moonlightcowboy's WunderBlog

Another FUEL RECORD price!!!

By: moonlightcowboy, 3:14 PM GMT on June 30, 2008

4th of July!

Happy FOURTH of JULY as oil reaches yet another high, TODAY, July 3rd. And, the average pump price is well over $4.10 gl and continues to rise! The US dollar continues to decline against most foreign currencies (with some exceptions) and the crude oil barrel price has continued to climb despite production increases by the Saudis. Today’s price set a new record of $145.85. Next year’s "1-yr forecast price" is now at $188.90. Fuel prices will continue to increase with the decreasing value of the dollar.

...another record, today! Oil bl price $145.85...WUhoo, let's celebrate the FOURTH!!!

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Is time running out for the US dollar? At the heart of the matter with the US economy is the decreasing value of the dollar which set record lows again in recent weeks. The dollar's value has decreased approximately 40 percent in the last few years. And, America's economy continues to slide into recession with exponentially increasing national debt, trade deficits and job losses. Until there those trends are turned around America will face even tougher times ahead in my opinion. Inflation? Depression? I wouldn't rule anything out until the dollar's value stabilizes, inflation recedes and our economic indicators show signs of improvement and that doesn't appear to be happening in the present, nor near future!



The US dollar status with world currencies:

1.00 USD = 10.7624 MXN Peso
1.00 USD = 0.650470 EUR Euro
1.00 USD = 0.990710 CAD Canada
1.00 USD = 7.10600 CNY China Yuan
1.00 USD = 103.157 JPY Japan Yen
1.00 USD = 40.4100 INR India rupees
1.00 USD = 23.8484 RUB Russian Rubies
1.00 USD = 1.02995 CHF Switzerland Francs
1.00 USD = 7.78747 ZAR S. African Rand
As of 3/12/08.


1.00 USD = 10.2900 MXN Peso (LOSS)
1.00 USD = 0.633316 EUR Euro (LOSS)
1.00 USD = 1.00888 CAD Canada (GAIN)
1.00 USD = 6.85757 CNY China Yuan (LOSS)
1.00 USD = 106.209 JPY Japan Yen (GAIN)
1.00 USD = 42.7500 INR India rupees (GAIN)
1.00 USD = 23.4180 RUB Russian Rubies (LOSS)
1.00 USD = 1.01830 CHF Switzerland Francs (LOSS)
1.00 USD = 7.88630 ZAR S. African Rand (GAIN)
As of 6/29/08.

The US economy is driven by our GDP and its ability to trade for goods and services in the global market place including oil, food and a host of other things. When the dollar is weaker, products that we buy cost more and it is cheaper for foreign countries to buy our products. One example is automobiles, an industry that's been hurting here in the US. Since the dollar is weaker more cars are getting purchased and shipped overseas as opposed to being bought by us here at home.

And, that's much the same with other products. As long as the dollar continues to weaken, so will the US economy - and when the US economy weakens with less buying power, many global markets, ultimately, will also hurt.

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How do we fix it? That's a tough question. But, I think America has got to start producing products here at home again creating less dependence on foreign trade which adds value to foreign currency.

I think foreign goods should be taxed. Our trade deficit balance is growing exponentially - meaning that we're buying considerably more than we're shipping out. If these countries want us to buy their products while multi-national corporations out-source our jobs and manufacturing base, then they should pay for the cost of doing business here. America can not continue to lose jobs and manufacturing to cheap foreign labor who do not have to compete with the same regulation standards as American companies. That's why we're getting sub-standard products being brought into this country now such as lead-painted toys, anti-freeze in toothpaste, etc, etc.



As the dollar weakens the cost of buying those products is only going to continue to increase. But, we can't just tax foreign products for doing business with such a lucrative, consumptive appetite here - that will not be enough to improve the value of the dollar and our economy. We must also re-invest in our "own" country and our "own" people. This country thrives when it puts its efforts here at home. And, we do that by less taxation on our "own" corporations, offering investment and growth incentives here at home. That creates jobs here and grows the GDP and will stabilize and increase the value of the dollar.

This country once made automobiles that the world wanted. Now, our auto companies have massive lay-offs and less production. We once made televisions here; but, now there is no TV manufactured in the US. Our textile industry is virtually non-existent here now. And, we've gone even further by outsourcing services to the point of ineffectiveness - tried to call a tech center for help lately? You get someone from India that you can barely understand. Unless, we start learning Indian, in addition to Spanish, now, it's going to be more difficult to get good service from the products we buy that are also made elsewhere.

