Pam Rotella's Vegetarian FUN page -- News on health, nutrition, the environment, politics, and more!
NEWS LINK ARCHIVE 2012
News from the Week of 29th of July to 4th of August 2012
Leaks bill: bad for journalism, bad for the public (3 August 2012)
There's a bill zooming through Congress that would make it harder for Post reporters to inform readers about what their government is doing.
This bill, the annual authorization bill to fund the intelligence agencies, has attached to it provisions aimed at deterring unauthorized leaks of classified information. Those provisions -- which were never discussed in a public hearing -- would limit who in the agencies can talk to the media even further than they already are, require frequent reports to Congress about contacts with the media and greatly restrict, if not end, the background briefings that intelligence agencies conduct for journalists going on foreign trips.
The Post Co. opposes this bill. It's right to do so.
Now, let's stipulate that a democracy needs to keep some things secret, very secret, from its enemies. Its allies need to trust, too, that secret information will remain so. And a government must protect the lives of its troops, intelligence agents and sources in the field. And, on these points, there isn't a reporter or editor in the Post newsroom who disagrees.
Many businesses seek favor among LGBT customers (4 August 2012)
Chick-fil-APresident Dan Cathy's public opposition to gay marriage has landed him in a lonely corner of corporate America.
While the fast-food chicken chain has inflamed gay organizations and their supporters nationwide, many companies are going out of their way to court those groups.
J.C. Penneythis year hired lesbian talk show host Ellen DeGeneres as its spokeswoman and featured same-sex couples in its catalogs. Kraft Foods recently posted a photo of a rainbow-hued Oreo cookie to its Facebook page.
Bank of America and nearly 40 other companies now offer tax relief to gay employees -- triple the number of firms with the same option last year. In Washington state, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos and his wife last month donated $2.5 million to back a gay marriage ballot initiative already endorsed by Microsoft, Starbucks and Nike.
LGBT activists target Chick-fil-A with 'kiss-in' (4 August 2012)
Gays and lesbians puckered up at "kiss-ins" outside Chick-fil-A outlets across the United States in protest over the fast-food chain's opposition to same-sex marriage.
More than 14,000 people signed up on Facebook for National Same Sex Kiss Day at Chick-fil-A on Friday, an event arranged mostly online.
"It has nothing to do with us being against freedom of religion or freedom of speech," Bryan McIlroy, a 35-year-old interior designer, told AFP outside a restaurant in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles.
"I'm here because I am gay and I don't think it's right to support any kind of hate. For somebody who claims that it's all about love, they sure are not showing it," said McIlroy, holding a sign that read "Support love, not hate".
PAM COMMENTARY: Eating fast food is like paying someone to kill you slowly. Who cares what Chick-fil-A's representatives think? I've never set foot in one of their restaurants because I don't eat dead chickens. Why not avoid that grease mill altogether and eat at a place with healthier food?
What your hamburger really costs (video)
(2 August 2012)
The Hidden Cost of Hamburgers, the latest animated short from the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) -- the folks who brought you last summer's The Price of Gas -- takes a big-picture look at the web of problems associated with industrial beef production. The video hits all the most important points, but what's most noteworthy is the actual number the reporters arrived at when calculating the hidden -- or externalized -- costs of the average burger: $1.51 (or $72 billion for the 48 billion burgers Americans eat every year).
Report: Shale boom revamping U.S. refining industry (3 August 2012)
Over the next three years, the redrawing of the nation's petroleum transport map will reshape the the nation's refining industry, creating potential new winners and losers in the industry, a new study by consulting and research firm Hart Energy found.
Hart Energy forecasts the nation's rail system will expand to carry an additional 4.5 million oil barrels per day and pipeline capacity will grow by more than 9 million barrels of oil per day, in its 2012-2016 analysis of the domestic energy industry. Driven by the rapid rise of unconventional crude development and domestic production, the new national grid could pick new favorites in the refining industry.
Refineries close to unconventional oil will benefit from larger margins, likely leading to greater utilization and new construction, researchers determined.
"Refiners without access or appetite for light U.S. unconventional crudes, that rely on waterborne imports of higher-priced light and heavy crude imports over water, or powered by fuels derived from petroleum rather than lower-cost U.S. shale gas, will likely succumb to bearish cyclical and secular global refining market forces," the report states.
Americans are dropping their pay-TV in weak economy (2 August 2012) [R]
NEW YORK, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Stubbornly high U.S. unemployment, a weak housing market combined with a mature business prone to regular programming blackouts has seen more than 400,000 American homes drop their pay-TV service since the start of the year.
DirecTV Group, the No.1 U.S. satellite TV provider, revealed its first ever quarterly customer losses on Thursday, with some 52,000 homes dropping the service in the second quarter. That was more than analysts expected from a company long seen as the best run video provider in the industry.
