Pam Rotella's Vegetarian FUN page -- News on health, nutrition, the environment, politics, and more!
Week of 13th to 19th of December 2009
Criminal FDA Gangsters Kidnap Greg Caton From Ecuador [R]
Greg and I received residential Visa's to live in Ecuador two years ago. We reopened Alpha Omega Labs in the summer of 2008 here in Ecuador legally. We received all the proper permits to manufacture and sell our herbal products at that time. Greg did have 1 1/2 years of probation left to serve of his probation. He did have permission to fly back and forth from the US to Ecuador. Because of the corrupt FDA agent, John Armand that had Greg arrested in 2003, we made a joint decision to just stay here in Ecuador.
In November of 2008, John Armand, the corrupt FDA agent that arrested Greg in 2003, illegally tried to kidnap Greg and have him flown back to the US. He failed.
Shortly after this attempt, President Correa of Ecuador had two US diplomats expelled from the US embassy here in Ecuador. President Correa was fed up with the corruption of these officials illegally bribing Ecuadorian police and officials and illegally kidnapping people and flying them back to the US... and not going through the legal extradition procedures.
Greg was arrested here in Ecuador at a planned license check point by Ecuadorian police on 12-2-09. False charges had been brought against him. The false charges were that Greg was here illegally and that we were selling herbal products illegally.
At the first hearing before a judge, we proved our innocence and that the charges were totally false. The judge signed papers to have Greg released from jail. The police chief is over jail inmates as to if they are released or not. The police chief had already been pressured and bribed by the US. He signed paper work to deport Greg... illegally.
Guantanamo detention census drops to 198
The United States freed a dozen men from Guantanamo this week -- including one of the last captives sent there by the Bush administration -- in a mission that dropped detainees off in Yemen, Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa.
The dozen included six Yemenis, four Afghans and two Somali citizens. Their departure left the prison camp census at 198 on Saturday -- the first time the detention center dropped below 200 captives since February 2002.
Defense and Justice Department officials Saturday refused to comment on the massive transfer, a portion of which was reported by The Washington Post on Friday as a potential ``prelude to the release of dozens more detainees to Yemen'' at a time of gathering Republican resistance to the White House plan to move other detainees to Thomson, Ill.
Kansas dad somehow lifts car off 6-year-old girl
OTTAWA, Kan.�A Kansas mother is praising a neighbor as "Superman" after her 6-year-old daughter told her he somehow found the strength to lift a car off her. The girl escaped with minor injuries after she and neighbor Nick Harris said she was pinned under the vehicle.
"He really is Superman," Kristen Hough, the child's mother, said Friday of Harris, the man she said saved her daughter, Ashlyn.
Harris, 32, said he doesn't know how he managed to lift the Mercury sedan off the child. The 5-foot-7, 185-pound Harris said he tried later that day to lift other cars and couldn't.
"But somehow, adrenaline, hand of God, whatever you want to call it, I don't know how I did it," he said.
Colorado food bank pioneers gluten-free donations
LOVELAND, Colo. - As a mother of seven, Anne Miller already had a whopping grocery bill. When doctors recommended her teenage daughter go on a gluten-free diet, the family food bill went higher than Miller could afford.
So Miller was first in line this week when a food pantry in this northern Colorado city became the nation's first to promote gluten-free food for needy families with wheat allergies.
"Basically the whole family has to eat gluten-free now," said Miller, who walked out of the House of Neighborly Service food bank with a grocery cart full of gluten-free soups, pastas and pizza dough mix. "It becomes extremely, extremely expensive."
The food pantry, founded in 1961, opened its gluten-free food section after local activists with wheat allergies volunteered to pull it together. Activists say the food bank is the nation's first with a special program for people with celiac disease, a wheat allergy whose patients suffer intestinal damage if they eat gluten.
Monster snow storm descends on East Coast
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The snow storm socking the East Coast caused several hundred motorists to become stranded in the western part of Virginia, state officials said.
Virginia Department of Emergency Management spokesman Bob Spieldenner said Saturday that local and state officials, as well as the National Guard, helped get about 100 stranded motorists to shelters in two counties. About a foot of snow has fallen in the area.
Many of the motorists became stranded after accidents along Interstate 89 and Route 29 blocked the road, Spieldenner said. Officials used four-wheel drive vehicles and the National Guard used Humvees to reach motorists.
Four Eurostar trains stuck in Channel tunnel (UK)
More than 2,000 people have been evacuated from four Eurostar trains that were trapped in the Channel tunnel after breaking down due to the cold weather.
The trains are believed to have failed as they left the cold air in northern France and entered the warmer air inside the tunnel.
The four trains had been moved from the tunnel and passengers were being transferred to England, said a Eurostar spokesman.
Some passengers were evacuated to shuttle trains that carry vehicles but others were stuck overnight. Many complained about the conditions on the stranded trains.
Lee Godfrey, who was travelling back from Disneyland Paris with his family, said they were left overnight without light, air conditioning, food or water.
Passengers opened emergency doors by themselves and set off down the tunnels to find refuge on another train, he said.
"We were without power. We ran out of water, we ran out of food and there was very very poor communication from the staff," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
"We lost air conditioning when we lost the power. We had to open the emergency doors ourselves. The evacuation procedure we followed was one that we set down ourselves.
"We have had children asleep on the floor, they have been sick. It has been a complete nightmare.
Analysis finds nearly 1 percent of U.S. children diagnosed with autism
About one out of every 110 U.S. children has been diagnosed with autism, according to a new federal estimate released Friday.
An analysis of medical records from more than 307,000 8-year-olds in 2006 found that about 1 percent -- or one out of every 110 -- had been diagnosed with an "autism spectrum disorder," which includes a range of conditions including autism, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.
PAM COMMENTARY: This article blames things like air pollution for the rise, but that's probably because the CDC is coming up with the reasons. Other people (who aren't responsible for the vaccine program like the CDC) would probably say that the increased number of vaccines containing mercury, aluminum, and/or other neurotoxins are responsible.
Big Pharma paid $500,000 to Chicago psychiatrists who used children as guinea pigs [AJ]
A federal lawsuit has been filed against pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca for its role in paying Chicago psychiatrist Dr. Michael Reinstein nearly $500,000 over the course of a decade to conduct research and to promote its anti-psychotic drug, Seroquel. Reinstein is being accused of wrongfully preying on thousands of mentally-ill patients in order to rake in profits for AstraZeneca.
Reinstein has a long history of working with AstraZeneca, receiving regular payments for speeches he would make across the country promoting the drug. AstraZeneca was also paying a for-profit research company, Uptown Research Institute, who in turn was paying Reinstein consulting fees for his services.
Cited in the lawsuit was the fact that Reinstein would continually prescribe roughly double the amount of drugs other psychiatrists would prescribe for the same conditions. When patients would report their pain and suffering due to the tremendous side effects of such drugs and their abnormally high dosages, Reinstein would largely ignore their concerns.
Other accusations include illegitimately prescribing Seroquel for various other conditions, including losing weight, despite the fact that studies show the drug actually causes weight gain. Reinstein was found to have made numerous false claims about Seroquel in promotional material, claims that would result in the destruction of people�s lives and health.
Molecule linked to severe H1N1 [BF]
Now, it appears scientists are one step closer to understanding why some people may be at greater risk of developing virulent forms of H1N1, as well as other respiratory illnesses.
Toronto scientists, in collaboration with colleagues from Spain, have identified a molecule they believe is linked to severe forms of illness. The results, published in the December issue of the journal Critical Care, could eventually help health officials target populations that may be most vulnerable, they said.
�It's probably not an isolated example that is specific for H1N1, and it probably spills over to other types of respiratory illness,� said David Kelvin, senior scientist and head of the experimental therapeutics division at the Toronto General Research Institute and one of the study's authors. The researchers looked at blood samples from 10 H1N1-infected individuals in intensive-care units, 10 patients in non-ICU parts of the hospital, 15 outpatients with the illness and 15 people without H1N1. They focused on analyzing 29 cytokines, or molecules that regulate immune function, to determine if there were any patterns among those with severe forms of the disease.
They discovered that those patients with the most virulent forms had elevated levels of one particular molecule called interleukin 17. High levels of the molecule have previously been associated with inflammation and autoimmune diseases, Dr. Kelvin said.
It's too early to draw a link between high levels of that molecule and the risk of pneumonia or death related to H1N1, he said.
It is still not known if elevated levels of the molecule can predict severe illness, or whether it applies to large groups of people. But the finding does give scientists a solid basis to work with as they continue in their quest to identify what makes certain people more vulnerable to virulent respiratory illness.
Cambodia to deport Uighurs despite persecution fears
Cambodia plans to deport at least 20 Muslim Uighurs who fled China after deadly ethnic violence this year, despite concerns they will face persecution by Beijing.
The Uighurs, a Turkic Muslim ethnic group involved in rioting in western China that killed nearly 200 people in July, were smuggled into Cambodia in recent weeks and applied for asylum at the United Nations refugee agency office in Phnom Penh.
"The Cambodian government is implementing its immigration law. They came to Cambodia illegally without any passports or visas, so we consider them illegal immigrants," said Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry had no immediate comment in response to the announcement, an official in Beijing said.
