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Week of 31st of January to 6th of February 2010

Bob Barker Rammed at Sea - Japanese whalers hit another Sea Shepherd ship (Video)
The anti-whaling boat Bob Barker was rammed on the high seas early this morning during a showdown with a vessel piloted by an allegedly illegal whaling crew.

According to the Sam Shepherd Conservation Society, the B.B. was blocking the shipway of a Japanese whaling fleet's factory ship when the collision occurred. One of the Japanese boats slammed into the Bob Barker, creating "a 3-foot long 4-inch deep gash in the mid starboard side."

No one was injured.

The boat was retrofitted thanks to a $5 million donation from Bob Barker, thus the name.

PAM COMMENTARY: Also see Anti-whaling vessel hit again

Whaler, activist ship collide at sea; Vessel named after Bob Barker is damaged, group says
SYDNEY - The anti-whaling ship the Bob Barker and a Japanese harpoon boat collided in the icy waters off Antarctica on Saturday � the second major clash this year in the increasingly aggressive confrontations between the two sides.

No one was reportedly injured in the latest strike. The U.S.-based activist group Sea Shepherd, which sends vessels to confront the Japanese fleet each year, said a small hole was torn in the hull of its ship, but it was above the water line and the vessel was not in danger of sinking.

Sea Shepherd founder Captain Paul Watson said by satellite telephone that the Japanese ship rammed the Bob Barker � named after the U.S. game show host who donated millions to buy it for Sea Shepherd � as it blocked the slipway of the Japanese fleet's factory ship.

Dave Zirin on Super Bowl Fever in New Orleans and the Militarization of Sport�s Biggest Spectacle [DN]
JUAN GONZALEZ: And Dave, you�ve been involved in plans for a Super Bowl party that has an anti-militarism theme. Could you talk about this whole issue that you alluded to earlier of the involvement of the military in Super Bowls?

DAVE ZIRIN: Oh, yeah. Well, that�s the whole funny thing about, �Oh, we can�t have advocacy ads for the Super Bowl.� But last year David Petraeus flipped the coin at the Super Bowl. Every year, you have the fighter planes fly overhead. It�s a huge recruitment day for the US armed forces. And particularly in the context of the war on terror, the Super Bowl has been an absolute center for military recruitment on a year-in, year-out basis.

And this year I�m teaming up with the Iraq Veterans Against the War, IVAW, and we�re actually going to have a Super Bowl party at the IVAW house here in Washington, DC, where we�re going to watch the game, without question, but we�re also going to speak about de-linking the fun of football with the reality of war. Far too often, sports is used as this idiotic metaphor for war�quarterbacks are field generals, and they throw bullet passes or bombs�when in reality we know that war is very different. War is life and death. War is long periods of boredom punctuated by horrifying terror. So, if you want to just watch the game and have fun watching the game but also speak out against militarism, please email me, dave(at)edgeofsports.com, and I�ll hook you up at the IVAW house here in Washington, DC to watch the big game.

Robert McChesney and John Nichols on �The Death and Life of American Journalism: The Media Revolution that Will Begin the World Again� [DN]
ROBERT McCHESNEY: Yeah, it�s a really important point, Juan, because, you know, everything is going digital. This program is largely received, or will be, digitally at some point in the very near future, not just on television and radio systems. And it�s not a technological argument we�re making about one technology supplanting another. We understand the digital times we�re in. The argument that�s crucial is whether the internet is going to provide the basis for substantive journalism to replace what�s disintegrating before us. And we go through this very carefully in the book.

And I think it�s obvious that if we want to look at actual resources, so people who get paid money to cover beats, who are accountable for them, who are competing with other journalists, who have proofreaders and copy editors and fact checkers and institutions to support them in their work, they�re just not happening online. The resources there barely exist. There are only a handful of journalists who can make a living doing journalism online. And what you have there, too, is if you�re seeking out advertising support, it puts journalism in a very compromised position, because there�s such a competition for the scarce ad dollars. It really undermines the integrity of news that is essential for a credible free news system.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, and even within the old media, newspapers are still the, as I say, the fountainhead of news. I remember once in 1985, I was at Philadelphia Daily News and Inquirer. We were on strike, and we were on strike for five weeks. And all my friends in TV came to me and said, �When are you guys going to go back to work? Because without you, we don�t know what to report.� This is the TV news.

JOHN NICHOLS: Hey, Juan, let me tell you how real that still is, and this is the scary part. There�s a new Pew Center study out. They actually studied Baltimore. They looked at where all the original newspapers came from. They looked at all the independent media, all the online, everything. They found that 96 percent, almost 96 percent�there�s a little debate about the precise figure, but well over 90�came from old media, largely from the daily newspaper, the Baltimore Sun. But here�s the scary part: the footnote. The Baltimore Sun is producing 73 percent fewer original news stories today than twenty years ago. So new media is commenting on old media, but it�s not filling the void of news. Old media is giving us a lot less.

And so, you say, well, OK, come on, Pew Center folks, tell us, where is the news coming from? Who is generating it, if it�s not�well, it�s in there. Eighty-six percent of the stories came in the form of public relations, either from government or from corporations; only 14 percent produced by a reporter who went out and tried to speak truth to power. This is a scary zone we�re entering.

While the article's title suggests conspiracy theories broadly, the 9/11 Truth Movement is the paper's focus, and it reveals substantial concern regarding that Movement's ongoing advance. Particularly ominous is that the authors, who use "theorists" and "extremists" interchangeably, limit their focus "to potentially harmful theories". To whom, one might wonder, would the 9/11 Truth Movement, so "worrisome" for the authors, be harmful? And why do the authors consider the 9/11 Truth Movement such a "serious threat" that it should be "broken up or at least muted by government action"? (pg 21)

The authors contend that conspiracy theorists suffer from "cognitive blunders" and "crippled epistemology". Using psycho-philosophic parlance they are saying those failing to accept the official story of the 9/11 Commission, leading members of which admitted it was "set up to fail", cannot think straight. But the "theorists/extremists" they wish to censure include by now thousands of physicists, architects and engineers using only physical facts and data; substantial figures in theology and philosophy applying elementary logic; military, political and intelligence personnel from all over the world with lifetimes of experience in how the system -- including its underbelly -- functions.

So, what is proposed? "Practically speaking", the authors write, "government might do well to maintain a more vigorous counter-disinformation establishment." (pg 19) They recommend that government officials respond "to more rather than fewer conspiracy theories [which] has a kind of synergy benefit: it reduces the legitimating effect of responding to any one of them, because it dilutes the contrast with unrebutted theories." (pgs 15, 29) Such advice assumes that all theories -- or aspects of a single theory -- are essentially equal in validity or lack of validity -- an odd position for legal minds supposedly sensitive to fine distinctions. But that would not matter when the point is simply to defeat citizen efforts.

