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Click to visit VeggieCooking.com NEWS LINK ARCHIVE 2012

News from the Week of 25th to 31st of March 2012

Wisconsin orders recall elections for Walker, Kleefisch, 4 GOP senators (31 March 2012)
It's official.

Gov. Scott Walker will be Wisconsin's first governor to face a recall after the historic election was ordered Friday by state elections officials.

Walker could face a rematch of his 2010 election after Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett announced Friday he would run in the May 8 Democratic primary.

Barrett -- who lost the 2010 race with 47 percent of the vote to Walker's 52 percent -- said he would start campaigning across the state. He joins three other Democrats seeking to run against Walker: former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, Secretary of State Doug La Follette and state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma.

The Government Accountability Board voted 5-0 Friday to order the recall of the first-term Republican governor following the collection of nearly 901,000 petition signatures -- far more than the 540,208 required to trigger the election.

The GAB also ordered recalls against Republican Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and four Republican senators.
[Read more...]

Virginia medical provider to its doctors: Stop giving free drug samples (31 March 2012)
Sentara Medical Group practices will stop distributing free drug samples to patients starting Sunday, taking sides in a national debate that divides the medical community.

The group decided on the change to help patients spend less on prescriptions in the long term, said Dr. Michael Charles, a family practitioner based in Virginia Beach. Samples are almost always brand-name drugs rather than generics, and research shows that patients who start on them tend to spend more on their medications after receiving samples.

The new policy also will free Sentara Medical Group's 400 or so doctors from worrying about expiration dates, recalls and overall tracking of the drugs in their sample closets.

"It's hard right now, maybe, that patients think they're not getting something that they got before," Charles said, "but in the long run, I think it's going to be better for patients."
[Read more...]

FDA denies petition to ban bisphenol A (30 March 2012)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administrationannounced Friday that it will not ban the use of bisphenol A, also known as BPA, in food packaging.

In a 12-page letter,David H. Dorsey, FDA acting associate commissioner for policy and planning, wrote that the the Natural Resources Defense Council, which had petitioned the agency to change its regulations on use of the chemical, had not provided sufficient scientific evidence to change the current regulations.

At the same time, FDA spokesman Douglas Karas noted that "this is not a final safety determination on BPA."

BPA is used in plastic bottles, the linings of cans and on cash register receipts. It can disrupt the endocrine system, so health officials -- not to mention environmentalists -- are concerned that it may cause reproductive problems, diabetes and other health problems.

Concerns about the chemical's effects on health have already led some corporations to stop using BPA in bottles, sippy cups and other products for children.
[Read more...]

Occupy protesters sent to hospital after clash with police (30 March 2012)
Protesters clashed with police Friday night as members of the Occupy Toronto movement marched to express outrage at the arrest of four others earlier in the day.

At least one protester was arrested during the march.

Marchers gathered in front of 52 Div. headquarters on Dundas St. W. near University Ave. The group then left the station and headed to Queen St. and University Ave. around 9 p.m.

A protester on a bicycle and a police officer got into a physical confrontation, resulting in the arrest of the protester. Police waved their batons in an attempt to moved back the crowd of protesters.
[Read more...]

Gulf's dolphins pay heavy price for Deepwater oil spill (31 March 2012)
A new study of dolphins living close to the site of North America's worst ever oil spill -- the BP Deepwater Horizon catastrophe two years ago -- has established serious health problems afflicting the marine mammals.

The report, commissioned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA], found that many of the 32 dolphins studied were underweight, anaemic and suffering from lung and liver disease, while nearly half had low levels of a hormone that helps the mammals deal with stress as well as regulating their metabolism and immune systems.

More than 200m gallons of crude oil flowed from the well after a series of explosions on 20 April 2010, which killed 11 workers. The spill contaminated the Gulf of Mexico and its coastline in what President Barack Obama called America's worst environmental disaster.

The research follows the publication of several scientific studies into insect populations on the nearby Gulf coastline and into the health of deepwater coral populations, which all suggest that the environmental impact of the five-month long spill may have been far worse than previously appreciated.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: Again, worse than admitted. Everyone knew it was far worse than BP and the government were admitting.

Elgin gas leak flare has gone out, but gas leak continues (31 March 2012)
The Department of Energy and Climate Change said that while alight, the flare remained a risk despite prevailing winds blowing the gas cloud away from the flame.

Total said in a statement that the flare had disappeared. "Total can this morning confirm that the flare on the Elgin platform has extinguished itself," the company said.

"We received the first indication that the flare may be out at 12.07 yesterday from our first surveillance flight of the day. The news was then reaffirmed at 16.36 following our second flight of the day. We received what we consider final confirmation at 08.20 this morning, when our sea vessels on location reported no further flare activity through the night."

The leak started last Sunday and forced the evacuation of all 238 workers from the platform, which sits in waters less than 100 metres deep and 240km (150 miles) off the east coast of Scotland.
[Read more...]

Democratic mayors challenge teachers unions in urban political shift (30 March 2012)
As a young labor organizer in Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa worked for the city's teachers, honing his political skills in the fight for a good contract. The union loved him back, supporting the Democrat's election to the State Assembly, City Council and, finally, the mayor's office he occupies today.

But now, Villaraigosa, a rising star in the national Democratic party, has a different view. He calls the teachers union "the one, unwavering roadblock" to improving public education in L.A.

Villaraigosa is one of several Democratic mayors in cities across the country -- Chicago, Cleveland, Newark and Boston, among them -- who are challenging teachers unions in ways that seemed inconceivable just a decade ago.

"This is a very, very interesting political situation that is way counterintuitive," said Charles Taylor Kerchner, who has written two books about teachers unions.

At at time when most Americans believe that U.S. education is imperiled, and cities are especially struggling to improve schools, the tension between the mayors and the unions is causing a fundamental realignment of two powerful forces in urban politics.
[Read more...]

Keith Olbermann Fired By Current TV; Replaced By Eliot Spitzer (30 March 2012)
It was also announced Friday that Olbermann will appear on David Letterman's show on Tuesday to discuss his departure.

Olbermann's firing leaves what was supposed to be his triumphant return to television in tatters. After his bitter departure from MSNBC, Current sought to make him the centerpiece of its rebranding as a progressive news network. It granted him the title of Chief News Officer, gave him an equity stake in the company, and promised that his uncompromising brand of television would be the cornerstone of its programming. Announcing the beginning of the partnership, Al Gore said that he was "extremely honored and delighted" that Olbermann was joining him, and called it "a great fit in every way."

It was not long, though, before the tensions between Olbermann and his superiors exploded into the open. In January, his sudden absence from Current's coverage of the Iowa caucuses led to open warfare between the two sides. Olbermann fired off a statement saying that he was "not given a legitimate opportunity to host under acceptable conditions," adding, "They know it and we know it. Telling half the story is wrong."

There were also reports that Olbermann was incensed by repeated technical problems with his show, and miffed that he was not being given a greater say in deciding which shows were going to precede and follow his. (During his time on Current, the network added shows featuring Cenk Uygur at 7 PM and Jennifer Granholm at 9 PM.)
[Read more...]

Arizona law would criminalize being lewd or annoying on the Internet (30 March 2012)
The Arizona state legislature apparently finds it difficult to tell the difference between a telephone and the Internet and has passed a bill that would extend the definition of harassment originally devised for phone conversations to anything communicated or published online.

As summarized by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, "The bill is sweepingly broad, and would make it a crime to communicate via electronic means speech that is intended to 'annoy,' 'offend,' 'harass' or 'terrify,' as well as certain sexual speech. Because the bill is not limited to one-to-one communications, H.B. 2549 would apply to the Internet as a whole, thus criminalizing all manner of writing, cartoons, and other protected material the state finds offensive or annoying."

The bill is currently awaiting Governor Jan Brewer's signature, and the Media Coalition, which defends first amendment rights in the media, has sent her a letter outlining some of the problems with the legislation.

"H.B. 2549 would make it a crime to use any electronic or digital device to communicate using obscene, lewd or profane language or to suggest a lewd or lascivious act if done with intent to 'annoy,' 'offend,' 'harass' or 'terrify,'" the letter notes. ... 'Lewd' and 'profane' are not defined in the statute or by reference. 'Lewd' is generally understood to mean lusty or sexual in nature and 'profane' is generally defined as disrespectful or irreverent about religion or religious practices."
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: Major first amendment violation -- a good way to bankrupt the state with legal bills.

Myanmar's Suu Kyi: from prisoner to would-be lawmaker (29 March 2012)
(Reuters) - Aung San Suu Kyi, the long-time standard-bearer for democracy in Myanmar, is taking a leap of faith in running for parliament on Sunday, opting to enter a political system crafted and run by the soldiers who kept her locked up for a total of 15 years.

Her party's participation in this weekend's by-elections marks a change of heart for the Nobel Peace Prize winner who repeatedly rebuffed the military's attempts to bring her into a political apparatus in which it dictated the terms.

But since a general election in November 2010, followed by Suu Kyi's release from house arrest the same month, the pace of change in the former Burma under a nominally civilian government has been staggering, enough to convince her to compromise with the apparently reform-minded ex-generals now in charge.

Some Burmese fear it is a deal with the devil that will serve mainly to endorse a military-dominated legislature.
[Read more...]

FBI Exec Calls for Changes in Internet Technology (30 March 2012) [AJ]
Last August, the European Commissin drafted a number of propsoals designed to regulate the internet, including the creation of a list of names, drawn up by governments, that would be banned from registering with the internet's domain name system. If recent history is any indicator, the list will contain the names of websites and individuals who are not politically correct (for instance, websites that question aspects of the Holocaust would almost undoubtedly be banned as would those making apologies for Nazism or that deviate from official histories).

EC papers drawn up last August "also foresee that the enormous shift in power toward governments will happen within the next 12 months." The documents appear to coincide with efforts on this side of the pond to propose drastic internet technology changes in response to supposed cyber security concerns.

Henry's "grim appraisal of the nation's efforts to keep computer hackers from plundering corporate data networks" published by the Wall Street Journal is the latest foray by the elite to lend an air of legitimacy to an ongoing effort to ultimately sanitize the internet and turn it into a corporatized Disneyland offering meaningless cultural and political pablum and where no serious challenges to the elite will be permitted (as they are not currently on the dinosaur television media platform owned largely by transnational communications corporations).

"I don't see how we ever come out of this without changes in technology or changes in behavior, because with the status quo, it's an unsustainable model. Unsustainable in that you never get ahead, never become secure, never have a reasonable expectation of privacy or security," Henry said.

In February, NSA boss Gen. Keith Alexander made the absurd claim that the suspicious hacktivist collective Anonymous would be able to take down the nation's power grid via the internet. As we noted at the time, it is not easy to disrupt the power grid in the United States. Most systems use proprietary operating systems and applications that are "not readily available for study by your average hacker," writes Michael Tanj. Power grid systems and networks are not connected to the public internet.
[Read more...]

Italian pharmacists threaten Viagra strike (30 March 2012)
Hospital pharmacists are threatening to cut Italians off from their Viagra unless the government amends its plans to reform professions that have high entry barriers.

Union official Loredana Vasselli said pharmacists decided to focus the protest on Viagra because it is a sought-after drug whose absence "does not put patients' health at risk."

Pharmacists will stage a series of labour actions during April, culminating with the so-called "Viagra strike" if their complaints are not redressed.

