Friday, December 31, 2010

An Hourly Workers State Of The Union…

…and this one is going to be a hell raising rant at our corporations, the Republicans, the Democrats, President Obama in particular.

   First off, the hourly worker here in Florida took a beating in this state. The Tampa area was certainly one of the worst hit as far as the economy goes. Jobs? Decent pay? Decent health insurance? There is no such thing in this area of the country. No is no such thing in the rest of the country for that matter.

  Upon moving back to this state, I become one of those under paid workers with no type of health insurance. I am a type-1 diabetic,so I started off on the wrong foot right out of the gate. In January of 2010, I spent 4 hours in an the emergency room of one of the local hospitals because of my diabetes and that trip cost me $3,600 for an I.V. with water in it for minor dehydration, and two visits from some foreign doctor who spent a total of 20 minutes with me. This all came out of my pocket in a few monthly installments. A big expense for someone who is making the minimum wage and only working 30 hours a week at the time. It’s a damned good thing that I was very smart with my money back when I was working for real pay and benefits or I would be sleeping out in the streets permanently. Yes, I’ve been homeless a time or two since being here because I prefer to live off of my work earnings. Those earnings have not always met my bills. For better than half of 2010, they did not meet any of my needs and I did have to go on  the food-stamp program.

   At almost the mid-point of the year, work pretty much came to a grinding halt. 30 hours per week up to that point was bad enough, but the hours took a major hit dropping down to as few as only 4 hours of work per week. In a good week I might even luck out and get 16 hours of work!  I do the public transportation thing here so that cost me $3.75 per day for an all day bus pass. I did manage to buy a few monthly passes which set me back $60 a shot. Some of those turned out to be a waste because I used them up going to a local temp agency which had nothing even remotely resembling a job.

  Now let’s take an even closer look at my expenses.

  My rent runs only $400 per month, which isn’t to bad. The electric bill is in the area of $70 a month. I do have cable TV and the net of course, which runs at $85 and some change. I’m a smoker so that cost a little bit more. I do not party and go out wasting money even when I’ve had the cash to waste, so no expenses there.

  Now comes the really hard part, my insulin. This cost me $107 per vial every 28 days or so. Then there are the syringes which I need in order to take the meds. One 10-pack of those run $3.50 and I buy at least 4 or 5 packs a month since I have to shoot-up 2 times a day, sometimes 3.

   My estimates tell me that I made only $8,000 for all of 2010, so you can easily figure out that life has been a lemon this year. Can I get a refund?

  The employment situation here in Florida is not going to get better in 2011. It may drop a little bit,but the latest stats (November) say that the state has some 1,110,000 jobless out of a work force of 9,237,000. that is a 12.0 percent unemployment rate. You can blame this shit right square on that last piece of crap President who sat in the White house with his goons and robbed this country (economy) blind. And, in case you missed it over the past 2 years, President Barack Obama and his boys have been doing the same thing. This man, along with backing by those blue-dog Democrats and the Republican Party, have stripped you and I of any hope of financial security in the near future, if ever.

  Now,let us go to the next part of our economic problem,shall we? Much of the blame for our woes is not due to just the banking industry and Wall Street,or to the corporations who fuck you and I on a daily basis. From where I sit, the largest blame is placed on the voters in this country. I’m pointing fingers at you dumb,ignorant fucks who sit at home watching shit like the FoxNews Channel and who do not have enough mind to actually check that so-called news out to see if it is factual. That propaganda network knows all to well that the majority of its viewers are flat out plain stupid so they feed you that phony conservative line of bullshit that their Republican master tell them to,know to damned well that you will not question authority. 

  Many of you voted for more of the same Bush policies which got you and I into this mess in the first place! Are you stuck on stupid? Maybe you should consider one of those memory courses that help your memory for turning to shit because many of you most certainly are suffering from a short term memory loss.

    I’m not all to pleased with the way in which Obama has bent over backward to help give the Republicans and big business anything that their little hearts desired,but in the same token, the man cannot do a whole hell of a lot when the Republicans, and many Democrats, have done everything possible to keep the man from doing what this country sorely needs done.

