01/ 3/12  The Huffington Post

The number of new prescription drug shortages in 2011 shot up to 267, well above the prior record and about four times the number of medication shortages in the middle of the last decade.

Figures just released by the University of Utah Drug Information Service, which tracks national drug shortages, show there were 56 more newly reported drug shortages in the U.S. last year than in 2010, when there were 211.

As the drug shortages worsen, so does their impact on patient care, particularly in hospitals. The inability to get crucial medicines has disrupted chemotherapy, surgery and care for patients with infections and pain. At least 15 deaths since 2010 have been blamed on the shortages, which have set a record high in each of the last five years.

In addition, Fox said some of the more recently reported shortages are very difficult for hospital pharmacists and other staff to manage. She noted new shortages of sedatives widely used in surgery, including Valium, Versed and lorazepam. Another big problem is the recent shortage of the opioid painkiller fentanyl.

“It is used like water in hospitals, for everything from moms giving birth and ICU patients to the ER,” Fox said.

Most of the drugs in short supply are sterile injected drugs that are the workhorses of hospitals and are normally inexpensive because they’ve long been available as generics.
The FDA says the main reason for the shortages is manufacturing deficiencies leading to production shutdowns. Other reasons include companies ending production of some drugs with tiny profit margins, consolidation in the generic drug industry and limited supplies of some ingredients.

 

Tagged with:
 

January 1 2012, NY Daily News

Video of a cop shoving actress Ellen Barkin was burning up the internet Sunday after she got caught up in the chaos surrounding a New Year’s police roundup of Occupy Wall Street protesters.

“I have never been afraid of an NY policeman until last nite. What I saw was random & senseless arrests and unnecessarily threatening behavior,” she said on Twitter.

Barkin, 57, said she was walking home when she saw mass arrests at 13th Street and 5th Avenue.

“It was upsetting, and looked unnecessarily aggressive & random,” she tweeted.

Barkin said she tried to make her way to a young woman who had been put into a police van and was screaming for help.

“She was not a protester. Was not drunk. She was walking home,” Barkin said on Twitter.

Barkin’s tweets became more angry as the night went on: “I cannot believe what I am seeing. U protect nothing. U ARE the violence in my city.”

In all, 68 people were arrested when cops shut down an Occupy Wall Street march near Union Square.

Most of the 68 arrests were for disorderly conduct, though some protesters were also hit with charges of trespassing and obstructing governmental administration.

 

 

Tagged with:
 

Fri Dec 30, 2011 Reuters

NEUCHATEL, Switzerland- Petroplus (Insert: the largest independent refiner and wholesaler of petroleum products in Europe ~Dek) is to close three of its five oil refineries over the coming weeks because it has run out of money for crude supplies since bankers froze its credit lines abruptly this week.

“The company will start temporary economic shutdowns of the Petit Couronne (France), Antwerp (Belgium) and Cressier (Switzerland) refineries in January 2012 given limited credit availability and the economic climate in Europe.”

Petroplus and European government officials have been locked in talks with the 13 banks that froze a $1 billion facility it needed to buy crude oil.

“There is no more crude coming in so the plant cannot work any more so we need to start shutting down all the plant’s units on Monday, but this is a technical shutdown,” said a spokeswoman for Petroplus in France. “The shutdown will take about a week.”

The Cressier plant has enough crude to last between 15 and 20 days, according to the head of economic services in the canton of Neuchatel, Patrick Cossettini. Traders said that of Petroplus’s five plants, the UK plant in Coryton might be the last to stop given its superior tank holding capacity.

WHY FREEZE NOW?

It remained unclear why the banks cut funding so abruptly just two months after allowing the troubled company to breach debt covenants without penalty.

Analysts and traders believe a worsening outlook for the industry and pressure from governments on banks to boost bank capital might be among the reasons for the unusual move, but one loan industry player thought otherwise.

“For me, this is a clear signal that something must have happenedbanks don’t do that. Banks would only act in such a manner if something has occurred. (Read: Infinite credit expansion meets finite world, expect much more of the same. ~Dek) This is very untypical (Read: “The next 20 years is going to be completely unlike the last twenty years” ~Dek)- some information is clearly missing,” said a head of loan syndicate who is not involved in Petroplus financing but still did not want to be named.