Human rights groups say they fear for the lives of the Uighurs if they are deported to China.
"Cambodia will be sending these Uighurs to a terrible fate, possible execution and likely torture," said Amy Reger, a researcher at the Washington-based Uighur American Association.
She cited the case of Shaheer Ali, a Uighur political activist who fled to Nepal in 2000 and was granted refugee status by the United Nations. He was forcibly returned to China from Nepal in 2002 and executed a year later according to state media.
Iraq says new mass grave found near Kirkuk
A mass grave discovered in northeast Iraq contains dozens of bodies, mostly of women and children believed killed during a crackdown against Kurds by former dictator Saddam Hussein, an Iraqi official said today.
The grave was originally found nearly two years ago west of Kirkuk, though its discovery was only made public this week after forensic pathologists began examining it, said Majid Abdullah Karim, an official with the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights.
Investigators initially put the number of bodies found at 185, though Karim said the number could be "significantly less" based on the number of bones and skulls recovered Friday by pathologists. Karim did not give an exact number, estimating only "dozens."
Mass graves across Iraq have been turning up with some frequency since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam's regime.
The latest discovery was made at a former military detention camp used by Saddam's forces in Tubzama, just west of Kirkuk, 180 miles north of Baghdad, said Karim. The grave was discovered after people reported seeing bones and bits of clothing at the camp, he added.
Canada's troops investigated for Afghan abuse
For more than a month Parliament has been seized with questions about the treatment of detainees in Afghan hands.
It started when Richard Colvin, a former senior diplomat with Canada's mission in Afghanistan, claimed that all detainees transferred by Canadians to Afghan prisons were likely tortured by Afghan officials.
"According to our information, the likelihood is that all the Afghans we handed over were tortured," Colvin told a parliamentary committee on Nov. 18.
The government's response to opposition questions about Colvin's testimony was to accuse opponents of smearing the good name of Canadian troops.
Health study for Chicago: Health gap widens between blacks, whites
A widening gulf in the health status of blacks and whites in Chicago comes even as disparities between the two races nationally have remained relatively constant, a new study has found.
The disparity is particularly jarring in five areas: death from all causes, heart disease mortality, breast cancer mortality, rates of tuberculosis and the percentage of women who received no prenatal care during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Nationally, the racial gap got worse from 1990 to 2005 for six of the 15 health indicators researchers studied. However, in Chicago, disparities worsened for 11 of the 15 indicators, according to research by the Sinai Urban Health Institute, published online Thursday in the American Journal of Public Health.
Canadian-made product recalled in U.S.
Canadian-made products are being removed from store shelves in the United States following a recall issued Friday by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
About 700,000 packages of Vicks DayQuil Cold and Flu Liquidcaps, which are manufactured in Canada but sold in the U.S., were recalled because the packaging was not child-resistant, and lacked a label to warn parents that the contents could seriously harm a child, as is required by U.S. law.
The product, manufactured by Proctor and Gamble Co., was sold at American drug stores, grocery stores and other retailers between September 2008 and December 2009.
There have been no reports of children falling ill in relation to the recall.
Blood pressure drug tainted with bits of metal; FDA warns doctors to inspect Cleviprex after company recalls batches
WASHINGTON - Federal health regulators are warning doctors about 11 recalled lots of an intravenous hypertension drug made by the Medicines Co. that are contaminated with bits of steel.
The Parsippany, N.J.-based company recalled the affected lots of Cleviprex on Wednesday after detecting tiny particles of stainless steel during a routine inspection.
The Food and Drug Administration said in a notice Thursday that the particles could potentially disrupt blood flow to the brain, kidney, liver heart and lungs.
Brain Damage Found in Hockey Player
A deceased professional hockey player has been found to have had brain damage associated with repeated head trauma, connecting hockey for the first time to health risks linked to boxers and, most recently, football players.
Reggie Fleming, a defenseman and left wing known for fighting as much as scoring in a long career from 1959 to 1974, was found by Boston University researchers to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a neurodegenerative disease known to cause cognitive decline, behavioral abnormalities and ultimately dementia. Fleming died in July at age 73 and was the first hockey player known to have been tested for the disease, known as C.T.E.
Fleming�s having had C.T.E. will stoke further debate in the National Hockey League this season over rules to decrease player concussions. Eleven former National Football League players have been found to have the same disease, catalyzing questions of football�s long-term health risks and miring the N.F.L. in three years of controversy over its handling of brain injuries.
Aspartame alert: Diet soda destroys kidney function
(NaturalNews) Scientists from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston have revealed results from a study outlining some of the effects of artificial sweeteners on the body. Conducted on a group of 3,000 women, the results indicated that those who drank two or more artificially-sweetened beverages a day doubled their risk of more-rapid-than-normal kidney function decline.
The study accounted for various other risk factors including the woman's age, her blood pressure, if she smoked, and if she had any other pre-existing conditions such as heart disease or diabetes. The 11-year study evaluated the effects of all sweetened drinks on progressive kidney decline and discovered that two or more diet drinks leads to a two-fold increase in rapid kidney decline incidences.
Though study results did not show any correlation between sugar- or corn syrup-sweetened drinks and the onset of rapid kidney decline, these ingredients are implicated in causing diabetes and obesity and should not be perceived as safe merely because they did not have a direct correlation in this particular study topic.
High sodium intake was also implicated in the study as promoting progressive kidney decline. Since diet soda contains excessive amounts of sodium, higher than sugar soda, it is no surprise that diet sodas were the primary offenders in the study. However it is unclear from this particular study which ingredient plays the larger role in progressive kidney decline, the artificial sweeteners or the sodium content.
PAM COMMENTARY: Although this article claims that stevia is safe, and I agree that it's safe enough to use in food (in fact am drinking stevia-sweetened coffee right now), I'd like my readers to be aware of the book "Your Body's Many Cries for Water." In it, Dr. Batmanghelidj claims that ALL artificial sweeteners, even "healthy" ones, cause people to gain weight. That's because a sensation of sweetness on the tongue will trigger an expectation in the brain of receiving sugar. When the sugar never comes, the brain sends out hunger signals, thus causing people to eat more and possibly gain weight. (Obviously, from the title, Dr. Batmanghelidj feels that dehydration and improper water/salt balance is also responsible for some weight problems.)
Infamous 'Arbeit Macht Frei' Auschwitz sign is stolen
The infamous iron sign bearing the Nazis' cynical slogan 'Arbeit Macht Frei' that spanned the main entrance to the former Auschwitz death camp was stolen before dawn this morning, Polish police said.
The wide iron sign - across a gate at the former Nazi death camp in southern Poland where more than 1 million people died during World War II - was removed by being unscrewed on one side and torn off on the other, police spokeswoman Katarzyna Padlo said.
She said the sign - bearing the German words for 'Work Sets You Free' - disappeared from the Auschwitz memorial between 3.30am and 5am.
Police have launched an intensive hunt, with criminal investigators and search dogs sent to the grounds of the vast former death camp, whose barracks, watchtowers and ruins of gas chambers still stand as testament to the atrocities inflicted by Nazi Germany on Jews, Gypsies, and others.
Museum spokesman Pawel Sawicki branded the theft a 'desecration' and said it was shocking that the tragic history of the site did not stop the thieves.
Eritrea's national soccer team seeks asylum in Kenya
KAMPALA, UGANDA -- Eritrea's entire national soccer team is seeking asylum in Kenya, joining tens of thousands of compatriots who have fled one of Africa's most repressive governments.
The team absconded after traveling to Nairobi for a regional tournament. Eritrea, with only about 4 million people, was the second-biggest source of asylum seekers in the world last year, and the missing players are probably the highest-profile defectors since the country won independence in 1993.
The 11 players and one substitute were reported missing over the weekend when the team plane returned to Eritrea without them after a match against Tanzania.
After going into hiding, the players contacted the U.N. refugee agency in Nairobi, which directed them to file asylum applications at Kenya's Immigration Ministry.
PAM COMMENTARY: I remember when Eritrea was desperately fighting for its independence from Ethiopia.
Sanofi-Pasteur Removes Thimerosal Free Vaccine from Market [AJ]
First, although Sanofi-Pasteur and the CDC cite lack of potency as a reason for the recall, they seem to cast doubt upon their own claims. The �potency� of a vaccine is merely measured by the concentration of the antigen (the active ingredient), and the CDC admits in its� own statement that the potency of the vaccine is only �slightly below the specified range (CDC FAQ).� Yet they go on to say that �The vaccine in these lots is still expected to be effective in stimulating a protective response despite this slight reduction in the concentration of antigen (CDC FAQ).� If the media and government claim of vaccine shortage is true, it would seem illogical to recall such a large number of them if they were still effective.
Second, and perhaps most disturbing, is the fact that the vaccines being removed from the market are the preservative and thimerosal free versions. In article published by Bloomberg, Tom Randall writes, �The recalled shots are preservative-free syringes of a low-dose version made for children ages 6 months through 25 months, [Anne Shuchat, head of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC] said. There are no remaining preservative-free shots available for children under 2 years old (Randall).� According to Randall, Schuchat goes on to say that thimerosal has proven safe in different studies even though some parents are leery of it.
