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Click to visit VeggieCooking.com NEWS LINK ARCHIVE 2012

News from the Week of 30th of September to 6th of October 2012

Court orders Ohio to restore early voting for all residents (6 October 2012)
A federal appeals court has ruled that the state of Ohio extend early voting hours to all residents, overturning a measure that limited the practice to military members and voters living overseas.

Talking Points Memo reported that the ruling by the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allows for voting to take place on the weekend before the Nov. 6 general election.

"The State's asserted goal of accommodating the unique situation of members of the military, who may be called away at a moment's notice in service to the nation, is certainly a worthy and commendable goal," the court said in its ruling (PDF). "However, while there is a compelling reason to provide more opportunities for military voters to cast their ballots, there is no corresponding satisfactory reason to prevent non-military voters from casting their ballots as well."

Earlier this year, President Barack Obama's re-election campaign and the Ohio Democratic Party sued Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, calling state Senate Bill 295 "a cynical ploy." State Sen. Nina Turner (D) called the bill a resurrection of Jim Crow, saying it was designed to suppress voting in precincts with a heavy African-American population.
[Read more...]

Mail-in ballots are new minefield (6 October 2012)
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. - On the morning of the August primary, the local elections board met to decide which absentee ballots to count. It was not an easy job.

The board tossed out some ballots because they arrived without the signature required on the outside of the return envelope. It rejected one that said "see inside" where the signature should have been. And it debated what to do with ballots in which the signature on the envelope did not quite match the one in the county's files.

"This 'r' is not like that 'r,'" Judge Augustus Aikens Jr. said, suggesting that a ballot should be rejected.

Ion Sancho, the elections supervisor here, disagreed. "This 'k' is like that 'k,'" he replied, and he persuaded his colleagues to count the vote.

Scenes like this will play out in many elections next month, because Florida and other states are swiftly moving from voting at a polling place toward voting by mail. In the last general election in Florida, in 2010, 23 percent of voters cast absentee ballots, up from 15 percent in the midterm election four years before. Nationwide, the use of absentee ballots and other forms of voting by mail has more than tripled since 1980 and now accounts for almost 20 percent of all votes.
[Read more...]

US Foodstamp Usage Rises To New Record High (6 October 2012) [InfoWars.com]
While the 0.4% perfectly unmanipulated and totally coincidental swing in the unemployment rate in an Obama favorable direction one month before the election came at a prime time moment for the market, one hour ahead of the open, setting the market mood for the rest of the day (which despite all best efforts still closed red, valiant efforts by Simon Potter and the FRBNY's direct pipe to Citadel notwithstanding), there was one other, far more important data point released by the government's department of agriculture, sufficiently late after the market close to impact no risk assets. That data point of course was foodstamps (or the government's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, aka SNAP), and we are confident that no readers will be surprised to learn that foodstamp usage for both persons and households, has jumped to a new all time record.

At 46,681,833 persons hooked on SNAP, the July number crossed the previous record posted a short month before, as the foodstamp curve continues 'plumbing' newer and greater heights each month.

More disturbing is that in the same month, the number of US households reliant on foodstamps rose by a whopping 99,493 to 22,541,744. Assuming a modest 2 persons per household, the increase means that more people went on Foodstamps in the month of July than found jobs (181,000 according to the latest revised NFP data). Furthermore, it appears that buying votes has become a tad more expensive in the past month. After the benefit per household dipped to a record low in April at just $275.81, this has since retraced some of its losses and is now at an inflationary $277.92. Oh well: inflation.

Adding the number of disability recipients in the month of July, which in that month rose by 20,474, and one can see why the government is quite happy with dumping this particular release long after everyone was on their way back home for the weekend.
[Read more...]

Capitol Assets: Congress's wealthiest mostly shielded from effects of deep recession (6 October 2012)
You would find that, contrary to many popular perceptions, lawmakers don't get rich by merely being in Congress. Rich people who go to Congress, though, keep getting richer while they're there.

The wealthiest one-third of lawmakers were largely immune from the Great Recession, taking the fewest financial hits and watching their investments quickly recover and rise to new heights. But more than 20 percent of the members of the current Congress -- 121 lawmakers -- appeared to be worse off in 2010 than they had been six years earlier, and 24 saw their reported wealth slide into negative territory.

Those findings emerge from an ongoing examination of congressional finances by The Washington Post, which analyzed thousands of financial disclosure forms and public records for all members of Congress.

Most members weathered the financial crisis better than the average American, who saw median household net worth drop 39 percent from 2007 to 2010. The median estimated wealth of members of the current Congress rose 5 percent during the same period, according to their reported assets and liabilities. The wealthiest one-third of Congress gained 14 percent.
[Read more...]

Death Toll From Meningitis Outbreak Now Stands at 7, CDC Says (6 October 2012)
SATURDAY, Oct. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Health officials in 23 states are trying to track down patients who received steroid injections for routine back pain that may have been contaminated with a deadly type of fungus-related meningitis linked to seven deaths and at least 64 cases of illness in nine states.

All of the patients were injected with methylprednisolone acetate, a steroid drug that investigators suspect was contaminated with a fungus usually found in leaf mold.

The drug was manufactured by a specialty pharmacy, New England Compounding Center of Framingham, Mass., which last week voluntarily recalled three lots of the steroid. It has since shut down operations and stopped distributing its products, health officials said.

The number of meningitis cases had risen to 64 in nine states by Saturday afternoon, and the number of deaths had climbed to seven, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
[Read more...]

Science explains: What actually happens to the brain on marijuana? (4 October 2012)
It's a cultural zeitgeist in America that "your brain on drugs" is a brutish, violent experience that produces nothing but euphoria at the moment at the expense of the user's future. But science is a bit more nuanced than that.

The increasingly popular YouTube account AsapSCIENCE has carried some pretty interesting content since it launched, but yesterday's update might be the best one yet.

The explanation is so simple and concise, it could actually go a long way to dispelling some of the popular myths about why people sometimes act a little strange when they're smoking the stufff.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: The text to this article doesn't say much, but the embedded video has some value.

Arrested dissident Cuba blogger is released (5 October 2012)
MEXICO CITY -- Cuba's best-known blogger was arrested Thursday to keep her from covering a sensitive criminal trial involving the death of a famous dissident. But then the world noticed.

News agencies blogged about the details of the arrest. Human rights groups condemned it. By Friday, the blogger, Yoani Sanchez, was back on the streets.

So it goes in the Caribbean nation headed by Fidel Castro's younger brother, Raul, whose government has released dozens of long-term political dissidents in the last few years -- but also has detained government critics and troublemakers for brief periods in an apparent effort to thwart negative news coverage and stifle public criticism.

The detention of Sanchez, who said she was held for about 30 hours, became a telling footnote in the case of Angel Carromero, a conservative Spanish politician who is accused of causing the death of a Cuban dissident in a car crash this summer.
[Read more...]

Santorum suggests 'eating' Big Bird: 'You can kill things and still like them' (5 October 2012)
Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Thursday suggested that Big Bird's death at the hands of GOP hopeful Mitt Romney didn't have to be in vain because the Sesame Street character could be suitable for "eating."

During Wednesday night's presidential debate Romney had told moderator Jim Lehrer, "I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too. But I'm not gonna keep on spending money on things to borrow from China to pay for."

CNN host Piers Morgan asked Santorum on Thursday if he would also "kill Big Bird."

"Well, as a matter of fact, I've voted to kill Big Bird," Santorum replied proudly. "That doesn't mean I don't like Big Bird. You can kill things and still like them. I mean, maybe to eat them."
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: And it now becomes apparent why he lost the primary...

Unemployment-rate trutherism: A taxonomy (5 October 2012)
The way Varney and Welch talk about these numbers, it's as if they're just guesstimates that get tossed around in Washington. Just impressionistic gauges of employment.

Yet look at how BLS comes up with the figures. It relies on the Census Bureau to conduct a survey of 60,000 households. The process consists of a Census person quizzing people about whether the folks in their household have work. Given that the whole process is a survey and depends on information supplied by humans, it's never perfect. But it is thorough. Here's a passage from the Bureau of Labor Statistics website:

"There are about 60,000 households in the sample for this survey. This translates into approximately 110,000 individuals, a large sample compared to public opinion surveys which usually cover fewer than 2,000 people....A sample is not a total count, and the survey may not produce the same results that would be obtained from interviewing the entire population. But the chances are 90 out of 100 that the monthly estimate of unemployment from the sample is within about 290,000 of the figure obtainable from a total census. Since monthly unemployment totals have ranged between about 7 and 11 million in recent years, the possible error resulting from sampling is not large enough to distort the total unemployment picture."

A separate survey published by BLS focuses on payrolls. According to BLS spokesperson, approximately 400,000 "work sites" across the country are surveyed to determine the level of job creation in the economy. As noted by Varney, the latest report indicates an increase of 114,000 nonfarm jobs.
[Read more...]

GMOs, pesticides, and the new scientific deadlock (5 October 2012)
What a month it's been for contentious science! The latest scrum is over a new study from the University of Washington agricultural scientist Charles Benbrook, who looked at the rate of pesticide use in the age of genetically engineered seeds, or GMOs. Benbrook's results undercut one of the main arguments in favor of the seeds -- the idea that they have significantly brought down pesticide use. In fact, according to Benbrook's analysis, since their introduction in the 1990s, pesticide use for commodity crops like corn and soy has increased by approximately 7 percent.

What's interesting is that the biotech industry's claim about GMOs reducing pesticide use was true when the first GMO seeds came on the market. Those seeds, known as Bt corn and Bt soy cotton, expressed their own pesticide. And when they were the only GMO game in town, Benbrook confirms that pesticide use did drop.

But then came Monsanto and its herbicide-resistant RoundUp Ready product line -- seeds engineered to withstand the pesticide RoundUp (whose active ingredient is glyphosate). These seeds had the opposite effect, encouraging farmers to use a single pesticide, ultimately to excess. Benbrook decided to figure out exactly how much.

But the U.S. Department of Agriculture had ended its pesticide use tracking program years earlier, so Benbrook was forced to estimate the total use. He had to come up with a model using incomplete data from the USDA combined with other sources, like planting data and pesticide-use models. He arrived at this estimation: Since GMO crops were introduced 1996, U.S. farmers have used 404 million more pounds of pesticide than they would have with just conventional crops.
[Read more...]

Green group buys up Wyoming oil leases to stop drilling (5 October 2012)
When Tim DeChristopher won a 2008 Bureau of Land Management auction for oil and gas leases, there was one catch: He didn't have the money to pay for what he won. For that little bit of civil disobedience, DeChristopher was sentenced to two years in jail.

The Trust for Public Land, in contrast, intends to pay the money. From the Associated Press:

"The Trust for Public Land plans to buy out 58,000 acres of oil and gas leases owned by Houston-based Plains Exploration and Production Co. for $8.75 million, the San Francisco-based group tells The Associated Press.

"The announcement opens a fundraising effort by the trust. Almost half the money needs to be raised if the deal is to be closed at the end of the year as the agreement requires."
[Read more...]

Obama campaign paid UW-Madison $15,000 for Thursday's rally (5 October 2012)
President Barack Obama's campaign paid UW-Madison $15,000 to stage Thursday's rally on Bascom Hill, according to the contract between the two parties released by the university Friday.

The sum is to cover "basic services and equipment," including police and security and cleanup.

The contract allows the university to bill for additional costs if needed, such as "material damage" to grass, trees or light fixtures on Bascom Hill. Early reports from the university's grounds crew suggest no such damage, said Vince Sweeney, vice chancellor for university relations.

Some additional costs are expected to be billed, Sweeney said, although those details are still being worked. For instance, the university used giant tarps to cover the windows on an entire side of Chadbourne Hall, a dorm near Bascom Hill.
[Read more...]

What's the economic value of a Va. college degree? (5 October 2012)
• Psychology graduates from Virginia Commonwealth University make up the biggest single cohort of four-year bachelor's degree recipients. There were 1,757 graduates from that program over the five-year period of 2006-10, and the median full-time wage 18 months after graduation was $27,527.

• Another large degree program, mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech, is almost twice that lucrative. For graduates from 2006 to 2010, the median full-time wage 18 months later was $52,663.

• Two-year degrees can have as much or more earning potential as four-year degrees. For recipients of associate's degrees in all occupational and technical fields at Tidewater Community College from 2006 to 2010, the median full-time wage after 18 months was $34,133.

• A few years in the workforce can make a big difference. English majors from the College of William and Mary who graduated between 2002 and 2006 earned a median wage of $27,343 after 18 months. That number jumped to $39,923 after five years.
[Read more...]

11-year-old Russian boy stumbles upon wooly mammoth find of the century (5 October 2012)
An 11-year-old boy from Russia's north has stumbled upon a well-preserved wooly mammoth, in what scientists describe as the best such discovery since 1901.

Yevgeny Salinder, whose family lives near a polar station in the northern Taimyr Peninsula, discovered the frozen animal when he was strolling along the banks of the Yenisei River in late August.

"He sensed an unpleasant odour and saw something sticking out of the ground -- it was the mammoth's heels," said Alexei Tikhonov, director of the Saint Petersburg-based Zoological Museum, who rushed to the tundra after the boy's family had notified scientists of the historic find.

Tikhonov said the mammoth had died aged 15-16 around 30,000 years ago, adding his tusk, skin, an eye and an ear were clearly visible.
[Read more...]

Health Canada tight-lipped on Champix suicides (4 October 2012)
She watched what she ate and studied the labels of any medication she or her friends were taking. When a doctor told her she shouldn't be smoking while on birth control, she decided to try to quit.

She was prescribed Champix, a popular smoking-cessation drug, in June 2009.

Weeks later, when she returned home to Victoria, B.C., Heidi's mother noticed her daughter's trademark smile had disfigured itself into a scowl. She was irritable, short-tempered.

The night Pat Clow last saw her daughter alive, she was smiling again, off to a friend's house for a Saturday night of poker and drinking. The date was Oct. 3, 2009.

Later that evening, alone in her apartment, Heidi ground up Aspirin and sinus medication in a Magic Bullet, mixed them into a protein shake, and killed herself.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: Champix is known as Chantix in the U.S.

Meningitis warning spreads to 23 states as investigators focus in on cause (4 October 2012)
Health officials investigating a deadly outbreak of a rare fungal meningitis have urged doctors and hospitals across 23 states to contact patients who may have received a contaminated steroid injection in the last three months, in order to check them for symptoms.

The rapidly evolving outbreak has already killed five people and a further 35 are ill in six states, some of them "very seriously".

Officials, who have focused their investigations on an injection made by the New England Compounding Center (NECC), in Massachusetts, have expanded a recall and warned physicians, hospitals and clinics not use any products which may have come from the company.

When investigators from the Food and Drug Administration inspected NECC's facility, they found a fungal contaminate in a sealed vial of a steroid, methylprednisolone acetate.
[Read more...]

Experts brace for wave of autistic adults (4 October 2012)
He's 25, he says, and he's doing fine. But he's also autistic, part of the generation of young adults who were born during the first big wave of autism cases in the United States two decades ago and are now struggling to strike out on their own.

"I tell them sometimes, 'Stop it, I'm doing things, I'm resourceful,' " said Abenes, who is a student at Cal State East Bay. "They're getting the message, I think. But they still worry."

Abenes, who wants to be a therapist someday and travel the world, is fortunate. He joined the College Internship Program in Berkeley, which provides him with a two-bedroom apartment he shares with a roommate, along with intensive, daily academic and developmental support to help him continue to thrive into adulthood.

But Abenes' situation is unusual, say autism advocates and experts, who are bracing for a flood of adults with autism who lack the support they had as children, and are entering a world that isn't ready for them.
[Read more...]

Expanding the Debate Exclusive: Third Party Candidates Break the Sound Barrier As Obama-Romney Spar (4 October 2012) [DemocracyNow.org]
AMY GOODMAN: As Democracy Now! expands the debate, we put that question, "how would you create more jobs," to the Green Party's Dr. Jill Stein.

DR. JILL STEIN: Thank you, and thank you so much for expanding this debate tonight, as you so often do, Amy, here on Democracy Now! So, first just want to acknowledge the crisis is not getting better. We still very much still have a crisis in our economy. One out of two Americans are in poverty or living at a low income and heading towards poverty. About 25 million people are either jobless or working in jobs that do not pay living wages. There are millions of people who've lost their homes, approximately 8 million. There is no end in sight to the foreclosure crisis. And we have an entire generation of students who are effectively indentured servants, who are trapped in unforgiving loans and do not have the jobs to pay them back with unemployment and underemployment rate of about 50% among our young people.

So, we very much need new solutions. What we hear, really, from both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are essentially a rehash of where we have been not only for the past four years, but certainly for the eight years before that. We're hearing more about deregulating business and Wall Street, as if we didn't have enough problem from that already. We're hearing more about more tax breaks for the wealthy, and we've seen tax breaks continue over the past many decades across all sectors of the tax code to where the wealthy are not paying their fair share now. We're hearing more about energy, dirty energy.

So, we are calling for a Green New Deal modeled after the New Deal that actually got us out of the Great Depression. They created approximately 4 million jobs in as little as two months. So, there is a lot that we can do if we put our mind to it. We're calling for jobs created at the level of our communities that are nationally funded and which put decisions in the hands of the community about which kinds of jobs they need both in the green economy and meeting their social needs, that would be focused and controlled locally, but funded at the national level.
[Read more...]

Suu Kyi's perilous pivot from icon to party boss (4 October 2012)
(Reuters) - Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi is making a career change, from icon of liberty opposing Myanmar's junta to party boss in a fragile new quasi-democracy. The transition hasn't been easy.

At a talk in London in June, a student from the Kachin ethnic minority asked why Suu Kyi (a majority Burman) seemed reluctant to condemn a bloody government military offensive against Kachin rebels. The conflict has displaced some 75,000 people.

Suu Kyi's answer was studiously neutral: "We want to know what's happening more clearly before we condemn one party or the other."

The Kachin community was livid. The Kachinland News website called her reply an "insult." Kachin protesters gathered outside her next London event. An "open letter" from 23 Kachin groups worldwide said Suu Kyi was "condoning state-sanctioned violence."
[Read more...]

Obama, Romney offer competing visions in a combative first debate (4 October 2012)
DENVER - Mitt Romney aggressively pressed President Obama on the economy, jobs and health care in a debate Wednesday that avoided the kind of one-liners that sometimes emerge from the high-stakes faceoffs between the candidates to lead the United States.

Obama sought to portray Romney as making irresponsible proposals that would not help the middle class. But he did not aggressively attack Romney with some of the ammunition his campaign has been wielding effectively on the campaign trail. He did not talk about Romney's "47 percent" comment from last month. He did not raise issues about his personal wealth or the impact of his experience at Bain Capital.

By contrast, Romney was on the offensive from the beginning, offering sharper answers than Obama and seizing control of the debate at several points. He accused Obama of failing to address jobs right away as president, and being distracted by health care reform.

He also pressed hard on the issue of taxes, repeatedly accusing the president of wanting to raise taxes and of promoting "trickle-down government."

Obama at times seemed frustrated by Romney's aggressive comments. On taxes, for example, Obama complained when Romney insisted that he did not support a $5 trillion tax cut. "For 18 months, he's been running on this tax plan," Obama said. "Now, five weeks before the election, he's saying that his big, bold idea is never mind."
[Read more...]

Mitt Romney makes smooth shift to center in debate with Obama (4 October 2012)
WASHINGTON -- The small group of voters who remain undecided or at least open to persuasion in the presidential campaign consistently tell pollsters that they want to hear specifics and don't like partisan attacks. President Obama and Mitt Romney, his Republican challenger, obliged them.

Their debate often wandered far into the byways of Washington policy, including financial regulation, "qualified mortgages" and competing healthcare plans. Obama left aside much of the central thrust of his campaign -- the fierce attacks on Romney's business record, personal taxes and ideology.

All that played to Romney's advantage, as the challenger rebutted some of Obama's most persistent campaign attacks. He insisted repeatedly, for example, that he had not proposed a "$5-trillion tax cut"; said that he would continue to guarantee health coverage for people with preexisting medical conditions, even while repealing Obama's healthcare law; and advocated regulation of Wall Street banks.

"Regulation is essential," he said, in language that voters might have expected to hear from the president. "You can't have a free market work if you don't have regulation."
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: We've seen this before with George W. Bush -- when Republicans are too right-wing and they realize that their ideas are unpopular with the public, they pretend to be middle-of-the road. But it's all an act, and if allowed into office they're usually even more radical and damaging to the country than anyone thought possible. We're still suffering the economic effects of George W. Bush, and the people he killed in his oil wars are still dead. It's important not to be fooled by political acts.

Three UW professors irked at some details of Obama's rally (4 October 2012)
A trio of high-profile UW-Madison professors went public Wednesday with concerns about President Barack Obama's planned Thursday campaign rally, saying students who want to attend are unfairly being required to supply a phone number and email address to the campaign, even having to click "I'm In" to get a free ticket at the campaign's website.

"If you want to go to this hugely important and interesting event you have to register with the campaign," said political science professor Donald Downs. "That raises questions."

Downs was joined by law professor Ann Althouse and political science professor Ken Mayer in raising concerns. Mayer sent a letter outlining four concerns to university administrators on Wednesday. Althouse later shared it with instapundit.com, a conservative-leaning blog run by a Texas law professor.

Vince Sweeney, vice chancellor for university relations, said the university takes the concerns seriously and will respond formally but hadn't done so as of Wednesday night. In linking to the Obama campaign's registration site on the university's website, the university sought to provide as much information as possible to interested attendees, he said.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: Same thing with Romney's campaign -- Romney insists that attendees request "tickets" for his events.

Poll shows Obama leading Romney by 11 points in Wisconsin (4 October 2012)
One day before President Barack Obama was scheduled to arrive in Wisconsin for a rally at UW-Madison, a new poll showed him leading Republican challenger Mitt Romney by 11 percentage points in the state.

Obama leads Romney among likely voters in Wisconsin 53 to 42 percent, according to the Marquette University Law School poll released Wednesday. That shows the race tightening slightly from two weeks ago, when the Sept. 19 Marquette poll showed Obama leading by 14 points, or 54 to 40 percent.

But Obama's persisting double-digit lead remains noticeably larger than it was in an August Marquette poll, released soon after Romney picked U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Janesville as his running mate. That poll showed Obama leading Romney by just three points, or 49 to 46 percent.

Charles Franklin, Marquette's poll director, stressed while presenting poll results that the numbers are not meant to predict elections, but rather show a snapshot of Wisconsin voters attitudes at a specific time. In this case, the poll of 894 likely voters was conducted Thursday through Sunday, and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.
[Read more...]

Facebook tops 1 billion users (4 October 2012)
NEW YORK (AP) -- Facebook has topped 1 billion users, but the past few months have not been easy.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg says that the company is going through a bit of a rough patch following its rocky initial public offering.

Zuckerberg updated his Facebook status on Thursday to announce that the social networking site has more than 1 billion active users each month.

The company has had a difficult time lately. There were trading glitches the day it went public in May and concerns since then about its revenue potential. It's also facing lawsuits from disgruntled shareholders.
[Read more...]

Map of the most energy-efficient states looks kind of familiar (3 October 2012)
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy has released its annual assessment of the best states for energy efficiency. Good job, Massachusetts, again.

"States continue to move strongly in 2012 to advance energy efficiency initiatives regardless of which political party is in control of state legislatures and governors' offices, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) on the release today of its sixth annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard.

"[T]he ACEEE State Scorecard shows that the top 10 energy efficiency states are Massachusetts (in its second year atop the rankings), California, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Washington, Maryland, and Minnesota.

"The 10 states most in need of improvement (starting with last) are Mississippi, North Dakota, West Virginia, Wyoming, South Dakota, Alaska, Kansas, Missouri, Louisiana, and Nebraska."
[Read more...]

Romney: 'I love Big Bird' but I would still cut PBS funding (3 October 2012)
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney repeated his pledge to cut funding for public television during Wednesday's debate with President Barack Obama.

"I would stop the subsidy to PBS," Romney told moderator Jim Lehrer. "I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too. But I'm not gonna keep on spending money on things to borrow from China to pay for."

Earlier this year, Romney said programs like PBS and the National Endowment for the Arts "should have to stand on their own."

The federal government spent $444 million on subsidizing the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which oversees PBS, which constitutes about .037 percent of the nation's $1.2 trillion deficit.
[Read more...]

Eagle nests removed from Norfolk Botanical Garden (3 October 2012)
Officials, acting on concerns about the eagles colliding with planes using the adjacent Norfolk International Airport, this week acquired state and federal permits to dismantle existing nests and any that the eagles try to rebuild at the garden in the next year.

Councilman Tommy Smigiel, who had been advocating for the city to delay removing the nests, said he was "disappointed mainly because I know there are bigger issues at Norfolk International Airport." He noted that eagle strikes are only a marginal part of the total bird strikes.

"This is not going to fix the issues, and I wish they would have looked at the avian radar system," Smigiel said. "I don't understand why they wouldn't."

The issue also was discussed at Tuesday's council meeting after Councilman Paul Riddick remarked on the number of people who oppose the removal of the nests.
[Read more...]

In North Dakota, hard to tell an oil millionaire from regular Joe (3 October 2012)
(Reuters) - The retired men shooting the breeze at Joyce's Cafe in Stanley don't look like oil barons but appearances can be deceptive, especially in North Dakota.

Take Robert Western, a farmer who was dressed in rumpled overalls and a baseball cap as he sipped coffee and discussed the oil boom that has transformed this once sleepy town.

"Some of the younger people buy a lot more - machinery, vehicles, things like that," said the 75-year-old Western. "The rest of us, I guess it doesn't alter our lifestyle a great deal. I don't have a lot of needs."

After he left, his friend Earl Rogstad remarked to a visitor: "It's too bad Robert didn't have his airplane ready... He offered last summer to fly me over and see (the oil wells) from the air."
[Read more...]

Seeking Living Wage and Humane Conditions, Immokalee Workers Bring Fair Food Struggle to Chipotle (3 October 2012) [DemocracyNow.org]
AMY GOODMAN: Despite Chipotle's commitment from serving food that is naturally raised with respect for animals the land and the farmers who produce it, the company, so far, has refused to sign a contract that would ensure a living wage and human conditions for workers who pick the tomatoes it purchases. The contract would confirm its commitment to the Fair Food Program, a project led by the Florida based Coalition of Immokalee Workers. On Tuesday, local supporters joined the group for a protest outside Chipotle's Denver headquarters, calling on it to join other major chains such as McDonald's and Burger Kind who have signed on to the program. This weekend, they will be targeting a festival in Denver that's promoted by Chipotle, and features music, food, chefs, and local farmers, but no farm workers. We are pleased, right not, to be joined by one of the farm workers in our studio. Gerardo Reyes-Chavez is a farm worker and organizer with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. Welcome to Democracy Now!, it's good to have you with us. You have come to Denver to do exactly what on [October] 6th?

GERARDO REYES-CHAVEZ: We are here to talk about the reality of farm-workers, and the notion that farm workers, when you are talking about sustainability, in what Chipotle saying is nonexistent. The farmers should be a central part of the conversation.

AMY GOODMAN: I am going to fix your audio. While we do that, I'm going to go to a comment of Chipotle. Chipotle were not able to join us on the show today, but we did speak with them by phone. I want to play a short interview Democracy Now! producer Renée Feltz did Tuesday with Chipotle's Communication Director, Chris Arnold. Renée began by asking Arnold why the company's refused to sign the the We spoke to their communications director. We began by asking why the company refused to sign the Committee Immokalee Workers' agreement to participate in the Fair Food Program. This was Chipotle's response.

CHRIS ARNOLD: We've always believe that you don't need to have a contract to do the right thing, and in fact, have a very long track record of driving positive change in the nation's food supply and done all the things that we have done without having third party contracts. In terms of the transparency of auditing, I would say two things; first of all, they conduct the audits, the CIW or their allies are conducting the audits of growers to determine the practices as it relates to our purchases. We provide records of our Florida tomato purchases to CIW's auditors so they can see what we're buying from whom and for how much.
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Mafia figures find refuge in Ontario, Italian police warn (3 October 2012)
Ontario has become an international "penal colony" for alleged Italian Mafia figures who find refuge here untouched by Canadian law, top Italian police authorities have told a joint Toronto Star/Radio-Canada investigation.

In the past two years alone, Italian authorities have identified more than 30 Ontario men in thousands of pages of wiretap transcripts and prosecution reports who they claim have Mafia ties.

At least 10 of those have been publicly named in Italian arrest warrants.

But the Star/Radio-Canada investigation has discovered that only one has even been sought by Canadian law enforcement so far -- on an immigration violation.

And Canadian police have yet to find him.
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Rush Limbaugh loves San Francisco (3 October 2012)
"I've always loved the city," Limbaugh said in one of his broadcasts this week. "know if I ever got spotted there now, I'd be run out of town -- if I got out alive, or without being put in jail -- but I've loved it. I've always thought it was one of the most beautiful cities in the country."

In fact, Rush was here earlier this year.

"I was just out there in May for one quick overnight, but I didn't tell anybody in advance so I was able to get in and out of town. I played in a golf tournament at Olympic [the Olympic Club by Lake Merced], and spent the night in the city. But I made sure I arrived at midnight so I wouldn't be seen. I ran into Johnny Miller in the lobby of the hotel, who is a great guy, and everybody in the hotel was great. It was the Ritz [Carlton]. They were great. It just reminded me how much I liked the city."
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Secret Service Busts Convicted Sex Offender For Death Threats Against Obama And Romney (2 October 2012)
The Secret Service today arrested a registered sex offender for allegedly threatening the lives of both President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee.

Brandon Britton, a 51-year-old Ohio resident, was charged in a three-count felony complaint unsealed today in U.S. District Court in Akron. Britton is pictured at right in a photo from Ohio's sex offender registry on which he appears due to a prior conviction for gross sexual imposition.

According to an affidavit sworn by a Secret Service agent, Britton threatened Obama and Romney last month during a recorded conversation with a customer service representative for MegaMates, a California-based dating service he had joined.

Describing himself as "anti-government. I live in the woods, man," Britton told the rep, "I'm gonna kill Obama and O'Romney. I don't give a fuck who knows, alright?" Britton apparently called MegaMates because he was angry about being dunned for payment of overdue membership fees.
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Pennsylvania voter ID law enforcement halted by judge (2 October 2012)
A Pennsylvania judge Tuesday ordered state officials not to enforce the commonwealth's tough new voter ID law in the coming election, saying there was not enough time to ensure that some voters would not be disenfranchised.

Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson said elections officials could still ask voters for a photo ID, but could not turn away otherwise qualified voters who had not been able to obtain one.

Simpson said he was effectively extending a "soft run" of the new law envisioned by the General Assembly. In such cases, Simpson wrote, "an otherwise qualified elector who does not provide proof of identification may cast a ballot that shall be counted without the necessity of casting a provisional ballot."

Simpson's decision that those voters do not have to cast a provisional ballot "is what makes this so significant and why we think it's a real victory," said Penda Hair of Advancement Project, one of the groups that challenged the new law.
[Read more...]

In N.C., Biden says middle class 'has been buried' (2 October 2012)
Vice President Joe Biden said today that the middle class has been "buried" during the past four years, a statement that Republicans immediately seized upon as an unwitting indictment of the Obama administration.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney replied on Twitter that he agrees with Biden, saying: "the middle class has been buried the last 4 years, which is why we need a change in November."

Biden told about 1,000 people in Charlotte that Romney would cut taxes for millionaires and raise them for middle-class families.

"This is deadly earnest," Biden said. "How they can justify raising taxes on a middle class that has been buried the last four years? How in Lord's name can they justify raising their taxes with these tax cuts?"
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Special Report: The casualties of Chesapeake's "land grab" across America (2 October 2012)
(Reuters) - Ranjana Bhandari and her husband knew the natural gas beneath their ranch-style home in Arlington, Texas, could be worth a lot - especially when they got offer after offer from Chesapeake Energy Corp.

Chesapeake wanted to drill there, and the offers could have netted the couple thousands of dollars in a bonus and royalties. But Bhandari says they ultimately declined the deals because they oppose fracking in residential areas. Fracking, slang for hydraulic fracturing, is a controversial method used to extract gas and oil.

Their repeated refusals didn't stop Chesapeake, the second-largest natural gas producer in the United States. This June, after petitioning a Texas state agency for an exception to a 93-year-old statute, the company effectively secured the ability to drain the gas from beneath the Bhandari property anyway - without having to pay the couple a penny.

In fact, since January 2005, the Texas agency has rejected just five of Chesapeake's 1,628 requests for such exceptions, a Reuters review of agency data shows. Chesapeake has sought the most exceptions during that time - almost twice the number sought by a subsidiary of giant rival Exxon Mobil, Reuters found.
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Seagull blamed for Berkeley fire (2 October 2012)
A seagull flew into a 12,000-volt Pacific Gas and Electric power line which shorted and fell into a grassy area on the 1100 block of Delaware Street around 8:14 a.m., authorities said.

Crews evacuated the block near San Pablo and University avenues until PG&E crews were able to turn off the power, said Berkeley Deputy Fire Chief Gil Dong said.

The fire was contained around 9 a.m. and estimated to have caused $50,000 in damage to the home. No human injuries were reported.

"The seagull is no longer with us," Dong said.
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PAM COMMENTARY: How was a line like that exposed, anyway?

Riot police arrest 17 at Walmart warehouse worker solidarity rally (2 October 2012)
About 600 people turned out Monday in Elwood, Illinois for a sit-in protest against alleged mistreatment of warehouse workers employed by Walmart contractor RoadLink. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that 17 peaceful protesters were arrested by police in riot gear after they sat in the middle of a road and blocked vehicles from accessing the warehouse.

Activists with Warehouse Workers for Justice went on strike outside of the Walmart Distribution Center in Elwood on September 15, claiming the working conditions are unsafe and that RoadLink engages in unfair labor practices like wage theft and sexual harassment.

Participants in the protest weren't just warehouse workers: local unions and community groups joined in as well, hoping to provide moral support to the group after they filed a federal lawsuit against RoadLink in September.

By the time activists sat in the road, police declared the entire event to be an "unlawful assembly," then threatened to deploy chemical weapons and "less lethal munitions" against the group. The militarized police unit even brought what appeared to be a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), designed to disperse protesters by blasting them with extremely loud noise. The officers ultimately didn't resort to violence, opting to walk arrested activists away one by one instead.
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Poll: Obama ahead 73% to 21% among Latinos, his biggest lead of campaign (2 October 2012)
Less than a fourth of Latino voters plan to vote for Mitt Romney this November, a new low this election cycle, according to a poll released Monday by Latino Decisions.

President Barack Obama is leading 73 percent to 21 percent against his Republican opponent. A poll by CNN/ORC International of likely Latino voters reported Obama leading at 70 percent and Romney at 26 percent. About 73 percent of Latino registered voters planned on voting for Obama compared to 22 percent for Romney, according to the CNN/ORC International poll.

Latino Decisions pollster Matt Barreto attributed the bigger Obama lead to the president's poise during this appearance on Univision and backlash from Romney's claim that he would have a better chance at the presidency if his parents were Mexican.

"Obama really held his own on the Univision forum," Barreto said. "There were some tough questions and in answering those questions he said he's attempting to reform immigration and ... kept putting the blame on Republicans."
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$1-billion campaign in reach for Obama (2 October 2012)
WASHINGTON -- President Obama is on track to be the first $1-billion candidate.

The notion seemed almost astounding two years ago, when Republican strategists first predicted Obama could raise that much money for his reelection bid. For their part, Obama campaign officials discounted the idea that they were aiming that high, telling donors that their goal was to bring in "north of $750 million."

Obama surpassed that mark by Aug. 31. By then, he had raised $766 million between his reelection campaign, the Democratic National Committee and two joint fundraising committees, according the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute.

In his 2008 bid, Obama raised $745 million through his campaign and several joint fundraising committees, and more than $100 million more in conjunction with the DNC.

To reach $1 billion this cycle, the president would need to bring in $117 million in both September and October. That seems well within his reach: Obama's campaign and the DNC together raised nearly $115 million in August. Their take was likely even bigger in September, thanks in part to the Democratic National Convention, where campaign manager Jim Messina urged supporters to embrace a new method of donation via text messaging.
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White House widening covert war in North Africa (2 October 2012)
Small teams of special operations forces arrived at American embassies throughout North Africa in the months before militants launched the fiery attack that killed the U.S. ambassador in Libya. The soldiers' mission: Set up a network that could quickly strike a terrorist target or rescue a hostage.

But the teams had yet to do much counterterrorism work in Libya, though the White House signed off a year ago on the plan to build the new military task force in the region and the advance teams had been there for six months, according to three U.S. counterterror officials and a former intelligence official. All spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the strategy publicly.

The counterterror effort indicates that the administration has been worried for some time about a growing threat posed by al-Qaida and its offshoots in North Africa. But officials say the military organization was too new to respond to the attack in Benghazi, where the administration now believes armed al-Qaida-linked militants surrounded the lightly guarded U.S. compound, set it on fire and killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

Republicans have questioned whether the Obama administration has been hiding key information or hasn't known what happened in the immediate aftermath of the attack. They are using those questions in the final weeks before the U.S. elections as an opportunity to assail President Barack Obama on foreign policy, an area where he has held clear leads in opinion polls since the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011.
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One death linked to bacterial infection after nurse stole drugs at St. Cloud Hospital (2 October 2012)
State investigators have linked the death of a patient to the case of a former nurse who allegedly spread a bacterial infection while stealing narcotics from a surgical ward at St. Cloud Hospital almost two years ago.

In a report released Tuesday, the Minnesota Department of Health reported that one patient died within two days of contracting the unusual infection, which apparently was spread by contaminated IV bags.

In addition, at least five other patients required intensive care after they were exposed to the same bacteria, the report said.

Hospital officials, however, immediately disputed the investigation's findings.
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B.C. Premier calls Northern Gateway benefits 'chump change' compared to other pipeline projects (2 October 2012)
The British Columbia premier -- who has set five conditions for her province's approval of the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway, including that B.C. receive a "fair share" of the economic and fiscal benefits of the project -- told graduate students at the University of Calgary's School of Public Policy Tuesday "there is no price we can put on our environment."

But she maintained that the estimated eight per cent of the benefits from the bitumen pipeline that would come to B.C. are not sufficient, though she won't say what would satisfy the province.

While highlighting her government's support for natural gas and mining development, Clark said "heavy oil is unique."

"There isn't another product from Alberta or anywhere else in the country that we have set these kinds of conditions on. Heavy oil is a unique and very difficult product to move and if it was to spill on our land or on our coast it could have irreparable, catastrophic consequences," Clark told reporters.
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In Shell Case, Will Supreme Court's View of Corporate Personhood Mean Liability for Crimes Abroad? (1 October 2012) [DemocracyNow.org]
AMY GOODMAN: During Ken Saro-Wiwa's final visit to the United States, he came on our show on WBAI, the Pacifica Radio station in New York, to Wake-Up Call_. This was just before Ken returned to Nigeria, was arrested, tried and then executed. This is what nigeria">Ken Saro-Wiwa told us.

KEN SARO-WIWA: Shell does not want to negotiate with the Ogoni people. Each time they've come under pressure from local people, their want has always been to run to the Nigerian government and to say to the Nigerian government, "Oil is 90 percent of your foreign exchange earning. If anything happens to oil, your economy will be destroyed. Therefore, you must go and deal with these people, these troublemakers." And most times, the government will oblige them and visit local communities of poor, dispossessed people with a lot of violence.

And when these communities then protested and said, "Look. Look at the amount of violence that is being used against us, even though we are only protesting peacefully," then the oil companies will come and say, "Well, there is no way we can determine how much violence a government decides to use against its own people." So, basically, the local communities have no leverage with the oil companies at all.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Ken Saro-Wiwa in 1995. On November 10th, he was executed by the Nigerian regime. He was speaking on WBAI in New York with me and WBAI's Bernard White. Finally, Baher Azmy, why the court hearing this case again? Isn't this highly unusual?

BAHER AZMY: It is, and it has a sort of ominous precedent. So, the court is asking two questions in this case: first, whether or not corporations, simply because of their corporate form, are somehow exempt from otherwise binding international human rights obligations; and also, they're asking an equally broad question, whether or not this statute could apply to human rights violations that occur outside the United States, as in in Nigeria. And the ominous precedent, of course, is Citizens United itself, where the court reset certain questions and expanded the scope of corporate power more than had been initially contemplated. And so, you have this remarkable irony, that you already pointed out, which is that the court in Citizens United made--suggested that corporations have First Amendment rights, but here, the court may carve out an exemption from responsibilities from corporate personhood. And that is a sort of shocking development. And that could only happen in a court that seems, as it is, so obsessed with corporate power.
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True Food Shopper's Guide; How to Avoid Foods Made with Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) (1 October 2012)
Genetic Engineering (GE) or Genetic Modification (GM) of
food involves the laboratory process of artificially inserting
genes into the DNA of food crops or animals. The result is
called a genetically modified organism or GMO. GMOs can be
engineered with genes from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals,
or even humans. Most Americans say they would not eat GMOs
if labeled, but unlike most other industrialized countries, the
U.S. does not require labeling.

This Non-GMO Shopping Guide is designed to help reclaim
your right to know about the foods you are buying, and help
you find and avoid GMO foods and ingredients.

Tips for avoiding GM crops

Certified organic products are not allowed to contain any
GMOs. Therefore, when you purchase products labeled "100%
organic," "organic," or "made with organic ingredients," all
ingredients in these products are not allowed to be produced
from GMOs. For example, products labeled as "made with
organic ingredients" only require 70% of the ingredients to
be organic, but 100% must be non-GMO.

Companies may voluntarily label products as "non-GMO."
Some labels state "non-GMO" while others spell out "Made
Without Genetically Modified Ingredients." Some products
limit their claim to only one particular "At-Risk" ingredient
such as soy lecithin, listing it as "non-GMO."
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Paul Ryan's budget flimflam (1 October 2012)
PAUL RYAN wants to tell you about the wonders of the 20?percent cut in tax rates that he and running mate Mitt Romney propose. He doesn't want to tell you how much it will cost. On Sunday, Fox News's Chris Wallace asked the Republican vice presidential nominee this basic question four times, citing projections of a 10-year cost of $5?trillion. Four times, Mr. Ryan dodged, hiding behind a flimsy scaffolding of pseudo-wonkiness. "Look, I won't give you a baseline with these because that's what a lot of this is about," he said.

The $5 trillion figure derives from an estimate by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center that the Romney tax cuts -- without base-broadening offsets -- would reduce revenue by $456?billion in 2015. Multiply by 10, and account for costs rising each year, and the $5 trillion estimate is probably low.

If Mr. Ryan wants to hide behind jargon, here's a relevant point. "Baseline" refers to the assumptions made about the budget if the Romney-Ryan tax cut isn't enacted. The Tax Policy Center's baseline is favorable to the Republican plan because it assumes the extension of all Bush tax cuts. A more realistic, or at least equally plausible, set of assumptions would add another $1?trillion to its cost. Mr. Ryan flings about terms such as "baseline" to obscure that painful fact.

The Republican ticket says it could pay for its tax cut by eliminating loopholes. But the biggest loopholes are popular: the exclusion from taxation of employer-sponsored health insurance and the deductions for mortgage interest, charitable contributions and state and local taxes. Pressed by the assiduous Mr. Wallace about which of these Mr. Ryan would limit, the nominee pleaded a lack of time. "It would take me too long to go through all of that," he said.

The GOP wants voters to think that only the rich would be affected by its loophole closing. "And don't forget that the higher-income people have a disproportionate amount of the loopholes that they use," Mr. Ryan said. Well, actually, no. Higher-income people reap a "disproportionate amount" of the benefit of lower rates on capital gains and dividends -- households earning more than $200,000 a year receive 90 percent of the benefit. But the Romney-Ryan plan would leave that break in place. Most of the remaining major tax breaks flow primarily to households earning $200,000 or less. For example, more than two-thirds of the benefit of the deduction for home mortgage interest goes to those making less than $200,000 a year.
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US manufacturing output improves after summer slowdown (1 October 2012)
US manufacturing activity expanded in September after shrinking for three consecutive months, according to a nationwide poll from the Institute for Supply Management.

The results of ISM's closely watched monthly survey were far better than economists had been expecting, with most predicting another month of contraction. The purchasing managers index (PMI), which reflects the acquisition of goods and services, was 51.5 in September -- any figure above 50 represents growth. It stood at 49.6 in August.

Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG, said the report was "unquestionably positive". US stocks markets rose on the news.

The numbers come amid mixed signals about the fragile recovery in the US economy. Last week the US downgraded its economic forecasts for growth in the second quarter. But there were signs that the housing market is finally on the mend. Ahead of ISM's latest release economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast PMI would come in at 49.5.
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Omar Khadr's mother Maha Elsamnah both 'happy and sad' after son returns to Canada from Guantanamo Bay (1 October 2012)
Visibly emotional, the mother of Omar Khadr said the fact her son has returned to Canada a convicted war criminal doesn't make her happy and Canada needs to do more to give him his rights back.

"If he's treated as a criminal, a convicted war criminal, I'm not happy," Maha Elsamnah told the Star on Sunday. "I want him to come back as a person who has been abused and misunderstood. I want Canada to give him his right."

Khadr, 26, landed at the Trenton military airbase early Saturday after a flight from Guantanamo Bay. American officials formally transferred Khadr into Canada's care, bringing to an end U.S. involvement in the decade-long case.

On Sunday, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird told CTV that pressure from the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama forced the prisoner exchange months ahead of schedule.

"Obviously the Americans are closing down the prison and wanted to send him back and under law, Canadian law, we're pretty obliged to take him."
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Great Barrier Reef has lost half its corals since 1985, new study says (1 October 2012)
Australia's Great Barrier Reef has lost more than half its coral cover since 1985, according to a new study published Monday. The loss has been spurred by a combination of factors including hurricanes, coral-eating starfish and coral bleaching.

The paper, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the most comprehensive survey of a reef system over such a long period. The researchers from the Australian Institute of Marine Science found that reef cover fell from 28 percent to 13.8 percent over the past 27 years, with two-thirds of the decline occurring since 1998.

The sobering findings highlighted how even the world's most protected marine areas are under assault from natural forces and causes linked to the human activity that is resulting in climate change. The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef ecosystem, featuring nearly 3,000 individual reefs within 133,205 square miles. A third of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is off-limits to fishing and collecting.

"We are basically losing an ecosystem that is so iconic for Australia and the rest of the world," said institute scientist Katharina E. Fabricius, one of the paper's authors.

Storm damage accounted for 48 percent of the decline, scientists said, while crown-of-horns starfish contributed 42 percent. Coral bleaching, caused by warmer water, accounted for 10 percent of coral loss.
[Read more...]

Virginia Residents Fight Back Against Nuclear Industry Effort to Lift Ban on Uranium Mining (1 October 2012) [DemocracyNow.org]
AMY GOODMAN: Why are you concerned that--and what is Virginia Uranium? What is this company?

ROBERT BURNLEY: Virginia Uranium is a--it was founded by the owner of this uranium deposit in Pittsylvania County. There's been some corporate structure changes recently, and I can't really describe exactly everything that's going on. But it's--Virginia Uranium is mostly owned by Canadian companies that have some familiarity with uranium mining and processing. Of course, no one in Virginia does, because it's never been done before.

AMY GOODMAN: And your concern about uranium mining, exactly what effect it would have?

ROBERT BURNLEY: What's going to happen, if uranium is mined, and especially if uranium is processed in Virginia, there are a huge amount of waste that's generated. When uranium--when the uranium, the yellowcake, is taken and marketed, 85 percent of the radioactivity remains in the waste products. Those products are just--are buried, and they're buried in facilities very much like we store municipal solid waste: hole in the ground, plastic liner, fill it up with this toxic, radioactive waste, cover it over for thousands of years, and hope nothing happens. We have, as I said, a lot of rain and severe weather in Virginia. And to think that these facilities would withstand those types of stresses is just ludicrous.
[Read more...]

Big Pharma's profiteering has reached the breaking point: 45 percent of Americans can no longer afford prescriptions (30 September 2012)
(NaturalNews) Drug companies have gotten so greedy, and the American public so financially distressed, that nearly half of all Americans under the age of 65 who normally take prescription drugs are no longer doing so because they allegedly cannot afford it. This is according to a new report compiled by the Consumer Reports National Research Center (CRNRC), which also found that 63 percent of those in need of medical care are skipping trips to the doctor because of the high costs involved.

Based on a poll that included 1,158 adults over the age of 18, CRNRC found that 62 percent of Americans under the age of 65 avoided getting recommended medical tests in 2012 because of high costs, while just over half avoided getting a recommended medical procedure. In total, more than 80 percent of those polled indicated that they skipped either a medically-related procedure, medical test, doctor visit, or prescription because of the expense.

"When it comes to prescription drugs, consumers are spending on average $63 out of pocket every month, which can easily swallow up a big portion of the family budget," said Lisa Gill, prescription drugs editor for Consumer Reports, in a recent press release about the findings. "It's even worse for those without insurance for medicines, who pay upwards of $91 a month for their prescriptions."

The number of adult patients under the age of 65 who skipped a doctor visit because they could not afford it jumped 16 percent last year, while the number who avoided a prescription jumped 19 percent. These same individuals cut various other things out of their lives as well, according to the report, including leisure activities, dining out, and entertainment.
[Read more...]

Ultra-light led whooping cranes depart White River Marsh (30 September 2012)
Operation Migration is reporting that its ultra-light trained whooping cranes departed Wisconsin's White River Marsh State Wildlife Area yesterday:

"The 2012 Cohort launched with OM's lead pilot for today, Richard van Heuvelen, at 7:38am. CraneCam watchers got a great view of the flight as all six of the young cranes kept Richard company.

"It wasn't long before the pilots were able to make the decision that all conditions were a go to skip the first Stopover site and fly on to Stopover #2. Stop #1 is just 5 miles from the White River Marsh pensite; a distance that works well in the case of nervous cranes as they hit unfamiliar territory and want to turn back or drop out.

"Stop #2 is 14 air miles from Stop #1, so in completing today's migration leg, the six young cranes will have flown 19 miles. Touchdown was at 8:16am - Richard with five while Brooke is still about 8 or 9 miles out with #5. Quite a graduation ceremony for the Class of 2012!"
[Read more...]

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Sources (if found on major news boards):
[AJ] - InfoWars.com, PrisonPlanet.com, or other Alex Jones-affiliated sites
[BF] - BuzzFlash.com
[DN] - DemocracyNow.org
[R] - Rense.com
[WRH] - WhatReallyHappened.com


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