   I hope that you have enjoyed 2010 folks because 2011 is going to make 2010 look real good to you when it is all over. Those Republican asshats that you elected will make sure of that.                  (continued)




Thursday, December 30, 2010

The State Of The Union


    The following article is one persons idea of what the “state of the union” is,and I will follow on New Years Eve with what I think the “state of the union” is if you are an hourly worker in this country and you are continuing to lose ground in our economy.


The Real State of the Union, 2011

by miguelitoh2o         Thu Dec 30, 2010
We'll soon be hearing from President Obama on the State of the Union.  This is my analysis and opinion of the actual state of affairs in our country as the new year is dawning.

The Economy

Oil is at 90 dollars a barrel. The governments of Europe, Japan, and the United States are saturated with debt. Housing prices in the US are falling again, and there’s no job growth in America. For some reason, many are still imagining that we’re in an economic recovery.  Our economic system remains as fragile and dangerous as it ever was.  Meanwhile the perpetrators of the financial crisis are enjoying record profits.

We find ourselves bailing out not just American banks but large banks around the world.  The economies of scale in the financial sector continue to chip away at the sovereignty of not just ours, but all the nations of the world.  In fact, we had begun refinancing foreign banks as early as 2007, indicating that the Fed was aware of a crisis long before they had admitted. Giving those monies to foreign banks without so much as a press release or a demand for better trade agreements, it is clear that even with all those big geopolitical shifts we have been hearing so much about, the United States remains the world's sole Schmuck Superpower.  The good news?:  Of the money that was used in bailing out financial institutions, about half has been returned.

So, the economy limps along following its near collapse from risky investments by the banks following the deregulation of the banking industry during the past 28 years and the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999.  Rather than forcing banks with large deficit positions on their books to come clean as to their actual financial position as would have been done in any developing nation which was in financial crisis by the IMF, we’ve suspended "mark to market" accounting and have allowed these banks who put our entire financial system at risk in order to continue their activities without reducing their leverage positions. Banks don’t want to decrease their leverage positions as keeping their leverage high decreases their tax burden, and increases the implicit guarantee of their debt by the government.

Rather than dealing with these liquidity issues directly, we’ve opted to allow the banks to "earn" their way back to solvency by arbitraging interest rate spreads against the US government through low/no-interest rate loans.  This allows us to conceal what is essentially a bailout as a non-budget item.  The banks have continued to hold onto this money rather than infuse it into our staggering economy as they slowly build themselves back into solvency at our societal cost. As a senior bank official said to The New York Times in fall,  2008, "It doesn’t matter how much Hank Paulson gives us, no one is going to lend a nickel until the economy turns."  Meanwhile the financial sector, which accounted for no more than 16% of our corporate profits between 1973 and 1985, accounted for 41% of the same this decade.  Executive compensation in finance out-performed this statistic, now accounting for 181% of the average executive compensation of all our industries combined.  In spite of decreasing contributions from corporations in sharing the nation’s tax burden,  our current wisdom dictates that we must not increase taxation on our corporations for fear of stalling any economic recovery. Employment taxes, by contrast—the regressive bit of the fiscal structure—are bearing a large and increasing share of the brunt.

Corporate tax as a percentage of all us tax revenue 1950-2009

These bankers precipitated the crisis with risky bets, implicitly guaranteed by the taxpayers, and they continue to use their influence to stymie attempts to regulate their industry.  They retain the advantage for themselves and investors at the public’s expense. The Federal Reserve has taken on a major role in providing credit to the economy—the function that the private banking sector is supposed to be performing, but isn’t.  This will remain unchanged unless the oligarchy of these powerful banks is broken, but with our elected officials relying on the political contributions from the financial sector, this will be an uphill battle.

When Teddy Roosevelt broke up the trusts he was focused on collusion and price fixing within industries, while today our primary concern is that one firm or a group of interconnected firms can bring down our whole economy.  The exponential math of debt by definition dictates that countries will only lose their wealth over time and become increasingly indebted to the global central banking network.


There has been job growth, but it’s apparently only in part-time jobs.  Our official measurements of unemployment were changed in the 1990s to reflect less negatively on the ruling oligarchy. While real unemployment approaches rates not seen since the 1930s.