The idea that thimerosal, aluminum, monosodium glutamate, or any of other preservatives used in these vaccines is safe is absolutely ludicrous. The fact is, thimerosal is 49.6% mercury. The EPA itself declares .1 mcg of mercury to be toxic yet there is, on average, 25 mcg in a single flu shot. The science that Shuchat refers to is the new brand of welfare science that relies on research grants from Big Pharma, vaccine makers, and eugenics foundations. True independent science has shown just the opposite of her claims.
800,000 doses of kids� H1N1 vaccine recalled; Tests show the shots may not be potent enough to protect against virus
Swine flu vaccine has been available since early October, and since then manufacturers have released about 95 million doses for distribution in the United States.
The recalled shots were made by Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of France-based Sanofi-Aventis Group. The vaccine all tested fine when it was shipped out earlier this fall. But last week, testing of one lot showed that the potency had fallen about 12 percent below the government standard, Lavenda said.
PAM COMMENTARY: I don't encourage anyone to get a flu shot -- I've never received one. I choose to fight the seasonal flu with alternative medicine (usually my zapper and whatever herbs I have on hand or decide to buy).
Sometimes I catch the flu when working in conditions with co-workers constantly coughing and sneezing around me. During the 2007-08 flu season, I caught a pretty bad flu at work and fought it with the usual zapper, oreganol, etc. Everyone in my department had that flu, and one of my co-workers asked me if I'd received the flu shot that year. He said that he always gets one. At the time, he hadn't caught the flu yet.
Well, within a couple of months the flu had made its rounds and was over. There was only one employee whose flu had turned to pneumonia -- the employee who'd received the flu shot.
Liberal Revolt on Health Care Stings White House
WASHINGTON � In the great health care debate of 2009, President Obama has cast himself as a cold-eyed pragmatist, willing to compromise in exchange for votes. Now ideology � an uprising on the Democratic left � is smacking the pragmatic president in the face.
Stung by the intense White House effort to court the votes of moderate holdouts like Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, and Senator Ben Nelson, Democrat of Nebraska, liberals are signaling that they have compromised enough. Grass-roots groups are balking, liberal commentators are becoming more critical of the president, some unions are threatening to withhold support and Howard Dean, the former Democratic Party chief, is urging the Senate to kill its health bill.
The White House scrambled Thursday to tamp down the revolt, which has been simmering for weeks but boiled over when the Senate Democratic leadership, bowing to Mr. Lieberman, scrapped language allowing people as young as 55 to buy into Medicare.
Rare gender identity defect hits Gaza families
There are an unusually high number of male pseudohermaphrodite births in the Gaza neighborhood of Jabalya, where Nadir and Ahmed live.
Dr. Jehad Abudaia, a Canadian-Palestinian pediatrician and urologist practicing in Gaza, says he has diagnosed nearly 80 cases like Nadir's and Ahmed's in the last seven years.
"It is astonishing that we have [so] many cases with this defect, which is very rare all over the world," Abudaia says. He attributes the high frequency of this birth defect to "consanguinity," or in-breeding.
"If you want to go to the root of the problem, this problem runs in families in the genes." Abudaia says. "They want to get married to cousins... they don't go to another family. This is a problem."
PAM COMMENTARY: The doctor is sidestepping a major issue here, probably to avoid the wrath of his Israeli overlords. A high birth defect rate usually comes from environmental toxins, probably from whatever Israel was using in the area just before the boys were born. Israel even had a nuclear weapons program long before these children were conceived -- and now the Middle East is full of birth defects due to the use of depleted uranium by both Israel and the United States.
Credit card's newest trick: 79.9% interest
Typically, the First Premier card comes with a minimum of $256 in fees in the first year for a credit line of $250. Starting in February, however, a new law will cap such fees at 25% of a card's credit line.
In a recent mailing for a preapproved card, First Premier lowers fees to just that limit � $75 in the first year for a credit line of $300. But the new law doesn't set a cap on interest rates. Hence the 79.9% APR, up from the previous 9.9%.
"It's the highest on the market. It's the highest we've ever seen," said Anuj Shahani, an analyst with Synovate, a research firm that tracks credit card mailings.
Mesmerising meteors: Cosmic firework lights up the sky above the Mojave Desert
This incredible picture shows a huge meteor hurtling to Earth during the annual Geminid meteor shower.
Astro-photogrpaher Wally Pacholk captured this amazing shot in the Mojave Desert area near Victorville under a dark and almost clear sky.
The annual cosmic fireworks have been growing in intensity in recent decades with up to 160 meteors visible per hour under optimal conditions. They travel across the sky at about 22miles per second and are fairly easy to spot.
PAM COMMENTARY: Nice photo in this article.
Bizarre and unusual destinations around the world
PAM COMMENTARY: A nice little photo gallery.
New Research: Taking the SAT in a Crowded Room Means Lower Scores
Garcia and Tor also addressed other between-state differences. They made statistical adjustments for parental education and the percentage of kids who were a minority. They also included more systemic controls, including the states' rate of SAT score improvement over the past decade and the amount of state and federal funding going into schools.
With all these things taken into account, the kids who were taking the SAT in smaller, less crowded venues still had higher scores.
Garcia and Tor wondered if the lower SAT scores were not a mere reflection of the larger pool of test-takers.
What if taking the SAT in a more crowded room actually caused kids' test scores to drop?
So the researchers pulled out data on short cognitive tests given to University of Michigan students. On these tests, they could analyze the data on a per-classroom basis�the cognitive score of the students compared with how many students were in the room when they took the test.
In those scores, Garcia and Tor found the same pattern as in the SAT data. The more students there were in the exam room at the same time, the poorer the students' scores.
Chapter closing on lone Laredo bookstore;
Texas city soon to be the largest in the country without a bookseller
LAREDO, Texas - The final chapter has been written for the lone bookstore on the streets of Laredo.
With a population of nearly a quarter-million people, this city could soon be the largest in the nation without a single bookseller.
The situation is so grim that schoolchildren have pleaded for a reprieve from next month's planned shutdown of the B. Dalton bookstore. After that, the nearest store will be 150 miles away in San Antonio.
Officials to examine fluoride content in Darbhanga village [R]
"Till date excess Fluoride was not detected Darbhnga. But I have asked officials to confirm the newpaper reports so that we can take appropriate steps," Choubey said pointing out that 12 districts of the state were afflicted by fluoride which causes fluorosis, a disease nicknamed by medical professionals as "bone crusher". TOI had reported the detection of excess floride by a team of researchers.
Choubey conceded that fluoride and arsenic had been emerging as a major health problem in Bihar. "There are 13 districts in the state where arsenic poisioning have been detected and another 12 district where excess fluoride have been identified from the water source, There are three districts common in this list which have both arsenic and fluoride poisoning. They include Bhagalpur and Munger," he said. He pointed out that around 600 tolas and localities have been identified across the state which were identified as places where arsenic and floride were detected from the water source.
The minister claimed that the state government had mooted a Rs 1000- crore scheme for meeting the challenge. "It's a multi-village scheme in which tanks will be contructed and surface water will be supplied to the effected localities," he said. He said work has already started in Ara where 35 villages are hit due to arscenic, Vaishali and Patna(Maner). The three projects alone will cost over Rs 200 crore", he said.
U.S. gives $1 billion for forests
Breaking news: U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsak announced Wednesday the United States would provide $1 billion over the next three years to preserve tropical forests overseas.
At the same time, leaders of the African Union and the European Union announced they are close to reaching agreement on how much rich countries should provide poor ones in a long-term finance package to cope with climate change.
Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has proposed developing countries accept a $10 billion short-term finance package, as long as it's followed by a commitment to providing a long-term package that would reach $100 billion by 2020.
Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and Zenawi held a joint press conference Wednesday afternoon, where Zenawi said his group had made the offer as a way of "breaking the logjam" at the U.S. talks.
PAM COMMENTARY: My problem with any payments to "poor" countries is that often any sort of "foreign aid" goes directly to the dictator's palace, and not to the people at large or intended cause. And the US is usually happy to look the other way -- many dictators have fled their countries after years of looting treasuries and pilfering foreign aid. What kind of safeguards, if any, to prevent this from happening again remain to be seen.
Health-care bill wouldn't bring real reform by Howard Dean
If I were a senator, I would not vote for the current health-care bill. Any measure that expands private insurers' monopoly over health care and transfers millions of taxpayer dollars to private corporations is not real health-care reform. Real reform would insert competition into insurance markets, force insurers to cut unnecessary administrative expenses and spend health-care dollars caring for people. Real reform would significantly lower costs, improve the delivery of health care and give all Americans a meaningful choice of coverage. The current Senate bill accomplishes none of these.
Real health-care reform is supposed to eliminate discrimination based on preexisting conditions. But the legislation allows insurance companies to charge older Americans up to three times as much as younger Americans, pricing them out of coverage. The bill was supposed to give Americans choices about what kind of system they wanted to enroll in. Instead, it fines Americans if they do not sign up with an insurance company, which may take up to 30 percent of your premium dollars and spend it on CEO salaries -- in the range of $20 million a year -- and on return on equity for the company's shareholders. Few Americans will see any benefit until 2014, by which time premiums are likely to have doubled. In short, the winners in this bill are insurance companies; the American taxpayer is about to be fleeced with a bailout in a situation that dwarfs even what happened at AIG.
