundreds of workers, and General Electric (NYSE:GE – News) mulled shutting down an entire refrigerator plant earlier this year until deciding to keep it open with a reduced workforce.

Not surprisingly, appliance makers cheered the news. Electrolux spokesman Tony Evans calls the federal program a “great opportunity to encourage consumers to replace their old appliances.” Lately, cash-strapped consumers have chosen to repair, rather than replace, hobbled dishwashers and other water-intensive appliances, according to industry analysts. Electrolux says it is readying “aggressive” marketing programs that will run parallel with the rebates, and it’s reasonable to expect appliance makers and retailers will devise additional discounts to amplify the rebates’ appeal. “We will be ready to go when the new incentive programs hit the market,” Evans said.

Unlike the popular, $3 billion cash-for-clunkers vehicle program, which ends on Aug. 24, there’s no guarantee that hard-hit consumers are prepared to plump for new washers, stoves, and fridges. The federal outlay will piggyback on rebate programs for energy-saving appliances that have existed for years in more than 25 states, but which have largely failed to spur demand. Home improvement retailers like Home Depot (NYSE:HD – News) and Lowe’s (NYSE:LOW – News) have also offered deep discounts on big-ticket appliances lately, with little impact.

“The cash-for-clunkers (program) had a discernible value proposition for the consumer, because he knows how much his (clunker) is worth,” says Darkatsh, the Raymond James analyst. “With appliances, there is no trade-in. You can walk into Home Depot and get a great deal on a home appliance any time you want one. Why would it drum up sales now?” Laura Champine, an analyst with Cowen & Co. (NasdaqGS:COWN – News), agrees. “I’m not sure if it will be as powerful as cash for clunkers because there is something compelling about that $4,500 discount,” she says. “Also, a new car is more fun than a new dishwasher. So I’m not sure if it will be as much of a driver, but any driver is welcome right now.”

Stock Market Overreaction

Analysts also believe that the stock market’s reaction to the program is overblown. Whirlpool’s shares rose 6% on Aug. 20 when news of the program circulated, and climbed another 5% the following session. “That’s silly,” says Darkatsh. He estimates that in a best-case scenario the rebates will equate to about $240 million in incremental sales for Whirlpool. But that’s unlikely, as it assumes that every American buying under the voucher program would not have done so otherwise. “The vast majority would have bought them anyway,” as purchases of appliances such as fridges and washing machines are far less discretionary than, say, cars or big-screen televisions, Darkatsh says.

The recession’s ability to blunt the program’s impact was underscored by a call to the California Energy Commission to discuss its approach to the rebate program. The entire state office is on unpaid furlough each Friday in August; no one picked up the telephone.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/bw/20090824/bs_bw/aug2009db20090821304909

A Streetcar Named Desire


In 1946, soon after GM formed a partnership with Firestone Tire Corporation, Standard Oil of California, and the Mack Truck Co., Captain Edward J. Quinby mailed out a 36-page detailed letter to the public “outting” GM’s plan. “There is a carefully, deliberately planned campaign to swindle you out of your electric street cars system.” The Department of Justice took notice and brought GM to court but since there were no Anti-Trust laws on the books at that time, the government’s hands were tied. GM claimed the company’s partnerships had “no influence” on National City Lines decision to transition from street cars to buses. (See: General Motors streetcar conspiracy) Nonetheless, NCL and GM were found guilty of “conspiracy to monopolize local transit systems.” The penalty? A whopping $1 fine to the Chief Financial Officer who orchestrated the plan. The US Department of Justice would, to no avail, spend the next 25 years trying to keep the ever-expanding power of GM under control.

-groupechronos.org

The Key System (or Key Route) was a privately owned company which provided mass transit in the cities of Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda[1], Emeryville, Piedmont, San Leandro, Richmond, Albany and El Cerrito in the eastern San Francisco Bay Area from 1903 until 1960, when the system was sold to a newly formed public agency, AC Transit.

