Pam Rotella's Vegetarian FUN page -- News on health, nutrition, the environment, politics, and more!
Week of 25th to 31st of October 2009
Robert Kennedy on the Vaccine Autism Coverup [WRH]
PAM COMMENTARY: This was one of the videos included in an earlier series of videos that I linked to on the topic. However, this was one of the best, and when Mike Rivera of WhatReallyHappened.com linked to it separately, I decided to do the same here.
A viral infection has killed 30 people in Ukraine. [WRH]
The illness begins as an ordinary bout of flu, but after a week the symptoms get worse.
Almost 40,000 Ukrainians have contracted the disease. Around 100 are in hospital.
In the west of the country there has been a run on virus inhibitors and surgical masks. Schools and childcare centres in the city of Lvov are closed.
Test are being carried out to establish what kind of virus is causing the sickness. The H1N1 virus which causes Mexican flu has been ruled out.
9yr-old boy tortured, says former Guantanamo detainee [WRH]
KUALA LUMPUR: A British Muslim detained for three years at the controversial Guantanamo Bay prison manned by the United States, revealed that the youngest detainee he knew of was a nine-year-old boy who was also tortured like the rest.
Ruhal Ahmed�s story was among more accounts of atrocities committed against the detainees at Guantanamo, told before an open commission hearing which began Friday on the sidelines of an international conference to criminalise war.
The testimonies before the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission Hearings will be submitted to a tribunal in conjunction with the Criminalise War Conference and War Crimes Tribunal 2009 spearheaded by former Malaysian prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Dr Mahathir said that the tribunal�s decision would be forwarded to the United Nations for further action.
Michelle contradicts Obama nativity story; Divulges Ann Dunham was 'very young and very single' at birth of U.S. president [R]
In little noticed remarks, Michelle Obama stated at a public event that her husband's mother, Ann Dunham, was "very young and very single" when she gave birth to the future U.S. president.
Her comments further undermine the official story as told by Barack Obama � that Dunham was married to his father, Barack Obama Sr., at the time of birth.
The remarks were made by Michelle Obama during a July 2008 round table at the University of Missouri. Obama was responding to criticism of her husband's presidential campaign speeches about fatherhood and faith-based initiatives.
Michelle Obama explained her husband understands the struggles of low-income families.
"He understands them because he was raised by strong women. He is the product of two great women in his life. His mother and his grandmother," she said.
"Barack saw his mother, who was very young and very single when she had him, and he saw her work hard to complete her education and try to raise he and his sister," Michelle Obama said.
Her remarks about Dunham being "very single" when she gave birth to Barack Obama were also quoted last year on a blog posted at MSNBC.com. The remarks, however, contradicted previous claims President Obama made about the circumstances of his birth.
(FLASHBACK) President Frank Marshall Davis Obama!!
Frank Marshall Davis was the real father of President Barack H. Obama.
Mr. Davis was born in Kansas and was assigned to the Pacific island paradise of Hawaii in 1948.
PAM COMMENTARY: Sorry for the poor quality of this link, which is clearly a conspiracy site. However, there probably is truth to the story that Davis is Obama's real father -- the physical resemblance is just too strong, and better sites on the story have information that seems to point in that direction, including nude photos of Obama's mother reportedly posing in Davis' apartment at the time. I chose this article because it shows photos of Davis and Obama side by side. He looks much more like Davis than his supposed real father, and Obama has a gift with words, as Davis had.
Obama doesn't admit to the connection, even though it's pretty clear, because Davis happened to be a Communist. Kenyans also identify with Obama heavily, and so he'd be offending them by admitting to the connection as well. However, I think it would be a selling point among African-Americans, who would probably feel better if Obama had the same slave ancestory as they do. It makes me feel better that he can empathize with the African-American plight, whether he admits to it in public or not.
Obama Administration Seeks To Block Wiretap Suit [WRH]
WASHINGTON � The Justice Department invoked the state secrets privilege Friday to try to stop a lawsuit over Bush-era wiretapping � the first time the Obama administration has done so under its new policy on such cases.
Attorney General Eric Holder announced the decision in a California lawsuit challenging the warrantless wiretapping program begun after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Under the state secrets privilege, the government can have a lawsuit dismissed if hearing the case would jeopardize national security.
The Bush administration invoked the privilege numerous times in lawsuits over various post-2001 programs, but the Obama administration recently announced a new internal review process in which more senior Justice Department officials would make such decisions.
PAM COMMENTARY: Under Bush, the wiretap program was used to violate the 4th amendment in outrageous ways, and putting the program into secrecy was Bush's way of avoiding prison time for him & his cronies. Why Obama is continuing with this? I suspect he's protecting someone who broke the law.
Health fears over use of sweetener [R]
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is abundant in many types of foods and beverages, including fizzy drinks, biscuits, ketchup and bread, and was originally viewed as a �healthy� method of sweetening.
Its introduction 20 years ago has caused consumption of the fruit sugar fructose to rise sharply, alongside increasing levels of obesity.
Although healthy amounts of fructose exist naturally in fruit, excessive amounts of the sugar may be harmful. Studies have already shown that large quantities of fructose cause the liver to pump fats into the bloodstream that may damage arteries.
Links to insulin resistance and diabetes have been documented, with research also concluding that when people consume artificial sweeteners they have an increased desire to keep eating.
Federal Reserve Policy Audit Legislation �Gutted,� Paul Says [R]
Oct. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Representative Ron Paul, the Texas Republican who has called for an end to the Federal Reserve, said legislation he introduced to audit monetary policy has been �gutted� while moving toward a possible vote in the Democratic-controlled House.
The bill, with 308 co-sponsors, has been stripped of provisions that would remove Fed exemptions from audits of transactions with foreign central banks, monetary policy deliberations, transactions made under the direction of the Federal Open Market Committee and communications between the Board, the reserve banks and staff, Paul said today.
�There�s nothing left, it�s been gutted,� he said in a telephone interview. �This is not a partisan issue. People all over the country want to know what the Fed is up to, and this legislation was supposed to help them do that.�
The Fed, led by Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, has come under greater congressional scrutiny while attempting to end the financial crisis by bailing out financial firms and more than doubling its balance sheet to $2.16 trillion in the past year. The central bank is also buying $1.25 trillion of securities tied to home loans.
Paul, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, said Mel Watt, a Democrat from North Carolina, has eliminated �just about everything� while preparing the legislation for formal consideration. Watt is chairman of the panel�s domestic monetary policy and technology subcommittee.
Keith Kelly, a spokesman for Watt, declined to comment and said Watt wasn�t immediately available for an interview. Watt�s district includes Charlotte, headquarters of Bank of America Corp., the biggest U.S. lender.
A History of CIA Atrocities [WRH]
The Association for Responsible Dissent estimates that by 1987, 6 million people had died as a result of CIA covert operations. (2) Former State Department official William Blum correctly calls this an "American Holocaust."
The CIA justifies these actions as part of its war against communism. But most coups do not involve a communist threat. Unlucky nations are targeted for a wide variety of reasons: not only threats to American business interests abroad, but also liberal or even moderate social reforms, political instability, the unwillingness of a leader to carry out Washington�s dictates, and declarations of neutrality in the Cold War. Indeed, nothing has infuriated CIA Directors quite like a nation�s desire to stay out of the Cold War.
The ironic thing about all this intervention is that it frequently fails to achieve American objectives. Often the newly installed dictator grows comfortable with the security apparatus the CIA has built for him. He becomes an expert at running a police state. And because the dictator knows he cannot be overthrown, he becomes independent and defiant of Washington's will. The CIA then finds it cannot overthrow him, because the police and military are under the dictator's control, afraid to cooperate with American spies for fear of torture and execution. The only two options for the U.S at this point are impotence or war. Examples of this "boomerang effect" include the Shah of Iran, General Noriega and Saddam Hussein. The boomerang effect also explains why the CIA has proven highly successful at overthrowing democracies, but a wretched failure at overthrowing dictatorships.
Did cops go too far busting up improper yard sale? [AJ]
HOLLY HILL -- The yard sale at 722 Center Ave. has been canceled. That much is clear.
The rest of the story, including allegations that police threatened to arrest the 80-year-old homeowner because she didn't have a permit? Not so much.
The facts are these: After 60 years in Holly Hill, Pauline Liles is moving to Tennessee to live with her daughter's family. Her husband, Jack, is already there, having suffered a stroke that has immobilized him. Pauline, an old hand at yard sales, was hoping to sell most of their stuff before joining him next week.
She advertised the three-day sale in the newspaper, but when she went to the city first thing Wednesday to purchase the $5 permit, it was denied. The city currently allows just two such sales in a year, and city officials said Liles had already met her limit.
Rise in number of children treated with hyperactivity drugs (UK) [R]
Shadow health minister, Anne Milton, said: �We already know that our children suffer the lowest levels of well-being in Europe.