From the very beginning of this debate, progressives have argued that a public option or a Medicare buy-in would restore competition and hold the private health insurance industry accountable. Progressives understood that a public plan would give Americans real choices about what kind of system they wanted to be in and how they wanted to spend their money. Yet Washington has decided, once again, that the American people cannot be trusted to choose for themselves. Your money goes to insurers, whether or not you want it to.
Howard Dean Debates Health Care on "Hardball"
Howard Dean is digging in.
The former DNC Chairman appeared on MSNBC's Hardball on Wednesday, getting into a heated health care debate with both host Chris Matthews and senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA).
Dean defended his "kill the bill" position espoused a day earlier on the network's Countdown with Keith Olbermann, saying that good things about currently proposed health care reforms are outweighed by "goodies" to insurance companies. "It turns out that insurance companies, in the fine print, can charge 300% more for older folks than they can for younger folks," said the physician and former Vermont governor.
Insurgents Hack U.S. Drones [WRH]
WASHINGTON -- Militants in Iraq have used $26 off-the-shelf software to intercept live video feeds from U.S. Predator drones, potentially providing them with information they need to evade or monitor U.S. military operations.
Senior defense and intelligence officials said Iranian-backed insurgents intercepted the video feeds by taking advantage of an unprotected communications link in some of the remotely flown planes' systems. Shiite fighters in Iraq used software programs such as SkyGrabber -- available for as little as $25.95 on the Internet -- to regularly capture drone video feeds, according to a person familiar with reports on the matter.
U.S. officials say there is no evidence that militants were able to take control of the drones or otherwise interfere with their flights. Still, the intercepts could give America's enemies battlefield advantages by removing the element of surprise from certain missions and making it easier for insurgents to determine which roads and buildings are under U.S. surveillance.
The drone intercepts mark the emergence of a shadow cyber war within the U.S.-led conflicts overseas. They also point to a potentially serious vulnerability in Washington's growing network of unmanned drones, which have become the American weapon of choice in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Doctors order Silvio Berlusconi to remain in hospital for fourth night [WRH]
Silvio Berlusconi was ordered by his doctors to remain in hospital last night for the fourth successive night, raising alarm over the long-term physical and psychological damage caused by the attack on him in Milan.
The Italian Prime Minister was initially taken to hospital for overnight observation after Massimo Tartaglia, 42, an electronics engineer with a history of mental problems, hurled a spiked marble and metal model of Milan cathedral at him at the end of a rally on the cathedral square.
Alberto Zangrillo, his doctor, said that Mr Berlusconi needed another 24 hours in hospital because of continuing pain from the wounds to his face � including a broken nose and two broken teeth � but also from the recurrence of chronic arthritis of the neck, which the attack had aggravated. Mr Berlusconi, 73, was also having difficulty eating, Dr Zangrillo said.
PAM COMMENTARY: He's never going to live this down -- look at the photo of puppets with a bloody nose.
Senator's just plane sorry
Schumer was yakking away on his cell phone as the jet waited at the gate at LaGuardia when the flight attendant told him to cork it.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was also ear-to-phone in the seat next to him.
Schumer spokesman Brian Fallon said the senator complied with the order, but he argued, noting the plane door was still open.
The woman told him she had the last word. But Schumer found one more after she walked away -- the b-word -- as he groused about the attendant to Gillibrand.
Unfortunately for Schumer, a Republican on board overheard him -- and spilled the beans to Politico.com.
Schumer responded by tracking down the flight attendant and calling her -- on a different phone -- to say he's sorry.
Leader of B.C.'s 'U.N. Gang' gets 30 years for drug smuggling
Maybrown said Roueche spared the government a potentially grueling trial when he pleaded guilty to three conspiracy counts -- the exportation of marijuana, the importation of cocaine and money laundering earlier this year.
"He has taken responsibility," Maybrown said. "He's not blaming anyone else."
But Lasnik said that Roueche had distinguished himself as a dope smuggler.
Canadian authorities and U.S. prosecutors said that since its inception in 1997 in the B.C. town of Chilliwack, the U.N. Gang -- so named because its members span racial and cultural lines -- has used violence and intimidation to become an organization responsible for moving tons of drugs and millions of illegal dollars.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Roe said there is evidence that the gang was moving as much as $26 million a year in cash alone. The operation smuggled thousands of pounds of marijuana from B.C. to the U.S., often into Seattle. Cash generated by its sale was used to buy multi-kilogram loads of cocaine in Mexico, which was imported back into Canada.
Teacher who took students to Hooters is put on leave
A Paradise Valley High School music teacher whose students performed at one of President's Barack Obama inauguration events has been put on administrative leave after taking 40 students to eat at a Hooters in downtown Phoenix.
Mary Segall, a choir director at the northeast Phoenix school, accompanied choral students at a performance at Arizona Center last week. While there, the students ate lunch at the Hooters restaurant, said Judi Willis, spokeswoman for the district.
Segall told her principal that the restaurant, known for its busty waitresses in tight shirts and orange shorts, was the only place that could accommodate a group of that size. She could not be reached for comment.
Yellowstone Park wolf population drops for second year in row
BILLINGS - Biologists say Yellowstone National Park's wolf population has declined two years in a row.
The also say it's the first time the numbers have fallen two straight years and that the decrease is not linked to disease.
Wolf Biologist Doug Smith predicts the park's wolf numbers will go down more in the future. It's been 15 years since wolves were reintroduced to the park, and Smith says evidence suggest wolf numbers are stabilizing with the northern range elk herd.
The park's wolf population showed declines in 2008, 2005 and 1999, but those drops were linked to disease. Smith says final wolf population figures will be released in his year-end report. But so far, he says the causes of wolf mortality were below average pup survival, wolf-on-wolf kills and Montana's first wolf hunting season.
Massive dog rescues result in massive response at Oregon Humane Society
With animals in need, the Portland area responded -- in record numbers.
Last weekend, the Oregon Humane Society overflowed with animal lovers who turned out in droves to adopt dogs from two rescue operations.
The three-day weekend, with 224 adoptions, was the biggest in the society's 141-year history.
"It exceeded all our expectations," said David Lytle, spokesman for the humane society. "It makes us feel great because not only did the rescue dogs go home, but people came in to adopt every type of animal that we have."
Tots doped for naps at day care?
CINCINNATI - Allegations that workers at a church day care put an over-the-counter dietary supplement in candy to help children sleep at nap time are under investigation, police said yesterday, and the church's pastor said two workers have been fired.
Springfield Township police Lt. Dave Schaefer confirmed that police are looking into allegations that some workers at Covenant Apostolic Church Daycare in suburban Cincinnati gave melatonin to some children there. He did not give the ages of the children.
Police have sent a letter to parents and guardians of children who attend the day care, informing them of the investigation.
Dated Monday, the letter said that the investigation had just begun and that police did not know which staff members allegedly gave the supplement to children or how many of the 40 or so children who attend the day care allegedly received the supplement.
PAM COMMENTARY: To call a substance naturally manufactured by the body "doping" shows complete ignorance. Using that supplement requires no legal authorization, and it isn't a drug or "dope." This is a case of misconduct by employees at the day care center -- they should have discussed the problems of overactive kids with parents, or perhaps provided a quiet alternative for children who couldn't nap. Obviously, parents should have a say in whether their children receive any type of dietary supplement, including vitamins. But melatonin isn't "dope" and this isn't equivalent to "doping."
I happened to catch this news item on MSNBC Wednesday morning. Apparently MSNBC now has a show called "Dr. Nancy," I assume to compete with CNN's drug industry advocate, Dr. Gupta. But when I checked MSNBC's web site a few hours after the Dr. Nancy show, the story still didn't appear. I guess it isn't newsworthy for MSNBC at large, and I'd agree that this is a story of LOCAL interest.
Now, MSNBC isn't all bad. But I object to doctors who pretend to be reporters, when in fact they act as salesmen or advocates for the drug companies who advertise on their networks. Pharmaceutical companies indirectly pay those TV doctors' salaries by running so many drug ads. (This seems to be a pharmaceutical marketing strategy -- buy the major news markets.) I'd like to see some kind of disclaimer offered by MSNBC during her show, like, "In the spirit of full disclosure, this network is financed substantially by advertisements from the pharmaceutical industry." Drug ad money colors everything reported by major news networks, and whether some facts are reported at all.
On today's "Dr. Nancy" show, facts were distorted in order to slander dietary supplements. (Supplements often compete directly with pharmaceutical products.) For example, "Dr. Nancy" was comparing natural supplements to taking arsenic, and one of her guests compared natural supplements to the death rates of decongestants or aspirin. Let me mention something for the benefit of all TV quacks out there -- decongestants and aspirin are somewhat dangerous substances, and arsenic is VERY dangerous -- used for rat poison in fact. On the other hand, nearly all dietary supplements are beneficial substances, and far less dangerous than aspirin. Aspirin directly kills a relatively small number of people every year -- a few thousand in the entire United States -- but it still kills people. Usually deaths from supplements are numbered in the single digits or low double digits per year, and then those deaths often involve supplement abuse like mega-dosing.
Just remember that TV doctors screech at you from their drug company-financed studios while getting drug company-financed paychecks. Those drug company ads come at a price, and a part of that price is bad medical advice from TV drug shill "doctors."
