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Click to visit VeggieCooking.com NEWS LINK ARCHIVE 2012

News from the Week of 5th to 11th of August 2012

Romney names Paul Ryan his No. 2 (11 August 2012)
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney tapped Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his vice presidential running mate for the fall campaign on Saturday, turning to the architect of a conservative and intensely controversial long-term budget plan to remake Medicare and cut trillions in federal spending.

Romney made his announcement to supporters via a phone app.

"Mitt's Choice for VP is Paul Ryan," it said and implored backers to spread the word.

The ticket-mates arranged their first joint appearance later in the morning at a naval museum, first stop of a bus tour through four battleground states in as many days.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: Nothing tells seniors "I hate you" quite as much as picking Paul Ryan as your running mate...

Ryan: a high-risk, low-reward pick (11 August 2012)
Mitt Romney is rolling out his running mate in the morning, and all signs appear to point to Wisconsin Member of the House Paul Ryan. It's a high-risk, low-reward pick. Mostly recapping what I've been saying about Veepstakes for the last few months:

Political scientists generally have found that good running mates do little to help the ticket in November beyond the possibility of adding a couple percentage points in the vice-presidential candidate's home state. That is, Paul Ryan is a low-reward pick because all running mates are low-reward picks. Perhaps it's a little lower than usual: as someone who only represents one congressional district, Ryan is presumably less well known and liked in his home state than typical picks who have won statewide, although since picks from the House are rare, it's hard to really know.

However, a poor pick can hurt the ticket some nationwide, although probably the only two to really do that over the years were Sarah Palin in 2008 and Tom Eagleton in 1972. Other picks that performed poorly during the campaign -- Richard Nixon in 1952, Dan Quayle in 1992, perhaps Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 -- haven't been shown, as far as I know, to have cost any significant number of votes.

Paul Ryan is high-risk for one basic reason: most of the picks who have done badly during the campaign or in office or have looked bad after the fact have one thing in common: very little high-level campaign experience. Those who have survived a presidential campaign or at least multiple statewide (governor or Senate) campaigns have a much better track record. Yes, Ryan has been on national TV quite a bit, but doing that even as a very high-profile Member of the House is just not even remotely in the same ballpark as a national campaign, or even a statewide campaign. That doesn't mean that he'll do badly; there's no obvious alarms as there were with Sarah Palin, who was (incredibly) chosen despite an active ethics investigation against her.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: The only reason Paul Ryan has survived in his southeastern Wisconsin district for so long is because people in that district vote "R" no matter what the name. It's questionable whether he would have won this year's election with the recent national press about his ideas on cutting Social Security and Medicare.

Bradley Manning treatment in 'flagrant violation' of military code -- lawyer (10 August 2012) [AJ]
The harsh conditions forced upon Bradley Manning in military detention have been laid out in detail as part of a court filing in which the US army is accused of a "flagrant violation" of his right not to be punished prior to trial.

The Article 13 motion, published Friday by Manning's civilian lawyer David Coombs on his website, claims that Manning, who is accused of leaking state secrets to WikiLeaks, was held in a 6×8 ft cell for 23 to 24 hours a day. In addition, when not sleeping, Manning was banned from lying down, or even using a wall to support him.

The motion also claims that Manning was punished through "degradation and humiliation", notably by forcing him to stand outside his cell naked during a morning inspection. This, his Coombs claims, was "retaliatory punishment" for speaking out over his treatment.
[Read more...]

Romney's Death Squad Ties: Bain Launched With Millions From Oligarchs Behind Salvadoran Atrocities (10 August 2012) [DN]
AMY GOODMAN: Robert White.

RYAN GRIM: Robert White, had publicly accused six Salvadorans living in Miami of financing, two of them Salaverrias. When it was suggested to him by Harry Strachan that he go down to Miami to raise money from the exiles there, he actually said to Strachan, make sure that these people are not connected to right-wing death squads. It's very clear he knew the context and he knew what was going on at the time, but he was having a seriously hard time raising capital for his new enterprise, Bain Capital, and his boss, Bill Bain, told him that he couldn't use any of the investors or clients of Bain and Co., which was the very successful consulting firm, because if Bain Capital failed, he didn't want it to take everything else down with it. It's been reported in a number of places that he failed to raise capital from traditional sources in the U.S. So, given that, he flew to Miami and, in mid 1984, he went directly to a bank and met with a number of these families who were involved with death squads and accepted, what at the time, was a huge amount of money that amounted to 40% of the outside capital that he was able to raise for that initial fund. As Harry Strachan said, they continued to roll over their investments and certainly are worth tens of millions of dollars in Bain Capital now. Just reading from your piece, Ryan Grim, when Romney returned to Miami in 2007 to launch another venture that needed funding, his first presidential campaign, Romney said, "I owe a great deal to Americans of Latin American descent... When I was starting my business, I came to Miami to find partners that would believe in me and that would finance my enterprise. My partners were Ricardo Poma, Miguel Dueñas, Pancho Soler, Frank Kardonski, and Diego Ribadeneira." Can you talk about these men, like Poma, and their relationship to the death squads in El Salvador?
[Read more...]

Anger grows in Illinois at Bain's outsourcing plan (10 August 2012)
The shock of losing a precious job in a town afflicted by high unemployment is always hard. A foundation for a stable family life and secure home instantly disappears, replaced with a future filled with fears over health insurance, missed mortgage payments and the potential for a slip below the breadline.

But for Bonnie Borman -- and 170 other men and women in Freeport, Illinois -- there is a brutal twist to the torture. Borman, 52, and the other workers of a soon-to-be-shuttered car parts plant are personally training the Chinese workers who will replace them.

It's a surreal experience, they say. For months they have watched their plant being dismantled and shipped to China, piece by piece, as they show teams of Chinese workers how to do the jobs they have dedicated their lives to.

"It's not easy to get up in the morning, training them to do your job so that you can be made unemployed," said Borman, pictured, a mother of three who has worked for 23 years at the Sensata auto sensors plant.
[Read more...]

Dana Milbank: Romney's Bain games (11 August 2012)
My daughter has not yet reached her ninth birthday, but I already have her pegged for a job at Bain Capital. My evidence is the ease with which she has embraced "Tiny Tower," a business-simulation game that millions of people are using on their iPhones and tablets to play capitalist, attempting to build ever larger towers with ever more businesses that generate ever more coins and "tower bux."

My daughter's 12 businesses include a casino, a bank, a doughnut shop and a soda brewery. But in this game it doesn't matter what type of business she operates -- only that she operates it with maximum efficiency, firing and evicting her "bitizens" at will and benefiting from the help of "VIPs" to bring her more business and accelerate construction.

The game is devoid of business ethics. The goal is to maximize value by boosting output. Tiny Tower functions, in other words, strikingly like Bain Capital did under Mitt Romney.

I thought of the similarity as I read a report by Bloomberg News on Romney's adventure with Bain in the Italian yellow-pages business. The news service revisited Bain's experience in the privatization of the Italian phone directory Seat Pagine Gialle SpA, which generated $1 billion in profits for Bain (and up to $60 million for Romney) when Bain's investment group sold the company for about 25 times the original purchase price two years after buying it. That's a lot of tower bux.
[Read more...]