Also on Thursday, Time Warner Cable Inc, the No.2 cable provider said it lost more subscribers than analysts expected with 169,000 customers leaving the service. While a small per centage of Time Warner Cable company's 12.3 million total customers, this is a 10th straight quarter of customer losses. [ID: n L4E8J22FP]
"Basic video subscriber losses aren't getting better," said Bernstein Research analyst Craig Moffett of Time Warner Cable. He said in a client note that the company had done alright overall but "it is hard to shake the perception of an opportunity lost."
Lost northern fur seal shows up on Hawaii beach (1 August 2012)
HONOLULU (AP) -- A seal that would normally live in waters around the Aleutian Islands and California has shown up thousands of miles away on a beach in Hawaii, officials said Wednesday.
People found the northern fur seal resting on the sand near Sunset Beach on Oahu's North Shore. It was emaciated, underweight and weak.
It's the first time on record that a wild fur seal has come to Hawaii, said David Schofield, a marine mammal response coordinator at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Hawaii's only native seal is the endangered Hawaiian monk seal. Elephant seals have made their way over from California in the past, but only very rarely, Schofield said.
U.S. orders major Enbridge oil pipeline review after latest Wisconsin leak (2 August 2012)
(Reuters) - The U.S. pipeline regulator raised pressure on Enbridge Inc on Thursday over the latest spill on its U.S. oil pipeline network, demanding that it submit a plan to improve the safety of the entire 1,900 mile system before restarting a key Midwest line.
The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said it added new conditions to this week's corrective action order for the restart of Line 14 to address failures on that pipeline as well as a string of others in recent years on its U.S. system, part of the world's longest network for transporting oil and petroleum products.
Enbridge responded immediately, saying it would submit the new plan by day's end and that many of the improvements sought on the U.S. system were already under way. But regulators who have made no secret of their dismay and anger over a series of recent leaks on Enbridge lines must still approve the plan.
"PHMSA has communicated its longstanding concerns about this pattern of failures with (Enbridge) over the past several years," PHMSA wrote in the amendment to its order. "Given the nature, circumstances, and gravity of this pattern of accidents, additional corrective measures are warranted."
WikiLeaks in Latin America: Online Whistleblower's Wide Impact in Region Where Assange Seeks Asylum (3 August 2012) [DN]
AMY GOODMAN: Peter, finally, you have investigated U.S. policy in Latin America for decades, particularly in places like in Chile. It is very hard, as you know well at The National Security Archives to get information. These secret documents, now in one fell swoop we are seeing hundreds of thousands of cables. Actually, ultimately, with all these documents, more than millions. You have Julian Assange in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London trying to get political asylum in Ecuador to avoid going to Sweden because he is afraid the U.S. will then have him extradited to the U.S. for his work on Wikileaks. You have Bradley Manning, who allegedly released the documents to wikileaks, who has been held for close to two years, many have said in conditions that have amounted to torture, being court-martialed, could face the rest of his life in prison. Talk about the significance of these documents?
PETER KORNBLUH: The significance is that the size of the documents and the contemporary nature of the documents. Those of us who work on the issue of declassification, the right to know, are often dealing with historical records that are at least 10, 20, 30 years old. They shed light on the...
AMY GOODMAN: Then why are they such a threat to the United States today?
PETER KORNBLUH: The Wikileaks cables are a threat to the United States today precisely because of the things that you and I have been talking about. They detail U.S. meetings and opinions, and operations with Latin-American officials, who in some cases, are still in office today or in some cases have just been elected to office, as the case in Mexico. So, they are not national security dangerous in any way, I think that has been completely proven, even though Hillary Clinton came out, when the leak first happened, on the cables, and said this is an an attack on our security, etc., etc. That is why they want to prosecute Julian Assange. The truth of the matter is, it's more of an embarrassment than anything else. The documents are important because they give you a contemporary picture of the interaction of the U.S. with Latin American countries and of course with hundreds of other countries as well. That is why the United States has been so adamantly against this type of leak. Truth be told, the impact is important. We have learned a lot. We have learned a lot about what's going on right now. And in Latin America, it should help people who are involved in the right to know movement there, press for documents from their own countries to be declassified and released. Documents that tell the Mexican side or the Colombian side or the Brazilian side of the meetings that are detailed in these Wikileaks cables. This is now an important database, these cables in Latin America and elsewhere, for further research, for further work on freedom of information, and for furthering the right to know in the region, and that can only strengthen democracy there and elsewhere.
Mitt Romney lashes back at Harry Reid over latest tax return allegations (3 August 2012)
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has angrily hit out at claims that he paid no tax for a decade, telling his accuser, Senate majority leader Harry Reid, to "put up or shut up".
Speaking on Friday while on the stump in Nevada, Romney addressed the claims head-on, stating: "I have paid taxes every year, and a lot of taxes. So Harry is wrong."