FDA Kidnaps and Deports Herbalist Greg Caton [AJ]
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today stands accused of taking part in the kidnapping and illegal extradition of a permanent resident of Ecuador, in violation of both international law and Ecuadorian law.
Greg Caton, owner and operator of Alpha Omega Labs (www.AltCancer.com), an herbal products company that sells anti-cancer herbal remedies made with Ecuadorian medicinal herbs, was arrested at gunpoint at a road checkpoint in Ecuador, then transported to an Ecuadorian holding facility to await a hearing on December 14, 2009. Caton was expected to be set free by the Ecuadorian judge at that hearing based on the facts of the case which indicated Caton�s permanent residency in Ecuador is legal and valid.
Three days before the hearing could take place, Caton was taken from his holding facility and, with the help of U.S. State Department employees, involuntarily placed on an American Airlines plane headed for Miami. An Ecuadorian judge rushed to the airport in Guayaquil and demanded that Caton be released from the plane, stating that the attempted deportation was illegal, but American Airlines employees reportedly refused to allow Caton to leave the plane, stating that the plane was �U.S. territory� and that Ecuadorian law did not apply there (even though the plane was still on the tarmac in Guayaquil and under the direction of the air traffic control tower there).
The plane then departed Guayaquil and continued its flight to Miami where Greg Caton was held in a federal detention facility to await trial in the U.S.
PAM COMMENTARY: A lot of people are surprised to learn that the FDA often acts as a private army for the US pharmaceutical industry.
Attorney: Fort Hood suspect leaves intensive care
FORT WORTH (AP) � The Army psychiatrist charged in last month's deadly shooting spree at Fort Hood has been moved from a hospital's intensive care unit to a private room.
Maj. Nidal Hasan remains under guard at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio and is rehabilitating from wounds that left him paralyzed from the waist down, said attorney John Galligan. He said he was notified about the transfer on Tuesday.
Doctors have said Hasan needs to be hospitalized at least two more months while he learns to care for himself, Galligan said.
Police stop man reaching Berlusconi's room
Rome, Italy (CNN) -- A man tried to enter the hospital room of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi overnight as the leader recovered from being hit in the face Sunday.
The man was detained. No further details about him were immediately available.
Berlusconi, for his part, spent a troubled night with pain in his neck, his spokesman said.
PAM COMMENTARY: What happened to the days when politicians were tough enough to handle serious injuries and still go to work? JFK downplayed his old war injuries and constant back pain.
Now the equivalent of a punch in the nose is grounds to take off work and stay in the hospital a few days? Sounds kind of wimpy for someone with that much responsibility. He could at least try to be an outpatient, and not pander to the press for sympathy so much.
GAO rules against Oshkosh; Army told to review $3 billion contract
A federal watchdog agency says a $3 billion U.S. Army contract awarded to Oshkosh Corp. should be reconsidered, giving two losing bidders another chance at the deal affecting thousands of jobs.
The Government Accountability Office ruled Monday that several key elements of the contract should be re-evaluated after losing bidders BAE Systems and Navistar Inc. filed protests.
The GAO said the Army should "make a new selection decision" on the fixed-price contract that calls for up to 23,000 military trucks and trailers.
Oshkosh won the contract in August. Production of the family of Medium Tactical Vehicles is scheduled to begin in mid-2011 and could employ more than 2,000 people in the Fox Valley - not including jobs at suppliers.
Company executives said they're confident that Oshkosh will retain the work after the Army completes a review recommended by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress.
The majority of the losing bidders' protest claims were denied, including the challenge to Oshkosh's price for the trucks.
Doctor Under Investigation for Doping Is Charged
�The R.C.M.P. is alleging that it was Galea�s intent to treat some of his patients outside Canada with Actovegin,� according to a police statement.
A raid of Dr. Galea�s sports medicine clinic in Toronto on Oct. 15 �resulted in the R.C.M.P. seizing unapproved drugs, believed to be Actovegin, from the doctor�s office.�
In an interview with The New York Times before being charged, Dr. Galea said that he has treated some patients with Actovegin, but he was adamant that he had not violated any laws. The medical licensing body for the province of Ontario allows physicians to use unapproved drugs provided that patients are informed and give consent. But Health Canada, a federal agency which is also involved in the investigation, does not allow the sale or advertising of unapproved drugs in Canada.
Exactly what Actovegin does for patients is unclear. The only clinical trial under way has not published its results. Some members of the anti-doping community believe that it may boost red blood cell counts, although the World Anti-Doping Agency has found no such evidence. The drug is not on WADA�s banned substance list. Some physicians believe that Actovegin, which is legally available in parts of Europe, may provide little more than a placebo effect for its users.
Police looking for serial rapist
Police have linked the rape of two girls who were trick-or-treating in Dale City on Halloween to a series of sexual assaults that have taken place up and down the east coast since 1997.
At a news conference going on now, Prince William and Fairfax police say the Halloween rapes are linked to at least four rapes in Fairfax County between 1999 and 2001, several in Prince George's County, one in Leesburg and several in Rhode Island and Connecticut.
Police used DNA to make the connections to at least 12 rapes in all.
In the Prince William assault, police say three teenage Dale City girls returning from a night of trick-or-treating were forced into the woods, where two of them were sexually assaulted by an unknown man.
PAM COMMENTARY: Another criminal victimizing kids on Halloween. It's like kids can't have any fun at all these days.
Does anyone know who this guy is or might be? It would be great if you'd call the police and tell them!
FTC files antitrust suit against chipmaker Intel
Intel has faced similar charges for years and has denied any wrongdoing. The lawsuit comes after a recent $1.25 billion settlement with rival Advanced Micro Devices over similar claims.
Intel, which is based in Santa Clara, Calif., is also appealing a record $1.45 billion antitrust fine leveled by European regulators.
In its complaint Wednesday, the FTC said Intel has used both threats and rewards to keep some of the biggest computer makers from buying other companies' chips or marketing computers that carried them. The complaint names Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM as Intel's targets.
The FTC also says Intel has secretly redesigned critical computer software to hinder the performance of other companies' microprocessors, or CPUs.
In addition, the agency said Intel is looking to extend its dominance into chips that are used to processes graphics, commonly known as GPUs.
"Intel has engaged in a deliberate campaign to hamstring competitive threats to its monopoly," said Richard A. Feinstein, director of the FTC's Bureau of Competition. "It's been running roughshod over the principles of fair play and the laws protecting competition on the merits."
EU Formally Ends Microsoft Antitrust Case
BRUSSELS--The European Commission Wednesday settled its remaining antitrust issues with Microsoft Corp., ending a decade-long battle over the software giant's monopolistic business practices.
The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, agreed to abandon its case against Microsoft over whether the software giant is illegally abusing its dominance in the Internet-browser markets in return for a legally binding commitment for Microsoft to market rival browsers alongside its own Internet Explorer.
Calling the decision a "Christmas present" for European Consumers, Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said that consumers will benefit by having a free choice in deciding which Web browser they use.
EBay�s plans to compete surprised Craigslist; Testimony: Auction site called acquisition of classifieds provider �inevitable�
Wes was testifying in a lawsuit in which eBay is challenging antitakeover measures adopted by Craigslist founder Craig Newmark and CEO James Buckmaster in response to eBay's launch of its Kijiji classifieds site and refusal to sell or divest its shares.
Craigslist contends that eBay was out to control Craigslist despite assurances that it was satisfied with a minority stake, and that it reneged on promises that Craigslist would be eBay's exclusive vehicle in the online classifieds market in the U.S. and that eBay would help Craigslist expand internationally. Craigslist also claims that eBay misused confidential financial information provided by Craigslist to help develop Kijiji.
Wes testified that Buckmaster began expressing concerns about potential conflicts involving eBay as early as October 2004, two months after eBay bought its minority interest in Craigslist from a disgruntled shareholder. Shortly after closing the deal with Craigslist, eBay began acquiring several online classifieds sites overseas.
The Healthcare Insurance Debate: The Elephant in the Room [WRH]
It is agonizing to observe the national debate on healthcare insurance reform and realize there is an elephant in the debate room that nobody wants to discuss � self-care and preventive medicine.
Oh, I�m not talking about the preventive medicine charade that conventional medicine puts on, running to the doctor for more screening tests that only run up medical bills. PSA tests for prostate cancer, mammograms for breast cancer, and colonoscopies for colon cancer, have only led to more needless care.
I�m talking about self-care and avoidance of a trip to the doctor�s office altogether. I�m talking about home remedies that would cut the nation�s healthcare bills by trillions of dollars.
Many Americans don�t recognize the many impractical or contradictory positions they take about health insurance reform. For example, Americans have appropriately revolted against the idea of government rationing medical care, but there is an estimated $700 billion of unnecessary care delivered annually (Congressional Budget Office).
PAM COMMENTARY: This is exactly what I've been saying about health care reform for years -- that the U.S. system itself has to change, or it will never be affordable to anyone. Big medicine has rejected the less expensive, natural cures, and even space-age technology like the Rife Machine or Hulda Clark zapper, in order to maximize profits. Now their system kills people with ineffective yet expensive "treatments," and "management" of diseases instead of outright cures. This has lost them respect, and now those poor success rates at tremendous cost are being questioned by everyone involved in the health care debate.