Report From Turkey-Syria Border: Syrian Refugees Claim "Horrific Carnage" in Besieged Aleppo (10 August 2012) [DN]
REESE ERLICH: Well, the most recent interviews I've done were with refugees from Aleppo who told me about really horrific carnage as a result of missile and artillery attacks on neighborhoods. Apparently, the pattern is if a neighborhood was the scene of a Free Syrian Army takeover, or even a previous demonstrations there, the the civilian neighborhood is bombarded from the air or by artillery. It's forced a lot of people to leave. One U.N. estimate was 250,000 just over the last week or so, mostly internally displaced.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you describe the camps?

REESE ERLICH: The camps in here in Turkey are kind of what you would traditionally think of as refugee camps with tents that provide electricity, sewage, food, basic supplies for the people. They have a few small businesses that they operate out of the camps. From what refugees -- people sometimes have an image of refugees as these poor bedraggled, starving people, but, Syrians are very sophisticated, educated people, and a lot of them have mobile phones. They communicate with their relatives in Jordan or Lebanon where there are also camps. The consensus of the people that I've talked to is that the treatment is much better here in Turkey than Syrians are getting another places.
[Read more...]

Chevron refinery explosion results in gas price hike (10 August 2012)
Bad news for Californians who drive. All of you -- gas, electric, whatever.

An explosion Monday night at Chevron's refinery in Richmond, Calif. -- the 13th-largest refinery in the U.S. -- knocked a significant chunk of the facility offline. And, sure enough, the Aug. 7 fire quickly resulted in a gas-price hike.

From AP:

"The average price of regular gasoline jumped in California from $3.86 a gallon on Tuesday to $3.94 on Thursday, according to the website GasBuddy.com...

"The Richmond refinery produces 16 percent of the region's daily gasoline supply. The fire knocked out a unit that makes a specialized blend of cleaner burning gasoline that satisfies air quality laws in California, Oregon and Washington."
[Read more...]

Deadline looms, but survivors of Assam bloodshed too scared to go home (10 August 2012)
BILASIPARA, India, Aug 10 (AlertNet) - There was little time to do anything but grab her two young boys and run as fast as she could when the gunmen came into the northeast Indian village in the dead of night and began firing.

Along with scores of other villagers, nine-months pregnant Rohima Begum hid with her family waist-deep in the rice fields as the gunshots rang out amid the screams of those left behind.

Eighteen days on, Rohima, like hundreds of thousands in Assam state, languishes in a displacement camp - too scared to go home after the worst ethnic violence in India in a decade.

But the government says the violence, in which 75 people have been killed and more than 400,000 displaced, is over and has set a deadline for fleeing villagers to return to their homes - India's Independence Day on August 15.
[Read more...]

Romney Defending Tax Return Reticence Says He's 'Not a Business' (9 August 2012)
Aug. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Mitt Romney, defending his refusal to release more than two years of tax returns, said, unlike a company being evaluated by a potential investor, he shouldn't have to provide more details of his finances for public vetting.

"I'm not a business," the presumed Republican presidential nominee said in an Aug. 7 interview with Bloomberg Businessweek when asked whether he would want to see five years of financial information for a firm in which he might invest.

"We have a process in this country, which was established by law, which provides for the transparency which candidates are required to meet," he said. "I have met with that requirement with full financial disclosure of all my investments, but in addition have provided and will provide a full two years of tax returns."

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and private equity executive whose fortune is estimated around $250 million, has faced increasing calls -- both from Democrats questioning whether he dodged paying taxes and Republicans eager to put the issue to rest -- to release more tax filings that would shed light on his investments and financial activities.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: The longer he holds out, the more it seems he has something to hide.

Pressure on Romney to pick Ryan as VP (9 August 2012)
(Reuters) - With Republican Mitt Romney on the verge of choosing a vice presidential running mate, conservatives have mounted a concerted campaign to boost the chances of Representative Paul Ryan, the architect of his party's controversial budget-cutting plan.

Often likening Ryan to Ronald Reagan, conservatives say the Wisconsin lawmaker's supposed drawbacks as a candidate - mostly stemming from the steep cuts in social safety net programs he has proposed - are actually strengths that could bring heft, content and perhaps a spark to Romney's campaign.

Romney, in an interview Thursday with NBC News, gave no indication who he might pick, but outlined what he was looking for in a running mate.

"I certainly expect to have a person that has a strength of character, a vision for the country that adds something to the political discourse about the direction of the country," he said.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: That'd make the choice clear -- vote Obama or cough up your Social Security checks to pay for Bush's war debt.

And I'm old enough to remember Ronald Reagan -- he was nuts.

Mother blames cancer vaccine for teen's death (8 August 2012)
Jasmine Renata, 18, died in September 2009 in a sleepout at her home in Upper Hutt, north of Wellington.

She had received the last of three injections of Gardasil six months earlier.

At the time of her death, Ms Renata's mother Rhonda said she believed Gardasil may have been the cause.

At an inquest in Wellington today before Coroner Ian Smith, Mrs Renata said her daughter was fit, rarely got sick, didn't smoke and rarely drank alcohol.

But after her first Gardasil dose in September 2008, she developed pains in various parts of her body, suffered a racing heart beat, weak arms, tingling in her hands and legs, and became tired and irritable.

Her hair had started falling out and she was sleeping as much as possible.
[Read more...]

Online scammers using fake FBI message to demand money (9 August 2012)
WASHINGTON -- The FBI warned computer users on Thursday to ignore a fake message, purportedly from its officers, that freezes people's screens and demands that they pay a fine for visiting inappropriate websites.

"We're getting inundated with complaints," said Donna Gregory from the US Internet Crime Complaint Center, referring to the virus known as Reveton ransomware, which has hit users in the United States and globally.

"Some people have actually paid the so-called fine," she said, describing the virus as "drive-by malware" that installs itself when a user clicks on a compromised website and issues a message saying a federal law has been broken.

"The bogus message goes on to say that the user's Internet address was identified by the FBI or the Department of Justice's Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section as having been associated with child pornography sites or other illegal online activity," the FBI said in a statement.
[Read more...]

Google hit with $22.5 million fine over Internet tracking (9 August 2012)
The Federal Trade Commission today announced a $22.5 million fine against Google for circumventing settings on Safari Internet browsers and planting advertising cookies without user consent -- a subject we wrote about in June.

The size of the fine -- a record amount for an FTC privacy case -- had been reported earlier by The Wall Street Journal, so the settlement was no surprise. But in a conference call with reporters, senior FTC official David Vladeck once again criticized our story, which was co-published with Wired and focused on whether the agency had adequate means to aggressively police online privacy.

"There was almost nothing in the Wired article that was correct," Vladeck said. The FTC did not take our questions during the call; we already have addressed the agency's specific criticisms at length.

Among other things, our story reported that Stanford researcher Jonathan Mayer had scooped the FTC by discovering how the Google cookies worked, then publishing the findings on his blog the same day -- Feb. 17 -- on which The Wall Street Journal wrote that Mayer had spotted them.
[Read more...]

Friend of Sikh Temple shooter feared what he might do (9 August 2012)
Wade Michael Page, the man who killed six Sikh worshippers at an Oak Creek temple Sunday before shooting himself in the head, was so mentally unstable after breaking up with a girlfriend that his Army friends once had to break into his apartment to make sure he had not committed suicide.

They found Page passed out from alcohol on the floor sometime in 1997, said Christopher Robillard, who served with Page at the time in the Army's elite psychological operations corps.

Instead of reporting the incident to authorities, Robillard said he and his friends covered up for Page - a decision Robillard says he now "deeply regrets."

