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News from the Week of 6th to 12th of June 2010
I've decided to update the current weeks' links first, and previous weeks' as I have time. My apologies for spotty coverage during tax season. Things probably won't be caught up until sometime in June. - PR

A Decade Later, Genetic Map Yields Few New Cures (12 June 2010)
Ten years after President Bill Clinton announced that the first draft of the human genome was complete, medicine has yet to see any large part of the promised benefits.

For biologists, the genome has yielded one insightful surprise after another. But the primary goal of the $3 billion Human Genome Project � to ferret out the genetic roots of common diseases like cancer and Alzheimer�s and then generate treatments � remains largely elusive. Indeed, after 10 years of effort, geneticists are almost back to square one in knowing where to look for the roots of common disease.

One sign of the genome�s limited use for medicine so far was a recent test of genetic predictions for heart disease. A medical team led by Nina P. Paynter of Brigham and Women�s Hospital in Boston collected 101 genetic variants that had been statistically linked to heart disease in various genome-scanning studies. But the variants turned out to have no value in forecasting disease among 19,000 women who had been followed for 12 years.

The old-fashioned method of taking a family history was a better guide, Dr. Paynter reported this February in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

PAM COMMENTARY: What are passed down from parents to children that are NOT genetic? Eating habits! That's why genes don't predict heart disease as well as family history does. Vegetarians and vegans have a much lower risk of heart disease and other health problems.

New video shows Israeli attack in stunning clarity; Boarding of the Mavi Marmara captured by New York-based filmmaker (12 June 2010)
�Israel attempted to confiscate all footage recorded by participants in the Gaza Freedom flotilla � including taking away mobile phones � but Lee managed to smuggle one hour of video out of the country by hiding it in his underwear,� the Guardian reports.

The newspaper adds: �At one stage, the captain of the boat can be heard over the public address system saying �Do not show resistance . . . they are using live ammunition . . . be calm, be very calm.��

Echoing in the background is the sound of gunshots.

Israel claims that the Turkish activists who battled Israeli naval commandos in the deadly clash on the open seas had prepared for the fight ahead of time � boarding the ship separately from other passengers after they had organized and equipped themselves.

The comments from Benjamin Netanyahu were the latest in an Israeli campaign to defend its May 31 crackdown, in which nine activists were killed on a flotilla headed to the blockaded Gaza Strip with hundreds of activists and humanitarian supplies on board.

The operation has drawn international condemnation, seriously damaged Israeli ties with Turkey, and brought heavy pressure to lift the three-year-old closure of Gaza.

Israeli Attack on the Mavi Marmara, May 31st 2010 // 15 min. (Video) (9 June 2010)

On the night of Sunday, May 30, showing a terrifying disregard for human life, Israeli naval forces surrounded and boarded ships sailing to bring humanitarian aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip. On the largest ship, the Mavi Marmara, Israeli commandos opened fire on civilian passengers, killing at least 9 passengers and wounding dozens more. Others are still missing. The final death toll is yet to be determined. Cultures of Resistance director Iara Lee was aboard the besieged ship and has since returned home safely.

Despite the Israeli government�s thorough efforts to confiscate all footage taken during the attack, Iara Lee was able to retain some of her recordings. Above is 15 minutes of footage from the moments leading up to and during the Israeli commandos� assault on the Mavi Marmara.

To download, sign up for a Vimeo account (it is free) then download is available on the bottom right. Please download, share, embed, and distribute.

Sea turtles' breeding tradition threatened (12 June 2010)
More than 350 turtles have been found dead or foundering along the Gulf Coast since the April 20 well blowout, a number wildlife biologists find alarming. At least 62 turtles have been found covered in oil. Rescuers in Gulfport, Miss., on Thursday were called to collect 20 turtle carcasses, the highest daily number they have ever recorded. Researchers say there is no way of knowing how many more turtles have perished at sea.

"Before, we didn't deal much with dead turtles. The calls we'd get were few and far between," said Tim Hoffland, director of animal care at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport.

"But since this oil spill, it's just gone berserk," Hoffland said. "I'm getting calls from my people saying they can't even walk a quarter-mile on the beach without running into dead turtles. It's crazy."

The turtle deaths pose a complex forensics mystery for scientists, many of whom say they are not ready to blame it all on the oil spill. Many of the stranded turtles, for example � five times the number seen in recent years � have been caught by fishing hooks. Toxicology tests will try to determine whether a toxic algae bloom may have killed some of the animals.

Missoula shaken baby conviction relied on science, expert (12 June 2010)
"It makes me angry that my son is dead," he testified. "It makes me angry that I'm the one accused of his death. I don't know who did it. But I had no reason to get mad at my son. He was 3 months old."

Multiple doctors pointed to bleeding in the brain and eyes visible by medical imaging. Their diagnosis: abusive head trauma, more commonly known as shaken baby syndrome. This conclusion and his own testimony led authorities to charge Wilkes - and not another suspect - as the child's killer.

Wilkes' story of what happened Oct. 4, 2008, never changed.

He spent the day moving between apartments in the same complex, leaving Gabriel with a neighbor. He chatted with her when he returned and fed his son a bottle of formula. At home, he laid Gabriel on the floor to rest, grabbed a drink from the kitchen and turned on the television.

Wilkes said when he checked back a few minutes later, he found Gabriel vomiting from his nose and mouth. Unable to find his cell phone, he rushed next door and cried for the sitter to call 9-1-1.

PAM COMMENTARY: "Shaken Baby Syndrome" is often a bad vaccine reaction or "side effect." Some conditions are said to increase that sort of side effect, like a Vitamin C deficiency in the child before getting shots, or a failure of the doctor to give a Vitamin K shot after the vaccine. How can you tell the difference between a lethal vaccine reaction and physical abuse? A good way to start is to find out whether the baby had any vaccines recently.

The vaccine side effect doesn't even seem to have been investigated in this case, as they don't mention any sort of medical history. Is this another cover-up to protect vaccine manufacturers?

I'm posting this one case of many because it seems charging the father was a little premature. Not only did they fail to investigate the baby's vaccination history, but there were other people who had access to the child when the alleged abuse occurred.

From the Ground: BP Censoring Media, Destroying Evidence (11 June 2010)
A few days later, the jig was up with the booms. Oil was making landfall in four states and even BP can't be everywhere at once. CBS 60 Minutes Australia found entire sections of boom hung up in marsh grasses two feet above the water off Venice. On the same day on the other side of Barataria Bay, Louisiana Bayoukeeper documented pools of oil and oiled pelicans inside the boom - on the supposedly protected landward side - of Queen Bess Island off Grand Isle.

With oil undisputedly hitting the beaches and the number of dead wildlife mounting, BP is switching tactics. In Orange Beach, people told me BP wouldn't let them collect carcasses. Instead, the company was raking up carcasses of oiled seabirds. "The heads separate from the bodies," one upset resident told me. "There's no way those birds are going to be autopsied. BP is destroying evidence!"

The body count of affected wildlife is crucial to prove the harm caused by the spill, and also serves as an invaluable tool to evaluate damages to public property - the dolphins, sea turtles, whales, sea birds, fish, and more, that are owned by the American public. Disappeared body counts means disappeared damages - and disappeared liability for BP. BP should not be collecting carcasses. The job should be given to NOAA, a federal agency, and volunteers, as was done during the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska.

NOAA should also be conducting carcass drift studies. Only one percent of the dead sea birds made landfall in the Gulf of Alaska, for example. That means for every one bird that was found, another 99 were carried out to sea by currents. Further, NOAA should be conducting aerial surveys to look for carcasses in the offshore rips where the currents converge. That's where the carcasses will pile up--a fact we learned during the Exxon Valdez spill. Maybe that's another reason for BP's "no camera" policy and the flight restrictions.

Lindsey Williams Talks with Alex Jones About Deadly Gases Leaking from BP Spill (Audio/Video) [AJ] (11 June 2010)
Appearing on the Alex Jones Show on June 10, 2010, paster Lindsey Williams reveals the real threat posed by the leak.

PAM COMMENTARY: Williams has past experience in the oil industry, and also claims to have an inside source with good expertise who occasionally provides him with leaks.

U.S. girl's failed trip around the world 'was insane' (11 June 2010)
Miss Sunderland's attempt to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world will end when a fishing boat completes a 40-hour journey to rescue her. While her parents expressed relief that she had been found, there has been a barrage of criticism that she was allowed to go to sea at all.

Last year a court acted against the wishes of the parents of a 13 year-old Dutch girl by preventing her from setting off on a solo voyage around the world.

Ian Kiernan, an Australian sailor who has circumnavigated the globe, said it was "foolhardy" to enter the Indian Ocean during winter when weather conditions could deteriorate swiftly and present a mortal danger. Marty Still, an Australian who built the boat used by the teenage sailor Jessica Watson to successfully sail round the world earlier this year, said that Abby's team had chosen the wrong type of craft for the perilous crossing.

He said her boat had been built for speed, not safety, and would be extremely difficult for one person to sail.

But the harshest criticism came from America. A columnist in the Los Angeles Times accused Abby's parents of "child abuse" for allowing their daughter to go ahead with her voyage and described the mission as "outrageous, ridiculous, incomprehensible insanity".

Viagra may lead to divorce (10 June 2010)
Experts say the biggest problem is that men take the drug without talking with their partners, making them instant Don Juans�which their partner may not be prepared for. And sometimes, their improved self esteem sends them looking for new, more willing partners.

A report published by the Harvard School of Medicine entitled �Sexuality in Midlife and Beyond� suggests the drug may help resolve relationship pressure caused by erectile dysfunction, but can cause other issues.

�When intercourse is suddenly a possibility again, relationship issues can emerge or resurface, as can dramatic differences in libido. The bottom line is that couples should try to regard these drugs as an opportunity to renew their sexual relationship, while realizing that ED drugs are neither a mandate to have intercourse nor a panacea for every problem in the bedroom.�

The 48-page report was edited by Dr. Alan Altman, assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, and Suki Hanfling, a licensed clinical social worker and certified sex therapist. The report helps readers understand how to deal with the emotional issues concerning sex, including taking Viagra. While there are millions of success stories about Viagra use, the study notes, �The medication works only if the man is feeling sexual desire for his partner.�

PAM COMMENTARY: See flashback below on "Viagra's good side effect."

Viagara's good side effect (FLASHBACK) (15 November 2005)
OK, here's a bizarre story, and I have to warn you that the article cited below does contain "coarse language." You'd never expect a vegetarian with a good knowledge of alternative medicine to be praising Viagara and its pharmaceutical replicas. Aside from the drugs' nasty side effects like heart attacks and blindness, alternatives for overcoming impotence are often as simple as avoiding cholesterol and fried foods, and eating healthy foods like Omega-3 fatty acids and fresh produce. Or for those who are too far advanced for simple dietary cleanup, the same chelation therapy used for heart patients with arteriosclerosis tends to help with other organs as well, if you know what I mean. At best, Viagara is a perfect example of America's band-aid approach to medicine, where as usual, traditional MDs give patients a quick fix that provides temporary relief... and a need for the patient to keep coming back for more. It certainly doesn't solve anything permanently, other than cash flow for the doctor and big drug companies, making their Mercedes payments much easier to handle. So it's hard to believe that Viagara has any sort of positive impact, other than the occasional ability to have sex, blindness, and heart attacks.

But I try to keep an open mind about these things, and it turns out that Viagara has demonstrated a good side effect of global proportions. Seattle's paper The Stranger recently reported a decline in the trade of animal body parts used as folk medicine for impotence. Good news for the Big-Mac-eating species who thought that other animal body parts would reverse a lifetime of greasy fries and milkshakes. Thanks Pfizer, for saving wildlife from the worst dietary habits in the world.

Seattle's newspaper The Stranger reports:
"MONDAY, OCTOBER 10 Our week of kooky correspondence, poisoned police procedures, and ridiculously random death kicks off today with the multiplying miracle of Viagra. After resuscitating two previously endangered species -- the erectile-functional over-50 husband and the sexually satisfied, non-adulterous wife -- Viagra and its wonder-siblings Cialis and Levitra have been credited with benefiting three other legally traded species. Specifically, the hooded seal, the harp seal, and the Alaskan reindeer, each of whose death rates have significantly declined thanks to Viagra and co., which have drastically reduced the demand for wild-animal body parts used in traditional cures for impotence, including the genitals of both the harp and hooded seal and the antler velvet of the Alaskan reindeer. Details come from New Scientist, which reports the findings of a new survey conducted by researchers in Canada and Australia. Since Viagra's introduction in 1998, researchers have watched worldwide trade in antlers fall from $700,000 in 1997 to $200,000 in 1998, and the number of traded seal penises fall from 40,000 in 1996 to 20,000 in 1998. In addition, seal penises suffered a precipitous drop in price, with the price-per-wang falling from $100 to $15 by 1999. Thanks to Pfizer for continuing to improve the lives of both animal and man, and congrats to the seals and reindeer, who get to keep their wangs and velvet, respectively."

Rare photo of slave children found in North Carolina attic (10 June 2010)
The photo, which may have been taken in the early 1860s, was a testament to a dark part of American history, said Will Stapp, a photographic historian and founding curator of the National Portrait Gallery's photographs department at the Smithsonian Institution.

"It's a very difficult and poignant piece of American history," he said. "What you are looking at when you look at this photo are two boys who were victims of that history."

In April, the photo was found at a moving sale in Charlotte, accompanied by a document detailing the sale of John for $1,150, not a small sum in 1854.

New York collector Keya Morgan said he paid $30,000 for the photo album including the photo of the young boys and several family pictures and $20,000 for the sale document. Morgan said the deceased owner of the home where the photo was found was thought to be a descendant of John.

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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.)