The Key System consisted of local streetcar and bus lines operating solely in the East Bay, and a network of commuter rail and bus lines connecting cities and neighborhoods in the East Bay to San Francisco by way of a ferry pier extending out into San Francisco Bay, and later, via the lower deck of the Bay Bridge. At its height during the 1940s, the Key System had over 66 miles (106 km) of track that connected the communities of Richmond, Albany, Berkeley, Oakland, and San Leandro with each other and to San Francisco. The local streetcars were discontinued in 1948 and the commuter trains to San Francisco were discontinued in 1958. The Key System’s original territory is today served by BART and AC Transit bus service.

The Key System’s famed commuter train system was dismantled in 1958 after many years of declining ridership as well as the effort by National City Lines, a General Motors affiliate which had bought up the system in the late 1940s to petition the public utility board to abandon the last rail lines. In 1949, a Federal Court convicted General Motors, Standard Oil of California, Firestone Tire and others of criminally conspiring to monopolize the sale of buses and related products to their subsidiary transit companies throughout the U.S. They were fined $5,000.[4] State planners anxious to embrace California’s postwar love for the automobile also pushed to have the track across the Bay Bridge and street rights of way removed to increase highway and street capacity. Local governments in the East Bay attempted to purchase the Key System, but were unsuccessful. The last run for the Key System’s rail system was on April 20, 1958. In 1960, the newly-formed, publicly owned AC Transit took over the Key System’s facilities.

Most of the rolling stock was scrapped, and some of the rest sold and shipped off for operation in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Several streetcars, interurbans and bridge units were salvaged for collections in the United States. Of the large bridge units, three are at the Western Railway Museum near Rio Vista, California[5] while another is at the Orange Empire Railway Museum in southern California.

– wikipedia

Fool’s Paradise wk 12


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Back again for Week 12 of the show and this time our friends Truth and the Music aka Coop Devillin and Judah Armada came thru to play some of their tracks. Their tracks came off their ep The Science of Sound v.2.1 and instrumental beats were off of Coop’s instrumental ep Synthetic. We had some laughs and volume problems but nonetheless the jamz came shining through.

Here’s a link to Truth and The Music

Here goes the tracklist:
Situation (Dub) 5:44 Yazoo The Dark Side Of Disco Vol.1 (White Label)
03 Track 3 4:02
Mr Decay (Robert Babicz Universum Disco Mix) 7:49 Gui Boratto Chromophobia Remixe Part 1
movies (fill music) 2:03 NastyNasty heavy little things Bass
Something In The Way 2:11 Best Coast
Revamper 2:08 The Pheromoans Revamper 7″
Mind Your Own Business 3:14 Delta 5 Singles & Sessions 1979-81
Peepholes – Bagel 2:01
L’Uccello Magico (FILL MUSIC) 2:12 Nino Rota Il Casanova Di Federico Fellini Soundtrack
A Means To An End 4:08 Joy Division Closer
Leaders of Men 2:37 Joy Division Substance
She’s Lost Control 4:57 Joy Division Substance
Love Will Tear Us Apart 3:30 Joy Division Substance
23 _5. Mot a Mot 2:29 BREAKFAST MOUNTAIN HOOOODED
Belong 2:55 Washed Out Side A
Polkadot Blues 3:00 Hudson Mohawke Polyfolk Dance EP
Performance 2:46 Tones Of Tail Rvng Prsnts MX3: Tim Sweeney
Reaction Dub (fill music) 3:25 Revolutionaries Reaction In Dub
34 MargretChoMulletFantasia 2:26
White Car – The Bridge 4:14
Every Day Is Halloween 6:37 Ministry Early Trax
Beat Bop 9:59 Rahmelzee Vs. K.Rob New York Noise: Dance Music From The New York Underground 1978-1982
Lock Groove (Out) (FILL MUSIC) 4:04 Liquid Liquid
Look Alive 4:01 Despot Def Jux Presents 4
Renaissance Theme (fill music) 4:07 DatA Skywriter
04 Nine 3:07 Coop Devillin Synthetic EP
Actor Out Of Work 2:15 St. Vincent Actor
Make 1 2 2:51 Arthur Russell Henrik Schwarz, Ame, Dixon – The Grandfather Paradox
anarchist 3:55 travel+leisure Murray bookchin
1 (fill music) 6:30 Buckets & Batteries Buckets & Batteries EP
Six Different Ways 3:19 The Cure The Head On The Door
Blood Orange – Scooled 3:31
Recipe for Love 2:17 The Ronettes The Ronettes Featuring Veronica
Il Pinguino (FILL MUSIC) {from Vamos a Matar, Companeros (Let’s Go & Kill, Comrades) 2:54 Ennio Morricone
Summertime Summertime 3:01 Nocera Fierce Freestyle Classics