More menacing, however is that the authors suggest "planting doubts [to] undermine the crippled epistemology [through] cognitive infiltration" of groups by governmental agents or by forces appointed by government. (pgs 3, 14, 15, 22, 29)"Government agents (and their allies)", they write, "might enter chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine percolating conspiracy theories." In light of such proposals for dealing with citizens seeking truth, that Cass Sunstein is "one of America's leading constitutional scholars" (See above link to the White House announcement) is appalling.

PAM COMMENTARY: Sounds like they're begging for research money. "Oh, please be more aggressive... and send us LOTS of money to come up with some disinformation scripts for ya... We kind of needed a new building anyway, and bigger houses than our neighbors..." Actually, I've had a few debunkers write me over the years, and I don't pay attention to them because ALWAYS their "debunking" is nothing more than a barely intelligible string of their own personal opinions. No evidence, no facts to prove that 9/11 in fact was NOT an inside job. Now Harvard seems to be lobbying for more money to babble the same nonsense with a Boston accent and a few big words tossed in for the academic crowd.

VA processed 141,000 GI Bill claims for the spring
TCC did not receive some tuition payments until the end of the fall semester, but "we allowed them to be enrolled, knowing the moneys would come in eventually," said Phyllis Milloy, the vice president for finance.

The housing stipends go directly to students. Andrea Dance, an assistant registrar at ODU, said some students told her that they received those before the university got the tuition payments.

Both said the VA department was processing requests more quickly this year. "Everything was new last semester," Dance said. "This semester they really have made a lot of effort to try to make things better."

The department's Web site said it had processed claims for 141,580 students for the spring, as of Thursday.

PAM COMMENTARY: I'd say that's a POPULAR program.

Half of new UK jobs are created by the state [AJ]
NEARLY three-fifths of the growth in jobs under Labour during a decade in power was directly or indirectly created by the state, new research shows.

Across the country as a whole, it says 57% of new jobs created during the period 1997-2007 were state or �para-state� � dependent on government spending .

In the West Midlands these jobs accounted for all of the rise in employment, with no new private sector jobs generated overall. More than 80% of new jobs for women nationally depended on the state.

The research, which was carried out at Manchester University�s Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change, concludes that Britain�s business model before the financial crisis in 2007 was �undisclosed and unsustainable�.

�America�s Secret Afghan Prisons�: Investigation Unearths New US Torture Site, Abuse Allegations in Afghanistan [DN]
AMY GOODMAN: Anand Gopal, you write that of the twenty-four former detainees that you interviewed for this story, seventeen said they were abused. What happened to them?

ANAND GOPAL: Well, the abuse ran the gamut from being slapped and kicked and punched to more extreme cases. One of the more extreme cases, which I detail in the story, is of one person who was essentially waterboarded or made to swallow large amounts of water, and he was hung upside down. He was hung from chains. He was forced to kneel on a metal bar as it rolled across his shin.

There are other cases of people who have been�who have had dogs used against them, so dog bites. There�s been accusations of sleep deprivation, where interrogators will play very loud music throughout the night and keep the lights on, and also accusations of being stripped and being held naked in public areas or held naked outside in very cold weather.

AMY GOODMAN: Just to be exact in the quote of this man who was taken, you say they�you quote him saying, �They tied my hands to a pulley and pushed me back and forth as the bar rolled across my shins. I screamed and screamed.� They then pushed him to the ground and forced him to swallow twelve bottles of water. And you quote the man saying, �Two people held my mouth open and they poured water down my throat until my stomach was full and I became unconscious. It was as if someone had inflated me,� he says. After he was roused from his torpor, he vomited the water uncontrollably. Can you talk about these--

ANAND GOPAL: That�s right. And the--

AMY GOODMAN: Go ahead.

ANAND GOPAL: Sorry. I was going to say that the remarkable thing about this is that he was taken to Bagram and then quietly released three or four months later and given a letter of apology saying that US authorities realized they had the wrong man. And a lot of the people who allege abuse also have these letters from US authorities, basically absolving them.

Vt. nuke plant: Tritium may be leaking from pipe
MONTPELIER, Vt. - Officials at a Vermont nuclear plant say they're investigating the possibility that a leak in an underground pipe connected to a sump pit may be responsible for a radioactive substance turning up in groundwater samples at the plant.

Vermont Yankee plant officials said Friday they found tritium levels in the sump pit that are three times higher than those recently found in groundwater samples.

Officials say they've found 2.7 million picocuries per liter in the sump sample. They also say levels in a groundwater monitoring well have reached 834,000 picocuries - the highest reading yet for groundwater and more than 40 times higher than a federal safe drinking water limit.

The tritium leak was discovered last month. Tritium can cause cancer if it's ingested in large amounts.

The Freedom Riders: New Documentary Recounts Historic 1961 Effort to Challenge Segregated Bus System in the Deep South [DN]
AMY GOODMAN: Tell me about the Freedom Riders and how you pieced this together�I mean, it is the most dramatic telling of this story�and its significance in history.

STANLEY NELSON: Well, you know, let me explain in just a real quick way�in a quick way what the Freedom Riders were. In 1961, twelve people, both black and white, decided that they would test the segregation laws of the South by simply getting on buses, Greyhound buses and Trailways buses, and going down south. And the white and black people would sit together at the front of the bus. They would eat together in the restaurants in the bus stations. The white people would use the colored-only restrooms, and the black people would use the white-only restrooms. And they would just see what would happen to them. And they had no police protection, no army protection, very little press when they started out, and they had no idea that it would really turn into this mass movement.

AMY GOODMAN: And so, there were�talk about the different Rides that went down and what happened to each.

STANLEY NELSON: Well, the first twelve people were beaten so badly in Anniston and Birmingham that they had to stop, they had to quit.

Stolen U.S. vehicles end up as bombs in Iraq, FBI says [WRH]
WASHINGTON � Fifteen years after U.S. states were directed to share motor vehicle information in a national database, only nine states have done so, making it nearly impossible to identify hundreds of thousands of stolen vehicles - including a small but steady number that end up as car bombs in Iraq.

FBI officials said they believe the database could help break up far-flung terrorist networks, which are using vehicles stolen and smuggled from the United States.

Bought and sold on the international black market, cars and trucks help fund criminal operations and can be turned into the terrorist weapon of choice against U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians: vehicles packed with explosives. The FBI declined to estimate how many stolen U.S. cars have turned up as car bombs in Iraq but said the number is believed to be at least in the dozens.

The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System was created in 1992 to thwart motor vehicle thefts, but it remains a patchwork repository at best.

Authorities say the system, which has the potential to track every car or truck in the country by its vehicle identification number, has languished because of years of local government inattention, a lack of urgency among state motor vehicle departments, and inconsistent federal funding.

PAM COMMENTARY: WhatReallyHappened.com dug this old cached article out of Google. Mike commented that he posted this old story because of the news about Charlie Sheen's car. Obviously, stolen US cars being shipped to Iraq for use in "terrorist" attacks would seem more like black ops than genuine resistance from an invaded country, due to the cost of shipping in a used car vs. stealing or buying one.