"We thought at the time to keep it to ourselves, but I wish now that we would have reported it," Robillard said.
[Read more...]

Academic Who Knew Sikh Shooter Wade Michael Page Says Neo-Nazi Soldiers, Musicians Shaped His Hatred (9 August 2012) [DN]
AMY GOODMAN: Let's talk about his years in the military, 1992-1998, where the reports are he worked in Psy-Ops at Fort Bliss in Texas, and then at Fort Bragg in North Carolina; Psychological Operations. Did he talk about this period and what he did in this unit and what he did in the Army overall?

PETE SIMI: Most of what he talked about in the military was not so much -- he did have some favorable things to say as far as he felt like he did get some good training and there was some valuable experiences for him based on this time in the military. He talked a little about the Psych-Ops stuff, but he didn't get into too much detail in terms of what he was actually doing. He seemed to value the fact that he received training in terms of weapons and that kind of stuff. But, most of what he talked about in terms of his military experiences was how much it really caused him to realize how whites are at a disadvantage and how much the deck is stacked against whites. He really, kind or, belabored the point that African-Americans in the military are coddled, they're not disciplined when engage in misconduct compared to white personnel, that African-Americans consistently get promotions over whites in the military due to affirmative action-type policies. That was probably the bulk of what he talked about in terms of his military experiences.

AMY GOODMAN: Who did he hate most?

PETE SIMI: As far as during the time that I knew him, I would say it was pretty even mix between anti-Semitism. He clearly felt there was a small effort, a small conspiracy of Jews who were out to dominate world affairs, something that's often referred to a Zionist Occupational Government, this idea that this small conspiracy of Jews have literally taken over the United States government and really dominate world affairs. He clearly subscribed to that set of beliefs and would talk pretty frequently about Jews do this and Jews control that, and then a lot of anti-black sentiment. So, between those two, those were the most frequent targets of his kind of hateful beliefs.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: If that's true, his target doesn't even make sense.

Aurora shooting suspect's defence lawyers say Holmes is mentally ill (10 August 2012)
Attorneys for the suspect in the Colorado movie theater shootings said Thursday their client is mentally ill and that they need more time to assess the nature of his illness.

James Holmes' lawyers made the disclosure at a court hearing in suburban Denver where news media organisations were asking a judge to unseal court documents in the case.

Holmes, a 24-year-old former PhD student at the University of Colorado, Denver, had the familiar, dazed demeanor that he has had in previous court appearances.

Holmes is accused of going on a 20 July shooting rampage at a midnight showing of the latest Batman movie in Aurora, killing 12 people dead and injuring 58 others.
[Read more...]

There is 'no safe dose of radiation' from TSA naked body scanners (8 August 2012)
He's not alone. Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, also says he opts out of the x-ray, citing concerns that the machines may not be properly calibrated and inspected in a timely manner.

That kind of apprehension is spreading. The European Union is so concerned about the radiation levels emitted by backscatter x-ray machines that it has put a moratorium on their use continent-wide.

The more is known about them, the more dangerous they seem.

The machines, according to the Alliance for Natural Health, emit x-ray signals that "skim the entire surface of your skin instead of being directed to a localized area of your body, which means that radiation levels could be 10 to 20 times higher than the manufacturer's calculations." The low-level ionizing radiation emitted can also cause skin cancer.
[Read more...]

Stressed out men prefer fatter women -- study (9 August 2012)
FIGURE-conscious women who stress their men out may find that it pays an unexpected dividend.

Stress causes men to be more attracted to heavier members of the opposite sex, a study has found.

The reason may relate to feelings of insecurity and seeking protection from a mature-looking mother figure, scientists believe.

Researchers uncovered evidence of the psychological effect after testing 81 male university students.
[Read more...]

Ringworm infection takes on many forms (8 August 2012)
Symptoms may vary based on the location of the infection. Tinea corporis, or ringworm of the skin on the body, itches and usually looks like a red, dry rash with a clear center, hence the name "ringworm." Ringworm of the groin, or jock itch, can affect men and women and is an itchy rash with a red border.

Ringworm of the feet, or athlete's foot, usually begins between the toes and spreads to the soles and sides of the feet causing itch, skin peeling, dryness, cracking and scales. Occasionally there is just a single patch or intensely itchy blisters on the foot. Scratching the area can lead to ringworm of the hands, which causes dry, itchy, peeling palms.

The symptoms of ringworm of the scalp, or tinea capitis, can be severe or mild and most commonly affects school-age children. It looks like an area of dryness or scale. Patches of hair loss or black dots in the scalp may also be present, as well as swelling of the nearby glands in the scalp or neck.

Fungal infection of the fingers or toenails is usually accompanied by tinea pedis (athlete's foot). The nails look yellow, thickened and break easily. Toenails are more commonly infected than fingernails.
[Read more...]

Medicare overspending on anemia drug (10 August 2012)
The U.S. health-care system is vastly overspending for a single anemia drug because Medicare overestimates its use by hundreds of millions of dollars a year, according to an analysis of federal data. The overpayment to hospitals and clinics arises because Medicare reimburses them based on estimates rather than the actual use of the drug.

The government for years has tried to rein in spending on the prescription drug, Epogen, which had ranked some years as the most expensive drug to taxpayers through the Medicare system.

Medicare's current estimates are based on Epogen usage in 2007 for dialysis treatments. But since then, use of the drug has fallen 25 percent or more, partly because of Food and Drug Administration warnings about its perils and partly because Congress removed the financial incentives for clinics and hospitals to prescribe the drug. Because Medicare continues to reimburse health-care providers as if the dosing levels haven't changed, the significant savings in doses has not translated into savings for the U.S. Treasury.

The amount of the overspending is more than $400 million annually, according to calculations done separately by The Washington Post and experts.
[Read more...]

Farmers Turn Wild Habitats Into Corn Fields as Crop Prices Rise (6 August 2012)
Farmers turned more than 23 million acres (9.3 million hectares) of wild habitats into corn, soy and wheat fields since 2008, as crop prices and subsidies rose, according to a report by an environmental group.

Texas, South Dakota, Iowa and Nebraska were the top states for switching grasslands and wetlands to crops, according to a report today by the Washington-based Environmental Working Group that analyzed satellite data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Exports, ethanol production and cattle-feed demands have pushed up demand for corn, the largest U.S. crop, and with it corn prices. Soybean and wheat prices increased along with that of corn.

U.S. farmers were forecast to plant 96.4 million acres of corn this year, the most since 1937, USDA said June 29. Surging demand and unusual weather in 2011 left U.S. corn stockpiles at a 16-year low and kept prices at their highest annual average ever.
[Read more...]

U.S. starts its first Agent Orange cleanup in Vietnam (9 August 2012)
(Reuters) - The United States and Vietnam on Thursday began cleaning up the toxic chemical defoliant Agent Orange on part of Danang International Airport, marking the first time Washington has been involved in cleaning up Agent Orange in Vietnam.

The U.S. military sprayed up to 12 million gallons of the defoliant onto Vietnam's jungles over a 10-year period during the Vietnam War, and the question of compensation for the subsequent health problems is a major post-war issue.

Respiratory cancer and birth defects amongst both Vietnamese and U.S. veterans have been linked to exposure to Agent Orange.

"We are both moving earth and taking the first steps to bury the legacies of our past," U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam David Shear said at a ceremony at Danang airport on Thursday.
[Read more...]

Residents of former asbestos mining town die in droves as government dickers over remediation plan (9 August 2012)
Death knows the small town of Prieska all too well.