�This data shows that, increasingly, health professionals are prescribing drugs to treat child mental health problems, when evidence suggests that talking therapies can have an equal, if not better effect.
�These drugs have significant risks when given to children and young people, making this rise extremely concerning.�
A spokesman for the Department of Health said: �Nice (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) guidance is clear that antidepressants should rarely be prescribed to children and young people and only as part of a treatment regime, stressing that other treatment options should be considered first.
How Terahertz Waves Tear Apart DNA [WRH]
Great things are expected of terahertz waves, the radiation that fills the slot in the electromagnetic spectrum between microwaves and the infrared. Terahertz waves pass through non-conducting materials such as clothes , paper, wood and brick and so cameras sensitive to them can peer inside envelopes, into living rooms and "frisk" people at distance.
. . . Alexandrov and co have created a model to investigate how THz fields interact with double-stranded DNA and what they've found is remarkable. They say that although the forces generated are tiny, resonant effects allow THz waves to unzip double-stranded DNA, creating bubbles in the double strand that could significantly interfere with processes such as gene expression and DNA replication. That's a jaw dropping conclusion.
And it also explains why the evidence has been so hard to garner. Ordinary resonant effects are not powerful enough to do do this kind of damage but nonlinear resonances can. These nonlinear instabilities are much less likely to form which explains why the character of THz genotoxic
effects are probabilistic rather than deterministic, say the team.
This should set the cat among the pigeons. Of course, terahertz waves are a natural part of environment, just like visible and infrared light. But a new generation of cameras are set to appear that not only record terahertz waves but also bombard us with them. And if our exposure is set to increase, the question that urgently needs answering is what level of terahertz exposure is safe.
Updated: Warner misses Deeds events due to flu
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) has a case of the seasonal flu, prompting Virginia's junior senator to cancel several planned campaign stops with Democratic gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds.
Warner showed up to Deeds' first campaign event Friday, at Cheeseburger in Paradise in Woodbridge, but he was visibly ill and told Democratic supporters and Deeds staffers that he was sick and would be leaving early.
Warner spokesman Kevin Hall said the former Virginia governor visited a doctor Thursday and got the flu diagnosis, adding that Warner "regretted missing the events but he is contagious."
Hall said Warner's illness is regular seasonal flu, not H1N1, known as swine flu.
. . . Updated: We just learned that Warner's illness will keep him from the rest of this weekend's events with Deeds. But Deeds still expects to campaign with Gov. Tim Kaine and U.S. Sen. Jim Webb.
PAM COMMENTARY: Must not own a zapper!
Russian Journalist Elena Milashina Speaks Out on Alarming Rise in Murders, Threats Against Critics of Government Abuses in North Caucasus [DN]
JUAN GONZALEZ: And five journalists from your paper have been killed.
ELENA MILASHINA: Yeah.
JUAN GONZALEZ: What�s it like for the rest of you in that paper, in terms of your everyday ability to cover the news?
ELENA MILASHINA: Well, it�s dangerous. We have several our journalists, including me, but right now I am here in America. I have a year of studying in the University of Michigan. But we have them on danger, and we understand who can�who is behind this threat. And we had�with Natasha Estemirova, it was so dangerous, because in the February she got threatened from the Kadyrov and his close surrounding, a person named�well, it doesn�t matter what his name, actually. But he, [inaudible]�it�s a major of Grozny, the city, the capital of Chechnya.
Do Direct Stimulus Jobs Really Cost $533,000 a Piece?! [WRH]
Their response: Because the $16 billion in federal contracts represents about 5 percent of the $339 billion spent so far, they multiplied the 30,000 jobs by 20. The result is 600,000 direct jobs; and, relying again on the assumption that each direct job produces one indirect job, the White House doubled that number to 1.2 million.
Of course, that assumes that for every part of the stimulus will have roughly the same job-creating impact as federal contracts. That�s contradicted by the Council of Economic Advisers� own report , which said that while every $92,136 in government spending creates one job for one year, it takes $145,351 in tax cuts to achieve the same result. As much as 28 percent of the stimulus is going to tax cuts; if the Council�s estimates are right, then the White House�s assertion � that every part of the stimulus will produce the same job impact as federal contracts � starts to look a little less certain.
CNU president sent fundraising appeal for Del. Hamilton
A few months after carrying $50 million in spending measures for Christopher Newport University in the General Assembly, Del. Phil Hamilton got a nice boost from CNU President Paul Trible: a fundraising letter on his behalf, sent out on CNU stationery.
The May 29 letter, an invitation to an event at the Kingsmill home of Newport News lawyer Donald Patten, cited Hamilton's seniority and influence on budgetary and other matters in the legislature.
"It is important that those of us who live in Williamsburg and the Peninsula do all we can to retain Phil's strong voice and leadership in Richmond," Trible wrote.
Trible now says he made a mistake. "I obviously wasn't thinking," he said Thursday. Even though he paid for the mailing himself, he said, "I should not have used stationery with the CNU name for a political purpose."
PAM COMMENTARY: More news on the HPV vaccine front -- Hamilton is the same Virginia state delegate who foisted the HPV vaccine on Virginia schoolgirls. He took pharmaceutical donations by the thousands, then drug reps asked him to introduce the HPV bill, so he did. (See earlier links on this.) He was also caught asking Old Dominion University for a job while introducing a bill to get them money -- and they gave him one, with later reports saying that he didn't do much in return for his paycheck. Now this, another money-grubbing scandal. He should have spared himself the agony and stepped down during the HPV flap -- at least people didn't know the extent of his corruption back then. Because he chose to stay in office, his other dirty dealings have become very public!
Rainforest treaty 'fatally flawed'; Climate summit loophole lets palm oil producers cull vital wilderness
The key piece of text which was lost said that parties to the treaty "shall protect biological diversity, including safeguards against the conversion of natural forests to forest plantations".
It was deleted in closed negotiations but some observers think it was done at the instigation of African rainforest countries, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Cameroon, while other states including Indonesia and Malaysia are believed to have supported it. Both are heavily involved in the oil palm industry, which is a major driver of deforestation because palm oil is used to make biofuels.
A move to reinsert the clause was blocked at the last talks in Bangkok by British officials, who feared that the gains of the week's negotiations (the text was reduced from 19 pages to nine) would be lost if the text were reopened. Green campaigners accept that this was a matter of procedure but think it will have been a disastrously bad call if officials do not move swiftly to replace the lost text at the final negotiations in Barcelona, beginning a week today.
"The EU has to make sure the wording goes back in," said Charlie Kronik, of Greenpeace. "It's absolutely essential, otherwise it leaves open the possibility of removing intact, high-value forests and replacing them with oil palms as party of the treaty."
The Department of Energy and Climate Change said: "The UK is pushing hard for the strongest possible deal to stop deforestation and that includes wanting specific language in the UN text on the protection of natural forests."
The proposed forest pact, which could be one of the most positive outcomes of the Copenhagen summit, addresses the fact that deforestation, mostly in Central and South America, Africa and Asia, now produces nearly 20 per cent of annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions � more than from all the world's transport. Many policymakers consider that the key goal of limiting global warming to no more than C above the pre-industrial level will be unattainable unless the problem of deforestation emissions is tackled. The issue, which has become known in official jargon as Redd (reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries), now has a section to itself in the proposed Copenhagen accord.
Wis. farmer promotes �good-food revolution�; Former pro basketball player finds fame in the urban farming movement
MILWAUKEE - After years of tilling away in obscurity, Will Allen has found sudden fame as the face of the urban farming movement.
In the year since he won a "genius grant" from a Chicago foundation, Allen has mingled with former President Bill Clinton, appeared in Oprah Winfrey's O magazine and spoken to scores of groups across the nation and overseas.
"The thing that makes me happiest is that more people of color are joining the good-food revolution," Allen said. "Ten years ago, an African-American would say, this is slaves' work, why you doing this? Now we have more people of color at my talks. Before this I had never been interviewed by black media, and now I've had stories in seven or eight black magazines."
UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings, Philip Alston: Record AfPak Drone Attacks Under Obama May Violate International Law [DN]
AMY GOODMAN: You feel it�s illegal?
PHILIP ALSTON: There are circumstances under which it could be legal. In other words, if you are definitely in an armed conflict situation, if you ascertain that there is no other way in which you can capture the combatant that you�re trying to target, and you take all of the relevant precautions to make sure that civilians are not killed, in accordance with the relevant international rules, then it may be legitimate.
The problem is that we have no real information on this program. What Jane Mayer exposed in her New Yorker piece is probably the most detailed information we have. She herself said that the CIA provides no information. It�s extraordinary that it�s the Central Intelligence Agency which is actually operating a missile program, which is actually deciding who to kill, when and where. There�s no accountability for it. There�s no indication of the rules that they use. So, I said before, there are rules, that it�s possible to justify a particular killing, but the CIA has never tried to do that. They have simply issued a general assurance: �No, no, everything�s fine. We really follow the rules, and we�re very careful.� Well, if Israel or some other country that we�re scrutinizing says that, we say, �Sorry, guys, it�s not enough. We need to get the details.�
AMY GOODMAN: You�re calling for a special prosecutor to investigate?