Car Thieves Caught on Tape in Sheen Case
The eye in the sky may be the key to the mysterious Bentley at the bottom of a ravine near where Charlie Sheen's car was found -- the Bentley owners claim they have surveillance tape of the car being stolen.

TMZ just contacted the owners of the Bentley -- one of whom, we're told, is slated to be on the upcoming "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills."

Lisa Vanderpump -- who appeared on "Silk Stalkings" and "Baywatch Nights" -- is married to Kenneth Todd. They live near Charlie Sheen's house in a gated community. The keys were not in the car, Lisa says. The car was parked in the driveway. Lisa tells us they have surveillance footage of the crime.

Lisa and Ken own the fancy Beverly Hills restaurant, Villa Blanca.

UPDATE: Law enforcement sources tell TMZ police are investigating to see if the Charlie Sheen and Todd incidents are connected. They have looked at the surveillance video from Charlie's house and there is a shot of the thieves leaving the scene, though it is hard to ID them.

PAM COMMENTARY: Sounds like the type of crime a psycho would commit, vs. a regular street criminal interested in making money from the crime.

Dim outlook for nuke industry
A coming "nuclear renaissance" is often cited by government and industry officials as reason to keep investing in Canada's nuclear-power sector. Without support, they say, the country risks being sidelined in a market poised for massive expansion.

But that growth, according to an independent report released Thursday, simply isn't happening. After 10 years of industry cheerleading, the world's fleet of nuclear reactors has become smaller.

"There has been, in fact, a decline in the contribution of nuclear power to the world electricity production, from 16.7 per cent in 2000 to 13.5 per cent in 2008," said the report, the result of a three-year study by the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Ottawa.

Arctic ice melt affecting weather, wildlife, study finds
�We know we�re losing sea ice. The world is all aware of that,� said Barber, who holds the Canada research chair in Arctic science at the University of Manitoba. �What you�re not aware of is that it has impacts on everything else that goes on in this system. We�re just starting to understand that from a scientific perspective.�

The expedition discovered there is more open water than ever before in the Arctic, he said. That is creating more cyclones � Arctic storms, characterized by snow and high winds.

The storms further erode the sea ice crucial to the region�s ecosystem.

�Those storms are having a very dramatic impact on the sea ice � they are melting the ice from underneath,� Barber said. �The other thing the cyclones do is they bring winds with them. Those winds remove snow from the surface but they also break up the ice as well.�

Scientists found the loss of that sea ice has both far-reaching and immediate consequences, from boosting temperatures further south to threatening whales and releasing toxic contaminants.

70 Irish priests accused of sex crimes in US
US victims of child abuse have unearthed a direct link to scandals in Ireland, revealing that 70 irish priests who worked in the States have been accused of paedophile crimes.

This dramatic disclosure follows the admission by the archdiocese of Boston that the list includes the late Fr Brendan Smyth, who worked briefly in Arlington two decades ago.

It had previously been thought that at that time he was on the run in the Republic from police in Belfast.

The Boston archdiocese was responding to the demands of victim-support groups, which have alleged in the wake of the Murphy Report that church leaders in Ireland sent accused priests to dioceses in other countries, including the US.

Human Body Found on Plum Island [R]
A human body has washed ashore on tiny Plum Island, where the U.S. government has an aging lab for studying dangerous animal diseases.

Suffolk police say a security guard on foot patrol discovered the clothed body Thursday afternoon on the southwest beach area of the island, where access is restricted.

Homicide Squad detectives say the partially decomposed body was that of a black man about 6 -feet tall with a large build and very long fingers. He was wearing a light green three button short sleeve shirt, green cargo pants with buttons inscribed with the words �God Body Collection,� brown loafer style size 10 shoes, blue plaid boxer style underwear and a belt with a buckle inscribed with the words �Stacy Adams.� There were no obvious signs of trauma.

The Suffolk County medical examiner will perform an autopsy to determine the cause of death. Plum Island has been called a potential target for terrorists because of its stock of vaccines and diseases, such as African swine fever. Anyone with information about the identity of this person is asked to call the Homicide Squad at 631-852-6392 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.

Scientists read the minds of the living dead
Scientists have succeeded in reading the mind of a man thought to have been lacking all awareness after a traumatic head injury, opening a host of questions about what it is to be a sentient person and how we should treat people in his condition.

The 29-year-old, who had been presumed to be in a vegetative state for five years following a road accident, was able to communicate with the researchers by thought alone, giving "yes" and "no" answers to questions. Using an advanced brain scanner, researchers were able to detect that he was thinking, and interact with him, even though it proved impossible to establish any communication at the bedside. It was the first time since his injury in 2003 that he had managed to make contact with the outside world.

The discovery by an Anglo-Belgian team led by Adrian Owen of the Medical Research Council's Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit at the University of Cambridge was praised by other scientists yesterday. Nicholas Schiff, associate professor of neurology at Weill Cornell College, New York, said the findings had "extremely broad implications" for the assessment of patients in the twilight zone between consciousness and unconsciousness. Once the biological basis of the results was explained it would "have a profound impact across medicine," he said.

Cops Say Whoever Killed Morgan Harrington Knew Tricky Farm Area
"We were all hoping that they were going to find her safe and while we knew it would take a lot of work to get Morgan back to normal, we just wanted her to be alive," said Testerman. "We just wanted her to give us one of her big hugs that she's known for."

Testerman said she is particularly feeling the loss. She and Harrington were part of a close-knit group of girlfriends who called themselves "The Nine." Some of the girls even got the number nine tattooed on their bodies as a symbol of their friendship when they all went off to college. Now they are eight.

"We just hope that she didn't have to go through any pain and that her killer showed her mercy and that she's up above in heaven looking down on us," said Testerman.

Swinger link in Rockefeller's death
The slaying of multi-millionaire Herman Rockefeller has been linked to Melbourne's underground "swingers" network as details emerge of his addictive personality.

The body of the 52-year-old was found in a junk-strewn suburban backyard eight days after he was reported missing.

While a missing persons investigation into his business activities across Australia and New Zealand turned up nothing unusual, it's believed detectives uncovered details of the Harvard graduate's secret double life.

Police discovered Mr Rockefeller had been using erotic websites to find partners within Melbourne's swingers network, sources close to the family have told AAP.

Bird Ridge vapor vents draw curiosity of hikers and geologists
Years ago, a band of mountain runners from Anchorage to Girdwood, incorporated winter climbs on Bird Ridge, into their training regimen. Their sport may be called �mountain Running�, but on Bird Ridge, the running is negligible until the descent. Then they take off, full tilt down the snowfields.

While sprinting below the false summit, one or more would occasionally break through the surface of the snow, disappearing into a cavity. For years, they didn't give these random holes much thought. They just climbed out and kept running, thinking the pockets were a result of how the wind loads the snow.