A poisonous legacy of South Africa's years as a global blue asbestos hub, the Grim Reaper has snaked through here for decades, wiping out families and striking down neighbours with deadly precision.

"In most of the houses in our street, there is someone who has died of asbestosis or mesothelioma," said Chris Julius, 58, who was diagnosed with asbestos cancer three months after his mother-in-law passed away next door.

A former teacher, Julius never worked at the town's mill or in the nearby hills where mining started in the late 1800s along rich deposits known as the country's "asbestos mountains" that run along the vast Northern Cape.
[Read more...]

Komen president resigning, founder shifting roles (9 August 2012)
DALLAS (AP) -- The president and the founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure are stepping down, the nation's largest breast cancer foundation said in announcing a major leadership shake-up. The high-profile departures come amid continuing fallout from Komen's decision earlier this year to briefly end funding for Planned Parenthood.

President Liz Thompson will leave Komen next month and founder Nancy Brinker, who has long been the public face of the charity, will relinquish her chief executive's role for a position focused on fundraising and strategic planning, according to a statement released Wednesday by the Dallas-based organization.

The foundation announced in January that it had decided to eliminate its funding for Planned Parenthood for breast-cancer screening. Komen said it made the decision because Planned Parenthood was the focus of a congressional investigation, which was launched at the urging of anti-abortion activists.

Komen restored the funding after a three-day firestorm, but it didn't quell the criticism. At least five other high-ranking executives also have resigned, and organizers of many Race for the Cure events saw their participation numbers drop.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: Leaving to fund raise? All these organizations seem to do is raise money -- but with no cure in sight, as usual. I'll stick with the Clark zapper and the Budwig diet for cancer.

Meet Keystone XL's worst enemy: The burying beetle (8 August 2012)
The Keystone XL pipeline could ultimately be stopped not by activists, not by lobbyists, not by politicians on Capitol Hill -- but by a beetle.

"Listed as an endangered species since 1989, American burying beetles survive now only in a few states, including Rhode Island, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Nebraska--in the Sandhills, right where TransCanada planned to route the tar-sands-oil--bearing Keystone XL pipeline.

"These beetles, the type of endangered species few people would cry over, have earned the attention both of TransCanada and of environmental groups dedicated to protecting endangered species and interested as well in stopping the pipeline's construction."

If you had to develop a scenario most likely to cause aneurysms among conservatives, it's hard to top "stopping a fossil-fuel pipeline because of an endangered beetle."
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: Sandhill cranes are named for those sandhills, which are also in the critically endangered whooping crane flyway. And then there's the question of why so many leaks of tarsands oil pipelines lately... Are they really going to maintain any new pipelines, or neglect them until they spill all over the place, like the ones in operation now?

Environmentalists and landowners say Alberta's planned pipeline review too narrow (8 August 2012)
The investigation, however, came after a series of high-profile oil spills in the province this spring, including a 480,000-litre spill of sour crude oil into the Red Deer River in early June, and a damning review into Enbridge's handling of the Michigan spill into the Kalamazoo River.

Dozens of Alberta landowners, environmental groups and First Nations had called for the independent inquiry, citing the recent spills.

In addition to the other concerns, the letter suggests that none of the groups who initially called for the review have been able to secure a meeting with Premier Alison Redford or Minister of Energy Ken Hughes.

"Shouldn't people have more of a say than oil executives?" said Don Bester, president of the Alberta Surface Rights Group. "This review should be about protecting our communities and our environment, not a PR exercise to greenwash the oil industry."
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: And how about the recent spill in Wisconsin? Seems they're having a lot of big leaks lately.

Chevron Oil Refinery Fire in Richmond, California Forces Over 900 Residents to Hospitals (8 August 2012) [DN]
AMY GOODMAN: Andres can you tell us, do you know the chemicals that have been released into the environment?

ANDRES SOTO: What I understand from the people who study these science, it's a whole range of hydrocarbons. We suspect that this is some of that high sulfur content dirtier crude from the Canadian tar sands that may have been involved with this. So, you know, there is exotic metals. It's a whole toxic stew of chemicals that were released into the broad environment, and not just in our local community, but throughout the region.

AMY GOODMAN: I interrupted you when you were talking about Chevron being an International Corporation.

ANDRES SOTO: Right. I mean, this is one of the biggest international, multinational corporations. We have seen how they have dealt with the people in Nigeria. In fact, their mouthpiece in Richmond, Heather Kulp, was assigned to Nigeria before they assigned her to Richmond. Where they have actually used the Nigerian army to kill people. We know in Ecuador, they bought the processing of the oil there, the wells there, and the extraction and have left a toxic mess that was started by Texaco and they are ignoring the fine that the Ecuadorian government has imposed. Down in Brazil, we see them taking action where they have actually indicted Chevron executives for offshore oil drilling accidents and spills. Looking at that, that is actually a role model. Unfortunately over here, nobody is talking about arresting Nigel Hearne and his crew for the Chevron experience the other day, the environmental disaster we suffered.
[Read more...]

Refinery damage may take months to repair (8 August 2012)
The damage caused by a fire at the Chevron refinery in Richmond will take months to repair and will hobble one of the West Coast's biggest sources of fuel, industry experts said Wednesday.

And while panic buying appears to have prompted a jump in wholesale gasoline prices after Monday night's fire, analysts say, the longer-term effect on California drivers may not be as dire as initially feared.

The fire erupted in the facility's only crude-oil processing unit, the heart of any refinery. So far company officials have not disclosed the extent of damage or a timetable for bringing the unit back online.

Fires involving crude oil units at other refineries, in California and elsewhere, have required repairs that took three months or more.
[Read more...]

Wisconsin Sikh temple gunman died by own hand: FBI (8 August 2012)
(Reuters) - The white supremacist gunman who killed six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said on Wednesday.

The gunman, Wade Page, 40, killed himself after a police officer shot him in the stomach outside the temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, on Sunday, FBI Special Agent in Charge Teresa Carlson told a news conference.

"Subsequent to that wound, it appears that Page died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head," she said.

Police had said previously that Page had been shot to death by an officer responding to the attack at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in suburban Milwaukee.
[Read more...]

NYPD and Microsoft launch advanced citywide surveillance system (8 August 2012)
New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has unveiled a new crime-fighting system developed with Microsoft -- and revealed that the city will take a cut of the profits if it is sold to other administrations.

The innovation, which bears a passing resemblance to the futuristic hologram data screens used by Tom Cruise in the science fiction film Minority Report, will allow police to quickly collate and visualise vast amounts of data from cameras, licence plate readers, 911 calls, police databases and other sources.

It will then display the information in real time, both visually and chronologically, allowing investigators to centralise information about crimes as they happen or are reported. "It is a one-stop shop for law enforcement," Bloomberg said at a City Hall press conference unveiling the new technology.

But, though it has many screens, maps, and flashing visuals that make it look like science fiction, the new technology has a distinctly un-Hollywood name: the Domain Awareness System. Developed by Microsoft engineers working with New York police officers, DAS will allow a host of activities to be carried out, such as spotting a suspicious vehicle and being able to track its recent movements or use cameras to track back and see who left a suspicious package.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: Let's see if they actually solve any violent crimes with that thing. Maybe they'd solve more crimes simply by making that their number one priority, instead of harassing protesters in the park or that stop-and-frisk big fat waste of time.

