Volcano Responsible for one of the World's largerst die offs State of the Union Taco Bell Meat Ethanol Food Safety Modernization Bill Enemies of Your Freedom to eat Farmer's Almanac Segment GOP and GMO Alfalfa nine ten one http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/01/23/evidence-planets-largest-extinctiondiscovered/?test=latestnews
World's Largest Extinction Explained by World's Largest Volcanic Eruption Published January 23, 2011 | FoxNews.com It must have been one hell of an eruption. About 250 million years ago, hundreds of millions of years before the dinosaurs were wiped from the face of the planet, 95 percent of the primitive life developing in the sea was wiped out -- and 70 percent of the critters evolving on the Earth's surface. And no one knew why -- until now. Researchers at the University of Calgary have discovered evidence suggesting
that massive volcanic eruptions at the time burnt significant volumes of coal, producing choking clouds of ash and dust that had broad impact on global oceans, and may explain the massive devastation, an event known as the Permian extinction. "Our research is the first to show direct evidence that massive volcanic eruptions -- the largest the world has ever witnessed --caused massive coal combustion, thus supporting models for significant generation of greenhouse gases at this time," said Dr. Steve Grasby, adjunct professor in the University of Calgary's Department of Geoscience and research scientist at Natural Resources Canada. At the time of the extinction -- which some have labeled "the Great Dying" -- the Earth contained one big land mass, a supercontinent known as Pangaea. The environment ranged from desert to lush forest. Four-limbed vertebrates were becoming more diverse and among them were primitive amphibians, early reptiles and synapsids, the group that would one day include mammals. Grasby and colleagues discovered layers of coal ash in rocks from Canada's High Arctic mountain range that give the first direct proof to support the chain of tremendous eruptions; they published their findings in the latest issue of the journal Nature Geoscience. "This could literally be the smoking gun that explains the latest Permian extinction," Grasby said. There is widespread belief that the impact of a meteorite was at least the partial cause for the end of the dinosaur era, 65 million years ago. But it had been unclear what caused the late Permian extinction. Previous research had suggested massive volcanic eruptions through coal beds in Siberia would generate significant greenhouse gases causing run away global warming, but there was no direct evidence of such events. The volcanoes, known as the Siberian Traps, are found in northern Russia, centered around the Siberian city of Tura and also encompassing Yakutsk, Noril'sk and Irkutsk. They cover an area just under two million square kilometers, a size greater than that of Europe. The ash plumes from the eruption of the immense chain of volcanoes traveled to Canada's arctic where Grasby and his colleagues found the coal-ash layers. The coal ash particle on the left is from the latest Permian extinction boundary at Buchanan Lake. Nunavut, the particle on the right is from a modern power plant.
"We saw layers with abundant organic matter and Hamed [a fellow researcher] immediately determined that they were layers of coal-ash, exactly like that produced by modern coal burning power plants," said Dr. Benoit Beauchamp, also from the University of Calgary. The ash, the authors suggest, may have caused even more trouble for a planet that was already heating up, with its oceans starting to suffocate because of decreasing oxygen levels. "It was a really bad time on Earth. In addition to these volcanoes causing fires through coal, the ash it spewed was highly toxic and was released in the land and water, potentially contributing to the worst extinction event in earth history," Grasby said. http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/01/23/evidence-planets-largest-extinctiondiscovered/ This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. © 2011 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.