PHILIP ALSTON: No, I�m calling for the government to make clear the details of the program; the legal basis, under US law, on which they are relying; the rules that they have put in place which govern the CIA actions, assuming there are rules; and what sort of accountability mechanisms they have. Do they review what they�ve done? They identify an individual. Often these identifications are very vague. But they say, �OK, we�ve got X in our sights.� Did they actually kill X? Did they kill someone else? How many other civilians did they kill? There�s never any accounting of that. And we need that sort of retrospective analysis, as well.
AMY GOODMAN: Jane Mayer writes in her New Yorker piece that in exchange for being able to carry out these drone attacks in Pakistan, the CIA has added some of Pakistan�s enemies to the hit list.
PHILIP ALSTON: Right. Well, that�s one of the problems. It�s a slippery slope, of course, because you start off�it�s always the same. You start off saying, �Look, we�ve got to get someone like Osama bin Laden.� You�ve some big guy at the top. Then you get rid of the big guys, and then you start killing lower-level people. Then you get a few additional people put on the list. And who knows? Maybe we�ll be getting opium lords and various others. And then the locals are able to nominate a few of their friends that they�d like to see out of action. Unless the program is very strictly controlled, the opportunities for abuse are immense.
UN nuclear inspectors in Iran to visit site [R]
The revelation last month by Iran of the facility's existence, known as Fordo, raised international suspicion over the extent and aim of Tehran's nuclear program.
But Iran says that by reporting the existence of the site voluntarily to the UN's nuclear watchdog, it "pre-empted a conspiracy" against Tehran by the US and its allies who were hoping to present the site as evidence that Iran was developing its nuclear program in secret.
Iran insists its nuclear program serves to generate power and denies allegations it is trying to make nuclear weapons.
The delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency is led by Herman Nackaerts, Director of IAEA's Division Of Operations Department Of Safeguards. The inspectors are expected to stay three days in Iran.
The Fordo uranium enrichment site, Iran's second, is said to be in the arid mountains near the holy city of Qom, inside a heavily guarded, underground facility. It is located about 20 miles (30 kilometers) north of Qom.
Iran says the facility won't be operational for another 18 months.
The small-scale site is meant to house no more than 3,000 centrifuges � much less than the estimated 8,000 machines at Natanz, Iran's known industrial-scale enrichment facility. Still, the enriching machines in Qom facility will produce nuclear fuel, which could possibly be further enriched into material for atomic warheads.
Iran says it has built the facility inside a mountain next to a military site to protect its nuclear activities in case of an attack by the US or Israel.
Scientists make cells that form eggs, sperm; Stem cell finding could lead to new treatments for infertility
Dr. Kehkooi Kee, a researcher in Pera's lab, devised a way to isolate the germ cells from embryonic stem cells by adding a gene that makes green glowing proteins when germ cells are active.
"A green light comes on when a germ cell has been formed. It raises its hand," Pera said.
Once they were convinced they had germ cells, they began turning on and off several genes -- called DAZ, DAZL and BOULE � they believed were important in converting stem cells to immature germ cells.
One of these genes, DAZL, was key to transforming embryonic stem cells into germ cells. When turned off, half as many germ cells formed.
The other two genes, DAZ and BOULE, played a role in getting cells to cut the number of chromosomes in half, a process called meiosis that must take place before fertilization.
Some of the sperm cells went all the way through meiosis. "It means we really did hit the nail on the head. We got where we wanted to go if we see meiosis in the dish," Pera said.
She said these cells formed a round spermatid, an immature sperm cell that contains just one copy of the chromosomes that would be suitable for use in an in vitro fertilization clinic.
Pfizer in court again, this time for Wyeth's menopause treatment Prempro [WRH]
On Monday, a Philadelphia jury, which had earlier found a link between a woman's breast cancer and the hormone-replacement drug she was taking, also found that Wyeth hid and ignored evidence of the drug's potential cancer risk. The jury awarded Connie Barton an undisclosed amount of punitive-damages.
Barton's case is one of 9,000 Prempro lawsuits across the country. About 1,500 are pending in Philadelphia alone, opening up the door to more potential liabilities for Pfizer, which just recently was ordered to pay a record $2.3 billion fine for illegally marketing painkiller Bextra, which is now off the market.
The drug, Prempro, from Pfizer's unit Wyeth, is a combination of hormones estrogen-progestin (Premarin and Provera) and is taken as a menopause treatment.
Barton took Prempro for five years before she was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 2002. Wyeth's lawyer George McDavid had argued that Barton had breast cancer before she began taking Prempro. The jury was not convinced and found that Prempro caused Barton's breast cancer. She was awarded $3.75 million in compensatory damages in September. The punitive award was sealed pending another verdict in a second Prempro case in the same courthouse.
Low Flu Vaccination Rate Reveals Massive Repudiation of American Government [AJ]
The news media appears to be conducting a �cabbage patch doll� strategy where word of a limited supply of vaccine is being used to create a rush for the available remaining vaccine. Even that strategy doesn�t seem to be working.
Writer Maggie Fox for Reuters says �The US government may end up throwing away unused doses of swine flu vaccine if people cannot get it soon.� But even with supply, public demand appears to be waning, if it ever existed at all.
Surveys show masses of Americans are wary of the vaccine, particularly the mercury (thimerosal) used as a preservative. This prompted Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to say more single-dose vaccine, which contains less mercury, would be ordered. Even then, the FDA said it would eliminate mercury from vaccines altogether. It�s still in there.
This suggests the vaccine is being made as public demand is being gauged. There may be no real shortage, just reluctance to produce billions of dollars of flu vaccine which the public doesn�t want. A delay in the delivery of vaccines could also result in greater flu deaths in what becomes a way to panic the public into vaccination.
In past flu seasons the government and vaccine makers lost money when vaccination rates were low and unused vaccine had to be discarded. About 120 million doses were anticipated by mid-October, but only about 40 million are anticipated for delivery.
(FLASHBACK) Does the Vaccine Matter? [AJ]
But what if everything we think we know about fighting influenza is wrong? What if flu vaccines do not protect people from dying�particularly the elderly, who account for 90 percent of deaths from seasonal flu? And what if the expensive antiviral drugs that the government has stockpiled over the past few years also have little, if any, power to reduce the number of people who die or are hospitalized? The U.S. government�with the support of leaders in the public-health and medical communities�has put its faith in the power of vaccines and antiviral drugs to limit the spread and lethality of swine flu. Other plans to contain the pandemic seem anemic by comparison. Yet some top flu researchers are deeply skeptical of both flu vaccines and antivirals. Like the engineers who warned for years about the levees of New Orleans, these experts caution that our defenses may be flawed, and quite possibly useless against a truly lethal flu. And that unless we are willing to ask fundamental questions about the science behind flu vaccines and antiviral drugs, we could find ourselves, in a bad epidemic, as helpless as the citizens of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.
The term influenza, which dates back to the Middle Ages, is taken from the Italian word for occult or astral influence. Then as now, flu seemed to appear out of nowhere each winter, debilitating or killing large numbers of people, only to vanish in the spring. Today, seasonal flu is estimated to kill about 36,000 people in the United States each year, and half a million worldwide.
Yet the flu, in many important respects, remains mysterious. Determining how many deaths it really causes, or even who has it, is no simple matter. We think we have the flu anytime we fall ill with an ailment that brings on headache, malaise, fever, coughing, sneezing, and that achy feeling as if we�ve been sleeping on a bed of rocks, but researchers have found that at most half, and perhaps as few as 7 or 8 percent, of such cases are actually caused by an influenza virus in any given year. More than 200 known viruses and other pathogens can cause the suite of symptoms known as �influenza-like illness�; respiratory syncytial virus, bocavirus, coronavirus, and rhinovirus are just a few of the bugs that can make a person feel rotten. And depending on the season, in up to two-thirds of the cases of flu-like illness, no cause at all can be found.
Obama girls vaccinated against swine flu
Ending speculation about when and whether the Obama girls would receive the scarce swine flu vaccine, the White House on Tuesday revealed that Sasha and Malia were both vaccinated last week, after the vaccine became available to children in the District.
As previously reported by The Post, all four members of the Obama family have received the seasonal flu vaccine, but the president and first lady have not yet received a shot to protect against the H1N1 flu virus, or swine flu. Only 16.5 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine have become available so far, a figure well short of public demand, leading to rationing.
"They will wait until the needs of the priority groups identified by the CDC -- including young people under the age of 24, pregnant women, and people with underlying conditions -- have been met," the first lady's press secretary, Catherine Mccormick-Lelyveld, explained on the White House blog.