Apart from Friday’s statement, Swiss-based Petroplus has not responded to phone calls and emails from Reuters and has declined to elaborate on a December 27 announcement on the frozen credit lines.

Petroplus’ refineries are at Cressier in Switzerland, Petit Couronne in France, Coryton in the United Kingdom, Antwerp in Belgium, and Ingolstadt in Germany. Together, they account for about 4.4 percent of European Union capacity.

But given the amount of slack in the industry, (Insert: Wait, let me guess about oooh FIVE PERCENT maybe?? ~Dek) the closures are not expected to create a major supply issue, but governments, particularly in France where elections are coming up next year, are anxious to avoid closure.

The European refining sector has been struggling for years due to poor margins (Read: peak oil yields break even point of net energy ~Dek) and weak demand (Read: peak oil yields economic collapse ~Dek) for fuel products. French major Total shut its Dunkirk refinery at the start of 2010 and Petroplus itself closed down its Reichstett plant in eastern France in May 2011. (Insert: oh so maybe THAT is why there have been no new major refineries built since…. ~Dek)

The company’s stock price has halved since Tuesday‘s announcement of the freeze…and Once More, with Feeling.. The company’s stock price has halved since Tuesday‘s announcement of the freeze.

The output of real productive assets must collapse because of energy and resource constraints and the failing operational fabric. The implication is that virtual wealth including pension funds, insurance collateral, and debt will become worthless.
The acknowledgment by market participants that peak oil is upon us, coupled with an understanding of the consequences is likely to permanently crash the global financial system. That is, the behavior of the market is based on a combination of (a) fundamental physical constraints, such as rising loan defaults induced by the current economic crisis, (b) energy and food price inflation, and (c) interactions of (a) and (b) with the hopes and fears of market participants, particularly their faith in the overall stability and continued growth of the system. The transition from a few market participants accepting the idea that peak oil is a major constraint, and large-scale acceptance can be very rapid, though the onset of the fast transition can be difficult to predict. Tipping Point by David Korowicz

Tagged with:
 

Dec. 13, 2011 San Fransico Chronicle

Protesters who pledged to shutdown the Port of Oakland Monday managed to turn away a third shift of workers early this morning before deciding to end the protest and allow hundreds of longshoremen and truckers to return to work.

The crowd of thousands managed to close parts of the nation’s fifth-largest port for more than 24 hours. The private companies that run many of the cargo terminals decided to send three shifts of their unionized workers home without pay.

After 3,000 swarmed the port Monday evening (Read: a mere shadow of their 7,000 man force mustered a month ago ~Dek), a small band of activists stuck around to prevent the port’s small 3 a.m. shift of workers from coming to work. They’d already stopped Monday’s 8 a.m. shift and the 7 p.m. evening shift.

Police said they would allow the group to protest as long as they remained nonviolent.

“These disruptions cost workers shift and wages, delaying and reducing paychecks and also cost the port and city of Oakland vital resources,” Bernardo said in a statement. “They hurt the many businesses that pay taxes and help us create jobs.” (Read: The insidious effects of the contagion of social unrest will continue to spread, the operational fabric of society will tear. ~Dek)

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan echoed the frustration, while still saying she supported the movement.

 

 

Dec. 8, 2011 Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch

Exxon Mobil Corp.expects that U.S. oil imports have peaked and will consistently drop in the next three decades.

“We actually believe that oil imports have reached a peak in the United States and there will be a steady decline,” Bill Colton, Exxon Mobil’s vice president of corporate strategic planning, said during the presentation of the company’s annual energy forecast Thursday.