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Another thing we can continue to look for in my opinion is the loss of our food manufacturing jobs, our farming. Look for poultry growers to go south soon, too, where there is less regulation, less heating costs and cheaper labor. That will mean we'll get more "less-regulated" products and as the dollar continues to weaken they will also cost more. That's another thing NAFTA, etc, has brought us.

We've become a nation of consumers, producing less and less and having to buy products that ultimately are costing more and more. We're propping up other economies while our economy heads to the toilet. We've got to stop allowing multi-national corporations to freely benefit by buying and selling this country out to foreign governments like India, Mexico and especially China. That trend has to stop and start back coming home here on our own soil. Until that happens, this economy will continue to slide. In order for this economy to come back, products have to be manufactured, produced and grown here at home - not on foreign soil.



McCAIN's "Economic Plan"




OBAMA'S "Economic Plan"


Neither presidential candidate has a great economic plan in my opinion, but I would favor McCain's "less tax and incentive plan." But, McCain's plan is also flawed if it does not "specifically and singularly" make the stimulus available solely to American companies. And, at the same time, make it cost more through tariffs, etc, for multi-national companies/governments to do business and trade here in the US. McCain's plan is on the right track, but it's incomplete. Obama's plan talks about re-investment here; but, doesn't clearly define any tax incentives for American "home-grown" companies. So, neither plan in my opinion aptly addresses the needs of the US economy.

But, either as president won't be able to do much anyways. It's going to take Congress to make these things happen. The president can provide the plan, the leadership and get the legislation introduced. He can rally the American people who can pressure Congress for reform. And, we, the voters, must hold Congress accountable. We face big hurdles but, we need Congressional reform, really, before any of these positive steps can take root and begin to grow this economy again.

It's going to take guts and we're going to have to send a message to Congress and to the world that America is NOT FOR SALE anymore!


Comments welcomed. Keep it CIVIL, Keep it FACTUAL.

Salmonella in more than tomatoes?

By: moonlightcowboy, 5:07 AM GMT on June 13, 2008

US checks if tomatoes caused Salmonella outbreak




In this Friday, June 13, 2008 file photo, farmer Robert Dodd displays some of his tomato crop at his farm in Hanover County, Va. As salmonella cases continue to climb, the government is checking if tainted tomatoes really are to blame for the record outbreak — or if the problem is with another ingredient, or a warehouse that is contaminating newly harvested tomatoes.
(AP Photo/Steve Helber)




FDA update thru June 27.


FAQ with updates.


Last week I bought four tomatoes from a roadside fruit stand just before the salmonella outbreak was announced. I had eaten what seemed like fresh, garden tomato sandwiches - my first this season and they were really good. And, after finishing the last sandwich I turned on the news and "boom" out came the news about the outbreak. "Oh, great," I thought! Ugh! No, I haven't been sick, nor have I bought any more tomatoes. And, I really enjoyed my first sandwiches this season. So, this is gonna put a damper on the start of summer - good, fresh tomato sandwiches are always a good summer starter! But, if you buy local and buy smart, odds are we can still enjoy these great flavors!

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I grew up on them, love them: straight white bread, adequate to generous Blue Plate, pepper and an above average spraying of salt - PERFECTION! But, too, I'm good with a nice BLT and sometimes I like a few slices of avocado. I've eaten them fresh off the vine, juicy and sweet! And, really, there's not too much with which I don't mind having tomatoes! I've got a spaghetti sauce recipe that'll make you miserable! Then there are omelets, pizza, bruschetta, soups galore, cheeseburgers and lasagna and lots more. The tomato is just a staple, pure and simple. It goes in or on just about everything good!

Applebees makes this really nice, tasty (just enough) veggie pizza and I go there fairly regularly to have one for a quick lunch. Today, I went there and ordered and ooooops - no tomatoes! But, the waiter explained of course and said he'd be happy to bring out some salsa for spreading on top if I'd like. Of course, I said, "Yes, please!" It was still really good. He went on to say how much it had effected their menu - anything with fresh tomatoes had either been pulled or served without them, salads, etc.

I got to thinking that this has far reaching effects, especially if one really likes to cook with and eat them. So, I decided to blog on it and maybe shed some insight and a little fun, too, if you're a tomato lover and want to share some stories. You can read along if you're interested in what's happening now with the salmonella outbreak. And, I really hate this outbreak - with our already troubled economy, we've got this, too, now! So, this blog will attempt to show where the risks are and what the CDC is saying, along with posting some pertinent links. The tropics look quiet for a few days and I thought this might be a good time to reflect on one of our favorite deliciously juicy red fruits - the tomato! Please feel free to post your thoughts on the outbreak, or on the tomato itself, your favorite recipes and the like.