Year to year, those voids developed in the same areas, and the group of friends grew adept at avoiding them. Barney Griffith was the first to intentionally investigate one of the pockets. He stuck his head into it and found humid warm relief from the bitter cold. It felt like Tahiti. On the coldest days, Griffith reports seeing �steam rising from them.�

It is now understood that the cavities are created by a sort of geothermal (�earth heat�) venting. But to what degree? The volcanic degree? Our friendly neighborhood Bird Ridge volcano?

Surry board OKs coal power plant
The debate over a coal-fired energy plant in the center of Surry County continued Thursday with a standing-room-only crowd at the Board of Supervisors meeting.

The Dendron Town Council on Monday approved rezonings and a conditional use permit for the Cypress Creek Power Station, paving the way for the state's largest coal-fired energy plant to be located in the tiny town.

Old Dominion Electric Cooperative wants to build the $4 billion plant - the price has come down since it was first proposed - on about 1,600 acres.

On Thursday, the Surry County Board of Supervisors followed Dendron's example and approved the necessary changes to the county's comprehensive plan, zoning changes and a conditional use permit to allow for the plant.

PAM COMMENTARY: How lovely -- located so that any pollution will blow over Virginia's largest metropolitan area.

Sen. Webb questions Navy adviser's role in carrier move
WASHINGTON � The Pentagon recommended Monday moving an aircraft carrier from Virginia to Florida, angering Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., who questions whether a retired admiral who lobbies for Jacksonville exerted unfair influence on the decision.

Retired admiral Robert Natter, who is also a paid adviser for the Navy, said he had nothing to do with the recommendation that the Navy move the carrier. The recommendation, part of a long-range strategy review, says moving the carrier to Mayport, Fla., will limit the risk that a terrorist attack, natural disaster or accident could cripple the eastern carrier fleet, which is based in Norfolk,Va. The review maps out threats the Pentagon anticipates and its plans to meet them.

Webb, a former secretary of the Navy, has questioned whether Natter met with officials who took part in the Pentagon's strategy review. In December, Webb wrote a letter to the Pentagon asking about Natter's role in the carrier decision and cited a Nov. 18 USA TODAY report that cited Senate lobbying records that showed Natter received $1.5 million as a lobbyist for Florida from 2004 to 2006 on base-closing decisions. The Pentagon has not yet answered Webb's letter, according to Jessica Smith, a spokeswoman for Webb.

Webb said Monday that moving a carrier to Mayport made no financial sense and that the proposal "was not a done deal." He has said the move could cost up to $1 billion.

Fighting Denied Claims Requires Perseverance
Ms. Carr�s form of shock is all too common. The Department of Labor estimates that each year about 1.4 billion claims are filed with the employer-based health plans the department oversees.

Of those, according to data collected from health insurance industry sources, 100 million are initially denied. In simpler numbers, that is one of every 14 claims.

But Ms. Carr, whose hip pain ceased after the arthroscopic surgery, did not give up on the reimbursement. And neither should you. When Ms. Carr, a special education administrator at a local charter school, read her explanation of benefits statement more carefully, she spotted some instructions on how patients can appeal denied claims.

�I decided I would fight,� she said. �After all, what did I have to lose?�

When Windmills Don�t Spin, People Expect Some Answers
For those who suspect residents in places like Minnesota of embellishment when it comes to their tales of bitterly cold winter weather, consider this: even some wind turbines, it seems, cannot bear it.

Turbines, more than 100 feet tall, were installed last year in 11 Minnesota cities to provide power, and also to serve as educational symbols in a state that has mandated that a quarter of its electricity come from renewable resources by 2025.

One problem, though: The windmills, supposed to go online this winter, mostly just sat still, people in cities like North St. Paul and Chaska said, rarely if ever budging. Residents took note. Schoolchildren asked questions. Complaints accumulated.

�If people see a water tower, they expect it to stand still,� said Wally Wysopal, the city manager of North St. Paul. �If there�s a turbine, they want it to turn.�

Perch return to local waters - in an old factory
Perch have largely disappeared from Lake Michigan, but Milwaukee diners soon might be able to order the popular Friday night fish fry species once more from local waters.

Just in time for Lent.

A new generation of yellow perch is being netted about a mile from Lake Michigan at an urban fish and vegetable farm called Sweet Water Organics, which mimics the Earth's natural ecosystem in a cavernous industrial building. Harnischfeger Industries once used the Bay View neighborhood building to make mining cranes.

Decades ago, perch were hauled out of Lake Michigan by commercial fishermen. The fish with a sweet, mild flavor ruled fish fries until - for reasons biologists still don't completely understand - perch fisheries collapsed in the 1990s. Most Wisconsin fish fry perch now hail from Lake Erie and Lake Winnipeg, at a hefty price of $14 to $16 a pound.

Self-help guru in court on manslaughter charges
CAMP VERDE, Ariz. - Self-help guru James Arthur Ray says it was all a tragic accident when his followers began collapsing one by one in a sweat lodge at his retreat, with three of them dying. As unfortunate as the ordeal was, he says the participants knew about the risks the ceremony presented.

Prosecutors say it's a blatant case of manslaughter by a man who recklessly crammed dozens of people in a 400-square-foot sweat lodge and chided them for wanting to leave, even as people were vomiting, getting burned by hot rocks and lying lifeless on the ground.

The two sides will be on display in coming months now that prosecutors have charged Ray with manslaughter in a case that could send him to prison for more than 35 years. The 52-year-old Ray said nothing during his first court appearance Thursday, and his lawyer entered a not guilty plea.

The prospect of a conviction against Ray will depend on whether jurors view the episode as an accident or a criminal act in which he recklessly caused the deaths of the victims, the definition of manslaughter in Arizona.

PAM COMMENTARY: Self-help "retreats" -- I know that a number of them are pretty good, and people find them useful, but that's not true for all of them. Some are pure profiteering. Personally, I'd have trouble charging people for suggestions of questionable value. I guess I'm too ethical to take advantage of vulnerable people during hard times in their lives. When I want to help people (which is all day, every day, and without charges or membership requirements on this web site), I'll stick to things that I believe can make a real difference, like vegetarianism and some of the more effective methods of alternative medicine.

Self-help guru arrested in Arizona sweat lodge deaths
Reporting from Los Angeles and Denver - Self-help guru James Arthur Ray was arrested Wednesday and charged with three counts of manslaughter in connection with an Arizona sweat lodge ceremony that left three people dead in October.

Ray was taken into custody at his attorney's office in Prescott, Ariz., a sheriff's spokesman said, and taken to the Yavapai County jail in Camp Verde. Bond has been set at $5 million. He is to appear in court Thursday.

The charges are linked to the last day of Ray's five-day $9,695-a-person "Spiritual Warrior" retreat near Sedona, where he assembled about 50 people in a makeshift, sauna-like sweat lodge for about two hours.