One group protested Thursday outside Parliament under the banner "No Viagra, No Party."
[Read more...]

UK biobank opens to researchers (29 March 2012)
England's chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, said the UK Biobank would be a "globally unique resource".

The biobank began recruiting participants three years ago, and was open to people aged 40 to 69.

Each answered questions on their health, lifestyle, diet, memory, work and family history.

They also had a range of measurements taken, including blood pressure, pulse rate, height, weight, body fat and lung function, and provided blood, saliva and urine samples.
[Read more...]

Black people get asthma so everybody else can get cheap power (30 March 2012)
It has long been the case that victims of air pollution are disproportionately poor urban minorities, especially children. A study last year out of Duke confirmed that "non-Hispanic blacks are consistently overrepresented in communities with the poorest air quality." For the most part, this is just another way of saying that blacks are overrepresented in communities with high levels of poverty. That's where the coal plants get put.

And make no mistake: the pollution is where the coal plants are.

The Eastern U.S. has come to an arrangement: poor communities and communities of color will get more asthma; the rest of the Eastern seaboard and Midwest will get cheap electricity.

Of course nobody likes to think of it that way. At one Senate hearing on the EPA budget, Browning notes, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) called air pollution victims "unidentified and imaginary." If we don't think about them, they don't exist!
[Read more...]

Who is the Route 29 Batman? This guy. (28 March 2012)
Police pulled a man over on Route 29 in Silver Spring last week because of a problem with his plates. This would not ordinarily make international news, but the car was a black Lamborghini, the license plate was the Batman symbol, and the driver was Batman, dressed head-to-toe in full superhero regalia.


It didn't take long before images of the Dark Knight's encounter with law enforcement began turning up in Facebook news feeds, on CNN and the London tabloids. The episode even made it into Jimmy Fallon's monologue on NBC earlier this week.

Jokers emerged instantaneously too. "Let him do his job," one commenter urged on the Post Web site. "Batman has expensive taste," noted another. Meanwhile, questions about Batman's identity mounted: "Did they make him take off his mask?" someone asked.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: The child cancer patients described here remind me of how lucky I was to know top alternative cancer protocols when I had problems that way. It's also good to see people trying to cheer up the children who suffer in mainstream medicine's cancer wards.

Wisconsin GAB throws out few petition signatures; recommends Walker recall proceed (30 March 2012)
Despite conservatives' fears of an army of Mickey Mouses and Adolf Hitlers signing recall petitions against Gov. Scott Walker, elections officials found only five fake names and nearly 901,000 valid signatures collected to recall the Republican governor -- far more than enough needed for the election to go forward.

The state Government Accountability Board is scheduled to meet Friday morning to vote on the findings of board staff and set dates for the recall elections.

GAB staff said in a memo released Thursday that 900,938 valid signatures were collected on petitions seeking to recall Walker, and about 808,990 were gathered on those seeking to recall Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. The minimum needed to trigger a recall was 540,208 signatures for each of them.

If the board orders elections on Friday as expected, recall primary elections -- if necessary -- are expected to be held on May 8, followed by a June 5 general election. At least three Democrats are running for governor, and another three have said they are running for lieutenant governor, making primaries likely. Four Republican senators also face recall.
[Read more...]

Common pesticide makes honeybees get lost and reduces bumblebee hive weight, new studies say (29 March 2012)
WASHINGTON -- A common class of pesticide is causing problems for honeybees and bumblebees, important species already in trouble, two studies suggest.

But the findings don't explain all the reasons behind a long-running bee decline, and other experts found one of the studies less than convincing.

The new research suggests the chemicals used in the pesticide -- designed to attack the central nervous system of insects -- reduces the weight and number of queens in bumblebee hives. These pesticides also cause honeybees to become disoriented and fail to return to their hives, the researchers concluded.

The two studies were published online Thursday in the journal Science.

Just last week activists filed a petition with more than a million signatures asking the government to ban the class of pesticides called neonicotinoids. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it is re-evaluating the chemicals and is seeking scientific help.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: I remember reading a Washington Post print version article way back in 2007, saying that a new class of pesticides targeting sucking insects, based on nicotine poisons, was the main suspect in the then-recent sudden decline of honeybees. I can't find the original article on the Post's web site today, but other links online seem to indicate that the original link was here. Today the Post is only running an AP article on the story. Maybe they'll revive their old research another time.

Admitted: Conventional cancer treatments sterilize women (30 March 2012)
(NaturalNews) Most American women who find out they have cancer are confronted by their doctors with three choices for treatment, which include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, all of which greatly increase the chance they will never again be able to procreate. Yet, rarely does any doctor offer those women the fourth choice of treatment, which does not endanger their fertility whatsoever, and does not even require taking medication.

The latest study finds that very few women with cancer take steps to preserve their fertility while undergoing dangerous and toxic cancer therapy, and what's worse, many women are discriminated against as doctors don't even suggest they review the steps that can be taken to possibly preserve their fertility and prevent ovarian failure. (http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-03/w-fyw032112.php)

Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society (one of the biggest scam organizations further endangering women's lives), revealed research after interviewing over 100,000 U.S. women, under the age of 50, who were diagnosed with cancer. The only fertility advice/choices given to a "select" few of these women was regarding egg or embryo freezing as a (slim) chance for future conception.

To find out which women received this limited advice and were not discriminated against for age, race or social status, Mitchell Rosen, MD of University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), led a team that surveyed over 1,000 women between the ages of 18 and 40 years who were diagnosed with either leukemia, Hodgkin's, breast cancer or gastrointestinal cancer. The women were randomly sampled from 1993 until 2007. Over 900 of them were treated with therapies that could make them infertile forever, including chemo, pelvic radiation, pelvic surgery, or bone marrow transplants. Only 60 percent received counseling about infertility, and less than 10 percent pursued preservation.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: The author mentions certain alternative cancer treatments, but I don't endorse those alone. Click here for the cancer protocol that I trusted with my own life.

Just one glass of wine a day linked to breast cancer: research (30 March 2012)
WOMEN should stick to just one glass of wine a day and those with a family history of breast cancer should abstain altogether as researchers find even moderate alcohol consumption increases chances of developing the disease.

A review of research on alcohol and breast cancer has found that just one drink a day can increase the risk of breast cancer by five per cent.

Women drinking 'heavily' by having three or more drinks a day are up to 50 per cent more likely to develop breast cancer than those who abstain, it was found.

It could mean that thousands of cases of breast cancer in Britain each year are caused by alcohol.
[Read more...]

Man claims attack by lion, saved by a bear (27 March 2012)
A Paradise man says he is lucky to be alive after an attack by a mountain lion Monday morning.

Robert Biggs, 69, often hikes in the Bean Soup Flat area, which is about a mile and a half above Whisky Flats. He came across a mother bear, a yearling and a newborn, which were about 40 feet from where he was standing.

After watching the bear family for a few minutes he decided to leave them be and turned to walk back up the trail. As he turned, a mountain lion pounced on him grabbing hold of his backpack with all four paws.

"They usually grab hold of your head with all four paws, but my backpack was up above my head and (the mountain lion) grabbed it instead," Biggs said. "It must have been stalking the little bear, but it was on me in seconds."
[Read more...]

One in 88 U.S children now have autism (29 March 2012)
An earlier report based on 2002 findings estimated that about 1 in 150 children that age had autism or a related disorder such as Asperger's.

After seeing 2006 data, the figure was revised to about 1 in 110. The estimate released on Thursday, based on 2008 data, is 1 in 88.

The study also found that autism disorders were almost five times more common in boys. And that an increasingly large proportion of children with autism have IQs of 85 or higher - a finding that contradicts a past assumption that most autistic kids had IQs of 70 or lower.

Also, higher autism rates were found in some places than others. For example in Utah, as many as 1 in 47 of the 8-year-olds had an autism spectrum disorder. In New Jersey, 1 in 49 did.

Alabama was at the other end the scale, with only about 1 in 210 identified as autistic. The difference was attributed to less information out of Alabama. Researchers were not able to access school information in that state and a few others, and as a result believe they have a less complete picture.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: I haven't found any mainstream media articles mentioning vaccines, but those articles usually come from the alternative press later.

Deadly Immunity; Robert F. Kennedy Jr. investigates the government cover-up of a mercury/autism scandal (FLASHBACK) (15 June 2005)
In fact, the government has proved to be far more adept at handling the damage than at protecting children's health. The CDC paid the Institute of Medicine to conduct a new study to whitewash the risks of thimerosal, ordering researchers to "rule out" the chemical's link to autism. It withheld Verstraeten's findings, even though they had been slated for immediate publication, and told other scientists that his original data had been "lost" and could not be replicated. And to thwart the Freedom of Information Act, it handed its giant database of vaccine records over to a private company, declaring it off-limits to researchers. By the time Verstraeten finally published his study in 2003, he had gone to work for GlaxoSmithKline and reworked his data to bury the link between thimerosal and autism.

Vaccine manufacturers had already begun to phase thimerosal out of injections given to American infants -- but they continued to sell off their mercury-based supplies of vaccines until last year. The CDC and FDA gave them a hand, buying up the tainted vaccines for export to developing countries and allowing drug companies to continue using the preservative in some American vaccines -- including several pediatric flu shots as well as tetanus boosters routinely given to 11-year-olds.

The drug companies are also getting help from powerful lawmakers in Washington. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who has received $873,000 in contributions from the pharmaceutical industry, has been working to immunize vaccine makers from liability in 4,200 lawsuits that have been filed by the parents of injured children. On five separate occasions, Frist has tried to seal all of the government's vaccine-related documents -- including the Simpsonwood transcripts -- and shield Eli Lilly, the developer of thimerosal, from subpoenas. In 2002, the day after Frist quietly slipped a rider known as the "Eli Lilly Protection Act" into a homeland security bill, the company contributed $10,000 to his campaign and bought 5,000 copies of his book on bioterrorism. Congress repealed the measure in 2003 -- but earlier this year, Frist slipped another provision into an anti-terrorism bill that would deny compensation to children suffering from vaccine-related brain disorders. "The lawsuits are of such magnitude that they could put vaccine producers out of business and limit our capacity to deal with a biological attack by terrorists," says Andy Olsen, a legislative assistant to Frist.

Even many conservatives are shocked by the government's effort to cover up the dangers of thimerosal. Rep. Dan Burton, a Republican from Indiana, oversaw a three-year investigation of thimerosal after his grandson was diagnosed with autism. "Thimerosal used as a preservative in vaccines is directly related to the autism epidemic," his House Government Reform Committee concluded in its final report. "This epidemic in all probability may have been prevented or curtailed had the FDA not been asleep at the switch regarding a lack of safety data regarding injected thimerosal, a known neurotoxin." The FDA and other public-health agencies failed to act, the committee added, out of "institutional malfeasance for self protection" and "misplaced protectionism of the pharmaceutical industry."
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: Rolling Stone has removed the original article from its site, and so I'm linking to this secondary site.

Thimerosal in Childhood Vaccines, Neurodevelopment Disorders, and Heart Disease in the United States (PDF file) (FLASHBACK) (27 March 2003)
"...Figure 2A shows the relative risk of speech disorders, autism, and heart arrest reported after thimerosal-containing DTwcP in comparison to thimerosal-free DTaP vaccines for increasing dosage of mercury. We found that the data points closely followed exponential distributions...." [Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: They always claim that there's "no proof" of a link between autism and thimerosal. Well, here's the proof, among many other articles that are ignored by autism apologists.