http://www.divshare.com/download/8292708-e47

Erich Heckel ~ Woodcuts


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Erich Heckel (1883-1970) was born in Döbeln (Saxony). His parents were to born in Saxony. He and others members of the group Die Brücke greatly admired the work of Edvard Munch, and aimed to make a “bridge” between traditional neo-romantic German painting and modern expressionist painting. The four founding members made much use of the print as a cheap and quick medium with which to produce affordable art. Most of his life he spent on printmaking.

In 1937 the Nazi Party declared his work “degenerate”; it forbade him to show his work in public, and over 700 items of his art were confiscated from the nation’s museums. By 1944 all of his woodcut blocks and print plates had been destroyed.

Afler World War II Heckel lived at Hemmenhofen near Lake Constance, teaching at the Karlsruhe Academy until 1955. He continued painting until his death at Radolfzell in 1970.

Like most members of Die Brücke, he was a prolific printmaker, with 465 woodcuts, 375 etchings, and 400 lithographs described in the Dube catalogues raisonné, over 200 of which, mostly etchings, date to the last seven years of his life.

-wikipedia

Michael Jackson’s death a homicide


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LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County coroner has ruled Michael Jackson’s death a homicide and a combination of drugs was the cause, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press, a finding that makes it more likely criminal charges will be filed against the doctor who was with the pop star when he died.

Forensic tests found the powerful anesthetic propofol acted together with at least two sedatives to cause Jackson’s death before he died June 25 in his rented Los Angeles mansion, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the findings have not been publicly released.

Dr. Conrad Murray, a Las Vegas cardiologist who became Jackson’s personal physician weeks before his death, is the target of a manslaughter investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department. A search warrant affidavit unsealed Monday in Houston includes a detailed account of what Murray told investigators.

According to the document, Murray said he’d been treating Jackson for insomnia for about six weeks with 50 mg of propofol every night via an intravenous drip. But he said he feared Jackson was forming an addiction to the anesthetic, which is normally used in hospitals only, and was attempting to wean his patient by lowering the dose to 25 mg and adding the sedatives lorazepam and midazolam.

That combination succeeded in helping Jackson sleep two days prior to his death, so the next day, Murray told detectives he cut off the propofol — and Jackson fell asleep with just the two sedatives.

Then around 1:30 a.m. on June 25, starting with a 10-milligram tab of Valium, Murray said he tried a series of drugs instead of propofol to make Jackson sleep. The injections included two milligrams of lorazepam around 2 a.m., two milligrams of midazolam around 3 a.m., and repeats of each at 5 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. respectively.

But they didn’t work.

Murray told detectives that around 10:40 a.m. he gave in to Jackson’s “repeated demands/requests” for propofol, which the singer referred to as his “milk.” He administered 25 milligrams of the white-colored liquid, — a relatively small dose — and finally, Jackson fell asleep.

Murray remained with the sedated Jackson for about 10 minutes, then left for the bathroom. No more than two minutes later, he returned — and found Jackson had stopped breathing.

“There’s no surprise there” that death could result from such a combination, said Dr. David Zvara, anesthesia chairman at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“All those drugs act in synergy with each other,” Zvara said. Adding propofol on top of all the other sedatives “tipped the balance.”

Besides the propofol and two sedatives, the coroner’s toxicology report found other substances in Jackson’s system but they were not believed to have been a factor in the singer’s death, the official told the AP.

When he died, Jackson was skinny but not overly emaciated, and his body had bed sores, the official said. The singer is believed to have developed bed sores in the months following his 2005 acquittal of child molestation charges, when he went into seclusion and spent long stretches in bed.

Murray has spoken to police and last week released a video saying he “told the truth and I have faith the truth will prevail.” Murray did not say anything about the drugs he gave to Jackson. Murray’s attorney, Edward Chernoff, had no immediate comment but has previously said Murray never administered anything that “should have” killed Jackson.