When it was over, three people were dying. Eighteen others suffered burns, dehydration, respiratory arrest or kidney failure.

10 Americans charged in Haiti with kidnapping
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti � Ten U.S. Baptist missionaries were charged with kidnapping Thursday for trying to take 33 children out of Haiti to a hastily arranged refuge just as officials were trying to protect children from predators in the chaos of a great earthquake.

The Haitian lawyer who represents the 10 Americans portrayed nine of his clients as innocents caught up in a scheme they did not understand. But attorney Edwin Coq did not defend the actions of the group leader, Laura Silsby, though he continued to represent her.

"I'm going to do everything I can to get the nine out. They were naive. They had no idea what was going on and they did not know that they needed official papers to cross the border," Coq said. "But Silsby did."

The Americans, most members of two Idaho churches, said they were rescuing abandoned children and orphans from a nation that UNICEF says had 380,000 even before the catastrophic Jan. 12 quake.

New York charges Bank of America, Lewis over Merrill deal
NEW YORK (AP) � The New York Attorney General's office said Thursday it is filing civil charges against Bank of America and its former CEO Ken Lewis, saying the bank misled investors about Merrill Lynch when it acquired the Wall Street bank in late 2008.

Civil charges are also being filed against Joe Price, the bank's former chief financial officer. Price is now head of the bank's consumer banking division.

At the same time New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's office was filing its civil charges, the Securities and Exchange Commission reached a settlement to resolve charges it brought against Bank of America (BAC) over similar issues.

Lewis stepped down from Bank of America on Dec. 31 after almost a year of strife that followed the bank's purchase of Merrill Lynch.

George Galloway: Tony Blair, Liar and War Criminal [AJ]
...The armies are bogged down, and for them, victory is impossible to achieve. This country, that our government has led us into disaster, and that if we don't hold them to account -- they may lead us into further disasters yet...

PAM COMMENTARY: This article links to a video of one of Galloway's speeches, where he is criticizing the past wars of the Blair administration (Iraq and Afghanistan), and future wars apparently on a U.S. wish list (Yemen and Iran).

Illinois Court Overturns Malpractice Statute
In a case that could resonate in Washington, the Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday overturned the state�s five-year-old medical malpractice law because it limited compensation to injured patients for pain, suffering and other non-economic harms.

The ruling came down as federal proposals to cap malpractice awards are receiving fresh attention on Capitol Hill. Republicans enthusiastically support the limits, and they are seen as a potential vehicle for restarting the stalled health care negotiations in Congress with bipartisan impetus. Neither the House bill that Democrats passed late last year nor its Senate counterpart included significant changes to medical malpractice regulations.

In a 4-to-2 ruling, the Illinois court wrote that the legislature, in enacting the 2005 law, violated the state Constitution�s separation of powers clause by imposing decisions that should be reserved for judges and juries. The law established caps of $500,000 for non-economic damages in verdicts against doctors and $1 million in cases against hospitals.

The decision armed opponents of such provisions with fresh ammunition, and held a particular sting for the American Medical Association, which has its headquarters in Chicago.

PAM COMMENTARY: Malpractice limits have little to do with cutting medical costs and everything to do with boosting insurance company profit margins. And it can be devastating to patients with serious medical needs after being damaged by medical errors. For example, do you have any idea what it costs to be paralyzed? Even without the cost of medical care, what if the paralyzed person can no longer work and was supporting his family with a 75k salary? Even if it was only a 50k job, 50k a year for just 20 years is a million dollars. How is a million dollars going to make that guy whole? And if his wife has to work instead of being at home taking care of him, that'll drive up the cost of his care because they'll have to pay for someone else to take care of him. Malpractice caps are more smoke and mirrors by legislators who take lots of money from the insurance lobby.

5.9 quake rattles North Coast
(02-04) 15:06 PST EUREKA -- A magnitude 5.9 earthquake shook the North Coast today in the area where a stronger temblor hit last month, but there were no reports of injuries or significant damage.

The quake hit at 12:20 p.m. and was centered 28 miles offshore and 7 miles deep, northwest of the small town of Petrolia in Humboldt County, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Residents said they could feel the shaker, but it was nowhere near as disconcerting as the magnitude 6.5 quake that struck the region Jan. 9.

That quake was centered 18 miles offshore and wreaked more than $40 million in damage to roads, buildings and power systems in Eureka, Arcata, Ferndale and other North Coast towns.

We Need 402,000 Jobs A Month. Does The Senate Get It? [BF]
Today, Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid unveiled plans for a series of job-related bills, but details remained sketchy apparently because negotiations are still ongoing to secure enough Republican support to avoid filibuster. Unsurprisingly, weaker tax cut proposals are more likely to get bipartisan support than robust public investment proposals.

So far, Senate leaders are not saying how big their proposals will be, nor how much jobs they are expected to create.

Perhaps they need us to put a fine point on how giant the jobs hole is that we're in.

To return the level of employment we had before the recession began, we need to create 402,000 jobs month for three years straight.

The $154 billion House jobs bill won't come close to filling that jobs gap either -- only a third of the cost goes towards creating jobs, the rest to prevent layoffs and help the jobless -- but it would least take a bigger step than what the Senate is cooking up.

Unless the magnitude of the jobs crisis is made clear, and unless the grassroots loudly demands bold action that meets the size of the crisis, the Senate process will be a race between the parties to see how small can you make a jobs bill and still call it a jobs bill.

Brown sworn in as US senator from Massachusetts
Depending on how Democrats set the Senate's calendar, Brown's first vote could be against the confirmation of Craig Becker, a lawyer for the Service Employees International Union, to a seat on the National Labor Relations Board, the federal panel that referees private sector labor-management disputes.

Brown said he hasn't decided on whether to support Becker.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved Becker's nomination on a party-line 13-10 vote Thursday, sending it to the full Senate.

Republicans have held up Becker's confirmation for months, saying they fear he might use the post to make labor laws more union-friendly without congressional approval.

House Overwhelmingly Passes Cyber Security Bill [AJ]
A document posted on the Infowars.com website last year revealed that the Department of Homeland Security considers returning veterans, gun owners, advocates of the Second Amendment and states� rights to be potential enemies. The 500 to 1,000 �cyber warriors� funded by the sweeping Cybersecurity Enhancement Act will likely be turned against the patriot movement and not the CIA spawned fake terror organization al-Qaeda.

Moreover, the bill represents yet another intrusion into the private sector by the Obama administration and its fellow travelers in Congress. �As our reliance on information technology has increased, so has our vulnerability to cyber attacks, as news reports indicate on a near daily basis,� bill sponsor Daniel Lipinski (D-IL) told eWeek. �Cyber crime is a major problem for the government, for businesses and indeed for every American. This bill will increase the security of vital and personal information by strengthening research partnerships among the federal government, the private sector, and colleges and universities, and supporting the transfer of promising technologies from researchers to the wider marketplace.�

In March of 2009, Infowars.com reported on comments made by senator Jay Rockefeller, the great-grandson of John D. Rockefeller, nephew of banker David Rockefeller, and former Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman. Rockefeller said the internet represents a serious threat to national security. Rockefeller was not alone in this assessment. His belief that the internet is the �number one national hazard� to national security is shared by the former Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and Obama�s current director Admiral Dennis C. Blair. �It really almost makes you ask the question would it have been better if we had never invented the internet,� said Rockefeller.