Note that some of the "natural remedies" listed in this article aren't necessarily the best place to start for the ailments mentioned, and I don't endorse this article's list because I don't agree with all of it. First, it's important to do your own research before self-treating or deciding on a natural practitioner. But for example, in the case of high blood pressure, the root cause is often dehydration or an overabundance of cholesterol and bad fats leading to atherosclerosis -- see Dr. B's book "Your Body's Many Cries for Water" to start. Then if drinking more water and balancing it with the correct salt intake doesn't work, or cutting back on fatty foods doesn't have an effect anytime soon, THEN I'd move onto some of the natural supplements and herbs. It's always best to try to address the possible root causes first, and then decide on which pills to take, whether herbs or pharmaceuticals.
Bernanke is TIME�s 2009 Person of the Year
Remember September 2008? The month when the entire U.S. financial system almost collapsed? Ever since that pivotal moment, one person has been in the crosshairs, making decision after decision that has impacted nearly every American alive today.
That person is Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. Because of his monumental influence on the world�s most important economy, Bernanke has been named TIME magazine�s 2009 Person of the Year.
TIME Managing Editor Richard Stengel called the Federal Reserve �the most powerful, least understood government force shaping our lives� as he revealed his magazine�s choice live on TODAY Wednesday morning.
PAM COMMENTARY: Well, that's disgusting. See earlier link to Democracy Now!'s interview with Eliot Spitzer. You know, I ought to do a "Person of the Year" award...
Torture suit too hot to be heard, U.S. says
A lawsuit accusing a Bay Area flight-planning company of aiding an alleged CIA program of kidnapping and torturing terror suspects threatens national security and is too sensitive to discuss fully in a public courtroom, an Obama administration attorney argued Tuesday.
"The case cannot proceed without getting into state secrets," Justice Department lawyer Douglas Letter told an 11-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
Several judges noted that most of the essential facts of the case have been widely aired - the existence of the "extraordinary rendition" program under President George W. Bush, the five plaintiffs' accounts of their abduction and torture, and the alleged participation by Jeppesen Dataplan of San Jose - and asked why the case is too sensitive for the courts to hear.
Letter said he could reply only in a closed session. For the record, he said, "the U.S. government will not confirm or deny any relationship with Jeppesen."
The court met privately with Letter after the one-hour public hearing, a practice that the plaintiffs' lawyer, Ben Wizner of the American Civil Liberties Union, described as common in cases involving government claims of secrecy.
During the public session, Wizner accused the administration of trying to cover up wrongdoing.
"The CIA has engaged in kidnapping and torture and declared its crimes state secrets," he said. Dismissing the suit without deciding whether the plaintiffs' rights were violated, he said, would be "dangerous to democracy."
PAM COMMENTARY: Whenever Bush felt like breaking the law, he'd just declare his crimes to be "state secrets." Everyone already knows about this problem, and so Obama's administration continuing the practice only embarrasses Obama, makes him look complicit.
Indian Environmentalist Vandana Shiva: �It Is Time for the US to Stop Seeing Itself as a Donor and Recognizing Itself as a Polluter, a Polluter who Must Pay� [DN]
VANDANA SHIVA: I think President Obama represents a captive White House, captive to the industrial interests and the corporate interests of America. I would like to see President Obama represent Michelle�s organic garden. But he doesn�t bring the organic solution to Copenhagen. He brings, first and foremost, the juggling of figures, a reduction that will be of four percent, which is announced as a 16 percent reduction, but, even more, the juggling of politics, where, behind all this, he tries to say we don�t need the UN treaty, we don�t need to sign onto the Kyoto Protocol. During his elections, he talked a lot about joining the Kyoto Protocol. I think the most important thing President Obama could do would be sign the Kyoto Protocol and then shape it democratically.
AMY GOODMAN: What is your message to him as he comes this week to Copenhagen?
VANDANA SHIVA: My message to him is, do not destroy the international treaty; abide by it, and enlarge and deepen it. But do not dismantle it, because you will be dismantling the only legal framework the world has to make the polluters pay, to create a system in which we can start shifting from a fossil fuel-driven civilization to a renewable energy-driven civilization.
AMY GOODMAN: Who are the interests you say he is captured by in the United States?
VANDANA SHIVA: He�s captured by agribusiness, which wants to sell more fertilizers, like Cargill. He�s captured by the Monsantos, who would like to continue industrial agriculture and take the GMO way. He�s captured by the automobile industry, that will continue to�continue to sell new automobiles. What�s it called? �Chunkers for Cash�? Cunker?
AMY GOODMAN: Clunkers.
VANDANA SHIVA: Clunkers for Cash. Keep making more cars. Keep destroying them. Plunder the planet. And somehow the planet will get saved. And, of course, the oil industry. All of this.
PAM COMMENTARY: See the previous YouTube link with a speech by Shiva in California.
The Manufactured Outrage of Joe Lieberman [BF]
Joe Lieberman responds to questions about money paid to his wife Hadassah by the Susan B. Komen �Race for the Cure�:
�My wife is a private citizen in a movement that is looking for a cure for breast cancer and educating women about what they should do to protect themselves from breast cancer. This is an age in which people stop debating you on the merits and go after you or your family for personal reasons. its just deeply offensive to me. I can take anything people want to throw at me, and I can take it with equanimity and trade it and give it back and deal with the merits, but I�m deeply offended by anyone who would draw my wife into it, particularly when they�re not telling the truth.�
If Hadassah Lieberman wants to volunteer to educate women about breast cancer, I think that�s great. But she has no special qualifications for this�nothing that Komen should be paying her for�and I seriously doubt people think that�s what they�re raising money for when they �race for the cure.� And, if Senator Lieberman is �deeply offended� by the suggestion that his wife is a lobbyist, one has to wonder what he did for all those years when she was working for the biggest lobbying firms in Washington DC.
Money paid to spouses is one of the primary ways that campaign finance laws are skirted, and the natural question should be, �is this money being paid because of someone�s special abilities, or is it just a pass-through to avoid detection by the FEC?� It�s a question that has legitimately been asked about members of both parties, including John Doolittle, Evan Bayh, Tom DeLay, Chris Dodd, and Tom Daschle. If Senator Lieberman would like to talk about the �merits,� he should explain what his wife has done to merit $328,000 in speaking fees in one year rather than trying to obscure the issue with his theatrical brand of �outrage.�
Christmas Tree Humbugs [R]
The following Old Testament scripture is oft trotted out by various Christian/Pseudo-christian sects, groups and humbugs of variant degrees of claimed spiritual and biblical "purity" to convince many that celebrating Christmas by dragging a tree into ones home and decorating it is somehow service to demonic entities or an act of paganism...
Jeremiah 10:2-4: "Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not." (KJV)
Par for the course, these same often conveniently leave off the next few sentences in the passage that makes it abundantly clear that it is speaking of pagans fashioning and embellishing a wooden IDOL, not merely decorating a tree ...
"They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne (carried around), because they cannot go (walk). Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good."
It should be rather evident that it's a far, far cry from decorating a tree to fashioning an idol to be worshiped! Last I checked, no one bowed down to a Christmas tree to worship it, nor regarded it as anything sacred or holy (most wind up rotting away on the curbside a week after Christmas waiting for the disposal trucks) and the presents placed beneath its piney balms were for the people, not the idol, which is the usual "service" an idolater would be expected to perform. See how bassackwards religious Pharisaism can turn things? And sadly, powerfully convincing to many. One would think common sense would prevail, but in religion, very little common sense exists.
A Tax Break for Citigroup With Payback of Bailout
A day after Citigroup won approval to escape the government bailout program, a special tax break that the bank received to pave the way for its exit could become a point of contention in Washington.
After months of discussions, the Internal Revenue Service granted an exemption late Friday that allowed Citigroup to preserve a $38 billion tax benefit it stood to lose if it repaid the government. The decision essentially waived a longstanding rule that disqualified certain tax breaks if a significant ownership stake changed hands in an effort to discourage outside investors from buying tax benefits.
The Treasury Department�s plans to begin selling its one-third ownership in Citigroup, along with the bank�s planned $17 billion stock offering, would have been such an ownership change.
Without the waiver, the bank would have stood to lose much of those tax benefits as it recovered and it could have been significantly weakened, if not imperiled. Of the $38 billion of tax benefits, it has been allowed to count about $13 billion toward its regulatory capital requirements.
The ruling raises questions about whether federal officials moved too quickly to allow Citigroup to begin untangling itself from the government, given its fragile health. It also may lead to further scrutiny from lawmakers about whether the bank received favorable treatment.
PETA, Ringling Bros. at odds over the treatment of baby circus elephants
Sammy Haddock started working with elephants when he joined the circus at 20, in 1976, a young man's dream. He walked them, groomed them, cleaned up after them. More than once, he later confessed, he beat them.
Over time, his feelings about elephants grew more tender, especially toward the babies. In 1997 he was hired to work as a handler at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's Center for Elephant Conservation, an ambitious program in Florida to breed and preserve endangered Asian elephants. Part of Haddock's job was to help train elephant calves to be circus performers.