Our Legal System

The Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are people and have the same rights to free speech as people, while the Lower courts are finding that the laws don’t apply equally to corporations as they would to individuals by ignoring the letter of the law in foreclosure actions in favor of the banks.  Unless we find our District Courts of Appeal willing to stand up, will we find our laws being subverted by a Supreme Court all too willing to once again defend the rights of corporations at the expense of ordinary citizens.  Prominent economists have warned that unless changes are made to our mortgage policies, another financial crisis awaits us.

The Free Press

It no longer exists.

National Security/Defense

Fear will continue to trump reason in our national security decisions.

Why bother with the terrorists?  National security is now distilled down to its core mission of protecting corporate intellectual property, and Homeland Security has carried out a court-approved seizure "against 82 domain names of commercial websites engaged in the illegal sale and distribution of counterfeit goods and copyrighted works."

And if we can’t defeat our enemies on the merits of the charges, we’ll get them for alleged sex crimes.

Shoppers at Walmart will soon have something other than glossy magazines and chewing gum to look at when in the checkout line: A "video message" from the Department of Homeland Security asking them to look out for "suspicious" activity and report it immediately.  Would you like some Big Brother with your chicken salad?

We continue to wage an expensive war and build permanent bases in Iraq to secure access to oil, while our ally Saudi Arabia remains the biggest funder of terrorism.

Meanwhile in Afghanistan we continue to try and build coalitions by destroying homes and businesses, as we expand the war into Pakistan.

Job opportunities and defense are now critically linked as the U.S. military now has more people in its marching bands than the State Department has in its foreign service.

The Environment

The dispersants used in the Deepwater horizon oil spill are increasing contamination in the gulf, but like our political paradigm, having fallen down the rabbit hole perception is king while reality takes a back seat.

The Deficit

The myth of free markets as our best approach to allocating resources has been discredited if not disproved; yet the financial orthodoxy hasn’t acknowledged the fact.  Like medieval bloodletters, the oligarchy prescribes austerity for the taxpayers, while promoting subsidies for their own industries.    Creating hysteria about debt, allows these captains of industry to advance their agenda of gutting social programs while perversely advocating low taxes for the rich.   Likewise the oligopoly seeks to preserve its control of the financial, healthcare, and defense sectors, which could individually or collectively solve all our deficit problems if the government would find the political will to regulate them.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has calculated that the extended Bush-era tax cuts will contribute by far the largest share to the next decade’s deficits — ahead of the recession’s drain on tax revenues, Iraq and Afghanistan war spending, TARP and Obama’s stimulus.   Again, the many must suffer so that the few may prosper.  Meanwhile we’ve succeeded in attaining record levels of poverty among families with wages.  The axiom, "the business of America is business" has never been more true, and we taxpayers must look to our mighty GDP as our sole consolation as we queue up in soup lines.

President Obama will continue to advance his conservative agenda by cynically freezing federal employee pay, which even if he could reduce payroll costs by 50% would only affect the deficit by 3%.  Oh, and the deficit commission recommendations would kill and additional 4 million jobs in an analysis done by the Economic Policy Institute.

States and Local Government

All 50 states now find themselves in worse shape than Ireland with respect to their debt/GDP ratio.

Many municipalities are considering or have all ready sold or leased their water systems to private enterprise to meet budgetary shortfalls.   The sale/privatization  of public assets will be continue to be the oligarchy’s first choice for balancing budgets, as the reins of sovereignty are abdicated inexorably to Capitalism.


The President continues to play 3-dimensional chess by alienating his own party, including Democratic conservatives, while courting Republican opposition.

In the end, the appearance of a political opposition is the essential window dressing required to fool people into thinking that there's actually more than one side that will be heard on any public issue. There isn't. The ultimate winners are the great accumulations of wealth represented by that bipartisan coalition that has no permanent friends or enemies, just permanent interests – The Money Party.  The enemies of greatness and progress are the politicians and their patrons who insist on having their way on every issue, who take every thing that isn't nailed down; and, who create fake dramas and diversions to further the distortions and censorship of the corporate media.

That’s the real state of the Union.  Happy New Year to us.

Writer's note:  In an effort to make this read as an actual public address, I've not identified certain passages as quotes, which some of this essay certainly is.  I've attempted to identify the sources of these quotes in the embedded links.

Cross-posted at


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

All Those Jobs Are Going Overseas…

   ….and you can bet your ass that that is not going to change in our lifetimes!