Two Said the illegal's in our public schools pledge allegiance to our flag, blatantly not true Attacked big business – “they pay no taxes.” frivolous medical lawsuits, malpractice reform promoting America's success but taking money from the rich, removing tax breaks for the rich Will veto bills with earmarks American muslims are a part of our American family
Taco Bell Fights Beef Lawsuit With Bold Ads Published January 28, 2011 | FoxNews.com
advertisement After the announcement of a lawsuit against Taco Bell disputing the actual beef content in their foods, the fast-food chain plans to "set the record straight" — and is fighting back in a big way. Taco Bell launched an advertising campaign Friday, including full page ads in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Times and other major newspapers, as well as online stating, “Thank you for suing us. Here's the truth about our seasoned beef." Below will be an outline of their meat ingredients. The class-action lawsuit was filed late last week in a California federal court. It claimed Taco Bell falsely advertised its products as "beef." The suit alleges that the fast-food chain actually uses a meat mixture in its burritos and tacos that contains binders and extenders and does not meet requirements set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be labeled "beef." Taco Bell quickly denied the accusation, calling the lawsuit “bogus” and “completely inaccurate.” On its website, the company stated "Our beef is 100% USDA inspected, just like the quality beef you would buy in a supermarket and prepare in your home…Our seasoned beef recipe contains 88% quality USDAinspected beef and 12% seasonings, spices, water and other ingredients that provide taste, texture and moisture.” The company also added it uses no extenders. The lawsuit, filed by the Alabama law firm Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, doesn't specify what percentage of the mixture is meat. But the firm's
attorney Dee Miles said the firm had the product tested and found it contained less than 35 percent beef. The firm would not say who tested the meat or give any other specifics of the analysis. After inquiring about the testing of the meat, a statement to FoxNews.com from the law firm said, "This case is now in a court of law and what you are seeking may be evidence in the case and governed by the rules of discovery and evidence." Still, the company couldn't ignore the case after it made headlines and quickly spread online. "This is one of those things that could be a humongous threat to their brand, which is why Taco Bell has taken such an aggressive stance on this," said Marc Williams, an attorney at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough with extensive experience in fast-food litigation. The case, Williams said, is thin in potential legal liability. Lawyers would have to prove that most consumers expect and believe they are getting something other than what Taco Bell actually serves. Most fast-food customers, he said, realize taco meat has other ingredients besides beef. And the lawsuit cites U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines for labeling ground beef, which don't apply to restaurants. The USDA's rules apply to meat processors â€” the companies Taco Bell buys its meat from. Tyson Foods Inc., the company's largest meat supplier, said it mixes and cooks the meat at three USDA-inspected plants and that the meat is tested daily to make sure it meets requirements. Claims of false advertising typically are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission. Industry and public relations executives say it's critical for the company to respond forcefully to head off damage to its reputation. However, most say it's unlikely to seriously dent Taco Bell's image or business, which serves 35 million people a week. "I don't think the impact is going to be all that large," said Janney Capital Markets analyst Mark Kalinowski. "It lacks the sensationalism of (other cases)." Wendy's, for example, had its image temporarily tarnished by a woman who falsely claimed that she found part of a finger in her chili. And it's not the huge
recalls that have stung some food makers. Other restaurants have faced similar cases without being hurt much. Rubio's Restaurants Inc. faced a lawsuit in 2006 when a disgruntled customer felt that it was misleading people by selling lobster tacos and burritos at its Mexican restaurant chain made with langostino, a different species from the classic Maine lobster. The company settled the case by offering California customers coupons. Yum Brands Inc., Taco Bell's parent company, would not say if there has been any impact on its sales, citing a quiet period before its earnings release on Feb. 3. Fast food generally does contain additives, such as the "isolated oat product" (usually used as a flavor and moisture enhancer) found in Taco Bell's meat, but experts say they're no different than what is in processed foods sold in stores. "There is nothing really frankenfood in here," said Karen Ansel, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. "These are in a lot of foods we eat." The lawsuit doesn't specify monetary damages but asks the court to order Taco Bell to stop marketing it under its current terms. "That leads me to believe it's more about generating publicity and legal fees for a lawyer than correcting a societal wrong," Williams said. The Associated Press contributed to this story. http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/01/28/taco-bell-fights-beef-lawsuit-boldads/ This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ÂŠ 2011 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.