Interpol seeks arrest of Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson (8 August 2012)
Interpol has issued an arrest notice for the Sea Shepherd Society's Canadian founder, who skipped bail in Germany last month over fears of retribution for his ongoing clashes with Japanese whalers.

Paul Watson was arrested at Frankfurt Airport in May on a Costa Rican warrant that claimed he had endangered the crew of a fishing vessel a decade ago.

The environmental activist was released days later on a $320,000 bond and ordered to report regularly to German authorities while Costa Rica's extradition request was considered.

He went missing in late July and Sea Shepherd confirmed he had left Germany, though the group said it had no further information on his location.

Watson himself explained his departure in a message posted on the organization's website, saying he saw no other option after Japanese officials filed their own request for his extradition.
[Read more...]

Scientists find trace of caffeinated brew noted by New World explorers (8 August 2012)
But although the chemical signatures showed traces of caffeine, they didn't match up with those of cacao, chocolate's main ingredient. The Cahokia team wondered whether the beakers had contained black drink instead. Since shell cups like those in the Southeast had been found in Cahokia, some archeologists suspected that traders might have brought the purifying brew to the city as well. But because holly leaves don't survive to be found in archaeological digs, and analytical methods couldn't distinguish among sources of caffeine, it wasn't clear just what the Cahokians had been drinking.

To find out, Crown teamed up with biochemist and chocolate expert W. Jeffrey Hurst of the Hershey Foods Technical Center in Pennsylvania. Hurst had previously identified a chemical called theobromine that is found in chocolate. Research had also shown that holly plants contain a compound called ursolic acid, which isn't found in chocolate.

In the new study, which appears online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Crown and Hurst analyzed the Cahokian samples to look for each compound. They found that the holly-based drink had a characteristic ratio of caffeine to theobromine, plus the presence of ursolic acid, which distinguished it from cacao. Using this profile, they showed that the beakers of Cahokia had indeed contained black drink -- 250 miles from the nearest Ilex vomitoria plant and 500 years before the Europeans described the brew in their journals.

Crown explains that because the bushes weren't native to Cahokia but to the coastal region between eastern Texas and Florida, the leaves must have been brought to the inland city through trade routes connecting the two areas, which suggests the drink had huge cultural importance. Whether the Cahokians used black drink ritually isn't known, but its appearance in fine-quality beakers suggests it was highly prized, if not sacred.
[Read more...]

Mexico destroys 8 million chickens amid bird flu outbreak (8 August 2012)
Eight million chickens have so far been slaughtered in Mexico and 66 million more were vaccinated in a bid to contain a bird flu outbreak in the west of the country, authorities said.

The agriculture ministry said in a statement that during the vaccination process in the Los Altos region of Jalisco state, diseased chickens were identified, leading to the destruction of the flu-carrying fowl.

Food safety officials say the outbreak, which was first detected on June 20, is confined to Los Altos, which is an egg-producing area. Inspections in other parts of the country have not turned up any signs of the disease.

A national animal health emergency was declared at the beginning of July, and the prices of both eggs and chickens have skyrocketed.
[Read more...]

U.K. orders web site to remove information on MMR-autism link (8 August 2012)
A website offering parents advice on vaccines has been ordered to remove information about the MMR jab after claiming it could be linked to autism.

Babyjabs.co.uk said the three-in-one jab may be causing "up to 10%" of autism in children in the UK.

But the Advertising Standards Authority ruled the claim was misleading and must not appear again, after getting a complaint.

The website was also told not to repeat other claims it made about MMR.

These included the suggestion that "most experts now agree the large rise (in autism) has been caused partly by increased diagnosis, but also by a real increase in the number of children with autism".

Another claim said the vaccine-strain measles virus had been found in the gut and brain of some autistic children, which supports many parents' belief that the MMR vaccine caused autism in their children.
[Read more...]

Wisconsin city holds prayer vigil for temple shooting victims (8 August 2012)
(CNN) -- People of all faiths lit candles and prayed Tuesday night in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, for those killed and wounded at Sunday's mass shooting at a Sikh temple.

The prayer and remembrance vigil, which appeared to draw a large crowd, was held outdoors in the Milwaukee suburb.

The step toward healing came as family and friends recalled the six killed by a gunman.

The older son of one victim, Paramjit Kaur, 41, said his mother was shot just after completing prayers.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: There were also services in other cities like Madison and Menasha -- a lot of people across the state came out to show support.

Oak Creek shooter's ex-girlfriend, Misty Cook, arrested Tuesday evening (7 August 2012)
Page lived in South Milwaukee with a girlfriend -- 31-year-old nursing student Misty Cook, and her son. FOX6 News has learned Cook was arrested Tuesday evening on tentative charges of being a felon in possession of a weapon. The weapon was reportedly found in Cook's home after she was questioned by authorities following the shooting, and her home was searched.

Officials showed up at Cook's home Tuesday, August 7th, and confirmed to FOX6 News Cook was taken into custody.

FOX News reported Tuesday the weapon found in Cook's home was not related to the Sikh Temple shooting. South Milwaukee police are meeting with the FBI, however.

Kelly Templin lives two doors down from the South Milwaukee duplex where Page lived with that girlfriend and her son. Templin says the couple lived a quiet life and kept to themselves. Templin says the Sikh Temple shooting came as a shock.
[Read more...]

Wade Michael Page's acquaintances recall a troubled man guided by hate (7 August 2012)
Page did well enough after joining in 1992 to be assigned to a psychological operations unit at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The unit is regarded in the US military as exclusive.

But at the time Fort Bragg was also a recruiting centre for white hate groups including the National Alliance, once regarded as one of the most effective such groups and also among the most extreme because it openly glorified Adolf Hitler. The Military Law Review at the time reported that National Alliance flags were openly hung in barracks and, out of uniform, soldiers sported neo-Nazi symbols and played records about killing blacks and Jews.

"White supremacists have a natural attraction to the army," the Military Law Review said. "They often see themselves as warriors, superbly fit and well-trained in survivalist techniques and weapons and poised for the ultimate conflict with various races."

In 1995, two soldiers with the 82nd Airborne murdered a black couple in Fayetteville, the city neighbouring Fort Bragg, in a racially motivated attack.

Others serving at the base during the 1990s were arrested for hoarding ammunition in preparation for an attack on businesses, including media organisations, owned by African Americans and Jews. Soldiers were also arrested as members of skinhead gangs involved in assaults.
[Read more...]

Loughner found competent, pleads guilty in Arizona mass shooting (8 August 2012)
TUCSON - Jared Loughner sat slumped at the defense table in a federal courtroom here Tuesday and said over and over in a soft, slightly slurred voice: "I plead guilty."

He said it 19 times in all as he was asked by U.S. District Judge Larry Burns if he was guilty of crimes in the savage mass shooting at a supermarket just north of the city. The attack claimed the lives of six and wounded 13, including then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Loughner's plea came 19 months after the massacre at a meeting of Giffords' constituents. In exchange, prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty. Loughner, 23, would serve life sentences with no chance of parole. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov.15.

Tuesday's guilty plea did not come as a surprise. News of the proposed agreement had leaked Saturday, but that did not diminish the intense emotions and compelling testimony at the hearing.
[Read more...]

Generators whirring, India's factories shrug off blackouts (7 August 2012)
(Reuters) - A siren rang out in the cable factory in northern India when there was a power blackout in half the country last week, but its computer screens didn't even blink as $180,000 worth of batteries seamlessly took over the machines winding the thick coils on the shop floor.

