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Click to visit VeggieCooking.com NEWS LINK ARCHIVE 2012

News from the Week of 11th to 17th of August 2013

In California, getting food stamps is no picnic (17 August 2013)
WASHINGTON -- It was not surprising that Texas held out.

For years, Texas was among a handful of states that required every resident seeking help with grocery bills to first be fingerprinted, an exercise typically associated with criminals.

Even though Republican Gov. Rick Perry ultimately got rid of the policy, Texas -- always seeking to whittle down "big government" -- remains one of the most effective states at keeping its poor out of the giant federal food stamp program.

But it is not No. 1. That distinction belongs to California.

Liberal California discourages eligible people from signing up for food stamps at rates conservative activists elsewhere envy. Only about half of the Californians who qualify for help get it.

That stands in contrast to other states, including some deeply Republican ones, that enroll 80% to 90% of those with incomes low enough to qualify.
[Read more...]

Government officially acknowledges existence of Area 51, but not the UFOs (17 August 2013)
"Your honor, there is no name," an Air Force attorney told a federal judge in 1995. "There is no name for the operating location near Groom Lake."

The hearing was part of an environmental poisoning case brought by Area 51 workers who said that they had been sickened by exposure to toxic chemicals -- including anti-radar coatings and other classified materials -- burned in open pits on the base.

For years, those workers commuted from Vegas to Area 51, also known as "the Ranch." Some of them died after developing strange rashes and respiratory problems.

The men could tell no one what they did; they had signed national-security oaths barring any disclosures about the black-budget facility, where the stealth bomber also was tested. But some became plaintiffs in a case against the government brought by George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley.

That case brought me to Area 51 in 1997. I had hoped to see the base from afar. From certain vantage points, I'd heard that it might appear, suitably, like a mirage.
[Read more...]

Princess Diana death: Scotland Yard studying new information (17 August 2013)
The Metropolitan police are to assess new information about the deaths of Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed in a road crash in Paris in 1997.

Scotland Yard did not elaborate on the information, or its source, but Sky News said it had come from the former parents-in-law of a former soldier and had been passed on by the Royal Military police.

The information, which is thought to include the allegation that the Princess of Wales, Fayed and their driver Henri Paul were killed by a member of the British military, will be assessed by officers from the Specialist Crime and Operations Command.

The force said in a statement on Saturday night that it was studying information into the deaths that it had recently received and was "assessing its relevance and credibility".

"This is not a reinvestigation and does not come under Operation Paget," it said, referring to the police investigation into previous allegations of murder, led by former Met police commissioner Lord Stevens, which reported back in December 2006. It rejected claims of murder and said Paul had been drinking and was driving too fast. Diana, Fayed and their chauffeur were killed when their car crashed in a road tunnel while being pursued by photographers, after the couple left the Ritz hotel on 31 August 1997.
[Read more...]

Africa's Largest Hydroelectric Project May Hit the Rocks (17 August 2013)
Johannesburg/Lubumbashi -- There are big aspirations for Africa's largest hydroelectric project, the Inga III that is set to be built in the Democratic Republic of Congo. But analysts are sceptical that such an ambitious project will ever be realised.

In May, Congolese Minister of Energy Bruno Kapandji made the announcement that the project was moving forward, adding that that Inga III would generate 4,800 megawatts (MW). The project will be constructed on the site of two existing dams on the lower Congo River in western DRC. It will be built on one of the largest waterfalls in the world, the Inga Falls, where the Congo River drops almost a hundred metres and flows at an enormous speed of 43 cubic metres per second. South Africa is both a partner in and the major client of the project.

Independent economist Ian Cruickshanks praised the vision behind Inga III, but expressed concerns about whether it would ever go ahead.

"The potential of this project is enormous and exciting and could make a huge difference to sub-Saharan Africa," he told IPS.
[Read more...]

Al-Jazeera set to tackle U.S. market with 'long-form reporting of stories' ignored by mainstream media (17 August 2013)
With a cast of TV news stars, deep pockets and an ambitious agenda, Al-Jazeera launches its US news channel on Tuesday, aiming to shake up the broadcast journalism market stateside.

The US cable channel will reach more than 40 million households and vastly expands the footprint of the Qatar-based media group, despite questions about how it will be received by American viewers.

Al-Jazeera America's audience is likely to start out small, but its bosses hope to have a big impact when it competes against already established brands such as CNN, MSNBC and Fox News.

Americans will be able to get 14 hours of news, documentary and discussion programming daily, and updates at the top of every hour 24 hours each day. But the selling point will be long-form reporting of stories overlooked by other news organizations.
[Read more...]

Naturally Grown: An alternative label to organic (17 August 2013)
SCHAGHTICOKE, N.Y. -- Justine and Brian Denison say they adhere to all the growing practices required for organic certification, yet if they label their beans and tomatoes "organic" at the farmer's market, they could face federal charges and $20,000 or more in fines.

Because the Denisons chose not to seek organic certification by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Denison Farm, which has been under organic management for more than 20 years, is banned from using that term. So they and hundreds of other small direct-marketing farms across the country have adopted an alternative label: Certified Naturally Grown.

Started by a group of organic farmers in New York's mid-Hudson Valley as a backlash against federal takeover of the organic program in 2002, Certified Naturally Grown has expanded over the past decade to include more than 700 farms in 47 states, executive director Alice Varon said.

"Certified Naturally Grown is tailored for direct-market farmers producing food without any synthetic chemicals specifically for their local communities," Varon said. "It's a particular niche of the agricultural world. It's not in direct competition with the national organic program."

Many small farmers previously certified organic by an independent organization have declined to participate in the federal program. They voice a variety of objections: extensive record-keeping requirements; fees that can amount to 6 percent of a small farm's gross sales; and philosophical objections to joining a monolithic government-run program that also certifies huge operations that ship produce across the country.
[Read more...]

Police tell victims: Call 911 and you'll get evicted under 'nuisance' laws (17 August 2013)
In Pennsylvania and other states, police can force landlords to evict tenants who officers consider to be a nuisance. According to the New York Times, under so-called "nuisance property" laws, individuals like domestic violence victim Lakisha Briggs of Norristown, PA can be told by police that if they call 911 one more time, they'll be forced out of their homes.

The nuisance ordinances are intended to protect residential neighborhoods from rowdy, disruptive households, but in cases like Briggs', they can leave victims of violence in an impossible situation, needing to call for help, but knowing it could cost them their home. Under the laws, officials can bring pressure to bear on landlords to evict a tenant if they've been called to a rental property more than three times in a four month period.

Briggs, 34, said that her violent, volatile ex-boyfriend showed up at her house at the beginning of summer 2012, fresh out of jail from their last fight, demanding to move in.

"If I called the police to get him out of my house, I'd get evicted," she told the Times. "If I physically tried to remove him, somebody would call 911 and I'd be evicted."
[Read more...]

Abdominal fat stores found to be a trigger for heart disease and cancer development (17 August 2013)
(NaturalNews) There is a well established cause and effect relationship between overweight and obesity, specifically abdominal fat stores and the development of cardiovascular disease and many types of cancer. Recent research studies have shown that belly fat is not metabolically inert, but actively promotes the secretion of many powerful hormones such as cortisol that not only make it more difficult to lose body weight, but also promote systemic inflammation that raise the risk for heart failure, cardiovascular diseases and DNA aberrations that help cancer cells to grow and metastasize.

A team of Swedish researchers publishing the results of their work in the journal PLOS Medicine have found that adding just a few extra pounds can raise the risk of heart failure by seventeen percent. Prior studies have failed to determine whether obesity was the cause or just a marker of a separate underlying cause. Scientists in this study used a new technique to examine obesity and determine if being overweight is a valid trigger of cardiovascular disease.

Researchers conclude that overweight and obesity is a direct cause of cardiovascular disease and cancer
Dr. Tove Fall, lead study researcher at the Department of Medical Sciences and the Science for Life Laboratory at Uppsala University commented "We knew already that obesity and cardiovascular disease often occur together... in this study we found that individuals with gene variants that lead to increased body-mass index also had an increased risk of heart failure and diabetes." Researchers studied more than 200,000 individuals for a gene variant that controls appetite and can raise a person's BMI, commonly associated with several cardiovascular diseases and metabolism.

The study team found that an increase of only one unit of BMI raises the risk of developing heart failure and cardiac dysfunction by an average of twenty percent. Further, the researchers determined that obesity leads to higher blood pressure, higher insulin levels, worse cholesterol values, increased inflammation markers, and raised the risk of diabetes. Dr. Fall concluded "we can now confirm what many people have long believed, that increased BMI contributes to the development of heart failure."
[Read more...]

Va. first lady bought stock in Star Scientific (17 August 2013)
Maureen McDonnell, the first lady of Virginia, twice purchased thousands of shares of stock in Star Scientific, a spokesman for McDonnell's legal team confirmed Friday night. The stock was bought and held in the same time frame that she and Gov. Robert F. McDonnell were taking steps to promote the dietary supplement company.

Spokesman Rich Galen said the first lady did not inform the governor either time she purchased stock, which Galen said she bought for herself and her children.

McDonnell's relationship with Jonnie R. Williams Sr., the chief executive of Star Scientific, is now at the center of ongoing federal and state investigations.

The relationship has been the subject of intense public scrutiny for months, but this is the first indication that the governor's family held a personal financial stake in the success of the struggling supplement company.

[Read more...]

Feds: Tennessee Cop Used Patrol Car Computer To Surf For Kiddie Porn While On Duty (16 August 2013)
A Tennessee law enforcement officer is facing child pornography charges after investigators discovered the man was using the computer in his police cruiser to search for lewd pictures of young girls.

According to a criminal complaint filed yesterday in U. S. District Court, a Greeneville Police Department officer discovered that the search history of the web browser for the computer in the patrol car he was assigned had been used to search for illicit images.

A forensic review of the computer hard drive turned up "image searches utilizing key words 'fifth grade girls,' 'naked middle school girls,' 'young puffy nipples,' and 'hot high school girls naked'" revealing "thousands of pornographic images" on the computer's hard drive and--of those--"eighty images of child pornography."