The Age of Autism: The Amish anomaly (FLASHBACK) (18 April 2005)
LANCASTER, Pa., April 18 (UPI) -- Part 1 of 2. Where are the autistic Amish? Here in Lancaster County, heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, there should be well over 100 with some form of the disorder.

I have come here to find them, but so far my mission has failed, and the very few I have identified raise some very interesting questions about some widely held views on autism.

The mainstream scientific consensus says autism is a complex genetic disorder, one that has been around for millennia at roughly the same prevalence. That prevalence is now considered to be 1 in every 166 children born in the United States.

Applying that model to Lancaster County, there ought to be 130 Amish men, women and children here with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
[Read more...]

New Definition of Autism Will Exclude Many, Study Suggests (FLASHBACK) (19 January 2012)
Proposed changes in the definition of autism would sharply reduce the skyrocketing rate at which the disorder is diagnosed and might make it harder for many people who would no longer meet the criteria to get health, educational and social services, a new analysis suggests.

The definition is now being reassessed by an expert panel appointed by the American Psychiatric Association, which is completing work on the fifth edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the first major revision in 17 years. The D.S.M., as the manual is known, is the standard reference for mental disorders, driving research, treatment and insurance decisions. Most experts expect that the new manual will narrow the criteria for autism; the question is how sharply.

The results of the new analysis are preliminary, but they offer the most drastic estimate of how tightening the criteria for autism could affect the rate of diagnosis. For years, many experts have privately contended that the vagueness of the current criteria for autism and related disorders like Asperger syndrome was contributing to the increase in the rate of diagnoses -- which has ballooned to one child in 100, according to some estimates.

The psychiatrists' association is wrestling with one of the most agonizing questions in mental health -- where to draw the line between unusual and abnormal -- and its decisions are sure to be wrenching for some families. At a time when school budgets for special education are stretched, the new diagnosis could herald more pitched battles. Tens of thousands of people receive state-backed services to help offset the disorders' disabling effects, which include sometimes severe learning and social problems, and the diagnosis is in many ways central to their lives. Close networks of parents have bonded over common experiences with children; and the children, too, may grow to find a sense of their own identity in their struggle with the disorder.
[Read more...]

The CDC Has Known All Along How Dangerous Vaccines Are - And Has Covered It Up... (Part Five) (FLASHBACK) (18 December 2011) [R]
Poul Thorsen is the CDC's expert on the effects of Thimerosal in vaccines. Got that picture? He is also being indicted in Denmark.

The day after Poul Thorsen was indicted in the US David Gorski MD, the one I call "Orac the Nipple Ripper" in his blog, wrote about how Thorsen's indictment had nothing to do with his research, blah, blah, blah. To me, Orac's writings are indicative of the fear level generated in the vaccine industry by Thorsen's arrest. Why do I say this? Because Age of Autism (AOA) author/editor Jake Crosby recently identified, in his article "David Gorski's Financial Pharma Ties: What He Didn't Tell You," that "Orac" is employed by, acts as the agent of, and is the spokesperson for, Sanofi-Aventis -- the world's largest vaccine maker. Certainly, Gorski, who writes in a neurotic panic-mode at most times, was even more strident and pedantic in his commentaries on this day. Probably got a call from his paymasters?

Click here to read the Federal Grand Jury Indictment of Poul Thorsen. You'll get, from this, a sense of the reality of the ENTIRE vaccine construction, for Poul Thorsen epitomizes the vaccinology world.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: This article is hard to follow in spots, but very enlightening overall.

US anti-terrorism law curbs free speech and activist work, court told (29 March 2012)
A group political activists and journalists has launched a legal challenge to stop an American law they say allows the US military to arrest civilians anywhere in the world and detain them without trial as accused supporters of terrorism.

The seven figures, who include ex-New York Times reporter Chris Hedges, professor Noam Chomsky and Icelandic politician and WikiLeaks campaigner Birgitta Jonsdottir, testified to a Manhattan judge that the law -- dubbed the NDAA or Homeland Battlefield Bill -- would cripple free speech around the world.

They said that various provisions written into the National Defense Authorization Bill, which was signed by President Barack Obama at the end of 2011, effectively broadened the definition of "supporter of terrorism" to include peaceful activists, authors, academics and even journalists interviewing members of radical groups.

Controversy centres on the loose definition of key words in the bill, in particular who might be "associated forces" of the law's named terrorist groups al-Qaida and the Taliban and what "substantial support" to those groups might get defined as. Whereas White House officials have denied the wording extends any sort of blanket coverage to civilians, rather than active enemy combatants, or actions involved in free speech, some civil rights experts have said the lack of precise definition leaves it open to massive potential abuse.
[Read more...]

How Dick Cheney Got His New Heart (26 March 2012)
When last we left our hero, he was slowly dying, living out his sorrowful last moments tethered to a left-ventricular-assist device, waiting to shuffle off his mortal coil with calm resignation and karmic equipoise (OK, this last part, maybe not really). After all, he already had attained executive-branch closure by penning a remarkably vain autobiography.

Well, dry those tears, America--he's back! We all woke up Sunday morning with the chilling news that Dick Cheney has a new million-dollar heart and may be as good as ever, or as good as a 71-year-old man on multiple medicines who just underwent a major surgery can possibly be. Given his track record of opting never to die, we should figure he will be around and ready to go as VP for both Jeb Bush in 2016 and George Prescott Garnica Bush (one of the little brown ones--let's call him "P") in 2024. And never mind the minor business with the 12th and 22nd Amendments--Dick will take care of it.

How did this happen? No, not the Florida recount, but how could someone so old and frail be a candidate for that most precious commodity, the human organ? Did Dick do a dick thing and leapfrog a bunch of other worthies, people who aren't viewed by some as war criminals and evildoers but rather are decent folk decades younger, likelier to contribute to society and to provide a better return on investment for our taxpayer health-care dollars?We went through similar societal contortions when Mickey Mantle got his liver and Steve Jobs, surreptitiously, his, though we never made up our minds, celebrity being as powerful as it is.

With Cheney, let's not jump to any conclusions. Yet. First let's review the numbers which are tracked both by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), a nongovernment organization, and the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN), a slightly more arid government version. According to each, on Sunday, March 25, 2012, there were 113,639 people on the waiting list for an organ, of whom 72,822 were on the "active" roster, suggesting a more pressing need. That's a mighty long roster.
[Read more...]

Thyme could be new treatment for acne (29 March 2012)
Results showed all the herbal tinctures made were able to kill the bacterium after five minutes exposure, but thyme was the most effective.

The herb also worked better than standard concentrations of benzoyl peroxide, which is the active ingredient in most anti-acne creams or washes.

These findings could pave the way for more research into the use of tinctures as a treatment for acne - with a herbal treatment providing acne sufferers with sensitive skin an alternative to creams.

Dr Gomez-Escalada - presenting her findings at the Society for General Microbiology's Spring Conference in Dublin this week - said: "We now need to carry out further tests in conditions that mimic more closely the skin environment and work out at the molecular level how these tinctures are working.
[Read more...]

North Sea gas leak prompts drilling platform evacuations (27 March 2012)
LONDON -- Energy company Shell has evacuated some of its workers from two platforms in the North Sea that are near an underwater gas leak from a nearby rig.
The leak of flammable gas was discovered over the weekend from the Elgin platform owned by French company Total S.A., which evacuated all 238 staff on Monday. The local Coast Guard has since set up a safety exclusion zone around the rig, banning ships and aircraft.

David Hainsworth, health, safety and environment manager for Total, said the company had taken steps to reduce the possibility of an explosion.

"The gas is flammable but the platform power was turned off to minimize risk of ignition, but clearly there is a risk," Hainsworth said in a BBC radio interview. "We have taken away a series of risks but there is always a possibility, it's low but you never say never."
[Read more...]

Another gray whale found tangled in net in waters off O.C. (28 March 2012)
A gray whale that was tangled amid discarded netting and a fishing buoy was spotted Wednesday off the coast of Orange County.

The incident was the second time in five days that a gray whale was found tangled amid netting off the Orange County coast. The first whale swam free after rescuers cut it from the net.

On Wednesday, a U.S. Coast Guard vessel spotted the second whale, which was traveling with a larger adult whale, according to officials.

A rescue team from Capt. Dave's Dolphin and Whale Safari and the Pacific Marine Mammal Center responded to check out the mammal. Team members were able to attach two large orange buoys with flashers to the animal, but the crew was forced to leave because it was getting dark and the seas were rough, officials said.
[Read more...]

Starbucks bugs vegan with Frappuccino dye made from ground up insects (29 March 2012)
SEATTLE--When Starbucks changed its Frappuccino mix a couple years ago, it made sure the new ingredients were dairy-free. But no one said anything about being bug-free.

Turns out the strawberry sauce used in strawberries-and-cream Frappuccinos contains cochineal extract, which is made from the bodies of ground-up insects indigenous to Latin America.

A vegan barista who works for Starbucks sent a picture of the sauce's ingredient list to a vegetarian blog called www.ThisDishIsVegetarian.com, which posted it earlier this month. The revelation sparked some criticism from advocacy groups questioning the practice.

"The strawberry base for our Strawberries & Creme Frappuccino does contain cochineal extract, a common natural dye that is used in the food industry, and it helps us move away from artificial ingredients," said spokesman Jim Olson.

The base also is used in Starbucks' strawberry smoothies, he said, and the insect-derived extract is in some other foods and drinks the chain sells, including its red velvet whoopie pies.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: That's disgusting, vegan or not.

Mitt Romney amuses Wisconsin voters with yarn about Michigan losing an auto plant (28 March 2012)
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Craig Gilbert reported on the telephone town hall with voters on Wednesday, saying Romney, who is running for the Republican presidential nomination, opened the call by remarking on his connections to Wisconsin, which holds its primary next Tuesday.

"One of the most humorous I think relates to my father," he started, going on to tell how George Romney closed a car factory in Michigan and moved the production to Wisconsin. That became something of a sensitive topic when the elder Romney ran for governor, especially when he happened to be out at a parade with a school band that could play the Wisconsin fight song, but not the University of Michigan's.

"So every time they would start playing 'On, Wisconsin, On, Wisconsin,' my dad's political people would jump up and down and try to get them to stop, because they didn't want people in Michigan to be reminded that my dad had moved production to Wisconsin," Romney said, according to the Journal-Sentinel.

Must not have been too big a problem for George Romney, considering he won three two-year terms as governor of Michigan in the 1960s.

Romney has made headlines in this campaign for arguing against the Bush and Obama administration rescue of General Motors and Chrysler, including a New York Times editorial in November 2008 titled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt."
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: I didn't link to the New York Times' or Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's stories on his remarks, because both papers now limit the number of articles that people can view within a month without paying their monthly fee. The Free Press does have pop-up ads, though.

Ukraine rape scandal victim Oksana Makar dies (29 March 2012)
An eighteen-year-old Ukrainian woman has died in hospital, weeks after a brutal sexual assault that prompted a campaign against political corruption.

Oksana Makar was attacked in the southern city of Mykolayiv on 8 March by three men who raped her and tried to strangle her before setting her alight.

Three men were arrested, but two - whose parents had political connections - were released without charge.

They have since been re-arrested, after the case prompted a national outcry.