"The girls' H1N1 vaccine was administered by a White House physician, who applied for and received the vaccine from the DC Department of Health using the same process as every other vaccination site in the District," she wrote.
PAM COMMENTARY: They had to make this announcement because so many were criticizing their "do as I say, not as I do" approach with the swine flu vaccine this year (like Congressman Ron Paul -- see earlier link). Whether the vaccinations ever really happened, we'll never know for sure.
Lawyer: CIA kept detainees alive to keep torturing them [WRH]
According to human rights lawyer John Sifton, the CIA tortured some of its detainees in the War on Terror so severely that it had to take measures to keep them alive so they could continue being tortured.
Sifton, who is the executive director of One World Research, told an interviewer for Russia Today that there was both a CIA detention program and a military detention program and that "The CIA program was by far the most secretive. ... That's the one that only had a few dozen detainees at any given time -- but it's the one that saw the biggest abuses, the most serious forms of torture."
Gaddafi highlights nuclear 'double standards' [R]
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi today said that the Palestinians should be allowed to have nuclear weapons if the world does not act to disarm Israel of its arsenal.
Colonel Gaddafi accused the international community of "double standards" because Israel is allowed to maintain a barely-hidden nuclear capability while Iran comes under massive pressure not to develop its own.
House Advances Measure to Create Hundreds of New Low Power FM Radio Stations [DN]
AMY GOODMAN: Cory, talk about the whole movement for Low Power FM�who can apply, for example, for these licenses?�why people should call their Congress members now, why you feel this is important. Who gets these radio stations?
CORY FISCHER-HOFFMAN: Absolutely. Well, low power radio stations are licensed only to non-commercial community organizations, like churches, schools, nonprofit groups. So, just last week, the Prometheus Radio Project, the organization that I work with, got a call from an immigrant organization in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, a community that�s absolutely infamous for its anti-immigrant ordnances. So community groups, as Representative Doyle said, that have been marginalized from controlling the media could have access to the airwaves for the first time.
And so, we see organizations like CHIRP, the Chicago Independent Radio Project, which has organized for local, vibrant media coverage in their own community, so that they can promote independent musicians, they can have local news and affairs. They are organizing to get one of these licenses.
There are already over 800 existing Low Power FM radio stations licensed to community organizations across the country, like the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. Radio Conciencia in Southwest Florida, for example, is broadcasting information in Spanish, but also in Haitian Creole, in Kaqchikel, in Quiche, a number of indigenous languages, so that the communities there have access to information as they organize against sub-poverty wages in the fields of Immokalee, Florida.
AMY GOODMAN: Congressman Doyle, this bill is unusual in the level of bipartisan support it has. Why does it appeal to Congress members across the aisle?
REP. MIKE DOYLE: Well, I think it appeals to members of Congress�Republican, Democrat and liberal conservative; it is an odd group of bedfellows here�because it gives access to groups that have been marginalized on both sides. If you�re interested in civil rights, this is a great bill, because it gives voice to civil rights groups. Religious groups of all persuasions would have access to the airwaves. Local college campuses would have access to the airwaves�labor unions, community groups. It just spans the whole docket, Republican, Democrat, left to right, of groups out there in the local communities that didn�t have a voice previous to this. I think that�s its appeal. And that�s why we�re very optimistic that when we get it on the House floor, we can get it passed.
But I want to take this opportunity to let viewers know that they can go on the internet to www.freepress.net/lpfm and put their zip code in, and they�ll get information on who their member of Congress is. And we urge people to contact them, because this will come up on the House floor in the next couple of weeks, and we have to make sure we get a large vote for it in the House to give it momentum in the Senate.
(FLASHBACK) Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food
Somewhere in Iowa, a pig is being raised in a confined pen, packed in so tightly with other swine that their curly tails have been chopped off so they won't bite one another. To prevent him from getting sick in such close quarters, he is dosed with antibiotics. The waste produced by the pig and his thousands of pen mates on the factory farm where they live goes into manure lagoons that blanket neighboring communities with air pollution and a stomach-churning stench. He's fed on American corn that was grown with the help of government subsidies and millions of tons of chemical fertilizer. When the pig is slaughtered, at about 5 months of age, he'll become sausage or bacon that will sell cheap, feeding an American addiction to meat that has contributed to an obesity epidemic currently afflicting more than two-thirds of the population. And when the rains come, the excess fertilizer that coaxed so much corn from the ground will be washed into the Mississippi River and down into the Gulf of Mexico, where it will help kill fish for miles and miles around. That's the state of your bacon � circa 2009.
Horror stories about the food industry have long been with us � ever since 1906, when Upton Sinclair's landmark novel The Jungle told some ugly truths about how America produces its meat. In the century that followed, things got much better, and in some ways much worse. The U.S. agricultural industry can now produce unlimited quantities of meat and grains at remarkably cheap prices. But it does so at a high cost to the environment, animals and humans. Those hidden prices are the creeping erosion of our fertile farmland, cages for egg-laying chickens so packed that the birds can't even raise their wings and the scary rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria among farm animals. Add to the price tag the acceleration of global warming � our energy-intensive food system uses 19% of U.S. fossil fuels, more than any other sector of the economy.
And perhaps worst of all, our food is increasingly bad for us, even dangerous. A series of recalls involving contaminated foods this year � including an outbreak of salmonella from tainted peanuts that killed at least eight people and sickened 600 � has consumers rightly worried about the safety of their meals. A food system � from seed to 7-Eleven � that generates cheap, filling food at the literal expense of healthier produce is also a principal cause of America's obesity epidemic. At a time when the nation is close to a civil war over health-care reform, obesity adds $147 billion a year to our doctor bills. "The way we farm now is destructive of the soil, the environment and us," says Doug Gurian-Sherman, a senior scientist with the food and environment program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).
Some Americans are heeding such warnings and working to transform the way the country eats � ranchers and farmers who are raising sustainable food in ways that don't bankrupt the earth. Documentaries like the scathing Food Inc. and the work of investigative journalists like Eric Schlosser and Michael Pollan are reprising Sinclair's work, awakening a sleeping public to the uncomfortable realities of how we eat. Change is also coming from the very top. First Lady Michelle Obama's White House garden has so far yielded more than 225 lb. of organic produce � and tons of powerful symbolism. But hers is still a losing battle. Despite increasing public awareness, sustainable agriculture, while the fastest-growing sector of the food industry, remains a tiny enterprise: according to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), less than 1% of American cropland is farmed organically. Sustainable food is also pricier than conventional food and harder to find. And while large companies like General Mills have opened organic divisions, purists worry that the very definition of sustainability will be co-opted as a result.
But we don't have the luxury of philosophizing about food. With the exhaustion of the soil, the impact of global warming and the inevitably rising price of oil � which will affect everything from fertilizer to supermarket electricity bills � our industrial style of food production will end sooner or later. As the developing world grows richer, hundreds of millions of people will want to shift to the same calorie-heavy, protein-rich diet that has made Americans so unhealthy � demand for meat and poultry worldwide is set to rise 25% by 2015 � but the earth can no longer deliver. Unless Americans radically rethink the way they grow and consume food, they face a future of eroded farmland, hollowed-out countryside, scarier germs, higher health costs � and bland taste. Sustainable food has an �tist reputation, but each of us depends on the soil, animals and plants � and as every farmer knows, if you don't take care of your land, it can't take care of you.
BBQ pumpkin sandwiches!
Vegan Pumpkin Pie!
Pie crust made with olive oil (or grapeseed oil if you don't like olive) instead of hydrogenated fat!
PAM COMMENTARY: When you carve your Jack o'lantern this year, you may want to save the leftover pumpkin pieces to make a pumpkin pie or pumpkin sandwiches. They're all vegan, and because the pumpkin pie has no sugar added, you can feel good about feeding it to your kids -- it's like getting them to eat veggies disguised as pie!
Gardasil Researcher Drops A Bombshell [R]
She went on to surprise the audience by stating that the incidence of cervical cancer in the U.S. is already so low that �even if we get the vaccine and continue PAP screening, we will not lower the rate of cervical cancer in the US.�
There will be no decrease in cervical cancer until at least 70 percent of the population is vaccinated, and even then, the decrease will be minimal.
Apparently, conventional treatment and preventative measures are already cutting the cervical cancer rate by four percent a year. At this rate, in 60 years, there will be a 91.4 percent decline just with current treatment. Even if 70 percent of women get the shot and required boosters over the same time period, which is highly unlikely, Harper says Gardasil still could not claim to do as much as traditional care is already doing.
Dr. Harper, who also serves as a consultant to the World Health Organization, further undercut the case for mass vaccination by saying that �four out of five women with cervical cancer are in developing countries.�
Ms. Robinson said she could not help but wonder, �If this is the case, then why vaccinate at all? But from the murmurs of the doctors in the audience, it was apparent that the same thought was occurring to them.�
However, at this point, Dr. Harper dropped an even bigger bombshell on the audience when she announced that, �There have been no efficacy trials in girls under 15 years.�
Merck, the manufacturer of Gardasil, studied only a small group of girls under 16 who had been vaccinated, but did not follow them long enough to conclude sufficient presence of effective HPV antibodies.