It comes a day after Reid turned up the heat over demands that the Republican candidate publish more of his annual returns to the IRS -- an issue which has dogged Romney for weeks.
Speaking on the floor of the Senate, Reid said: "The word's out that he hasn't paid any taxes for 10 years. Let him prove he has paid taxes because he hasn't."
PAM COMMENTARY: That may explain why he won't produce his tax returns... or even copies of any checks paid to the government for taxes.
Facebook has 83 million fake users (2 August 2012)
There may be more than 83 million fake users on Facebook, the giant social network has revealed.
In company filings published this week, it said 8.7% of its 955 million active users might not be real, according to the BBC.com.
Duplicate accounts, people who have an account in addition to a principal account, make up 4.8 percent of the "fake" accounts, as of June 30, 2012.
There are also "user-misclassified accounts" (2.4 percent) -- pet accounts or a personal profile for business -- and "undesirable accounts" (1.5 percent) that are intended for spamming, etc.
Baltimore homeless and low-income services fair draws nearly 1,000
(2 August 2012)
Henry Rodwell III smiled as a professional photographer snapped a rare portrait of him with his son, whose birth had prompted the single father to break his addiction to heroin and change his life.
Rodwell was one of nearly 1,000 homeless and low-income men, women and children who came to Thursday's Project Homeless Connect at M&T Bank Stadium, an outreach event that intended to connect them with health, housing and employment services.
Amid the resume assistance, legal consultations, diabetes screenings, HIV screenings and dental exams, Rodwell saw an opportunity to build on his momentum to create a stable home for his three-year-old, Henry IV. He left with bags packed with corn on the cob, plums, books and T-shirts.
The one-day event was one of the largest of its kind for Baltimore in at least a decade, organizers said. Project manager Julia Smith said the event was unique because it offered actual services, rather than information on how to get them.
Not all rabies infections lead to death; some may have resistance (1 August 2012)
Rabies is generally thought to be universally fatal, but new evidence suggests that is not always the case. A study in Peru suggests that some people -- admittedly a very small percentage of the population -- may have a natural resistance to the rabies virus that protects them from serious illness when they become infected. The results suggest that it may be possible to develop new ways to prevent and treat rabies.
Most Americans associate rabies with dogs, but the virus is most commonly carried by bats. Experts estimate that rabies kills at least 55,000 people each year in Africa and Asia alone, and the disease appears to be on the rise in China, the former Soviet republics, and Central and South America. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. deaths have declined from about 100 per year a century ago to an average of about two per year now, largely due to widespread efforts to vaccinate domestic animals against the disease.
People who have been exposed to the virus are generally advised to seek out post-exposure prophylaxis, a series of injections that activate the immune system to fight off the virus. If initiated quickly, the injections are almost 100% effective. But if the disease gets started, most treatment has proved futile. The exceptions have been two cases, one in Wisconsin and one in California, where intensive therapy pulled the victim through. In Wisconsin, physicians placed the patient in a coma, but that has not worked in subsequent cases.
A team headed by Dr. Amy T. Gilbert of the CDC's National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases decided to study residents of an area where rabies is endemic to look for clues about the virus's interactions with humans. In May 2010, they went to the communities of Truenococha and Santa Marta in the Province Datem del Maranon in the Loreto Department of Peru, a region that has suffered several outbreaks of rabies. In South America, rabies is transmitted primarily by the vampire bat, Desmodus rotundus, which lives off of mammalian blood. The bats prefer blood from cows, but if none is available, they will steal it from humans in their sleep, injecting an agent to prevent the blood from clotting. Bats carrying the rabies virus transmit it when they bite cows or humans.
PAM COMMENTARY: How about a Clark zapper? Anyone tried that?
Ottawa umpire dies of flesh-eating disease after being struck by foul ball (2 August 2012)
OTTAWA -- Umpire Bob Brousseau was standing behind the catcher, as he'd done in thousands of at-bats before this one, when he was hit by a foul ball. It got him square and hard, but only at a spot not vulnerable enough to be buried beneath his protective gear: The innocuous seeming baseball struck his thigh.
Brousseau, six-foot-four and still in good shape at 60, shook it off. This wasn't the first time a foul ball had clipped him; his collection of umpiring bruises over the years in the men's recreation league had claimed space on his hip, his sternum, even the side of his head.
He umpired the rest of the game, on July 6, and didn't think much more about it.
It was a bad bruise, though, and over the next few days Pat Longmore, his common law wife of 20 years, noticed it was getting worse.
West Nile virus: Toronto Public Health identifies 2 probable cases (2 August 2012)
An 80-year-old man and a 32-year-old woman are suspected to have the mosquito-borne West Nile virus, and Toronto health officials fear more cases to come.