Original Article

All those jobs going overseas.

by Steve Love      Wed Dec 29, 2010
("Companies are hiring – overseas"  Dallas Morning News 12/29/2010)

      Item #1:  Caterpillar hires as many people overseas as it does in the U.S.  Why? Because there is a massive building boom overseas that has a demand for the earthmoving machines Caterpillar makes.  There is nothing in the U.S. comparable to the apartment, highway and railway construction going on in China.

     Item #2:  "There is a huge difference between what is good for American companies vs. what is good for the American economy," says Robert Scott, spokesman for the Economic Policy Institute.   Why?  The down-side of the dollar being the dominant international currency is that a dollar earned anywhere in the world is as valuable as one earned in the United States.  So U.S. companies take their business to where they can make the most dollars and that is no longer in the United States.
     Item #3:  "Companies will go where there are fast-growing markets and big profits," says Jeffery Sachs, economist, Columbia University.   Where are those fast-growing markets?  Where the middle class is growing.  Why there?  Because that is where there is disposable income and high demand for consumer goods.    And where is the middle class growing?  "By 2015, the middle class in Asia will be as large as that in Europe and North America," the article goes on to say.  This is the hand-writing on the wall that we need to be reading!
     And about those "big profits?"   Where are they?  Certainly not where "Everyday low prices" is the gospel of business.   Big profits do not take place where the margin between the fixed cost of an item and the selling price is constantly shrinking.    Wal-Mart is profitable, not because it makes a reasonable profit on every item it sells but because it makes a minimal profit on massive numbers of items sold...a great model for a few mass-marketers but a formula for "little or no profits" for everyone else.   Small businesses cannot operate on a Wal-Mart business is clear across this country as hundreds of thousands of small business have tried to compete with Wal-Mart and failed.  
     Small businesses thrived in the post-WWII era precisely because there was a reasonable margin between fixed costs and price and, most importantly, there was a middle class being formed receiving wages high enough that a couple of dollar cheaper was not sufficient motivation to change buying habits...something we have not seen in the United States since wages began stagnating three decades ago.    
     Item #4:  "China just became the world’s second-largest economy," says David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor’s, who goes on to report that half of the S&P’s revenue now comes from overseas.   Which is just another way to say that Wall Street does not just share Manhattan Island with the United Nations - it shares its place in the world as an international institution.
     So, what do we know?  Beginning in the late 20th Century, there appears to have been set in motion a process by which the U.S. economy has been made further and further irrelevant.   The dollar is still the currency of the world however, when it comes to being the producers of goods the world wants to buy or being the creative center for innovations, no one is looking to the United States anymore.    The days of an American-centric world economy are gone.
     What passes for a domestic economy is one gigantic system designed to transfer what wealth the middle class still has, after three decades of stagnate wages and a lowering standard of living, to the moneyed elite: the 0.01% of the population who control the lion share of the nation’s wealth.   And when that transfer is complete we will join the other banana republics of the world.
     Or then, we shall become, as England became after all its colonies went their separate ways, a nation of shop-keepers, unless....unless we have the political leadership to challenge almost every element of what is accepted as economic common wisdom, and focuses like a laser on rebuilding the middle class by setting the nation on a course of nothing less than a complete reshaping of the American economy and modernization of its infrastructure.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Chris Hedges' Disturbing Dystopian Vision Of The Present

by Lefty Coaster     Tue Dec 28, 2010     Original Article

I found Chris Hedges' dystopian vision of the present to be disturbingly close to the mark. I had to share it with everyone here even though I don't take quite as dim a view as Hedges does of our present predicament.

2011: A Brave New Dystopia

We have been gradually disempowered by a corporate state that, as Huxley foresaw, seduced and manipulated us through sensual gratification, cheap mass-produced goods, boundless credit, political theater and amusement. While we were entertained, the regulations that once kept predatory corporate power in check were dismantled, the laws that once protected us were rewritten and we were impoverished. Now that credit is drying up, good jobs for the working class are gone forever and mass-produced goods are unaffordable, we find ourselves transported from "Brave New World" to "1984." The state, crippled by massive deficits, endless war and corporate malfeasance, is sliding toward bankruptcy.