Interior ministry spokesman Volodymyr Polischuk told a news conference on Thursday that all three men, aged 22 to 24, now faced charges of rape and murder. He said they could face life sentences in jail.
[Read more...]

Earl Scruggs, bluegrass banjo legend, dies aged 88 (29 March 2012)
Earl Scruggs, one of the most influential instrumentalists in American music, has died in Nashville, aged 88. Scruggs developed a three-finger picking style that revolutionised banjo playing and was crucial to the development of bluegrass and country music.

Scruggs was best known for his work with guitarist Lester Flatt, but first became famous when he joined the band of the bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe in 1945. Flatt was also a member of Monroe's Blue Grass Boys, but the pair left in 1948 to form the Foggy Mountain Boys, later changing the name to simply Flatt and Scruggs. The pair played together for 21 years until 1969. Monroe was so furious at their departure from his band that he refused to speak to them for 20 years.

Scruggs's best known tune, recorded with Flatt, was Foggy Mountain Breakdown, which was recorded in 1949 and used as the getaway music in the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde. Scruggs performed the song in 1969 at a rally against the Vietnam war, making him one of the few major country stars to support the anti-war cause. His involvement with the counterculture -- he recorded Bob Dylan songs and appeared on bills with the likes of Steppenwolf -- was one of the causes of his split with Flatt, who feared the duo's older fans would be alienated by the shift in emphasis.

"He was one of the first and the best three-finger banjo player," Scruggs's fellow banjo legend Ralph Stanley said in a statement last night. "He did more for the five-string banjo than anyone I know."
[Read more...]

Canadian doctors: The U.S. proves that tough drug laws harm health and safety (28 March 2012)
"For the last decade, Portugal has decriminalized all drug use and they have some of the lowest rates of drug use in Europe and they have some of the least amounts of harm from drug use," Strang said.

In contrast, drug use hasn't decreased since the $1-trillion US "war on drugs" in North America was declared and aggressive drug law enforcement began.

In the U.S., New York, Michigan and Massachusetts and Connecticut are now repealing minimum legislation for non-violent drug offences, said Dr. Evan Wood, co-director of the Urban Health Research Initiative at the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, another co-author of the paper.

With tough drug enforcement policies, organized crime has profited, incarcerated drug users have suffered HIV and hepatitis outbreaks and gun violence problems have grown, the doctors said.
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Pepper-spray report can be released without names (28 March 2012)
The University of California can release a report on the pepper-spraying of student demonstrators by UC Davis police but must first remove the names of most officers, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo said the task force report does not contain confidential personnel records of police officers who were interviewed during an investigation into the Nov. 18 crackdown on Occupy Wall Street protesters.

Still, Grillo said he wants the university to redact the names of officers to protect them from harassment. The exceptions are Police Chief Annette Spicuzza and Lt. John Pike, whose names became public during media coverage of the confrontation.

The judge said the document cannot be released for at least 21 days to give the officers a chance to appeal the ruling.
[Read more...]

Obama administration advances plan for research along Atlantic coast (28 March 2012)
The Obama administration will announce Wednesday that it is advancing a plan to allow new seismic research designed to help identify hidden pockets of oil and gas in Atlantic waters along the East Coast.

The move by the Interior Department is the beginning of a long path that eventually could lead to new offshore drilling off the Atlantic coast.

Senior administration officials who spoke exclusively to the Houston Chronicle confirmed the plan on condition they not be identified ahead of the official announcement.

The plan could mean new work for Houston-based seismic firms, which likely would conduct some of the first such surveys of the region in decades.
[Read more...]

Pipeline giants plan rival to Keystone XL (28 March 2012)
Amid political turmoil surrounding the Keystone XL pipeline, two companies announced plans to expand a rival system to bring crude oil from Canada and the northern United States to the Gulf Coast.

The move is a response to mounting supply pressure in the north, where advances in drilling technology have heralded an oil boom that has created a glut of landlocked crude with limited transportation options. It is the latest step to turn the flow of oil from north to south in what many believe will create a transformation in the North American oil market.

Enbridge, of Calgary, Alberta, and Enterprise Products Partners, of Houston, will collaborate on a $2 billion pipeline from Cushing, Okla., to Freeport, according to an announcement late Monday. Enbridge will spend $1.9 billion to $2.8 billion to build another pipeline, from Flanagan, Ill., to Cushing, which would link to an existing route from Canada and offer access to oil producers in the northern United States.

Oil produced in the Bakken shale, including areas in North Dakota and Montana, could be shipped through the pipeline to the Gulf Coast. Capacity on southbound pipelines is limited now, which keeps oil from reaching refineries and the retail fuel market, said Jackie Forrest, senior director of global oil research for IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates.

"Somebody just really needs to help clear the logjam," said Michelle Michot Foss, chief energy economist for the University of Texas Center for Energy Economics.
[Read more...]

North Dakota oil patch putting cyclists at risk (28 March 2012)
BISMARCK, N.D. -- Touring bicyclists wanting to retrace the path of explorers Lewis and Clark or pedal through the northern tier of the U.S. are being warned to steer clear of northwest North Dakota because of heavy oil traffic.

Adventure Cycling Association, of Missoula, Mont., said it's remapping the popular bike routes due to "alarming reports" about risky riding conditions through North Dakota's booming oil patch.

New maps are due in May to reflect the change, the biggest such amendment to U.S. routes in the nonprofit's 39-year history, cartographer Jennifer Milyko said.

Based on reports from scores of cyclists, Milyko said roads through North Dakota's oil patch are among the most dangerous of the group's 40,000-mile route network in the U.S.
[Read more...]

Partisan maps mistreat voters (27 March 2012)
Actually, the judges called Republican suggestions that partisan motivations weren't a factor in how they drew the lines "almost laughable." The judges -- two of them appointed by Republican presidents -- also scolded the GOP drafters of the maps for their secrecy in a previous ruling.

"Regrettably, like many other states," the court wrote last week, "Wisconsin chose a sharply partisan methodology that has cost the state in dollars, time and civility. Nevertheless, our task is to assess the legality of the outcome, not whether it lived up to any particular ideal."

The new maps definitely fail to meet high standards for treating Wisconsin voters fairly. Most Republican lawmakers signed secrecy pledges before reviewing the maps that strove to keep Republican majorities in power. The process also cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills.

There's a better way. Like California and Iowa, Wisconsin should assign the once-every-decade task of redrawing Assembly, Senate and congressional districts to a citizen panel or nonpartisan agency such as the Legislative Reference Bureau.
[Read more...]

Arlen Specter: Mitt Romney changes positions more often than a porn star (28 March 2012)
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter (D) on Wednesday compared Mitt Romney to an actress in pornographic films because he had shifted position so often throughout his political career.

"The Republican Party has moved so far to the right, you can't recognize Mitt Romney," Specter told MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski. "What Mitt Romney will appear in October?"

"Mitt Romney has changed positions more often than a pornographic movie queen," he added.

Specter, who before he switched parties in 2009 had supported Rick Santorum's Senate bid, [also believes that] his former colleague and current presidential candidate is now too extreme.

"If you think women have no place in the workforce, if you're against contraception, if you think John Kennedy's speech in Houston separating church and state was wrong, you are too far out of the mainstream to be president," he explained.
[Read more...]

The woman who took on Koch Industries to save her farm (28 March 2012)
Books written by a farmers are rare -- and for good reason. Growing food takes a lot out of you, and most farmers have little or no time to reflect on their lives or package them up for an audience.

But the fact that it's written by a veteran organic farmer is only part of what makes Atina Diffley's book Turn Here Sweet Corn unique. Part memoir, part chronicle of the evolution of the upper Midwest organic movement and the corporate forces exerting pressure against it, the book also allows new farmers to hear from someone who has spent time in the trenches. Diffley, who co-founded the Gardens of Eagan, a successful Minnesota organic farm which has served the Twin Cities region for nearly three decades, comes across first and foremost as a survivor. She writes passionately about the years she and her husband Martin spent farming and raising a family, in the face of a seeming avalanche of challenges. Diffley takes readers along as they faced devastating droughts and hailstorms (with hailstones "as big as size-B potatoes"), razor-thin margins and near bankruptcy, and an unexpected eminent domain eviction from their first farm.

Then, near the end of the book, the couple hit against the biggest challenge of all: the threat of a Koch Industries pipeline tearing through the middle of their second farm. And rather than take it lying down (and losing the soil they've been building for years), Diffley takes on one of the biggest oil companies in the world, organizes the Twin Cities community, and succeeds at not only protecting her own farm, but convincing the area's Public Utilities commission to protect and value all organic farmland in the area.

We spoke to her recently about farming, writing, and the struggle to protect organic land.
[Read more...]

Georgia Senate votes to cut benefits for the unemployed (27 March 2012)
The bill is being pushed because Georgia needs to repay more than $700 million it borrowed from the federal government to pay unemployment benefits during the Great Recession. Supporters of the bill say they are trying to do that without putting too much pressure on businesses still trying to recover.

Opponents of the legislation said the state created the problem by giving unemployment insurance cuts to businesses. Now, they said, the state is trying to make up for its mistake by taking money from the unemployed.

The proposal is to delay distributing the first unemployment check by a week, starting July 1. Payments would then drop from 26 weeks to a sliding scale of 12 to 20 weeks. It also would increase the amount taxed for unemployment insurance.

Georgia's unemployment rate stands at about 9.1 percent, above the U.S. jobless rate of 8.3 percent. The funding for unemployment insurance benefits comes from taxes paid by employers. Those already receiving benefits would be grandfathered in, but anyone making new claims would be affected.
[Read more...]

Judi Bari Revisited: New Film Exposes FBI Coverup of 1990 Car Bombing of California Environmentalist (27 March 2012) [DN]
AMY GOODMAN: Talk about the legal case that went forward from there. Judi has since died, though she didn't die then. She died of cancer. Talk about what has happened since that time. We're talking about 20 years ago. You're still in court.

DARRYL CHERNEY: Well, Judi Bari and I sued the FBI primarily for violations of the First Amendment, that they deliberately and knowingly lied, that they knew we were innocent, but they lied and said we were guilty in order to shut us up. That is, in fact, a violation of the First Amendment. The lawsuit dragged on for 12 years because the FBI kept appealing different things. In the process, Judi Bari passed away from cancer after living her last seven years in pretty serious pain. But her lawyers, her estate and myself took them to trial in Oakland in 2002. And a jury, after hearing six weeks of pretty unbelievable testimony, literally unbelievable testimony from the FBI and the Oakland police, awarded us $4.4 million.

AMY GOODMAN: So, when the FBI set their sights on the two of you, they stopped looking around. Who do you think--and what evidence has come forward to suggest who did this? And what was this bomb in your car?

DARRYL CHERNEY: Well, we know that the FBI held a bomb school just 30 days before we were bombed. They were blowing up cars in Eureka, California, where I live, or near where I live. And they were doing it on a Louisiana-Pacific Lumber Company clearcut. Two weeks after that, a bomb went off at a Louisiana-Pacific sawmill, that eventually they tried to pin that on Judi and myself, too. And then two weeks after the sawmill was bombed, Judi Bari's car was bombed by the exact same bomber, who took credit for this in a letter that was sent to the newspapers. So, there seems to be a thread between the lumber companies and the FBI, and then all the way to the bombed car.

