Monthly Archives: February 2007

The Translator book launch

The Translator:
Reflections on Iran, America and the Looming Crisis in the Middle East

The Jim Bryan story as told to Michael McCarthy

Personal note: I don’t normally recommend too many books, but I’ve had the pleasure of working for Jim’s wife for almost 4 years now. Jim is a very interesting man who has led a fascinating life.


Born in Iran in 1925, Jim Bryan (Motarjemi) immigrated to the U.S. in 1954. Jim is a former Iranian boxing champion, Bay Area radio and TV broadcaster, Persian Community organizer, and business man.

His friendships have included many famous acting, media sports and political figures such as the Shah of Iran, Lowell Thomas Junior, Wilt Chamberlain, former California Governor George Dukmejian, actors Lloyd Bridges, Jane Russell and Robert Culp, and many more fascinating people.

From the Preface:

“Newspaper headlines shout out the warnings: Iran may be developing weapons of mass destruction! Iran joins Iraq and North Korea as countries the American government has identified as the Axis of Evil! Iran is a threat to the peace and security of the planet! Iranian mullahs shout threats that their country will not be pushed around. Will Iran force the world powers to take action?”

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Tainted Peter Pan peanut butter recalled

ConAgra Foods Inc. in cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a voluntary recall for all varieties of Peter Pan and Great Value Peanut Butter that begin with the product code 2111 imprinted on the lid of both brands.

Both the Peter Pan and Great Value brands are manufactured in a single facility in Georgia. The study did not specifically implicate the Great Value brand peanut butter. These products may have national distribution. Great Value peanut butter made by other manufacturers is not affected.

Public health officials in multiple states, with the assistance of the CDC and the U.S FDA are investigating a large multistate outbreak of Salmonella Tennessee infections. Interviews conducted that compared the foods eaten by ill and well people have shown that consumption of Peter Pan peanut butter was statistically associated with illness and is therefore the most likely source of the outbreak.

The CDC’s OutbreakNet (the network of public health officials that investigate foodborne illnesses nationwide) has been monitoring this outbreak which has been prolonged and of low intensity beginning with a few cases in August and gradually growing.

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Laugh & Learn Bunny Toy recall

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission with the voluntary cooperation of Fisher-Price has issued a recall for all the “Laugh and Learn” Learning Bunny Toys due to a choking hazard. Consumers are being urged to stop using the recalled product immediately.

Recall issued: 02/15/07

Units affected: About 500,000 (an additional 700,000 units were sold worldwide) are being recalled.

Name of product: “Laugh and Learn” Learning Bunny Toys

Importer: Fisher-Price, of East Aurora, N.Y.

Hazard: The pink pompom nose can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported.

Description: This recall involves the Laugh and Learn Learning Bunny that measures about 10-inches tall. The yellow bunny with one green and one orange ear has musical and counting sound effects. The words, “Laugh and Learn” are printed on the bunny’s shirt.

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“Documents for case” phishing scam

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has issued an alert on their website warning businesses and consumers across the United States and Canada of a phishing scam that uses the BBB name and a false BBB email address in attempt to make the email recipients click on potentially damaging hyperlinks.

A Kennesaw GA business was hacked and is now sending thousands of counterfeit messages to businesses and consumers, purporting to be a complaint filed with the BBB. The incident was reported to the BBB that serves Columbus GA and the surrounding area.

The phony email appears to come from [email protected] and contains a link citing a BBB complaint case number (such as documents for case #263621205…see the letter below).

Clicking on the link directs access to a subdirectory of the hacked website and asks users to download documents related to the complaint. The download is actually an executable file suspected to be some form of a computer virus.

Recipients of the phony email are being advised that any email from the [email protected] address does not come from the BBB and should be considered counterfeit. The BBB is strongly encouraging recipients of this message to delete the message immediately. DO NOT click on the “documents for case” links.

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Hasbro Easy-Bake oven recall

985,000 easy-bake ovens that have been sold since May 2006 are being voluntarily recalled by Hasbro Inc. A statement on the Easy-Bake web site notes that “young children can insert their hands into the oven’s opening and get their hands or fingers caught, posing an entrapment and burn hazard.” The newest version of the toy heats food like a toaster oven instead of using a light bulb.

To date Hasbro has received 29 reports of children getting their hands or fingers caught, including 5 reports of children being burned. All the reports of children being burned were of children younger than 8 years old which is the minimum age recommended for the Easy Bake oven.

The recalled ovens are made of purple and pink plastic, resemble a kitchen range with 4 burners on top and load from the front. The words “Easy Bake” are printed on the front. The Model number 65805 and “Hasbro” are stamped on the backs.

The toys were manufactured in China and sold at Toys R Us, Wal-Mart, KB Toys and other retailers nationwide from May 2006 through February 2007 for about $25.

Toy ovens sold before May 2006 are not included in this recall.

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A shelter in place explained

The other morning a fire broke out at a Chevron oil refinery less than 10 miles from where I live. An hour after the fire started, residents in the neighborhood of the refinery received automated phone calls calling for a shelter in place due to the fumes and smoke in the air.

It made me wonder how many other people would know how to handle a shelter in place if it happened to them or what a shelter in place is. I’ve included a few links at the end of this post with reference to more information.

A shelter in place is an instruction given when there is an emergency where potentially hazardous materials might have been released into the atmosphere. It’s meant to keep you safe while staying where you are, be it indoors, at work or school, or in your car.

When a shelter in place is issued you should select a small (preferably centrally located) interior room with no windows if at all possible.

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