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NEWS LINK ARCHIVE 2012
News from the Week 17th to 23rd of June 2012
Jerry Sandusky found guilty on 45 counts, crowds cheer the verdict (22 June 2012)
At 10:10 p.m., Sandusky was remanded to the county sheriff to be escorted to the Centre County Correctional Facility. As Sandusky was escorted out by deputies, he glanced at his wife but said nothing. As he emerged outside in handcuffs, a bystander yelled, "Rot in hell!"
Almost immediately after the judge adjourned, loud cheers could be heard from at least a couple of hundred people outside the courthouse as word quickly spread that Sandusky had been convicted. The group included victim advocates and local residents with their kids. Many held up their smartphones to take pictures as people filtered out of the building.
Court staff said no jurors were willing to speak to the media about the case.
Over the course of his eight-day trial, jurors heard from eight accusers who said Sandusky, 68, molested them as boys over a period from the mid-1990s until 2009.
In major anti-union decision, Supreme Court limits use of special political fees (23 June 2012)
In a case regarded as a major victory for anti-union forces, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that an emergency fee imposed by the Service Employee International Union in 2005 on all California state employees was illegal.
The special assessment was required off all state employees represented by SEIU, including both union members and 28,000 non-union members who normally pay a smaller annual fee. The Court found the assessment to have been an "indefensible" violation of the First Amendment rights of the non-members because it forced them into "compelled speech and compelled association."
According to Alternet, this decision has handed conservatives an anti-union measure they have long sought but have been unable to achieve by political means. In California, for example, a special election involving the issue in 2005 resulted in the defeat of Prop. 75 by 500,000 votes.
During a conference call on Friday, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka expressed his disappointment, adding, "It's a very narrow decision, which is the only good thing I can say about it."
Trumka noted that "we weren't surprised by it at all because it's the Supreme Court." He called it "ironic that when it comes to businesses the Supreme Court says you cannot do anything to hamper the First Amendment rights of corporations" but that the Court never seems to have the same sensitivity to the First Amendment rights of workers.
Dark Money: Will Secret Spending by a Group of Billionaires Decide the 2012 Election? (Pt. 1) (22 June 2012) [DN]
AMY GOODMAN: For more right now, we go to Washington, D.C., where we're joined by Andy Kroll, reporter for Mother Jones magazine. His new cover story is called "Follow the Dark Money." He writes, quote, "Super-PACs, seven-figure checks, billionaire bankrollers, shadowy nonprofits: This is the state of play in what will be the first presidential election since Watergate to be fully privately funded."
Andy Kroll, welcome to Democracy Now! You begin your piece in a dramatic way. You go back to CREEP--that's the Committee to Re-Elect the President, that was Richard Nixon--and the suitcases filled with money that were being taken to CREEP headquarters. And you make comparisons, 40 years later, to today. Please, take it from there.
ANDY KROLL: We're back to the era of secret money pouring into our elections by, you know, six- and seven- and eight-figure sums. Back then you had Clement Stone, the insurance magnate who pumped millions and millions into Richard Nixon's reelection effort, into CREEP. This time around, we have the casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who is not only giving $10 million to Mitt Romney's super PAC, the super PAC supporting him, that can take unlimited money and spend unlimited money. You also have Sheldon Adelson pledging to inject millions more secretly into Karl Rove's outside political groups. And so, almost more than any election since that incredible Watergate election, if you will, with CREEP and Richard Nixon and all the secret money coursing through the system, we're back to that era.
In some ways, we're back to an era, but it's legal now. Instead of corporations illegally giving money to Nixon's reelection effort, we have corporations legally pouring money into the 2012 effort, whether it's through the Chamber of Commerce or through, you know, any number of gauzy-named, anonymous front groups run out of UPS boxes here in the D.C. area. So, it's a return of sorts to one of the darkest eras when it comes to money in our political elections.
CIA allegedly ordered 'torture cage' at secret black site prison (23 June 2012)
A Polish official claims that prosecutors in Krakow have proof the CIA wanted a special "torture cage" to be constructed at one of its secret "black site" prisons.
According to ABC News, the proof consists of a document showing that "a local contractor was asked to build a cage at Stare Kiekuty, a Polish army base used as a CIA prison for al Qaeda terror suspects in 2002 and 2003."
Senator Jozef Pinior told the Polish paper Gazeta Wyborcza that he had not seen the construction order himself but that the prosecutor's office has a copy of it. "In a state with rights, people are not kept in cages," Pinior stated.
He said he was sure the cage was intended for humans, since there could have been no other purpose for it, and that a cage is "non-standard equipment" for a prison unless "torture was used there."
Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds damages against drug company (22 June 2012)
The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Friday upheld damages that were awarded in a lawsuit the state brought against a prescription drug company accused of inflating prices.