Hedges talks about inverted totalitarianism which he describes like this:

In inverted totalitarianism, the sophisticated technologies of corporate control, intimidation and mass manipulation, which far surpass those employed by previous totalitarian states, are effectively masked by the glitter, noise and abundance of a consumer society. Political participation and civil liberties are gradually surrendered. The corporation state, hiding behind the smokescreen of the public relations industry, the entertainment industry and the tawdry materialism of a consumer society, devours us from the inside out. It owes no allegiance to us or the nation. It feasts upon our carcass.

Our systems of mass communication, as Wolin writes, "block out, eliminate whatever might introduce qualification, ambiguity, or dialogue, anything that might weaken or complicate the holistic force of their creation, to its total impression."

The result is a monochromatic system of information. Celebrity courtiers, masquerading as journalists, experts and specialists, identify our problems and patiently explain the parameters. All those who argue outside the imposed parameters are dismissed as irrelevant cranks, extremists or members of a radical left. Prescient social critics, from Ralph Nader to Noam Chomsky, are banished. Acceptable opinions have a range of A to B. The culture, under the tutelage of these corporate courtiers, becomes, as Huxley noted, a world of cheerful conformity, as well as an endless and finally fatal optimism. We busy ourselves buying products that promise to change our lives, make us more beautiful, confident or successful as we are steadily stripped of rights, money and influence.

Our manufacturing base has been dismantled. Speculators and swindlers have looted the U.S. Treasury and stolen billions from small shareholders who had set aside money for retirement or college. Civil liberties, including habeas corpus and protection from warrantless wiretapping, have been taken away. Basic services, including public education and health care, have been handed over to the corporations to exploit for profit. The few who raise voices of dissent, who refuse to engage in the corporate happy talk, are derided by the corporate establishment as freaks.

As a protester at the 1999 WTO meeting in Seattle I well remember being type cast in the MSM as anarchist rioters when 99% of the protesters taking part were non-violent. This year the MSM still erroneously refers to the WTO protests as riots. In fact the vast majority of the violence involved came from the Seattle Police when they attacked mostly nonviolent protesters.

Hedges goes on to argue that our Orwellian Dystopia of subtle manipulation is transforming into a Dystopia relying on brutal oppression more like that found in 1984.

Hedges whole unsettling essay is well worth reading.

2011: A Brave New Dystopia

Monday, December 27, 2010

Hillary Clinton Gearing Up For 2012 Presidential Run?


   That is what Iranian reporter Amir Mokhtar-Rajabi seems to think.  English translation by way of Watching America

Javan, Iran
The Flirtations of Hillary, 63, with
the 2012 Presidential Elections:
The Clintons’ Fantasy