Investigators were able to link the searches to Herbert Eugene Miller, an auxiliary officer with the Greeneville Police Department, who was assigned the patrol car on July 27 at the time the browser searches took place. According to FBI Agent Bianca Pearson, Miller, 44, worked an overnight shift--taking a break from his web surfing for a half hour when the part-time cop, along with two other officers in separate cars, responded to a call that had come into dispatch at 1:40 AM.
[Read more...]

Saving the world at Plutonium Mountain (16 August 2013)
IN KURCHATOV CITY, Kazakhstan - Last October, at the foot of a rocky hillside near here, at a spot known as Degelen Mountain, several dozen Kazakh, Russian and American nuclear scientists and engineers gathered for a ceremony. After a few speeches, they unveiled a three-sided stone monument, etched in English, Russian and Kazakh, which declared:

"1996-2012. The world has become safer."

The modest ribbon-cutting marked the conclusion of one of the largest and most complex nuclear security operations since the Cold War. The secret mission was to secure plutonium -- enough to build a dozen or more nuclear weapons -- that Soviet authorities had buried at the testing site years before and forgotten, leaving it vulnerable to terrorists and rogue states.

The effort spanned 17 years, cost $150 million and involved a complex mix of intelligence, science, engineering, politics and sleuthing. This account is based on documents and interviews with Kazakh, Russian and U.S. participants, and reveals the scope of the operation for the first time. The effort was almost entirely conceived and implemented by scientists and government officials operating without formal agreements among the nations involved. Many of these scientists were veterans of Cold War nuclear-testing programs, but they overcame their mistrust and joined forces to clean up and secure the Semipalatinsk testing site, a dangerous legacy of the nuclear arms race.
[Read more...]

Search mission locates US bombs dropped on Great Barrier Reef (16 August 2013)
A joint US-Australian search mission has located the four undetonated bombs that were dropped on to the Great Barrier Reef marine park in a botched military drill last month.

The Department of Defence said the royal Australian navy's mine-hunter HMAS Gascoyne had located all of the ordnance on Friday.

The Australian navy will now help the US navy's USS Germantown retrieve the bombs.

A Defence spokeswoman couldn't confirm to Guardian Australia exactly when the retrieval would take place, but that it would depend on weather and environmental considerations.

The bombs were dropped into the sea by US aircraft that had run dangerously low on fuel. The aircraft were trying to bomb a small island in the Great Barrier Reef marine park in a drill conducted ahead of Talisman Saber, a biannual US-Australian training exercise that includes various war games.
[Read more...]

How to let go of painful, negative relationships (16 August 2013)
This is exactly what we do. We set ourselves up for rejection and pain, then insist that it should not be happening or that we can change the other person. Some people repeat this pattern for a lifetime. I've done my share of this.

Seeking the approval of negative people can be an emotional addiction. It approaches insanity in many cases. I know this addictive path intimately, as I walked it for decades with my older brother.

My brother and I are not close and never have been, even when we shared a room as children. As the younger brother, I sought his approval in a thousand ways, trying to emulate him so he would like me. It never happened.

As an adult, I soldiered on, but still never got the approval I was seeking. Yet, I insisted on trying. It felt like my duty.
[Read more...]

Tribe votes to end alcohol ban on Pine Ridge Reservation (15 August 2013)
(Reuters) - Oglala Sioux Tribe members have voted to end a widely ignored prohibition on alcohol at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, one of the poorest areas in the United States.

Tribe members voted 1,871 to 1,679 to end prohibition on the expansive reservation, spokeswoman Toni Red Cloud said on Wednesday.

Pine Ridge Reservation was established in 1889 and has prohibited the possession, sale and consumption of alcohol for all but a brief period in the early 1970s. The tribal council must decide next how to regulate alcohol in the community.

Voting in the special referendum on Tuesday was closely divided and unofficial results on the first night had shown a 151-vote margin in favor of lifting the ban. An election committee sorted hundreds of challenge ballots on Wednesday.

Challenge ballots could be cast if a member lacked proper identification at the polls, were voting in a different precinct from their registration or for other reasons.
[Read more...]

'Typhoid Mary' Mystery May Have Been Solved At Last, Scientists Say (17 August 2013)
"To all outward appearances, she was perfectly healthy," study co-author Dr. Denise Monack, associate professor of immunology and microbiology at Stanford University, said in a written statement.

Monack and her research team infected mice with a strain of salmonella, and found that, the bacteria were able to "wait out" the body's aggressive immune response before they then positioned themselves in the immune cells that became less aggressive at later stages of infection.

"There aren't a ton of pathogens that hang out in macrophages," Monack told the Los Angeles Times, adding that the bacterium behind tuberculosis is another.

So if that's where the nasty germ hangs out, how does it survive and go unnoticed? The researchers found that a protein known as PPAR-delta was required for salmonella to replicate inside the macrophages and "hack" them.

"Salmonella is doing something to activate PPAR-delta," Monack said in the statement. "We suspect it's releasing some as-yet-unknown PPAR-delta-stimulating virulence factor into the macrophages it infects. If we can figure out what that is, it could lead to some great anti-salmonella therapeutics with relatively fewer side effects."
[Read more...]

Decline in child obesity linked to motivation and means (17 August 2013)
"Changes are really hard," said Dr. Julie Boman, a pediatrician at Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. "But for younger kids, if their parents are motivated, they can do a lot."

The share of low-income preschoolers in Minnesota who are obese declined from 13.4 percent in 2008 to 12.6 percent in 2011, according to a much-anticipated report released last week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Minnesota was one of 19 states or U.S. territories to show such progress, after two decades of rising national obesity rates.

Experts believe the decline reflects public health efforts -- such as the program that served the Diaz family -- which have caught up with the desire in many families to adopt healthier lives.

Minnesota has invested millions of dollars since 2009 in community health improvement efforts -- from "walking bus" and healthy snack programs in schools, to recreational trails and bike paths. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota has sponsored ads that use a touch of shame to motivate parents to fight childhood obesity. Hospitals have increased promotion of breast-feeding, in part because research links it to lower rates of childhood obesity.
[Read more...]

NSA revelations of privacy breaches 'the tip of the iceberg' -- Senate duo (16 August 2013)
Two US senators on the intelligence committee said on Friday that thousands of annual violations by the National Security Agency on its own restrictions were "the tip of the iceberg."

"The executive branch has now confirmed that the rules, regulations and court-imposed standards for protecting the privacy of Americans' have been violated thousands of times each year," said senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, two leading critics of bulk surveillance, who responded Friday to a Washington Post story based on documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

"We have previously said that the violations of these laws and rules were more serious than had been acknowledged, and we believe Americans should know that this confirmation is just the tip of a larger iceberg."

On July 31, Wyden, backed by Udall, vaguely warned other senators in a floor speech that the NSA and the director of national intelligence were substantively misleading legislators by describing improperly collected data as a matter of innocent and anodyne human or technical errors.

In keeping with their typically cautious pattern when discussing classified information, Wyden and Udall did not provide details about their claimed "iceberg" of surveillance malfeasance. But they hinted that the public still lacks an adequate understanding of the NSA's powers to collect data on Americans under its controversial interpretation of the Patriot Act.
[Read more...]

NSA Violated Surveillance Rules Thousands of Times, Intercepted All 202 Area Code Calls By Accident (16 August 2013) [DemocracyNow.org]
ALEX ABDO: It's truly shocking that the NSA is violating these surveillance laws thousands of times every year--effectively, about seven times a day--in part because these laws are extraordinarily permissive. These aren't laws that impose meaningful constrictions on the NSA. They essentially allow the NSA to collect vast quantities of information about Americans' communications inside the United States and as we communicate internationally. So the fact that they're violating these very permissive laws is truly shocking.

But I think, even more fundamentally, the disclosures really undermine the intelligence community's primary defense of these programs, which is that they are heavily regulated and overseen. We now know that that's simply not true. Congress has not been able to effectively oversee the NSA's surveillance machinery. Now we know that the FISA court, the secret court that's charged with overseeing the NSA, is not able to and, in its own words, doesn't think it has the capacity to effectively oversee the NSA. So, for all of these years, the government has been claiming this is a regulated surveillance complex, and in fact the fox has been guarding the hen house for far too long, and it needs to stop.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, but even with these revelations, government officials seem to indicate that these are not deliberate violations but inadvertent problems in terms of how they're gathering and sifting data, and that they're relatively small compared to the huge volume of what they're actually doing. Do you buy that argument?

ALEX ABDO: Well, the NSA has, for the past months in defending these programs, used word games when it talks about the consequences of these policies for Americans' privacy. They use words like "targeted," "incidental" and "inadvertent" to really obscure what's going on. And the fact of the matter is that these laws allow the government to listen in on Americans' phone calls and to read Americans' emails in an extraordinary number of circumstances, and the government has not been forthcoming about that authority, and they're not being forthcoming now when they suggest that these violations are minimal. These are thousands of violations every year, and each violation could affect hundreds or even thousands of Americans. But we still don't have the basic facts to have that debate.
[Read more...]

Hannah Anderson a victim, even with calls, letters, officials say (16 August 2013)
Although search warrants in the Hannah Anderson case revealed extensive communication between the 16-year-old and the man who allegedly kidnapped her after killing her mother and brother, San Diego County sheriff's officials maintained Friday that they still considered the teen a victim.

San Diego County sheriff's spokeswoman Jan Caldwell said the department's investigation was ongoing and declined to comment on the specifics of the search warrants released this week.

But she reiterated previous comments from Sheriff Bill Gore, who said Hannah "was not a willing participant."

"As Sheriff Gore said earlier in the week, Hannah is a victim in every sense of the word," Caldwell said in an email. "Our follow-up investigation has not changed that sentence."
[Read more...]

Did an 8-Year-Old Spy for America? U.S. Drone Killed Yemeni Man After Boy Planted Tracking Chip (16 August 2013) [DemocracyNow.org]
AMY GOODMAN: Who were the allies that got the little boy to plant this chip?

