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Transocean Hails 'Best Year' in Safety, Gives Execs Bonuses, Despite Gulf Spill

The company that owns the now-infamous
Deepwater Horizon ablaze
© USCG
The BP/Transocean Deepwater Horizon oil rig ablaze.
Deepwater Horizon, the oil rig that caused immeasurable damage to the Gulf, recently applauded itself for the "best year in safety performance in our Company's history." The company, Transocean Ltd., rewarded its executives millions in bonuses for the achievement, according to the annual report it released yesterday.

Steven L. Newman, Transocean's president and CEO, awarded himself $4.3 million in cash bonuses, stocks and options.

Eleven people died as a direct result of the disaster in the Gulf, nine of them Transocean employees, according to Forbes.

"Notwithstanding the tragic loss of life in the Gulf of Mexico, we achieved an exemplary statistical safety record as measured by our total recordable incident rate and total potential severity rate. As measured by these standards, we recorded the best year in safety performance in our Company's history, which is a reflection on our commitment to achieving an incident free environment, all the time, everywhere," the company wrote in their annual statement to shareholders.

Transocean leased the Deepwater Horizon to BP, so it contends it has no liability for the spill and explosion.

2 + 2 = 4

The Truth About Vegetarianism

Image
© Unknown
The vegetarian myth tells us that not eating meat leads to a sustainable diet. But eating plants won't solve the planet's problems.

I was a vegan for almost 20 years.

I know the reasons that compelled me to embrace an extreme diet, and they are honorable - even noble. Reasons such as justice, compassion and a desperate, all-encompassing longing to set the world right. To save the planet - the last trees bearing witness to ages and the scraps of wilderness still nurturing fading species, silent in their fur and feathers. To protect the vulnerable, the voiceless. To feed the hungry. At the very least, to refrain from participating in the horror of factory farming.

These political passions are born of a hunger so deep it touches on the spiritual. They were for me, and they still are. I want my life - my body - to be a place where the Earth is cherished, not devoured; where the sadist is granted no quarter; where the violence stops. And I want eating - the first nurturance - to be an act that sustains rather than kills. This is an effort to honor our deepest longings for a just world. And I now believe those longings - for compassion, for sustainability, for an equitable distribution of resources - are not served by the philosophy or practice of vegetarianism. Believing in this vegetarian myth has led us astray.

Comment: For more information about vegetarianism and veganism, see this Sott link:

The Naive Vegetarian


Binoculars

Lucky escape as dogs plunge 150ft down cliff

Two pet dogs had a miraculous escape after plunging over a 150ft-high cliff after chasing a rabbit.

Excited playmates Sasha and Moby were enjoying a walk at Southerndown when they spotted the rabbit.

Owner Lyndsey Rudd was horrified to see the pair disappear over the edge of the cliff, which is known as a notorious suicide spot.

She feared the two dogs would be killed but the pair survived the fall.

Both Sasha and Moby were lying injured but were still breathing and are expected to make a full recovery.

Lyndsey, 28, lives in Oxford but was visiting her parents in the Vale of Glamorgan.

She was walking her spaniel-cross Sasha and her friend Dannii Thomas' border collie Moby, when the accident happened.

Comment: For more information on situations in Bridgend, see this Sott link:

More Weirdness in 'Suicide County'! Bridgend, South Wales: Town terrorised by 250 wild horses 'abandoned by gypsies who can't afford to feed them'


Bizarro Earth

Fighting rages in Ivory Coast with 800 dead in west

Image
© Reuters/Emmanuel Braun
Forces loyal to presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara ride on the back of a pickup about 20 km (12 miles) north of Abidjan April 1, 2011.
Soldiers of Ivory Coast's rival leaders battled for the presidential palace, military bases and state TV in the main city Abidjan Saturday, in a conflict becoming so brutal that it killed 800 people in one town alone.