Four http://www.capitalpress.com/newsletter/TH-ethanol-w-infobox-012811 Updated: Friday, January 28, 2011 9:18 AM
Boon for corn growers expected to increase feed costs By TIM HEARDEN Capital Press Higher animal feed prices -- and ultimately higher food prices for consumers -may be the consequence of a recent U.S. boost in the ethanol allowed in gasoline, some agricultural experts say. The Environmental Protection Agency on Jan. 21 approved higher levels of cornbased ethanol to fuel all cars manufactured in the last decade. The agency decreed that 15 percent ethanol blended with gasoline is safe for cars and light-duty trucks manufactured between 2001 and 2006. The decision expands the EPA's October approval of the same mix for vehicles manufactured since 2007. The maximum gasoline blend has been 10 percent ethanol. The agency's move received a swift rebuke from animal-agriculture groups that have consistently complained that ethanol's pressure on corn and grain demand raises produces' cost to feed their flocks and herds. "It's another giveaway to the ethanol interests," said Richard Lobb, spokesman for the National Chicken Council in Washington, D.C. "It's fairly hard-hitting ... We're not happy about it." Many opponents Beef, pork, poultry and dairy producers are among a wide array of interests that assert the nation's emphasis on ethanol will have detrimental impacts. Food makers say ethanol leads to higher prices at the grocery store, while environmentalists say it tears up the land. Within hours of the EPA's latest approval, a dozen groups representing diverse interests issued a joint statement that increasing the ethanol blend will add volatility in the grain markets just as the economy is trying to recover. Corn is already above $6 a bushel, and the government's ethanol policy "only means that more corn will be diverted from an already thinning supply and increased pressure will be put on the meat and poultry sector which is already facing near record-high feed costs," American Meat Institute president and CEO
J. Patrick Boyle said in the statement. The National Pork Producers Council is also concerned about supply, said Randy Spronk, a Minnesota hog, corn and soybean farmer who chairs the organization's environment committee. "I have no opposition to ethanol," he said in an interview. "I think ethanol on stand-alone is very good. I think what you have here is government policy that is encouraging one end user over others." The real concern for dairy producers is that ethanol will consume 40 percent of the domestic corn crop, and that 40 percent will have a guaranteed market, said Bob Vandenheuvel, general manager of the California-based Milk Producers Council. "All livestock farmers and consumers will have to fight over the 60 percent that's left," Vandenheuvel said, adding that exporters will be part of the mix. "We're competing on an unfair playing field. They (blenders) can pay any price; we can't." AFBF backs E15 The EPA's action on Jan. 21 was in response to an application by Growth Energy, an ethanol proponent, under the Clean Air Act. The decision allows but does not require that a 15 percent ethanol blend -- called E15 -- be used in 2001 or newer cars, EPA spokeswoman Catherine Milbourn told the Capital Press in an e-mail. The E15 blend cannot be sold now, she said. How soon it can be available will depend on additional steps, including applications by fuel additive manufactures and changes in some states' laws, she said. Approvals for higher ethanol blends have drawn praise from the American Farm Bureau Federation, which sees them as a boon for Midwestern corn growers. Farm Bureau delegates -- which include livestock and poultry producers -reaffirmed their support for ethanol during this month's national convention in Atlanta, Ga., said Paul Schlegel, director of the AFBF's energy and environmental policy team. "We represent livestock producers as well as grain producers, and we are certainly sensitive to pressures in the market," Schlegel said. "Our policy is to support an increase above the E10 level. That's not to say we're not sensitive to their concerns."