GREGORY JOHNSEN: Well, this is Yemeni intelligence. This is the Republican Guard. These are the people that the U.S. works with on the ground. And the reason I think this is so important is because we often talk about drones as this amazing piece of technology, and we all know, from reporting that people like Jeremy Scahill and others have done, that the U.S. has been carrying out strikes in Yemen for the past three-and-a-half years, and drones are something that the U.S. continues to argue are this scalpel-like approach which we can go and get only the bad guys and no one else. The problem with that is that drones are a dependent piece of technology, which means they rely on intelligence from the ground. And the U.S. is very, very weak in human intelligence on the ground in places like Yemen, so they often rely on partners like Yemeni intelligence, like Saudi intelligence, and these groups don't have the same moral and ethical framework that we often take for granted. And so, the U.S. is really getting into bed with some very questionable people here.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And the whole issue of Yemen's track record in terms of using children in war, in combat?

GREGORY JOHNSEN: Right. This is something that the State Department documents every year in its Trafficking in Persons Report. And, in fact, in 2008, Congress passed a law, the Child Soldier Prevention Act. And this has been--this is a law that's been in effect since 2010. And basically what it says it that any country that the U.S. designates as using children in conflict, the U.S. cannot then provide military training, and they can't provide military weapons. Now, this is something that impacts a lot of different countries, but President Obama, for the past three years, has signed--each and every year that the law has been in effect, he's signed a waiver exempting Yemen from that. And Yemen is the only country in the world that's received a waiver each and every year, a full waiver.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: So, in essence, that waiver then allows Yemen to do something like they did in this case and employee an eight-year-old boy.

GREGORY JOHNSEN: Right, so there's a little bit of willful ignorance going on. So the U.S. is aware that Yemen uses children in conflict, but Yemen is also very important for counterterrorism. And so, this is one of those issues where an ethical and a moral claim comes up against what the U.S. considers to be a security claim, and the U.S., on this side, has decided, "Well, we know Yemen does this, but we'll sign a waiver, and we'll continue to support them, because Yemen is such an important country in our fight against al-Qaeda, in our fight against terrorism."
[Read more...]

Chris Christie approves medical marijuana for children -- conditionally (+video) (16 August 2013)
In a politically difficult decision, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie -- for now, at least -- has said he would allow the use of medical marijuana by children.

With certain conditions, he has approved a bill that would give chronically ill children easier access to some marijuana products for medical purposes. But he also stipulated that a psychiatrist and a pediatrician would have to give their approval first -- something not included in the measure he sent back to the state legislature.

Especially for a Republican governor soon facing reelection -- and frequently mentioned as one among an increasing number of 2016 GOP presidential hopefuls -- Governor Christie has to carefully balance such issues.

Marijuana -- recreational or medical -- can be tricky for ambitious conservatives navigating the differences between party factions. Public attitudes are shifting in the direction of legalization with voters in Colorado and Washington State recently approving pot's recreational use. This weekend -- just as Christie was announcing his decision on another issue involving marijuana -- a three-day "Hempfest" marijuana festival was kicking off in Seattle.
[Read more...]

Juan González Remembers Pioneering NYC Political Strategist Bill Lynch (16 August 2013) [DemocracyNow.org]
AMY GOODMAN: And, Juan, it's great to have you back from Puerto Rico. Their loss is our gain. So, yesterday, though, you went to the funeral of Bill Lynch here in New York. For those who might not know who he is, can you talk about who Bill Lynch is?

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Yeah, well, Bill Lynch was really an icon of the progressive Democrats of New York City now for more than 30 years. He was the behind-the-scenes guy who organized campaigns and trained political candidates. And at the memorial service at the Riverside Church, which was packed with hundreds of people and included all the luminaries of New York politics and also both Bill and Hillary Clinton, as well as Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Congressman Rangel, it was a--Winston Marsalis played "Amazing Grace" at the funeral. It was an emotional farewell to a figure who really burst on the scene in 1989 when he masterminded the political campaign of David Dinkins as the first African-American mayor of New York City, but who also was constantly putting forward progressive candidates. His most recent candidate in this mayoral race was John Liu, probably the most progressive of all the candidates, and he helped Liu become city comptroller four years ago.

AMY GOODMAN: And also was involved with President Mandela of South Africa.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Yes, and he organized the trip of Nelson Mandela to New York City, once--shortly after Mandela got out of jail. So he's been a major figure, but always a behind-the-scenes person. He was never in the limelight, but always nurturing young African Americans, Latinos, Asians and progressive whites to run for political office in New York City.
[Read more...]

Pennsylvania voter ID law blocked again in court (16 August 2013)
Philadelphia (Reuters) -- An appellate court on Friday ruled that Pennsylvania will once again be prohibited from enforcing its controversial voter identification law at the polls in November.

Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley issued an injunction that prohibits use of the law at the general election on November 5 and also stops poll workers from telling voters they may have to produce identification in future elections, according to the court's website.

The November election will be the third election in which the law was blocked from being used since the measure was passed in March 2012, by a Republican-led legislature.

Supporters have said the law is aimed at ensuring that only those legally eligible to vote cast ballots. Critics have said it is designed to keep minority voters, who typically vote Democratic, away from the polls. Similar debates have stoked controversy in other states.
[Read more...]

Tyson Foods announces it will stop buying meat cattle raised on cruel Zilmax drug (16 August 2013)
(NaturalNews) Though clearly a move to protect its own profits rather than safeguard public health, industrial meat processor Tyson Foods Inc. nonetheless announced recently that it will no longer accept for processing cattle that have been treated with the growth-accelerating drug, Zilmax. According to reports, the company has recognized not only that cattle fed the Merck & Co. drug often suffer immense pain due to excessive weight gain, but also that many export countries like Russia and China do not want meat that contains any trace of the controversial substance.

The decision comes just months after rival Smithfield Foods, which is currently in the process of being acquired by a Chinese holding firm, decided to phase out the use of ractopamine, a similar growth-accelerating drug, in pigs following bans on the drug in both China and Russia. According to Reuters, Tyson's announcement follows a similar lead, as Zilmax-treated cattle are increasingly being rejected both domestically and internationally due to their questionable safety record for human consumption.

Tyson officials claim the ban is being implemented to promote animal welfare, as many Zilmax-treated cattle are too overweight and deformed to even walk down the slaughter chute. But many media sources now believe Tyson's true motive is to protect its export market by voluntarily withdrawing animals treated with the drug. In order to avoid losing considerable foreign market share in the coming months and years, in other words, Tyson has chosen to act first by rejecting a product that will cut into its export sales.

"There have been recent instances of cattle delivered for processing that have difficulty walking or are unable to move," states a letter recently sent by Tyson to cattle farmers. "We do not know the specific cause of these problems, but some animal health experts have suggested that the use of the feed supplement Zilmax, also known as zilpaterol, is one possible cause. Our evaluation of these problems is ongoing but as an interim measure we plan to suspend our purchases of cattle that have been fed Zilmax."
[Read more...]

Your iPhone uses more electricity than your fridge (16 August 2013)
The global digital economy, also known as the ICT system (information-communications-technologies), sucks up as much electricity today as it took to illuminate the entire planet in 1985. The average iPhone requires more power per year than the average refrigerator. It's like you're walking around all day with a fridge's worth of electricity in your pocket (but no hummus!).

This info comes from a report [PDF] by Mark Mills, CEO of the Digital Power Group, sponsored by the National Mining Association and the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. So part of the report's point is that coal keeps the iPhones on. But instead of inspiring gratitude for coal and all the blessings it bestows on us, knowing the source of all that juice just makes the digital economy's ginormous energy footprint of even greater concern.

As Bryan Walsh points out in Time, the ICT system's power hunger only stands to keep growing as our devices become ever more powerful and ubiquitous. Walsh explains:

"[T]he cloud uses energy differently than other sectors of the economy. Lighting, heating, cooling, transportation -- these are all power uses that have rough limits. ... you can only heat your home so much, or drive so far before you reach a period of clearly diminishing returns. Just because my Chevy Volt can get 100 miles per gallon doesn't mean I'm going to drive back and forth to Washington each day. ..."
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Miracle Village: Sex offenders are welcome (16 August 2013)
Things work a bit differently here at Miracle Village, a collection of squat yellow bungalows deep in Florida's sugar cane country south of Lake Okeechobee -- because they have to. More than half the residents are convicted sex offenders, many of them recently released from prison and still on probation.

Like everyone else, Pat has just received a POP text from the office that monitors who comes in and out. It stands for "probation officer on property". He spies a young man standing in the doorway of one of the homes and yells at him to get inside. "He is under house arrest," he explains.

A "gated community" this may be, but to live here is not exactly a privilege. It's a predicament. In Florida, as elsewhere in the US, sex offenders are not done when they leave prison. They are placed on a sex offenders' registry which anyone can access online. Wherever they move, police distribute fliers alerting neighbours to their arrival.

More punitive are the restrictions on where they can live. In Florida, it can't be within 1,000 feet of anywhere children might gather, be it a school, a playground, a park or even a bus stop. Those conditions are extremely hard to meet, and explain why the space under a freeway flyover was home to scores of sex offenders in Miami, because everywhere else was ruled out for them. And it's also the reason for Miracle Village, founded in 2009 by an activist preacher named Richard Witherow and now bursting at the seams.
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Richard III bones dispute may be headed to U.K. court (16 August 2013)
LONDON--He's been deposed, reviled, buried and dug up, and now a new battle looms over England's King Richard III.

A British High Court judge on Friday granted a group of Richard's relatives permission to challenge plans to rebury the 15th-century monarch in the central England city of Leicester, where his remains were found last year.

Judge Charles Haddon-Cave said the Plantagenet Alliance could take action against the government and the University of Leicester, though he hoped the dispute could be settled out of court.

"In my view, it would be unseemly, undignified and unedifying to have a legal tussle over these royal remains," the judge said, urging the opposing sides "to avoid embarking on the (legal) Wars of the Roses Part 2."
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Crippling debts and bankruptcies brew Vietnam coffee crisis (16 August 2013)
Of the 127 local coffee export firms that operated in Vietnam a year ago, 56 have ceased trading or shifted to other businesses after taking out loans they can't repay, according to industry reports.

Few coffee exporters are willing to talk about their financial problems. In communist Vietnam, people are often reluctant to speak publicly about sensitive issues like politics and business, especially to foreign media.