Continued development of unconventional oil resources (Read: piss poor net energy sources  ~Dek) in the lower 48 states and deepwater oilfields in the Gulf will be key in curbing U.S. oil imports, Colton said. But a significant (Read: THE main determining  ~Dek) factor will also be a rapid decline in the nation’s oil demand driven by (Insert: negligible though ~Dek)continued gains in energy efficiency and little population expansion (Insert: but still, population expansion ~Dek) in the next three decades. (Read: What the vice president of corporate strategic planning for the second largest American corporation is saying is that the overall trajectory is one of more people getting by with less material resources. Which by all ‘traditional’ metrics connotes a ‘lower‘ standard of living… Now where could I’ve heard that before?  ~Dek)

The slowdown in imports already is evident, according to the Energy Information Administration, which said U.S. oil imports have slowed since 2005, when they reached a record of 10.13 million barrels of oil per day.

In the first nine months of this year, the U.S. imported 8.93 million barrels of oil a day, 5% less than in the same period in 2010, according to the EIA. (Read: Gee, if we are using 5% less liquid energy than a year ago, maybe that mad man statistician John Williams of Shawdowstats.com is really on to something with his more honest Alternate GDP numbers. His NEGATIVE 3.5% GDP number for 2010 makes alot of sense if we are currently eeking out 1.5% in improved energy efficiency. …Nah – THAT can’t be right EVERYBODY KNOWS the recession ended  18 months ago. We are GROWING at 2.5 % WHILE using 5% less oil, aren’t American’s just AMAZING?!? <insert laugh track here>~Dek)

 

Tagged with:
 

1 Dec 2011 Platts News Release

Only nine nuclear reactors with a combined power generation capacity of 8.479 GW will soon be operating in Japan, representing just 17.3% of the country’s total installed capacity of 48.96 GW at 54 reactors, according to calculations by Platts on Thursday.

Japan is about to enter its winter power demand season, which normally runs from December to March. The weather and nuclear utilization rates have a direct impact on crude, fuel oil and LNG consumption for thermal power generation.

Kyushu Electric has estimated that it might need another 2.20 million kiloliters (13.84 million barrels) of oil equivalent of crude, fuel oil and LNG over December-March. Of this estimate, Kyushu Electric’s oil requirements are expected to be about 1.70 million kl (88,000 b/d) over December-March, Platts reported previously.

Japanese power utilities have hiked their oil and LNG consumption to make up for shortfalls in nuclear output in the wake of the devastating March 11 earthquake and subsequent nuclear outages across the country due to safety concerns. It is widely expected that the nuclear plants shut for scheduled maintenance will not be allowed to restart any time soon because of stress test conditions imposed by the government in July.

If none of the reactors are allowed to restart in coming months, Japan is scheduled to lose its nuclear power generation capability completely in April or May 2012, because of domestic regulations requiring nuclear power plants to carry out scheduled maintenance at reactors at least once every 13 months. If this occurs, it would be the ( record ) first time Japanese nuclear power production has fallen to zero since it commenced in 1966.

Nuclear capacity represents 21% of Japan’s total installed power generating capacity of 228.479 GW.

Tagged with:
 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011   Bloomberg

Standard & Poor’s cut debt ratings on lenders from Bank of America Corp. to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to UBS AG.

The MSCI All-Country World Index lost 0.3 percent at 10:55 a.m. in London, extending this month’s slump to 6.9 percent. S&P 500 Index futures sank 0.4 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index (SHCOMP)tumbled 3.3 percent. The yield on the 10-year Italian bond added six basis points to 7.30 percent, with the equivalent Spanish yield climbing six basis points. The Dollar Index (DXY) snapped a two- day drop, rising 0.3 percent. Copper declined 2.6 percent.

More than $3 trillion has been erased from the value of global equities this month

Flashback June 30, 2011 Dektag.com

Including QE2, the central bank’s unprecedented policies in recent years have pumped $2.3 trillion into the financial system. (Insert: To create the illusion of growth. ~Dek)

as rising borrowing costs in Italy and Spain signaled Europe’s debt crisis was worsening. S&P’s downgrade of some of the world’s biggest lenders may pressure firms grappling with slower economic growth. The next 10 days will be a “critical period” to complete the crisis response, European Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said today in Brussels.