Rockefeller introduced Senate bills 773 and 778. Rockefeller�s bills would allow the president to �declare a cybersecurity emergency� relating to �non-governmental� computer networks. In other words, if passed, Rockefeller�s bill would give the president the ability to pull the plug on the internet in the name of national security.

State police provide update on Morgan Harrington's case
People who know the area where Morgan Harrington's remains were found are critical to solving the crime, according to state police.

During a news conference Thursday, authorities emphasized how important location is in this case.

State police say the people who know Anchorage Farm and the North Garden area know information that will help them lead to Harrington's killer. That's because investigators believe the suspect(s) is(are) familiar with the area. State police say because of the terrain changes, fences and layout of the land, it would have been too difficult for someone who didn't know the area to navigate.

State police say the person(s) responsible felt inclined to return back to the area during a high stress situation. Authorities say Morgan's body was found a considerable distance from a public roadway and the location would have been a high risk one if they didn't know the farm.

Search ends: As devastated parents grieve, hunt for killer intensifies
Nestled on the Western slopes of Gibson Mountain near the crossroads known as North Garden, Anchorage Farm is reached from a red-gated, cattle-guarded private drive connecting directly to Route 29. That kind of access, along Central Virginia�s main north-south thoroughfare, coupled with the seclusion of a large agricultural tract, make it an optimal place for stealthily discarding a body� though the alleged inaccessibility of the site where Harrington�s body was discovered has caused some to wonder who would know the lay of the land.

Although Anchorage Farm appears mostly open fields, stands of trees around its periphery also mean that, even from the adjacent Blandemar Farm Estates neighborhood, activity on the site may not be visible� particularly at night. Harrington was last seen on the Copely Road bridge around 9:30pm.

Property owner Bass, who describes himself as primarily a cattle farmer and who bought Anchorage Farm in 1983, says the body was found about a mile and a half from Route 29. But, citing a request from law enforcement, he declined to get more specific about the location on his 742-plus acre tract where cows were grazing on discovery day.

News about the discovery of the body of a blonde woman clad in dark clothing traveled fast. With no other blonde people missing from the Charlottesville-Albemarle area other than Harrington, attention speedily turned to Anchorage Farm, parts of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

According to a Hook reporter who arrived at the site shortly before 11am, Albemarle Police cordoned the driveway leading to the Red Hill-area property, and Police Lt. Todd Hopwood, spokesperson for the Department, citing concerns about harmful speculation, declined to offer any information or to answer questions.

PAM COMMENTARY: This article is about a week old, but it offers some good specifics.

Sanofi Pasteur Hired RAND to Determine How to Vaccinate School Children
RAND said parental consent laws create barriers to vaccinating children.

PAM COMMENTARY: "Vaccines that they need to be healthy"? "NEED" to be healthy? A lot of parents whose children were damaged or killed by vaccines would disagree.

You lost your house - but you still have to pay
Former homeowners may still be on the hook if there's a difference between what they owed on their mortgage and what the bank could sell it for at auction. And these "deficiency judgments" are ticking time bombs that can explode years after borrowers lose their homes.

It can even happen to people who got their bank to approve them selling their home for less than it is worth.

Vanessa Corey, for example, short sold her Fredericksburg, Va., home in April 2008. She and her husband built the house in 2004, but setbacks, both personal (divorce) and professional (housing bust), made it impossible for the real estate agent to keep her home. So she negotiated the short sale and thought that was the end of it.

"My understanding was that the deficiency was negotiated away," she said. "Then, last November, I got a letter from a lawyer telling me I owed my lender $65,000. I had to declare bankruptcy. There was no way I could pay it."

Rep. John Murtha hospitalized in intensive care
Rep. John Murtha has been hospitalized in intensive care stemming from complications related to gallbladder surgery.

Spokesman Matt Mazonkey says the 77-year-old Pennsylvania congressman underwent scheduled surgery last week and is currently at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington.

Murtha was also hospitalized in December with gallbladder problems.

The 19-term Democrat was the first Vietnam veteran to serve in Congress. He leads the powerful House Appropriations subcommittee on defense spending.

PAM COMMENTARY: I hope that my Hulda Clark liver cleanses save me from ever needing gall bladder surgery. As it is, they already had saved me from those weird allergies that appeared suddenly after an auto accident.

$225 million waste-to-energy project planned in Milwaukee
A $225 million project in Milwaukee announced Tuesday would convert municipal and industrial waste into renewable energy.

Alliance Federated Energy of Milwaukee announced that it plans to build Project Apollo, a project that is expected to create more than 250 construction jobs and 45 full-time jobs once it is operational.

The 25-megawatt project would go online in 2013, and would deploy a plasma gasification technology developed by Westinghouse Plasma Corp.

Under this technology, the municipal waste is not burned but is instead converted into a syngas that can be used to generate electricity, steam or biofuels.

You don't have to be bipolar to be a genius -- but it helps
Scientists have for the first time found powerful evidence that genius may be linked with madness.

Speculation that the two may be related dates back millennia, and can be found in the writings of Aristotle, Plato and Socrates. Aristotle once claimed that "there is no great genius without a mixture of madness", but the scientific evidence for an association has been weak � until now.

A study of more than 700,000 adults showed that those who scored top grades at school were four times more likely to develop bipolar disorder than those with average grades.

The link was strongest among those who studied music or literature, the two disciplines in which genius and madness are most often linked in historical records. The study was conducted by researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, with colleagues from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.

PAM COMMENTARY: Bipolar responds well to Omega-3 supplementation and is probably the one "disorder" most likely to be nothing or little more than an Omega-3 deficiency. I haven't observed any differences personally in people whose mental conditions have improved with Omega-3 supplementation -- they're just as intelligent and talented as far as I can tell, maybe more so. But perhaps not feeling well mentally compels people to try harder, if only to feel better about themselves. And when you're talking about music and literature, that's very subjective. Some of the sickest stories become the most famous, often written about crazy or homicidal people. That doesn't mean violent literature is "better" than non-violent works; again, it's quite subjective.

Personally, even if Omega-3 deficiency gave people a slight advantage, I'd rather have good levels of Omega-3 than the range of health problems that come from not enough.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak says his Toyota Prius accelerates on its own
Apple Inc. co-founder Steve "Woz" Wozniak has seen his share of software glitches in the gadgets he has created and in those he collects.