But Nguyen Xuan Binh is one major coffee exporter who admits he's in deep trouble.

His firm, Truong Ngan, is wilting from $28 million of debt owed to seven banks from which it borrowed at interest rates of 20 percent. With barely any cash flow, its only collateral is its stock of coffee beans - enough to fill 200 small trucks.

"Now the banks want to come and repossess all that we have, our 4,000 tonnes of coffee," Binh told Reuters.

Vietnam's 2013/2014 coffee crop is forecast to be a bumper harvest, around 17 million to 29.5 million 60-kg bags, based on a Reuters poll, adding to a global oversupply and pressuring coffee prices which have lost about 10 percent since October.
[Read more...]

Egypt: deadly clashes erupt again on streets of Cairo (16 August 2013)
Bloodiest single week in Egypt since 2011
This from Mona Chalabi on our data team who has been keeping a toll of all those who have died.

"We're receiving a steady stream of reports about casualties and deaths. We're still attempting to filter and verify these but we know that almost 1,000 people have been killed and and more than 11,000 injured since violence first erupted in Egypt at the end of June.

"It takes time to count the casualties, so death tolls can be underestimates for weeks, if not months after an event. For example a fact-finding mission established months after the 2011 revolution published a report that it had claimed 846 lives. In the past two days alone, around 700 dead bodies have been counted so far. We expect that number to quickly exceed the fatalities of 2011. "
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NSA Funds New "Top Secret" $60 Million Dollar Data Lab (16 August 2013) [InfoWars.com]
The National Security Agency is funding a "top secret" $60 million dollar data analysis lab at North Carolina State University which will scrutinize information collected from private emails, phone calls and Google searches.

"The Laboratory for Analytic Sciences will be launched in a Centennial Campus building that will be renovated with money from the federal agency, but details about the facility are top secret. Those who work in the lab will be required to have security clearance from the U.S. government," reports the News & Observer.

The project was initially supposed to be revealed in June, but the scandal surrounding the NSA's PRISM surveillance program prompted the university to delay the announcement, with faculty staff citing, "that bit out of The Guardian (newspaper) on NSA collecting phone records of Verizon customers."

According to NCSU Chancellor Randy Woodson, the program will revolve around "making sense out of the deluge of data that we're all swimming in every day," although the university denies that it will be involved in "mass surveillance".

However, according to an Associated Press report, the data lab will analyze information collected by the NSA's new $2 billion dollar data center in Bluffdale, Utah, which is set to collect "complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails--parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital "pocket litter."
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Fracking boom could lead to housing bust (16 August 2013)
When it comes to the real estate market in Bradford County, Pa., where 62,600 residents live above the Marcellus Shale, nothing is black and white, says Bob Benjamin, a local broker and certified appraiser. There aren't exactly "fifty shades of grey," he says, but residential mortgage lending here is an especially murky situation.

When Benjamin fills out an appraisal for a lender, he has to note if there is a fracked well or an impoundment lake on or near the property. "I'm having to explain a lot of things when I give the appraisal to the lender," he says. "They are asking questions about the well quite often."

And national lenders are becoming more cautious about underwriting mortgages for properties near fracking, even ones they would have routinely financed in the past, Benjamin says.

That's a real problem in Bradford County, where 93 percent of the acreage is now under lease to a gas company.
[Read more...]

Quebec lawyer Denis Poitras pays the price for pro bono cases (16 August 2013)
MONTREAL--When Quebec City was turned into a battleground during the 2001 Summit of the Americas, those fighting against globalization called in Denis Poitras after they'd been arrested by the police.

In the nightly preparations for the Quebec tuition protests of 2012, better known as the Maple Spring, students and activists wrote the 59-year-old lawyer's telephone number on their forearm in case of arrest. Poitras's phone rang off the hook.

And when a 20-year-old student was charged with criminal harassment earlier this year for allegedly posting a photo of a painting of a Montreal police spokesman with a bullet in his forehead, it was Poitras who has standing by her side.

Most of the cases he has taken on have been pro bono. And now, the workaholic lawyer has declared bankruptcy, causing him to lose his licence and abandon a staggering 1,700 active court files that had packed his agenda all the way through to February 2015.

Those clients are now without the man they have come to trust and rely on when their fight against alleged police brutality, neo-liberalism, globalization or other forms of perceived state tyranny go to court. A fellow lawyer Étienne Poitras (no relation) has taken on most of the load for now.

Poitras's problems have never been a shortage of clients but, rather, a shortage of clients who could pay for his services. He has never seen that as a good enough reason for him to turn them away.
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McDonald's Chicken McNuggets found to contain mysterious fibers, hair-like structures; Natural News Forensic Food Lab posts research photos, video (16 August 2013)
(NaturalNews) Today we announce the first investigation conducted at the Natural News Forensic Food Laboratory, the new science-based research branch of Natural News where we put foods under the microscope and find out what's really there.

Earlier today I purchased a 10-piece Chicken McNuggets from a McDonald's restaurant in Austin, Texas. Under carefully controlled conditions, I then examined the Chicken McNuggets under a high-powered digital microscope, expecting to see only processed chicken bits and a fried outer coating.

But what I found instead shocked even me. I've seen a lot of weird stuff in my decade of investigating foods and nutrition, but I never expected to find this...

Strange fibers found embedded inside Chicken McNuggets
As the following photos show, the Chicken McNuggets were found to contain strange fibers that some people might say even resemble so-called "Morgellon's."
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PAM COMMENTARY: The pictures in this article... YUCK!

Oregon's GOP Chair Wants to Sprinkle Nuclear Waste From Airplanes (16 August 2013)
After months of in-fighting, the beleaguered Oregon Republican Party elected a new chairman last weekend. His name is Art Robinson, and he wants to sprinkle radioactive waste from airplanes to build up our resistance to degenerative illnesses. Robinson, who unsuccessfully ran for Congress against progressive Rep. Peter DeFazio in 2010 and 2012, took over after the previous chair resigned in advance of a recall campaign over her alleged financial mismanagement.

Robinson, who has a Ph.D. in chemistry, has marketed himself for the last three decades as an expert on everything from nuclear fallout, to AIDS, to climate science in the pages of a monthly newsletter, Access to Technology, which he published from his compound in the small town of Cave Junction. A quick glance at his writings, which were publicized during his ill-fated challenges to DeFazio, suggest that whatever the failings of the previous party leadership--Democrats now hold all statewide elected offices and control both houses of the state legislature--Robinson brings with him a new set of challenges entirely.

On nuclear waste: "All we need do with nuclear waste is dilute it to a low radiation level and sprinkle it over the ocean--or even over America after hormesis is better understood and verified with respect to more diseases." And: "If we could use it to enhance our own drinking water here in Oregon, where background radiation is low, it would hormetically enhance our resistance to degenerative diseases. Alas, this would be against the law."

On public schools: "Public education (tax-financed socialism) has become the most widespread and devastating form of child abuse and racism in the United States. Moreover, people who have been cut off at the knees by public education are so mentally handicapped that they cannot be responsible custodians of the energy technology base or other advanced accomplishments of our civilization." (Robinson, a home-schooling activist, sells a DIY curriculum for $195.)
[Read more...]

Pentagon unveils measures to combat sexual assaults in the military (15 August 2013)
(Reuters) - The U.S. Defense Department on Thursday unveiled steps to combat sexual assaults in the armed forces by increasing protection for victims, beefing up oversight of investigations, and making responses to such crimes more consistent across the military.

"Sexual assault is a stain on the honor of our men and women who honorably serve our country, as well as a threat to the discipline and the cohesion of our force. It must be stamped out," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in a statement.

Hagel said he would continue to meet weekly with senior Pentagon leaders to review the broad effort to eliminate a problem that has plagued the military for decades.

The Pentagon reported in May that there had been a 37 percent increase in cases of unwanted sexual contact in the military from 2011 to 2012, with 26,000 people reporting everything from groping to rape, up from 19,000 a year earlier.
[Read more...]

NSA broke privacy rules thousands of times per year, audit finds (15 August 2013)
The National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008, according to an internal audit and other top-secret documents.

Most of the infractions involve unauthorized surveillance of Americans or foreign intelligence targets in the United States, both of which are restricted by statute and executive order. They range from significant violations of law to typographical errors that resulted in unintended interception of U.S. e-mails and telephone calls.

The documents, provided earlier this summer to The Washington Post by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, include a level of detail and analysis that is not routinely shared with Congress or the special court that oversees surveillance. In one of the documents, agency personnel are instructed to remove details and substitute more generic language in reports to the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

In one instance, the NSA decided that it need not report the unintended surveillance of Americans. A notable example in 2008 was the interception of a "large number" of calls placed from Washington when a programming error confused the U.S. area code 202 for 20, the international dialing code for Egypt, according to a "quality assurance" review that was not distributed to the NSA's oversight staff.
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Snowden downloaded NSA secrets while working for Dell, sources say (15 August 2013)
(Reuters) - Former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden began downloading documents describing the U.S. government's electronic spying programs while he was working for Dell Inc in April 2012, almost a year earlier than previously reported, according to U.S. officials and other sources familiar with the matter.

Snowden, who was granted a year's asylum by Russia on August 1, worked for Dell from 2009 until earlier this year, assigned as a contractor to U.S. National Security Agency facilities in the United States and Japan.

Snowden downloaded information while employed by Dell about eavesdropping programs run by the NSA and Britain's Government Communications Headquarters, and left an electronic footprint indicating when he accessed the documents, said the sources, speaking on condition of anonymity.

David Frink, a spokesman for Round Rock, Texas-based Dell, declined to comment on any aspect of Snowden's employment with the company, saying Dell's "customer" - presumably the NSA - had asked Dell not to talk publicly about him.

Since Snowden disclosed documents on previously secret U.S. internet and phone surveillance programs in June, his three-month tenure with U.S. contractor Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp starting in late March of this year has been the focus of considerable attention. His time at Dell has received little attention.
[Read more...]