This is not the first time Dr. Harper revealed the fact that Merck never tested Gardasil for safety in young girls. During a 2007 interview with KPC News.com, she said giving the vaccine to girls as young as 11 years-old �is a great big public health experiment.�
At the time, which was at the height of Merck�s controversial drive to have the vaccine mandated in schools, Dr. Harper remained steadfastly opposed to the idea and said she had been trying for months to convince major television and print media about her concerns, �but no one will print it.�
�It is silly to mandate vaccination of 11 to 12 year old girls,� she said at the time. �There also is not enough evidence gathered on side effects to know that safety is not an issue.�
When asked why she was speaking out, she said: �I want to be able to sleep with myself when I go to bed at night.�
PAM COMMENTARY: "...But no one will print it." Why? That's what happens when you allow drug companies to advertise on TV. Now the press won't even publish anything questioning their big advertisers' money-making schemes.
Well, Dr. Harper, the internet just published your concerns, and one of the biggest news boards (Rense.com) linked to the story for you. That's why we all need to stand up for freedom of speech, especially on the internet.
Beautiful Snow Moose - Two Of Them [R]
The odds of seeing an albino moose are astronomical and to see this in the upper peninsula of
Michigan, near Wisconsin, is even greater than astronomical.
To see two of them together is nearly impossible.
We wanted to share these photos with as many people as possible because you
will probably never have a chance to see this rare sight again.
This is a really special treat, so enjoy...
PAM COMMENTARY: I love the fact that everyone has a digital camera with them these days! What a sight, and they could share this almost instantly with the whole world, via the internet!
Garrison Keillor: Time to move on from Afghanistan; We don't admire quitters, but no one wants to be the last person to believe in a mission, either [BF]
The former Marine officer Matthew Hoh, who resigned his Foreign Service post in Afghanistan because he feels the war is pointless and not worth dying for, deserves all the attention he's gotten and more. The Obama administration faces hard decisions there, and the man made a good case against deeper American involvement. He says that our presence among the Pashtun people, the rural, religious people, is only aggravating a civil war between them and the urban, secular (and, it seems, fraudulent) government of Kabul, and the role of the Taliban and al-Qaida is not central -- the real issues are tribal and cultural.
American families, he said, "must be reassured their dead have sacrificed for a purpose worthy of futures lost, love vanished, and promised dreams unkept. I have lost confidence such assurances can be made any more."
It is rare that a high-level official -- he was the senior State Department guy in Zabul province -- resigns in protest, and in all the to-do about his four-page resignation letter, nobody had a single bad thing to say about Matthew Hoh.
House health-care reform bill includes public option
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) unveiled a health-care reform bill Thursday that includes a government insurance option, as well as a historic expansion of Medicaid, and seemed to have the potential to draw support from a broad range of Democratic lawmakers.
Democratic House aides said party leaders had yet to resolve long-standing disputes over provisions to block illegal immigrants from receiving benefits and to prevent federal funds from being used to subsidize abortions. But lawmakers also said there was a growing realization among Democrats from across the political spectrum that the time had arrived to compromise and move forward after weeks of internal battling.
"At the end of the day, we've got to pass something," said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.). "The whole debate, I hope, has been about more than just therapy."
The 1,990-page bill includes a version of the "public option" preferred by moderates and raises Medicaid eligibility levels to 150 percent of the federal poverty level for all adults, a steeper increase than in earlier drafts.
"Today we are about to deliver on the promise of making affordable, quality health care available for all Americans," Pelosi said. "We are putting forth a bill that reflects our best values and addresses our greatest challenges."
The House legislation aims to provide health insurance of one form or another to 96 percent of all Americans at an expected cost of just below $900 billion over 10 years, without increasing the federal budget deficit for at least 20 years, House Democrats said. Pelosi said the legislation "opens the doors to quality medical care for those who were shut out of the system for far too long."
ADHD Drugs Side Effects Raise Concerns; ADHD Drug May Cause Suicidal Thoughts [R]
A new report from Australia is raising alarm about potentially dangerous side effects of drugs used to treat ADHD. The report states that 30 children have had suicidal thoughts (some attempting suicide), while taking drugs for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), causing the National Health and Medical Research Council in Australia to upgrade the guidelines for prescribing ADHD drugs, such as Ritalin. A 7-year-old boy taking Ritalin attempted suicide, and an 8-year-old had hallucinations that spiders were crawling all over him, reports "The Sydney Morning Herald." The same "Herald" article reported that serious reactions from ADHD drugs had doubled within three years in Australia.
ADHD drugs are closely regulated in the United States, but are widely prescribed for kids. Ritalin (methylphenidate), Adderall (amphetamine), and other drugs used to treat ADHD are stimulants, which are thought to reduce hyperactivity and help children focus, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH). They come with risks, however -- and that�s where the controversy ensues. Known side effects for kids include decreased appetite, problems falling asleep, tics and dampened emotional reactions (often called a "flat" feeling). Since these drugs are stimulants, there are also cardiovascular risks. For some kids, many pediatricians recommend that you have an EKG for your child before he or she takes one of these drugs.
Beginning in 2007, the FDA required warnings about side effects on ADHD medications. In fact, risk of suicide is a stated side-effect of the non-stimulant drug atomoxetine (Strattera). Studies have shown that kids and teens who take this drug are more likely to think about suicide than kids and teens who also have ADHD, but don�t take the drug, the NIMH reports. The NIMH cautions that children taking this drug should be very closely monitored.
The concern appears to be worldwide. A recent report from the Center for Paediatric Pharmacy Research in London, published in the November 2009 issue of "Drug Safety," looked at almost 19,000 kids and teens who took stimulants and/or atomoxetine from 1993 to 2006. While the risk of sudden death (such as from cardiac issues) was low, they did see an increased suicide risk. However, the study authors also pointed out that other conditions, like depression, sometimes co-exist with ADHD, so they couldn�t rule those out as contributing factors.
Amy Goodman: The War Condolences Obama Hasn�t Sent [BF]
U.S. Army Reserve Spc. Chancellor Keesling died in Iraq on June 19, 2009, from �a non-combat related incident,� according to the Pentagon. Keesling had killed himself. He was just one in what is turning out to be a record year for suicides in the U.S. military.
In August, President Barack Obama addressed the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, saying, �[T]here is nothing more sobering than signing a letter of condolence to the family of [a] serviceman or -woman who has given their life for our country.� To their surprise, Jannett and Gregg Keesling, Chance�s parents, won�t be getting such a letter. Obama does not write condolence letters to loved ones of those who commit suicide in the theater of combat. [After making inquiries, the Keeslings discovered that this was not because of an oversight. Instead, it�s because of a longstanding U.S. policy to deny presidential condolence letters to the families of soldiers who take their own lives.]
Jannett told me: �Chancellor was recruited right out of high school, and this was something he was passionate about, joining the military. I wanted him to go to college, but he said that he wanted to be a soldier.� Gregg added: �We had doubts about him joining. ... When the war broke out in 2003, when many of us were trying to retreat, Chancy decided, �This is my duty.� ... But once he did his first tour ... his marriage broke up during that deployment.�
Chance was very troubled during his first tour of duty in Iraq, although he performed admirably by all accounts. At one point he was put on a suicide watch and had his ammunition taken away for a week. After Iraq, Chance declined a $27,000 reenlistment bonus and transitioned to the U.S. Army Reserves, hoping to avoid another deployment. He sought and was receiving treatment at a Veterans Affairs facility. Gregg said, �We sat down as a family, and we said, �President Obama is going to be elected, and President Obama will end this war, and you won�t have to go.� � But then his son�s orders to deploy came again.
New US Bases on the Black Sea [WRH]
The United States government is forking over $100 million to build new military bases in Bulgaria and Romania even as the Obama Administration recently scrapped plans for a missile-defense shield in other parts of Eastern Europe.
According to the US Army weekly Stars and Stripes, this latest commitment by the Pentagon consists of a $50 million military base in Romania, which will house 1,600 American troops and a $60 million base in Bulgaria to house 2,500 soldiers.
Construction on the Romanian base is expected to be completed in the next two months, while the Bulgarian base is slated to open in 2011 or 2012.
The bases, funded by the United States, but owned by the Romanian and Bulgarian governments, will be shared between US and host-nation forces, the weekly reports.
More than 2,000 soldiers are now taking part in exercises near the two Eastern European nations.
During a recent visit to Romania US Vice President Joe Biden said Bucharest backed a new US missile shield configuration Washington announced after scrapping earlier planned missile defense deployments in Poland and the Czech Republic.
This means that elements of the US missile shield complex may eventually appear in Romania.
