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Click to visit VeggieCooking.com NEWS LINK ARCHIVE 2012

News from the Week of 3rd to 9th of February 2013

Farmer's use of genetically modified soybeans grows into Supreme Court case (9 February 2013)
Yet Bowman's unorthodox soybean farming techniques have landed him at the center of a national battle over genetically modified crops. His legal battle, now at the Supreme Court, raises questions about whether the right to patent living things extends to their progeny, and how companies that engage in cutting-edge research can recoup their investments.

What Bowman did was to take commodity grain from the local elevator, which is usually used for feed, and plant it. But that grain was mostly progeny of Monsanto's Roundup Ready beans because that's what most Indiana soybean farmers grow. Those soybeans are genetically modified to survive the weedkiller Roundup, and Monsanto claims that Bowman's planting violated the company's restrictions.

Those supporting Bowman hope the court uses the case, which is scheduled for oral arguments later this month, to hit the reset button on corporate domination of agribusiness and what they call Monsanto's "legal assault" on farmers who don't toe the line. Monsanto's supporters say advances in health and environmental research are endangered.

And the case raises questions about the traditional role of farmers.

For instance: When a farmer grows Monsanto's genetically modified soybean seeds, has he simply "used" the seed to create a crop to sell, or has he "made" untold replicas of Monsanto's invention that remain subject to the company's restrictions?
[Read more...]

When a child goes missing - then and now (9 February 2013)
When it comes to hunting for kidnapped children and conjuring worst-case fates for any boy or girl playing outdoors alone, there is a clearly defined moment in history when everything changed.

That moment came exactly 29 years ago Sunday, on Feb. 10, 1984 - the day 10-year-old Kevin Collins vanished off a San Francisco street.

Before then, parents' precautions largely amounted to telling their children never to take candy from strangers or get into their cars. When a child went missing, police often took their time in the belief that the youngster was probably off on a lark and would soon come home - and the family waited by the phone.

Then Kevin left fourth-grade basketball practice by himself and disappeared from the face of the Earth.

His family formed a search foundation, got milk sellers to plaster the boy's face on their cartons, distributed a half-million flyers nationally and enlisted politicians including then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein in their hunt - a plan of action now so familiar it almost seems routine.
[Read more...]

Finally, the pictures revealed... Hacker "Guccifer" shows George W. Bush's "artwork" (8 February 2013)
Email accounts related to former US president George W Bush along with several family members and close friends have been hacked, revealing a huge amount of personal and sensitive information.

Among the data obtained by the hacker, known as Guccifer, was a confidential list from October 2012 containing the names, addresses, mobile phone numbers and emails of dozens of Bush family members, including both former presidents, their siblings and children.

As first reported by The Smoking Gun, the hacker posted all the photos and emails to an online account which also appeared to have been hacked. The photos posted online include a number of paintings by George W Bush sent to his sister Dorothy Bush Koch, who was one of those who had their email accounts hacked.

The images are of paintings by Bush himself and include two self-portraits, one in the shower and one in the bath. There is also a photo of him painting at the family's Maine retreat.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: Warning -- there are video ads on this page that play without the reader taking any action.

I must say... Articles that didn't include pictures made Bush's artwork seem better than it was. Now that we can see the pictures... Well, we know better.

Breast cancer survivors complain of drug side effects, consider stopping treatment (9 February 2013)
The researchers found that more than 18 percent of women who authored a post about AIs complained about at least one side effect. The most common side effect mentioned - comprising a quarter of posts related to adverse effects - was joint or musculoskeletal pain, known formally as arthralgia. Other side effects mentioned included hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain and osteoporosis.

Fully 28 percent of posters mentioned that they were thinking about switching to a different variety of AI or had already done so, while another 12.8 percent said they were considering discontinuing their AI treatment without replacing it with another drug (or had done so already). The most common reason given for changing or discontinuing treatment was arthralgia.

"I hurt, ache, swell, pain, shuffle, have significant join pain, have cognitive issues, and feel like I'm 80 when I'm mid-50's," one poster wrote.

The researchers also analyzed 1,000 randomly selected, AI-related posts. They found that 18 percent of the posts were authored by a survivor seeking advice on how to cope with arthralgia. Another 27.8 percent of the posts consisted of people giving advice, with one-third of those posts addressing arthralgia specifically.

42 percent of posters who gave arthralgia advice suggested painkillers, 44 percent suggested herbal or mineral supplements, 30 percent suggested exercise, and 27 percent suggested consulting a doctor. Only eight percent explicitly urged others to stay on the drugs.
[Read more...]

How eating a high fat diet can starve cancer (9 February 2013)
Hatfield was diagnosed with aggressive, metastatic skeletal cancer. Three doctors gave the same prognosis of three months left to live. He desperately researched and came across the ketogenic diet as something he should try.

University of South Florida metabolic researcher Dr. Dominic D'Agostino had discovered that cancerous mice who were put on high fat non-carbohydrate glucose diets recovered from cancer better than mice on chemotherapy.

Maybe that's not saying much, but Fred Hatfield had nothing to lose and put it to the test.

He avoided all carbohydrates and sugars. He consumed a fair amount of good meats and lots of good fats, not cheap trans-fatty acid hydrogenated oils or margarine that are one molecule away from being plastic and cannot be metabolized.

Among the good fats are eggs, avocado, cold pressed olive, flax seed, hemp oils, real butter, and the once vilified coconut oil. Yes, even the maligned saturated fats. Hatfield's cancer cleared up in a few, short months and he was still in good health a year later.

Researcher Dr. D'Agostino has received communication from a dozen others who have successfully used a ketogenic diet to reverse cancer.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: His results may have come from extra Omega-3 fatty acids (along with avoiding the bad fats) combined with extra protein -- as used by the Budwig diet.

Conflict-of-interest training reduces brand-name antidepressant prescription (9 February 2013)
(NaturalNews) Doctors who underwent residencies at institutions with conflict-of-interest policies are significantly less likely to prescribe brand name drugs over generics than doctors who underwent residencies at institutions without such policies, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, Yale School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Health professionals and policymakers have expressed growing concern in recent years over the potential for conflicts of interest in relationships between health providers and pharmaceutical or medical device companies. One specific concern was that the gifts the drug companies provide to physicians and physicians in training, including meals and drug samples, could unduly influence those doctors to prescribe those companies' brand-name products even when generic or other lower-cost alternatives exist.

Such concerns spurred a number of institutions to adopt conflict-of-interest policies; Penn Medicine, for example, adopted one in 2006. The Association of American Medical Colleges adopted a broad conflict-of-interest policy in 2008.

The researchers analyzed the prescriptions written in 2009 by 1,652 psychiatrists who had participated in 162 different residency programs; data was obtained from IMS Health. Approximately half of the psychiatrists in the sample had completed their residencies in 2001, when there were nearly no conflict-of-interest policies in place, while the other half had completed their residencies in 2008, after widespread adoption of such policies. The researchers further ranked the psychiatrists based on the strictness of the policies at the institutions they had attended.
[Read more...]

Diet sodas linked to higher risk of Type-2 diabetes in women (7 February 2013)
Researchers led by Francoise Clavel-Chapelon and Guy Fagherazzi dug into the data mine to look at the prevalence of diabetes among women who drank either type of soda, and those who drank only unsweetened fruit juice.

Compared with juice-drinkers, women who drank either of the sodas had a higher incidence of diabetes.

The increased risk was about a third for those who drank up to 359 millilitres (12 US ounces) per week of either type of soda, and more than double among those who drank up to 603 ml (20 ounces) per week.

Drinkers of light sodas had an even higher risk of diabetes compared to those who drank regular ones: 15 percent higher for consumption of 500 ml (16.9 ounces) per week, and 59 percent higher for consumption of 1.5 litres (50 ounces) per week, Inserm said.

There was no increase in diabetes among women who drank only 100-percent fruit juice, compared with non-consumers.

The study noted that women who drank "light" sodas tended to drink more of it -- 2.8 glasses a week on average compared to 1.6 glasses among women on "regular" sodas.
[Read more...]

More people bailing out of Facebook; is a FB collapse imminent? (9 February 2013)
From Natural News writer David Gutierrez: "Spending time on Facebook ranked among the 10 worst activities in terms of unpleasantness and lack of engagement. It was ranked as the least meaningful activity and the one that made people the second-most unhappy, surpassed only by recovering from illness." (http://www.naturalnews.com/038134_facebook_stress_unhappy.html)

Many became too preoccupied to function normally, or were too concerned about others' ability to check in and read their Facebook materials. Some studies determined that users could feel inferior after viewing others' pages depicting happier, more successful lifestyles.