But livestock producers can only last so long paying $6.50 a bushel for feed grain before they go broke, said Vandenheuvel of the Milk Producers Council. The question livestock producers will keep before Congress is whether the ethanol industry really needs all three protections -- the mandate, tax credit and tariff, he said. Reporter Carol Ryan Dumas contributed to this report. Online U.S. Environmental Protection Agency decision: www.epa.gov/otaq/regs/fuels/additive/e15 National Chicken Council: www.nationalchickencouncil.com American Meat Institute: www.meatami.com National Pork Producers Council: www.nppc.org Milk Producers Council: www.milkproducerscouncil.org Growth Energy: www.growthenergy.org American Farm Bureau Federation: www.fb.org five http://www.capitalpress.com/newsletter/mp-food-safety-enforcement-012811 Expert: Food safety law huge burden on FDA Updated: Friday, January 28, 2011 9:18 AM Congress may deny funding in looming budget battles By MATEUSZ PERKOWSKI Capital Press A new food safety law has theoretically increased the Food and Drug Administration's power, but questions remain about the agency's ability to use
that new regulatory muscle. The Food Safety Modernization Act would increase inspections of foreign and domestic food facilities, establish a food-tracing system and expand the FDA's access to food-handler records, among other provisions. The bill was signed into law by President Obama in early January, but its implementation will depend on appropriations from the new Congress. Concerns about the federal deficit will likely prevent full funding of the law, said John Bode, a food and drug law attorney in Washington, D.C., and a former USDA official. "There will be big budget pressures," Bode said at the recent Northwest Food Processors Association trade show in Portland. The new law gives the FDA broad discretion in regulating the causes of foodborne illness, but monetary constraints will probably limit the agency's actual enforcement, he said. "Nobody is more cognizant of the FDA's scarce resources than the agency itself," Bode said. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated the bill would require more than $1.6 billion in federal spending between 2011 and 2015. New fees charged to domestic and foreign food companies are expected to generate about $240 million, partially offsetting the cost to FDA, according to CBO. However, that would still leave more than $1 billion in new FDA activities not covered by fees. In addition, other federal agencies -- like the Environmental Protection Agency and Centers for Disease Control -- would have to spend $335 million on new programs, bringing the federal government's net cost to roughly $1.4 billion, according to the CBO. Aside from funding, complying with the logistical and managerial aspects of the new law will be no simple feat. "There's a tremendous amount of work to come," Bode said. Increased inspections alone will be a handful for the FDA.
Last year, for example, the agency inspected roughly 100 foreign food facilities, Bode said. The new law calls for that number to rise to 600 facilities in 2011 and then to double annually for five years. The CBO projected that roughly 50,000 domestic and foreign facilities would need to be inspected annually by 2015, up from about 7,400 in 2009. Expanding inspections at that rate will be very challenging to do in a competent manner, Bode said. The FDA must also embark on a massive rule-making effort to pound out the details of the new law, often on an ambitious schedule, he said. Within a year, the agency must propose new rules for the "safe production and harvest" of certain raw fruits and vegetables. In that same time frame, the FDA must develop a system for importers to verify the food safety procedures of their foreign suppliers. The law requires food facilities to analyze their safety vulnerabilities and then develop preventative controls. The agency must develop regulations for these plans within 18 months. Every two years, the FDA will have to review the most relevant scientific data on public health to "determine the most significant foodborne contaminants." Based on these studies, the agency will issue "action levels" for such substances, which are basically thresholds that -- if exceeded -- will prompt the agency to pull food products from the market. "What we're seeing is a system where the FDA will develop new action levels," potentially for substances that aren't currently considered contaminants, Bode said. Although the new law's provisions give food manufacturers a general sense of the future regulatory landscape, the full impact won't be known until details emerge, said Mark Hooper, supply director at the Pinnacle Foods processing company and former chairman of NWFPA. "Those are big questions. What are the rules actually going to say? And what's going to get funded?" Hooper said. "It's coming. It's big, but we don't know how big."
Pinnacle has about 1,400 food suppliers, many of them overseas, so import rules will be of major importance to the company, he said. Heightened scrutiny of foreign suppliers may convince some food manufacturers to return to buying ingredients from U.S. growers, but in many cases domestic sourcing still won't be practical, Hooper said. "There are commodities that are only available offshore," he said.