A few moments later, in a back room of the cavernous plant in the scruffy Bhiwadi industrial park near New Delhi, mechanic Gaurav Bhatia fired up a shipping container-sized diesel generator that ensured continued electricity.

It was the second time in 36 hours that power supply to vast swathes of India was halted.

In factories, offices, apartment blocks and malls across the north of the country last Monday and Tuesday, similar generators coughed into life, making what were perhaps the largest blackouts in history irritating and costly events, but not catastrophic.
[Read more...]

Fire, explosions at Chevron refinery in California (7 August 2012)
Thousands of East Bay residents were ordered to stay in their homes with the windows and doors closed Monday night after a series of explosions and fires tore through Chevron's Richmond refinery.

The explosions started about 6:15 p.m., and at least two large fires spewed thick, black smoke into the darkening sky.

The fire started at the refinery's No. 4 Crude Unit, Chevron officials said. Just before 6:30 p.m., an inspection crew discovered that there was a diesel leak in a line in the unit - and that the leak was growing.

Shortly after the crew evacuated the area, the diesel ignited, said Nigel Hearne, manager of the refinery.

All employees had been accounted for and there were no fatalities, but one refinery worker suffered burns to his wrist and was treated at the on-site clinic.
[Read more...]

Canadian study: Egg yolks linked to heart disease (7 August 2012)
DON'T Don't go to work on an egg. Or at least not more than twice a week, particularly if you're at risk from heart disease. According to new Canadian research, the more egg yolks people eat, the worse the effect on blood vessels. Results of the study show that the build-up of carotid plaque, a waxy substance that clogs blood vessels and which is linked to reduced blood flow and higher risk of cardiovascular disease, is greater the more egg yolks people eat.

"Our results suggest a strong association between egg consumption and carotid plaque burden," the researchers say. "The effect size of egg yolks appears to be approximately two-thirds that of smoking. We believe our study makes it imperative to reassess the role of egg yolks, and dietary cholesterol in general, as a risk factor for heart disease."

The study, reported in the journal Atherosclerosis, assessed the affects of eating eggs by nearly 1,200 people, with an average age of 61. Results show that the carotid plaque area grew with age after 40, but increased exponentially with the number of years of smoking and egg yolk eating.
[Read more...]

Flame retardants are causing autism (7 August 2012)
(NaturalNews) More and more over the past 25 years, brominated flame retardants have been used in home furnishings and electronics to slow down fires. These chemicals are now routinely found in household dust, food, air and in the umbilical cords of newborns.

In a recent study, scientists are reporting that environmental toxins and genetics can work together to create autism symptoms in mice prenatally exposed to a flame retardant. Genetically predisposed female mice were less social and had impaired memories and learning skills after their mothers were exposed to a brominated compound known as a PBDE. PBDEs have been accumulating in the environment in lock-step with the accelerating rise in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

This study linked genetic and behavioral changes to a flame retardant chemical and a specific gene mutation found in Rett's syndrome - a condition on the autism spectrum that primarily affects females with significant deficits in social behaviors and communication. An individual with genetic risks for other health-related problems or diseases may also be more sensitive to these environmental chemicals than the overall general population.

Halogens consist of bromine, chlorine, fluorine and iodine which are all similar in atomic structure. PBDEs are made from bromine and have a similar chemical structure to iodine in thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones act in every cell in the body to perform a wide-ranging role in metabolism, growth and overall development. PBDEs interrupt thyroid function, causing changes in brain development. Mouse studies show early life exposure to PDBEs increases hyperactivity, impairs learning and alters motor development.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: Often symptoms and diseases can have multiple causes. This may be responsible for a percentage of autism cases, but published evidence seems to indicate that childhood vaccines are the most likely source. (See my news archives for some good links on this.)

Enbridge Energy gets federal OK to restart pipeline in Wisconsin (6 August 2012)
Enbridge Energy on Tuesday expects to restart its 467-mile oil pipeline that runs through Wisconsin.

The company spent $2 million to repair a July 27 pipeline break near Grand Marsh in Adams County. The incident spilled 1,200 barrels of oil onto farmland.

On Monday, the Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said Enbridge met the requirements of an amended corrective action order and gave its approval for restarting the line.

Under the consent agreement, Enbridge must meet a series of safety provisions that apply to the entire Lakehead Pipeline System, which runs from Superior to a refinery in suburban Chicago.
[Read more...]

Colorado utility hits high of 57% wind power (6 August 2012)
Last week, we told you about Mitt Romney's visit to Colorado, made a smidge uncomfortable by his suggesting that he wanted all Coloradans to get fired from their jobs and, worse, move to Wyoming. Well, not really. He only wanted people who worked in the wind industry to lose their jobs, and he didn't take a public position on their state of residence.

If the production tax credit for wind energy -- due to expire at the end of the year -- isn't renewed, thousands of people in Colorado could lose their jobs. Not to mention some of their wind power -- an energy source that provided a record-setting percentage of power to the state's biggest utility on a day in April.

"During the early morning hours of April 15, with a steady breeze blowing down Colorado's Front Range, the state's biggest utility set a U.S. record -- nearly 57% of the electricity being generated was coming from wind power.

"As dawn came and the 1.4 million customers in Xcel Energy's service district began turning on the lights, toasters and other appliances, the utility's coal and natural gas-fired power plants ramped up production and brought wind's contribution back closer to its 2012 average of 17%..."
[Read more...]

Gibson Guitars' noble stand against the government ends with admission of wrong-doing (6 August 2012)
Late last year, Tea Party groups in Tennessee held a rally in defense of Gibson Guitars. Gibson had been cited by the federal government for allegedly using illegally logged ebony and rosewood. (You can read our reporting on it here.) To some on the right, this was just another case of the feds overstepping their bounds, the nanny state, etc. And this was Gibson! An American institution!

"We will fight, and we will make sure other companies do not face bullies with guns," [Gibson CEO Henry] Juszkiewicz said at the Saturday rally [last October], according to the Nashville Tennessean. "With your help, we will make permanent changes."

Yes! Fight the power, Hank! You show those feds who's boss!

And now, an update from the Wall Street Journal:

"Gibson Guitar Corp. has agreed to pay a $300,000 penalty under a criminal enforcement agreement with the U.S., arising from allegations that the company violated the Lacey Act by illegally purchasing and importing ebony wood from Madagascar and rosewood and ebony from India."
[Read more...]

Gunman in Wisconsin was deeply involved in white-supremacist music scene (7 August 2012)
In North Carolina, he remained active in the white-power music community, as a guitarist and vocalist. He roomed and played music with Brent Rackley, a member of the Confederate Hammerskins, part of a larger organization that was once "the top dog in the skinhead world" and probably numbers in the hundreds, Potok said.

Reached by phone in North Carolina, Rackley's father, Joseph Rackley, declined to discuss his son but said he was stunned by the shootings.

"I'm freaked out about the incident itself," Joseph Rackley said. "It is just senseless and any other word you'd like to use to describe it. I hate it for the survivors of those who lost someone. I have nothing but sympathy for them."

In North Carolina, Page apparently ran into financial trouble.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: I don't want to dedicate a lot of attention to someone because he murdered people, but information on the man is shaping up fast, so let's get this over with...

Shooter's odd behavior did not go unnoticed (7 August 2012)
Yet, she said, her stepson was mostly happy and liked to do "normal little boy stuff" - play with his dog, fish, camp. He loved music and played his guitar often, she said.