We are now in court to try to get the first bomb, that didn't go off quite well--not the one in Judi's car, but the one at the lumber mill. We believe there's DNA evidence on that. There's about six feet of duct tape that remains on that bomb. We think there could be fingerprints, duct tape hair samples. And as part of getting our money, we took less money, but in exchange for that, we demanded the evidence be returned to us. The FBI is now appealing that, saying they don't want to turn over those bomb remnants to a independent forensics laboratory. We're trying to get a DNA sample to see if we can identify who the bomber is.
[Read more...]

Ben Bernanke warns jobs recovery may be 'out of sync' with economic picture (26 March 2012)
"We have seen some positive signs on the jobs front recently, including a pick-up in monthly payroll gains and a notable decline in the unemployment rate. That is good news. At the same time, some key questions are unresolved," Bernanke said in a speech to the National Association for Business Economics on Monday.

He said the recent positive jobs numbers seemed "somewhat out of sync" with the overall pace of economic expansion, and that a close look revealed some worrying trends.

The number of people working and total hours worked are still significantly below pre-crisis peaks, said Bernanke. He said he was particularly concerned by the large number of people who have been unemployed for more than six months.

"Notwithstanding these welcome recent signs, the job market remains quite weak relative to historical norms," he said. "After nearly two years of job gains, private payroll employment remains more than 5 million jobs below its previous peak."
[Read more...]

Auburn researcher finds dangerous bacteria in tar balls from Gulf oil spill (28 March 2012)
Cova Arias usually studies oysters, not tarballs.

But when balls of oil started washing up outside her Dauphin Island Lab after the BP oil spill, the Auburn University professor and her team decided to run a few tests. They particularly wondered whether the tarballs contained any of the lethal bacteria that they track in seafood.

They found that the tarballs -- which oil executives and government officials have said are little more than a nuisance -- are teeming with bacteria, including Vibrio vulnificus, the leading cause of death from eating bad oysters. In fact, they discovered that the balls had up to 100 times more of that particular bacteria than the water they floated in and 10 times more than the sand they rested on.

"We were surprised," said Arias, a microbiologist in Auburn's Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures and the lead writer on a paper the team published on their results online in the journal EcoHealth in November.
[Read more...]

Virginia approves first offshore wind-energy turbine (28 March 2012)
The state's first offshore wind-energy turbine was approved Tuesday and, if built on schedule, it could be the first one up and running in the United States.

The pilot project will be a single giant stalk, expected to stand 479 feet tall, pounded into the sandy depths of the Chesapeake Bay about three miles off Cape Charles on the Eastern Shore.

The test turbine, underwritten by Gamesa Energy USA in cooperation with Huntington Ingalls Newport News Shipbuilding, is a prototype for the spinning behemoths that clean-energy developers may soon buy and place miles from shore in the Atlantic.

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission, which regulates coastal ecosystems and fisheries, voted unanimously for the project after a public hearing in Newport News. No one opposed the project, which commission staff marveled at, given how this is the first turbine ever considered in state waters.
[Read more...]

Pentagon Stays Silent on Whether Suspect in Afghan Massacre Took Controversial Anti-Malaria Drug (27 March 2012)
MARK BENJAMIN: Good morning, Amy.

Well, what I found is that the Army is looking into some very troubling circumstances. Well, the military wide is looking at some troubling circumstances. And what they're looking into is, the military has discovered that in--it seems to be violating its own rules. In 2009, the military announced that this drug called mefloquine is in fact very, very dangerous, which is what I've been reporting on for many years, and basically said, "Let's only use this drug in very, very limited circumstances in places like Afghanistan, and let's definitely not give it to people who have any brain problems." Now, the reason why is because this is a relatively unusual drug called a quinolone, and it goes into--it crosses the blood-brain barrier and goes into the human brain and, in certain brains, can do very serious damage. So the military announced that this drug should not be given to people who have brain problems like traumatic brain injuries.

What the military has discovered is that out on the battlefield, those rules aren't being followed, and some soldiers who do have these kinds of problems are getting this drug. And that obviously can increase the likelihood of a problem like a psychotic break. Now, this review just happens to be ongoing, apparently, at the time that Bales, the staff sergeant, went--apparently went on this shooting spree, killing 17 people including nine children. Now, the Army is just--and the military will not say whether or not he took this drug, but this review is happening at the time that these murders took place.
[Read more...]

Beware dangerous new advice to use daily aspirin to prevent cancer (27 March 2012) [AJ]
(NaturalNews) Before anyone jumps on the latest mainstream media bandwagon and begins taking daily aspirin to prevent cancer, there are several strong reasons to hesitate. To begin with, the study which produced the media storm was flawed and the claimed benefits are highly questionable.

The new aspirin study was conducted by Professor Peter Rothwell at the Stroke Prevention Research Unit at Oxford University. According to the study, taking an aspirin a day could reduce your risk of cancer within three years after beginning the therapy. Only two years earlier, Professor Rothwell published a previous study which suggested that protective benefits would be seen only after 10 years of daily aspirin use.

The new findings are actually just a re-analysis of about 90 previously published studies. For unexplained reasons, the new analysis failed to look at several major US trials which failed to find any protective benefit from aspirin. Also, the average dose of aspirin in the studies which were examined was far above the recommended "safe" dose of 75 mg.

Professor Rothwell appears to have come full circle regarding aspirin. In 2007 he published a study which found that aspirin was a major cause of stroke in the elderly and had caused a sevenfold increase in strokes over the past twenty five years among elderly patients. At the time, he warned that aspirin could soon replace high blood pressure as the leading cause of stroke among the elderly.

Notably, Professor Rothwell has received honoraria for serving on advisory boards, clinical trial committees and giving talks from some pharmaceutical companies with an interest in anti-platelet agents, including Bayer, AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, Sanofi-BMS and Servier.
[Read more...]

Bedrock of vaccination theory crumbles as science reveals antibodies not necessary to fight viruses (27 March 2012) [AJ]
(NaturalNews) While the medical, pharmaceutical, and vaccine industries are busy pushing new vaccines for practically every condition under the sun, a new study published in the journal Immunity completely deconstructs the entire vaccination theory. It turns out that the body's natural immune systems, comprised of both innate and adaptive components, work together to ward off disease without the need for antibody-producing vaccines.

The theory behind vaccines is that they mimic infection by spurring B cells, one of the two major types of white blood cells in the immune system, to produce antibodies as part of the adaptive immune system. It is widely believed that these vaccine-induced antibodies, which are part of the more specific adaptive immune system, teach the immune system how to directly respond to an infection before the body becomes exposed to it.

But the new research highlights the fact that innate immunity plays a significant role in fighting infections, and is perhaps more important than adaptive immunity at preventing or fighting infections. In tests, adaptive immune system antibodies were shown unable to fight infection by themselves, which in essence debunks the theory that vaccine-induced antibodies serve any legitimate function in preventing or fighting off infection.

"Our findings contradict the current view that antibodies are absolutely required to survive infection with viruses like VSV (vesicular stomatitis virus), and establish an unexpected function for B cells as custodians of macrophages in antiviral immunity," said Dr. Uldrich H. von Andrian from Harvard Medical School. "It will be important to further dissect the role of antibodies and interferons in immunity against similar viruses that attack the nervous system, such as rabies, West Nile virus, and Encephalitis."
[Read more...]

Los Angeles red-light camera program to end this weekend (28 March 2012)
The Los Angeles Police Department will stop enforcing the red-light camera program this weekend after the Police Commission voted Tuesday to end the contract with the company that operates the cameras.

"We are not going to pay the contractor to support the system anymore," said LAPD officer Michael Gregg, who has worked in the red-light camera program for the last four years. "Without that contract, we don't have access to the data -- the videos, the photos."

In addition, LAPD officers will no longer appear in court on red-light camera cases, he said.

The L.A. City Council voted in July to shut down the controversial program, after the Los Angeles County Superior Court stopped aggressively enforcing collections against those who ignored the citations. Paying the tickets has been voluntary, and the city has no plans to pursue unpaid fines.

But the police department kept the contract with the Arizona-based company, American Traffic Solutions, to collect revenue from unpaid tickets. Over the past several months, gross revenue has continued to decline -- from $191,539 in September to $69,905 in January.
[Read more...]

EPA announces historic rule to limit climate pollution from new power plants (27 March 2012)
WASHINGTON -- The Environmental Protection Agency took a historic step on Tuesday in the fight against climate change, proposing the first limits of greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants.

The new rule likely would make new coal-fired power plants too expensive after this year. It wouldn't apply to some 15 power plants that are expected to break ground in the next 12 months. After that, however, coal-fired plants would have to capture and store some of their carbon dioxide emissions, a practice that's currently so costly that it isn't in commercial use anywhere.

Natural gas plants belch only about half the emissions of coal plants and would not need any additional equipment to meet the new standard. The nation's utilities have been moving toward natural gas to fuel new plants anyway, since the use of hydraulic fracturing has greatly expanded the nation's gas supply and prices are down.

This is the first time that the United States has ever proposed any limits on greenhouse gases from industrial sources. Republicans in Congress and their business allies vowed to fight the EPA rule as hostile to abundant coal and too costly. Environmentalists and health groups cheered it.
[Read more...]

Sen. Rand Paul blocks Iran sanctions bill (27 March 2012)
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Tuesday blocked legislation that would impose a new sanctions on Iran.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) had hoped to quickly pass the bill by unanimous consent. But Paul objected and introduced an amendment stating that any use of military force against Iran must be authorized by Congress.

"Our Founding Fathers were quite concerned about giving the power declare war to the Executive," Paul said on the Senate floor. "They were quite concerned that the Executive could become like a king."

"Before sending our young men and women into combat, we should have a mature and thoughtful debate over the ramifications of and over the authorization of war and over the motives of the war," he added.

The bill would penalize U.S. parent firms for certain Iran-related activities of their foreign subsidiaries and mandate sanctions for anyone that provides Iran with equipment that aids censorship or the suppression of human rights.

It would also formally state that U.S. policy is intended to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and sanction uranium mining joint ventures with Iran's government outside of Iran.
[Read more...]

Century-old light bulb from Ohio site still works (27 March 2012)
GE Lighting began a year-long countdown on Monday to its 100th anniversary of Nela Park in April 2013 with the unearthing of a time capsule in the cornerstone of one of the original buildings at the East Cleveland research center.

Artifacts in the time capsule, actually a lead box, included a photos of Nela's founders, journals, a book of technical specifications, and a Plain Dealer. Above the box in the interior of the cornerstone were five incandescent light bulbs. They had been packed in sand.

Yes. At least one of the five 40-watt bulbs worked.

Its heavy filament could be seen glowing softly in the noon sun as engineers ramped up power to a special socket used for the occasion. After the ceremony engineers began testing the remaining bulbs in a nearby laboratory.
[Read more...]

Dominique Strauss-Kahn charged over alleged links with prostitution ring (26 March 2012)
A French judge has charged the former head of the International Monetary Fund Dominique Strauss-Kahn over his alleged links with a prostitution ring.

In a surprise hearing -- two days before he had been officially summoned -- the veteran French politician was placed under formal investigation and told he faced further questioning on charges of "complicity in aggravated and organised prostitution" and "misuse of company assets".

Investigators want to establish if Strauss-Kahn knew the girls he has admitted having sex with during "libertine" parties in various cities including Paris and Washington, were paid. Strauss-Kahn, 62, has denied having any such knowledge and denied any wrongdoing.