The condition of the two is not known, though officials said the man has been hospitalized and the woman is recovering at home.
Conclusive results will not be available for at least another week, said Dr. Howard Shapiro, Toronto Public Health's associate medical officer of health.
It is not yet clear where the patients would have contracted the virus, but officials believe it would have been in Toronto.
Large fire reported at West Tulsa, Oklahoma oil refinery (2 August 2012)
Fire crews are working to contain a large tanker fire in West Tulsa.
Neighbors reported hearing a large explosion around 1:30 a.m. Thursday morning, and seeing a large ball of fire. Those flames were coming from the Holly refinery, near Southwest Boulevard.
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.
China unveils oil offensive in South China Sea squabble (1 August 2012)
(Reuters) - First came the diplomatic offensive, then the flexing of military muscle.
Now, China is opening a third front to assert its claims in the South China Sea - moving ahead with its first major tender of oil and gas blocks in disputed parts of its waters.
China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC), a state oil giant, invited foreign firms in late June to bid on oil blocks that overlap territory being explored by Vietnam, putting the 160,000 sq km of water on offer at the forefront of Asia's biggest potential military flashpoint.
Oil companies have until next June to decide whether to bid for the nine blocks, said a Chinese industry source with knowledge of the matter. CNOOC, parent of Hong Kong-listed CNOOC Ltd, has received many informal enquiries from foreign oil companies, added the source, who did not want to be identified.
Enbridge Wisconsin oil spill cleanup continues (2 August 2012)
NEW CHESTER -- Enbridge employees and contractors continued working to clean up an oil spill and repairing a pipeline Wednesday about 10 miles southeast of the city of Adams.
At about 3:30 p.m. Friday, the pipeline, which runs from Superior to Griffith, Ind., began to leak, spraying oil into the air. Before it was stopped, the line leaked about 1,200 barrels, or 50,400 gallons, of oil into the surrounding New Chester pasture land field, and two homes were temporarily evacuated. Officials have said they don't know what effect, if any, the spill will have on groundwater.
The repair of the 24-inch pipe was about 50 percent complete as of Wednesday morning, said Jennifer Smith, Enbridge public affairs adviser. The company also submitted its plan for restarting the line to the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
On Tuesday, the federal agency issued a statement that it was blocking Enbridge from resuming operations of the pipeline until it submitted the required plan. Federal officials were critical of the company, stating Enbridge would need to demonstrate why it should be allowed to continue to operate the Wisconsin pipeline.
Company Plans Repairs After Wisconsin Oil Spill (29 July 2012)
GRAND MARSH, Wis. (Reuters) -- Enbridge of Canada expects on Monday to begin replacing part of a pipeline that leaked more than 1,000 barrels of oil in a Wisconsin field, shutting down a crucial conduit from Canada.
The spill on Friday was the latest in a series of episodes that threaten to damage the reputation of Enbridge, a company that began its most ambitious expansion program ever just two months ago. It came almost two years to the day after a ruptured Enbridge line fouled part of the Kalamazoo River in Michigan.
Enbridge said on Sunday that it tentatively planned to install a new section of pipe on Monday, although it was still unable to say when its Line 14, which moves 318,000 barrels a day, would resume service or what had caused the spill, which blackened a small field but did not appear to cause major damage.
"The line has been uncovered to begin removing the failed section and send it to a metallurgical lab for examination," said Damon Hill, a spokesman for the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. An agency official said that all of the pooled oil had been cleaned up.
Aging power grid on overload as U.S. demands more electricity (2 August 2012)
They began to bend in the roaring wind, then their steel girders snapped like twigs, the towers toppled and the lights went out.
Minutes before the windstorm arrived to pummel the Washington area on June 29, it swept east through West Virginia, crushing three electrical transmission towers that are a tiny part of an intricate power grid that's supposed to keep the lights on in America.
The term "grid" suggests a certain uniformity to the power system's structure, but the network more closely resembles a patchwork quilt stitched together to cover a rapidly expanding nation.
The United States doesn't yet face the critical shortage of power that has left more than 600?million people in India without electricity this week
PAM COMMENTARY: A great reason to add more wind farms!
G20 aftermath: Hamilton residents sue Toronto police for $1.4 million (1 August 2012)
Hamilton women at the heart of a new G20 lawsuit say they were called "dykes," and worse, and told to shave their legs by a Toronto police officer -- claims supported by the provincial police complaints watchdog.
The officer identified the women in his notebook as protesters because of their backpacks, clothing and "hairy legs," according to a report by the Office of the Independent Police Review Director the plaintiffs provided to the media on Wednesday.
The women are now part of a group of seven Hamilton-area residents suing the Toronto Police Services Board for $1.4 million -- the latest, and final, lawsuit to emerge from the ignominious G20 summit weekend.