Others were concerned about work superiors', teachers', and parents' ability to snoop into their private lives by visiting their Facebook page. Only an estimated one-third of Facebook users apply the privacy settings. Then there are the truthers' and activists' concerns of Big Brother peaking into their pages.

Then there are the friends of friends who add to the stress of what to say or what not to say.
[Read more...]

Women shot during LAPD ex-cop manhunt had no warning, lawyer says (9 February 2013)
Updated at 5:59 p.m. ET: A mother and daughter who were mistakenly shot by Los Angeles police hunting for rampage suspect Christopher Dorner had no warning before bullets started whizzing through their newspaper-delivery truck, their lawyer said Friday.

"No command, no instruction, no warning. They just opened fire on them," said Glen Jonas, who is representing Emma Hernandez, 71, and Margie Carranza, 47, in possible legal action against the Los Angeles Police Department.

"They had no idea what was going on. They're huddling, covering up and praying and hoping they're not going to die."

Both women survived. Hernandez, shot in the back, was in good condition Friday. Her daughter suffered a hand injury and is physically fine but emotionally scarred, Jonas said.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: I'm thinking it's time to call off the "manhunt." The fugitive hasn't lifted a finger, and two more people have been shot. Clearly that many cops on the streets can be just as dangerous to the community as the suspect.

George Bush's family emails hacked (8 February 2013)
An investigation has been launched into how a hacker managed to access the email accounts of the former US president George HW Bush and members of his family.

A number of Bush family photographs and personal emails were posted online by the hacker, who goes by the name of Guccifer.

According to the Smoking Gun website, the emails -- which were sent between 2009 and 2012 -- contain details about the state of the former president's health as well as the home addresses, mobile phone numbers and email addresses of dozens of members of the Bush family.

It also reports that Guccifer claims to have hacked "hundreds of accounts" and is well aware "the Feds" are investigating him.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: As of Saturday morning, The Smoking Gun's web site appeared to be down. Perhaps the web traffic generated by the story was too much, or perhaps it was hacked by pro-Bush forces.

Here's the odd message posted on The Smoking Gun's site:

Dear {user},

This is a message from the IT Department.

The web site you are trying to access:
is listed as a site within the category {category}

Current Internet Access Configuration does not allow you to visit sites within this category at this time.

Hacker reveals George W. Bush's naked self-portraits (8 February 2013)
Personal information stolen from several email accounts belonging to people close to the Bush family reveals the nation's 43rd president has developed an affinity for painting himself bathing, of all things.

Photos included in an information dump turned over to The Smoking Gun include President George H.W. Bush in the hospital, the elder Bush posing with President Bill Clinton, a family photo of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and even President George W. Bush posing with a cardboard cutout of himself wearing a mustache and beret.

Three of the images also show paintings Bush created, including one of himself in the shower, another of himself in a bath, and a third of him crouched over a canvas depicting a church.

A hacker going by the name "Guccifer" claimed the stolen messages include addresses, phone numbers and email addresses that go directly to both former presidents and their families, along with a security code for a gate outside the younger Bush's home in Dallas.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: It seems a little odd for a father to encourage his son along those lines.

LA cops stalked by suspect -- and a brutal past (8 February 2013)
The subject of television and movie dramas since the 1960s and Jack Webb's "Dragnet," -- "Just the facts, ma'am" -- the LAPD has long been a flash point for controversy. It is the nation's third-largest police force, but has far fewer officers per capita and square mile than the two largest forces, in New York and Chicago. Until about 15 years ago, the department's officers where overwhelmingly white.

A couple of decades of reform seemed to make things better. Officers of color were recruited, and the department worked on community relations. About a year ago, the force nailed one of its own: a female detective who killed her romantic rival in a cold case dating back 26 years.

At the time, officials spoke of an enlightened era in which the new LAPD could investigate the old LAPD. Even the loudest critics had mostly fallen silent in recent years.

Enter Christopher Jordan Dorner, a 33-year-old, 270-pound LAPD washout who is now the most hunted man in America. He is the suspect in three killings and has dredged up the LAPD scandals in a 6,000-word rant addressed to "America" and posted on his Facebook page.
[Read more...]

U.S. government to allow radioactive waste metals to be 'recycled' into consumers products like belt buckles, silverware (8 February 2013)
(NaturalNews) The federal government is currently in the process of trying to get rid of tens of thousands of tons of radioactive scrap metal it has accumulated over the years from various nuclear testing and wartime activities. And a recent proposal made by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) would lift existing restrictions on the recycling and reuse of this nuclear waste, allowing it to be formulated into everyday consumer products like belt buckles, silverware, and even surgical devices used by medical personnel on ill patients.

The shocking proposal comes more than a decade after DOE first tried to foist this growing stock of nuclear waste onto the American public back in the late 1990s. Back in 2000, Congressman Ed Markey from Massachusetts reportedly influenced then-Energy Secretary Bill Richardson to reinstate a ban that was temporarily lifted on the unmitigated recycling and reuse of radioactive waste metals in consumer products. But now, DOE is trying once again to secretly dispose of this radioactive waste stock by allowing scrap companies to sell it to consumer product manufacturers.

"A Department of Energy proposal to allow up to 14,000 metric tons of its radioactive scrap metal to be recycled into consumer products was called into question today by Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) due to concerns over public health," wrote Rep. Markey in a recent news brief about the issue. "In a letter sent to DOE head Steven Chu, Rep. Markey expressed 'grave concerns' over the potential of these metals becoming jewelry, cutlery, or other consumer products that could exceed healthy doses of radiation without any knowledge by the consumer."

If granted its request, DOE could soon be responsible for triggering the widespread poisoning of the public with even more low-dose radiation via metal-based consumer products. Such products include not only cutlery and jewelry, but also automobiles, city buses, coffee makers, toasters, braces for teeth -- practically anything that contains metal could end up being tainted with low-dose radiation as a result of DOE's efforts.
[Read more...]

CODEPINK Repeatedly Disrupts Brennan Hearing Calling Out Names of Civilians Killed in Drone Strikes (8 February 2013) [DemocracyNow.org]
CODEPINK PROTESTER: --are your children more important than the children of Pakistan and Yemen? Are they more important? Do your job! World peace depends on it! We're making more enemies--

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN: Please proceed, Mr. Brennan. The next time, we're going to clear the chamber and bring people back in one by one. This witness is entitled to be heard, ladies and gentlemen. So please give him that opportunity.

JOHN BRENNAN: Thank you. A heartfelt thank you also goes to my family in New Jersey, especially my 91-year-old mother Dorothy, my 92-year-old father Owen, who emigrated from Ireland nearly 65 years ago.

JOANNE LINGLE: 178 children killed by drones in Pakistan. And Mr. Brennan, if you don't know who they are, I have a list. I have a list with all the names and the ages.
[Read more...]

"He Was The Agency": Ex-CIA Analyst Questions Brennan Claim He Couldn't Stop Waterboarding, Torture (8 February 2013) [DemocracyNow.org]
JOHN BRENNAN: I did not take steps to stop the CIA's use of those techniques. I was not in the chain of command of that program. I served as deputy executive director at the time. I had responsibility for overseeing the management of the agency in all of its various functions. And I was aware of the program. I was cc'd on some of those documents. But I had no oversight of it. I wasn't involved in its creation. I had expressed my personal objections and views to my--some agency colleagues about certain of those EITs, such as waterboarding, nudity and others, where I professed my personal objections to it. But I did not try to stop it, because it was, you know, something that was being done in a different part of the agency under the authority of others, and it was something that was directed by the administration at the time.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Mel Goodman, your response to his answer?

MELVIN GOODMAN: Well, very disturbing for him to say he was in a different part of the agency. He was the agency. He was on the seventh floor of the agency. He was an executive assistant to the director and to the executive secretary of the CIA. He was the one they allowed to go on Sunday morning talk shows to defend renditions, and particularly extraordinary renditions, which involve not only kidnapping people off the streets of Europe and the Middle East and Africa, but sending them to countries where we knew these people would be tortured.

So, this is very reminiscent of Bob Gates in Iran-Contra 20 years ago when he was confirmed, when he said he really knew nothing about it and it wasn't within his level of competence. I think we've learned from past experience that you have to scrutinize these statements very carefully. And I think Brennan was playing games with the committee, and the committee was very willing to play along with John Brennan.
[Read more...]

Globalizing Torture: Ahead of Brennan Hearing, International Complicity in CIA Rendition Exposed (7 February 2013) [DemocracyNow.org]
AMY GOODMAN: So, summarize the findings in your report. It's extremely extensive. And what surprised you most as you did this research, Amrit?