The lawsuit dates back to 2004 when then-Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager sued 36 drug companies alleging they inflated wholesale prices to get larger payments from Medicaid, private insurers and consumers.
The case against Pharmacia Inc. was the first to go to trial, and in 2009 a jury found that the drug maker violated the state's Medicaid fraud law 1.44 million times over a decade. After reviewing the evidence, the judge found the actual tally was 4,578 and ordered the company to pay $4.5 million in forfeitures and other costs. The jury also awarded $9 million in damages.
Pharmacia appealed, arguing that the jury incorrectly calculated the damages, that the number of violations should be reduced to zero, and that a jury trial was improper.
But the state Supreme Court, in a unanimous opinion written by Justice Michael Gableman, rejected all of those arguments and upheld the lower court's decision. It sent the case back to the court of appeals to resolve more than a dozen other issues appealed by the state and Pharmacia.
Chris Loder, a spokesman Pharmacia's corporate parent Pfizer, called the decision disappointing.
Jerry Sandusky abused his adopted son, lawyer says (22 June 2012)
A lawyer for an adopted son of Jerry Sandusky says the man has told authorities the former Penn State assistant football coach abused him.
Matt Sandusky is one of Jerry Sandusky's six adopted children.
His lawyer issued a statement Thursday naming Matt Sandusky and saying that the 33-year-old had been prepared to testify on behalf of prosecutors at his father's sex abuse trial.
The statement says Matt Sandusky is "a victim of Jerry Sandusky's abuse", but doesn't go into specifics.
The statement came after jurors began deliberating 48 charges against the ex-coach. Prosecutors say Sandusky met the 10 sex-abuse victims through his charity.
Biologists race to Dam Neck to shield rare turtle nest (22 June 2012)
When biologists got a call that a couple beach camping had spotted a sea turtle nesting near dunes one afternoon last week, they wondered whether there had been a mistake.
Sea turtles don't usually nest during the day, they said.
But when officials from several agencies, including the Navy, reviewed the couple's photos of the turtle on the beach at the Dam Neck Annex to Oceana Naval Air Station and examined its crawl marks in the sand, they came to the same conclusion: For the first time, the endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtle had made its way to Virginia.
The turtle typically nests on beaches in the Gulf of Mexico, said Michael Wright, a civilian natural resources specialist with the Navy. While the Kemp's ridley will head into northern Atlantic waters in search of food, Wright said Virginia is now the farthest north the species has been known to nest.
Injection Wells: The Poison Beneath Us (21 June 2012)
Over the past several decades, U.S. industries have injected more than 30 trillion gallons of toxic liquid deep into the earth, using broad expanses of the nation's geology as an invisible dumping ground.
No company would be allowed to pour such dangerous chemicals into the rivers or onto the soil. But until recently, scientists and environmental officials have assumed that deep layers of rock beneath the earth would safely entomb the waste for millennia.
There are growing signs they were mistaken.
Records from disparate corners of the United States show that wells drilled to bury this waste deep beneath the ground have repeatedly leaked, sending dangerous chemicals and waste gurgling to the surface or, on occasion, seeping into shallow aquifers that store a significant portion of the nation's drinking water.
In 2010, contaminants from such a well bubbled up in a west Los Angeles dog park. Within the past three years, similar fountains of oil and gas drilling waste have appeared in Oklahoma and Louisiana. In South Florida, 20 of the nation's most stringently regulated disposal wells failed in the early 1990s, releasing partly treated sewage into aquifers that may one day be needed to supply Miami's drinking water.
PAM COMMENTARY: My father ran for elected office (I think alderman) in Niagara Falls during the 1950s, promising to end deep injection well toxic waste disposal. Due to its abundant hydroelectric power, Niagara Falls and Buffalo were big industrial towns, with toxic waste problems eventually receiving national attention with Love Canal in the 1970s.
Despite the lack of an environmental movement at the time, my father told me that the issue was immensely popular. But when he missed a few days of school due to an impacted wisdom tooth, he was drafted into the US Army for the Korean War and couldn't continue his political campaign. My father questioned that draft, because he was in college and the Army pulled him out of college to take him. Finally an honest woman at the local draft board told him that his was a "political draft."
Despite being out of town and having no ability to campaign before the election, my father received 1/3 of the vote. He thought that was evidence of the popularity of the issue. My father was no environmentalist, in fact he was an industrial engineer and sales manager until the Reagan recession devastated US industry in the 1980s. But injecting toxic waste into the ground in a manner that could potentially pollute the water table -- the danger seemed obvious, even to the regular folks who voted for my dad.