Translated By Remo Alexandri       20 December 2010

Edited by Amy Wong

Iran - Javan - Original Article (Persian)
It seems that these days Hillary Clinton, U.S. secretary of state, is going through an odd change of heart.
It was only a few hours before the negotiations between the 5+1 group and Iran, when at the Manama Summit in Bahrain, she suddenly forgot about her habitual and repetitive attacks on Iran’s nuclear activities and declared that Iran possesses the right to enrich uranium. She not only supported Iran’s nuclear program but also made an effort in flirting with, and capturing the heart of, the (now-fired) foreign minister of Iran, Manouchehr Mottaki — even if it only resulted in engaging in small talk and greetings with him.
Her odd change of heart continued through last Saturday at a Brookings Institute dinner reception, which included guests such as Ehud Barak, current Labor Party leader and defense minister of the Zionist regime; Tzipi Livni, Kadima party leader and a critic of the Zionist regime’s current administration; Salam Fayyad and Saeb Erekat, officials from self-governing territories and George Mitchell, U.S. special envoy to the region. There, she decisively uttered the word “state” in reference to a Palestine that should come into fruition once the negotiations are concluded successfully. The U.S. secretary of state, speaking hopefully, insisted that whenever an opening in the negotiations is closed, another path should be sought until the ultimate goal of a two-state solution is reached.
It is not clear why Clinton has become so kind and tender in the past one to two weeks — not only recognizing Iran’s right to enrich uranium but also supporting the formation of a Palestinian state. There are precedents for high-ranking American officials talking one way while in power, and then once they are no longer in power, they begin talking about supporting the formation of human rights organizations in defense of rights for all nations, as if they weren’t the same people and officials they were before. However, it appears that Mrs. Clinton is using this tactic — previously used only by ex-American officials — while still in power.
There is hardly anyone among the observers of international affairs who is not aware of Clinton’s staunch enthusiasm and support for the Zionist regime and her opposition to Palestine, resulting in her bullying and intimidation of Iran. But how in the world did she suddenly change her stance at the Manama Summit and Brookings Institute reception and become an advocate for Iran and Palestine? Is it because — as reported by various sources — she is trying to distance herself from Barack Obama and create an atmosphere for competing with him in the 2012 presidential elections? Does the Democratic Party support this policy and act contrary to its usual backing of the incumbent candidate for the presidency? Has the Democratic Party concluded that Obama wasn’t who they thought he might be as president, failing to maintain the voters’ loyalty and persuade them to continue their support of U.S. government policies? Is the Democratic Party really in the process of transitioning from Obama to Clinton as its candidate in the 2012 presidential elections? Is this why the current U.S. secretary of state has taken such mild stances as compared to before, especially on issues such as Iran and the most complicated international issue, namely the issue of peace in the Middle East?
Is there any real chance for peace in the Middle East with the current policies of the United States and the Zionist regime or not? For Palestine, the minimum condition for peace is the withdrawal of the Zionist regime to the 1967 borders that were crossed as a result of the Six-Day War in June (during Ramadan), resulting in the occupation of the disputed territories by Tel Aviv. Currently, the countries that show interest in the peace process insist on the restoration of these borders. Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, three Latin American countries in support of the two-state solution, recognize the 1967 borders. During the Six-Day War waged by Syria, Egypt, Jordan and Iraq, the Zionist regime succeeded in occupying East Jerusalem (the West Bank of the Jordan River), the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights (Syria) and the Sinai Desert (Egypt), of which the West Bank of the Jordan River and the Golan Heights remain under Zionist occupation. Currently, Tel Aviv shows no intention of withdrawing from these territories. Therefore, it is impossible to be at ease and optimistic about the peace prospects in the region, unless the occupiers withdraw from East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights as they did from the Sinai Desert (1982) and the Gaza Strip (2005). The strategic position of the Golan Heights and the ongoing settlement constructions by the Zionist regime in the Gaza Strip obscures prospects for peace.
Has Mrs. Clinton, 63, found a new way to peace, as she so hopefully spoke of it at the Brookings Institute? Is she really concerned with the peace process or merely plotting her race against her perpetual rival, Obama, 49?
Were she to succeed in becoming the U.S. president, the Clintons would be the first couple in the history of the United States to have both held the office.

© 2010 Watching America and All Rights Reserved

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Baked and Prepared Foods Recalled…


Original Article

Baked and Prepared Foods Recalled After 100 Reported Illnesses - Updated
by Deep Harm
Sun Dec 26, 2010

On Christmas Eve, December 24, the FDA issued notice of a recall of baked goods (including holiday specialties like gingerbread houses) produced by Rolf's Patisserie. Many of the products are sold by Whole Foods.  The recall was issued after 100 or more people fell ill in November and December from staphylococcus aureas, a bacteria most dangerous to children and elderly people.

Whole Foods is doing little to notify its consumers.  As of 7 pm ET today, there was no information about the recall on the Whole Foods website, its Facebook page or its Twitter feed.  No one answered the phone at headquarters and calls to a local store failed to find any staff who acknowledged the recall. Rolf's doesn't mention the recall, either.

Many more people potentially could fall ill due to this minimalist approach to recall notification.

It's noteworthy that the recall was issued on a slow news night, Christmas Eve, although the illnesses began in November.  Thus, many people would not have learned of the recall in time to avoid eating products potentially contaminated with "high levels" of Staphylococcus aureus. 

    State and federal investigators are looking into outbreaks in which people became ill after eating desserts from Rolf's Patisserie at a company event, a catered party, a restaurant and a holiday party, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

As the news report indicates, this is a time for holiday parties.  Many people may consume products without knowing the origin of the food. Therefore, take care and ask questions.  If you have any of the recalled products, do not eat them.

    If you have purchased a Rolf's product made after November 1st, the recall notice recommends trashing the baked goods in a sealed container, so that children and animals cannot get to them. (CNN)

Better yet, return them to the store for a refund.