In their statement of claim, the group -- composed of five women and two men -- alleges they were unlawfully arrested during the G20 by officers who targeted them for arrest using "unreasonable criteria" and who made "profane, sexist and homophobic" comments.
PAM COMMENTARY: Protesters are getting FASHION ADVICE from the cops now?
Ron Wyden offers rules for government cyber-snooping (1 August 2012)
WASHINGTON - Sen. Ron Wyden is moving to expand the scope of a cybersecurity bill, offering an amendment that would protect private, personal information stored on "cloud computers" by limiting the government's access to the fast-expanding systems.
Wyden also plans to push a second amendment that would create new and specific rules governing the use of GPS location data by law enforcement and government officials.
The cybersecurity bill, written by Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is on the Senate floor this week, though it's unclear whether Wyden's amendments will be considered before the week ends. That's important because Congress recesses for it's 5-week August break on Friday.
If the Senate doesn't finish the bill could be considered again in September.
Officer at center of pepper-spraying incident no longer works at UC Davis (1 August 2012)
Lt. John Pike, the UC Davis police officer who became a focal point of last November's pepper-spraying incident during a campus protest, is no longer employed by the university, a spokesman confirmed late Tuesday.
UC Davis spokesman Barry Shiller said he could not discuss the details of Pike's departure, but in response to queries from The Bee, he said Pike was no longer employed there as of Tuesday.
"Consistent with privacy guidelines established in state law and university policy, I can confirm that John Pike's employment with the university ended on July 31, 2012," Shiller said. "I'm unable to comment further."
Pike, 39, declined to comment when reached by The Bee as he was sitting in a meeting on campus where he said he was being terminated.
PAM COMMENTARY: That whole incident seemed like a First Amendment violation.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich Unveils Movement-Fueled "Kucinich Action" to Continue Advocacy Post-Congress (1 August 2012) [DN]
AMY GOODMAN: Congressmember Kucinich, I wanted to ask you about a couple other quick issues. In Texas, the Tea Party-backed candidate, Ted Cruz, has defeated Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst in a runoff for the Republican Senate nomination. Cruz had once been considered a long-shot candidate but surged in the polls to beat out Dewhurst, who had won the backing of Texas Governor Rick Perry. Dewhurst was considered conservative; Cruz, the Tea Party candidate. The significance of this?
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Well, you know, the Tea Party remains organized. And who's ever organized obviously has an advantage in an election, allowing that the organization also is funded. So, you know, the Tea Party is a powerful force--can't be denied.
AMY GOODMAN: And your plans, Congressmember Kucinich? You will be leaving the Congress. What do you plan to do next?
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Well, I--it's a range of things. I mean, I'm accelerating towards the finish line and just doing everything I can to use the available time to keep championing the concerns of the American people. But I've already established an organization called Kucinich Action, which is at KucinichAction.com, which will hold our political activity as a constant factor in helping people organize at all levels, but to keep our focus also trained on matters of war and peace, on jobs, on the environment. So, KucinichAction.com is goign to be part of my political activity. Beyond that, there's a number of different options I'm looking at. I'm really doing everything I can to stay as focused on the duty at hand in Washington, including, of course, trying to work with others to save this Postal Service.
New microchip helps take detailed images of brain (1 August 2012)
Findings to be published in this month's IEEE Photonics Journal show U of C faculty of medicine and engineering researchers have created what they are calling a "lab-on-a-chip" that can take images of individual brain cells.
The biggest challenge was finding a way to ensure brain cells could function well with the microchip and its new filter, said U of C engineer Orly Yadid-Pecht who helped design the new device.
This invention builds on a previous achievement by U of C teams, which invented a neurological microchip that communicates directly with brain cells.
"We've been continuously building and exploring means to record brain cell activity, so we could understand brain function better," Syed said.
PAM COMMENTARY: This article could use more detail, but it's a new topic and more information will come later if the chip is successful.
Power back on after India blackouts (1 August 2012)
Factories and workshops across India are up and running again, a day after a major system collapse led to a second day of power outages and the worst blackout in history.
About 620 million people were left without electricity after India's northern, eastern and north-eastern grids failed yesterday afternoon.
It was the second massive outage in as many days, coming just after the country had recovered from Monday's failure of the northern grid, which left 370 million people powerless.
Electricity workers struggled throughout the day yesterday to return power to the 20 affected states, restoring most of the system in the hours after the crash. Power minister Veerappa Moily told reporters that by this morning power had been fully restored across the country.
As 'fiscal cliff' looms, debate over pre-Election Day layoff notices heats up (30 July 2012)
The deep federal spending cuts scheduled to take effect at the start of next year may trigger dismissal notices for tens of thousands of employees of government contractors, companies and analysts say, and the warnings may start going out at a particularly sensitive time:
Days before the presidential election.
