Poisoned Toothpaste in Panama Is Believed to Be From China

Diethylene glycol, a poisonous ingredient in some antifreeze, has been found in 6,000 tubes of toothpaste in Panama, and customs officials there said yesterday that the product appeared to have originated in China.

From
New York Times

Just as the wheatgerm story dies out, a reminder that in the era of globalization; a supply chain is only as strong as its least toxic link.

There’s trouble brewing in Tunisia

If you wanted to support democracy in the Arab world, why did you begin with your enemies instead of your friends? Why Iraq and Iran? Why not us?

From
Slate Magazine

A must read. As a progressive and a fan of Karl Popper, I’ve long felt that the right way to spread freedom is by binding US trade policy to economic and social reforms. Any and all free trade agreements with the US should include demands for government openness, human rights and labor rights. Sadly, this has not been the case. From Tunisia to Russia to China, we’ve favored cheap labor, tax dodges and easy access to oil above all foreign policy goals.

It is painful to think of what we could have done to promote democracy if we didn’t go to Iraq.

addicted to oil

Now that Bush has used the phrase addicted to oil maybe he can give credit to the folks on the left that have been talking about this for five years or more.

Anyone that thinks that the left doesn’t have any good ideas about this, probably hasn’t heard about The Apollo PAC. Why should we be getting energy from the Mid-East, when we could get it from the Mid-West?

Sadly, there hasn’t been an update since the ‘04 election. But it does illustrate yet another issue where Kerry was way ahead of Bush.

Iranian Oil Bourse

The Internet is suddenly alive with chatter about an “Iranian Oil Bourse,” supposedly scheduled to open for business in March 2006. Right now, the two leading oil exchanges in the world are the New York Mercantile Exchange and London’s International Petroleum Exchange. In both exchanges, trades for oil are denominated in U.S. dollars. But in the proposed Iranian exchange, oil trading will be denominated in euros.

From
Salon

This is yet another problem created by the incompetence of the Bush administration. With a large and growing debt, the only thing keeping the nation from an economic collapse the the strength of the dollar. If the world oil market switches to the Euro, then any purchase of US Debt (the treasury bonds used to prop-up the Bush tax cuts, war in Iraq and the GOP pork fest of the past five years) will turn into a risker direvitive investment. If this should happen, nations that sell Oil for Dollars (OPEC) and nations that Dollar trade surpluses to buy oil (China) will have less incentive to purchase US Bonds. If oil is bought and sold for Euros, surplus Dollars held by China would buy less oil every time the Dollar losses value against the Euro. If this happens, Bond will have to be heavily discounted. The % of the budget that is used to service debt will grow every time the dollar weakens against the Euro.

I’ll end this here since this economic rant is boring, even to myself.

Hungry Planet

Perhaps we are simply destined to live in a world where local cultures exist only as residue preserved for the sake of tourists. If our children’s children want to know about hand-grinding barley on a stone or spreading manure on fallow fields, they can read about it in “Hungry Planet.” A review of the book, really, should be written 50 or 100 years from now.

From Salon