FIRST: here's what the CDC is saying about states with outbreaks and there'll be some explanations and a few links, too.



(Updated through June 12) - Since April, 228 persons infected with Salmonella Saintpaul with the same genetic fingerprint have been identified in 23 states: Arizona (19 persons), California (2), Colorado (1), Connecticut (1), Florida (1), Georgia (1), Idaho (3), Illinois (29), Indiana (7), Kansas (5), Michigan (2), Missouri (2), New Mexico (55), New York (1), Oklahoma (3), Oregon (3), Tennessee (3), Texas (68), Utah (2), Virginia (9), Vermont (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (3). These were identified because clinical laboratories in all states send Salmonella strains from ill persons to their State public health laboratory for characterization. Among the 161 persons with information available, illnesses began between April 10 and June 1, 2008. Patients range in age from 1 to 88 years; 47% are female. At least 25 persons were hospitalized. No deaths have been officially attributed to this outbreak. However, a man in his sixties who died in Texas from cancer had an infection with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Saintpaul at the time of his death. The infection may have contributed to his death.

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Dragonfly made a great post after i posted this blog and I thought it was "spot-on" and decided to include it in the header of the blog, too!

3. dragonflyF15 12:32 AM CDT on June 13, 2008

I don't believe this applies to local farmers in these states, but grocery stores and restaurants who have them shipped in from elsewhere (huge production facilities). The maps they are showing where there was a salmonella case reported doesn't mean the tomatoes contaminated was grown at a local farm in that state. The maps are misleading.

I am 100% confident the tomatoes I bought over the weekend from a local farm stand is not what this salmonella outbreak is about. This is a big production facility or shipment issue. I've eaten tomatoes everyday this week and doing ok! Support your local farmer's market!

Link

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CDC: Salmonella-tainted tomato illnesses reach 228 - complete story.

WASHINGTON - The toll from salmonella-tainted tomatoes jumped to 228 illnesses Thursday as the government learned of five dozen previously unknown cases and said it is possible the food poisoning contributed to a cancer patient's death. Six more states — Florida, Georgia, Missouri, New York, Tennessee and Vermont — reported illnesses related to the outbreak, bringing the number of affected states to 23.

The Food and Drug Administration has not pinpointed the source of the outbreak. With the latest known illness striking on June 1, officials also are not sure if all the tainted tomatoes are off the market.

"As long as we are continuing to see new cases come on board, it is a concern that there are still contaminated tomatoes out there," said the agency's food safety chief, Dr. David Acheson. Government officials have said all week they were close to cracking the case, but "maybe we were being too optimistic," Acheson acknowledged.

How much longer? "That's impossible to say."

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On the do-not-eat list are raw red plum, red Roma or red round tomatoes, unless
they were grown in specific states or countries that the FDA has cleared because they were not harvesting when the outbreak began or were not selling their tomatoes in places where people got sick.

The FDA is directing consumers to its Web site — http://www.fda.gov — for updated lists of the safe regions.

North America tomato industry reeling: growers

MIAMI (Reuters) - Florida's tomato industry is in "complete collapse" and growers in California and Mexico are having trouble selling their crops as U.S. regulators hunt the source of a salmonella outbreak linked to certain tomato varieties, growers said on Tuesday. In Florida, the No. 1 U.S. tomato producer, $40 million worth of tomatoes will rot unless the U.S. Food and Drug Administration quickly traces the source of the outbreak and clears the state's produce, an industry official said.

"We've had to stop packing, stop picking," said Reggie Brown, executive vice president of the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange. "The stuff that should have been harvested over the weekend won't survive more than another day or so. The stuff we have in storage is getting riper every minute and at some point it will have to be disposed of," Brown said.

The FDA warned U.S. consumers on Saturday that the outbreak was linked to eating certain raw red plum, red Roma, and red round tomatoes, and products containing those tomatoes. Major restaurant and grocery chains stopped selling those varieties, and some stopped selling all raw tomatoes entirely.

U.S. growers produced $1.28 billion worth of tomatoes last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Florida produces an annual crop valued at $500 million to $700 million, and supplies more than 90 percent of the nation's tomatoes this time of year, Brown said.



Mexico tomato growers say warning unfair - complete story.