AMRIT SINGH: Well, I think, at a very basic level, just the--the horrific kinds of abuse that was meted out by the United States and its partners to the human beings who were subjected to these operations, that of course stands out, but also just the scale and sweep of these operations, the number of people who were put through this and the number of governments that were coopted. And I think that, of course, the U.S. was a ringleader. This was--this was the CIA's invention. But moral responsibility does not rest with the United States alone; it rests also with those 54 governments that were complicit in various ways.

But I should also add that the--you know, the U.S.--leaving aside the damage to its moral reputation, the U.S. also exposed itself to liability and censure worldwide, because we're now increasingly seeing foreign courts pass judgment against the United States, as in the case of Khalid El-Masri. The European Court of Human Rights essentially found that the CIA's treatment of him amounted to torture.
[Read more...]

Blizzard Shuts Down Northeast - Photos (8 February 2013) [Rense.com]
Boston (CNN) -- A monster blizzard left tens of thousands of New Englanders in the dark and in the cold Friday night, thanks to a storm that's already delivered whipping winds and more than a foot of snow in some parts, with prospects of even double that by the time it's done.

The storm -- actually the convergence of two powerful systems -- began in earnest Friday morning in parts of New York and is expected to continue well into Saturday in Rhode Island, eastern Massachusetts and Maine.

Snow was more or less continuous for much of the region all day, with some lulls as well as times when it picked up considerably. Around 10 p.m., for instance, Connecticut's emergency management agency warned on Twitter that "a wide ban of extremely heavy snow" was moving through the central and eastern parts of the Nutmeg State, dropping snow at a staggering rate of 4 to 5 inches an hour.

Smithfield, Rhode Island, had 14 inches of snow by 9 p.m. Friday, one of several towns in that state, Connecticut and Massachusetts to be buried under more than a foot of snow -- with much more, potentially, on the way.
[Read more...]

Massachusetts Government Bans Driving During Snowstorm (8 February 2013) [InfoWars.com]
The Boston Globe admits it is unusual -- Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick has outlawed motor vehicle traffic in the state ahead of what is being billed as a historic snowstorm.

"The travel ban, a rare measure, was announced by Patrick at a news conference at the state's emergency bunker in Framingham," the newspaper reports. Patrick said a declared state of emergency allows him to impose the measure of citizens.

The director of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, Kurt Schwartz, said during the news conference that the travel ban will be imposed on all roads in the state. He added that there are several exceptions, "such as for public safety, media, and vehicles supplying essential businesses like convenience stores and hardware stores. Violating the travel ban, he said, could incur a penalty of a year in jail and a $500 fine," the Globe writes.
[Read more...]

Big Bear locked down amid manhunt (8 February 2013)
The bustling winter resort of Big Bear took on the appearance of a ghost town Thursday as surveillance aircraft buzzed overhead and police in tactical gear and carrying rifles patrolled mountain roads in convoys of SUVs, while others stood guard along major intersections.

Even before authorities had confirmed that the torched pickup truck discovered on a quiet forest road belonged to suspected gunman Christopher Dorner, 33, officials had ordered an emergency lockdown of local businesses, homes and the town's popular ski resorts. Parents were told to pick up their children from school, as rolling yellow buses might pose a target to an unpredictable fugitive on the run.

By nightfall, many residents had barricaded their doors as they prepared for a long, anxious evening.

PHOTOS: A tense manhunt amid tragic deaths

"We're all just stressed," said Andrea Burtons as she stocked up on provisions at a convenience store. "I have to go pick up my brother and get him home where we're safe."

Police ordered the lockdown about 9:30 a.m. as authorities throughout Southern California launched an immense manhunt for the former lawman, who is accused of killing three people as part of a long-standing grudge against the LAPD. Dorner is believed to have penned a long, angry manifesto on Facebook saying that he was unfairly fired from the force and was now seeking vengeance.
[Read more...]

Bitter ex-cop, wanted in revenge killings, says George H. W. Bush is his favorite president (8 February 2013)
The rambling manifesto police say was written by suspected killer Christopher Dorner focuses mainly on his anger at the Los Angeles Police Department and those he felt wronged him. But it also shows a more human side, including musings about music, celebrities, politics and even the proper room temperature. Here are some samples, which are as originally written but in some cases edited for length:
"It's kind of sad I won't be around to view and enjoy The Hangover III. What an awesome trilogy. Todd Phillips, don't make anymore Hangovers after the third, takes away the originality of its foundation. World War Z looks good and The Walking Dead season 3 (second half) looked intriguing. Damn, gonna miss shark week."
"Dave Brubeck's "Take Five" is the greatest piece of music ever, period. Hanz Zimmer, William Bell, Eric Clapton, BB King, Bob Marley, Sam Cooke, Metallica, Rob Zombie, Nora Jones, Marvin Gaye, Jay-Z, and the King (Louis Armstrong) are musical prodigies."
"The honorable President George H.W. Bush, they never give you enough credit for your successful Presidency. You were always one of my favorite Presidents (2nd favorite). I hope your health improves greatly. You are the epitome of an American and service to country."
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: I can see how he relates to Bush 1 and his "Highway of Death."

Chicken is the food most likely to kill you, study warns (8 February 2013)
(NaturalNews) Chicken is the food most likely to kill you, while salad greens are the food most likely to make you sick, according to a new study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Fortunately, the Home Food Safety program has responded to this study by issuing guidelines on good sanitation practices that can dramatically reduce your risk of food-borne illness without requiring you to cut any foods from your diet.

"While this study found produce accounted for nearly half of food poisoning illnesses, everyone should still eat plenty of fruits and vegetables," dietitian Rachel Begun said.

"Safe food-handling procedures can help protect you from food-borne illnesses while still allowing you to enjoy these tasty and nutritious foods."
[Read more...]

Virginia to cap state workers' part-time hours due to health law (8 February 2013)
Thousands of part-time state workers, including many in Hampton Roads, are being told they'll be allowed to work no more than 29 hours a week going forward.

The reason: The federal Affordable Care Act requires that employees working 30 hours a week or more receive health care benefits - which would cost Virginia tens of millions of dollars a year.

The new policy will mean a pay cut for many part-timers, including adjunct college professors.

The 29-hour limit is on its way to becoming state law, thanks to language inserted into the state budget at the request of Gov. Bob McDonnell's administration. The language appears in both versions of the budget adopted Thursday by the Senate and House of Delegates.

The language limits wage employees - the state's term for those paid by the hour - in all branches of state government to an average of 29 hours a week over the course of a year.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: You'd think the state was broke, but taxes in Virginia are high and its services are poor or nonexistent. They also rely on a lot of jobs (and taxes) from government contracts, military bases, and federal workers from Washington, DC who live in northern Virginia suburbs.

GSK vaccine ingredient scrutinized for narcolepsy clues (8 February 2013)
Pandemrix, the flu vaccine under suspicion for the narcolepsy link, needs only a fraction of the antigen - the part that actually does the immunization - of other flu shots to give sufficient protection.

This means the manufacturer - in this case GSK - can produce multiple times the number of vaccine doses without needing to spend valuable time making large amounts of the antigen.

In a pandemic situation in which the lives of millions around the world are under threat, that could make the difference between having enough vaccines to protect entire populations, or having to decide how to ration them out.

Yet some experts believe the turbo-charged immune response AS03 generates, or the ingredients that drive it, may also be the answer to why almost 800 cases of the incurable sleeping disorder narcolepsy have been linked to Pandemrix's use in Europe during the 2009/2010 H1N1 pandemic.

"The adjuvant in the Pandemrix vaccine is very potent and we think it may have played a role," says Markku Partinen, a neurologist at the Helsinki Sleep Clinic in Finland who has spent the past few years investigating what might be behind the link between the vaccine and narcolepsy.

If it is the reason for the spike in the disease, Partinen and other researchers think it may be because the adjuvant's strength boosted not just a good immune response but possibly an adverse one too.
[Read more...]

Compounding pharmacies have been linked to deaths, illnesses and safety failures for years (7 February 2013)
The Post reviewed hundreds of records, including lawsuits and Food and Drug Administration documents, and interviewed dozens of government and industry officials. The review found serious problems at three of 15 large-scale compounding pharmacies that dominate the industry. These multimillion-dollar companies mass-produce medications and ship them across state lines, often without individual patient prescriptions.

Three of the firms, in addition to the NECC, have experienced significant safety problems over the past decade that were tied to at least 39 illnesses. Two companies' missteps were linked to at least six deaths. The problems included medications that were too potent or laced with bacteria.

One of the three firms identified by The Post -- the California-based Central Admixture Pharmacy Services -- is under investigation at its Massachusetts facility by the FDA, according to industry and government officials.