Detroit mosque leader killed in FBI raids [AJ]
The leader of a Detroit mosque who allegedly espoused violence and separatism was shot and killed Wednesday in an FBI gun battle at a Dearborn warehouse.
Luqman Ameen Abdullah, imam of the Masjid Al-Haqq mosque in Detroit, was being arrested on a raft of federal charges including conspiracy, receipt of stolen goods, and firearms offenses.
Charges were also filed against 11 of Abdullah�s followers. Eight were in custody Wednesday night awaiting detention hearings today; three remained at large.
Obama makes pitch for Deeds at Norfolk rally
Despite the presidential assist, Deeds' odds of winning appear long. For the past 32 years, Virginia has elected a governor from the party opposite the person in the White House.
A report released Tuesday by Public Policy Polling found that as Election Day draws near, the percentage of people polled who describe themselves as Democrats and likely voters has dwindled. While 94 percent of Republicans polled said they plan to support McDonnell for governor, just 84 percent of Democrats polled said they will vote for Deeds.
In addition to polling deficits, Deeds faces strong political headwinds.
The lingering recession has left many uneasy about their livelihoods. Also hurting him are debates about federal spending, health care and climate change that have seeped into this race. McDonnell has exploited those divisions.
Polling indicates those conditions seem to have reduced Obama's popularity in Virginia, a state that helped put him in the White House.
Deeds, a state senator from Bath County, urged those at the rally to ignore speculation that his campaign is over.
"I need your help to drag out every vote we can," he said. "I'll tell you this, if I believed every poll I ever looked at, I would have quit this process a long time ago. Reports of my demise are much exaggerated."
Obama leveled with the crowd about the election but said Deeds can still win.
"Let's be honest: This is going to be a tough race. We've got a tough economy. And even if it wasn't a tough economy, it's always tough in Virginia," the president said.
He also joked that Deeds is hardly the candidate from central casting, referencing his tousled hair and sometimes "askew" necktie.
"We don't need politicians who are more interested in scoring points than solving problems. We don't need folks who are slick," Obama said, taking a veiled shot at McDonnell.
The president also spoke of his own troubles and critics in Washington, as he deals with issues.
"When I showed up after the inauguration, they left a big mess on the floor. So I got a mop and I started cleaning up the mess. That's OK. I don't mind," he said to applause.
"But you know," Obama continued, "it does bother me when they start saying, 'You're not mopping fast enough. You're not holding the mop the right way.' My attitude is 'Why don't you grab a mop?' "
PAM COMMENTARY: The sad part is, the Republican candidate isn't really good enough to handle the job. He's just riding the wave of anti-Obama sentiment this year. And on top of it all, the Republican has made anti-gay and anti-feminine remarks in the past, which will no doubt reinstate the backwater image of Virginia, and discourage female- and gay-sensitive small businesses and corporate offices from locating there. I think Virginians are going to wake up one day down the road and realize they should have paid more attention to the governor's race.
Police update timeline in missing student case
According to Virginia State Police Lieutenant Joe Rader, Harrington was last seen alone at approximately 9:30 p.m. on the bridge along Copeley Road, which goes over a set of train tracks located a short walking distance from the University of Virginia�s John Paul Jones arena. Harrington was at the arena that night for a concert for the band Metallica.
Police released the tentative timeline in a short press conference Wednesday morning in Charlottesville. Rader called on the public for more leads on Harrington�s whereabouts, especially after 9:30 p.m, when Harrington was last seen.
PAM COMMENTARY: As I said earlier, I'd like to see everyone in Virginia look for this girl by starting on their own properties. And it's important to start with your own property because no one knows your own property like you -- where not to step, how to call your dog off, etc.
The reason for searching your OWN property? I've noticed that when a girl is abducted and meets an unfortunate end, some poor farm family often finds the body later on their property. I guess that's because the perpetrator is looking for any rural area where a house isn't directly overlooking the road, to avoid being seen. And it's often found right near the road, I assume because the longer the time spent walking into an area, the greater exposure of being caught in the act. It's often poorly thought out and hastily done. Another popular place seems to be in public parks with wooded areas. Why? Probably to avoid meeting the gun-toting owner of PRIVATE woods, and of course because woods aren't used by as many people as roads or sidewalks.
So I think it's a good idea for Virginians to search their OWN properties first. Even city-dwellers, in fact Charlottesville should be turning its city and outlying areas UPSIDE DOWN right now! Better to find her now, even if something unspeakable happened and she's already passed, so that her parents will at least know what happened and police will be able to gather whatever evidence is left. In short, it's better to check your ditches now, not later. City people, check those alleyways, dumpsters, bushes, etc. Also the workplace is a possibility, especially areas on the property that are accessible after hours.
I also said that after your own property is searched, it might be good to go to one or two of your favorite public places, like your favorite fishing spot or a tourist attraction you like such as a battlefield. Why PUBLIC? Why one of your FAVORITES? Well, partly so that you won't get lost. I don't want anyone to walk into woods they're unfamiliar with, even if it's a public park. Do you have the skills to get out of those woods after walking around for an hour? What if you meet a bear or poisonous snake? The point is, if you already have a favorite spot somewhere like that, you already know what's there and what kind of gear you need. Don't take risks on unknown territory unless you're an experienced woodsmen (as in, armed for bears, good thick boots for snakes, a compass and good navigation skills, etc.). And of course you never want to venture onto PRIVATE property without the owner's permission. Let the owner search his or her own property. I've known people who live in the middle of the woods, and they can usually walk you all over their own woods with great familiarity, they know where they can walk and what to expect.
I thought I should clarify this because I did mention "wooded areas" before, but that was in combination with favorite public places like your favorite fishing hole. Don't take a risk wandering into some huge unfamiliar patch of woods without the skills or equipment to deal with it -- leave that spot for someone else to search. And definitely bring your cell phone just in case you need help, or to report something if you find it.
I'm not discounting the possibility that she's still alive -- definitely if anyone sees someone meeting her description, call the police immediately. It's good to get as much info as you can without putting yourself in danger -- car description, license, description of people she's with, etc. But if she's being held in someone's rear shed for example, I don't know how anyone could find her unless they happened to be the perpetrator's friend or neighbor, and even then they'd probably be in great danger if they made that discovery while on the perpetrator's property. But of course if someone sees someone like her on their neighbor's property, or being transported somewhere, or course the police should be tipped off as soon as that can be safely done.
Also, I didn't mention this before, but I'm not suggesting that anyone spend a long time on such a search. Even if she's found this way, probably only one person will find her. Everyone else will come up empty, and I don't want people to feel cheated out of a whole day by following this suggestion. I just want to put forward the idea that there are more effective things people can do with their time if they're really concerned -- everyone can still pray and hope for the best, and check for the latest news on her situation. But why not also get up, walk outside, and take a look around? And don't forget to treat yourself to something afterwards -- reward yourself for being one of many citizen rescuers, even if you just treat yourself to a pizza or candy bar! And thank you from everyone who cares!
Kids on psych drugs have alarming weight gain; Many gain between 10 and 20 pounds in only 11 weeks, new study shows
CHICAGO - Children on widely used psychiatric drugs can quickly gain an alarming amount of weight; many pack on nearly 20 pounds and become obese within just 11 weeks, a study found.
"Sometimes this stuff just happens like an explosion. You can actually see them grow between appointments," said Dr. Christopher Varley, a psychiatrist with Seattle Children's Hospital who called the study "sobering."
Weight gain is a known possible side effect of the anti-psychotic drugs which are prescribed for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, but also increasingly for autism, attention deficit disorders and other behavior problems. The new study in mostly older children and teens suggests they may be more vulnerable to weight gain than adults.
PAM COMMENTARY: One possibility is that they already have some nutritional deficiencies, and the drugs make it worse because the body needs to repair damage done by artificial substances. Kids actually need more nutrition because they're still growing, so the effect here would be greater than in adults. If they're already short on vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids, what will their systems do to get more raw materials? The brain would naturally send the kids out looking for extra food. Maybe supplementation would help, or maybe our medical system needs to stop thinking of drugs as the easy fix for everything. What if those kids already had a healthy organic diet with lots of fresh fruits and veggies? Would they have even had a problem to begin with?
Or maybe the drugs themselves upset serotonin levels in the brain, and prevent people from feeling full. This is one criticism of aspartame artificial sweetener, that it may provide fewer calories, but people stay hungry anyway and so eat more, keep the weight on or put on more.
Colorado Rabies Finds Raises Ag Department Concern [R]
The Colorado Department of Agriculture encourages livestock owners to discuss animal health concerns with their veterinarians following the confirmation of two cases in livestock.
In September, a horse in El Paso County was euthanized after lab tests confirmed it has rabies. Now, and El Paso County cow has been infected with the disease, reports the CDA. The animal was also euthanized.
"The department would like to stress two very important points," says Keith Roehr, state veterinarian. "One: livestock owners need to be aware that rabies is being transferred from one species to another and monitor their own animals for symptoms; two: local veterinarians are a valuable resource to help producers decide the best course of action to protect their herds from rabies."