But Wozniak said he was surprised several months ago when his 2010 Toyota Prius started accelerating on its own -- to as much as 97 mph -- when he used cruise control to increase the vehicle's speed. He said he had to tap the brakes to stop the car from accelerating.

Wozniak, 59, wanted to alert Toyota Motor Corp. and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to the possible safety issue, but he grew frustrated when no one would listen.

Thanks to a media blitz Tuesday -- including an appearance on CNN -- Toyota engineers are going to borrow Wozniak's car for a week to diagnose the problem, he said. A Toyota spokesman confirmed that the automaker had reached out to Wozniak.

Anne Froelick Taylor dies at 96; blacklisted screenwriter
Taylor's first screen credit was the 1941 drama "Shining Victory," which she co-wrote with Koch.Four other Froelick writing credits followed: "The Master Race" (1944), "Miss Susie Slagle's" (1946), "Easy Come, Easy Go" (1947) and "Harriet Craig."Taylor's involvement in left-wing causes, such as fighting against fascism and promoting unions and desegregation, had led her to join the Communist Party, her daughter said.

In 1951, Taylor's party membership caused her husband, Philip Taylor, to lose his job as a manufacturing planner at Lockheed.

"He was escorted out of the plant by two guards," Taylor's daughter said. "I think it was to make a public display, which is what they were doing all over to frighten people. Interestingly, my mother hadn't gotten work [as a writer] from 1950 to '53, so she feared she was sort of covertly blacklisted, not blatantly blacklisted."

On the last day of the House Un-American Activities Committee's last visit to Hollywood in 1953, two fellow screenwriters named Taylor as a Communist.

Exclusive: Israeli commander: 'We rewrote the rules of war for Gaza'
A high-ranking officer has acknowledged for the first time that the Israeli army went beyond its previous rules of engagement on the protection of civilian lives in order to minimise military casualties during last year's Gaza war, The Independent can reveal.

The officer, who served as a commander during Operation Cast Lead, made it clear that he did not regard the longstanding principle of military conduct known as "means and intentions" � whereby a targeted suspect must have a weapon and show signs of intending to use it before being fired upon � as being applicable before calling in fire from drones and helicopters in Gaza last winter. A more junior officer who served at a brigade headquarters during the operation described the new policy � devised in part to avoid the heavy military casualties of the 2006 Lebanon war � as one of "literally zero risk to the soldiers".

The officers' revelations will pile more pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to set up an independent inquiry into the war, as demanded in the UN-commissioned Goldstone Report, which harshly criticised the conduct of both Israel and Hamas. One of Israel's most prominent human rights lawyers, Michael Sfard, said last night that the senior commander's acknowledgement � if accurate � was "a smoking gun".

Until now, the testimony has been kept out of the public domain. The senior commander told a journalist compiling a lengthy report for Yedhiot Ahronot, Israel's biggest daily newspaper, about the rules of engagement in the three-week military offensive in Gaza. But although the article was completed and ready for publication five months ago, it has still not appeared. The senior commander told Yedhiot: "Means and intentions is a definition that suits an arrest operation in the Judaea and Samaria [West Bank] area... We need to be very careful because the IDF [Israel Defence Forces] was already burnt in the second Lebanon war from the wrong terminology. The concept of means and intentions is taken from different circumstances. Here [in Cast Lead] we were not talking about another regular counter-terrorist operation. There is a clear difference."

Murray leaves Houston to face possible charge
Dr. Conrad Murray, the Houston cardiologist at the center of the investigation into Michael Jackson's death, is in Los Angeles and prepared to surrender if authorities charge him in the case, said his spokeswoman.

Miranda Sevcik said Murray left Houston over the weekend, but has no information on if or when involuntary manslaughter charges might be filed. She said that authorities haven't notified Murray's Houston lawyer Edward Chernoff of any plans to charge the doctor.

�We're trying to be as cooperative as we can, but we don't have any idea what's coming � there's been no contact, no request, no directive from authorities,� said Sevcik. �But with all the rumors swirling around, Ed felt it was in Dr. Murray's best interest to be in Los Angeles now.�

Sevcik said Murray also is in Los Angeles because of family business. She said he still goes there frequently.

Foot power to light up London by 2012; Stepping on green slabs will power street lights and subway stations
In the rush to develop alternative energy sources, harnessing the power of the sun and wind has captured the world's imagination. By comparison, capturing power from walking seems rather pedestrian.

But when you add up every step taken in a city such as London, with millions on foot every day expending kinetic energy that could be converted and stored as electricity, that's a pretty significant source of power.

Pavegen systems, a London-based company, has developed technology that uses electricity produced from walking on specially designed pavement slabs to power street lights and subway stations.

The city of London has partnered with the company to do just that, with plans to have 16,000 of the green pavement slabs installed by summer 2012.

PAM COMMENTARY: New York City could use a whole lot of those green slabs!

Mining destruction for data to help others
William Holmes was at his desk at a downtown San Francisco engineering firm when a message from the U.S. Geological Survey flashed onto his computer screen: A magnitude 7.0 earthquake had struck 10 miles from the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.

Within minutes, Holmes was making plans for a team of geotechnical engineers, architects and seismic design experts to scour Haiti's devastated landscape and collect data to be analyzed in laboratories back home. Theirs will be a humanitarian mission in the broadest sense. The beneficiaries might be thousands of miles, and many years, away from the Caribbean.

A handful of researchers have already begun trickling into the country; dozens more, including Holmes' team, will follow. The National Science Foundation, the primary funder of such missions, is now evaluating proposals from investigators hoping to study the geologic and engineering aspects of the quake, such as the way houses crumpled and how soil moved and changed. Other scientists are interested in the human side, such as how quake victims responded to the anarchy and how relief agencies coordinated their missions.

This attraction to misfortune may appear unseemly, but events like the Haiti quake are opportunities for an idiosyncratic breed known as disaster researchers. These scientists flock to places devastated by quakes, hurricanes and intentional acts of destruction to study the consequences.

Medical examiner: Morgan Harrington death a homicide
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond has determined that Morgan Harrington's death was a homicide. The office said it currently has no further information to share about how she was killed.

Harrington disappeared Oct. 17 from a Metallica concert she was attending in Charlottesville. Her body was found Jan. 26 in an Albemarle County hayfield about 10 miles south of where she was last seen.

The medical examiner's office finding rules out the possibility that Harrington, 20, wandered away from Charlottesville and died of exposure.

Oregon man says Idaho officers ruined his medicine bag
SANDPOINT, Idaho � An Oregon man is accusing Idaho police officers of destroying the mystical qualities of his Native American medicine bag when they opened it during a drunk driving arrest last summer.

The tort claim filed recently by 49-year-old Craig Clark Show, of Portland, seeks $25,000 in damages from the Idaho State Police and Bonner County Sheriff Department.

Show also alleges he was persecuted because of his religious beliefs after he was stopped by northern Idaho authorities last August. The Bonner County Daily Bee reports that police arrested Show, charging him with driving under the influence of alcohol.