"He was kind and gentle and loving," she said. "He was normal in every way that I can think of."

She and Page's father moved to Texas when the boy was a teenager, but he stayed in Colorado, splitting time between an aunt and his grandmother, with whom he was very close.

He rejoined his parents in Texas after graduating from high school, took a job at a convenience store and eventually joined the Army.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: The usual he's-nice-I-never-would-have-guessed, and he's-a-freak-and-I-knew-it-all-along interviews that always seem to follow these things...

Sikh temple shooting: Gunman had been on investigators' radar (6 August 2012)
WASHINGTON -- Federal investigators had "looked at" Sikh temple gunman Wade Michael Page more than once because of his associations with right-wing extremists and the possibility that he was providing funding to a domestic terrorist group, but law enforcement officials at the time determined there was not enough evidence of a crime to open an investigation, a senior U.S. law enforcement official said.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, would not say Monday which law enforcement agency had considered investigating Page, or when.

Before his rampage Sunday at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., that left him and six others dead and three critically wounded, Page was known to civil rights groups as a member of two racist skinhead bands -- End Apathy and Definite Hate. He was also believed to have been a low-level member of a national white supremacist group called the Hammerskins.

Racist skinhead bands and record labels have been known by law enforcement to raise money for extremist groups in the U.S.
[Read more...]

Eyewitness: 4 Man Team Behind Sikh Temple Shooting (5 August 2012) [AJ]
UPDATE: A separate source has corroborated the other eyewitness claim -- a family member whose parents were victims of the shooting said his parents told him there were "multiple shooters" involved in a "coordinated" attack.

An eyewitness to the Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin says that a team of four men dressed in black carried out the massacre, contradicting the official narrative that a lone gunman was the culprit.

Just like the 'Batman' massacre, after which eyewitnesses clearly stated that James Holmes had an accomplice, today's tragedy in Oak Creek is already throwing up questions that may suggest a wider plot.

Speaking with the Associated Press, an eyewitness stated, "Between ten and ten-thirty, four white males who were dressed darkly, dressed in all black clothing, came in and opened fire on our congregation."
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: The cops and helicopters in the area seemed to be looking for someone or something, whether they disclosed it to the public or not.

Sikh Temple Shooting Stokes Fears in Community With Deep Roots in Wisconsin and Across U.S. (6 August 2012) [DN]
AMY GOODMAN: We're also joined by Rajdeep Singh who is Director of Law and Policy at the Sikh Coalition in Washington, D.C. Again, out deep condolences, Rajdeep Singh, for your whole community. Can you talk about how you learned about what was happening yesterday and how this fits into the larger picture of what's happening to Sikhs in America.

RAJDEEP SINGH: Right, thanks for having us, Amy. We learned about it like everybody else. We were shocked to see the news reports breaking over the TV networks and on social media. As we continue to learn more about the assailant and his motives, we are going to have to start thinking about the larger context of hate crimes and other forms of discrimination against Sikhs and others in the post-9/11 environment.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about what has happened to your community -- to the Sikh community since the September 11th attacks.

RAJDEEP SINGH: Since the 9/11 attacks, unfortunately, the prevailing stereotype, which has been perpetuated by the media, is that if somebody wears a turban, they are associated with Al Qaeda or other forms of extremism. That is obviously not the case. Unfortunately, ignorance is a breeding ground for bigotry and discrimination and Sikhs have been subjected, not only crimes around the United States, but also to school bullying, job discrimination, and racial profiling.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: With all of the hate speech by right-wing commentators against Muslims since 9/11 and even recently, the first thing that popped into my mind was that the shooter was some Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck fan who didn't know the difference between India and the Arabian countries.

And even if he did know, that's no excuse for murdering people. Arabs were just the scapegoats for 9/11 -- the real perpetrators were the Bush/Cheney administration and their PNAC friends who'd pre-planned the resulting oil wars more than a decade before the 9/11 attacks. Prejudice against Arabs for something that Bush did -- that's just being a dupe.

Shooter had just broken up with his girlfriend, and his landlord was a local police detective (5 August 2012)
FOX6's media partners at the Oak Creek Patch spoke with a women who said her son rented to the man believed to be the gunman. The woman told the Patch her son lived with the suspected gunman for three weeks, before the man moved across the street, to another property also owned by her son.

The woman told Oak Creek Patch she remembered the suspected gunman had just broken up with his girlfriend.

The woman told the Patch her son, the suspected gunman's landlord, is also a local police detective and was being interviewed by police Sunday.

None of this information has yet been confirmed by police.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: He'd just broken up with his girlfriend, he was having financial problems, he already had a hostile belief system... He's sounding more like an "angry at the world" shooter with every bit of new information.

Southern Poverty Law Center reports alleged Sikh temple shooter was former member of skinhead band (link to old interview included) (6 August 2012)
The man who allegedly murdered six people at a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee yesterday, identified in media reports as Wade Michael Page, was a frustrated neo-Nazi who had been the leader of a racist white-power band.

In 2010, Page, then the leader of the band End Apathy, gave an interview to the white supremacist website Label 56. He said that when he started the band in 2005, its name reflected his wish to "figure out how to end people's apathetic ways" and start "moving forward." "I was willing to point out some of my faults on how I was holding myself back," Page said. Later, he added, "The inspiration was based on frustration that we have the potential to accomplish so much more as individuals and a society in whole." He did not discuss violence in the interview.

Page told the website that he had been a part of the white power music scene since 2000, when he left his native Colorado on a motorcycle. He attended white power concerts in Georgia, North Carolina, West Virginia and Colorado. At various times, he said, he also played in the hate rock bands Youngland (2001-2003), Celtic Warrior, Radikahl, Max Resist, Intimidation One, Aggressive Force and Blue Eyed Devils. End Apathy, he said, included "Brent" on bass and "Ozzie" on drums; the men were former members of Definite Hate and another band, 13 Knots.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: I'm sure we'll hear too much about the shooter in days to come, but this is the first article I've seen with his picture (showing a hint of the tattoos mentioned by police). It also gives some insight on his possible motivation.

CNN's Sources name alleged gunman in Wisconsin temple shooting (6 August 2012)
Oak Creek, Wisconsin (CNN) -- The man who shot six people to death and wounded three others during a rampage at a Sikh temple in a Milwaukee suburb was an Army veteran who may have been a white supremacist, according to a law enforcement source involved in the investigation.

Law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation named him Monday as Wade Michael Page, 40. One law enforcement official said he owned the gun used in the shooting legally.

He had apparently served on active duty, a U.S. official familiar with his record said. The source declined to give further details.

The officials asked not to be named because they are not authorized to speak on the record about the shooting investigation. A police officer responding to the attack shot and killed the gunman, police said.
[Read more...]

House in Cudahy searched after Oak Creek shooting (6 August 2012)
Police and federal agents searched a house on Kirkwood and Holmes in Cudahy, Wisconsin Sunday evening. WISN reported that it was likely the home of the shooter who had killed six people at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek earlier that day.

Cudahy house search

An officer on scene confirmed that the house with a fire truck next to it was the structure of interest. A van from WE energies was also present, raising the question of natural gas or electrical problems.

Cudahy house search

Numerous law enforcement vehicles lined both sides of the street. An SUV with an Illinois license tag was in front of the house. Milwaukee Police had parked a van for Hazardous Devices at the end of the street, on Packard.