Why this year's Gulf dead zone is twice as big as last year's (15 August 2013)
First, the good news: The annual "dead zone" that smothers much of the northern Gulf of Mexico -- caused by an oxygen-sucking algae bloom mostly fed by Midwestern farm runoff -- is smaller this year than scientists had expected. In the wake of heavy spring rains, researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had been projecting 2013's fish-free region of the Gulf to be at least 7,286 square miles and as large as 8,561 square miles -- somewhere between the size of New Jersey on the low end to New Hampshire on the high end. Instead, NOAA announced, it has clocked in at 5,840 square miles -- a bit bigger than Connecticut. It's depicted in the above graphic.

Now, for the bad news: This year's "biological desert" (NOAA's phrase) is much bigger than last year's, below, which was relatively tiny because Midwestern droughts limited the amount of runoff that made it into the Gulf. At about 2,900 square miles, the 2012 edition measured up to be about a third as large as Delaware.

Smaller than expected though it may be, this year's model is still more than twice as large as NOAA's targeted limit of less than 2,000 square miles. Here's how recent dead zones stack up -- note that the NOAA target has been met only once since 1990. Low years, like 2012 and 2009, tend to marked by high levels of drought, and high years, like 2008, by heavy rains and flooding.

Why such massive annual dead zones? It's a matter of geography and concentration and intensification of fertilizer-dependent agriculture. Note that an enormous swath of the U.S. landmass -- 41 percent of it -- drains into the Mississippi River basin, as shown below. It's true that even under natural conditions, a river that captures as much drainage as the Mississippi is going to deliver some level of nutrients to the sea, which in turn will generate at least some algae. But when U.S. Geological Survey researchers looked at the fossil record in 2006 [PDF], they found that major hypoxia events (the technical name for dead zones) were relatively rare until around 1950 -- and have been increasingly common ever since. The mid-20th century is also when farmers turned to large-scale use of synthetic fertilizers. Now as much a part of Mississippi Delta life as crawfish boils, the Gulf dead zone wasn't even documented as a phenomenon until 1972, according to NOAA.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: Nice maps and graphics in this article.

The people are hungry: The link between food and revolution (15 August 2013)
The rising price of food isn't the only thing driving the revolutionary fervor from Tunisia to Turkey to Brazil. The bad economy was surely a principal factor (remember that Adel Khazri shouted "This is Tunisia, this is unemployment," as he burned). There was the effect of new social media technology. And then there was that tyranny thing that people seemed to dislike.

But food scarcity is different, because it looks as if it's going to stick around even as the economy improves. And unless we do something about it, the riots and protests will spread.

As Motherboard writer Brian Merchant put it:
"Two years ago, the New England Complex Systems Institute published a famous paper that sussed out the mathematical correlation between food prices and unrest: Every time food prices breached a certain threshold, riots broke out worldwide."

We've been bouncing around that threshold -- 210 on the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization index -- for years now.
[Read more...]

Government acknowledges Area 51 in declassified spy plane documents (15 August 2013)
WASHINGTON -- The government has finally recognized the existence of Area 51, according to the National Security Archive, which published recently obtained declassified CIA reports detailing and mapping the previously unacknowledged area in Nevada.

The National Security Archive at George Washington University published a report, "The Secret History of the U-2," on the spy planes that the Central Intelligence Agency relied on during the Cold War.

The Archive obtained declassified documents about the history of the U-2 -- which reference Area 51 on numerous occasions -- through a Freedom of Information Act request filed in 2005.

The origins of Area 51 are tightly bound up in the history of the U-2, for which the CIA needed a reliable and secret test facility in the U.S.

They found it in Groom Lake on April 12, 1955, according to "The Central Intelligence Agency and Overhead Reconnaissance," an internal CIA history of the U-2 and OXCART programs written by Gregory W. Pedlow and Donald E. Welzenbach that was declassified in fulfillment of the National Security Archive's FOIA request.
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Moral Justice, But No Reparations, for Henrietta Lacks (15 August 2013)
After more than six decades of medical breakthroughs that were made possible with the cells of Henrietta Lacks, justice is finally being served to her family.

The National Institutes of Health announced last week that representatives from the Lacks family will serve on the board that determines the biomedical uses of the "HeLa" cells, and that any future research publications using data collected from them must acknowledge the Lacks family.

Lacks was an impoverished black mother of five who died of cervical cancer in 1951 in the colored ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital. Unbeknownst to her or her family, doctors removed tumor samples from her cervix without permission. Researchers realized that, unlike other cells, these cells--named HeLa--didn't die after a few divisions but would multiply endlessly. Because of this, they could be used in countless biological experiments, an unprecedented advance in medical research.

The immortal cells became integral in researching treatments for polio, AIDS, cancer and many other diseases. HeLa basically revamped modern medicine while Henrietta herself, buried in an unmarked grave in Virginia, faded into obscurity. More than 20 years later, after the medical industry had made billions from HeLa, grown more than 20 tons of HeLa cells and created 11,000 patents with them, her family finally learned that Lacks' cells had been sampled. Not only had they never been asked for permission to harvest or use the cells, they never saw a dime of the windfall profits that came of them.
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Tameka Raymond: Usher's 'Status' Helped Him Win Custody (15 August 2013)
During last year's custody hearing, Tameka took a now-sealed psychological evaluation which found she had a "moderately severe mental disorder" -- a diagnosis she's now challenging.

"I had narcissistic personality traits," she told Abrams. "That's what actually the diagnosis was. They ask you a series of questions, like, 'When you're walking down the street, do you feel like people are looking?' My answer is yes, but that was based off of when I'm walking down the street, people do point and say, 'Oh, that's Usher's ex-wife.'"

"I think we all have a little narcissistic personality disorder, especially those of us in the limelight," Tameka added. "But I don't think it's something that affects your parenting."

As their custody battle rages on, Tameka said her ex is fighting to reduce the $8,000 a month in child support that he pays her.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: Pretty women are always noticed, although that could also be from having her picture on TV, or online.

Some people have actually recognized me from the few thousand YouTube views I have on alternative cancer protocols. Because I mentioned Trader Joe's flaxseed oil, I can't seem to buy a bottle anymore without Trader Joe's shoppers mentioning that I look like the girl from the video.

I didn't mean to advertise their product, just mention that it doesn't stay entirely liquid in the freezer, yet seems to work for people anyway. But viewers probably heard "cheap flaxseed oil" and remembered where to get it.

Christie raps potential 2016 rivals at Republican confab (15 August 2013)
Boston (CNN) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie planted himself firmly in the Republican Party's establishment wing Thursday with a pugnacious speech calling on his party to focus on pragmatism rather than ideology and crippling internal debates.

"We are not a debating society," Christie told a lunchtime audience at the Republican National Committees summer meeting in Boston. "We are a political operation that needs to win."

Some of Christie's remarks, relayed to a reporter by GOP officials who attended the closed-press event, were interpreted by many here as another jab at Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a potential rival for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.

Christie and Paul tangled earlier this summer after the New Jersey governor criticized Paul's libertarian-tinged worldview as "esoteric" and "intellectual," drawing a series of pointed rebukes from Paul and his allies.
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With US-made panels, White House goes solar ... again (15 August 2013)
Nearly three years after the Obama administration promised to return solar energy to the White House, the panels are now going up.

The project reflects the president's emphasis on green energy and was cheered by the environmental community, which had lobbied for the installation. In 1979, Jimmy Carter was the first president to put solar panels on the White House, amid the energy crisis. The panels came down in 1986, at President Reagan's request.

"The White House has begun installing American-made solar panels on the first family's residence as part of an energy retrofit that will improve the overall energy efficiency of the building," a White House official said Thursday.

"The retrofit will include the installation of energy-saving equipment, such as updated building controls and variable speed fans, as well as solar generation. The project will help demonstrate that historic buildings can incorporate solar energy and energy-efficiency upgrades," the official said.

This week's installation may have been timed to coincide with the Obamas' vacation on Martha's Vineyard, Mass., so as to minimize any disruption to the family as the new energy systems are put in.
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Sacred herb turmeric may make at least 14 pharmaceutical drugs utterly obsolete (15 August 2013)
1) Statin drugs for cholesterol. Popular cholesterol drugs like Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium) and Crestor (rosuvastatin) are completely unnecessary when taking standardized doses of curcuminoids extracted from turmeric, according to a 2008 study published in the journal Drugs in R & D. Researchers found that in patients with endothelial dysfunction, the underlying blood vessel pathology that leads to atherosclerosis, turmeric extract worked at least as good as the drugs at reducing inflammation and relieving oxidative stress in type 2 diabetics.

2) Corticosteroid drugs. Millions of people receive steroid injections every year to treat the inflammation associated with conditions like arthritis and even cancer. But a 1999 study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that turmeric's primary antioxidant, curcumin, works just as well as steroid medications in the treatment of inflammatory eye disease. Several studies released in the years following found similar benefits for other inflammatory diseases commonly treated with steroids.

3) Antidepressants. Besides their copious side effects, antidepressant drugs like Prozac (fluoxetine) and Paxil (paroxetine) are extremely risky, as they can actually make depression symptoms worse for some people. But why even bother to use them when turmeric has been shown to effectively reduce depressive behavior the same or even better than these dangerous drugs?

4) Blood thinners. People at high risk of heart attack or stroke, or who require blood-thinning drugs to avoid these and other cardiovascular events, may simply be able to take turmeric instead. This suggestion is based on a 1986 study published in the journal Arzneimittelforschung, which found that curcumin has similar anti-platelet and prostacyclin modulating effects as aspirin, the blood-thinning drug of choice for many conventional doctors.
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Fracking bill under fire from environmentalists (15 August 2013)
State Sen. Fran Pavley's bill to regulate fracking in California was always going to face a fight from the oil industry.

But now it's under attack from some of Pavley's most ardent supporters - environmentalists.

Many want to ban fracking outright, not regulate it. They are pressing Gov. Jerry Brown to halt the oil-production technique, used in a growing number of wells across the state. And they fear that Pavley's bill, if passed, would give politicians an excuse to let fracking continue.

It's a strange turn for Pavley, a Democrat from Los Angeles County who wrote California's landmark global warming law.
[Read more...]

Kochs must move their massive piles of tar-sands waste, Detroit mayor says (14 August 2013)
What do you do when monstrous piles of dusty black carbon move into your city?