By law, all but the smallest companies must notify their workforce at least 60 days in advance when they know of specific job cuts that are likely to happen.
Obama administration officials say that the threat of layoffs is overblown and that Republicans are playing up the possibility rather than trying to head it off. The Labor Department said Monday that it would be "inappropriate" for contractors to send out large-scale dismissal notices, because it is unclear whether the federal cuts will occur and how they would be carried out.
Damned if you don't (29 July 2012)
The next president will play a major role in our lives. If it's Mitt, all we really know is that he will try to eliminate affordable health care and wants the wealthy to pay less in taxes.
Don't we have a right to see his tax returns and to ask questions about his overseas investments? Will he bring his money home from Switzerland and the Caymans? Are we talking millions or billions? If we don't know but our adversaries do, is he opening up the possibility of blackmail? Will he push for tax loopholes that could help his "blind" trust? Is he a tax evader? Was he a "vulture capitalist" as Governor Rick Perry suggested or the job creator he wants us to believe? Is he truthful or is he a liar? We have to make our own decisions about his policies, but the tax returns will be critical in giving us a hint on his policies and his truthfulness.
Many people will decide when those returns are made public and not before. All candidates should play by the rules and the candidates are not the ones who should make the rules.
George Romney, Mitt's father, made 12 years of his returns available when he ran for president. George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama, and John Kerry released multiple returns.
600 Million Without Power for Two Days in India (31 July 2012)
NEW DELHI -- The worst blackout in India's history spread to more than half the country Tuesday, reinforcing concerns that the nation's horribly inefficient power sector could undermine its long-term economic ambitions.
For the second day in a row, India's electrical grid collapsed. Tuesday's mystifying blackout, the largest in global history in terms of the number of people affected, deprived more than 600 million people of power -- nearly one in 10 people in the world.
The crisis sharpened fears about India's failure to invest in the infrastructure needed to support its rapidly growing economy, in sharp contrast to neighboring China. It also destroyed any lingering hope that the nation's entrepreneurial spirit and vibrant private sector could somehow deliver a significantly brighter future without a dramatic improvement in the way the country is governed.
"As one of the emerging economies of the world, which is home to almost a sixth of the world population, it is imperative that our basic infrastructure requirements are in keeping with India's aspirations," Chandrajit Banerjee, director general of the Confederation of Indian Industry, said in a statement. "The developments of yesterday and today have created a huge dent in the country's reputation that is most unfortunate."
Medicaid could be scaled back sharply under GOP plans (31 July 2012)
WASHINGTON -- Nearly half a century after President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicaid into law, conservative critics of the massive government health insurance program for the poor are readying a new push to dramatically scale it back if Republicans control the White House and Congress next year.
GOP governors, emboldened by the Supreme Court decision on President Obama's healthcare law, are already balking at expanding Medicaid to meet the goals of the Affordable Care Act. Some are rolling back coverage now, arguing that the program is ineffective and unaffordable.
At the same time, congressional Republicans, backed by influential conservative activists, are renewing calls to convert Medicaid into a series of smaller grants to states, reprising the successful GOP strategy that cut cash welfare programs in the mid-1990s.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, has thrown his support behind a block grant plan that would cap federal spending, effectively slashing Medicaid funding by more than $1.5 trillion over the next decade in what would be the most sweeping change in the program's history.
Colorado suspect charges: Murder, attempted murder (31 July 2012)
CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) -- James Holmes appeared just as dazed as he did in his first court hearing after the deadly Colorado movie theater massacre.
Holmes, 24, sat silently in a packed Denver-area courtroom on Monday, as a judge told him about the charges filed against him, including murder and attempted murder, in one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent U.S. history.
After the charges were read, prosecutors and defense attorneys sparred over whether a notebook that news reports said Holmes sent to his psychiatrist and had descriptions of the attack was privileged information.
It's an argument that foreshadows one of the case's most fundamental issues: Does Holmes have a mental illness and, if so, what role did it play in the shooting that left 12 people dead and 58 others injured?
The Pacific Ocean is becoming caffeinated (31 July 2012)
The whole "people in the Pacific Northwest drink too much coffee" thing has gotten to be a pretty crusty, lazy old joke. But it turns out they drink so much coffee that in areas where waste systems are less regulated, the ocean is becoming a mildly caffeinated beverage, National Geographic News reports.
"Caffeine levels off the potentially polluted areas were below the detectable limit, about 9 nanograms per liter. The wilder coastlines were comparatively highly caffeinated, at about 45 nanograms per liter....
"'Caffeine is pretty darn ubiquitous, and there is growing evidence that this and other understudied contaminants are out there,' said [hydrologist Dana] Kolpin, of the USGS's Toxic Substances Hydrology Program in Iowa City, Iowa."