The drop in U.S. index futures indicated the S&P 500 will extend a 4.6 percent retreat in November, its sixth month of declines in seven. (Read: While the ruling elite of the world, their central banks and talking head propaganda machine that supports the status quo all pretend to be taken by surprise by the shocking and unacceptable development of failing asset prices whenever central bank printing temporarily slows – its nice to look back  and restate the glaringly obvious exactly as it was said before on Dektag.com June 30. 2011 Quantitative Easing 2.0 ends asset prices will now fall again. ~Dek) Bank of America slid 0.4 percent in pre- market trading, and Citigroup Inc. lost 2.1 percent in Germany.

The yield on the Portuguese 10-year bond advanced to 14.06 percent, a euro-era record, while the benchmark German bund yield retreated four basis points. That drove the difference in yield between the securities to 11.77 percentage points, also a euro-lifetime ( record ) high.

The S&P GSCI index of 24 commodities slipped 0.7 percent. Oil lost 0.6 percent, trimming this month’s gain to 6.6 percent. Gold fell 0.5 percent to $1,706.44 an ounce.

 

Tagged with:
 

11-8-11 USA TODAY

Mortgage payments show surprising rise in deliquencies

NEW YORK – While lawmakers in Washington debated the debt ceiling and consumer confidence dropped, more homeowners were having a harder time making their mortgage payments.

The rate at which mortgage holders were late with their payments by 60 days or more rose in the June-to-September period for the first time since the last three months of 2009, according to TransUnion.

The credit reporting agency said 5.88% of homeowners missed two or more payments, an early sign of possible foreclosure. The increase surprised TransUnion researchers, who had expected late payments, or delinquencies, to fall for the quarter.

The problems were widespread. Between the second and third quarters, all but 10 states and the District of Columbia saw delinquency rates increase.

Martin could not pinpoint one particular reason for the jump. Normally, for instance, housing prices and unemployment have a big influence on delinquency.

“Those are both still important, but neither has noticeably deteriorated,” he said. In fact, (Insert: the fraudulent but official ~Dek)unemployment was steady during the summer and the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index showed small improvements in housing prices in most major cities during July and August.

That leaves wider economic issues having a larger role, Martin said. He pointed to the U.S. credit rating downgrade, the U.S. and European debt crises (Read: mainstream press is finally beginning to call it the US AND European debt crisis as oppose to just an issue with PIIGS nations ~Dek) and the tanking U.S. stock markets during this period. And he noted that two different measures of consumer confidence — the Conference Board and the University of Michigan— both showed those issues hurt consumer attitudes.

That atmosphere “could make folks question paying their mortgage,” he observed, especially if they are under water, that is, they owe more than the house is now worth.

Although TransUnion (Insert: is a slow learner and thus  ~Dek) still expects the delinquency rate to continue to fall in 2012, the company is now forecasting a few quarters of elevated nonpayment rates due to the uncertain economic outlook. The company doesn’t predict a return to the national peak rate of 6.9%, but said some increase is expected.

“More and more homeowners are likely to struggle,” Martin said. “I’m not sure this is a one-quarter blip.”

That echoes predictions from other sources, like RealtyTrac.

This isn’t just about bad loans anymore,” said Blomquist. “It’s about a bad economy that’s pushing people into foreclosure.”

 

Tagged with:
 

11/08/2011  Forbes

Forbes HEADLINE: Mother Nature Mars Toyota Earnings

 

The lingering effects of March’s natural disasters in Japan, the more recent impact of floods in Thailand and a strengthening yen made for a rocky earnings report from Toyota Motor Tuesday.

The Japanese automaker said it lost 32.6 billion yen ($418 million) on an operating basis for the six months through Sept. 30, compared with income of 323.1 billion yen ($4.1 billion) a year ago. It also declined to offer guidance for the rest of the March 2012 fiscal year, “as more time is needed to complete an assessment of production and sales plans required by the impact of floods (Read: climate change ~Dek) in Thailand.”

Toyota recorded an overall revenue dip of 17.2%, to 8 trillion yen ($102.6 billion), as sales fell in every region but Asia, including a 33.8% drop in North America.

“In Japan and North America, vehicle sales decreased severely compared to the same period last fiscal year due to the large impact of the Great East Japan Earthquake, “said Executive Vice President Satoshi Ozawa .

Rival automakers were not spared by the impact of the earthquake in Japan and the Thai floods, with Honda Motor having reported production issues tied to both disasters in recent weeks.