Anyone who comes down with symptoms of Staphylococcus aureaus should report it to the FDA complaint line or your local health department.  (See the recall notice for details.)  Also, as LNK points out in the comments, take appropriate medical measures, such as consulting your physician, drinking plenty of fluids. With children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems, prompt help is especially important.

    The onset of symptoms in staphylococcal food poisoning is usually rapid and in many cases acute, depending on individual susceptibility to the toxin, the amount of contaminated food eaten, the amount of toxin in the food ingested, and the general health of the victim. The most common symptoms are nausea, vomiting, retching, abdominal cramping, and prostration. Some individuals may not always demonstrate all the symptoms associated with the illness. In more severe cases, headache, muscle cramping, and transient changes in blood pressure and pulse rate may occur. Recovery generally takes two days, However, it us not unusual for complete recovery to take three days and sometimes longer in severe cases. (FDA)

    Death from staphylococcal food poisoning is very rare, although such cases have occurred among the elderly, infants, and severely debilitated persons.  (FDA)


Below is the full text of the FDA newswire. (Canada citizens should read CFIA's release.) The release mentions specific states and products.  However, not all baked goods sold by Whole Foods carry barcodes.  Also, food recalls frequently are expanded after the initial notice to include other products and locations.  The safest tactic for consumers is to assume possible contamination of products resembling those identified in the recall notice.

    SILVER SPRING, Md., Dec. 24, 2010 PRNewswire-USNewswire --

    Fast Facts

    Rolf's Patisserie, a gourmet European style bakery located in Lincolnwood, Ill., is recalling all desserts made after Nov. 1, 2010. The products include tiramisu, cakes, cobblers, decorated cookies, tarts, pastries, and pies.
    The desserts have been connected to several outbreaks of Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) food poisoning.
    Because Rolf's Patisserie sells the desserts in both retail and wholesale markets, as well as online and to institutions, the products may not carry a Rolf's Patisserie label.

    A food item contaminated with S. aureus, the bacterium responsible for producing toxins in foods, can cause nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea. The illness usually lasts for one to two days, although severe cases may last as long as three days. However, certain individuals, such as the elderly or very young, may require medical treatment for dehydration.

    Consumers should not eat the desserts and should dispose of them in a sealed container so that people and animals (including wild animals) cannot get access to and eat them.

    (Logo: )

    What is the Problem?

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers not to eat desserts from Rolf's Patisserie of Lincolnwood, Ill., because they have been linked to several outbreaks of S. aureus food poisoning.
    The desserts are available through retail, wholesale and internet sales, and may not be labeled as coming from Rolf's Patisserie. Resellers include grocery stores. Rolf's Patisseries also distributes the products through a catering service and to institutions such as nursing homes.

    A total of 100 cases of illness have been reported from four separate events in November and December. Three of the events occurred in Illinois and resulted in 30 illnesses. Seventy illnesses have been reported from a single event in Wisconsin.

    What are the Symptoms of Illness/Injury?

    A food item contaminated with S. aureus, the bacterium responsible for producing toxins in foods, can cause gastrointestinal illness that usually begins 1-6 hours after eating contaminated food. The most common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. In more severe cases, headache, muscle cramping, and temporary changes in blood pressure and pulse rate may occur.  The illness is usually mild and most patients recover after one to three days. In a small minority of patients the illness may be more severe.  In these cases, some people, especially the very young and old, may require medical treatment for dehydration from vomiting and/or diarrhea.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) web page on Staphylococcal food poisoning:

    What Do Consumers and Product Sellers Need To Do? 

    Consumers should not eat the desserts. Consumers and product sellers should dispose of them in a sealed container so that people and animals (including wild animals) cannot get access to and eat them.
    To report problems, including adverse reactions, related to any food except meat and poultry, contact the FDA district office consumer complaint coordinator for your geographic area (
    What Does the Product Look Like?

    Because the desserts are sold through wholesale and catering services, as well as Rolf's Patisserie's retail bakery, they may not be labeled with the Rolf's Patisserie name. Rolf's products include cakes, cobblers, decorated cookies, tarts, pastries, and pies.

    Where is it Distributed?