Should companies get fined for causing man-made earthquakes? (22 June 2012)
Companies can face stiff penalties for contaminating water or polluting the air, but federal environmental laws don't impose any fines for causing man-made earthquakes.
Under current law, it isn't illegal to cause a man-made earthquake.
The energy industry has faced allegations that increased natural gas drilling in Texas and Ohio could be causing the more seismic activity in those areas.
A recent study by the National Research Council found hydraulic fracking rarely cause earthquakes large enough to be felt. The study did, however, find injection wells are most directly correlated with increased seismic activity.
An injection well outside of Youngstown, Ohio has been tied to more than a dozen of small earthquakes in the area. Those quakes have caused officials to change rules regarding injection wells in the state.
White House, Republicans dig in for battle over Holder investigation (21 June 2012)
A day after a congressional committee recommended that the House hold the nation's attorney general in contempt in connection with an investigation of a botched federal gun-running operation, the White House and its Republican rivals sought to position themselves as the principled parties in a high-stakes game of election-year brinkmanship.
The White House suggested Thursday that it would abandon negotiations over the release of documents related to the operation until GOP lawmakers stop trying to embarrass President Obama. And Republican leaders insisted that they are prepared to move forward with a contempt vote in the House next week in an effort to get to "the truth for the American people," said Speaker John A. Boehner (Ohio).
The two sides dug in for a potentially protracted and bitter fight that presents hazards for both parties. For Obama, his decision this week to invoke executive privilege to block House investigators from obtaining private memos has exposed him to charges of hypocrisy and invigorated an important part of the Republican base just months before the election.
For Republicans, the move to sanction Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. risked overreaching in an investigation that has dragged on for months, and allowed the White House to portray them as partisan hacks determined to bring down Obama.
Pelosi: Attacking Holder part of GOP voter suppression plan (21 June 2012)
WASHINGTON -- The top US House Democrat warned Thursday that Republican lawmakers were "frivolously" going after Attorney General Eric Holder in a bid to suppress votes ahead of November's general election.
A House panel voted along party lines Wednesday to hold Holder in contempt for failing to turn over documents linked to a failed gun-smuggling probe.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she was alarmed that Republicans were using "contempt of Congress to frivolously use that really important vehicle to undermine the person who is assigned to stop the voter suppression in our country."
"This is no accident," she told reporters. "It is no coincidence. It is a plan on the part of Republicans" to monopolize Holder's time and "undermine his name" in the midst of a presidential campaign in which some states are grappling with claims of voter suppression efforts.
Romney's Bain Capital invested in companies that moved jobs overseas (21 June 2012)
Mitt Romney's financial company, Bain Capital, invested in a series of firms that specialized in relocating jobs done by American workers to new facilities in low-wage countries like China and India.
During the nearly 15 years that Romney was actively involved in running Bain, a private equity firm that he founded, it owned companies that were pioneers in the practice of shipping work from the United States to overseas call centers and factories making computer components, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
While economists debate whether the massive outsourcing of American jobs over the last generation was inevitable, Romney in recent months has lamented the toll it's taken on the U.S. economy. He has repeatedly pledged he would protect American employment by getting tough on China.
"They've been able to put American businesses out of business and kill American jobs," he told workers at a Toledo fence factory in February. "If I'm president of the United States, that's going to end."
As churches get political, IRS stays quiet (21 June 2012)
(Reuters) - Pastor Jim Garlow will stand before congregants at his 2,000-seat Skyline Wesleyan Church in La Mesa, California, on Sunday, October 7, just weeks before the U.S. presidential and congressional elections, and urge his flock to vote for or against particular candidates.
He knows such pulpit pleading could endanger his church's tax-exempt status by violating IRS rules for a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. A charity can take a position on policy issues but cannot act "on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office." To cross that line puts the $7 million mega-church's tax break at risk.
Even so, Garlow not only intends to break the rules, he also plans to spend the next four months recruiting other pastors to do the same as part of Pulpit Freedom Sunday. On that day each year since 2008, ministers intentionally try to provoke the IRS. Some even send DVD recordings of their sermons to the agency.
Last year, 539 pastors participated. This year organizers expect far more. Participants want to force the matter to court as a freedom of speech and religion issue.
Dad won't face charges in beating death of alleged child molester (20 June 2012)
SHINER, Texas -- Hearing his 5-year-old daughter crying from behind a barn, a father ran and discovered the unthinkable: A man molesting her. The father pulled the man off his daughter, authorities say, and started pummeling him to death with his fists.
With his daughter finally safe, the father frantically called 911, begging a dispatcher to find his rural ranch and send an ambulance.
"Come on! This guy is going to die on me!" the man is heard screaming on the 911 call. "I don't know what to do!"
A recording of the tape was played during a news conference Tuesday where the Lavaca County district attorney and sheriff announced that the father will not face charges.