He was "mis en examen", the French equivalent of being charged, after being held in police custody and quizzed for two days in February over an alleged high-class prostitution ring centre on the luxury Carlton Hotel in the northern city of Lille. The charges carry a maximum 20 year jail term.
[Read more...]

Occupy S.F. protester stabbed outside Fed (27 March 2012)
(03-26) 15:16 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- An Occupy protester was hospitalized after he was stabbed in a fight in downtown San Francisco near the Federal Reserve Bank, police and activists with the group said today.

The protester was stabbed in the chest about 10:40 p.m. Sunday on the 100 block of Market Street while arguing with another man about the whereabouts of a camera, said police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza. He would not be more specific.

A witness drove the victim to a hospital, Esparza said. He is expected to survive.

The suspect, described as a man in his early 20s, ran off and remains at large.

Protesters at the Occupy encampment identified the victim as Brian "Boston" Reid, and said he had been camping with them on and off since fall.
[Read more...]

Oil spill cleanup workers sought for long-term health study (27 March 2012)
GULF SHORES, Alabama -- State and federal health officials are asking anyone who worked on the BP oil spill cleanup to sign up for what has become the biggest study of its kind.

More than 16,000 people, including beach cleanup crews, Vessels of Opportunity operators, support personnel and others have signed up for the Gulf Long-term Followup, or GuLF, Study, said Dale Sandler, chief of the Epidemiology Branch of the National Institute of Environmental Health.

"We've done more than 2,700 of our telephone interviews in Alabama already," she said. "We hope at the end of the day that we'll have 8,000 people at least from Alabama, which would reflect back at about 21 percent of the people who are on our list as having done something related to the oil spill cleanup did come from Alabama."

Sandler said she expects at least 40,000 people across the Gulf Coast to be signed up for the study by the end of this year. The telephone interviews will be followed by interviews in participants' homes.
[Read more...]

PG&E ran 3 sections of blast line illegally (27 March 2012)
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. was operating at least three segments of the natural-gas pipeline that ran through San Bruno at illegally high pressures before the 2010 explosion that killed eight people, a Chronicle analysis of the company's records shows.

When questioned soon after the disaster by federal investigators, the utility dismissed its own consultant's findings that part of the line had been run at pressures higher than government rules allow. But annual reports that PG&E submitted to California regulators and the company's pipeline data sheets show that three segments on the San Bruno line were being run at levels higher than the utility could justify, given that it was missing crucial records about the pipe.

Under federal law, companies lacking information about their pipes must assume they are the lowest grade available and run them accordingly. PG&E failed to do so on the San Bruno line, as well as on more than 30 other pipelines throughout the state where it was missing documentation, its records and reports indicate.

The utility says information in those records and annual reports, which it was required by law to give to the state, were "not the official record" about its pipes. It did not say the figures were inaccurate, though.
[Read more...]

Oswald tombstone surfaces in rural Illinois auto museum, stirs Texan's anger (27 March 2012)
Inside Wayne Lensing's auto museum down a remote road from a body shop, visitors can see Elvis Presley's 1972 Lincoln, the Mayberry squad car from "The Andy Griffith Show" and three Batmobiles.

Right around the corner from Richard Petty's 1960 stock car and a few steps from the Cadillac covered in 120,000 coins, the curious also can view a decidedly different artifact: Lee Harvey Oswald's tombstone.

That's right. The 130-pound gray granite slab that marked the final resting place of one of U.S. history's more notorious figures is about 90 miles northwest of Chicago, on the outskirts of Roscoe, Ill., best known perhaps as race car driver Danica Patrick's hometown.

How the stone got there is a tale of thievery that also involves an electrician who made a startling discovery in a crawl space and a woman who isn't saying much. Whether it remains in the museum may end up as a courtroom drama between Lensing and the owner of a legendary live music club.
[Read more...]

Report: BP oil spill culprit for heavy toll on coral (26 March 2012)
AP - After months of laboratory work, scientists say they can definitively finger oil from BP's blown-out well as the culprit for the slow death of a once brightly colored deep-sea coral community in the Gulf of Mexico that is now brown and dull.

In a study published Monday, scientists say meticulous chemical analysis of samples taken in late 2010 proves that oil from BP PLC's out-of-control Macondo well devastated corals living about 7 miles southwest of the well. The coral community is located over an area roughly the size of half a football field nearly a mile below the Gulf's surface.

The damaged corals were discovered in October 2010 by academic and government scientists, but it's taken until now for them to declare a definite link to the oil spill.

Most of the Gulf's bottom is muddy, but coral colonies that pop up every once in a while are vital oases for marine life in the chilly ocean depths. The injured and dying coral today has bare skeleton, loose tissue and is covered in heavy mucous and brown fluffy material, the paper said.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: I never did understand how "dispersants" were accepted as a method of "cleaning up" the spill.

What are they hiding? Oklahoma legislators kill provision to drug test politicians. (26 March 2012)
The Oklahoma Senate has dropped legislation that would require politicians throughout the state to be drug tested along with people receiving temporary public assistance.

The bill, passed by the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services on Monday, would still require applicants for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to undergo a mandatory drug test.

The Department of Human Services estimates 22,000 people in Oklahoma receive TANF benefits, which helps poor families with children pay for living expenses, including rent, heat, utilities and personal care items.

Democrats in the Oklahoma House who opposed the legislation added an amendment that required anyone seeking public office to pass a drug test as well. The bill's sponsor, Republican state Rep. Guy Liebman, opposed the amendment, but his attempt to eliminate measure was defeated by a bipartisan vote.
[Read more...]

Police: Florida shooter claimed that teenager punched him and slammed his head into the sidewalk (26 March 2012)
With a single punch, Trayvon Martin decked the Neighborhood Watch volunteer who eventually shot and killed the unarmed 17-year-old, then Trayvon climbed on top of George Zimmerman and slammed his head into the sidewalk, leaving him bloody and battered, law-enforcement authorities told the Orlando Sentinel.

That is the account Zimmerman gave police, and much of it has been corroborated by witnesses, authorities say. There have been no reports that a witness saw the initial punch Zimmerman told police about.

Zimmerman has not spoken publicly about what happened Feb. 26. But that night, and in later meetings, he described and re-enacted for police what he says took place.

In his version of events, Zimmerman had turned around and was walking back to his SUV when Trayvon approached him from behind, the two exchanged words and then Trayvon punched him in the nose, sending him to the ground, and began beating him.
[Read more...]

Part 2: Former NSA Employee Thomas Drake and Jesselyn Radack on Obama Admin. Whistleblower Crackdown (26 March 2012) [DN]
AMY GOODMAN: And explain what Stellar Wind was, is.

THOMAS DRAKE: Well, Stellar Wind was this dragnet electronic surveillance program that went--it exponentially grew by leaps and bounds. In fact, when the PATRIOT Act was passed in October in Congress, NSA was already in violation of the PATRIOT Act. So, we're talking about--I mean, remember, the exclusive means--it's really critical to note that the exclusive means by which electronic surveillance could take place against U.S. persons, which is resident aliens, U.S. corporations and U.S. citizens--the exclusive means by which you would conduct that activity had to be done under the auspices of FISA. And so--and it had to be with a warrant, although there were certain conditions where you could do hot pursuit and other, but those were time-limited and time-constrained. FISA was the exclusive means.

If you violated FISA, there were criminal sanctions. We're talking thousands and thousands of dollars and many years--for each incident. What NSA chose to do, in concert with the White House and White House approval, was to simply upend that legal regime, which in itself was a compromise hammered out under the Carter administration based on all the previous abuses that had ensued in the previous two decades, and so tossing out 23 years, under the excuse of 9/11, giving NSA essentially blanket access to all available electronic records both, you know--anywhere they could find it.

What I would hear internally is that "We just need to get the data. We don't know where the threat is. We don't know where they may be hiding. There could be secret cells. Hey, and if it means bypassing the rights of Americans, so be it, because what's most important is security of the country. Who cares about our liberties? They'll just have to take a back seat for now." I remember actually saying, "If that's so, then why don't we change the law?" There's a legal means by which you change a law in this country. And that means is through Congress. And if the law wasn't working before, you can modify the law. And in fact, FISA had been modified five times since 1978. So here's a chance to--
[Read more...]

Here's How to Condescend to 900 Job Applicants With a 3,000-Word Rejection Letter (26 March 2012)
We were forwarded this rejection email, apparently sent to more than 900 hopeful applicants in one bulk delivery, by a reader who shall remain anonymous. (The person is, after all, still looking for a job).

"I don't find it helpful," the rejected applicant wrote. "I just find it arrogant."

"At first I thought I'd made it to the second round," the reader said on the phone this evening, "but then I realized I'd been Bcc'd, along with 900 others, on my own rejection letter."

Here it is, in all its bullet-point glory...
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: The employer was actually trying to offer helpful pointers, but his assumption that other employers share his preferences isn't necessarily true.

Health-care provision at center of Supreme Court debate was a Republican idea (26 March 2012)
The tale begins in the late 1980s, when conservative economists such as Mark Pauly, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of business, were searching for ways to counter liberal calls for government-sponsored universal health coverage.

"We wanted to find an alternative that was more consistent with market-oriented economic ideas and would involve less government intervention," Pauly said.

His solution: a system of tax credits to ensure that all Americans could purchase at least bare-bones "catastrophic" coverage.

Pauly then proposed a mandate requiring everyone to obtain this minimum coverage, thus guarding against free-riders: people who refuse to buy insurance and then, in a crisis, receive care whose costs are absorbed by hospitals, the government and other consumers.
[Read more...]

Unemployment for post-9/11 veterans may be higher than thought (26 March 2012)
A new survey by a prominent veterans advocacy group has found an unemployment rate among veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that is significantly higher than the rate reported in a recent government survey.

Nearly 17% of veterans surveyed by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America said they were unemployed, the group said Monday. A survey released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics put the unemployment rate at 12.1% for veterans who have served since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Paul Rieckhoff, the group's executive director, said the survey underscores the difficulties veterans face as they struggle to find work in the civilian world.

"This information should be a wake-up call for all Americans,'' Rieckhoff said in Washington, where the group is mounting its seventh annual Storm the Hill lobbying campaign on veterans issues.

The findings of the two surveys used different methodology and definitions -- and did not necessarily include all of the same veterans. The veterans group surveyed only veterans. The government survey, which is based on annual averages, included all Americans in the work force.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: Oh, please! What they really mean is higher than admitted. Everyone knows that the unemployment rate has been in the double digits for years now, possibly in the 30% range -- but the government won'tadmit it.

787s will open new routes connecting U.S., Asia (26 March 2012)
Boeing on Monday celebrated the delivery of two 787 Dreamliners to an airline that will immediately showcase the plane's main selling point -- its suitability for opening "long, thin" routes linking distant cities where passenger volume is too small to support larger jets.

One of the planes for the second Dreamliner customer, Japan Airlines (JAL), will be used to inaugurate a new route between Tokyo and Boston next month. Another JAL 787 will fly from Tokyo to San Diego, beginning later this year.

Neither Boston nor San Diego have direct flights to Asia today.

At a ceremony in Everett before the Dreamliners took off for Japan, Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief Jim Albaugh recalled that the jet-maker had promised "to connect city pairs that have never been connected before."
[Read more...]