Researchers trace Obama's family back to first U.S. slave (30 July 2012)
Researchers at Ancestry.com say President Barack Obama is the 11th great-grandson of the first African man to be declared a slave in America, according to CBS News.
The findings were released Monday after researchers spent two years tracing the family tree of Obama's late mother, Ann Dunham, who was born Stanley Ann Dunham in Kansas in 1942. Dunham's roots can be traced to a family, the Bunches, descended from a Virginia slave named John Punch. Dunham died in 1995. Obama's father, Barack Hussein Obama, was born in Kenya.
In 1640, Punch, who had escaped to Virginia from Maryland, was caught and sentenced to a lifetime of servitude. Researchers say the discrepancy in names is common -- record-keepers of the era wrote names down according to how they sounded -- but that DNA testing of the Bunch family led them to make the connection.
"We sort of stumbled across it," lead researcher Anastasia Harman told The New York Times. "We were just doing general research into the president's family tree, and as we started digging back in time, we realized that the Bunch family were African-American."
Animal farmers complain about ethanol requirements, corn growers call that "premature" (30 July 2012)
In the latest move, the country's meat, dairy and poultry producers called on the Environmental Protection Agency to suspend this year's quotas for corn ethanol production.
"The extraordinary and disastrous circumstances created for livestock and poultry producers by the ongoing drought in the heart of our grain growing regions requires that all relevant measures of relief be explored," said the petition to the EPA's administrator Lisa Jackson.
It went on to warn that the requirement for corn ethanol production was further beating up corn prices, which were already at record levels because of the drought in the mid-west.
"We are worried about having enough corn, soybean and other crops at any price to feed our animals," Randy Spronk, the president of the National Pork Producers Association told a conference call with reporters.
Pulitzer-Winning Reporting Duo Don Barlett and James Steele on "The Betrayal of the American Dream" (30 July 2012) [DN]
DONALD BARLETT: It really goes back to when we did America: What Went Wrong?, which was in '91. And at that time, people were upset around the country. They knew something was happening, but they didn't know what. And what made that book so successful was that we pulled everything together in terms of pensions and pay and union membership--and just everything economics. And you could see that there was a systematic attack going on on the middle class.
At that time, it was still kind of--you know, could have gone either way if there had been a political response, which there should have been, but there wasn't. And as a result, when--we received just literally hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of letters of emails over the last several years saying, "Would you go back and look at this in terms of what you wrote the first time?" And if we made one mistake the first time, it was we grossly underestimated how fast this country was going to go down the tubes. And we really did.
Back then, there were still defined benefit pensions, and people still had a hope of getting them. They're gone. There was one wage structure. Now there are two-tiered wage systems all over the country. The one wage is gone. Income has been flat, for the most part, since then. You go down the list, and everything has gotten incredibly worse than it was then.
And one of the arguments that was raised by critics back then was because this--that series ran right at the tail end of one of the recessions, and people said, "Well, what's happening now is really related to the recession, and once we're out of the recession, everything will be fine." And we made the point this was not true, that what was happening was totally unrelated to the recession. It was the result of structural defects in the American economy, and it was going to continue unless they were dealt with. Well, they weren't dealt with, and now everything is--you couldn't even go back now to the 2000 level and give people what they had then. It would be impossible, given the attitudes in Congress, the hardening lines in Washington.
Uganda Ebola outbreak: patients flee hospital amid contagion fears (29 July 2012)
Terrified patients fled from a hospital in western Uganda as soon as news broke that a mysterious illness that killed at least 14 people in the region was Ebola, one of the world's most virulent diseases.
Ignatius Besisira, an MP for Buyaga East County in the Kibaale district, said people had at first believed the unexplained deaths were related to witchcraft. "Immediately, when there was confirmation that it was Ebola ... patients ran out of Kagadi hospital (where some of the victims had died)," he told the Guardian. "Even the medical officers are very, very frightened," he said.
Government officials and a World Health Organisation representative confirmed the Ebola outbreak at a news conference in Kampala on Saturday. "Laboratory investigations done at the Uganda Virus Research Institute ... have confirmed that the strange disease reported in Kibaale is indeed Ebola haemorrhagic fever," they said in a joint statement.
Health officials said at least 20 people had been infected and of those 14 had died.
New technique helps scientists unwrap Peruvian mummy deaths (27 July 2012)
A team of scientists from the U.S. and Argentina used a new technique to discover what killed three Peruvian mummies 500 years ago, according to IO9.com.
The group used a technique called shotgun proteomics to analyze proteins taken from the lips of the Andean Inca mummies, first splitting the proteins from the DNA and then running them through a high-resolution mass spectrometer, in order to glean insight into how their immune systems responded to bacteria.
In this case, the team says, at least one of the mummies died of a lung infection, based on an earlier CT scan and evidence of Mycobacterium sp.