Senate rejects GOP bid to lift EPA coal plant regulations (20 June 2012)
Picking an election-year fight over the wisdom of instituting new environmental regulations in a weak economy, Republicans argued that the rules would force older power plants to close, putting people out of work, and would drive up the cost of electricity.
Inhofe warned senators that by voting against his measure "you are effectively killing coal in America."
Opponents of the measure said the regulations were needed because of the hundreds of thousands of Americans made ill by toxic chemicals spewed by coal-fired plants.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the rules will prevent 11,000 premature deaths a year.
Environmental groups praised the regulations when they were announced in December as a historic step that was more than two decades in the making.
Congress ordered the EPA to regulate the chemicals as part of the 1990 Clean Air Act, but delays and aGeorge W. Bushadministration U-turn meant mercury and other toxic chemicals from coal plants were not controlled until the rules were announced last year.
Apps for Apes mentally challenges Houston Zoo chimps (21 June 2012)
It's early morning, and the chimpanzees are gearing up for another day at the Houston Zoo. They munch a breakfast of raw cabbage, scamper, skirmish, joust with rope swings and pause to peer through a window into the near-empty visitor's center.
In a small cage a few feet away, a strange new dawn is breaking.
There, Willie, his face inches from the glowing screen of an Apple iPad, is engrossed in the gyrations of an animated goldfish. He taps the screen with a hairy finger, and the fish disintegrates.
Expressionless, Willie waits and the game begins again.
A digital revolution is sweeping the ape house, and now its denizens, formerly preoccupied with classic chimpish activities, are turning their attention to computer offerings originally developed for human toddlers.
Google sets out to save dying languages (21 June 2012)
Google has set out to save the world's dying languages.
In an alliance with scholars and linguists, the Internet powerhouse on Wednesday introduced an Endangered Languages Project website where people can find, share, and store information about dialects in danger of disappearing.
"People can share their knowledge and research directly through the site and help keep the content up-to-date," project managers Clara Rivera Rodriguez and Jason Rissman said in a Google blog post.
"A diverse group of collaborators have already begun to contribute content ranging from 18th-century manuscripts to modern teaching tools like video and audio language samples and knowledge-sharing articles."
The website at endangeredlanguages.com is designed to let users upload video, audio, or text files and encourages them to memorialize recordings of rare dialects.
Trayvon Martin case police chief sacked (21 June 2012)
The police chief who sparked outrage by releasing accused murderer George Zimmerman without charge on the night he shot and killed the unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin has been sacked.
Bill Lee, head of the Sanford police department in central Florida, had lost the confidence of the community and was relieved of his duties with immediate effect, according a statement released on Wednesday night by Norton Bonaparte, the city manager.
"I have come to this decision in light of the escalating divisiveness that has taken hold of the city," Bonaparte said. "After much thoughtful discussion and deep consideration for the issues facing the city of Sanford, I have determined the police chief needs to have the trust and respect of the elected officials and the confidence of the entire community."
Lee was widely criticised for refusing to press charges against Zimmerman, a neighbourhood watch captain who claimed he was acting in self-defence when he killed Martin, 17, during a confrontation in a Sanford gated community on 26 February.
Special Report: In the new Myanmar, the gulag endures (20 June 2012)
(Reuters) - When hundreds of political prisoners were released from Myanmar's jails in January, supporters greeted them in jubilant scenes. But for Myo Min, a 36-year-old electrical repairman and dissident, the reunion with his wife and children after three years in jail was muted.
That's because in 2008, after five days of near-continuous torture - with police beating him so savagely their truncheons broke - Myo Min says he provided testimony that put an innocent man behind bars for life. That fellow dissident is still in prison.
"They gave me a document and I signed it," he told Reuters. "I just couldn't stand the beatings anymore."
The document doomed veteran democrat Myint Aye, 61. He is one of 471 political prisoners - including 16 women and 50 Buddhist monks - who remain in jail in appalling conditions, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners Burma, a monitoring group run by Burmese exiles in Thailand. Their plight, Myanmar's dissidents say, belies the progressive policies of the country's quasi-civilian government, which embarked on reforms after taking office in March 2011.
Reformist President Thein Sein has relaxed media censorship, started peace talks with ethnic rebels, and held by-elections that put democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi into Myanmar's parliament.
A Coup in Cairo: As Muslim Brotherhood Claims Election Victory, Military Strips President of Power (20 June 2012)
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Sharif, the powers you describe are, as you said, quite sweeping. Is there any way in which the incoming president can either--in any sense, either alter or overturn some of these amendments, these constitutional amendments?