If you're Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, you issue an order demanding that they be removed. And after that's ignored, you issue another.

The city's riverfront has been blighted by huge, uncovered piles of petroleum coke since a local refinery began processing Canadian tar-sands oil in November. Just take a look at this video of a black wall of dust being kicked up from the piles...

The petcoke can be burned for fuel, but it's so dirty that doing so in America would violate clean air laws, so the proud owners of the revolting waste -- the Koch brothers, of course -- have been trying to sell it elsewhere. In June, a Canadian power plant started taking some of it, but the pile still remains. From a press release issued Tuesday by Bing's office:

"Today, my administration informed Detroit Bulk Storage that all of the stored petroleum coke material must be moved off site by August 27," said Mayor Bing. "DBS personnel have assured us that no new materials are being brought onto the site, and all of their activity is concentrated on offsite removal of the pet coke." ...
[Read more...]

What's in Crude Oil and How Do We Use It? (14 August 2013)
Crude oil is far from being one homogenous substance. Its physical characteristics differ depending on where in the world it's pulled out of the ground, and those variations determine its usage and price.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) puts it succinctly: "not all crude is created equal." Some has a lot of sulphur, and it's called sour. Oil with less sulphur is called sweet. Crudes also vary in how dense they are. Sweet, light crude is the most valuable type of oil. Sour, heavy oil fetches the lowest prices. Here's why:

"This is partly because gasoline and diesel fuel, which typically sell at a significant premium to residual fuel oil and other 'bottom of the barrel' products, can usually be more easily and cheaply produced using light, sweet crude oil. The light sweet grades are desirable because they can be processed with far less sophisticated and energy-intensive processes/refineries." (EIA)

Depending on these characteristics, crude ends up at different refineries:
"Refining capacity in the Gulf Coast has large secondary conversion capacity including hydrocrackers, cokers, and desulfurization units. These units enable the processing of heavy, high sulfur (sour) crude oils like Mexican Maya that typically sell at a discount to light, low sulfur (sweet) crudes like Brent and Louisiana Light Sweet. Many East Coast refineries have less secondary conversion capacity, and in general they process crude oil with lower sulfur content and a lighter density. (EIA)*"
[Read more...]

Spoon in underwear saving youths from forced marriage (15 August 2013)
As Britain puts airport staff on alert to spot potential victims of forced marriage, one campaigning group says the trick of putting a spoon in their underwear has saved some youngsters from a forced union in their South Asian ancestral homelands.

The concealed spoon sets off the metal detector at the airport in Britain and the teenagers can be taken away from their parents to be searched -- a last chance to escape a largely hidden practice wrecking the lives of unknown thousands of British youths.

The British school summer holidays, now well under way, mark a peak in reports of young people -- typically girls aged 15 and 16 -- being taken abroad on "holiday", for a marriage without consent, the government says.

The bleep at airport security may be the last chance they get to escape a marriage to someone they have never met in a country they have never seen.
[Read more...]

Sordid details spill out in rare court-martial of a general on sex charges (14 August 2013)
Sinclair has pleaded not guilty to all charges. Besides the rare spectacle of a general in the dock, however, the case poses a critical test of how the U.S. military handles allegations of sexual assault and misconduct, crimes that have long bedeviled the armed forces.

Congress and President Obama have demanded a crackdown, alarmed by a recent string of scandals and frank admissions by military leaders that they have systematically failed to address the problem.

A growing faction of lawmakers is pushing to rewrite the underpinnings of military law by giving power to uniformed prosecutors, instead of commanders, to oversee investigations of sexual abuse and other serious crimes. The Pentagon is resisting, arguing that commanders must retain the authority to enforce order and discipline in their units.

The last Army general to face court-martial was Brig. Gen. Roger B. Duff, who pleaded guilty in June 2012 to making false official statements and wearing unauthorized decorations. The Army did not publicly disclose that Duff had been court-martialed until months later, when Sinclair was charged.
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New York prisons skirt bans on solitary confinement for mentally ill by reclassifying prisoners' mental status (15 August 2013)
When Amir Hall entered New York state prison for a parole violation in November 2009, he came with a long list of psychological problems. Hall arrived at the prison from a state psychiatric hospital, after he had tried to suffocate himself. Hospital staff diagnosed Hall with serious depression.

In Mid-State prison, Hall was in and out of solitary confinement for fighting with other inmates and other rule violations. After throwing Kool-Aid at an officer, he was sentenced to seven months in solitary at Great Meadow Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison in upstate New York.

Hall did not want to be moved. When his mother and grandmother visited him that spring, Hall warned them: If he didn't get out of prison soon, he would not be coming home.

A grainy tape of Hall's transfer on June 18, 2010, shows prison guards spraying chemicals into his cell, forcing him to come out. He barely says a word as he is made to strip, shower, bend over and cough. His head drops, his shoulders slump. His face is blank and expressionless. He stares at his hands, except for a few furtive glances at the silent guards wearing gas masks and riot gear.
[Read more...]

Guantánamo Bay: the US was dead wrong, but no one can admit it (12 August 2013)
About two months ago I learned that some of my books had been banned at Guantánamo Bay. Apparently detainees were requesting them, and their lawyers were delivering them to the prison, but they were not being allowed in because of "impermissible content".

I became curious and tracked down a detainee who enjoys my books. His name is Nabil Hadjarab, and he is a 34-year-old Algerian who grew up in France. He learned to speak French before he learned to speak Arabic. He has close family and friends in France, but not in Algeria. As a kid growing up near Lyon, he was a gifted soccer player and dreamed of playing for Paris Saint-Germain, or another top French club.

Tragically for Nabil, he has spent the past 11 years as a prisoner at Guantánamo, much of the time in solitary confinement. Starting in February, he participated in a hunger strike, which led to his being force-fed.

For reasons that had nothing to do with terror, war or criminal behaviour, Nabil was living peacefully in an Algerian guesthouse in Kabul, Afghanistan, on 11 September 2001. Following the US invasion, word spread among the Arab communities that Afghanistan's Northern Alliance was rounding up and killing foreign Arabs. Nabil and many others headed for Pakistan in a desperate effort to escape the danger. En route, he said, he was wounded in a bombing raid and woke up in a hospital in Jalalabad.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: What the title should say is "no one IN GOVERNMENT can admit it." It was forced down our throats by the Bush Administration, like so many other things nobody wanted.

Olinguito -- why wasn't it discovered until now? (15 August 2013)
Olinguitos--formally called Bassaricyon neblina--are difficult to observe, which may explain how they evaded discovery for so long.

Not only do they live in a remote region of the world, they are also nocturnal and spend their lives in the treetops where they are often obscured by a layer of fog.

"You aim your headlight in the trees and all you can see is a thick gray veil " said Roland Kays of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and a co-author on the paper. "They also jump around through the trees, which is pretty crazy considering they are doing it at night when it is pitch black."

Helgen stumbled on the olinguito not in the cloud forests of South America, but in the Field Museum of Chicago in 2003. He was there to look at the museum's specimens of the olingo, a little-known animal that looks like the olinguito, but is larger and gray in color.

At the museum, he came across a pelt that had been labeled olingo, despite being a reddish color rather than gray.

That mysterious pelt sent him on a decade-long quest to learn more about the animal from which it had come. He traveled to 18 museums and examined 95% of the world's olingo specimens, finding more mislabeled evidence of his mystery animal, including that it had a different skull structure than the olingo it was so often confused with, and different types of teeth.
[Read more...]

Scores dead in Egypt after security forces launch assault on protesters' camp (14 August 2013)
CAIRO -- Violent clashes spread across Egypt on Wednesday after security forces stormed two sprawling protest camps in an early morning assault that killed scores of supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.

With at least 281 people killed, it was the deadliest day in Egypt since the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak, and the fallout dealt a further blow to the prospect that the country might resume its path toward democracy. At least 37 died in clashes in the conservative oasis town of Fayoum; the tolls from other cities were not immediately available.

By nightfall, the military-backed interim government that replaced Morsi after a July 3 coup had declared a state of emergency, and Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and vice president, had tendered his resignation in protest over the bloody crackdown.

The United States strongly condemned the violence and said it would hold the interim Egyptian government accountable for its promises of a speedy transition to a democratically elected civilian administration.
[Read more...]

Dozens Dead as Egyptian Forces Commit 3rd Mass Killing of Pro-Morsi Demonstrators (14 August 2013) [DemocracyNow.org]
AMY GOODMAN: We go to breaking news in Egypt, where forces have committed a new mass killing of Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators supporting the ousted president, Mohamed Morsi. Dozens of people have been reportedly killed in raids on two pro-Morsi encampments in Cairo.

We turn now to Alastair Beach, Cairo correspondent for The Independent. He's been visiting morgues in Rabaa, where scores of bodies are reportedly being held. He says he has personally counted about 83 or 84 bodies today, most of them with gunshot wounds to the head, indicating they've been shot by police snipers. He spoke to us from a hospital where the injured were being treated. Listen carefully.

ALASTAIR BEACH: I'm in the center of the injured people surrounding on the floor all around me. There's five or six floors of the hospital, and they're just telling them to move, such is the level of injuries and dying who have been there, who have been admitted. There's people being treated on the stairs. Every other minute, it seems, another body is being forced through the front door. All the while there's just [inaudible] gunfire, automatic, ringing out throughout the encampment.

There's two makeshift--at least two makeshift morgues which have been established. I was in one of them in a field hospital a couple of hours ago. There were 42 bodies there at the time. I wouldn't be surprised if that number has risen. There's a second one I went to close by in which at least 31 bodies were being kept. [inaudible] and it's so chaotic that the injured are being treated in the same room as the dead bodies are being kept.

I've also been to the--at a mosque which lies at the center of the sit-in. At the moment it's crammed full with hundreds of women and children. At the center of the mosque, on the carpet, there were 10 bodies lying on the floor with a cordon surrounding them. All the while, of course, there's sustained bursts of gunfire ringing out around this pit and outside.
[Read more...]

Egyptian military government declares month-long emergency - as it happened (14 August 2013)
Here is a summary:

• Egypt's crackdown on demonstrators has left 278 people dead on Wednesday and prompted criticism from across the globe. Violence began after security forces used bulldozers to dismantle two Cairo camps established by supporters of the ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi.