FTC releases final privacy report, says 'Do Not Track' mechanism may be available by end of year (26 March 2012)
The Federal Trade Commission on Monday outlined a framework for how companies should address consumer privacy, pledging that consumers will have "an easy to use and effective" "Do Not Track" option by the end of the year.

The FTC's report comes a little over a month after the White House released a "privacy bill of rights" that called on companies to be more transparent about privacy and grant consumers greater access to their data but that stopped short of backing a do-not-track rule.

The FTC also said it plans to work with Web companies and advertisers to implement an industry-designed do-not-track technology so as to avoid a federal law that mandates it. The Digital Advertising Alliance, which represents 90 percent of all Web sites with advertising, is working with the Commerce Department and FTC to create an icon that would allow users an easy way to stop online tracking.

But the enforcement agency said that if the companies aren't able to get the technology launched by the end of the year, lawmakers should force those companies to offer consumers a similar option to stop tracking.
[Read more...]

Child abuse images hidden in web stores, says IWF report (26 March 2012)
Outwardly the sites look legitimate, but abusers can reach the images via a route that takes them to a specific section of the site, said the IWF.

Overall in 2011, the IWF said, the number of sites selling child abuse images seemed to have declined.

IWF chief executive Susie Hargreaves said the tactic of concealing images on otherwise legitimate looking sites posed "challenges" for those who police such material.

In many cases, she said, the IWF had been alerted about collections of images on sites by members of the public who had stumbled across them accidentally.
[Read more...]

For California fishermen, squid means big money (26 March 2012)
Most of the world's market squid is harvested from California's shallow waters, where they gather in enormous schools each year to mate, deposit their eggs on the seafloor and die.

Cold ocean conditions have drawn them in such numbers lately that fishermen have handily caught their 118,000-ton limit -- enough to fill 60 Olympic-size swimming pools -- and the state has shut them down early two years running. Surging demand in China, Japan, Mexico and Europe has boosted prices and launched a fishing frenzy worth more than $70 million a year.

The good times have drawn the attention of conservationists, who fear such abundant catches are threatening the foundation of a delicate marine food web. Groups like Oceana and Audubon California are pushing for new protections for squid, sardines, anchovies, herring and other small, schooling prey known as "forage fish."

A bill moving its way through the California Legislature would require the state to leave more small fish in the water for seabirds, whales, dolphins and other natural predators to feed on.
[Read more...]

Japan's Tepco shuts its last reactor, power risks loom (26 March 2012)
(Reuters) - Tokyo Electric Power Co, the operator of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima power plant, shut its last operating nuclear reactor on Monday for regular maintenance, leaving just one running reactor supplying Japan's creaking power sector.

Japan has 54 reactors, but since the tsunami last March triggered the world's worst nuclear crisis in 25 years at the Fukushima plant, it has been unable to restart any reactors that have undergone maintenance due to public safety concerns.

Tepco said it shutdown the No.6 reactor at its Kashiwazaki Kariwa plant, the world's biggest nuclear power plant, raising concerns about a power crunch this summer when electricity demand peaks due to hot weather.

"We are likely to be able to provide stable electricity supply at the moment, but we would like to ask customers to continue conserving power," Tepco President Toshio Nishizawa said in a statement released on Sunday.
[Read more...]

All fuel is drained from stricken 'Concordia' (25 March 2012)
Authorities say they have removed all the fuel that was left aboard the Costa Concordia cruise ship that capsized off Italy.

The process of transferring more than 2,000 tons of fuel and sewage was completed yesterday, thus laying to rest fears that any fuel leaking from the ship would pollute the waters off the Tuscan island of Giglio, where the ship rammed a reef on 13 January. Thirty people died in the accident and frantic evacuation of the Concordia, and two more are still missing, presumed dead.
[Read more...]

Mercury raises compounds tied to autoimmune diseases (25 March 2012) [AJ]
A new large study of more than 2,000 US women found an association between mercury exposure and elevated levels of a thyroid antibody that is often higher in patients with autoimmune diseases, conditions in which immune system mistakes some part of the body as a pathogen and attacks its own cells.

Women with the highest blood mercury levels were more than twice as likely to have elevated levels of thyroglobulin antibody compared to women with the lowest mercury levels, wrote Carolyn M. Gallagher and Jaymie R. Meliker in Environment International.

Previous findings had tied mercury to certain health problems including heart and nervous immune diseases particularly in women of childbearing age and young children.

The new study has provided the first evidence suggesting that mercury affects the immune system through the thyroid. It, however, cannot prove that the element can cause thyroid or autoimmune disease.
[Read more...]

Cheney too old for transplant? Bioethicist weighs in (25 March 2012)
According to UNOS, 332 people over age 65 received a heart transplant last year. The majority of transplants occur in 50- to 64-year-olds.

Most transplant teams, knowing that hearts are in huge demand, set an informal eligibility limit of 70.

Cheney is not the first person over 70 to get a heart transplant. He is, however, in a small group of people who have gotten one. Why did he?

Cheney has an advantage over others. It is not fame or his political prominence. It is money and top health insurance.

Heart transplants produce bills in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The drugs needed to keep these transplants working cost tens of thousands of dollars every year. Organ donations are sought from the rich and poor alike. But, if you do not have health insurance you are far less likely to be able to get evaluated for a heart transplant much less actually get a transplant.
[Read more...]

Dallas Fed: Top 10 Wall Street Banks Own More Than 50% Of US GDP (24 March 2012) [AJ]
The Dallas Federal Reserve blasts too big to fail as a perversion of capitalism, outlining how Wall Street bailouts resulted in an unprecedented concentration of wealth.
The Dallas Federal Reserve has just released its damaging annual report titled "Choosing the Road to Prosperity -- Why We Must End Too Big to Fail--Now" which reads much like a manifesto of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

The report holds no punches in pointing out the concentration of wealth that has been amassed in nation's top Wall Street Banks following the bank bailouts and directly calls out too big to fail as a perversion of capitalism.

If it wasn't for the pro-federal reserve talking points in the annual report, you could replace the title on the report with "Why We Occupy" and use it as a handout for the Occupy movement.
[Read more...]

I beat MS (24 March 2012)
My research brought me to the work of Dr Roy Swank. Dr Swank believed that there was a direct correlation between MS and heavy intake of saturated animal fats and the trans fats in processed foods.

When I also looked at specialist diets to combat other diseases, such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes, I noticed many similarities.

From here on, I was only going to put the correct fuel into my body and I developed a 'perennial diet' that encompassed all the elements common to most anti-illness diets.

This would eventually become the Healing Code Nutrition Plan.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: Sounds like his case fit the model discussed in John Robbins' book Diet for a New America.

Aspirin Might Reduce Cancer Risk, But It Has Risks, Too (21 March 2012)
But people's risk of serious internal bleeding doubled in the first three years of taking aspirin daily. And the reduced cancer risks didn't start to show up until three years out. So even if these results stand the test of time, patients would have to weigh the known risks of bleeding and ulcers against potential benefits.

And other studies that weren't included in the Oxford scientists' review found no cancer reduction benefit from aspirin.

The Women's Health Study followed almost 40,000 women who took low-dose aspirin every other day for 10 years. And the Physicians' Health Study tracked 22,017 men who took regular-strength aspirin every other day for five years. Neither study showed any reduction in cancer risk or death, even for colon cancer.

It's "plausible" that such differences in dosing could explain why the cancer-reducing effect wasn't seen in the Women's and Physician's health studies, write Andrew Chan and Nancy Cook, in a comment in The Lancet. But that's "far from conclusively established," they write. Cook is a biostatistician who worked on both the women's and physicians' studies.
[Read more...]

Louisiana Dolphins' sickness caused by oil (24 March 2012)
The dolphins studied in early August 2011 suffered various health problems, including being underweight, being anemic, having low blood sugar and displaying signs of liver or lung disease, Schwacke said.

About half had low adrenal hormone levels, including the stress hormone, which can cause low blood sugar, weight loss and can lead to death, she said.

The low hormone levels suggest adrenal insufficiency, which has not been seen in other dolphins, including those in a control group from Sarasota Bay, Fla., or along the Atlantic coast, Schwacke said.

Many are in such poor health they'll probably die, she added.

"We don't know definitely that the health concerns are connected with oil exposure," Schwacke said.

But similar problems with adrenal glands have been found in studies of mink doused in oil, she said.

The NOAA findings are preliminary and further study will be done to help scientists better understand oil exposure, Schwacke said. But the findings thus far are consistent with the findings of other studies of the effect of oil exposure on mammals.
[Read more...]

Exclusive: OWS Activist Cecily McMillan Describes Seizure, Bodily Injuries in Arrest by NYPD (23 March 2012) [DN]
AMY GOODMAN: That is above your right breast. And then your arms. Your arms are black and blue around both elbows. You've got finger marks of black and blue on both arms. And you're clearly--


AMY GOODMAN: --in a lot of pain on your back, and we can't show those bruises now. Your ribs--what happened?

CECILY McMILLAN: My ribs are really bruised.

AMY GOODMAN: What happened to you? You went out on Saturday, six-month anniversary of Occupy, with hundreds of other people to Zuccotti. And what took place?

CECILY McMILLAN: Like I said, I haven't seen any of the videos yet. I ended a 40-something hour stay in jail and ended up with all these bruises. I mean, that's--I have an open case, so I can't talk more about it, and I'm sure you can tell that it would be difficult for me to remember some things. But I have these.
[Read more...]

Russell's victory: Campus crime bill to become law in Virginia (22 March 2012)
After several years spent fighting to change the way the most serious crimes on college campuses are investigated, activist Susan Russell will at last see part of her wish fulfilled as a watered-down version of the bill inspired by her daughter's alleged rape at the University of Virginia has unanimously passed both the Virginia House and Senate.

"We are very glad to see some change has come from our efforts," says Russell, who became an advocate for campus safety after her daughter, Kathryn, reported being raped in 2004 by a fellow UVA student who was never charged with any crime, even after a second alleged victim came forward.

Russell and others impacted by crime at UVA, including sexual assault victim Liz Seccuro and the parents of slain Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington, assert that campus police departments are not best equipped to handle murder and rape investigations and had urged that municipal law enforcement agencies take the lead in such cases.

Campus police departments including UVA's objected to the original wording of the bill, claiming their officers receive special training in sexual assault cases and are as effective as local authorities in investigating. After review by the Virginia Crime Commission late last year, the law (first known as HB2490 but approved as HB965) was softened to require only that when investigating campus rape and murder cases, university police enter into "mutual aid agreements" with local law enforcement.
[Read more...]

'Baking soda' cancer treatment doctor not at Totnes meeting (25 March 2012)
An ex doctor who claims cancer can be treated using baking soda did not attend a meeting in Devon about alternative treatments for the disease.

Italian oncologist Tullio Simoncini, who has been struck off, was expected to attend a conference in Totnes about alternative cancer treatments.

Concerns had been raised by a local MP and a trading standards investigation had begun.

Organisers said they had asked him not to attend because of the concerns.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: Interesting -- it appears that he's trying to alkalize the body, which helps with some illnesses. I'd like to learn more about his protocols and their results. (But FYI for my readers, I'm not endorsing it. Click here if you want to know about the alternative cancer protocol that I trusted with my own life.)