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Well, the Muslim Brotherhood, who is widely expected to win the presidency tomorrow, has soundly rejected these amendments. They have also rejected the Supreme Court's ruling to dissolve parliament. The army deployed troops around the parliament building to prevent MPs from entering the building over the weekend. We saw a massive protest yesterday that was called primarily by the Muslim Brotherhood but also other forces, also political forces, but including revolutionary forces like the April 6 Youth Movement. The Revolutionary Socialists were there, as well. But really, the square was packed by members of the Muslim Brotherhood who rejected these amendments. And I think it was also a show of force to act as a warning, in case Ahmed Shafik is named as president, that they might return to street protests.
From a legal perspective, whether these amendments can be overturned, it's anybody's guess. I mean, the Supreme Council has been changing the rules as it goes along and has issued laws by decree. There's no--there's no rules to the game right now. So, I'm sure negotiations are probably underway, but right now the military council is acting with a lot of hubris and really--and also in what appears to be desperation, which may be encouraging in a way, that they fear that their power may be slipping. But right now, they hold all the cards in terms of the levers of power of the state.
Enbridge shuts Alberta pipeline after oil spill (19 June 2012)
CALGARY, Alberta, June 19 (Reuters) - Enbridge Inc on Tuesday closed a major Alberta pipeline that transports oil sands-derived crude after a spill at a pump station, the second oil leak to foul regions of the Canadian province in under two weeks.
Enbridge, Canada's second-largest pipeline company, said it was forced to turn off its 345,000 barrel-a-day Athabasca pipeline after an estimated 1,400 barrels of oil leaked from a piece of equipment at station near the northeast Alberta town of Elk Point on Monday.
It restarted the pipeline after shutting off the station, bypassing it and beginning cleanup, but closed it down again on Tuesday after the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board ordered it to do so, the firm said.
As a result, it expects to restart the line in days rather than weeks, company spokesman Graham White said. Enbridge is in discussions with the conservation board to determine when, it said.
The 540-km (335-mile) line carries oil to Hardisty, Alberta, from the tar sands center of Fort McMurray. Hardisty is a major pipeline hub from which crude gets fed into networks of export lines to the United States, such as Enbridge's mainline and TransCanada Corp's Keystone Pipeline.
Its capacity equals about 22 percent of Canada's 1.6 million barrels a day of oil sands production.
Julian Assange seeking asylum in Ecuadorian embassy in London (19 June 2012)
Julian Assange has dramatically sought political asylum at the Ecuadorean embassy in London, days after the supreme court rejected the last of his appeals against extradition to Sweden to face sex crime accusations and after what he called a "declaration of abandonment" by his own government in Australia.
In a move that appears to have surprised even some of his closest supporters, the WikiLeaks founder walked into the country's embassy in Knightsbridge and asked for asylum, citing the UN declaration of human rights.
"I can confirm I arrived at the Ecuadorean embassy and sought diplomatic sanctuary and political asylum," Assange said in a statement.
"This application has been passed to the ministry of foreign affairs in the capital Quito. I am grateful to the Ecuadorean ambassador and the government of Ecuador for considering my application."
Ron Paul on endorsing Romney: 'No way!' (19 June 2012)
Although his son Rand has endorsed Mitt Romney, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) said Tuesday that he has no plans of doing so himself.
"Well, it looks like he has the delegates, yes," he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "But he doesn't have the control of the hearts and minds of the people.
"And right now, a lot of people -- a lot of delegate who are pledged to vote for Romney are actually very strong supporters of ours and will be strongly supporting us when we want to put things into the platform to say, hey, we don't need another war," Paul continued. "Yes, we do need to audit the Federal Reserve. Yes, we ought to really cut spending."
Bypass Surgery for Weight Loss Doubles the Risk of Alcohol Problems (18 June 2012)
Gastric bypass surgery for weight loss doubles the risk of alcohol problems two years later, compared with bariatric surgery using the banding technique, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study of nearly 2,000 patients at 10 American hospitals was the first to directly examine the risk for alcohol use disorders before and after different types of obesity surgery, including Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, the most commonly performed weight-loss surgery in the U.S. The procedure involves stapling off most of the stomach and rerouting food directly to a lower part of the intestine, making eating large meals difficult and uncomfortable, and limiting the amount of calories absorbed.
Gastric bypass seems to increase patients' risk of alcohol problems by making the body more sensitive to lower doses of booze: it allows more alcohol to get to the bloodstream faster because it skips most of the stomach and is better absorbed by the intestines. Addiction research shows that the faster a drug hits, and the greater its intensity, the more addictive it tends to be. (This is why snorting or injecting prescription painkillers or stimulants is more addictive than taking them orally.)