• The international community denounced the violence. The US said it "strongly condemns the use of violence against protesters". The White House criticised the imposition of a state of emergency in Egypt. UK foreign secretary William Hague said he was "deeply concerned at the escalating violence". "I condemn the use of force in clearing protests and call on the security forces to act with restraint," he said. Australia's foreign minister Bob Carr described the crackdown as an "awful tragedy".

• Egypt prime minister Hazem El Beblawi said police in Cairo"observed the highest degrees of self-restraint" in clearing the camp. El Beblawi repeatedly said security forces "we were forced to intervene" in a televised speech from Cairo. The interior ministry said 43 police were among the 278 dead. The prime minister said the interim government had "exhausted all opportunities" before deciding to move in on the camps, which were empty by Wednesday evening.
[Read more...]

Warrants: Mother, boy tortured before friend fled (14 August 2013)
"He told us he was losing his house because of money issues so we went up there one last time to support him, and to have fun riding go karts up there but he tricked us," Hannah wrote.

Hannah said she "basically" stayed awake for six straight days and repeatedly told her captor she was hungry. She couldn't escape because DiMaggio had a gun and "threatened to kill me and anyone who tried to help."

She said she was too frightened to ask for help when horseback riders encountered the pair in the remote wilderness on Wednesday. The riders didn't report the sightings to police until the next day, after returning home and learning about the search.

"I had to act calm I didn't want them to get hurt. I was scared that he would kill them," she wrote.

The girl said DiMaggio threatened her if she didn't help hide his blue Nissan Versa with tree branches. Authorities discovered the car Friday, leading to her rescue the following day.

Asked if she would have preferred DiMaggio got a lifetime prison sentence instead of being killed, she said, "He deserved what he got."
[Read more...]

UPS cargo plane crashes near Birmingham airport; mayor says 2 pilots dead (updated; videos; photo gallery) (14 August 2013)
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- A UPS cargo plane has crashed in the vicinity of Airport Road and Eastlake Boulevard near Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. The crash killed the pilot and co-pilot aboard the plane, according to Birmingham Mayor William Bell.

9:07 a.m.: Authorities have expanded their perimeter around the UPS cargo plane crash scene after reports of debris have been found on rooftops of nearby homes, Birmingham Mayor William Bell said. Residents have been advised to call police if they see debris.

9:02 a.m.: Updated statement from UPS:

"At 6:11 a.m. EST, UPS Flight 1354 from Louisville, KY to Birmingham, AL, an A300 with two crewmembers, was involved in an accident on approach into the Birmingham airport."
[Read more...]

Scientific Study Proves TV Making Kids Dumber (14 August 2013) [InfoWars.com]
The study found that every hourly increase in daily television viewing at 29 months of age is associated with diminished vocabulary and math skills, classroom engagement (which is largely determined by attention skills), victimization by classmates, and physical prowess at kindergarten, according to Linda Pagani of the University of Montreal and the CHU Sainte-Justine children's hospital.

[Read more...]

Neonicotinoids are the new DDT, and they're destroying our world (14 August 2013)
(NaturalNews) The infamous organochlorine insecticide, DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane), has been banned from agricultural use worldwide since 1972, after world leaders decided it was universally unsafe at the Stockholm Convention. At the time, DDT was linked to cancer and deemed a contact poison to wildlife, including birds and arthropods, which were dying off at unprecedented levels. Many eyes were opened when biologist Rachel Carson wrote a book called Silent Spring, which exposed DDT's ill effects on people and the ecosystem. Now, DDT is only manufactured for vector control and is applied to the inside walls of homes to kill or repel mosquitoes.

The new DDT
Regardless of the ban on DDT, the world has fallen under the spell of other industrial agricultural chemicals since then. Insecticides are popular because they make agriculture efficient and food production more abundant, but as insecticides accumulate in the environment, killing off birds and bees, are they really worth it in the long run? 70 percent of flowering plants rely on pollinators. What happens when bees aren't around to keep the balance of the universe alive?

Right now, the world faces the dangers of a new class of insecticides known as neonicotinoids. These insecticides, similar to DDT, have been licensed and unleashed widespread before proper ecological safety testing. Evidence now shows that these poisons are destroying the natural world like never before, wiping out the great honey bee pollinators.

5 nanograms of neonicotinoid kills 1 in 2 bees
Applied to the seeds of crops, neonicotinoids remain in the plants as they grow, killing insects that try to take a bite. Studies show that when farmers treat crops, the plants absorb between 1.6 and 20 percent of the neonicotinoid insecticide. When honeybees are exposed to just 5 nanograms of neonicotinoid from the plant's pollen nectar, it has been observed that about 1 in 2 die off. Consequently, this makes neonicotinoids 10,000 times more powerful than DDT.

Since a very small proportion of neonicotinoid actually makes it into the pollen nectar, the makers of the chemicals believe these insecticides have minimal impact on pollinators. On the surface, the large chemical sprays seem to be safe, but what happens to the rest of the chemical that is not absorbed by the plants?
[Read more...]

Hepatitis B vaccine halted after 3 newborns die from system shock (14 August 2013)
(NaturalNews) The Vietnamese Health Department is coming out and ending the use of hepatitis B vaccines throughout the entire country of Vietnam. The decision was made after three different families lost their babies after the precious young ones were inoculated with standard, proven hepatitis B vaccinations. The three babies died on July 20th in the central province of Quant Tri. The cause of their death is listed as anaphylactic shock. Officials from Vietnam's National Expanded Program on Immunization reported that the vaccines were not expired, were properly stored, and were properly administered. Awkwardly, the chairperson of the program asked parents to "keep calm and continue vaccinating their children."

Meanwhile, the Vietnamese Health Department has decided to pull the hepatitis B vaccines altogether, also discontinuing the use of two other vaccine lots.

The families of the deceased infants have been offered free medical care from the same hospitals responsible for administering the deadly vaccines to their babies.

How important is a hepatitis B vaccine?
For babies, this vaccine is absolutely pointless, especially with all the death reports coming from it. Some professionals believe that the necessity of the vaccine is for those babies whose mothers are already infected with hepatitis B at the time she gives birth.
[Read more...]

Ontario to open up Toronto institutions' food-safety records (14 August 2013)
In the daytime, tiny feet scamper through the halls of Montrose Child Care Centre as giggles ripple through hallways of the downtown daycare.

But at night, different tiny feet have scampered through the halls over the past few years, according to city inspection records: rodents.

Montrose is among nearly 330 provincially licensed facilities in Toronto that have been cited for health violations in the past three years without the elderly and their families, parents of young children or the sick who eat in those places knowing.

Until a Ryerson School of Journalism/Toronto Star investigation, food inspection records for nursing homes, hospitals, daycares and school cafeterias were never publicly reported.
[Read more...]

Eight whooping crane chicks arrive in Wisconsin for aircraft training (14 August 2013)
MADISON, Wis. -- The Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP) is pleased to announce that this year's group of birds that will follow ultralight aircraft to Florida has safely arrived in Wisconsin from the U.S. Geological Survey's Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Md.

Windway Capital provided the aircraft and the pilots to ferry the young cranes from Maryland to Wisconsin. This transfer was the thirtieth such flight that Windway has made with endangered whooping cranes on board their aircraft.

As with last year, the cranes were taken to the White River Marsh State Wildlife Area in Green Lake County. This is the third year that this training site has been utilized. The cranes will spend the summer with Operation Migration pilots and field staff getting acclimated, gaining strength, and learning to follow the aircraft. This fall, Operation Migration will guide the young birds on their first southward migration to the Gulf coast of Florida, the cranes' winter home.

These birds represent a portion of the 13th group of endangered whooping cranes to take part in a project conducted by WCEP, a coalition of public and private organizations that is reintroducing a migratory population of whooping cranes into eastern North America, part of their historic range. An additional batch of chicks will be migrating south as part of WCEP's Direct Autumn Release (DAR) project. Biologists from the International Crane Foundation rear whooping crane chicks that are released in the fall in the company of older cranes, from which the young birds learn the migration route. The DAR cranes will be released on the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge in Dodge County, WI early this fall. There are now over 100 wild cranes in the WCEP population, all of which, with the exception of five wild hatched chicks, were released using the above two methods.
[Read more...]

Ancient redwoods in growth spurt of a lifetime (14 August 2013)
The last remaining old-growth redwood trees along the California coast and in the Sierra are in the midst of a growth spurt the likes of which has never been seen before, a climate research study revealed Wednesday.

The ancient trees produced more wood over the past century than they have during any other time in their life, a stretch that dates back, in at least one case, a thousand years before the birth of Christ, according to a study released by the Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative.

The growth trend has actually accelerated over the past few decades, said the scientists from UC Berkeley and Humboldt State University who conducted the four-year study.

"It shows these trees are being impacted by something in the environment," said Emily Burns, director of science for Save the Redwoods League, the San Francisco nonprofit that is managing the initiative. "Our hypothesis is that it's because it is warmer. That lengthens the growth season."
[Read more...]

San Francisco split by Silicon Valley's wealth (14 August 2013)
SAN FRANCISCO -- Every weekday starting at dawn and continuing late into the evening, a shiny fleet of unmarked buses rolls through the streets of San Francisco, picking up thousands of young technology workers at dozens of stops and depositing them an hour's drive south.

It's an exclusive perk offered by Apple, Facebook, Google and other major Silicon Valley companies: luxury coaches equipped with air conditioning, plush seats and wireless Internet access that ease the stress of navigating congested Bay Area roadways.

The private mass transit system has become the most visible symbol of the digital gold rush sweeping this city, and of the sharpening division between those who are riding the high-tech industry's good fortunes and those who are not.

"Some days I think of them as the spaceships on which our alien overlords have landed to rule over us," Rebecca Solnit, a longtime San Francisco resident, recently wrote in the London Review of Books.
[Read more...]

Google: don't expect privacy when sending to Gmail (14 August 2013)
People sending email to any of Google's 425 million Gmail users have no "reasonable expectation" that their communications are confidential, the internet giant has said in a court filing.