Six http://www.capitalpress.com/newsletter/djw-cagechick-sider-012811 Activists amass millions Updated: Friday, January 28, 2011 9:18 AM Groups opposed to animal agriculture rake in donations By DAN WHEAT Capital Press The Humane Society of the United States and Farm Sanctuary have substantial financial resources and basically oppose consumption of animals as agricultural commodities, according to their position statements. While HSUS is less overt, Farm Sanctuary's website states that it "opposes the slaughter, consumption and commodification of farm animals." "Farm Sanctuary has never and will never support so-called 'humane' meat. We maintain that the words 'humane' and 'slaughter' are mutually exclusive," according to the group's website's position statements. Both groups seek the ban of small cages for egg-laying chickens, veal crates for calves and gestation crates for breeding sows, potentially through federal legislation. "We encourage a vegan lifestyle but it is not an imperative. It's more an
aspiration," Farm Sanctuary president Gene Baur told Capital Press. "We work against inhumane treatment of animals." Baur said he has a master's degree in agricultural economics, spent time on a dairy farm and doesn't want farmers to go out of business. "Farming changes over time. Farming now and in the future will change," he said. "What's the most efficient way to feed our world? Growing more plants and fewer animals makes sense." It takes more resources to produce food from animals than plants, and more food is needed as the world's population grows, he said. However, Farm Sanctuary's pro-vegan stance is clear on the organization's website. "Those who are sincere in their concern for animals and for the environment make a knotty compromise if they choose to eat ostensibly crate-free or freerange meat instead of a vegan diet," the Farm Sanctuary website states. "The degree to which so-called humane meat is more sustainable than factoryfarmed meat is negligible; plant-based agriculture is far more environmentally sound than animal agriculture whether 'humane' or factory farmed. And while some farmers may treat animals better than others, we achieve a much deeper compassion when we do not eat animals at all." Baur co-founded Farm Sanctuary in 1986 to combat abuses he said exist on farms. The organization was headquartered in Watkins Glen, N.Y., until Baur recently moved to College Park, Md., close to Washington, D.C. Farm Sanctuary lists total 2009 revenue of $6.4 million, mostly from member contributions. Expenses, largely animal shelters in New York and California, totaled $5.7 million. It lists total assets of $6.6 million. Established in 1954, the Humane Society of the U.S. has 11 million members and claims to work to reduce animal suffering. It opposes confinement of animals in crates and cages. Its undercover investigation of abuse at a California slaughterhouse in 2008 led to U.S. Justice Department action. The organization's 2009 annual report contains a page on slaughterhouses. HSUS has been engaged in legislative and initiative efforts in California, Michigan, Maine and Ohio.
The organization lists total revenue of $132 million in 2009, total expenses of $130 million and total assets of $218 million. Of the revenue, $83 million comes from contributions and grants. Expenses are spread over research, education, disaster relief, wildlife programs, animal care facilities and advocacy and public policy. The society spent $3.7 million on political campaigns and lobbying in 2009, $35.8 million in salaries for 629 employees and $30.9 million on fundraising.