He was deeply affected when 8-month-old Riccardo collapsed with leg injuries after tumbling off a tub during pre-training in 2004. Riccardo had to be euthanized. Haddock also began to see things from the point of view of his wife, Millie, an animal lover.
Nearly two years ago, Millie lay dying of complications from diabetes. Sammy had retired from the circus in 2005 to care for her. She asked him for a promise.
Homeless often out in the cold
Staff at the Saskatoon Friendship Inn were worried Monday afternoon when Spike, a lunch-time regular, hadn't stopped in at the west-side centre for several consecutive days.
With the temperature dipping Sunday morning to -36 C -- the wind chill, as it did for a number of days, pushed that into the -40 to -50 range -- staff were worried. Spike never misses a day.
"I hope he didn't freeze to death," said one employee from behind the Friendship Inn's front desk.
"I know," replied Mary LaPlante, the facility's family worker. "That's what I'm worried about."
They didn't have to worry much longer. About 10 minutes later, Spike, his unkempt beard frozen white, wandered by outside and was brought in for a free lunch.
Gun charge nets trick-or-treater killer 16 years
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Quentin Patrick will spend at least the next 16 years in prison because the convicted drug dealer, paranoid of being robbed, answered a Halloween knock on his door with a barrage of bullets from an AK-47, killing a 12-year-old South Carolina boy.
But the 16-year, eight-month sentence handed down Monday was just 20 months more than the minimum Patrick could have faced after pleading guilty to a federal charge of being a felon in possession of a weapon.
"We wanted to see a life sentence, or at least something more than this," said Daphne Grinnell, who was in the family van when the shooting broke out Halloween 2008 and tried in vain to save her dying son T.J., hit by 11 bullets.
But Patrick still faces murder and assault charges in state court, and prosecutor Kelly Jackson said he will decide what to do about that case later. Jackson said Patrick could face 30 years to life in prison if convicted of murder.
Drug makers step up lobbying on health-care bill
The Senate will resume debate Monday afternoon on a popular proposal to allow U.S. citizens to buy cheaper drugs from foreign countries, which led to a last-minute lobbying push by drug makers last week and bogged down negotiations over a heath-care reform bill.
The proposal is one of several heated disputes that prompted a surge in lobbying by hospitals, insurers and other major industries attempting to coax the legislation in their favor as lawmakers work through a handful of complex issues. Medical providers, for example, are battling hard against a proposed Democratic compromise that would jettison a public insurance option in favor of a limited expansion of Medicare, while the U.S. Chamber of Commerce flew dozens of corporate executives to Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers.
The fight over the imported drugs proposal poses a particularly difficult political challenge for President Obama, who co-sponsored a similar bill when he was in Congress and who included funding for the idea in his first budget.
Ashley Dupre, the former Manhattan call girl who brought down New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, is now an advice columnist for The New York Post.
Ashley Dupre, the former Manhattan call girl who brought down New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, is now an advice columnist for The New York Post.
What kind of advice? "No-nonsense advice," The Post says. About sex, love, relationships -- Christmas gifts.
"Sure, she's made some mistakes," The Post declares right up front about its new Sunday columnist, but says she's now sharing what she's learned.
PAM COMMENTARY: The Post (a cheap tabloid/sports daily from the Murdoch pseudo-news empire) will do ANYTHING for shock value.
CIA Agent Captured in Cuba [BF]
An employee of a CIA front organization that also funds opposition groups in Venezuela was detained in Cuba last week
An article published in the December 12th edition of the New York Times revealed the detention of a US government contract employee in Havana this past December 5th. The employee, whose name has not yet been disclosed, works for Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI), one of the largest US government contractors providing services to the State Department, the Pentagon and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The employee was detained while distributing cellular telephones, computers and other communications equipment to Cuban dissident and counterrevolutionary groups that work to promote US agenda on the Caribbean island.
Last year, the US Congress approved $40 million to �promote transition to democracy� in Cuba. DAI was awarded the main contract, �The Cuba Democracy and Contingency Planning Program�, with oversight by State and USAID. The use of a chain of entities and agencies is a mechanism employed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to channel and filter funding and strategic political support to groups and individuals that support US agenda abroad. The pretext of �promoting democracy� is a modern form of CIA subversion tactics, seeking to infiltrate and penetrate civil society groups and provide funding to encourage �regime change� in strategically important nations, such as Venezuela, with governments unwilling to succumb to US dominance.
New VA patients younger, more often women; Hospitals, clinics geared to older men scramble to adjust to changing needs
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Doctors at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in this quiet, bucolic town tucked between coal country and the nation's capital used to go months without treating a female veteran.
Today, they're reporting the beginning of a boom.
Mixed with the Vietnam and World War II-era patients waiting for a doctor are 20-something women who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, reading Allure magazine and, in some cases, coming in for pregnancy tests.
The hospital sees nearly twice as many women it did before the Sept. 11 attacks. Administrators opened a women's clinic and are trying to take female veterans into consideration when deciding everything from the color of the walls to the size of the prosthetics offered. Waiting areas soon will have kid-friendly tables. An onsite day care for veterans with medical appointments is under review.
Target admits to error in advertising organic milk
MADISON, Wis. - Target Corp. has admitted to wrongly advertising soy milk as organic, the U.S. Agriculture Department said in a letter announcing the conclusion of its investigation into a complaint filed by a farm policy group.
Target told the USDA's National Organic Program that it is reviewing its processes to ensure that it doesn't make the mistake again, according to a Nov. 12 letter sent by the USDA to the Wisconsin-based Cornucopia Institute.
The Institute made the letter public on Monday. It filed the complaint with the USDA in October alleging that Target advertised Silk soy milk in newspapers with the term "organic" written on the carton's label when in fact the soy milk on sale in stores was properly labeled as not coming from organically grown soybeans.
Target told the USDA that it used an outdated photo in the September advertisement that promoted the product in a carton that it no longer uses, said the letter from Miles McEvoy, deputy administrator of USDA's National Organic Program.
PAM COMMENTARY: I wish that Silk would stick with organic, non-GMO beans. I can also understand why Target thought the old photo was fine -- it's not unusual for a company to cut costs, but when the new direction is less of a selling point the change is often made quietly.
Be a social butterfly; Friendships can make you healthy; studies show family, community provide health-boosting network
Research shows that staying connected to friends is a wellness step equal in benefit to maintaining a healthy body weight or not smoking.
Some examples: University of Iowa researchers discovered that women with advanced cases of ovarian cancer who report more feelings of social attachment tested lower for interleuken-6 protein, a destructive substance in the body, than ovarian cancer patients who reported little or no support from friends and family.
The study, published in the medical journal Cancer, factored out depression and anxiety, which did not work to alter interleuken-6 levels; those levels stayed consistent in that depressed women who reported social support had lower levels than depressed women feeling little or no such support.
Animal studies -- where the subjects have no emotional bias -- show that friendship is a huge plus for your physiology. For instance, a 2004 Japanese study published in the U.S. journal Behavioral Neuroscience found that the "mere presence of a partner or buddy alleviates the stress response in rats." Japanese and American researchers have speculated that companions reduce the stress hormone cortisol in the blood. One theory is physical presence and body odor both contribute to the rats' increased comfort level. University of Tokyo scientists have confirmed these findings in tests of guinea pigs and monkeys too.
Google employees testing new mobile device
Google's employees are testing a new mobile device that runs on the company's Android operating system, as the search giant continues its push into the wireless market and toward more direct competition with Apple's iPhone.
In a blog post Saturday, Google said the new device combines hardware built by an unnamed partner with its Android software. The free software is crucial in Google's efforts to make its search engine and other services as accessible on cellphones as they already are on personal computers.
Google employees have been tweeting about their tests, but Google is providing few details.
"At Google, we are constantly experimenting with new products and technologies, and often ask employees to test these products for quick feedback and suggestions for improvements in a process we call dogfooding," the company said in its post. "This holiday season, we are taking dogfooding to a new level. Unfortunately, because dogfooding is a process exclusively for Google employees, we annot share specific product details."
Man who killed S.C. trick-or-treater to be sentenced
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- An S.C. man who fired an AK-47 at Halloween trick-or-treaters, killing a 12-year-old boy, is scheduled to find out his sentence on federal weapons charges.
Quentin Patrick faces 15 years to life in prison at a hearing scheduled for Monday. Patrick pleaded guilty in August. The 23-year-old Sumter man also faces separate state murder and assault charges.
Authorities say T.J. Darrisaw, his father and 9-year-old brother stopped at Patrick's house to trick-or-treat on Halloween in 2008 because the porch light was on.
Prosecutors say before the boy knocked on the door, Patrick fired 30 bullets into the front of the house. T.J. was hit 11 times and died, while his father and brother were struck twice, but survived.
Exxon�s Natural Gas Holdings Grow With $31 Billion Deal
In the biggest energy deal in years, Exxon Mobil said on Monday that it had agreed to buy XTO Energy, a domestic producer of natural gas, in an all-stock deal valued at $31 billion to increase its holdings in unconventional resources in the United States.
The deal includes the assumption of $10 billion in debt.
The purchase allows Exxon, the world�s largest publicly traded oil company, to expand in shale gas, an area that has grown tremendously in the last few years. It will give Exxon the equivalent of about 45 trillion cubic feet of natural gas throughout the United States.