Animal owners need to look primarily for dramatic behavioral changes in their stock, he adds. "That is typically one of the hallmark signs that the animal may be suffering from rabies."
Acclaimed director Haggis quits Church of Scientology
Acclaimed film director Paul Haggis's decision to leave the Church of Scientology shines a further public spotlight on the organization.
A letter addressed by Haggis to the church's spokesman, Tommy Davis, expresses anger at the Church of Scientology of San Diego's alleged public support of Proposition 8, which eliminated the right of same-sex couples to marry in California.
"I called and wrote and implored you, as the official spokesman of the church, to condemn their actions," said the letter, which was first published on a blog run by ex-Scientologist Mark Rathbun. "I told you I could not, in good conscience, be a member of an organization where gay-bashing was tolerated."
Police: Up to 20 people witnessed gang rape; Authorities in Calif. city say nobody did anything to stop attack
RICHMOND, Calif. - The gang rape and beating of a 15-year-old girl on school grounds after her homecoming dance was horrific enough. But even more shocking, police say, was that up to 20 people watched and did nothing to stop it.
The attack over the weekend rattled this crime-ridden city of 120,000 in the San Francisco Bay area, where one police official called it one of the most heinous crimes he has ever seen. Some students have already left the school district in response to the attack.
"It's not safe there at all," said 16-year-old Jennie Steinberg, whose mother let her transfer out of the district Tuesday. "I'm not going back."
The victim, a sophomore, had left the dance and was drinking in a school courtyard with a group of students when she was attacked, police said.
Two suspects were in custody Monday, but police said as many as five others ranging in age from 15 to mid-20s attacked the girl for more than two hours at a dimly lit area near benches Saturday night. More than a dozen people saw the rape without notifying police.
Battle at Coal River Mountain explodes [BF]
In a blatant act of aggression against besieged coalfield residents, blasting dangerously close to one of the largest coal slurry impoundments in the nation, and immediately eliminating 24 megawatts of wind power development for the internationally acclaimed Coal River Wind Project, a subsidiary of Big Coal behemoth Massey Energy recently lay waste to the first acres of the 1,100-acre Bee Tree Branch section of a proposed 6,000-acre mountaintop removal operation designed to destroy the last in tact mountain on the historic Coal River Mountain range.
This blasting in the Bee Tree Branch area of Coal River Mountain effectively derails the Coal River Wind Project. Unlike the limited 14-year supply of coal on the site, the Coal River Wind project could provide long-term energy for 70,000 households, an estimated 200 jobs and $1.7 million in annual county taxes. In spite of the blasting, the upcoming UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen will also be reviewing the Coal River Wind proposal as a model for sustainable green economic development in the United States.
Last week, area residents also appealed to West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) to halt the blasting and order a state of emergency, in order to thoroughly investigate the catastrophic potential of the jeopardized Brushy Fork coal slurry impoundment, which holds back billions of gallons of toxic coal sludge. Blasting is taking place within a dangerously close distance of honey-combed underground mines by the impoundment dam.
FAA revokes licenses of wayward pilots; Agency cites failure to heed instructions, operating plane recklessly
U.S. government regulators have revoked the licenses of the two airline pilots who flew an Airbus passenger jet past their Minneapolis destination by 150 miles last week.
The Federal Aviation Administration said Tuesday the Northwest Airlines pilots had violated numerous regulations, including failing to comply with air traffic control instructions and clearances and operating carelessly and recklessly.
The pilots � first officer Richard Cole and captain Timothy Cheney � told investigators they lost track of time and place while working on their laptop computers.
The pilots' union had cautioned against a rush to judgment. The pilots, who said they had no previous accidents or safety incidents, have 10 days to appeal the emergency revocation.
Health study links mobile phone use to four kinds of cancer [R]
A major international health study has shown that excessive mobile phone use can be linked to four different kinds of cancer.
The research, which has taken 10 years and cost �20million, found that heavy mobile users suffered up to 50 per cent more tumours.
Scientists now say there is a "significantly increased risk" of people developing three different kinds of brain tumour and one of the salivary gland. News of the findings, which are to be published within the next eight weeks, has led to calls for mobiles to carry health warnings.
Alasdair Philips, of campaign group Powerwatch, said: "Mobile companies hide the figures on how much radiation they give off in the back of manuals.
"But modern phones give out 217 electromagnetic pulses every minute into your head. Primary school children should not have them, secondary school children should be encouraged to text rather than call, and males should not keep them in a pocket because they drastically affect fertility."
Filthy Lucre - Paper Money As
A Vector Of Disease [R]
According to an October 1998 Discover magazine article entitled "Filthy Lucre," the FBI was fully aware of the fact that counting/sorting machines were capable of cross-contaminating items made of paper.  The entire article was devoted to the scientific study of money including a historical, and anthropological view. Of course the article focused on the cross-contamination of currency at the federal reserve's counting/sorting machines, but even a fool should be able to understand that there can't be a tremendous difference between those machines and the ones at the post office that do pretty much the same thing.
Apparently the Japanese are light years ahead of our FBI, according to this article anyway, they have been well aware of the fact that currency is an effective vector for bacteria, as evidenced by the fact that Japanese citizens can go to what is referred to in Japan as a "clean ATM", and have their currency, the Yen, pressed for 1/10th of a second at 392 degrees in order to sterilize them.  Hitachi manufactures this clean ATM, and according to the article, it is quite popular and has been for many years in Japan.
In 1997, [Four years before 9-11] Tom Jourdan, chief of the Materials and Devices unit at the FBI lab in Washington D.C. found that ninety percent of the dollar bills his unit tested came back positive for the presence of cocaine hydrochloride. Jourdan stated that it was his belief that, "mechanical currency counters are homogenizing money one contaminated bill brushed through the counting machine at the bank can contaminate the entire stack."  In other words the FBI conducted a study that revealed that mechanical counters were cross-contaminating money, and they knew back in 1997 that one contaminated dollar bill could contaminate an entire stack of bills. How hard is it to infer that the same would prove true with envelopes at the United States Post Office?
Morgan�s mystery: What happened outside arena?
Rader also confirmed� in a stunning parallel to the 1985 disappearance of never-found UVA student Pat Collins� that the Sunday morning discovery of Harrington�s purse by a bystander in a small parking area didn�t immediately launch a criminal investigation.
�It originally was handled as a recovered property report,� said Rader.
The officer seemed to confirm that the young woman�s cell phone was recovered without its battery but downplayed any significance. He also said that various jurisdictions offered officers� on foot, with canines, and overhead in a helicopter� to spend a third day Wednesday examining the area around the UVA athletic fields and the Arena.
PAM COMMENTARY: If you live in Virginia and are reading this now, do me a favor. Schedule some time for yourself and any other ADULTS in your household (don't bring your kids along for this) to walk around your property. Maybe tomorrow, maybe this weekend, but sometime soon. Look behind your garage, in your garage, in the ditch in front of your house, and all through the grounds of your property. Apartment-dwellers can walk around the grounds, peek in the dumpster, look behind the bushes, explore the far reaches of the parking lot, peer into any unlocked utility rooms, parking garages, and stairwells. Look for anything unusual. (And yes, I mean you're looking for a body.) Then go to one or two of your favorite public places and look around there, too. Especially big parks and forests, like old battlefields or your favorite fishing spot. If enough people did this, it'd be way better than a police search because it'd cover more areas of the state. Don't forget to treat yourself after the search -- even a simple piece of candy is good.
Sad days: Harrington family coping, waiting
Exactly seven days earlier, Morgan was in this house, having spent Friday night with the family and then the morning of Saturday, October 17, when she tried on a few potential outfits for the Metallica concert, the event from which she disappeared.
�You want your children to be loving and open,� says Gil, wrestling with her own second-guessing as theories of stranger abduction at a heavy metal show abound. �We have tried to layer, layer love on Morgan. Maybe we�ve done her a disservice by not creating enough watchfulness.�
Revealed: The breakfast cereals saltier than crisps and with more sugar than a doughnut (UK) [R]
Many children's breakfast cereals contain more sugar than a doughnut while others are saltier than crisps, research shows.
At least seven of the most popular breakfast brands were found to be laden with more sugar than a doughnut bought in Tesco.
One of the worst offenders was Kellogg's Frosties with 11.1g of sugar in a 30g serving - almost three teaspoons per small bowl.
In contrast the doughnut, which many would perceive as being less healthy, had just 8.6g of sugar, an investigation for Channel 4's Dispatches found.
Castro's sister & the CIA
Castro said that during the hotel meeting, she expressed her concerns that those who supported Batista's overthrow but were not communists were being pushed out of the new government. Castro writes she agreed to help the CIA gather information but refused to accept money for her efforts and said she wanted no part in any violence.