MEXICO CITY - Mexican growers and their government on Wednesday called a U.S. warning against certain types of their tomatoes unjust, saying it has brought exports to a halt and could cripple Mexico's $900 million industry. Growers said their produce is subject to double the scrutiny that U.S. tomatoes face: inspected first by Mexican officials and then again at the border when crossing into the U.S.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is still hunting for the source of a salmonella outbreak linked to three types of raw tomatoes that has sickened 167 people in 17 U.S. states since mid-April. It has cleared imports from at least six countries — but not Mexico, which sends 80 percent of its tomato exports to the United States.

...I like mine with lettuce and TOMATO, Heinz 57 and French-fried potatoes, big kosher pickle and a cold draft beer...well, good God almighty which way do I steer?


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91L forms east of islands, may run ashore

By: moonlightcowboy, 3:35 AM GMT on June 11, 2008





First real tATL invest comes from a CV twave

91L has formed just east of the islands in the wcentralATL. It's part of a large wave that had some low level rotation yesterday, but was getting beat up by shear and lost most of its convection. During the night towards early dawn with dmax it got some convection back up over the low level center and has been declared Invest 91L. Last night 91L came into some warmer SST's - 27.4c to 28c and I thought that with the peak of dmax it might could get some convection back over the low level rotation. It was also coming under some decreasing shear on the se side of the wave.

These twaves have been quite interesting story so far this season coming off the African coast, almost at the rate of about one every three days. If waters had been a bit warmer in the cATL, we'd have already had a CV hurricane.

But, the current low level steering is easterly, and it's gonna be tougher getting thru dmin and also it's getting in close proximity to land.

Tropical waves continue to roll across the African coast with some frequency, but they're largely missing convection and the ability to further organize - mostly due to the Azores high reaching a bit further southwards and c and wATL sst's are about a degree or two lower than is really needed to support good lift creating t'storm activity with these associated waves.

However, there is one wave, now, in the cATL just east of Trinidad that looks fairly impressive. It's a rather large wave with weak low level rotation, some vorticity and low pressure. The large wave seems to be creating it's own small-centered moist environment behind the receding dry air in front of the wave. With the high pressure above it, this twave should continue to track further westwards with slow development possible, but not very likely unless it can find some warmer waters. It’s having some trouble today with convection weakening, but as dmax approaches in the late morning hours I expect it to build some convection back. These temps may be the likely reason why most of the itcz convergence is remaining a bit more to the south still in the c and wATL. But, this twave may also be indicating that the ITCZ is moving a bit further north, now, and setting the tone for a possibly active CV season.

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Monthly mean MSLP May 2008 - The way the B/A high is setting up indicates that CV storms could curve towards the eCONUS, FL and the GOM, instead of mostly tracking due west like canes did last year when the high ridged much further west. Also, the high located far easterly, now, out by the Azores is not as strong as last year's high, but still quite large covering an expansive area dipping into the tATL and as far swest as Trinidad. High pressure contours in the swATL are still about 1014mb. Those reasons make me think that we're just running a bit behind climatologically. That's probably really more normal than what we'd consider "normal" for this time of year. Indeed, I think it's unfolding, but pretty much as it should. We'll see mid-June and early July disturbances; but not likely very strong. Then, in the latter part of July things will get cranking. It still wouldn't surprise me though to see something get sneaky and surprise us all before then.

Tropical Weather Outlook
North Atlantic Discussion



92E seems to have made landfall on Mexico’s west coast dumping more rain on an already soaked area. That whole area has been at it now for over a week. Whew!



The TPC 72-hr surface forecast map.



TROPIC-wide 850mb VORTICITY

Here's a look at the next 12-48 hour forecasts!

BlankBlank

BlankBlank

850mb Vorticity
WIND SHEAR
Shear Tendency
Current Steering

---------------------------------------------------------

Other BLOGS and updates:

Visit Patrap's blog on "Hurricane Preparedness!" - excellent blog...and May is the time to get ready, before season gets here!

Other good tropical blogs on WU here at "TROPICAL LAGNIAPPE". These are from some of WU's most respected, adept weather bloggers. Please check them out! Good info from them, and I always learn something when I visit their blogs and sites.

My other 2008 pre-season blogs:

The LOOP CURRENT and EDDYS


What will the 2008 season be like?

Is the MJO working?

Got an ITCZ? Scratch it!

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Click on the RED CROSS link here.


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House of Blog MUSIC/FUN, WEATHER!

By: moonlightcowboy, 12:47 AM GMT on June 05, 2008

The weekend is over and Monday (ugh) is here! Hope you enjoyed your weekend and that your week gets off to a great start! B E A U T I F U L and HOT weather, here; but it's been really bad in some parts of the country! {{{PRAYERS}}} up for those effected by tornadoes, t'storms and flooding! Hope it's a good one for most considering! Have a nice week, all.