The acquisition extends Exxon�s bet that fossil fuels will remain a critical part of the nation�s energy supplies for decades to come. Natural gas is a cleaner-burning fuel than coal, with half the carbon dioxide emissions. For that reason, it is considered as a potential �bridge fuel� on the lengthy path to a renewable, carbon-free economy.
It's big and bold - a fierce competitor. Comcast: Not your traditional Phila. firm
Philadelphia is home to many big, old companies, but few big, bold companies.
Companies that can measure their histories in centuries, not decades, but whose growth days are over.
Familiar corporate names have faded from the city's scene - moved, merged, or mothballed. Far too often, its largest companies have been acquisition targets. Think Rohm & Haas Co., a venerable Philadelphia corporate giant that actually went to court to force its sale to rival Dow Chemical Co.
That is why Comcast Corp. seems so not Philadelphia. It is confident and strong enough to negotiate with much-larger General Electric Co. to win control of NBC Universal Inc. It saw Walt Disney Co. as a good fit for its strategy, not the other way around.
Comcast thinks bigger than any other enterprise in this region. Brian L. Roberts and his management team are considered tough negotiators and fierce competitors. You know a company has made its mark in the top ranks of corporate America when consumer advocates, regulators, lawmakers, and a host of competitors draw a big target on it.
Hope reigns among Copenhagen marchers; Media focus on arrests of protesters doesn't tell real story of summit, activists say
Vanderpol was also among the estimated 100,000 people who gathered Saturday for a massive protest and march to the gates of the Bella Center to try and get their message of climate urgency across to the politicians inside the building. But he woke up on Sunday frustrated by the media's focus on the nearly 1,000 people arrested by police. It doesn't tell the real story of what real people are here for, he said.
"(The marchers included) families, young people, people from all ways of life who just want to show we have a global conscience, and this is a global problem that we have to solve together, so it's kind of sad that we don't hear about that more."
There is a lighter side to the heavy police presence. It came courtesy of a patrol of 14 clown officers with painted faces, red noses and water pistols who stood at attention beside the stone-faced Copenhagen police officers, mimicking and miming their rigid appearance. They grunted orders, honked horns at passing activists and tourists and, of course, posed for many pictures.
On the edge of the Hopenhagen square, Soren Larsen, a Danish radio technician, and his two daughters were pedalling three stationary bicycles at a stand meant to show how much energy a cyclist can generate, and how much they can conserve, through pedal power.
Dominion officials rehearsed their message about safety of fly ash, report says
Dominion Virginia Power executives and developers pressed a clear and simple message about building a golf course from coal waste.
Once treated, the material was �safe as dirt.�
But in closed-door meetings, Dominion executives deliberated for months about the tone and substance of these simple pronouncements, according to recent court filings.
The executives anticipated public questions, and rehearsed and parsed their answers. They drew lines on what to share with regulators and what to hide.
In one memo about preparing for a public hearing, a participant wrote, �Do not mention hazardous vs. drinking water. Just say 'completely non-hazardous.��
Thailand seizes 'N Korea arms jet'
A cargo aircraft transporting over 35 tonnes of arms from North Korea has been seized and its five-man crew detained after landing at Bangkok airport for refuelling, Thai officials have said.
The arms included missiles and grenades, Panitan Wattanayagorn, a spokesman for the Thai government, told Al Jazeera on Sunday.
"The incident is under investigation by the Thai police and tomorrow the five gentlemen will be processed through a court of law in Thailand," Wattanayagorn said.
"We believe that since the plane came from North Korea it violated UN resolutions and we will proceed accordingly."
Since carrying out a nuclear test in May, North Korea has been under UN sanctions aimed at cutting off its arms sales which are thought to net Pyonyang more than $1bn a year.
Clever octopus builds a mobile home; Finding marks first reported instance of an invertebrate acquiring tools
An octopus that uses coconut shells as portable armor is the latest addition to a growing list of animals that use tools.
The veined octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus) apparently can stack discarded coconut shell halves just as one might pile bowls, sits atop them, makes its eight arms rigid like stilts, and then moves the entire heap across the seafloor. These soft-bodied creatures perform this ungainly "stilt walking" to use the hard shells for shelter later when needed.
The discovery was a lucky accident.
"While I have observed and videoed octopuses hiding in shells many times, I never expected to find an octopus that stacks multiple coconut shells and jogs across the seafloor carrying them," said researcher Julian Finn, a marine biologist at the Museum Victoria in Australia.
A prescription for snooping; Drug companies defend the practice of mining data from pharmacies and insurers, but others are alarmed.
Reporting from Washington - When your doctor writes you a prescription, that's just between you, your doctor and maybe your health insurance company -- right?
Wrong. As things stand now, the pharmaceutical companies that make those prescription drugs are looking over the doctor's shoulder to keep track of how many prescriptions for each drug the physician is writing.
By obtaining data from pharmacies and health insurers, the drug companies learn the prescribing habits of thousands of doctors. That information has become not just a powerful sales and marketing tool for the pharmaceutical industry but also a source of growing concern among some elected officials, healthcare advocates and legal authorities.
The identity of patients is not disclosed in such data, but knowing in detail what individual doctors are prescribing enables drug makers to fine-tune their messages when sales reps call on doctors. They can lobby for use of an alternative drug made by their own company, for instance, bolstering the pitch with specially selected research data or free samples.
What worries some government officials and patient advocates is that keying sales tactics to an individual doctor's prescribing preferences -- known as data mining -- may distort decision-making and fuel prescribing of new, high-cost drugs.
The billion-dollar market of Christmas trees
Just after Thanksgiving, cut Christmas trees begin appearing in retail lots. Nearly all are grown on commercial farms, which can be found in all 50 states, even Hawaii, according to the National Christmas Tree Association. Across the nation, about 15,000 growers are cultivating trees on around a million acres of land.
U.S. households bought about 28.2 million trees in 2008, paying an average of $36.50 for a tree, according to the tree association. That makes Christmas trees a $1 billion a year industry.
And that's just the real trees. U.S. consumers last year bought another 11.7 million fake trees for an average of $60.63 each.
Legionnaire's Disease Kills One, Sickens Two at Miami Hotel
A foreign visitor has died and at least two other people have become sick after staying at a downtown Miami luxury hotel, and health officials are blaming an unusual type of pneumonia called Legionnaire's Disease.
Guests at the Epic Hotel have been relocated to nearby hotels to prevent further contact with the water, according to the Miami-Dade County Health Department.
Doctors say there is no cause for widespread alarm because only three cases of the bacteria have surfaced in the last two months.
Little information has yet been released about the one patient killed: a foreigner who stayed at the hotel this fall.
The three cases, however, represent a tiny fraction of thousands who have come in contact with the hotel's water.
Studies show the disease is not easily transmitted through simple person-to-person contact because water droplets must enter a person's lungs. Instead, the culprit is typically a building ventilation system or water supply.
Houston election of gay mayor draws national eyes
Annise Parker's comfortable rise to mayor is drawing attention from national news outlets who are noting the significance of the nation's fourth largest city making history by electing an openly gay leader.
The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor and MSNBC, for instance, emphasized that Parker won the race in a state that outlawed gay marriage and in a city that defeated a referendum granting benefits to same-sex partners of city workers.
With Parker winning nearly 53 percent of the vote late Saturday, Houston became the largest city to elect an openly gay mayor. Others include Cambridge, Mass., Portland, Ore., and Providence R.I.
From The Christian Science Monitor: �The distinction neatly sums up the American mood. As gays and lesbians become broadly accepted in society and politics, that acceptance is marked by a firm boundary beyond which voters do not yet appear willing to cross: same-sex marriage.�
Homes emptied, vehicles trapped amid Calif. storm
LOS ANGELES (AP) � Rocks and debris trapped cars on Los Angeles area roadways and fears of mudslides forced dozens out of their homes as California was hit with a wintry storm that inundated lowland areas with rain and threatened the mountains with heavy snow.
Residents of 44 houses in a Los Angeles County area scorched by a recent massive wildfire remained evacuated as a precaution against landslides while the rain continued.
Parts of a 12-mile stretch of the Angeles Crest Highway just north of Los Angeles were buried by mud and rock Saturday, leaving 90 vehicles stranded as authorities closed the road and crews cleared the scene, said county fire Capt. Frank Reynoso. No injuries were reported.
Seventy of the stranded vehicles had been freed Saturday night, but another 20 would be forced to remain overnight, authorities said.
About 50 of the stranded motorists gathered at Newcomb's Ranch Restaurant off the highway.
Berlusconi bloodied by hurled statuette; Italian PM suffers broken nose, 2 broken teeth after attack at rally in Milan
ROME - An attacker hurled a statuette at Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, striking the leader in the face at the end of a rally on Sunday and leaving the stunned 73-year-old leader with a broken nose and bloodied mouth, authorities said.
Police said the 42-year-old man accused of attacking Berlusconi as he signed autographs in Milan was immediately taken into custody. The Italian leader was rushed to a hospital where he was being held overnight.
The attack occurred at a time when Berlusconi, one of Italy's wealthiest men, is embroiled in a sex scandal, a divorce case with his wife and public protests demanding his resignation.
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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