A call to the coroner’s office was not returned Monday.

The 25 milligrams of propofol Murray told police he gave Jackson the day he died “is not a whopping amount,” said Lee Cantrell, director of the San Diego division of the California Poison Control System. But by combining propofol with a cocktail of the other sedatives, known as benzodiazepines, it “may have been the trigger that pushed him over the edge,” Cantrell said.

Cantrell said it’s perplexing that someone would give various benzodiazepines if one was found not to be effective.

“This is horrible polypharmacy,” he said, referring to the interaction between the various drugs. “No one will treat an insomniac like this.”

The affidavit says Murray told investigators he didn’t order or buy any propofol and had found about eight bottles of it in Jackson’s home along with numerous other medications. But investigators served a search warrant Aug. 11 at a Las Vegas pharmacy and uncovered evidence showing Murray legally purchased from the store the propofol he gave Jackson the day he died.

Murray didn’t tell paramedics or doctors at UCLA hospital where Jackson was rushed June 25 about any drugs he administered other than lorazepam and flumazenil, according to the affidavit. The document says it was only during a subsequent interview with Los Angeles Police detectives that Murray gave a more full accounting of the events leading up to the 911 call.

The coroner’s office has not publicly released its autopsy findings, citing a request from police detectives to withhold results until their investigation is complete.

Homicide, or “death at the hands of another,” is one of five possible findings in a coroner’s death investigation. The designation does not necessarily mean a crime was committed though it is a useful starting point for prosecutors, said Dr. Michael Baden, the former chief medical examiner in New York City and a forensics expert involved in many high-profile murder cases.

“It is an easier prosecution when the medical examiner calls it a homicide,” said Baden, who is not involved in the Jackson investigation.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090824/ap_en_mu/us_michael_jackson_investigation

Give My People Mas Y Mas


DJ LENGUA Y GANAS : Featuring original tracks and classic mexican jams/remixes

“Frontera”

“Tambores del Pacifico”

“Perdido”

“Mis Huaraches”

Mas Exitos: Is a bi-weekly event in Los Angeles that traces the connections between the music made on both continents of the Americas. Think of it as a National Geographic documentary on sound that will take you from the Andes of Peru to the East Side of LA. From fuzzy cumbias, to funky jazz oddities, to psych freak outs and janky beats..

– Mas Exitos.
Linked from http://www.dublab.com/

WHO predicts ‘explosion’ of swine flu cases


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The World Health Organization on Friday urged governments to prepare for a second wave of swine flu this fall, estimating that as many as 2 billion people could become infected over the next two years.

That’s about one-third of the world’s population. The WHO has stressed that most cases are mild and require no treatment, but the fear is that a rash of new infections could overwhelm hospitals and health authorities, especially in poorer countries.

WHO Western Pacific director Shin Young-soo predicted many countries may see swine flu cases double every three to four days for several months until peak transmission is reached.

“At a certain point, there will seem to be an explosion in case numbers,” Shin told a symposium of health officials and experts in Beijing. “It is certain there will be more cases and more deaths.”

While areas in the southern hemisphere such as Australia appear to be experiencing flu seasons not much more severe than average, it is in developing countries where the fast spread of swine flu poses the greatest threat.

In those countries, it will place underequipped and underfunded health systems under severe strain, Shin said. Governments must do what they can now to prepare their health systems, said Shin.

“We only have a short time period to reach the state of preparedness deemed necessary,” Shin said. “Communities must be aware before a pandemic strikes as to what they can do to reduce the spread of the virus, and how to obtain early treatment of severe cases.”

In a video address to the symposium, WHO chief Margaret Chan also warned: “We cannot say for certain whether the worst is over or the worst is yet to come.”

“We need to be prepared for whatever surprises this capricious new virus delivers next… constant random mutation is the survival mechanism of the microbial world,” she said

She reminded that pregnant women face a higher risk of complications. The virus also has more severe effects on people with underlying conditions such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune disorders and diabetes.

Chan said the issue of how to ensure adequate vaccine supplies worldwide needed to be tackled “head on.”

“We need to gather advice on priority groups for initial protection,” Chan said.

