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Deregulation, Market Concentration at the Root of Egg Recall

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  • And this is how we get the circumstance that the FDA cannot even recall foods, and has to hope that corporations do it on a voluntary basis.
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  • Proper levels of funding for the agency have languished
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  • Please ask your senators to make recalling unsafe food mandatory.
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David Dayen, FireDogLake

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski

Jon Cohn explores the egg recall in greater detail, and comes to a similar conclusion as I did: that it just shows a continuation of e.coli conservatism, particularly the fervor for deregulation that goes back 30 years:

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This is not a story that begins with the administration of George W. Bush. It begins, instead, with the administration of Ronald Reagan. Convinced that excessive regulation was stifling American innovation and imposing unnecessary costs on the public, Reagan’s team changed the way government makes rules.
Prior to the 1980s, agencies like the FDA had authority to finalize regulations on their own. Reagan changed that, forcing agencies to submit all regulations to the Office of Management and Budget, which cast a more skeptical eye on anything that would require the government or business to spend more money. The regulatory process slowed down and, in many cases, the people in charge of it became more skittish.

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There are new egg regulations in place now, implemented this year, but the food safety bill, which would give the FDA authority over recalls, has languished. So has proper levels of funding for the agency.

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Rotten Eggs, Andre Delattre, U.S. Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG)
Please ask your senators to make recalling unsafe food mandatory.

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Auto comeback celebrated, but there’s a cost

Right-wingers have no answer for today's problems in the auto industry, where the situation is far different from a year ago. The dust has settled but it came at a cost.

John Rummel, People's World

President Obama visited a General Motors in Hamtramck and a Chrysler plant in Detroit Friday (August 13) to celebrate the comeback of the two auto companies. But the comeback has come with a cost.

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The president received enthusiastic receptions from workers at both plants. Over a thousand at Chrysler's North Jefferson plant gathered to hear him.

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At GM's Hamtramck plant, where the new electric Chevy Volt is being made, Obama told cheering workers, "It's estimated that we would have lost another million jobs if we had not stepped in."

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Warehouse workers suffer while Wal-Mart rakes in cash

"Major companies are making millions of dollars, like Wal-Mart, and they're far from broke. In fact they treat their workers bad in order to increase their profits while some guy working at a warehouse can't feed his kids. It's just wrong."

Pepe Lozano, People's World

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Tory Moore of Warehouse Workers for Justice.

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Tory Moore, 37, from Kankakee, Ill., worked as a temp warehouse worker in the southwest suburbs of Chicago for six years before he was fired in December 2009, after standing up for his rights.

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Moore said he asked for a pay raise each year and noticed that his paychecks were consistently short. So naturally he complained.

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"That's why I got fired," he said.

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The Internet: Wired to whose advantage?


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Proposed regulation could decrease incentives for private-sector investment in broadband build-out.
An open Internet for all

Donna Champion and Nicole Palya Wood, Star Tribune | MN

The benefits of broadband technology are undeniable. However, about 6 percent of Minnesota's homes have little or no access to broadband Internet. In May, state officials passed a law setting a goal to give every resident access to a high-speed broadband connection by 2015.

Minnesota has been awarded about $60 million in federal Recovery Act funds to help extend broadband services in the state. While these funds will help provide broadband access to thousands of households, businesses and community facilities in 11 rural Minnesota counties, government can't be expected to bear the full cost of rural broadband deployment.

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An open Internet for all, Mignon Clyburn and Michael J. Copps, Star Tibune | MN
The power must be in the hands of consumers, because corporations will press their advantage if they can.

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Homeowners' Rebellion: Could 62 Million Homes Be Foreclosure-Proof?

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  • A committed movement to tear off the predatory mask called MERS could yet turn the tide for struggling homeowners.
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  • The Forgotten Foreclosure Crisis
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Ellen Brown, Yes! Magazine

Over 62 million mortgages are now held in the name of MERS, an electronic recording system devised by and for the convenience of the mortgage industry. A California bankruptcy court, following landmark cases in other jurisdictions, recently held that this electronic shortcut makes it impossible for banks to establish their ownership of property titles—and therefore to foreclose on mortgaged properties. The logical result could be 62 million homes that are foreclosure-proof.

Mortgages bundled into securities were a favorite investment of speculators at the height of the financial bubble leading up to the crash of 2008. The securities changed hands frequently, and the companies profiting from mortgage payments were often not the same parties that negotiated the loans. At the heart of this disconnect was the Mortgage Electronic Registration System, or MERS, a company that serves as the mortgagee of record for lenders, allowing properties to change hands without the necessity of recording each transfer.

MERS was convenient for the mortgage industry, but courts are now questioning the impact of all of this financial juggling when it comes to mortgage ownership. To foreclose on real property, the plaintiff must be able to establish the chain of title entitling it to relief. But MERS has acknowledged, and recent cases have held, that MERS is a mere "nominee"-an entity appointed by the true owner simply for the purpose of holding property in order to facilitate transactions. Recent court opinions stress that this defect is not just a procedural but is a substantive failure, one that is fatal to the plaintiff's legal ability to foreclose.

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The Forgotten Foreclosure Crisis, The Progress Report

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  • Without more intervention, the housing market will continue its 'slow motion' adjustment that will continue to inhibit economic growth and drag down consumer spending.
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  • Foreclosures Rise with Unemployment
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