Two years after gastric bypass, about 9.1% of gastric bypass patients had developed drinking problems -- up significantly from before the procedure -- the study found, compared with about 5.6% of patients who had drinking problems two years after stomach-banding surgery. The latter procedure involves putting an inflatable band around the stomach to reduce the amount of food it can hold; while it limits the amount of food that can enter the stomach, it still requires food to pass through the entire system and therefore doesn't affect the way alcohol is absorbed.
Stress and illness: The decades-long search for a link (19 June 2012)
A bereaved man suffers a heart attack. An unemployed graduate is plagued by eczema. A divorced woman develops high blood pressure. Are these situations connected... or mere coincidences?
Of all the influences on our health and well-being, chronic stress is among the most ubiquitous. And because the misery of stress is often experienced as much in the body as the mind -- tiredness, headaches, tense muscles and the like -- common sense tells us that psychological stress leaves us prone to physical illness.
While most people outside medicine happily accept this view, it has been viewed with a much greater degree of scepticism within the field. And that's partly on account of the difficulty in proving exactly how stress might work, not to mention understanding why some people succumb to it but others do not. There are plenty of ideas and intuitive hunches, but rather less incontestable evidence.
But a recent finding from a team led by Sheldon Cohen at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh could finally have revealed a link, offering perhaps the best evidence so far of how stress operates at the biological level. What Cohen thinks stress is doing -- a surprise, perhaps, to many of us -- is undermining the body's capacity to deal with inflammation.
Watermelon extract lowers blood pressure better than dangerous pharmaceuticals (19 June 2012)
(NaturalNews) Heart disease and stroke continue to be the leading cause of death in the US, as vascular deterioration and dysfunction result in hypertension and ultimately, an early demise. Elevated blood pressure results in micro-cracks to the delicate endothelial lining of the blood vessels that must be patched by plaque (formed largely of circulating oxidized LDL cholesterol and calcium particles), beginning the process of atherosclerosis and greatly increased risk of heart attack.
Natural methods of lowering high blood pressure can allow the body to heal damaged vessels and arteries, dramatically lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke. Researchers from Florida State University have published the result of a study in the American Journal of Hypertension that explains how natural watermelon extract helps reduce moderately elevated blood pressure by providing a rich source of the amino acids, citrulline and arginine, both known to relax vascular pressure.
In prior studies, citrulline and arginine have been shown as effective agents to reduce blood pressure, but further research was necessary to validate the results. The scientists recruited fourteen volunteers with an average age of 58 to receive either a concentrated watermelon extract (providing six grams of a citrulline/arginine mixture daily) or a placebo for a period of six weeks. They then observed a two week washout period with no supplementation before crossing over to the other group.
At the end of the study, researchers found that systolic pressure (upper blood pressure number) in the supplemented group was lowered in the arm and ankle by 15.1 and 11.5mmHg respectively, compared to the placebo participants. Diastolic pressure was lowered by 7.6 and 7.8 mmHg. For many participants, this reduction was enough to lower blood pressure from a pre-hypertension state to a normal reading, significantly lowering the risk of heart attack or stroke.
Vaccinated children have up to 500% more disease than unvaccinated children (19 June 2012)
(NaturalNews) Suspicions have been confirmed for those wary of vaccinating their children. A recent large study corroborates other independent study surveys comparing unvaccinated children to vaccinated children.
They all show that vaccinated children have two to five times more childhood diseases, illnesses, and allergies than unvaccinated children.
Originally, the recent still ongoing study compared unvaccinated children against a German national health survey conducted by KiGGS involving over 17,000 children up to age 19. This currently ongoing survey study was initiated by classical homoeopathist Andreas Bachmair.
However, the American connection for Bachmair's study can be found at VaccineInjury.info website that has added a link for parents of vaccinated children to participate in the study. So far this ongoing survey has well over 11,000 respondents, mostly from the U.S.A. Other studies have surveyed smaller groups of families.
He called for peace, but peace never quite came for Rodney King (18 June 2012)
LOS ANGELES--His beating stunned the nation, left Los Angeles smouldering and helped reshape race relations and police tactics. And in a quavering voice on national television, Rodney King pleaded for peace while the city burned.
But peace never quite came for King -- not after the fires died down, after two of the officers who broke his skull multiple times were punished, after Los Angeles and its flawed police department moved forward. His life, which ended Sunday at age 47 after he was pulled from the bottom of his swimming pool, was a continual struggle even as the city he helped change moved on.
The images, preserved on an infamous grainy video, of the black driver curled up on the ground while four white officers clubbed him more than 50 times with batons, became a national symbol of police brutality in 1991. More than a year later, when the officers' acquittals touched off one of the most destructive race riots in history, his scarred face and soft-spoken question -- "Can we all get along?" -- spurred the nation to confront its difficult racial history.