“This is one of the most difficult decisions governments around the world will need to make, especially as we know that supplies will be extremely limited for some months to come.”

WHO urges restraint on use of Tamiflu

The World Health Organization also offered new advice to doctors Friday on the use of antiviral medications such as Tamiflu, saying otherwise healthy with mild to moderate cases do not need the medication.

Those at risk for complications from swine flu — children younger than five years old, pregnant women, people over age 65 and those with other health problems like heart disease, HIV or diabetes — should get the drug, WHO said.

The agency also recommended that all patients who develop worsening cases, with breathing difficulties, chest pain or severe weakness, should get Tamiflu immediately, perhaps in higher doses than now used.

The advice contradicts some current government policies, particularly those in England. There, the health agency has been liberally handing out Tamiflu to anyone suspected of having the infection.

By contrast, Tamiflu is given in Canada only to those with severe cases or when the patient is at a great risk for complications.

But in Britain, where stockpiles of Tamiflu are more plentiful than in Canada, residents can call a national hotline to get Tamiflu without seeing a doctor. It is given out by call centre operators who have no medical training. Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales decided not to participate in the swine flu phone line.

Some experts have criticized the approach, warning it increases the chances of resistant strains emerging.

Flu expert Hugh Pennington of the University of Aberdeen has called the strategy “a very big experiment” and said England’s approach was out of step with the rest of the world.

So far, only a handful of cases of Tamiflu-resistance in swine flu have been documented, including one in a Quebec man. But there has been widespread drug resistance in other H1N1 strains that are not swine flu.

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20090821/who_swineflu_090821/20090821?hub=TopStories

Mexico Decriminalizes Small-scale Drug Possession


MEXICO CITY — Mexico has enacted a controversial law that decriminalizes possession of small amounts of marijuana, cocaine and heroin.

The law defines “personal use” amounts for those drugs, as well as LSD and methamphetamines.

It says people found with those amounts will not face criminal prosecution, but that if caught a third time they will be required to complete treatment programs, though no punishment is specified to enforce that.

The law enacted Thursday says anyone caught with personal-use quantities of drugs will be urged to seek treatment for dependency. It takes effect Friday.

In 2006, the U.S. government publicly criticized a similar bill. Then-President Vicente Fox sent that legislation back to Congress for reconsideration.

-The Associated Press

Au-delà Du Structuralisme


”An existing space may outlive its original purpose and the raison d’etre which determines its forms, functions, and structures; it may thus in a sense become vacant, and susceptible of being diverted, reappropriated and put to a use quite different from its initial one. A recent and well-known case of this was the reappropriation of the Halles Centrales, Paris’s former wholesale produce market, in 1969-71. For a brief period, the urban centre, designed to facilitate the distribution of food, was transformed into a gathering-place and a scene of permanent festival — in short, into a centre of play rather than of work — for the youth of Paris.”

”With the advent of modernity time has vanished from social space. It is recorded solely on measuring-instruments, on clocks, that are isolated and functionally specialized as this time itself. Lived time loses its form and its social interest — with the exception, that is, of time spent working. Economic space subordinates time to itself; political space expels it as threatening and dangerous (to power). The primacy of the economic and above all of the political implies the supremacy of space over time.”

“What is an ideology without a space to which it refers, a space which it describes, whose vocabulary and kinks it makes use of, and whose code it embodies?” Lefebvre demands. “What would remain of the Church if there were no churches?” The answer is nothing, for the Church does and can not guarantee its endurance otherwise. “The state and each of its constituent institutions call for [pre-existing] spaces — but spaces which they can then organize according to their specific requirements; so there is no sense in which space can be treated solely as an a priori condition of these institutions and the state which presides over them,” Lefebvre writes. “The world of commodities would have no ‘reality’ without such [spatial] moorings or points of insertion, or without their existing as an ensemble,” he reminds us. “The same may be said of banks and banking-networks vis-a-vis the capital market and money transfers.” It is only in space that each idea of presumed value “acquires or loses its distinctiveness through confrontation with the other values and ideas that it encounters there”; it is only in space that competing socio-political interests and forces come effectively into play.”

-Henri Lefebvre (16 June 1901 – 29 June 1991)