While the tropics are fairly quiet I'm going to leave the "House of Blog Music and Fun" blog up for a day or two. If you get around the blogs and feel like posting some good music, please do! Enjoy LIFE! Raise your glass and post some music AND even something weather related if you'd like. That'd be real nice. (ALERT: For severe weather see Vort's blog for details). I'll likely be playing some blues. BUT, the music doesn't have to be all blues. Just post whatever makes you feel good! Join in and leave your keys and worries at the door, grab a chair and sit a spell. Remember, friends don't let friends.....uuuuuummmmmm, well, make it up! LOL But, FRIENDS GENERALLY DO HAVE FUN! So, MOAN IN and "Laissez les bons temps rouler!"


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Bertha, twave invest coming???

By: moonlightcowboy, 1:02 AM GMT on June 04, 2008



85ghz seems to show some rotation at 16n,94w.

Tropical Weather Outlook
North Atlantic Discussion

We may not be quite thru with the "evil twins" just yet. Scattermometer 85ghz shows some low level rotation at 16n,94w on the western coast of Mexico just south of the BOC. That's a narrow area of land there between the Pacific and the BOC and it's quite likely it can pull enough energy from both bodies of water to further some development. Also, the "dry line" in the GOM seems to be more lateral at this point as if the ridge is beginning to slowly erode. And, there's considerably more moisture in the sBOC at the moment. There may be enough time and moisture there now to support some development. We wait, we see.

This whole area of low pressure involving both, Alma and Arthur, have been quite destructive already with all of the rainfall that caused mudslides and flooding. 10-15 inches were reported in some areas causing injury and death. There will be much recovery needed there and with river banks, etc, swollen to capacity - no more rain is needed. Elsewhere, a few of the models are hinting at some possible development down the road, but nothing significant is going on in the present.



Season kicks off, lagging slightly climatologically

Tropical waves continue to roll across the African coast with some frequency, but they're largely missing convection and the ability to further organize.



However, there is one wave, now, in the cATL at about 36w just south of 17n that looks fairly impressive. It's a rather large wave with weak low level rotation and a closed low and pressure of 1009mb. The large wave seems to be creating it's own moist environment behind the receding dry air in front of the wave. With the high pressure above it, this twave should continue to track westwards and further, slow development may be possible. SST's in the central and west Atlantic really need to be another degree or so warmer, that's one reason why most of the itcz convergence is remaining a bit more to the south still. But, this twave may be indicating that the ITCZ is moving a bit further north now and setting the tone for a possibly active CV season.

Photobucket

Monthly mean MSLP May 2008 - The way the B/A high is setting up indicates that CV storms could curve towards the eCONUS, FL and the GOM, instead of mostly tracking due west like canes did last year when the high ridged much further west. Also, the high located far easterly, now, out by the Azores is not as strong as last year's high, but still quite large covering an expansive area dipping into the tATL and as far swest as Trinidad. High pressure contours in the swATL are still about 1014mb. Those reasons make me think that we're just running a bit behind climatologically. That's probably really more normal than what we'd consider "normal" for this time of year. Indeed, I think it's unfolding, but pretty much as it should. We'll see mid-June and early July disturbances; but not likely very strong. Then, in the latter part of July things will get cranking. It still wouldn't surprise me though to see something get sneaky and surprise us all before then.



The TPC 72-hr surface forecast map.



TROPIC-wide 850mb VORTICITY

Here's a look at the next 12-48 hour forecasts!

BlankBlank

BlankBlank

850mb Vorticity
WIND SHEAR
Shear Tendency
Current Steering

¡INFORME del HURACÁN EN ESPAÑOL de señor Bob! Chasque encendido el acoplamiento en la izquierda y enróllelo abajo para la información.

---------------------------------------------------------

Other BLOGS and updates:

Visit Patrap's blog on "Hurricane Preparedness!" - excellent blog...and May is the time to get ready, before season gets here!

Other good tropical blogs on WU here at "TROPICAL LAGNIAPPE". These are from some of WU's most respected, adept weather bloggers. Please check them out! Good info from them, and I always learn something when I visit their blogs and sites.

My other 2008 pre-season blogs:

The LOOP CURRENT and EDDYS


What will the 2008 season be like?

Is the MJO working?

Got an ITCZ? Scratch it!

Photobucket
Click on the RED CROSS link here.


visitor stats


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

moonlightcowboy's WunderBlog

About moonlightcowboy

"There is no heavier burden than a great potential." - Charles Schultz, in the Peanut's character of Linus.