But while Los Angeles race relations and the city's police department made strides forward, King kept coming before police and courts, struggling with alcohol addiction and arrests, periodically reappearing publicly for a stint on Celebrity Rehab or a celebrity boxing match. He spent the last months of his life promoting a memoir he titled The Riot Within: From Rebellion to Redemption.
Thousands Hold Silent March to Mayor Bloomberg's Home in Protest of NYPD's "Stop-and-Frisk" (18 June 2012)
JASON MORALES: It's been more than 20 times that I've been stopped and frisked in my neighborhood in Brooklyn.
AMY GOODMAN: Where?
JASON MORALES: Brooklyn, New York, Bedford-Stuyvesant.
AMY GOODMAN: Were you arrested?
JASON MORALES: I was not, not one time.
AMY GOODMAN: So, why were you stopped?
JASON MORALES: I'm assuming because of the color of my skin. I'm brown, I'm a Latino, and we experience that day in and day out. As a teenager, that's all I experienced.
Alt Text: Stupid New Domain Names and What They Really Mean for the Web (18 June 2012)
The wave of new possible new web addresses has nothing to do, ICANN assures us, with pocketing millions of dollars from hopeful registrants. Thus, it looks like we're going to have to deal with a whole host of D-string TLDs. Here's a look at some of the domain names applied for, along with my thoughts.
This is the most popular request, with 13 corporations fighting over these three letters like Irish setters with an English muffin. I say we pull a Solomon and divide it into ".a" and ".pp."
This could actually be handy. Just as .xxx theoretically tells us a domain is X-rated, we can rest assured that any domain ending in .cool is in absolutely no way cool.
I'll be first in line to register iceice.baby, ineedsomehotstuff.baby, and the classic allthatshewantsisanother.baby.
This is a wonderful idea. We can make every wholesome, family-friendly, deeply moral site register under .bible and leave the rest of the web to lascivious degeneracy like God intended.
Farm bill splits produce growers, food activists (18 June 2012)
This month, 70 leading food activists, including UC Berkeley's Michael Pollan and Berkeley restaurateur Alice Waters, signed a letter saying the $969 billion bill that the Senate Agriculture Committee touts as a major, money-saving reform still "falls far short" of turning the farm bill into a food bill, to use Pollan's formulation. To do that would require shifting taxpayer support from large corn, soybean and other commodities to fresh food and conservation.
"The food movement realizes that there's not going to be the huge structural change in the farm bill that's needed, so they're playing the long game," trying to win public support for their cause, said Michael Dimock, president of Roots of Change, a San Francisco group pushing to make California agriculture more sustainable.
"Western Growers and the commodity groups are playing the short game," he said, securing their interests in the current bill.
California produce growers, having won support for fruit, nut and vegetable research, pest management, and marketing in the 2008 farm bill want to hold onto those gains as the Senate seeks to trim spending overall.
Hebrew National hot dogs not kosher, lawsuit claims (18 June 2012)
(Reuters) - ConAgra Foods Inc has been sued by consumers who contend that hot dogs and other products sold under its Hebrew National brand are not kosher.
The lawsuit alleges that meat processing services provided to ConAgra by privately held AER Services Inc fell short of the standards necessary to label Hebrew National products as kosher. As a result, they said, ConAgra misled consumers and was able to charge premium prices.
Eleven individual consumers filed their complaint in May in Minnesota state court. ConAgra moved the case this month to a federal court in St. Paul. The lawsuit was reported last week by American Jewish World, a publication based in Minnesota.
According to the complaint, Omaha, Nebraska-based ConAgra marks Hebrew National packages with a "Triangle K" symbol, and represents that the contents are kosher "as defined by the most stringent Jews who follow Orthodox Jewish law."
But the plaintiffs said in the complaint that AER supervisors "did little or nothing" to address employee complaints that the meat processed for ConAgra was non-kosher. They also said Skokie, Illinois-based AER fired or threatened retaliation against those who complained.
Native American tribes owed millions from government, supreme court rules (18 June 2012)
Native American leaders hailed the ruling as an important victory. Rodger Martinez, president of the Ramah Navajo Chapter in New Mexico that was a plaintiff in the case, said they had been saddened that they had to go all the way to the supreme court to find redress.
"But we are happy that they sided with us. This gets us back to the principle that the government must pay us what we are entitled to," he said.
The dispute over money relates to services provided by the tribes themselves under the Indian Self-Determination Act of 1975. Under that law, the tribes would sub-contract from the federal government public services such as police, schools, fire prevention, hospitals, and infrastructure works, as well as environmental works and subsidies to farmers.
Under the arrangement, the federal government would pay the tribes for the services provided, just as it would any other contractor. But from 1994 the government changed the way it paid for the services, no longer paying for each contract in full but handing the tribes a collective lump sum onto which it imposed a ceiling -- thereby withholding from them a portion of the moneys owed.