 

We can talk about this culture’s frenzied insistence that there be no limits on growth, “knowledge,” exploitation, power, wealth. We can talk about the fact that this culture is killing the planet…Mainstream proposals all take industrial capitalism as a given and the real world as that which must conform to industrial capitalism. If we define insanity as being out of touch with reality, this is by definition insane. The real world is the real world. This culture is NOT the real world. The stock market is not the real world. The US government is not the real world. Laboratories are not the real world. The real world is sockeye salmon, black terns, Ethiopian wolves, Mekong giant catfish, Sicilian fir, the Columbia river, the Amazon Basin, polar ice caps, the Pacific Ocean. And one of the many things these cult members do not allow themselves to understand is that without a real world you do not have a social structure, even a social structure in which you can make believe that you can force matter and energy to jump through hoops on command. No planet, no you, no matter how megalomanical you can be. Fantasies aside, you ain’t God. ~~Derrick Jensen

 

 

 

 

Tagged with:
 

Nov. 3 2011 Bloomberg

“Operations are effectively shut down in the maritime area of the Port of Oakland,” (Read: We’ll pretend like ‘you win’ so you can all go back home to the burgs to catch the exciting conclusion of tonight’s Dancing with the Stars episode. ~Dek) according to a port statement issued yesterday. “Operations will resume when it is safe and secure to do so.” (Read: Port Operations will resume in less than 12 hours. ~Dek)

The clash followed a day of peaceful protest that attracted 7,000 protesters. That group assembled in downtown then marched to close down the port, the nation’s fifth busiest. Later, police in riot gear arrested dozens of protesters who broke into a vacant building, shattered windows, sprayed graffiti and set fires, the Associated Press reported.

Occupy Oakland is an offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street movement that began in New York in September and has spread around the globe. The protesters are trying to call attention to nation’s increasing wealth gap and persistent unemployment. Oakland has become a hotbed for the protest after an Iraq war veteran was seriously injured last week as police faced off with protesters.

Occupy Oakland had called for a general strike. The demonstrations prompted hundreds of downtown workers to stay home or leave their jobs early.

Protesters declared victory at the port yesterday when authorities confirmed that a 7 p.m. work shift would be canceled, the Los Angeles Times reported. The demonstrators then built a barricade outside a downtown building housing the Traveler’s Aid Society, a nonprofit organization that aids the homeless, the newspaper reported. The protesters lit the barricade on fire, which firefighters extinguished.

At least four protesters were hospitalized today with injuries, including one needing stitches after fighting with an officer, AP reported. Several officers were also injured but didn’t need hospitalization.

“We go from having a peaceful movement to now just chaos,” protester Monique Agnew, 40, told the wire service today.

Protesters also threw concrete chunks, metal pipes, lit roman candles and Molotov cocktails, police said, according to AP.

Yesterday, as the crowd in the downtown Frank Ogawa Plaza assembled, it blocked traffic in all directions and forced the rerouting of buses, according to a media advisory from the city.

About 300 (Read: about 15% ~Dek) of the city’s 2,000 teachers asked for yesterday off or called in sick, according to Troy Flint, a spokesman for the Oakland Unified School District. Schools summoned substitutes, drew workers from other departments and in a small number of cases consolidated classes to make up for the missing teachers.

Maria Lepe, 26, an algebra teacher at an Oakland middle school who lives in San Francisco, said she was demonstrating for “more support for teachers” and smaller class sizes.

“I did not expect thousands and thousands of people,” Lepe said in an interview. “The crowd keeps growing. I’m glad the word has gotten out. We’re all in this together to get our voice out.”

Susan George, 56, a holistic health practitioner who lives in West Oakland, carried a sign that read, “The people are too big to fail.” (Read: The zombie hordes of the international monetary system corpse begin taking the streets. Begin now to fathom what this will look like once the zombies actually become physically hungry again.~Dek)

Photo: LARGE group of #OccupyOakland protesters still Heading towards the Port of Oakland. #ows

Photo: LARGE group of #OccupyOakland protesters still Heading towards the Port of Oakland. #ows

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.