"Existing methods, such as antibody-binding immunoassays, are ill suited for archeological applications because they require fresh tissues, use a small number of targeted antibodies, and are prone to both false positives and false negatives," they wrote in PLOS One, an online research journal. "Proteomics approaches can identify and quantify proteins directly."
Uganda Ebola outbreak confirmed (29 July 2012)
The deadly Ebola virus has killed 14 people in western Uganda this month, health officials have said, ending weeks of speculation about the cause of a strange disease that has prompted many people to flee their homes.
The officials and a World Health Organisation representative confirmed the outbreak at a news conference in Kampala on Saturday.
In a joint statement, the Ugandan government and WHO said: "Laboratory investigations done at the Uganda Virus Research Institute... have confirmed that the strange disease reported in Kibaale is indeed Ebola haemorrhagic fever."
Kibaale is a district in mid-western Uganda, where people in recent weeks have been troubled by a mysterious illness that seemed to have come from nowhere. Ugandan health officials had been stumped as well, and spent weeks conducting laboratory tests that were at first inconclusive.
Anti-nuke protesters surround Japanese parliament (29 July 2012)
TOKYO (AP) -- Thousands of people formed "a human chain" around Japan's parliament complex Sunday to demand the government abandon nuclear power -- the latest in a series of peaceful demonstrations here that are on a scale not seen for decades.
Also Sunday, voters went to the polls in a closely watched regional election for governor in southwestern Yamaguchi Prefecture, where an outspoken anti-nuclear candidate is running.
Protesters said they were angry the government restarted two reactors earlier this month, despite safety worries after the multiple meltdowns at Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in March last year. They were the first to come back into operation since May when the last of Japan's 50 working reactors went offline for routine checks.
Banging on drums and waving balloons and banners, protesters marched from a Tokyo park and lined up along the blocks around the parliament building, chanting, "Saikado hantai," or "No to restarts," and later lit candles.
Two years after oil spill, town and its creek are reshaped (29 July 2012)
The water in Talmadge Creek runs clear now, and small schools of minnows shoot after each other, ducking behind creek rocks that seem too awkwardly settled to have been placed there by nature.
That's because they weren't. In the two years since one of the worst inland oil spills in U.S. history -- when a pipeline break in a nearby marsh sent 819,000 gallons of toxic sludge sliding into the Talmadge and then down more than 30 miles of the Kalamazoo River -- cleanup workers have dredged and rebuilt this creek from the bottom.
Now, Talmadge Creek is slowly headed back to normal, insomuch as normal is possible. The same could be said for the human ecosystem and the empty homes still surrounding the spill area.
The disaster itself was overshadowed by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that same summer, but it offers lessons for other communities and for other pipeline companies eager to tap Canada's lucrative oil sands market for American dollars.
Chinese protesters force officials to cancel industrial waste pipeline project (28 July 2012)
Officials in eastern China have cancelled a planned industrial waste pipeline project after up to 1,000 environmental demonstrators occupied a government office, overturned cars, destroyed computers and beat police officers.
The demonstration in the city of Qidong was the latest in a string of protests sparked by fears of environmental degradation.
Zhang Guohua, mayor of the eastern city of Nantong, announced the cancellation of the pipeline, which would have emptied waste water from a Japanese-owned paper factory via the coastal town of Qidong into the sea. It is the second industrial project to be cancelled in a month.
The decision came hours after about 1,000 protesters marched through the city of Qidong, about one hour north of Shanghai, shouting slogans against the pipeline.
CIA "Manages" Drug Trade, Mexican Official Says (29 July 2012) [AJ]
The Central Intelligence Agency's involvement in drug trafficking is back in the media spotlight after a spokesman for the violence-plagued Mexican state of Chihuahua became the latest high-profile individual to accuse the CIA, which has been linked to narcotics trafficking for decades, of ongoing efforts to "manage the drug trade." The infamous American spy agency refused to comment.
a recent interview, Chihuahua state spokesman Guillermo Terrazas Villanueva told Al Jazeera that the CIA and other international "security" outfits "don't fight drug traffickers." Instead, Villanueva argued, they try to control and manage the illegal drug market for their own benefit.
"It's like pest control companies, they only control," Villanueva told the Qatar-based media outlet last month at his office in Juarez. "If you finish off the pests, you are out of a job. If they finish the drug business, they finish their jobs."
Another Mexican official, apparently a mid-level officer with Mexico's equivalent of the U.S. Department of "Homeland Security," echoed those remarks, saying he knew that the allegations against the CIA were correct based on talks with American agents in Mexico. "It's true, they want to control it," the official told Al Jazeera on condition of anonymity.
Back to Pam's NEWS ARCHIVES
Back to Pam's vegan vegetarian FUN page
Pam's vegan vegetarian cookbook, with vegan vegetarian recipes
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