    Rolf's Patisserie desserts are sold online and through retailers and wholesalers, as well as through the bakery's catering service.  The FDA is working with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to obtain a distribution list, but individuals or businesses may have already purchased goods for the holidays, so it is important to ask where the dessert is from and to not eat desserts from Rolf's made after Nov. 1, 2010.
    What is Being Done about the Problem?

    Rolf's Patisserie is contacting retailers and restaurants to remove and discard these products from their shelves. The FDA is working with the CDC and the State of Illinois and Cook County departments of public health to investigate the situation. Rolf's Patisserie has ceased production and distribution.
    The information in this press release reflects the FDA's best efforts to communicate what it has learned from the manufacturer and the state and local public health agencies involved in the investigation. The agency will update this page as more information becomes available.

    For more information: S. aureus page:
    IDPH Press Release:
    Media Inquiries: Siobhan DeLancey, 301-796-4668,
    Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA



(As posted on FDA website.)

    Whole Foods Market Announces A Recall Of Products Which Were Produced By Rolf’s Patisserie In Seven States In The Midwest Because Of A Possible Health Risk

    Whole Foods Market

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - December 24, 2010 - Whole Foods Market announces that it is recalling items sold in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Wisconsin that came from its supplier Rolf’s Patisserie of Lincolnwood, Illinois. The recalled items have been used as an ingredient in prepared food and bakery department products or repackaged and sold under the Whole Foods Market Label. Rolf’s Patisserie has recalled all items that were made after Nov. 1, 2010.

    Products produced by Rolf’s Patisserie have been connected to several outbreaks of Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) food poisoning. To date no illnesses have been reported from consumers eating products sold by Whole Foods Market.

    A food item contaminated with S. aureus, the bacterium responsible for producing toxins in foods, can cause nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea. The illness usually lasts for one to two days, although severe cases may last as long as three days. However, certain individuals, such as the elderly or very young, may require medical treatment for dehydration. Consumers should not eat the gingerbread houses and should dispose of them in a sealed container so that people and animals (including wild animals) cannot get access to and eat them.

    All of the following Whole Food Market (WFM) Products are included in this recall:

    Items sold in Bakery

    UPC/PLU Description
    Unit of
    23629500000 WFM LEMON MERINGUE PIE 9 1133 GRAMS
    23185400000 WFM MINI LEMON TART 1OZ 1 OUNCES
    23185400000 WFM MINI LEMON TART 1OZ 1 OUNCES
    23621700000 WFM APPLE PIE 9 INCH 1/2 22 OUNCES
    23621800000 WFM 9IN CHOCOLATE SILK PIE 1/2 24 OUNCES
    23614300000 WFM TIRAMISU CAKE 6IN 22OZ 22 OUNCES
    23187900000 WFM LEMON CREAM PIE 9 IN 40 OUNCES
    23612900000 WFM TIRAMISU CUP 6OZ 6 OUNCES
    23642700000 WFM TRES LECHES CUP 6 OUNCES
    23669000000 WFM CREME BRULEE 5 OUNCES
    23695700000 WFM YULE LOG 27 OUNCES

    Items Sold in Prepared Foods:

    UPC Item Description Unit of Measure
    23851300000 BEEF & MUSHROOM POT PIE 9IN 26 OUNCES
    23923600000 TOFU POT PIE 9 IN 26 OUNCES
    23928400000 CHICKEN POT PIE 9IN 26 OUNCES
    23928500000 VEGETABLE POT PIE 9 IN 26 OUNCES
    23950300000 QUICHE LORRAINE 9 IN 12 OUNCES
    9948280063 QUICHE LORRAINE 9 12 OUNCES
    9948280065 QUICHE TOM BASIL 9 12 OUNCES

    Signage is posted in Whole Foods Market stores to notify customers of this recall.

    Customers who have purchased any of the listed products from Whole Foods Market may return them to the store for a full refund.

    Consumers with questions may contact Whole Foods Market at 512-542-0878 weekdays between 8:00am and 5:00pm central standard time.

Comment:  The Whole Foods press release is curiously vague regarding the source of the contamination.  The release says Whole Foods is recalling "items" that came from Rolf's that were "used as an ingredient in prepared food and bakery department products."  If they know the products contain these ingredients, why not identify the ingredients?