PRESSURE TO HOUSE CHICKENS http://www.capitalpress.com/print/cs-Chicken-editorial-012811 Animal rights groups strike again Updated: Friday, January 28, 2011 10:18 AM Editorial Anti-animal agriculture group Farm Sanctuary and the Humane Society of the United States are teaming up in Washington state on a new ballot initiative dictating how egg-laying chickens should be housed. The initiative follows on the heels of Proposition 2 in California, where they pulled out all of the stops to smear the poultry industry and animal agriculture in general. The Washington state campaign is sure to offer more of the same. Among their tactics will be painting animal agriculture with a broad brush, portraying all farmers and ranchers as uncaring and abusive toward their poultry and livestock. Another tactic will be to say that the proposition won't affect the price of eggs or other food. The Washington proposition would also impose its standard on out-ofstate producers that sell eggs in Washington. That means the price of every egg sold in Washington will go up, making food even more expensive for low-income families struggling through the deepest recession in decades. Still another tactic is to be non-specific. The California proposition was purposely written unclearly so no one can reasonably be expected to meet its conditions. The ultimate goal is to take away the option of eating meat. Farm Sanctuary in its
position statement says it opposes eating meat and supports only a vegan diet. This proposition may be initially aimed at chickens, but the sponsor's ultimate goal is to take meat and eggs off the dinner table. HSUS is a well-funded political machine. With annual revenue of $135 million, the group's goal is to reshape agriculture according to its specifications. In California, Florida, Ohio and Michigan it has bullied farmers and ranchers, forcing them either to accede to its wishes or face costly initiative battles. HSUS has already been pushing Washington egg producers to cave in to its demands, or face an initiative that will target a well-meaning but generally misinformed public. "We are generally reluctant to proceed with ballot initiatives, and prefer negotiated agreements, as we achieved not too long ago with agricultural leaders in Michigan," HSUS said in a call to arms on its website. "But when talks fail, we are left without other options." Those are not the words of compromise. To their credit, egg producers have resisted, instead relying on common sense and practical experience. While HSUS argues the current chicken houses cause stress, producers know that stressed birds do not lay eggs. If HSUS is correct, the producers ask, where do all of those eggs come from? Washington producers have responded to the threats from Farm Sanctuary and HSUS by saying they would prefer that the Legislature set up a system that requires the state Department of Agriculture to determine how poultry should be handled. That makes more sense than allowing anti-agriculture groups from the East Coast to dictate it. If HSUS is a bully, then Farm Sanctuary is absolute in its stated goal of ending animal agriculture. "The days of factory farming are numbered and we believe we will live to see a time when factory farming is history," the group's position statement states. "That day is within our reach and it will mark a great victory on the political front." Make no mistake about it. Anyone involved in animal agriculture -- producers, suppliers and others -- has a huge stake in this. Even those producers who have free-range poultry, backyard growers, organic producers and others should be forewarned. They are not exempt from the whims of groups like these.
They do not seek compromise. They seek to impose their will on animal agriculture.
eight http://www.capitalpress.com/print/JB-RR-alfalfa-letter-012111 GOP probes alfalfa options Updated: Thursday, January 20, 2011 10:26 AM Staff report Three Republican legislators have sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack questioning a USDA proposal that would require continued regulation of Roundup Ready alfalfa, an option that they say runs counter to the department's own findings. Although the crop had previously been approved for commercial production, a federal judge ruled in 2007 that the USDA had failed to complete a required environmental impact statement. He prohibited further plantings and ordered USDA to complete the study. A final environmental impact statement released by the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service on Dec. 16 identified two preferred alternatives for recommercializing the crop. One option would be to fully deregulate genetically engineered alfalfa and allow farmers to cultivate it freely, just as they did before a federal judge blocked further plantings of the crop in 2007.
The other alternative would be to deregulate the crop with certain geographic restrictions and isolation distances aimed at preventing cross-pollination with conventional and organic alfalfa. Farmers in the West, where most alfalfa seed is grown, would be subject to the tightest restrictions under the USDA's second alternative. Vilsack said that option would help protect conventional and organic alfalfa crops from contamination from pollen from genetically modified crops. But the legislators -- Sens. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla. -- say that option runs counter to the findings of the environmental impact statement, which concluded that Roundup Ready alfalfa does not pose a plant pest risk. "As you acknowledge, the science strongly supports the safety of GE alfalfa," they wrote in a letter dated Jan. 18. "Decisions should be based on science with other factors more appropriately left to the market place." The letter contends that the National Environmental Policy Act was written only to address potential environmental impacts of government regulations. "The Act is neither designed nor well suited to manage or determine the economic relationships in the agriculture sector," the letter stated. The final environmental impact statement was published in the Federal Register on Dec. 23. The agency expects to issue a final record of decision, which would finalize one of the two deregulation alternatives, after Jan. 22.