"I want to be very clear that agreeing to collaborate with you does not signify that I will participate in any violent activity against my brother, nor any official in the regime," she told the agent. "This is my most important condition. And moreover, I would say it is the only condition."
"Enrique," whom Castro says she later learned was a CIA officer in Cuba named Tony Sforza, then asked her to smuggle messages, documents and money back into the country hidden in canned goods.
Obama urges voters in Norfolk to 'be there' for Deeds
President Barack Obama urged a crowd at Old Dominion University to help Democratic candidate Creigh Deeds come from behind Tuesday to win the governor's race.
Deeds is lagging in the polls, and Obama's visit to the Ted Constant Convocation Center is meant to energize Democratic voters before the election.
Conceding that the race is tight, Obama pressed voters to continue the Democratic trend in the governor's mansion and choose Deeds to succeed Timothy M. Kaine and Mark warner.
ODU student Monique Goodman of Windsor has been waiting in the damp since 11 a.m. today with three of her friends. "I want to see my president," she declared. She admitted that until she heard of Obama's upcoming visit, she didn't know anything about Deeds and she's not sure she'll vote for him.
�I don�t think as many people are interested in the election this year as last year," she said.
Tired from a hike? Rescuers fear Yuppie 911
Rescue officials are deciding whether to start keeping statistics on the problem, but the incidents have become so frequent that the head of California's Search and Rescue operation has a name for the devices: Yuppie 911.
"Now you can go into the back country and take a risk you might not normally have taken," says Matt Scharper, who coordinates a rescue every day in a state with wilderness so rugged even crashed planes can take decades to find. "With the Yuppie 911, you send a message to a satellite and the government pulls your butt out of something you shouldn't have been in in the first place."
From the Sierra to the Cascades, Rockies and beyond, hikers are arming themselves with increasingly affordable technology intended to get them out of life-threatening situations.
While daring rescues are one result, very often the beacons go off unintentionally when the button is pushed in someone's backpack, or they are activated unnecessarily, as in the case of a woman who was frightened by a thunderstorm.
Scottish police to launch new inquiry into Lockerbie; Review of forensic evidence provides 'several lines' of investigation into 1988 bombing of airliner [R]
Dumfries and Galloway Police are understood to have a further four detectives working full-time on the re-examination of all the evidence, which was ordered after Megrahi dropped his second appeal against conviction.
A total of 270 people were killed when Pan Am Flight 103 from Heathrow to New York exploded over the town of Lockerbie, four days before Christmas in 1988.
Relatives of the victims were informed of the new inquiry by an email from the Crown Office in Scotland, The Sunday Telegraph said.
Lindsey Miller, a senior Procurator Fiscal involved in preparing evidence for Megrahi's trial, wrote: "Throughout the investigation, we have, at various times, taken stock of the evidence as a whole with a view to identifying further lines of inquiry that can be pursued. Now that the appeal proceedings are at an end a further review of the case is under way. Please be assured that this is not simply paying lip service to the idea of an 'open case'."
�Rape in the Ranks: The Enemy Within� [DN]
AMY GOODMAN: Another of the women. And back to Tina, you interviewed Tina�s family attorney. Let�s go to that clip.
PASCALE BOURGAUX: Fort Hood, Texas, this is where Tina�s alleged rapist has been stationed since returning from Iraq. It is one of the biggest US Army bases under maximum security. No access, no interview. The military attorney has refused all contact with Tina�s family.
The next morning, Tina�s mother received an unusual visitor: her daughter�s former commander in Iraq. At the mother�s request, we record their conversation. She�s looking for answers. Instead, the commander gives her a lecture.
ARMY COMMANDER: We want to try and get you the information that we know you want. And rather than going through the press�
JOY PRIEST: Right.
ARMY COMMANDER: You know, that�s everybody�s right to do that. I never felt bad when people go to the press about things when they�re not happy.
JOY PRIEST: Oh, I was furious.
ARMY COMMANDER: Yeah. Well, my promise to you is to get back what the answer is to your question.
PASCALE BOURGAUX: The commander leaves with the questions in hand. It took him almost a month to respond. But the answers don�t appease Tina�s family. Are the Army officials are afraid to take it upon themselves and assume their responsibilities? Many anomalies have been confirmed. At her own expense, Joy consulted a ballistics specialist. Today, this independent expert seriously questions the official theory of the suicide.
AMY GOODMAN: An excerpt of the film Rape in the Ranks: The Enemy Within. It�s premiered here in New York at the New York Independent Film Festival. We thank Pascale Bourgaux, the French journalist and filmmaker, for making the film. You can go to our website for details.
Working on their laptops, wayward pilots say [R]
They were so focused on the scheduling -- quite a complicated matter for the pilots after Delta Air Lines acquired Northwest Airlines a year ago -- that they were out of communication with air traffic controllers and their airline for more than an hour. They didn't realize their mistake until contacted by a flight attendant about five minutes before the flight's scheduled landing last Wednesday night, the National Transportation Safety Board said Monday.
By then, Northwest Flight 188 with its 144 passengers and five crew members was over Wisconsin, at 37,000 feet.
The pilots -- Richard Cole of Salem, Ore., the first officer, and Timothy Cheney of Gig Harbor, Wash., the captain -- denied they had fallen asleep as aviation experts have suggested, the safety board said in recounting investigators' interviews with the men over the weekend.
Instead, Cole and Cheney said they both had their laptops out while the first officer, who had more experience with scheduling, instructed the captain on monthly flight crew scheduling.
Biden to announce GM plant's reopening: source [BF]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden plans on Tuesday to visit a closed General Motors plant in Wilmington, Delaware, where he is expected to announce that it will be reopened for the building of plug-in hybrid electric cars.
The California-based venture capital firm Fisker Automotive Inc has reached a deal to buy the former GM assembly plant and plans to use it for the manufacture of the cars, according to a source familiar with the details of Biden's visit.
UN inspectors visit uranium enrichment facility in Iran [WRH]
UN inspectors got their first look today inside a once-secret uranium enrichment facility that has raised western suspicions about the extent of Iran's nuclear programme.
The semi-official Mehr news agency reported that the four-member team visited the heavily protected facility, carved into a mountainside south of Tehran. The tour marked the first independent examination of the site, but no results were expected until after the inspectors leave Iran later this week.
Three DEA agents among dead in Afghan crash that killed fourteen
Fourteen Americans died in two helicopter crashes in Afghanistan on Monday, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said: 10 in one incident and four in the other.
Three Drug Enforcement Administration special agents were among the dead, according to the DEA, which did not identify them.
The agents were first DEA agents to be killed in Afghanistan.
Democrats promote opt-out 'public option'
WASHINGTON � Senate Democrats vowed Monday to include a government-run insurance program as part of their effort to revamp the health care system, reviving an idea that for months has polarized Congress.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who is working behind the scenes to ready a health care bill for floor debate this fall, said he will advance legislation that includes a "public option" but will give individual states a choice to opt out of the program.
The latest iteration of the public option would give millions of Americans who are not covered through their employer the option to buy insurance run by the government. States would have until 2014 to decide whether to withdraw from the public program, which Reid says would drive down rates.
"It's the fairest way to go," Reid said, adding that it could bring "meaningful reform to our broken system."
Ron Paul Questions Why Obama Daughters Haven�t Taken Swine Flu Vaccine [AJ]
Congressman Ron Paul has questioned why, despite his efforts to encourage the general public to get vaccinated against the H1N1 virus, President Barack Obama has refused to allow his own daughters to take the swine flu shot.
Despite the fact that Obama on Friday declared a national emergency in response to the H1N1 outbreak, he apparently doesn�t deem it enough of a threat to have his two daughters vaccinated against the virus.
Such double standards have led media pundits to call for Obama to get his daughters vaccinated on live television, in an effort to encourage American parents to do the same for their kids. The swine flu vaccination program, which was initially intended to be a �mass� inoculation covering the entire population, has been rejected by a majority of Americans who harbor deep suspicions about dangerous additives contained in the vaccine such as mercury and squalene.
In a Campaign For Liberty video message, former Presidential candidate Ron Paul labeled the vaccination program a �failure,� and slammed Obama for failing to follow the same advice he gave to the nation.
�It�s interesting to note that the President�s children have not gotten their shots and the explanation for this is it hasn�t been available to them � now that�s a little bit hard to buy when you think that probably anything the President wants can be available for their children,� said Paul, adding, �So in a way he�s made his decision not to give his children these inoculations � so if he has freedom of choice on this, I would like to make sure that all the American people have the same amount of freedom of choice.�
Back to Pam's NEWS ARCHIVES
Back to Pam's vegan vegetarian FUN page
Pam's vegan vegetarian cookbook, with vegan vegetarian recipes
Sources (if found on major news boards):
[AJ] - InfoWars.com, PrisonPlanet.com, or other Alex Jones-affiliated sites
[BF] - BuzzFlash.com
[DN] - DemocracyNow.org
[R] - Rense.com
[WRH] - WhatReallyHappened.com