Wednesday, August 13, 2008


We don't need a "Fairness Doctrine" in media. We need an honesty doctrine. Jerome Corsi and most of the right wing media is inherently dishonest. Analyze it: all they do is attack, smear and lie. Upcoming blog on the malicious liar Jerome Corsi... stay tuned.

After soaring for months, prices for oil, rice, and other commodities are going down. Reporter Ron Scherer discusses some good news for consumers: falling commodity prices. See more below.

OUR RADIO SHOW UPDATE My prayers go out to my co-host Doug Basham, who had surgery on his ear yesterday. I have been on vacation for the past two weeks and will resume broadcasting next week, pending Doug's recuperation. Basham and Cornell Radio Show heard weekday mornings at 8 a.m. on 1230 AM KLAV in Las Vegas, and simulcast worldwide on the web.

If you live in Vegas you can tune in Live or go to our website and listen in the audio archives.

The Basham and Cornell Show broadcasts weekday mornings at 8 am Pacific (11 a.m. Eastern) on KLAV 1230 AM Radio live in Las Vegas. Again, all shows are simulcast worldwide on the Internet (and archived) and can be listened to at Basham and Cornell Radio If you've missed our show, check out the audio archives. We have interviewed John, Elizabeth and Cate Edwards, Dennis & Elizabeth Kucinich, John Dean, Pat Buchanan, NBC Bureau Chief Tel Aviv Martin Fletcher, Pulitzer Prize winner Charlie Savage, Senators, Congressmen and women...


American wunderkind Michael Phelps became the most successful Olympian in history with 11 gold medals after victory in the 200 metres butterfly and 4x200m relay finals at the Water Cube.

The 23-year old won his fourth gold medal of the Beijing Games in another world record performance of 1:52.03, improving on his time of 1:52.09 set at last year's world championships in Melbourne.


NEW YORK - After sprinting to record levels this spring, the prices for basic commodities have now fallen 20 to 30 percent.

Prices are now lower on staples such as rice, wheat, corn, and soybeans. Also down are prices for metals such as aluminum, zinc, and copper. The commodity almost everyone follows – oil – is off nearly 20 percent as well, dropping Friday to its lowest level since May 1.

Falling commodity prices have important economic implications. They may indicate that the global economy – especially in terms of the role played by fast-growing countries such as China – is beginning to slow. The prices also take some pressure off the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates to counter inflation. Last Tuesday, the Fed kept short-term rates unchanged, but it did indicate it was still concerned about inflation.

The decline in commodity prices, if it continues, could also give consumers a little more money in their wallets to pay for something other than gasoline and groceries.

"The falling prices helps shore up consumer spending and also has an effect on inflation," says Jay Bryson, global economist at Wachovia Economics Group in Charlotte, N.C. "The Fed probably does not need to tighten interest rates now."

The prospect of interest rates remaining at low levels helped ignite a significant rally in the stock market last Tuesday, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 331 points. On Friday, the rally continued, with the Dow climbing 302.89 points to close the week at 11734.32.

Although it may be too soon for the falling prices to be reflected in national inflation statistics, some of them are starting to work their way through to Americans' wallets. Last week, for example, King Arthur Flour reduced the prices on four grades of its product by 15 percent. On April 1, the company, which makes premium flour, had increased prices by 46 percent. "That price increase did not cover the difference in our costs," says Michael Bittel, senior vice president and general manager of the Norwich, Vt., company. Nevertheless, King Arthur Flour went ahead with a price decrease. "We were hoping the price would come down and we could pass that reduction back to our customers," Mr. Bittel says.

Good conditions for growing crops are partly why the grain markets have dropped in price, says William Lapp, president of Advanced Economic Solutions in Omaha, Neb. "We've had frequent rain events and no persistent heat to affect yields, so the crop is off to a decent start," says Mr. Lapp, adding, "But the questions remain: Will we have a long enough growing season since it's been cooler than normal, and how much of the crop was drowned out this spring?"

On Tuesday, some of the questions will be answered when the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) gives its first official crop report. "Usually they are accurate to within about 5 percent of the crop estimate," says Lapp, a former chief economist at ConAgra Foods.

Despite the current decline in grain prices, they remain high on a historical basis. For example, corn prices are historically between $2 and $3 a bushel. They are now $5 a bushel, down from $8 a bushel. "It's kind of like calling gasoline at $3.50 a gallon cheap," Lapp says.

Rice, another key food commodity, has also declined in price. Earlier this year, rough rice was selling for as much as $25 per 100 pounds on the Chicago Board of Trade. Now, it's close to $16 per 100 pounds, a decline of 36 percent. However, it is still about 60 percent higher than it was last year at this time.

By Ron Scherer | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor