Pam Rotella's Vegetarian FUN page -- News on health, nutrition, the environment, politics, and more!
NEWS LINK ARCHIVE 2011
News from the Week of 13th to 19th of November 2011
I apologize to readers for what appear to be runaway symbols in the text below. Recently my web hosting company decided that it didn't like quotation marks, apostrophes, and long dashes -- symbols commonly found in news copy. If I'd known they were going to start converting these common symbols to crazy characters, I would have revised the program that generates code around the news quotes, but now I have to go through the entire page by hand and remove them, and then check the archives to roll them back to stored copies I have. This may take a while, and I'll also be catching up with recent news links later this week. Check back in a day or two....
Updates on the Clearing of Zuccotti Park (15 November 2011)
The day after the police cleared Zuccotti Park of the Occupy Wall Street protesters in an overnight raid and arrested hundreds of people, a judge ruled Tuesday afternoon that the city had the right to enforce rules against having camping gear in the park.
At 5:33 p.m., more than 16 hours after the police evicted the protesters, the police began allowing protesters back in, single file. They can stay as long as they like, the city said, but they cannot sleep there overnight.
At 5:33 p.m., police officers in riot gear opened a gate at the north end of Zuccotti Park and let the protesters back in -- one at at time.
The protesters, many waving American flags, had to walk single file past the officers. "Keep it calm, keep it calm," the marchers chanted in the drizzling rain.
Andy Nicholson, 54, of Manhattan, paused in his tracks on his way into the park. Officers told him to keep it moving. "It's not as joyful as I would have liked," he said. "It's all about control. You have to walk through a gantlet." Many of the protesters, though, seemed very happy to have returned.
PAM COMMENTARY: According to a Democracy Now broadcast, Bloomberg had sanitation trucks follow the police, and they were throwing everything away -- even laptops. That's what happens when a billionaire forces his way into a third term -- no respect for the working class
Palestinians protest 'racist' bus policy (15 November 2011)
Six Palestinian activists calling themselves "freedom riders" after the campaigners of the American civil rights movement have been arrested while attempting to enter Jerusalem on an Israeli bus carrying settlers through the occupied West Bank.
The activists said they aimed to demonstrate that Israel's occupation of the West Bank had resulted in a community segregated on racial lines, comparable to those of the American south in the 1960s, where African Americans defied segregation by using buses reserved for "whites only".
It is not illegal for Palestinians to travel on Israeli buses in the West Bank, but Israel has prohibited their entry to the Jewish-only communities serviced on the routes without an Israeli permit because of security concerns. Palestinians with West Bank IDs -- held by all six protesters -- face arrest if they are found in Jerusalem without an Israeli permit to work.
Activist Fedi Qura, 23, said Palestinians were routinely refused entry on these buses because of their race. "Our goal is not just to get on a bus. Our goal is for a complete Israeli disengagement from the West Bank. We want to get rid of the settlements, not just the buses that come with them," he said.
Suu Kyi's NLD democracy party to rejoin Burma politics (18 November 2011)
The party of Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has agreed to re-enter the political process and contest parliamentary elections.
On Friday her National League for Democracy said it would register to run in the as yet unscheduled by-elections.
The party boycotted the last polls in November 2010, the first in 20 years.
Meanwhile the US is to send Hillary Clinton to Burma next month, amid what President Barack Obama called "flickers of progress" in the nation.
Mr Obama spoke to Aung San Suu Kyi before deciding to send Mrs Clinton, who will be the first US secretary of state to visit in 50 years.
Study finds parts of Japan no longer safe for farming (15 November 2011)
The study, led by Teppei Yasunari of the Universities Space Research Assn. in Maryland, looked at levels of cesium-137, which is of particular concern because it takes decades to decay.
The researchers used daily measurements collected in most prefectures along with computer-generated models of particle dispersion based on weather patterns to estimate the level of contamination across Japan.
The legal limit in Japan for concentrations of cesium-137 and cesium-134 in farm soil is 5,000 becquerels per kilogram (2.2 pounds). Cesium-137 makes up about half of the total for the concentrations, which are produced together.
The study found that the level of contamination in east Fukushima exceeded the safety limits. Results from neighboring prefectures were within the legal limits, but the researchers advised local authorities to conduct supplementary soil sampling.
Disarmament group slams US-led cluster bomb treaty (16 November 2011)
GENEVA -- Disarmament campaigners accused the United States on Wednesday of negotiating a treaty on cluster munitions which it says could encourage the use of the deadly weapon.
Negotiations began in Geneva this week among member states of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) as they attempt to conclude a legally-binding protocol on cluster bombs.
The Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) warned that if passed it could lead to an increase in the use of cluster bombs by countries not signed up to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, a ban which came into force in August 2010.
The United States is not among the 111 states who have joined the convention.
"An international convention with very high standards, comprehensively banning cluster munitions, entered into force a little over a year ago and yet we have governments here this week and next week negotiating a new international treaty on cluster munitions with much lower standards," said Steve Goose, editor of the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor.
"This has never happened before in international humanitarian law. We find it outrageous."
Rule by technocracy (17 November 2011)
Emphasis mine. I think Mr Kirkegaard may actually misrepresent Mr Weidmann's views; the Bundesbank does not want the ECB to be orchestrating the fall of elected leaders, because that is so clearly likely to turn out badly. Rather, he thinks the ECB shouldn't be intervening to buy bonds at all, that markets should be left to do what they will, and that politicians should be responsible for saving the euro zone. Were he successful in implementing this vision the euro zone would probably be dead already, but one has to respect his commitment to democracy and the rule of law.
The ECB's leaders are playing a very dangerous game in allowing yields to rise when it suits them, for two reasons. First, as another colleague noted yesterday, rising yields are doing serious and lasting damage to sovereign bond markets. The investors buying the long-term debt of large, rich European countries are typically far more interested in safety and stability than high yields and volatility. The ECB is allowing these investors to exit the market, seemingly under the impression that they can be enticed back in once everything settles down. That is a very risky bet.
Secondly, it seems to be taken for granted that all the euro zone needs to make it through this crisis is politicians determined enough to enact bold reforms. If the technocratic ECB can engineer the ascension of technocratic regimes around the periphery, then a lithe and perky southern rim will quickly return to growth and find itself in the warm embrace of welcoming bond markets. Unfortunately for this plan, voters may wish to have something to say about the process. A potentially serious recession looms ahead, and it will take significant buy-in from the people of the periphery to stay with reforms until they begin to bear fruit down the road. The political role played by the ECB in engineering governmental turnover does not strike me as conducive to these ends. If I were an Italian being asked to endure a deep recession for the good of the euro zone as a whole, and I saw that northern Europeans were praising the ECB for using the conditionality of its support to threaten my country until the central bank got the leader it wanted, I might find my resolve in the face of reforms and budget cuts to be eroding a bit.
Put more simply, the euro zone, and indeed the European Union, has always had a legitimacy problem. Given the clear economic costs of the single currency for much of Europe, it now has a serious legitimacy problem. Residents of every euro zone country are now asking themselves very difficult questions about whether it is in their interest to stick with this project. The idea that having an unaccountable technocracy "orchestrate the fall of elected leaders" in order to eliminate threats to the euro zone is a good thing for the future of that union is bizarre and dangerous, in my view, and highly likely to backfire.
US to stockpile cluster bombs in Australia (Opinion) (19 November 2011)
Although they are long-standing and committed allies, Australia and the United States hold different positions on many matters relating to both arms control and humanitarian law. One recent normative development where the US and Australia's views have diverged is the ban on cluster bombs, a weapon that has inside multiple - often hundreds - of small explosive sub-munitions or "bomblets" that are dispersed over an area the size of several football fields from either the air or ground. As a result, the final location of each bomblet is impossible to control for those deploying them, and so whom they maim or kill is both unknown and indiscriminate. Roughly 30 per cent of those deployed "fail" to explode on impact, and so the unexploded bomblets become de facto landmines.
When the Convention on Cluster Munitions came into effect in August last year, the Gillard government was part of a chorus of NGOs and governments that saw "an end for all time" of the use of cluster munitions by prohibiting their production, use, stockpiling and transfer. At present, a bill sits with the senate that will criminalise Australian deployment of the weapon under domestic law, thereby ratifying the international convention.
With the formation of a US military base in Darwin, Gillard will effectively make use of certain "loopholes" in the bill that arise from US' non-signatory status to the Convention, and obfuscation of negotiations that are currently taking place for an additional arms control measure this week. Best estimates are that the US forces presently have a quarter of the world's four billion cluster munitions in stockpiles across both its territory and existing overseas bases. The US last deployed cluster munitions during the Iraq War in 2003, despite the emerging norm.
In my view, there's a fair degree of probability cluster munitions will be stockpiled in Darwin, since there are known plans for the US to base a number of B-52 bombers historically used to deploy cluster bombs. It is already known that nuclear weapons will not be permitted onto Australian territory, but a number of the US' naval fleet are nuclear-powered vessels, which will be allowed.
Paramilitary Policing of Occupy Wall Street: Excessive Use of Force amidst the New Military Urbanism (17 November 2011)
AMY GOODMAN: Speaking of neutral referees, I wanted to bring a judge into this discussion, retired New York Supreme Court Judge Karen Smith, who worked as a legal observer early Tuesday morning here in New York. I saw her right on the corner of Wall Street shortly after police raided the Occupy Wall Street encampment. Judge Smith, what did you see?
JUDGE KAREN SMITH (ret.): Well, I arrived about 1:30, 1:40 in the morning, got out and walked to Dey and Broadway. And the police were in full riot gear. I mean, it was a paramilitary operation if there ever was one, I mean, which sets off--here it is, 1:30 in the morning, what we call a stealth eviction, 1:30 in the morning, and they were just lined up two blocks from--on either side from the park, so that nobody could get near, this solid wall of police.
I was wearing--and I brought this--a hat, which says the "National Lawyers Guild Legal Observer." And as you can see, in color, it's quite bright. And at night--
AMY GOODMAN: It's fluorescent green.
JUDGE KAREN SMITH (ret.): It's fluorescent green. And then I was wearing it, and I had a pad and a pen, and I was there to take down the names of people who were arrested so we could follow them through the system and just observe what was going on. And as I'm standing there, some African-American woman goes up to a police officer and says, "I need to get in. My daughter's there. I want to know if she's OK." And he said, "Move on, lady." And he kept pushing--they kept pushing with their sticks, pushing back. And she said--and she was crying. And all of a sudden, out of nowhere, he throws her to the ground and starts hitting her in the head. And I walk over, and I say, "Look, cuff her if she's done something, but you don't need to do that." And he said, "Lady, do you want to get arrested?" And I said, "Do you see my hat? I'm here as a legal observer." He said, "You want to get arrested?" And he pushed me up against the wall.
And, you know, it was late at night. There was a lot going on. People were--all of a sudden, there was like a cordon of police pushing everybody into Dey Street between Broadway and Church. And it seemed like they were setting everybody up to get arrested. And then they started--some people broke away, some of the police, and started running after people. I moved away and then decided that I needed to get on the other side. I received a call that there were things developing on Pine and Broadway, and so I moved all the way east to go around the police and then ended up on Pine and Broadway, which is really where I ran into you.
PAM COMMENTARY: She'd be quite a witness if the woman being beaten goes to court or decides to sue. Who's the judge going to believe -- the cop, or a retired NY Supreme Court Judge?
FDA revokes Avastin's approval for breast cancer treatment (18 November 2011)
The Obama administration revoked approval on Friday of the top-selling cancer drug Avastin for treating advanced breast cancer, despite appeals from distraught women, some patient advocates and the company that makes the drug.
Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg issued a 69-page decision that said a review had clearly shown the drug was harming women more than it was helping them. Studies have found that Avastin can increase the risk of dangerous bleeding, heart attacks and other problems.
"Sometimes, despite the hopes of investigators, patients, industry and even the FDA itself, the results of rigorous testing can be disappointing," Hamburg said. "This is the case with Avastin when used for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer."
While medical advances have reduced the death toll from breast cancer, the malignancy remains the most common cancer among women, and the decision leaves few last-ditch options for many of those fighting the most advanced form of the disease. As a result, the fate of the drug had sparked one of the more emotional and acrimonious debates in years over a medical treatment among patients, oncologists, women's health advocates, health-care policymakers, politicians and the pharmaceutical industry.
Some patients likened the FDA decision to a death sentence. Advocates of quicker access to new treatments and critics fearing health-care rationing called it a prime example of government overstepping. But many leading researchers, public health analysts and even prominent breast cancer doctors and advocates praised the decision. They saw it as a crucial demonstration that careful examination of the scientific evidence trumped emotion and intense public pressure.
U.S. lawmakers: Pizza sauce is a vegetable (17 November 2011)
WASHINGTON -- Never mind the obesity crisis: U.S. lawmakers prodded by the frozen food industry have moved to protect schools' ability to count pizza sauce as a vegetable in lunches for students.
In an annual spending bill covering the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has oversight over subsidized school meals, a joint House-Senate panel voted to prevent the agency from restricting pizza, fries, and starchy vegetables.
A Republican summary of the legislation, which was unveiled Monday and may be approved this week, cheered the defeat of "overly burdensome and costly regulations" and hailed "greater flexibility for local school districts."
And the American Frozen Food Institute industry lobby hailed the measure, which it said "recognizes the significant amounts of potassium, fiber and vitamins A and C provided by tomato paste and ensures that students may continue to enjoy healthy meals such as pizza and pasta."
PAM COMMENTARY: Reminds me of the old ketchup-is-a-vegetable scandal under Reagan.
C-section rate falls for the first time in 15 years (17 November 2011)
According to preliminary government data released Thursday, C-section deliveries were down slightly in 2010 -- from 32.8% of all deliveries compared to 32.9% in 2010. The rising C-section birth trend has been roundly criticized because many surgical deliveries are not performed for medical reasons, according to numerous studies. The nation's C-section rate in 1970 was only 5%.
Such deliveries cost more and increase the risk of problems in the mother and baby. But over the last two decades, doctors have often permitted a "patient-choice" C-section, which allows women to avoid labor. Doctors have also been reluctant to allow vaginal birth in a patient with a prior C-section because of fears of being sued due to a bad outcome.
However, the increase in the C-section rate has slowed over the last few years, and 2010 marks the first dip. Recently, doctors have been pressured to reconsider performing C-sections for non-medical reasons. Moreover, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists last year issued a position paper saying that most women can safely attempt a vaginal birth after a C-section.
PAM COMMENTARY: Watch -- as soon as the economy picks up and people can afford it again, the rate will rise.
Occupy Oakland: footage shows police beating peaceful Iraq war veteran (18 November 2011)
Video footage has emerged of a police officer beating an Iraq war veteran so hard that he suffered a ruptured spleen in an apparently unprovoked incident at a recent Occupy protest in California.
The footage, which has been shared with the Guardian, shows Kayvan Sabehgi standing in front of a police line on the night of Occupy Oakland's general strike on 2 November, when he is set upon by an officer.
He does not appear to be posing any threat, nor does he attempt to resist, yet he is hit numerous times by an officer clad in riot gear who appears determined to beat him to the ground.
Sabehgi, 32, an Oakland resident and former marine who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, has since undergone surgery on his spleen. He says it took hours for him to be taken to hospital, despite complaining of severe pain. Police have told the Guardian they are investigating the incident.
The footage was recorded by artist and photographer Neil Rivas, who said Sabehgi was "completely peaceful" before he was beaten. "It was uncalled for," said Rivas. "There were no curse words. He was telling them he was a war vet, a resident of Oakland, a business owner."
Sabehgi has previously said he was talking to officers in a non-violent manner prior to his arrest, which the footage appears to confirm.
PAM COMMENTARY: This article contains a video -- take a look. The victim was in the police line's way, but could have been physically removed without much effort. It was one wimpy-looking guy walking backwards to avoid a line of marching policemen in full riot gear. Then a lone hothead broke out of the police line, beating the victim with his baton for no legitimate reason. Drama queen...
Obama plans new drilling for Alaska, Gulf (14 November 2011)
The Obama administration treaded back into turbulent waters on Nov. 8, proposing its first national offshore drilling plan since last year's disastrous Gulf oil spill. Unveiled by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, the new proposal would schedule 15 lease sales for 2012 through 2017, including 12 in the Gulf of Mexico and three off Alaska's coast.
The plan is less ambitious than one President Obama presented just before the 2010 Gulf spill began, and as Salazar emphasized last week, it's a "cautious" move intended to boost domestic oil and gas production without sacrificing cultural and environmental treasures along the outer continental shelf (OCS).
"Expanding safe and responsible oil and gas production from the OCS is a key component of our comprehensive energy strategy to grow America's energy economy, and will help us continue to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create jobs here at home," Salazar said in a statement. "This five-year program will make available for development more than three-quarters of undiscovered oil and gas resources estimated on the OCS, including frontier areas such as the Arctic, where we must proceed cautiously, safely and based on the best science available."
Environmental groups and Republican lawmakers were both quick to criticize the announcement, albeit for opposite reasons. The House GOP passed a series of bills earlier this year to allow offshore drilling along much of the East Coast, West Coast, eastern Gulf and Alaska, and the GOP chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee argues the new plan is too restrictive. "No new drilling or new lease sales will occur during President Obama's term in office," Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., said to the Associated Press. "The Obama administration's draft plan places some of the most promising energy resources in the world off-limits."
Natural Resources Defense Council President Frances Beinecke, on the other hand, calls the decision to expand offshore drilling "a reckless gamble we cannot afford." More than 18 months after the 2010 Gulf spill, she says, Congress hasn't passed any laws to protect workers or the environment from such disasters, and the industry has yet to sufficiently improve its safety measures. "This is just another distraction from our clean energy future," Beinecke says in a statement. "We should be moving toward renewable energy sources that can't spill, run out or destroy entire economies and livelihoods. We need to get the road to a clean energy future and stay there."
Occupy Wall Street protesters cross into Md. on way to DC (17 November 2011)
HAVRE DE GRACE, Md. -- The Occupy Wall Street protesters on a two-week, 240-mile march from New York to Washington have made their way into Maryland.
Organizer Kelley Brannon says the marchers started crossed the Delaware-Maryland border Thursday. They intend to spend the night in Havre de Grace and follow U.S. Route 40 all the way to Baltimore.
The group of a few dozen people hopes to reach Washington by Nov. 23 -- the deadline for a congressional committee to decide whether to keep President Barack Obama's extension of Bush-era tax cuts. Protesters say the cuts benefit only rich Americans.
Sen. Bernie Sanders: Deficit caused by wars, tax breaks and Wall Street (17 November 2011)
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Thursday urged the congressional debt committee not to propose any cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid.
"This country does in fact have a serious deficit problem," he said to about 200 people packed in the Senate Budget Committee room.
"But the reality is that the deficit was caused by two wars -- unpaid for. It was caused by huge tax breaks for the wealthiest people in this country. It was caused by a recession as result of the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street. And if those are the causes of the deficit, I will be damned if we're going to balance the budget on backs of the elderly, the sick, the children, and the poor. That's wrong."
Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD), Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) also joined Sanders in the Senate Budget Committee room.
"So what we are here today to say to the super committee that is surrounded by lobbyists and big money interests, we want you to go forward and help us with deficit reduction but we want to do it in a way which is fair and responsible," Sanders continued.
Japan's Nuclear Safety Steps May Cost 19 Billion Yen Per Reactor (15 November 2011)
Nov. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Additional safety measures required at Japan's nuclear power plants in the wake of the Fukushima disaster may cost 19.4 billion yen ($252 million) per reactor, the government said.
Emergency measures such as maintaining cooling at a 1,200- megawatt nuclear station are estimated to cost about 11.8 billion yen, a committee under the National Policy Unit said in a report today. Other costs include steps to secure emergency power generators and improve external sources of electricity and 1.3 billion yen to prevent explosions and equip workers with radiation-protection gear in a severe nuclear accident.
Japan plans to review its energy policy "with no sacred cows," the government said last month, after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami knocked out Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant, causing three meltdowns. Costs of various power generation sources will be compared to determine the future energy policy of Japan, formerly the third-biggest nuclear power user after the U.S. and France.
The additional safety measures will increase the cost of building a nuclear reactor by about 5 percent, according to calculations based on data provided in the report. The committee estimates the cost of constructing a reactor at 420 billion yen, assuming a rate of 350,000 yen per kilowatt and a capacity of 1.2 million kilowatts.
Who Can Really Beat Obama? Ron Paul (16 November 2011)
Quick … who is the only Republican presidential candidate currently beating Barack Obama among independent voters?
Believe it or not, it's Ron Paul. According to a new Public Policy Polling survey, Paul leads Obama among independent voters by a 48 to 39 percent margin -- the only Republican to enjoy a lead among independents.
"This is yet another poll that clearly shows how competitive Ron Paul is against the sitting President," Paul's national chairman said in a statement. "Dr. Paul is making strides not just among Republicans, but independent voters as well. This broad base of increasing support proves that the American people are looking for conviction instead of the typical status quo rhetoric being offered by establishment candidates.
Meanwhile, a new poll in Iowa released earlier this week shows Paul in second place -- trailing former Godfathers Pizza CEO Herman Cain by just one percentage point.
Online Comment Led to Arrest of Sandusky in Penn State Serial Child Molestation Case (16 November 2011)
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- A critical break in the investigation of Jerry Sandusky came via a posting on the Internet: a random mention that a Penn State football coach, years before, might have seen something ugly, but kept silent.
Investigators with the Pennsylvania attorney general's office had by 2010 already come to the conclusion that Sandusky, the longtime defensive coordinator for Joe Paterno's Nittany Lions, was a serial molester, according to two people with knowledge of the case. But what had started with a complaint of sexual assault from a high school freshman had grown to include another matter altogether: whether Penn State had acted to cover up Sandusky's behavior, even crimes.
Working off the brief mention on an Internet forum where people chatted about Penn State athletics, according to the two people with knowledge of the case, investigators narrowed their list of coaches likely to have seen something to Mike McQueary, then an assistant coach and the football program's recruiting coordinator.
State College is a close-knit community. Word would get around that a Penn State coach had met with investigators. So investigators set up a meeting in an out-of-the-way parking lot, according to those with knowledge of the case.
There, one day a little over a year ago, McQueary unburdened himself, the two people said. He needed little prompting.
He told of a horrific scene he had stumbled upon as a graduate assistant one Friday night in March 2002: a naked boy, about 10, hands pressed against the locker room wall of the Lasch Football Building, being raped by Sandusky. McQueary was explicit and unequivocal, the people said. He had told Paterno, the team's longtime and widely beloved head coach, about the incident the next day, but he was filled with regret that nothing had happened.
A grave injustice (Bahrain editorial) (20 November 2011)
Far from issuing the executive order he promised to shut down the prison at Guantanamo, President Barack Obama is keeping virtually all of its prisoners confined in limbo without trials.
Just as illegal, he is reviving discredited military commission trials set up in 2001 by the Bush regime for the handful of suspects who might never get their day in court. During his run for the White House, Obama had been critical of the military trials. Of the approximately 800 suspects brought to Guantanamo, and I emphasise the word suspects, only an astonishingly few six cases have proceeded to trial, even though many prisoners have been confined there for five years or longer. Three cases went to trial under Bush and three under Obama while a seventh man, Abd Al-Rahim Al-Nashiri was arraigned just the other day.
According to British historian/journalist Andy Worthington, author of the book The Guantanamo Files: The Stories of 774 Detainees in America's Illegal Prison, only 171 prisoners remain today. That only six men have ever come before a judge in all this time establishes US jurisprudence as truly no jurisprudence at all, but a cynical system of imprisonment where men are illegally arrested, illegally transported, illegally confined and illegally tortured until they illegally confess.
That the majority of Guantanamo prisoners - 600 souls - had to be let go reveals the entire premise of the so-called War on Terror was as false as the charges against them were fraudulent.
PAM COMMENTARY: A perspective from the Middle East, shared by many Americans.
Witness in Jackson doctor trial fined $250 (17 November 2011)
A defense witness in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson's doctor was fined $250 on Wednesday, but escaped sanction for calling another witness a "scumbag".
Propofol expert Dr. Paul White was ordered to pay $250 for repeatedly introducing information in his testimony based on his private conversations with Dr. Conrad Murray.
Trial judge Michael Pastor said White's actions violated a court order, but he lowered the fine from an expected $1,000 after White said on Wednesday he had no idea he was doing wrong.
Pastor said he had decided not to pursue contempt of court action against White in a second matter. White was heard describing a prosecution witness as a "scumbag" during a break in the trial last month but Pastor said on Wednesday he did not consider that a direct act of contempt.
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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