Advancing soldiers backing Alassane Ouattara, who U.N.-certified results show won a November 28 presidential election, met stiff resistance from fighters remaining loyal to incumbent Laurent Gbagbo, who has refused to step down.

State television came back on air after fighting took it down for a day, showing Gbagbo drinking tea, saying the pictures were from his city residence Saturday. It was not possible to verify if the images were recent recordings.

A Reuters reporter heard sporadic gunfire and explosions from heavy shelling near the presidential palace throughout the morning, and clashes also raged around the office of state broadcaster RTI, back in Gbagbo's hands after the rebels had initially seized it, and some military bases in the city.

After a brief lull, heavy fighting also resumed outside Gbagbo's residence, though military sources on both sides said his forces remained in control and showed no signs of giving up.

"We are going to fight to the death to defend our territory. We die or we win," Noel Dago, a pro-Gbabgo militia fighter outside his house told Reuters by phone.

"There are a lot of deaths in both camps, but the most determined is the one who will win."

Handcuffs

US: Brooklyn teacher Sabrina Milo held on $100K bail, threatened it would be 'Columbine all over again'

Image
© Marino for News
Sabrina Milo a teacher at Fort Hamilton High School in Bay Ridge Brooklyn, was arrested for making terrorist threats.
A Brooklyn high school teacher was held Saturday on $100,000 bail after prosecutors revealed she had threatened a machine-gun rampage that would be "Columbine all over again."

A handcuffed Sabrina Milo, 34, kept her head down during her arraignment in Brooklyn Criminal Court.

According to prosecutors, the art teacher was weeping inside the teachers lounge at Fort Hamilton High School last Tuesday when she delivered the threat.

Three teachers heard her mention bringing a machine gun to school beneath a trench coat before she warned it would be "Columbine all over again," prosecutors said.

Defense attorney Andrew Stoll asked for Milo's release without bail, insisting she was no threat to anyone.

"She does not own any firearms," Stoll said. "She needs to be medicated."

Laptop

US: Teacher suspended for Facebook post: called kids future criminals, parents say

Facebook
© Facebook
The New Jersey teacher is the second this year to be involved in a controversy over a post on Facebook. Experts say cases like this are multiplying.

Once again, a Facebook post has gotten a teacher into trouble.

The Paterson, N.J., school district suspended a first-grade teacher Friday to investigate charges from parents that she wrote on Facebook about feeling like a "warden" and referred to her students as future criminals, the Record newspaper reports.

"We are seeing more of these cases," says Francisco Negrón, general counsel of the National School Boards Association.

Whether or not a district has a specific social media policy, he says, "the question is one about teacher judgment." District officials will need to consider the details, but the types of comments alleged in this case "show not only bad judgment, but are also hurtful to students and simply inappropriate."

Paterson school board president Theodore Best told the Record: "You can't simply fire someone for what they have on a Facebook page; but if that spills over and affects the classroom, then you can take action."

In February, the suspension of Pennsylvania high school teacher Natalie Munroe for Facebook posts about unnamed students sparked widespread debate about what's appropriate when teachers use social media.

Bizarro Earth

On Eve of Redefining Malcolm X, Biographer Dies

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© Phillipe Cheng
The author and historian Manning Marable.
For two decades, the Columbia University professor Manning Marable focused on the task he considered his life's work: redefining the legacy of Malcolm X. Last fall he completed Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, a 594-page biography described by the few scholars who have seen it as full of new and startling information and insights.

The book is scheduled to be published on Monday, and Mr. Marable had been looking forward to leading a vigorous public discussion of his ideas. But on Friday Mr. Marable, 60, died in a hospital in New York as a result of medical problems he thought he had overcome. Officials at Viking, which is publishing the book, said he was able to look at it before he died. But as his health wavered, they were scrambling to delay interviews, including an appearance on the Today show in which his findings would have finally been aired.