Meanwhile, in Oak Creek, police blocked off South Howell Avenue from Rawson to Drexel -- a busy stretch of road with many businesses. Police and rescue helicopters constantly flew overhead, apparently patrolling the area and possibly keeping news helicopters from the temple's air space. There was also a police car from Brown Deer -- a northern suburb -- patrolling local streets. Later a Cudahy officer near the alleged shooter's house explained that SMART response (Suburban Mutual Aid Response Team) allowed local police to request help from surrounding communities.
[Read more...]

WISN live updates: Was Oak Creek shooter from Cudahy? (5 August 2012)
A canine unit is inspecting around the home at this time.
by Tom Swigert / WISN.com8/5/2012 10:55:46 PM 5:55 PM

When asking officials about the evacuation, neighbor was told they would "not understand right away what was going on, but we'd understand in the future."
by Tom Swigert / WISN.com8/5/2012 10:54:50 PM 5:54 PM

Residents have been told to evacuate their homes "for an extended period of time."
by Tom Swigert / WISN.com8/5/2012 10:51:58 PM 5:51 PM

ATF is also on the scene.
by Tom Swigert / WISN.com8/5/2012 10:36:18 PM 5:36 PM

Authorities are focused on a duplex.
by Tom Swigert / WISN.com8/5/2012 10:36:14 PM 5:36 PM

Cudahy neighborhood has been evacuated
by Tom Swigert / WISN.com8/5/2012 10:35:55 PM 5:35 PM

Police expanded their security perimeter in Cudahy in the last 30 minutes.
by Tom Swigert / WISN.com8/5/2012 10:12:14 PM 5:12 PM

Many have left while there is an option.
by Tom Swigert / WISN.com8/5/2012 10:10:45 PM 5:10 PM

Residents in the area of Packard and Holmes were told by police to "be prepared to leave"
by Tom Swigert / WISN.com8/5/2012 10:10:36 PM 5:10 PM

Colleen Henry live in Cudahy right now
by Tom Swigert / WISN.com8/5/2012 10:09:47 PM 5:09 PM
[Read more...]

7 dead, including shooter, after massacre at Sikh temple in Oak Creek (5 August 2012)
OAK CREEK - Oak Creek Police said that at least seven people are dead, including a shooter, during a massacre at and outside a Sikh temple on Sunday.

A police officer was also shot and was in surgery at Froedtert Hospital, according to Greenfield Police Chief Bradley Wentlandt who was assisting Oak Creek Police.

He did not divulge the officer's condition.

Another police officer shot and killed the shooter. There was no word of any injuries that he suffered.
[Read more...]

Wisconsin Sikh Temple Standoff: WTMJ reports officer, shooter shot (5 August 2012)
OAK CREEK - Police and fire departments have responded to the scene of shootings and a possible hostage situation at a religious site in Oak Creek Sunday morning.

At least four people were reportedly shot. Oak Creek Police did not confirm the number, but did confirm one of their officers was shot along with a shooter.

"An officer arrived on scene. He engaged an active shooter. The officer was shot multiple times. He has been transported to a local hospital and is expected to survive," said police spokesman Bradley Wentlandt. "The shooter was put down."

Pictures from Chopper 4 showed at least four people who were shot, though Oak Creek Police did not confirm those reports.

One witness told Newsradio 620 WTMJ's Dan O'Donnell that at least one, possibly four gunmen were hiding inside the temple after they started shooting.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: Early reports are all over the map -- I'm sure we won't know what really happened until tonight or later.

Boy Scout files reveal repeat child abuse by sexual predators (5 August 2012)
For nearly a century, the Boy Scouts of America has relied on a confidential blacklist known as the "perversion files" as a crucial line of defense against sexual predators.

Scouting officials say they've used the files to prevent hundreds of men who had been expelled for alleged sexual abuse from returning to the ranks. They've fought hard in court to keep the records from public view, saying confidentiality was needed to protect victims, witnesses and anyone falsely accused.

"It is a fact that Scouts are safer because the barrier created by these files is real," Scouts Chief Executive Robert Mazzuca said in video posted on the organization's website in June.

That barrier, however, has been breached repeatedly.

A Los Angeles Times review of more than 1,200 files dating from 1970 to 1991 found more than 125 cases across the country in which men allegedly continued to molest Scouts after the organization was first presented with detailed allegations of abusive behavior.
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A year on, Nigeria's oil still poisons Ogoniland (5 August 2012)
(Reuters) - A bright yellow sign above the well in this sleepy Nigerian village says 'caution: not fit for use', and the sulphurous stink off the water that children still pump into buckets sharply reinforces that warning.

"Can you smell it? Don't get any in your mouth or you'll be sick," said Victoria Jiji, 55, as she walked past the bore hole in her home village of Ekpangbala, one of several in Ogoniland, southeast Nigeria, whose drinking water has turned toxic.

Prosperity has flowed from Ogoniland, one of Africa's earliest crude oil producing areas, for decades. But it has flowed to the big oil companies and to Nigerian state coffers. Locals have long complained that precious little goes their way.

A landmark U.N. report on August 4 last year slammed multinational oil companies, particularly leading operator Royal Dutch Shell, and the government, for 50 years of oil pollution that has devastated this region of the Niger Delta, a fragile wetlands environment.
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The ripple effect of the U.S. drought (4 August 2012)
The United States is suffering its worst drought in 50 years. What happens in the parched fields and prairies of the Midwest is affecting people, prices and political stability worldwide. Here's a look at the international crisis.

Southeast Asia:

The region's taste for rice will help insulate the region from the worst fallout of the corn-driven food shortage.

Thailand and Vietnam, the world's first- and second-largest rice exporters, have harvested enough rice this year to go around. This offers the world an insurance policy against massive hunger: if corn or wheat prices spin out of control, food importers across the globe could abandon these crops for Southeast Asian rice to stave off a potentially dire food shortage.

And in Thailand, considered the centre of the rice-producing universe, the government would love to sell off its abundant supply. Across the region, decent weather has enabled healthy harvests. But Thailand's warehouses are practically bursting thanks to a fluke of populist politics. To secure votes in rice country, Thailand's ruling party has vowed to buy every grain farmers can harvest for up to 50 percent above the market rate.
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NYPD's stop-and-frisks drop after public scrutiny (4 August 2012)
New York's controversial stop-and-frisk policy of fighting crime, which many critics say involves racial profiling of black and Hispanic citizens, has been reduced markedly in recent months, it has been claimed.

The New York police department's tactic has become a major source of debate in the city as proponents say it has played a huge role in reducing crime statistics, while others say it alienates minority groups.

But on Saturday the New York Times reported that there had been a drop of 34% in the number of times that police had used stop-and-frisks.

It said that from April to June New York police had conducted 133,934 stops, compared to 203,500 in the preceding three months of January to February. The drop coincided with a period of media debate over the role of stop-and-frisks in fighting New York crime, which civil rights groups have repeatedly protested.
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Sources (if found on major news boards):
[AJ] - InfoWars.com, PrisonPlanet.com, or other Alex Jones-affiliated sites
[BF] - BuzzFlash.com
[DN] - DemocracyNow.org
[R] - Rense.com
[WRH] - WhatReallyHappened.com


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All original content including photographs © 2012 by Pam Rotella. (News excerpts copyright by their corresponding authors, news organizations, or other copyright holders, and quoted here typically as "fair use" or "teaser" paragraphs to generate interest in the full articles.)