Trayvon Martin shooting: Why Geraldo Rivera says a hoodie killed him (24 March 2012)
Geraldo Rivera said on Fox News that 17-year-old Trayvon Martin wouldn't have been shot if he hadn't been wearing a hoodie. His comments sparked outrage online. [Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: There is some truth to what Geraldo said, despite his shock-journalism reputation. Although hoodies don't mean that a person is guilty, the guilty do often use hoodies to try to shield their identity from security cameras and other witnesses.

Paul Ryan's budget plan: Starving the poor (22 March 2012)
"Promoting the natural rights and the inherent dignity of the individual must be the central focus of all government."

That's what Congressman Paul Ryan wrote earlier this month in an exclusive commentary for Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity. This week, he revealed exactly where his laser-like focus on dignity would lead this nation. He released his budget proposal, as clear a statement of one's principles and priorities as there is in politics.

Here are the results, and they're not pretty. Nation readers with young children should probably ask them to leave the room before reading onward.

Mr. Ryan's focus on dignity... means a cut in food stamps of $133 billion over ten years, even though 76 percent of participating households include a child, senior or disabled person, nearly half of all recipients are children and 40 percent of single mothers use food stamps to help feed their families. A $13.4 billion cut in one year translates to as many as 8.2 billion meals lost for low-income people, more kids at risk of being underweight or developmentally delayed, worse educational outcomes and more stressed-out parents.
[Read more...]

New data about youth homelessness shows that, like adults, most go home quickly (23 March 2012)
One of the often-misunderstood parts of homelessness is how often the population churns.

Over the past few decades, data has shown that nearly 80 percent of adult homeless people leave homelessness with little or no help and in short order.

The problem is that new low-income people arrive to take their place. Nationally, at some point during each year, up to 10 percent of all poor people become homeless, according to the Urban Institute. That revolving door may be busier in New Orleans because of its high poverty rate.

For the people who fight homelessness, that means tailoring responses appropriately. Instead of putting everyone through expensive transitional housing, some people may get back on their feet with small assistance: help renewing their driver's licenses, paying for first month's rent or buying a uniform for work.

An increasing body of data has shown that the more expensive, intensive responses should be reserved for the chronically homeless, who typically suffer from addiction or mental illness and need complex attention in order to live on their own.
[Read more...]

Dick Cheney Heart Transplant: What's Ahead from Web MD (25 March 2012)
After a more than 30-year history of heart problems, former Vice President Dick Cheney is recovering from a heart transplant. How successful is a heart transplant in a 71-year old man and what does the road ahead hold in store?

Cheney suffered his first of five heart attacks in his late 30s. In 2010 he received an implanted device called a left ventricular assist device (LVAD). LVADs were originally intended as a "bridge" to heart transplant while someone waits for an available heart. However, in recent years the technology has improved to the point that people are living for many years with this device, which helps pump blood through the heart. In a previous interview after receiving his LVAD, Cheney had said that he was not sure if he wanted a heart transplant, but he had apparently been on the heart waiting list for 20 months.

Heart transplants are truly life-saving procedures. The surgery is done when no other treatment options are available and there is a good chance the person would die in the near future without a new heart. Of course, LVADs have helped increase the amount of time people can wait for a heart. About 75% of people live for at least five years after a heart transplant, with 56% surviving at least 10 years, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The question is: how does someone in his 70s fare after such major surgery? Quite well, actually, and the latest research suggests that people over 70 do just as well as younger people after a heart transplant.

Cheney will likely spend one to two weeks in the hospital and then his doctors will watch him very closely over the next three months while his body continues to recover from surgery. If all goes well, Cheney should be able to return to his normal level of activity. In fact, with a brand new heart, the hope would be that he'll be even better than before.

One of the most significant concerns after receiving a new heart is rejection since our immune systems are trained to get rid of any foreign substances, including new organs. To prevent rejection, Cheney will need to take strong medicines to suppress his immune system. This comes with its own risks as these medicines increase the threat of potentially serious infection and even cancer. But keep in mind that people who receive a heart transplant have no other options in order to survive.
[Read more...]

Poor hospital cleaning revealed as major problem in Canada (22 March 2012)
While Canadians love to crow about their first-rate health-care system, it also leads in one area that doesn't get the same glowing reviews.

About 250,000 Canadians come down with life-threatening infections while in hospitals every year. That's the highest rate in the developed world. As many as 12,000 people a year die.

Denise Ball's husband Gary became one of those statistics last year.

He was admitted to Niagara General Hospital for treatment of pancreatitis. While there, the 63-year-old retired school teacher contracted C. difficile -- a life-threatening illness that is all too common in Canadian hospitals. It ended up playing a role in his death a few months later.
[Read more...]

American Press Institute to merge with NAA Foundation (22 March 2012)
In a sign of the times for the troubled newspaper industry, the nation's most venerable press-management and training organization will lay off its staff and shutter its landmark headquarters on Friday.

The American Press Institute of Reston will cease independent operations after 66 years and combine with a unit of the newspaper industry's main trade group, the Arlington-based Newspaper Association of America, under a merger approved by the two organizations' boards in January.

As a result, API will vacate its distinctive headquarters, a modernist building designed by noted Bauhaus architect Marcel Breuer, and it has dismissed its eight full-time employees and one part-timer.

Its assets -- primarily a multimillion-dollar endowment -- will be pooled with the NAA Foundation's endowment to fund programs, said Bob Weil, API's vice chairman and an executive with McClatchy, the Sacramento-based newspaper company.
[Read more...]

Alaskan Legislature mulls two gas line projects (25 March 2012)
At a time when many Alaskans are struggling with huge winter heating bills, pressure is mounting on legislators to solve the decades-old problem of how to get North Slope gas to major markets -- siphoning off some for use in state along the way.

Political muscle is embedded in the speaker's project, House Bill 9. But after hours of hearings in two House committees, questions remain about who would own and pay for the project, whether the legislation contains enough checks and balances to ensure it's built and managed for the public benefit, and whether the pipeline would deliver gas at an affordable price.

Critics say it would lead to far more expensive natural gas than a big pipeline and could bind Southcentral Alaska consumers to high prices for 20 years.

The legislation gives a subsidiary of the Alaska Housing Finance Corp. the power to get a $7.5 billion pipeline built or become a partner to a bigger line or a spur. The Alaska Gasline Development Corp. would figure out who would own the line. Maybe the state. Maybe a private company. Maybe a combination.
[Read more...]

North's on-job carcinogen limits weakest in Canada (23 March 2012)
Outdated limits on cancer-causing agents -- unchanged since the 1980s -- allow labourers in the three territories to be exposed to doses many times higher than the rest of the country.

"It's kind of an embarrassment," said Bob Whiting, a technical specialist with the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, a Crown corporation.

Amid forecasts of an economic boom that promises to expand the North's labour market, health and safety officials for Yukon, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories are moving to toughen the standards for cancer-causing agents in workplaces.

Concentration maximums for most carcinogens stand between five and 500 times the limits set by other provinces, according to data from the B.C.-based research initiative CAREX Canada.
[Read more...]

Electric car makers looking to seize opportunity (25 March 2012)
To drivers, the high price of gasoline is a scourge. To the electric car industry, it could be a game-changer.

Nissan's electric Leaf and the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid both hit dealer showrooms in late 2010, riding a wave of carefully cultivated hype. But first-year sales were lackluster at best, as consumers balked at the high sticker prices and unfamiliar engineering.

This year's gas-price spike could change that.

Technology that looked like a gamble to many car buyers last year might look more like an insurance policy now.

"Every time it goes up, my phone rings a little more," said Ron Coury, with the Northbay Nissan dealership in Petaluma. "It's the ones who've been sitting back and watching, and now they're sticking their feet in the water."
[Read more...]

More manufacturing work returns to U.S. shores (24 March 2012)
In a corner of a manufacturing plant in St. Charles, a dozen workers steadily assembled electric motors that until December were produced in China.

The Bison Gear & Engineering Corp. workers inserted copper wires, tested the assembly and then readied them for the next step, the addition of a gearbox. The end products, gear motors, are used in everything from ice machines to solar panels. At one time it made sense for Bison to import motors from China, but no longer.

"We can produce them better, faster and cheaper," said Bison Chairman Ronald Bullock.

While data is scant, manufacturing experts say the number of companies shifting production to the U.S. will increase over the next five years as Chinese wages continue to increase at the same time transportation costs soar. A Boston Consulting Group report released last week predicts that by 2015 it will become cheaper to produce certain products in the U.S. that are sold to American consumers. The products, the report said, would span a half-dozen industries and include everything from machinery to electronics to furniture.
[Read more...]

Does Dick Cheney Deserve a New Heart? Williamsburg Observer asks if donor would have given his heart to Adolf Hitler. (25 March 2012)
So Dick Cheney, the 71-year-old mass murderer, has gotten a new heart, a la the miracles of modern medicine, a transplant. All the media, in its true lapdog role, rejoices: Massa's gonna live a'gin! But this obviates a number of important concerns of people around the world, primarily: Should Dick Cheney live or die? That is the real question, the profound question. Most people might vote "No."

Consider: How many fresh hearts shall his vampire-like body be fed? (Apparently, the 100,000 plus innocents in Iraq weren't enough.) And shouldn't the donors or their families have [some] say in this? (Who would have donated an organ to Hitler?) Furthermore, it's not at all clear that Cheney is not getting these hearts from live "donors" -- I mean, what would you put past him? Or his ability to mobilize the Amerikkkan police state to his benefit? I mean, would you put anything past him? In China, as everybody knows, they harvest organs from prisoners. How do we know that Cheney now isn't enjoying the pumping benefits of a fresh-beating heart from some vigorous young African-American "buck" plucked out of the ghetto and incarcerated in some U.S. hell-hole to await the ex-VP's need? You would think that a man in Cheney's position would get any heart he wanted. You'd probably be right. He pretty much has. But thank god for biology! This will certainly be Cheney's last.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: One of many comments on the web this morning, asking if the donor was a Chinese prisoner, or if he died of a gunshot wound to the face, or saying that they were shocked to learn Cheney ever had a heart, and so on. It's good to know that people are still outraged by mass murderers of history.

Infamous Dick Cheney has had five heart attacks since age 37 (24 March 2012)
Former Vice President Dick Cheney has received a heart transplant, according to media reports citing information from Cheney's office. Cheney's office dislcosed the information Saturday and said he had been a transplant waiting list more than 20 months, Associated Press reported. A Cheney aide said he is recovering in the intensive care unit at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va. The aide said Cheney didn't know the donor's identity. Cheney, who was vice president for President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2009, suffered a heart attack in 2010, his fifth since the age of 37, AP said. He had bypass surgery in 1988, as well as two subsequent angioplasties to clear narrowed coronary arteries. In 2001, he had a special pacemaker implanted in his chest, AP said. [Read more...]

Former Bush VP Dick Cheney undergoes heart transplant (24 March 2012)
Former vice-president Dick Cheney had a heart transplant on Saturday and is recovering at a Virginia hospital, his office has said.

An aide to Cheney disclosed that the 71-year-old, who has had a long history of cardiovascular trouble including numerous heart attacks, had been waiting for a transplant for more than 20 months.

"Although the former vice-president and his family do not know the identity of the donor, they will be forever grateful for this lifesaving gift," aide Kara Ahern said in a written statement that was authenticated by several of the Republican politician's close associates.

Cheney was recovering on Saturday night at the intensive care unit of Inova Fairfax hospital in Virginia after surgery earlier in the day.
[Read more...]

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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 © 2012 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.)