Executives at CAPS, a pioneer and among the largest manufacturing-style compounders, declined to comment on the investigation, which has not been previously disclosed. Federal officials would not discuss the probe, which was triggered by their ongoing investigation of the NECC and a sister company, Ameridose.
[Read more...]

Breast-feeding is on the rise in America, CDC says (7 February 2013)
Good news for babies: The number of mothers breast-feeding is rising across America.

So says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a new report released Thursday. From 2000 to 2008, the proportion of mothers who breast-fed their infants rose from 70.3% to 74.6%. Even better, the proportion of mothers who were still breastfeeding after six months jumped from 34.5% to 44.4% during the same period.

Why is this good? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breast-feeding for a baby's first six months of life and continued breast-feeding for the second six months, along with solid foods. In a policy statement published last year, the academy credited breast milk with reducing the risk of serious colds, respiratory tract infections, pneumonia, ear infections, sudden infant death syndrome, type 1 diabetes, obesity, gastrointestinal tract infections and myriad other health problems.

Though the popularity of breast-feeding rose among all three racial and ethnic groups surveyed, the authors of the CDC report found that African Americans babies were much less likely than other babies to be breast-fed.
[Read more...]

Southern diet, fried foods, may raise stroke risk (7 February 2013)
Deep-fried foods may be causing trouble in the Deep South. People whose diets are heavy on them and sugary drinks like sweet tea and soda were more likely to suffer a stroke, a new study finds.

It's the first big look at diet and strokes, and researchers say it might help explain why blacks in the Southeast - the nation's "stroke belt" - suffer more of them.

Blacks were five times more likely than whites to have the Southern dietary pattern linked with the highest stroke risk. And blacks and whites who live in the South were more likely to eat this way than people in other parts of the country were. Diet might explain as much as two-thirds of the excess stroke risk seen in blacks versus whites, researchers concluded.

"We're talking about fried foods, french fries, hamburgers, processed meats, hot dogs," bacon, ham, liver, gizzards and sugary drinks, said the study's leader, Suzanne Judd of the University of Alabama in Birmingham.

People who ate about six meals a week featuring these sorts of foods had a 41 percent higher stroke risk than people who ate that way about once a month, researchers found.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: The racial breakdown is interesting, but the connection between stroke and fatty foods has been well-known for decades. Heart attacks are also linked to high fat foods, and in this case "fat" means the "bad" types of fat -- cholesterol, trans fats, and the cheaper oils heated to high temperatures for frying. Essential fatty acids, especially Omega-3 fatty acids, are actually "good fats" and provide health benefits.

Michael Moore asks citizens to stand up to Obama's 'dangerous' erosion of civil liberties (7 February 2013)
Michael Moore, the gadfly documentarian who has made a career out of fighting against conservative issues, has called for US citizens to stand up to President Barack Obama and back a court case he says is fighting a dangerous erosion of civil liberties.

The case has been brought against a little known piece of legislation called the National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA) which critics say has been changed to grant Obama the power to indefinitely detain American citizens without charge.

A group of activists, including Daniel Ellsberg -- the official who leaked the Pentagon papers about the Vietnam war -- and former New York Times journalist Chris Hedges have gone to court to get the language of the NDAA changed. On Wednesday an appeals court in New York heard arguments in the case and is set to render a judgement in the coming months.

Now Moore has come out swinging against the NDAA too, saying that the Obama White House is embarked on a plan to scrap vital civil rights that should concern every American citizen despite a relative lack of publicity about the case. "At the moment a lot of people think the NDAA does not look scary. But this sort of thing never looks scary at the start. But the American people will rue the day if they do not stop this," he told The Guardian in an interview.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: NDAA is "little known"? Not among the millions of people who fought that and other erosions of civil liberties under the BUSH administration. Obama and Congress should have reversed it once Bush left office, but of course any government is slow to give up power, gained legally or not.

Jail for journalist working on rape story in Somalia (7 February 2013)
The imprisonment of a Somali journalist and the conviction of a rape victim who told him her story have raised a storm of international protest with critics claiming the cases fly in the face of promises from the country's new government to safeguard human rights.

A court this week in the Somali capital of Mogadishu jailed Abdiaziz Abdinur, a contributor to The Monitor, for a year on charges including insulting the government and making false accusations -- even though he never published a story on the rape case. The 27-year-old woman he interviewed, who said she was raped by men wearing government uniforms in a camp for displaced people, was also convicted. Her 12-month sentence was suspended to allow her to nurse her newborn baby.

Both denied the charges and their supporters allege major problems with the police investigation and the judicial process.

Once known as the world's most failed state, the country now has a new constitution, a new administration, and new leaders who have been feted for their promises of reform. But the trial touched off widespread condemnation from around the world, including in the United States, which called the case a "litmus test" for Somalia's new government.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: They're basically telling their citizens to hunt and kill rapists themselves, because their government will never protect them from the most violent criminals.

WWF plans to use drones to protect wildlife (7 February 2013)
Conservation group WWF has announced plans to deploy surveillance drones to aid its efforts to protect species in the wild, as the South African government revealed that 82 rhinos had been poached there since the new year.

The green group says that by the end of the year, it will have deployed "eyes in the sky" in one country in Africa or Asia, with a second country following in 2014 as part of a $5m hi-tech push to combat the illegal wildlife trade.

A record 668 rhinos were killed by poachers in South Africa alone last year, and a single shipment of ivory seized in Malaysia in December weighed almost as much as all the illegally traded ivory since in 2011, which was itself a record year for seizures. And poachers have kept up their hit rate since the beginning of 2013, according to figures from the South African government. "The Kruger National Park remains the hardest hit by rhino poachers this year, having lost 61 rhino to mostly foreign poachers," a government spokesperson said. "Twenty-one poachers have been arrested, 14 of them in the Kruger National Park."

The criminal trade has become so serious that last year the US intelligence community were ordered to track poachers by then secretary of state Hillary Clinton, with a WWF report in December warning the multibillion dollar trade was now threatening national security in some countries.
[Read more...]

Manhunt: FAA orders media copters to leave Big Bear search area (7 February 2013)
Federal aviation authorities on Thursday ordered media helicopters to stay away from an area around Big Bear where authorities were intensifying their search for a former LAPD officer wanted in connection with a deadly shooting spree.

Earlier Thursday, law enforcement authorities had expressed concern that helicopter TV cameras were compromising officer safety by showing police as they combed the snow-covered mountains where Christopher Dorner, 33, is believed to have fled.

The temporary flight restriction was ordered by the Federal Aviation Administration and covered an area spanning three nautical miles on the surface to an elevation of 3,000 feet, said Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the agency in Los Angeles.

A pickup truck that was found burning Thursday was linked to Dorner, who allegedly has killed three people and wounded two others. Police found fresh tracks in the snow in the area Thursday afternoon as they hunted for the fugitive.
[Read more...]

Mountain manhunt for ex-cop accused of killing 3 (7 February 2013)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A fired police officer who threatened to bring "warfare" to the Los Angeles Police Department went on a shooting rampage that left a policeman and two others dead and set off an extraordinary manhunt that had three states and Mexico on alert for much of Thursday.

The search for Christopher Dorner led hair-trigger officers to mistakenly shoot at innocent citizens and forced police to guard their own.

But the focus of police efforts shifted Thursday afternoon to the snowy mountains around Big Bear Lake, about 80 miles east of Los Angeles, where police found Dorner's burned-out pickup truck and tracks leading away from the vehicle.

San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said 125 officers were going door to door and attempting to track the suspect, and that a SWAT team was providing added security to those in the community. Schools were put on lockdown while investigators examined the vehicle and spread out across the area.
[Read more...]

Federal Reserve hacked (6 February 2013)
"Exposure was fixed shortly after discovery and is no longer an issue. This incident did not affect critical operations of the Federal Reserve system," the spokeswoman said, adding that all individuals affected by the breach had been contacted.

The admission follows a claim that hackers linked to Anonymous struck the bank on Sunday. The technology news site ZDNet separately reported that Anonymous appeared to have published information said to containing the login information, credentials, internet protocol addresses and contact information of more than 4,000 US bankers.

The claim was made via Twitter using an account registered to OpLastResort, which is linked to Anonymous, which has claimed responsibility for attacks on other government and corporate sites.

OpLastResort is a campaign some hackers linked to Anonymous have started to protest against government prosecution of the computer prodigy Aaron Swartz, who killed himself on 11 January.

The bank declined to identify which website had been hacked. But information it provided to bankers indicated that the site, which was not public, was a contact database for banks to use during a natural disaster.
[Read more...]

CIA operating drone base in Saudi Arabia, US media reveal (6 February 2013)
The US Central Intelligence Agency has been operating a secret airbase for unmanned drones in Saudi Arabia for the past two years.

The facility was established to hunt for members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which is based in Yemen.

A drone flown from there was used in September 2011 to kill Anwar al-Awlaki, a US-born cleric who was alleged to be AQAP's external operations chief.

US media have known of its existence since then, but have not reported it.
[Read more...]

Internet users seeking more 'invisibility': study (6 February 2013)
Consumer efforts to protect personal data and remain "invisible" online is leading to a "data blackhole" that could adversely impact digital advertisers, technology research firm Ovum said Wednesday.

The move to seek "new tools that allow them to remain 'invisible' -- untraceable and impossible to target by data means" will impact advertisers who rely on that information to target their audiences, Ovum said.

Surveying consumers in 11 countries around the world, the research firm said 68 percent of respondents said they would select a "do not track" feature if this was easily available.

"This hardening of consumer attitudes, coupled with tightening regulation, could diminish personal data supply lines and have considerable impact on targeted advertising, customer relationship management, big data analytics and other digital industries," the London-based firm said in a statement.
[Read more...]

Congress' horse-and-buggy computer laws (6 February 2013)
Swartz was indicted in 2011 under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a 1984 law that has struggled to keep up with the times. It's been amended seven times and is more outdated than ever. The charges stemmed from his efforts to allegedly break into MIT's computer network and use it to download millions of academic articles kept by JSTOR, a nonprofit, fee-based service. Legitimate MIT users could access JSTOR articles for free. (JSTOR advocated dropping the case, but MIT did not.)

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, or CFAA, may be the worst of the statutes Congress has passed or debated as ways to address what is vaguely shoveled into a bin labeled "computer crime." But others are nearly as frightful. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA, of 1998 imposes excessive civil and criminal penalties for activities engaged in by many users of digital books, movies and music in the real world.

In 2011, Congress contemplated a bill called the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, which would have given the owners of supposedly pirated or counterfeited property nuclear-scale weapons to use against websites they didn't like, by allowing them to simply assert rights infringement to shut down a site. SOPA was derailed by an online campaign spearheaded by, among others, Aaron Swartz.

The three laws had much in common. They were written broadly, in a fruitless effort to "future-proof" them against new technologies. They imposed excessive penalties, on the reasoning that if a crime is bad, it's much worse when committed with these mysterious devices called computers. And they offered special interests such as copyright claimants, corporations facing trade competition, and media conglomerates opportunities to assert new legal rights they were denied in the world of old technologies.
[Read more...]

Democrats, others push for Medicaid expansion in Wisconsin budget (6 February 2013)
Up to 175,000 more people in Wisconsin could become eligible for Medicaid and the state could save nearly $66 million over three years under provisions of the federal health care law, a new report said.

The findings were included in a memo by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau and released by Democratic lawmakers when they unveiled legislation aimed at expanding the state's Medicaid health programs using money available through the federal Affordable Care Act.

Democrats and health care advocates gathered at the Capitol on Tuesday to urge Republican Gov. Scott Walker to include an expansion of the state's BadgerCare health care program as part of his budget proposal. The Democrats' bill would expand the program by changing Medicaid eligibility standards for the state and, in doing so, trigger federal funding. The federal health care law provides for initially covering the full cost of expanding Medicaid coverage for adults with incomes of up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level.

Democrats pointed to the fiscal bureau's memo, calling the Medicaid expansion a "deal" that would benefit Wisconsinites in need of health care.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: There's a waiting list in Wisconsin for those already eligible for Badger Care -- I don't see how making more people eligible will do anything but make the waiting list longer.

Albatross named Wisdom astounds scientists by producing chick at age 62 (6 February 2013)
She is described as awesome. And wonderful. And maybe a little weird. She is the world's oldest known living wild bird at age 62, and she produced a healthy chick that hatched Sunday.

It's pretty amazing that Wisdom, named by scientists who stuck a tag on her ankle years ago, has lived this long. The average Laysan albatross dies at less than half her age. Scientists thought that, like other birds, albatross females became infertile late in life and carried on without producing chicks.

But Wisdom, who hatched the chick at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the Pacific Ocean, defies comparison. Her feat could prompt scientists to chuck some of their early theories about the bird out the door.

Wisdom has raised chicks five times since 2006, and as many as 35 in her lifetime. Just as astonishing, she has likely flown up to 3 million miles since she was first tagged at Midway Atoll at the end of the Hawaiian Island chain in 1956, according to scientists who have tracked her at the U.S. Geological Survey. That's "4 to 6 trips from the Earth to the Moon and back again with plenty of miles to spare," the USGS said in an enthusiastic announcement Tuesday.
[Read more...]

Close cougar encounters in Banff spark Parks Canada warning (with graphic photo) (6 February 2013)
Cougars are highly elusive and prefer to avoid contact with people, so attacks on humans are rare. Banff's only cougar fatality was Frances Frost as she cross-country skied near Lake Minnewanka in 2001.

Michel said Parks Canada reminds residents and visitors that cougars are active on the landscape 12 months of the year and are travelling the outskirts of town.

He said people are urged to make noise, travel in groups, keep children close, leave iPods and head phones at home, and have dogs on leash at all times.

"The reality is wild spaces can start 100 metres from your back door in Banff and that's very different to people who live in downtown Calgary, where it's a different environment to here," said Michel.
[Read more...]

Lakes Michigan, Huron hit record low water level (5 February 2013)
Lake Michigan has officially sunk to an all-time low.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported Tuesday that in January the lake plunged below its previous record low level, set in March 1964.

The water is now more than 6 feet below the record high, set in October 1986. The water level is tracked by gauges placed around lakes Michigan and Huron, which are actually one body of water connected by the Straits of Mackinac. Daily measurements are then averaged at the end of each month for record-keeping purposes.

The lakes have recently been setting individual monthly records, but Tuesday's announcement means the lakes are now lower than they have ever been for any month since modern record-keeping began in 1918.

Hydrologists had been expecting the lakes to dip to a level never seen before, given the relatively warm and dry weather over the past year.

"Not only have water levels on Michigan-Huron broken records the past two months, but they have been very near record lows for the last several months before then," said John Allis, chief of the Army Corps' Great Lakes hydraulics and hydrology office.

"Lake Michigan-Huron's water levels have also been below average for the past 14 years, which is the longest period of sustained below-average levels since 1918."
[Read more...]

Study finds obesity can 'lead to lack of vitamin D' (5 February 2013)
Obesity can lower vitamin D levels in the body, a study suggests.

The report, in the journal PLOS Medicine, analysed genetic data from 21 studies - a total of 42,000 people.

It found every 10% rise in body mass index (BMI) - used as an indicator of body fat - led to a 4% drop of available vitamin D in the body.

As vitamin D is stored in fatty tissue, the authors suggest the larger storage capacity in obese people may prevent it from circulating in the bloodstream.

BMI it is calculated by taking weight (in kilograms) and dividing it by height (in metres) squared. Those with a BMI of 30 or above are considered obese.
[Read more...]

Armed gang rapes six Spanish tourists in Mexico (5 February 2013)
ACAPULCO--Six Spanish tourists were raped by a gang of armed, masked men in the Mexican resort of Acapulco, the latest chapter of violence that has tarnished the once-glamorous Pacific coast resort.

The attackers burst into a house the Spaniards had rented on the outskirts of Acapulco, in a low-key beachside area, and held 12 Spanish men and women and one Mexican woman at gunpoint before dawn on Monday.

They tied up the six men with phone cords and bathing suit straps and then raped the six Spanish women, said Acapulco Mayor Luis Walton at a press conference later Monday.

"This is a regrettable situation, and of course it is going to damage Acapulco," said Walton. The once-glittering resort that attracted movie stars and celebrities in the 1950s and 60s has already been battered by years of drug gang killings and extortions, but except for a very few incidents, the violence largely has not touched tourists.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: Suddenly that Mexican vacation doesn't sound so good.

The Violence Against Women Act: Gun Rights, Idle No More, and Why Most House Republicans Say Rape Is OK (5 February 2013)
And while it's never a good idea to compare tragedies, 2012 saw one of the biggest tragedies in recent times in the name of politics. See, 2012 was the year that rape ceased to be an undesirable activity--a crime of moral depravity--for most Republicans in the House of Representatives, and instead became a bargaining chip in a continued war against women. In fairness, Republican Representative Cole from Oklahoma, Representative Issa from California as well as Representatives Gosar, Ros-Lehtinen, and Don Young chose not to play these disgusting games. Now, it is up to us--everybody who thinks that women should not be raped--to contact all the House Republicans who are playing politics with rape (e.g. every one that isn't named above) and tell them that this isn't acceptable.


It is absolutely mind-numbing that anybody would be opposed to reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. Except rapists. Yeah, my guess is that 100% of rapists oppose the Violence Against Women Act. But other than rapists, it's hard to imagine why anybody would oppose a federal law that

• Strengthens penalties for repeat sex offenders and creates a federal "rape shield law," which prevents rapists from using survivors' past sexual conduct against them during rape trials;

• Mandates that survivors not bear the expense of their own rape exams or for service of a protection order;

• Keeps survivors safe by requiring that a victim's protection order will be recognized and enforced in all state, tribal, and territorial jurisdictions within the United States;
[Read more...]

FBI: Ala. man was in 'firefight' with SWAT agents (5 February 2013)
MIDLAND CITY, Ala. -- The Alabama man who held a 5-year-old boy captive for nearly a week engaged in a firefight with SWAT agents storming his underground bunker before he was killed during the rescue operation, the FBI said Tuesday night. Also, bomb technicians scouring his rural property found two explosive devices, one in the bunker, one in a plastic pipe that negotiators used to communicate with the man.

Officers killed 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes Monday, said an official in Midland City, speaking on condition of anonymity. The bunker raid came six days after Dykes boarded a school bus, fatally shot the driver and abducted the boy, who by all accounts was unharmed.

Dykes "reinforced the bunker against any attempted entry by law enforcement," FBI Special Agent Jason Pack said in an email. The devices found were "disrupted," Pack said, though he did not say whether that meant they were detonated or disarmed. Officers will continue Wednesday to sweep the 100-acre property and, when they finish, investigators can more thoroughly investigate, Pack said.
For days, officers passed food, medicine, toys and other items into the bunker, which was similar to a tornado shelter and apparently had running water, heat and cable television.
[Read more...]

Egyptian Women March Against Harassment On Wednesday (5 February 2013)
A number of women's rights groups and activists have called for a march against sexual harassment under the slogan "The Street is Ours" from Sayeda Zeinab to Tahrir Square on Wednesday.

In a statement, the feminist groups said that the march is a response to the increasing cases of sexual harassment and assaults on activists during protests that took place in the past two weeks as Egypt commemorated the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

"Egyptian women will not be intimated by terrorist attempts," the statement said, adding that women will not give up on their duty to struggle for rights and freedoms.

The groups, including the Nadeem Center, New Women's Association, Fouada Watch and Shoft Taharosh (I Saw Harassment), reaffirmed their solidarity with all victims of sexual harassment and group assaults.

The statement asked that investigations be conducted in cases of sexual harassment in order to bring those responsible to justice, calling for the support of civil political forces.
[Read more...]

Major paper firm vows to end rainforest cutting (5 February 2013)
Asia Pulp & Paper Co., seen as a major foreign rival that threatens the survival of Wisconsin paper mills, on Tuesday announced a self-imposed ban on cutting natural rainforest in Indonesia - a move that follows years of international complaints over the company's logging practices.

Much of the international pressure on APP originated because of forestry practices that were pioneered in Wisconsin, where the paper industry commanded a leading role over the past century in developing renewable approaches to tree farming that now are widely adopted by international paper mills and third-party environmental forestry certification groups.

While Wisconsin mills take pride in the "greenness" of their paper, some multinational companies and consumers have boycotted APP over allegations of destructive forestry. In recent years, APP lost major contracts to distributors like office supply chain Staples Inc., which feared "great peril to our brand." The Forest Stewardship Council, which certifies sustainable forestry, severed ties with APP, the only time the group has taken such an action. The Asian operations of Kimberly-Clark Corp. shuns APP "because the sustainability of the product is open to question."

Tuesday's announcement comes two months after APP was at the center of a Journal Sentinel special report, which examined how digital technologies and globalization threaten the existence of the paper industry in Wisconsin.

The report said APP is at the center of several major environmental and trade disputes. Wisconsin paper mills lobbied the U.S. International Trade Commission to impose tariffs on imports of APP paper in 2010. Wisconsin mills say APP forced the closure of at least one major Wisconsin mill and sells its imports at dumping prices.

APP is based in Indonesia, home of some of the world's largest rainforests, but its biggest pulp and paper mills are located in China, which overtook the U.S. as the world's biggest papermaker in 2009. APP is the biggest paper producer in China and the world's biggest maker of glossy coated paper used for magazines and catalogs - a grade of paper invented in Wisconsin. Wisconsin ranks as the biggest papermaking state in the U.S. while commercial forestry also remains a major industry in northern Wisconsin.
[Read more...]

Muzak, long known for 'elevator music', turns off (5 February 2013)
Mark Feb. 5, 2013, as the day the Muzak died.

Concord, Ont.-based Mood Media announced Tuesday it was pulling labels Muzak -- for decades, synonymous in pop culture with "elevator music" -- and DMX into one company, simply called Mood.

That's not to say that the days of easy listening rock remixes at the dentist's office or classical music in the elevator are over. Mood will still provide music to businesses. It just won't be Muzak anymore.

Randal Rudniski, Mood's vice president of investor relations, said it was a tough call to drop the brand name.
[Read more...]

An aspirin a day... causes blindness? (5 February 2013)
(NaturalNews) People who take aspirin regularly to reduce their risk of heart attacks and strokes are significantly more likely to suffer from age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the primary cause of blindness in the elderly. These are the findings of a study conducted by researchers from the University of Sydney and published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

The study was funded by the National Health & Medical Research Council Australia.

AMD is characterized by the gradual destruction of the macula, the central portion of the eye that is responsible for seeing objects clearly. It typically affects people aged 50 and older. AMD occurs in two primary forms: "dry" (or "geographic atrophy"), characterized by the gradual breakdown of macular cells and a resulting blurring of central vision, and "wet" (or "neovascular"), characterized by the leakage of blood and fluid into the macula from the blood vessels beneath. Only about 10 percent of AMD cases are wet, but those cases are much more severe.

Many people take aspirin daily in order to prevent cardiovascular symptoms such as heart attacks and strokes, because the drug is a potent blood thinner. Yet many studies have shown that regular aspirin use significantly increases the risk of both cerebral and gastrointestinal bleeding.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: Actually, this side effect of "the aspirin regimen" has been well-known for years, but it's good to see separate studies that confirm earlier findings. For medical consumers, the lesson here is that aspirin isn't entirely harmless. The pros and cons of any prescribed drug -- even over-the-counter, long-trusted drugs -- should be considered and reviewed with your health care practitioner.

Daniel Ellsberg: NDAA Indefinite Detention Provision is Part of "Systematic Assault on Constitution" (5 February 2013) [DemocracyNow.org]
AMY GOODMAN: The case is called Hedges v. Obama. A number of people are involved--Chris Hedges, the writer, who says if--you know, he's one of the--part of a team at The New York Times who won a Pulitzer Prize--

DANIEL ELLSBERG: He's pressed this case, to his great credit. I have great admiration for Hedges.

AMY GOODMAN: --says that if he is talking to someone who the United States deems terrorist, he could end up in jail himself, as a journalist. Noam Chomsky, Cornel West, you yourself, Dan Ellsberg, the premier whistleblower of this country.

DANIEL ELLSBERG: For talking to Jake Appelbaum, right here, who has been identified at one point, an earlier point, as a spokesperson from WikiLeaks. Bradley Manning right now is on trial in military court with the absurd and unconstitutional charge of aiding the enemy without any element of intent, merely that his information would get to Obama--I'm sorry, to Osama bin Laden or to al-Qaeda eventually, thus making it, in effect, a terrorist organization. But giving it to WikiLeaks is very like saying that WikiLeaks is the enemy he's aiding and affecting.

Now, simply by associating with Jake, whom I'm proud to do and I'm learning from, or supporting WikiLeaks or Manning as I do, it's very clear that my speech, my First Amendment activities in support of their activities, can be interpreted by the vague, broad terms of this unconstitutional 1021(b)(2) section of the National Defense Authorization Act as, quote, "substantial support to an organization associated with terrorism." These vague terms make it possible--really there's no one at this table who could be exempt from some informed official, who we've now learned has the power to defend--to condemn us to death. And, of course, if you can do that, I'm sure they can feel quite easy about simply putting us in military custody like Bradley Manning, even though we're not in the military.
[Read more...]

U.S. government slams S&P with $5 billion fraud lawsuit (5 February 2013)
(Reuters) - The government is seeking $5 billion in its civil lawsuit against Standard & Poor's, accusing the ratings service of defrauding investors, in one of the most ambitious cases yet from the Justice Department over conduct tied to the financial crisis.

The United States said S&P inflated ratings and understated risks associated with mortgage securities, driven by a desire to gain more business from the investment banks that issued those securities. S&P committed fraud by falsely claiming its ratings were objective, the lawsuit said.

"Put simply, this alleged conduct is egregious - and it goes to the very heart of the recent financial crisis," said Attorney General Eric Holder at a news conference in Washington announcing the charges.

The 119-page lawsuit, filed late Monday in federal court in Los Angeles, is the first from the government against a ratings agency, a sector that has generally shielded itself from liability by citing First Amendment protection of free speech.
[Read more...]

FDA on the verge of approving first bionic eye for the blind (5 February 2013)
After years of research, the first bionic eye has seen the light of day in the United States, giving hope to the blind around the world.

Developed by Second Sight Medical Products, the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System has helped more than sixty people recover partial sight, with some experiencing better results than others.

Consisting of 60 electrodes implanted in the retina and glasses fitted with a special mini camera, Argus II has already won the approval of European regulators. The US Food and Drug Administration is soon expected to follow suit, making this bionic eye the world's first to become widely available.

"It's the first bionic eye to go on the market in the world, the first in Europe and the first one in the US," said Brian Mech, the California-based company's vice president of business development.
[Read more...]

Agents in Alabama standoff used mock bunker and camera ahead of raid against captor Jimmy Lee Dykes (5 February 2013)
FBI agents in Alabama used a mock bunker and high-tech camera to prepare for the high-stakes rescue of a 5-year-old boy held hostage in a madman's underground hideout.

Details of the raid that led authorities to swoop in Monday and kill the boy's captor, Jimmy Lee Dykes, have been slow to emerge. But when talks with Dykes broke down, officials said, they decided it was necessary to remove the boy, identified as Ethan.

Aside from the mock bunker, agents lowered a camera into a ventilation pipe connected to the homemade shelter, ABC News reported.

The FBI had "eyes on (Dykes) the whole time," an official told CBS News.

Ethan was rescued unharmed during the daring mission, which took place two days before he turns 6. His grandmother, Betty Jean Ransbottom, said Tuesday that his family is worried the week-long ordeal may scar him mentally for the rest of his life.

Ethan was also taken to the hospital for a medical evaluation Monday, but hadn't yet talked about what happened to him inside the 8-foot-by-6-foot bunker.
[Read more...]

FBI: Ethan removed in raid of bunker that ended Midland City hostage crisis; neighbor reports hearing explosion, gunfire (video) (4 February 2013)
The Federal Bureau of Investigation also confirmed in a press conference this afternoon that the hostage-taker is dead.

At approximately 3:12 p.m., FBI agents raided Jimmy Lee Dykes' underground bunker and rescued Ethan, FBI Special Agent Steve Richardson, who is in charge of the Mobile FBI bureau, said.

"In the past 24 hours, negotiations deteriorated," he said, and Dykes was observed with a gun.

Believing that Ethan's life was in danger, FBI raided the bunker.

"The subject is deceased," Richardson confirmed.
[Read more...]

Sperm count low among couch potatoes, study finds (4 February 2013)
For those men who are looking to boost their sperm count, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health have some simple advice: drop the TV remote control and get to the gym.

A study published Monday in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that men who watched more than 20 hours of television a week had 44% lower sperm count than men who watched almost no television.

Researchers found too that men who engaged in moderate to vigorous exercise for 15 or more hours a week had 73% higher sperm count than men who exercised less than five hours per week.

The findings come amid claims from some scientists that sperm quality has declined among Western men in the last decades. Some say it may be due in part to a rise in sedentary lifestyles.
[Read more...]

Strom Thurmond's mixed-race daughter dies at 87 (4 February 2013)
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Essie Mae Washington-Williams, the mixed-race daughter of one-time segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond who kept her parentage secret for more than 70 years, has died. She was 87.

Vann Dozier of Leevy's Funeral Home in Columbia said Washington-Williams died Sunday. A cause of death was not given.

Washington-Williams was the daughter of Thurmond and his family's black maid. The identity of her famous father was rumored for decades in political circles and the black community. She later said she kept his secret because, "He trusted me, and I respected him."

Not until after Thurmond's death in 2003 at age 100 did Washington-Williams come forward and say her father was the white man who ran for president on a segregationist platform and served in the U.S. Senate for more than 47 years.
[Read more...]

For insurance exchanges, states need 'navigators' -- and hiring them is a huge task (4 February 2013)
Signing up an estimated 30 million uninsured Americans for coverage under the health-care law is shaping up to be, if not a bureaucratic nightmare, at the very least a daunting task.

While some people will find registering for health insurance as easy as booking a flight online, vast numbers who are confused by the myriad choices will need to sit down with someone who can walk them through the process.

Enter the "navigators," an enormous new workforce of helpers required under the law. In large measure, the success of the law and its overriding aim of making sure that virtually all Americans have health insurance depends on these people. But the challenge of hiring and paying for a new class of workers is immense and is one of the most pressing issues as the Obama administration and state governments implement the law.

Tens of thousands of workers will be needed -- California alone plans to certify 21,000 helpers -- with the tab likely to run in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
[Read more...]

Francophones are victims of 'soft ethnocide,' says report (4 February 2013)
MONTREAL--A report funded in part by the Parti Québécois says francophones across Canada are the victims of a soft ethnocide.

The study, unveiled Monday in Montreal, was conducted by a Quebec independence group with the help of partisan money from political parties -- including the PQ.

The Estates General on Quebec Sovereignty project is based on the input of 1,200 people in 13 regions across the province.

The report's authors say the research represents the first phase of the project. It identifies 92 ways in which the Canadian system hinders Quebec's development against the interests and values of Quebecers.
[Read more...]

Super Bowl ad brawl: SodaStream does what Sierra Club can't (4 February 2013)
Every year, I am drawn inexorably to the ads that play during the Super Bowl. Every year, when I am exposed to the stew of crude misogyny, cornpone nostalgia, martial sentiment, and the overweening assumption that all of life's meaningful moments are tied to commercial products, I despair for humanity. But there's always one or two that are interesting.

This year the most interesting ad, however, didn't run during the Super Bowl because CBS canned it. Here it is...
[Read more...]

Anesthesia, low potassium, stress cited in whooping crane's death (4 February 2013)
Last October, a young whooping crane known as #10 died at the University of Illinois-Urbana's Wildlife Clinic during surgery to repair her broken leg. The crane was one of six being trained by Operation Migration's ultra-light program to migrate from Wisconsin to Florida.

The USGS National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin, has since performed a necropsy to determine why the bird died during routine wildlife surgery.

According to Dr. Barry Hartup, Director of Veterinary Services at the International Crane Foundation, the broken leg was likely caused by a hard landing, possibly due to windy weather conditions. The crane suffered a severe fracture to her tibiotarsus bone below her knee, with the bone broken into multiple fragments. Hartup said that multiple fractures aren't uncommon with birds because their bones are hollow.

The crane's leg was successfully repaired in surgery but she suffered a pulmonary hemorrhage before the operation was complete, according to the necropsy report. The lung damage may have been a reaction to anesthesia gas, but Hartup noted that other cranes have survived surgery under anesthesia before, for example the University of Illinois had successfully operated on another whooping crane who had been hit by a plow.
[Read more...]

Kentucky Wetland Restoration Attracts Endangered Cranes (1 February 2013)
A wetland restoration project completed by USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service in Kentucky has attracted the fancy of a pair of endangered whooping cranes.

In early November, a pair of whooping cranes were discovered on a property in western Kentucky that was recently restoredwith NRCS' help. The restoration to bottomland hardwood wetlands included tree planting and the creation of shallow water areas for migratory wildlife on nearly 900 acres of former cropland that was put into a conservation easement.

The cranes have been residing on the conservation easement since December 2012, roosting and feeding in the shallow water areas. This is a significant sighting because by the 20th century, the majestic bird was nearly wiped out.

Before human interference, there were, it is believed, 15,000--20,000 whooping cranes in the U.S. But in the 1800s, the whooping crane population was drastically reduced by habitat loss and hunting, and by 1860 the birds were thought to number only about 1,400. In 1941, there were only 15 whoopers left in the entire country.
[Read more...]

Improv helps Disney worker save crane (31 January 2013)
The crane was hatched in 2012 at the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo and flew out of the Horicon nature preserve in November with a group of five birds.

Tussock was wearing a radio transmitter that allowed ICF staff to track her journey. Every five days, they received an email notification of her whereabouts.

"All the sudden we noticed she was hanging out someplace else on the edge of this urban development, which was unusual," said Anne Lacy, a research coordinator with ICF.

Supporters from a network called the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership volunteered to head toward the site and collect the injured bird.

But Baynes, an employee with Disney's Animal Kingdom outside Orlando, and his coworker, Scott Tidwell, forgot to pick up their crane costumes on the way out of town.
[Read more...]

Study debunks notion that men and women are psychologically distinct (4 February 2013)
A first-of-its-kind study to be published in the February issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology has dealt a devastating blow to the notion that men and women are fundamentally different when it comes to how they think and act.

"Although gender differences on average are not under dispute, the idea of consistently and inflexibly gender-typed individuals is," Bobbi J. Carothers of Washington University in St. Louis and Harry T. Reis of the University of Rochester explained in their study. "That is, there are not two distinct genders, but instead there are linear gradations of variables associated with sex, such as masculinity or intimacy, all of which are continuous."

Analyzing 122 different characteristics from 13,301 individuals in 13 studies, the researchers concluded that differences between men and women were best seen as dimensional rather than categorical. In other words, the differences between men and women should be viewed as a matter of degree rather than a sign of consistent differences between two distinct groups.

Numerous studies have examined gender differences between men and women. Carothers and Reis were able to find a whopping 3,370 articles on the topic in 2011 alone. The vast majority of the research examined the average differences between men and women. The research can easily be misinterpreted as finding that "Men are better at X" or "Women are worst at Y" -- ignoring the fact that the studies are comparing averages and contain variance.
[Read more...]

Everlasting love is a myth, author says (4 February 2013)
Here's the hard truth about love, just in time for the month where you can't get away from the fuzzy feeling: There is no such thing as everlasting love. Nor is it meant to endure, be unconditional or exclusive, says a new book which aims to shake up our long-held notions of love.

In fact, thinking of love in those terms could be a recipe for disaster and loneliness, says Barbara L. Fredrickson, a psychology professor from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, in her new book Love 2.0: How our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything we Feel, Think, Do and Become.

"Love is not sexual desire or the blood-ties of kinship," she writes in her new book released this week. "Nor is it a special bond or commitment" or something that you "can fall into or a year later, out of."

Instead, Fredrickson says love is made up of micro-moments of connection or positivity between people that can take place many times a day and occur between those in relationships, colleagues and even between strangers. These are the building blocks that make up love, she says.
[Read more...]

Vegetarians 'cut heart risk by 32%' (30 January 2013)
A study of 44,500 people in England and Scotland showed vegetarians were 32% less likely to die or need hospital treatment as a result of heart disease.

Differences in cholesterol levels, blood pressure and body weight are thought to be behind the health boost.

The findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Heart disease is a major blight in Western countries. It kills 94,000 people in the UK each year, more than any other disease, and 2.6 million people live with the condition.

The heart's own blood supply becomes blocked up by fatty deposits in the arteries that nourish the heart muscle. It can cause angina or even lead to a heart attack if the blood vessels become completely blocked.
[Read more...]

Meet the unlikely group that saved Timbuktu's priceless manuscripts (4 February 2013)
BAMAKO, MALI--The saving of Timbuktu's priceless manuscripts owes everything to the bravery of an unlikely group -- librarians.

The coalition of Tuareg separatists and Islamic militants who overran the city in northern Mali last April was just the latest in a series of foreign invaders to sweep into the fabled desert city, so the owners of Timbuktu's manuscripts did what they have always done -- they hid them.

Timbuktu was a centre of Islamic scholarship and trans-African trade in its medieval heyday but has gradually declined in the centuries that followed. The city's manuscripts are a unique treasure trove of scholarly information. Handwritten and many hundreds of years old, they are irreplaceable.

Each time foreign invaders threaten Timbuktu -- whether a Moroccan army in the 16th century, European explorers in the 18th, French colonialists in the 19th or Al Qaeda militants in the 21st -- the manuscripts disappear beneath mud floors, into cupboards, boxes, sacks and secret rooms, into caves in the desert or upriver to the safety of Mopti or Bamako, Mali's capital.
[Read more...]

On Rosa Parks' 100th Birthday, Recalling Her Rebellious Life Before and After the Montgomery Bus (4 February 2013) [DemocracyNow.org]
AMY GOODMAN: So, how does this moment happen? Actually, as you point out in the book, it wasn't the first time Rosa Parks sat down on the bus and refused to get up. But explain what was different, when she tried it the first time and when she tried it in 1955.

JEANNE THEOHARIS: So there's a--right, as you mention, there is a longer history of bus resistance in Montgomery. There had been numerous cases sort of in the decade after World War II, before her arrest in '55, of people getting arrested on the bus. And she's very familiar with many of these cases, so she knows what can happen. A neighbor of hers in 1950 is arrested, thrown off the bus and killed by police. The young Claudette Colvin, in March of 1955, is manhandled by police when she is arrested for her refusal to move. Parks herself had made various stands on the bus. She abhorred the practice that many bus drivers insisted on, where black people would have to pay in the front, get off the bus, and reboard in the back of the bus. And she refused to do that. She had been kicked off the bus by this very same bus driver a decade earlier for refusing to do that. She had had trouble with other bus drivers. She describes some bus driver passing her by because he didn't--you know, he felt like she was a trouble--you know, she raised trouble. So she had this sort of history of bus resistance. There is this larger history of bus resistance in Montgomery. And then we get to December 1st, 1955.

One other thing is, that summer in August, she had gone for a two-week workshop to Highlander Folk School. They were having a workshop on school desegregation. This is 1955. So, we have the historic decision in 1954, Brown v. Board of Education, but then the Supreme Court comes back in '55, right, and refuses to put a timetable on it, right? It's the historic words: "with all deliberate speed." And so, activists, like Parks, like Myles Horton and Septima Clark, who were running the Highlander workshops at the time--
[Read more...]

NYPD surveillance of Muslims violates anti-spying rules, lawsuit claims (4 February 2013)
The New York police department's surveillance of the city's Muslim community violates longstanding rules drawn up to prevent spying and harassment of political activists in the 1960s and 70s, according to a legal challenge filed on Monday.

Civil rights lawyers say such "widespread and intense" surveillance has created a climate of fear, and stigma among Muslims living in New York. They are now seeking a court injunction against the NYPD's ability to instigate investigations into Muslims without evidence of crimes and for a judge to appoint an independent monitor to oversee its counter-terrorism efforts.

Lawyers describe NYPD surveillance of Muslims -- first revealed by an Associated Press investigation -- as an "all-encompassing dragnet" for intelligence, based on the false assumption that "conservative Muslim beliefs and participation in Muslim organisations are themselves bases for investigation."

They cite a series of AP reports about a small counter-terrorism unit within the investigations department, known as the Demographics Unit, later the Zone Assessment Unit, dedicated to infiltrating Muslims in Greater New York. The lawyers said NYPD officers used intrusive methods to routinely monitor restaurants, bookstores and mosques, and created dossiers of innocent conversations without any evidence of criminal activity.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: How "NYPD" == harassing religious people is SO much more important than catching the numerous rapists and murderers running loose in the city.

Reports: Sheriff says 'Sniper' author and ex-SEAL Kyle killed at Texas range with another man (3 February 2013)
Witnesses told sheriff's investigators that a gunman opened fire on the men around 3:30 p.m. Saturday, then fled in a pickup truck belonging to one of the victims, according to the Star-Telegram. The newspapers said a 25-year-old man was later taken into custody in Lancaster, southeast of Dallas, and that charges were expected.

Lancaster police did not immediately return calls for comment.

The motive for the shooting was unclear.

Kyle wrote the best-selling book, "American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History," detailing his 150-plus kills of insurgents from 1999 to 2009.

Kyle was sued by former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura over a portion of the book that claims Kyle punched Ventura in a 2006 bar fight over unpatriotic remarks. Ventura says the punch never happened and that the claim by Kyle defamed him.
[Read more...]

Ramarley Graham's family sues NYPD on anniversary of teen's shooting death (3 February 2013)
After shooting dead an unarmed teenager in his bathroom, a New York City police officer threatened to kill the boy's distraught grandmother, a newly filed lawsuit alleges.

Filed Friday, a day before the one-year anniversary of the death of 18-year-old Ramarley Graham, the suit accuses the NYPD of improperly training its officers, disproportionately targeting minority youth through its controversial stop and frisk practices and covering up the facts surrounding the death.

The suit names police officer Richard Haste, the man responsible for shooting Graham, as well as NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly and a number of other officers as defendants.

Haste was charged with first and second degree manslaughter in June. He is the first serving NYPD officer to face criminal charges for a fatal shooting since 2006. The four-year veteran of the force faces a maximum of sentence of 25 years in prison if convicted. He has pleaded not guilty.
[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 © 2013 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.)