In the tort claim, Show says the medicine bag had been blessed by a medicine woman and has been sealed since 1995. But he says the bag's mystical qualities were damaged when opened by officers.

PAM COMMENTARY: I guess the medicine bag had some sort of energy healing attached to it. For those of us familiar with energy healing, it's possible that the policeman changed or stopped its energy properties by opening the bag.

Israelis disciplined in attack on UN warehouse
The Israeli military said Monday it has reprimanded two high-ranking officers for approving the firing of artillery shells toward a U.N. compound during the Gaza Strip war last year � the first admission of any high-level wrongdoing during the offensive.

Israel announced the punishment in a document submitted to the United Nations last Friday in response to a U.N. report that has accused Israel's military of committing war crimes, including the use of white phosphorus, an incendiary munition, in the warehouse attack.

Israel is trying to stave off the report's central threat of launching war crimes proceedings if it does not carry out an independent investigation into the military's conduct during the fighting.

There was no immediate comment from U.N. officials, and it remained unclear whether the relatively minor punishments would mollify international concerns that the military is not capable of investigating itself.

U.S. Examines Whether Blackwater Tried Bribery
WASHINGTON � The Justice Department is investigating whether officials of Blackwater Worldwide tried to bribe Iraqi government officials in hopes of retaining the firm�s security work in Iraq after a deadly shooting episode in 2007, according to current and former government officials.

The officials said that the Justice Department�s fraud section opened the inquiry late last year to determine whether Blackwater employees violated a federal law banning American corporations from paying bribes to foreign officials.

The inquiry is the latest fallout from the shooting in Nisour Square in Baghdad, which left 17 Iraqis dead and stoked bitter resentment against the United States.

A federal judge in December dismissed criminal charges against five former Blackwater guards implicated in the episode, but Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. recently announced that the Obama administration would appeal that decision.

Missoula native is first woman to serve as military's 'top cop'
Colleen McGuire�s father said it was in her all along � this tough girl, firstborn of six kids, Sentinel High School graduate and former University of Montana cheerleader.

�She was always,� said Bill McGuire, a career Army man who is now retired, �a take-charge person.�

That�s putting it mildly. Because today, 35 years after Colleen McGuire left high school, Bill McGuire has to salute his daughter � almost literally.

Colleen McGuire, a U.S. Army brigadier general, was appointed in January as head of the entire Army military police apparatus � both the Army�s provost marshal general and the commanding general of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command.

Spray-on miracle could revolutionise manufacturing
It sounds too good to be true: a non-toxic spray invisible to the human eye that protects almost any surface against dirt and bacteria, whether it is hospital equipment and medical bandages or ancient stone monuments and expensive fabrics.

But true it is. The spray is a form of "liquid glass" and is harmless to living things and the wider environment. It is being touted as one of the most important, environmentally-friendly products to emerge from the field of nanotechnology, which deals in objects at the molecular end of the size scale.

Tests have revealed an astonishing variety of potential uses for the liquid glass, from protecting vineyards against fungal attacks to coating medical implants with non-stick, antibacterial surfaces. Scientists have even used it to spray fabric with an invisible, dirt-resistant film � emulating the fictional invention of unstainable clothing in the 1951 Ealing comedy The Man in the White Suit.

The secret of liquid glass is that it forms an ultra-thin film between 15 and 30 molecules thick � about 500 times thinner than human hair. On this nanoscale � a few millionths of a millimetre thick � liquid glass turns into a highly flexible invisible barrier that repels water, dirt and bacteria, yet is resistant to heat, acids and UV radiation but remains "breathable".

Leaked climate change emails scientist 'hid' data flaws
Phil Jones, the beleaguered British climate scientist at the centre of the leaked emails controversy, is facing fresh claims that he sought to hide problems in key temperature data on which some of his work was based.

A Guardian investigation of thousands of emails and documents apparently hacked from the University of East Anglia's climatic research unit has found evidence that a series of measurements from Chinese weather stations were seriously flawed and that documents relating to them could not be produced.

Jones and a collaborator have been accused by a climate change sceptic and researcher of scientific fraud for attempting to suppress data that could cast doubt on a key 1990 study on the effect of cities on warming � a hotly contested issue.

Today the Guardian reveals how Jones withheld the information requested under freedom of information laws. Subsequently a senior colleague told him he feared that Jones's collaborator, Wei-�Chyung Wang of the University at Albany, had "screwed up".

PAM COMMENTARY: This sort of thing is what journalists like Mike Rivera of WhatReallyHappened.com were calling "Climate Gate." I wouldn't totally dismiss the global warming theory just because scientists changed their data to go along with it, though. It doesn't disprove the theory, but it does show some kind of cover-up going on for whatever reason.

I have heard of scientists changing research results that their students collected because it didn't go along with fashionable theories at the time, and the professors doubted that their students' readings were genuine. I guess they were afraid of going against the establishment. Gotta report those stray findings though! Sometimes it takes more research to find out what's responsible for twists in the data, but that's how most people come up with new theories and make names for themselves.

Chinese dissident stranded at Tokyo airport set to return home
A Chinese dissident who has spent the past three months living in limbo at Tokyo's main airport said today he would return home after apparently reaching an agreement with Beijing.

Feng Zhenghu, an academic who has been highly critical of China's human rights record, said he had decided to abandon his protest in the immigration area of Narita airport after a weekend visit from Chinese embassy officials.

Feng, 55, said he had been denied re-entry to China eight times since June while attempting to return home from a trip to see his sister in Japan.

After the most recent refusal, at Shanghai's Pudong airport on 4 November, he was forced on to a flight back to Narita, where he took up residence on a bench opposite the immigration desks.

Airport officials have been powerless to move him, since he has a valid passport and visa to visit Japan.

Local search intensifies as Morgan Harrington's remains are found [with video]
More than 100 days after 20-year-old Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington was spotted on the Copeley Road Bridge, leaving a Metallica concert at John Paul Jones Arena, her remains were found in a 750-acre farm roughly 10 miles away. Since the discovery of Harrington�s body, Virginia State Police and local law enforcement have pursued new leads in a case that primary investigator Lieutenant Joe Rader said VSP considers a �potential homicide.�

C-VILLE Weekly also pursued new information, from interviews with residents of the areas surrounding Anchorage Farm, where Harrington�s body was found, to a tip on 15th Street, where local residents reported being interviewed by investigators who might�ve located Harrington�s shirt. As the discovery of Morgan Harrington�s remains turns to new searches for answers, here is a comprehensive report of the events so far.

PAM COMMENTARY: One of the best articles I've seen describing the Harrington case so far.

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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


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All original content including photographs © 2010 by Pam Rotella. (News excerpts copyright by their corresponding authors, news organizations, or other copyright holders, and quoted here typically as "fair use" or "teaser" paragraphs to generate interest in the full articles.)