DNA evidence of Asian carp above electric barrier grows (18 June 2012)
While it's been nearly two years since crews landed the only live Asian carp specimen above an electric barrier on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, DNA evidence of the jumbo carp continues to come in - and the percentage of DNA-positive water samples taken above the barrier this year appears to have grown tenfold over last year.
The Army Corps of Engineers reported that of the 2,378 water samples taken throughout 2011 in the canal system above the electric barrier a total of 34 samples were positive. This year, after just one day of sampling the waters above the barrier, the Army Corps reports it landed 17 positive results from 114 water samples. In other words, the percentage of samples that tested positive for Asian carp DNA last year was about 1.5%. This year, so far, it has jumped to almost 15%.
The information is posted on the Army Corps website.
The electric barrier is located about 30 miles downstream from the Lake Michigan shoreline, and 25 miles downstream from that barrier the waters are known to be home to a robust population of two species of Asian carp, bighead and silver. All of the positive samples taken above the barrier for 2011 and so far this year have been for silver carp.
Miller man pleads not guilty to killing whooping crane, witness tampering (18 June 2012)
SIOUX FALLS (AP) -- A South Dakota man has pleaded not guilty to killing an endangered whooping crane and then persuading a witness to withhold information from law officers.
Twenty-five-year-old Jeff Blachford, of Miller, was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and witness tampering. U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson says Blachford could face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.
Blachford is accused of shooting the crane and a hawk in Hand County in April.
Study: Cougars again spreading across Midwest (14 June 2012)
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Cougars are again spreading across the Midwest a century after the generally reclusive predators were hunted to near extinction in much of the region, according to a new study billed as the first rigorous statistical look at the issue.
The findings, detailed in The Journal of Wildlife Management, showed 178 cougar confirmations in the Midwest and as far south as Texas between 1990 and 2008. While confirmed sightings of Midwest cougars were sporadic before 1990, when there were only a couple, that number spiked to more than 30 by 2008, the study shows.
Researchers said the study poses fresh questions about how humans and livestock can co-exist with the re-emerging predators, whose movements appear to be following natural dispersal instincts.
The study sorts through various reported sightings and affixes a number to those it could confirm, which is significant because no government agency tracks the number of large cats across the country. Wildlife officials have for years said it's unclear how many of the animals may be in the Midwest, where they are not federally protected and, in some states, can be hunted.
Rodney King's 'Can we all get along' plea measures his lasting significance (17 June 2012)
"It was a critical question at a moment of crisis that forged our human bonds with one another," said the Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson. "It grew up out of the hope and the desire, especially of people of color, to see this nation come together."
The nation first saw King as a black man curled up on the ground by his car, being beaten by four white police officers. On parole for a robbery conviction, he had been drinking, then speeding, and had refused to pull over. Police finally pulled King from his car, then struck him more than 50 times with batons and boots.
One of King's legacies is that he raised the curtain on the video age: If a man had not stepped outside of his home and videotaped the beating, King would have been lost to history.
"The biggest impact was that it was actually on tape," said Dom Giordano, a conservative talk radio host in Philadelphia. "It was so rare, except for something like Bull Connor, to have this type of footage."
King became an enduring symbol of the police brutality -- proof positive, to many people, that the dogs and fire hoses that Connor loosed on civil rights marchers in 1960s Alabama had merely been updated, not eliminated.
Rodney King: Details emerge about his death in swimming pool (17 June 2012)
Details began to emerge Sunday about the death of Rodney King, a key figure in the 1992 Los Angeles riots. He was 47 and died at his Rialto home.
King's fiancée called 911 about 5:25 a.m. and said she found King at the bottom of his pool, Sgt. Paul Stella said.
A short time earlier, Cynthia Kelley had talked to King, who was outside, through a sliding-glass door, said Rialto Police Capt. Randy DeAnda. She then heard a splash and ran out, DeAnda said. She saw King at the bottom of the pool at the deep end, he said.
Kelley is "not a great swimmer," DeAnda said, explaining why she did not jump in. Police arrived moments later and an officer jumped in the pool and pulled King's body onto the deck.
Alberta oil-spill clean up going slow (16 June 2012)
People with homes on an Alberta lake where oil from a pipeline leak flowed say the company that owns the pipe still can't say for sure how long the cleanup will take.
Gary Mortier says he was among about 150 people who attended a Plains Midstream Canada open house for residents of the Gleniffer Lake Resort and the Carefree Resort on Saturday.
Mortier sells real estate at Gleniffer Lake and also operates a boat rental business and says people are mostly satisfied with how the company has handled things.
He says one person at the open house asked what sort of compensation would be available if the cleanup stretched into the summer.
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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