Image
© Richard Saunder/Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Malcolm X, the black nationalist, with his wife, Betty Shabazz, and their daughters Attallah, left, and Qubilah around 1962.
The book challenges both popular and scholarly portrayals of Malcolm X, the black nationalist leader, describing a man often subject to doubts about theology, politics and other matters, quite different from the figure of unswerving moral certitude that became an enduring symbol of African-American pride.

It is particularly critical of the celebrated Autobiography of Malcolm X, now a staple of college reading lists, which was written with Alex Haley and which Mr. Marable described as "fictive." Drawing on diaries, private correspondence and surveillance records to a much greater extent than previous biographies, his book also suggests that the New York City Police Department and the F.B.I. had advance knowledge of Malcolm X's assassination but allowed it to happen and then deliberately bungled the investigation.

Dollar

The Collapse of Globalization

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© N/A
The uprisings in the Middle East, the unrest that is tearing apart nations such as the Ivory Coast, the bubbling discontent in Greece, Ireland and Britain and the labor disputes in states such as Wisconsin and Ohio presage the collapse of globalization. They presage a world where vital resources, including food and water, jobs and security, are becoming scarcer and harder to obtain. They presage growing misery for hundreds of millions of people who find themselves trapped in failed states, suffering escalating violence and crippling poverty. They presage increasingly draconian controls and force - take a look at what is being done to Pfc. Bradley Manning - used to protect the corporate elite who are orchestrating our demise.

We must embrace, and embrace rapidly, a radical new ethic of simplicity and rigorous protection of our ecosystem - especially the climate - or we will all be holding on to life by our fingertips. We must rebuild radical socialist movements that demand that the resources of the state and the nation provide for the welfare of all citizens and the heavy hand of state power be employed to prohibit the plunder by the corporate power elite. We must view the corporate capitalists who have seized control of our money, our food, our energy, our education, our press, our health care system and our governance as mortal enemies to be vanquished.
Image
© AP / Jacques Brinon
Demonstrators carry an effigy of Ronald McDonald.

Vader

SWAT Team Evicts Grandmother: Take Back the Land- Rochester Eviction Defense March 28, 2011

Take Back the Land- Rochester engages in an eviction defense of the Lennon-Griffin family home. Rochester, NY sends 25 police cars, including the SWAT team, to execute the eviction.

6 Take Back the Land- Rochester members are arrested, as is an elderly neighbor who dared complain about the police overkill.


MIB

The FDA and the Fukushima Fallout

The FDA is disingenuous in its attempt to compare the radiation from a major nuclear accident to radiation exposures in everyday life.

"Radiation is all around us in our daily lives, and these findings are a miniscule amount compared to what people experience every day. For example, a person would be exposed to low levels of radiation on a round trip cross country flight, watching television, and even from construction materials," said Patricia Hansen, an FDA senior scientist.

No matter how small the dose might be, it is disingenuous to compare an exposure to a specific radioisotope that is released by a major nuclear accident, with radiation exposures in every-day life. The FDA spokesperson should have informed the public that radioiodine provides a unique form of exposure in that it concentrates rapidly in dairy products and in the human thyroid. The dose received, based on official measurements, may be quite small, and pose an equally small risk. However, making a conclusion on the basis of one measurement is fragmentary at best and unscientific at worst. As the accident in Fukushima continues to unfold, the public should be provided with all measurements made of radioactive fallout from the Fukushima reactors to allow for independent analyses.

Moreover, the FDA has been asleep at the switch when it comes to protecting public health from medical radiation exposures. According to the National Council on Radiation Protection, radiation exposures to the American public from medical devices and source, which FDA regulates, has soared by nearly 600 percent since 1982. In 2002, the NCRP estimated that the public received an extra 53 millirem (0.53 mSv) per person per year from medical radiation sources.* In 2006, the NCRP estimates that this dose has jumped to 300 millirem(3mSv)--nearly three times the annual dose allowed by the U.S. EPA from nuclear facilities.