Consumer Watchdog, the advocacy group that uncovered the filing, called the revelation a "stunning admission." It comes as Google and its peers are under pressure to explain their role in the National Security Agency's (NSA) mass surveillance of US citizens and foreign nationals.

"Google has finally admitted they don't respect privacy," said John Simpson, Consumer Watchdog's privacy project director. "People should take them at their word; if you care about your email correspondents' privacy, don't use Gmail."

Google set out its case last month in an attempt to dismiss a class action lawsuit that accuses the tech giant of breaking wire tap laws when it scans emails sent from non-Google accounts in order to target ads to Gmail users.

That suit, filed in May, claims Google "unlawfully opens up, reads, and acquires the content of people's private email messages". It quotes Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman: "Google policy is to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it."
[Read more...]

Former Internet Provider Gagged by National Security Letter Recounts How He Was Silenced for 6 Years (13 August 2013) [DemocracyNow.org]
AMY GOODMAN: Which also involved four librarians from Connecticut--right?--who were also given an NSL, national security letter, when they were asked for information about Internet users in the library systems of Connecticut.

NICHOLAS MERRILL: Yeah, somewhere about two years into the case, the librarians became co-plaintiffs along with me, although at that time they were just known as "Connecticut Doe," and I was "New York Doe," and we didn't know who each other were until many years later. But, yes, the librarians had also received a national security letter in Connecticut for library patron records, also a very upsetting issue.

The case, though, it was an interesting case because it resulted in the national security letter provision of the PATRIOT Act being ruled unconstitutional twice. And actually, recently, I think, in California in the Ninth Circuit, there was a similar ruling. The problem was, though, we were never able to get to the Supreme Court to get a final, binding ruling that would affect the whole country. And to be honest, it felt to me like the government wasn't really acting in good faith, that when it seemed like they were going to lose, they would back out of all these cases. It seemed to me that they were afraid to have the Supreme Court rule on the issue itself.
[Read more...]

EXCLUSIVE: Owner of Snowden's Email Service on Why He Closed Lavabit Rather Than Comply With Gov't (13 August 2013) [DemocracyNow.org]
We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Ladar Levison, let's begin with you. Explain the decision you made.

LADAR LEVISON: Yeah, well, I've--thank you, Amy. I've compared the decision to that of, you know, putting a beloved pet to sleep, you know, faced with the choice of watching it suffer or putting it to sleep quietly. It was a very difficult decision. But I felt that in the end I had to pick between the lesser of two evils and that shutting down the service, if it was no longer secure, was the better option. It was, in effect, the lesser of the two evils.

AMY GOODMAN: What are you facing? When you say "the lesser of two evils," what was the other choice?

LADAR LEVISON: Unfortunately, I can't talk about that. I would like to, believe me. I think if the American public knew what our government was doing, they wouldn't be allowed to do it anymore, which is why I'm here in D.C. today speaking to you. My hope is that, you know, the media can uncover what's going on, without my assistance, and, you know, sort of pressure both Congress and our efforts through the court system to, in effect, put a cap on what it is the government is entitled to in terms of our private communications.
[Read more...]

Fukushima now in state of emergency, leaking 300 tons of radioactive water into the ocean daily (13 August 2013)
(NaturalNews) Japan's nuclear watchdog has now declared the leak of radioactive water from Fukushima a "state of emergency." Each day, 300 tons of radioactive water seeps into the ocean, and it's now clear that TEPCO has engage in a two-and-a-half-year cover-up of immense magnitude.

"I believe it's been leaking into the ocean from the start of the crisis two-and-a-half years ago," disclosed a 12-year TEPCO veteran named Suzuki-san (SOURCE)

"There are still reactor buildings we haven't gotten into yet," said another worker named Fujimoto-san. "So there's always the possibility of another explosion..."

TEPCO workers sprayed with wildly radioactive water while waiting for a bus
Just how out of control is the situation at Fukushima? It's so out of control that TEPCO recently had to admit 10 of its workers were somehow -- yeah, see if you can figure this out -- sprayed with highly radioactive water while waiting for a bus.

"The workers' exposure above the neck was found to be as much as 10 becquerels per square centimeter," reports Bloomberg.com
[Read more...]

Insight: After disaster, the deadliest part of Japan's nuclear clean-up (13 August 2013)
(Reuters) - The operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is preparing to remove 400 tons of highly irradiated spent fuel from a damaged reactor building, a dangerous operation that has never been attempted before on this scale.

Containing radiation equivalent to 14,000 times the amount released in the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima 68 years ago, more than 1,300 used fuel rod assemblies packed tightly together need to be removed from a building that is vulnerable to collapse, should another large earthquake hit the area.

Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) is already in a losing battle to stop radioactive water overflowing from another part of the facility, and experts question whether it will be able to pull off the removal of all the assemblies successfully.

"They are going to have difficulty in removing a significant number of the rods," said Arnie Gundersen, a veteran U.S. nuclear engineer and director of Fairewinds Energy Education, who used to build fuel assemblies.
[Read more...]

Report: Michael Hastings Was Investigating CIA Director John Brennan (13 August 2013) [InfoWars.com]
Journalist Michael Hastings was investigating CIA director John Brennan before his untimely death in a suspicious car accident it has been revealed, with the report set to be published posthumously by Rolling Stone Magazine within the next two weeks.

According to San Diego 6 News reporter Kimberly Dvorak, "John Brennan was Hastings next exposé project." Dvorak says she received an email from the CIA, "acknowledging Hastings was working on a CIA story," although the text of that email was not displayed.

Dvorak also cites a Stratfor email hacked by Wikileaks and first published last year which names Brennan as being, "behind the witch hunts of investigative journalists learning information from inside the beltway sources."

"There is specific tasker from the WH to go after anyone printing materials negative to the Obama agenda (oh my.) Even the FBI is shocked," states the email.

Before being sworn in as CIA director in March this year, Brennan was a counterterrorism advisor for the Obama administration and helped compile the "kill lists" for the White House's drone assassination program.
[Read more...]

Time for McDonnell to do the right thing (11 August 2013)
Now that Gov. Bob McDonnell stands locked at the center of a public scandal, Virginia's corner of the world is looking at the first family and the acts that they never expected "to be known."

Members of the family accepted lavish gifts from a friend and political donor, even as the donor was involved in a tax lawsuit against Virginia and trying to persuade the commonwealth to accept his company's product into the state's health care plan.

Some of those gifts made their way to the governor himself. At long last, Mr. McDonnell says he will return them.

The governor not only should return the gifts to their giver.

He should return the office of governor to the people of Virginia.

It is time for Bob McDonnell to resign.
[Read more...]

John Kerry: 'This Little Thing Called the Internet ... Makes It Much Harder to Govern' (13 August 2013) [Rense.com]
(CNSNews.com) - Speaking to State Department personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia, Brazil, on Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry said that "this little thing called the Internet ... makes it much harder to govern."

He also said that "ever since the end of the Cold War, forces have been unleashed that were tamped down for centuries by dictators."

"I'm a student of history, and I love to go back and read a particularly great book like [Henry] Kissinger's book about diplomacy where you think about the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and the balance of power and how difficult it was for countries to advance their interests and years and years of wars," Kerry said to a gathering of State Department employees and their families.

"And we sometimes say to ourselves, boy, aren't we lucky," Kerry continued.
[Read more...]

Judge Rules NYPD "Stop and Frisk" Unconstitutional, Cites "Indirect Racial Profiling" (13 August 2013) [DemocracyNow.org]
AMY GOODMAN: That was Mayor Bloomberg of New York City. For more, we're joined by Sunita Patel, staff attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, co-counsel on the case.

We welcome you to Democracy Now! Your response to Judge Shira Scheindlin's ruling?

SUNITA PATEL: It's an astounding victory for everyone in New York City. She has very correctly and smartly decided that the city is engaging in racial profiling. And this is--it's a victory for so many hundreds of thousands of people who have been illegally stopped and frisked over the last decade.

AMY GOODMAN: And to those who say that this is the reason crime is down and that the number of lives that have been saved from some--what did I hear one pundit quoting today?--3,000 in a year now down to 300 murders in a year, particularly in black and brown communities, that the number of black and brown lives saved is a result of this racial profiling?

SUNITA PATEL: Well, for one thing, there's no empirical evidence linking "stop and frisk" to crime reduction generally. Secondly, you know, this is a tactic, that this murder rate reduction has been quoted in the news--I think it's a little bit blurry. When this administration--that's a statistic that spans the course of, you know, 15 years. It's not something--it's not within the time period that we're talking about. When Mayor Bloomberg came into office, the murder rate was already down to some--to a very small number. So, they're taking credit for something that happened way before them, and they're blurring the math on this issue. In addition, the crime rates have been going down nationally for the last two decades, and there just isn't a link between the two.
[Read more...]

Where are they? Two missing girls, one suspect (13 August 2013)
Last fall, a seemingly outraged citizen walked into the Hook office portraying himself as the victim of an allegedly overzealous missing person investigation. The man talked of getting pushed out of his job and his home by dubious investigative methods that convinced even a judge he'd been unfairly tracked. Ten months after that interview, the disappearance of another young Central Virginia woman has renewed the specter of horror and brought fresh scrutiny to his claims.

The man is Randy Allen Taylor, a 48-year-old Lovingston resident, and on August 11 he was arrested and charged with the abduction of 17-year-old Alexis Tiara Murphy, whose whereabouts remain unknown.

For the family of Murphy, an attractive rising senior at Nelson County High School, the arrest provides a glimmer of hope, but little in the way of real relief from the unrelenting pain of the girl's unexplained disappearance at the outset of the school year, which began in Nelson on Monday, August 12.

"I drove my son to school, but I didn't have my daughter," said a sobbing Laura Murphy at the press conference at which authorities announced Taylor's arrest. She pleaded for the public to provide any tips on her daughter's whereabouts.

Investigators, however, contend that the man most likely to have that information is Taylor.
[Read more...]

Obama Appoints Fox to Investigate Spying In the Henhouse (13 August 2013) [InfoWars.com]
Today, Obama appointed James Clapper to head the "independent group" of "outside experts".

Clapper is the same guy who lied to Congress about spying ... falsely claiming that the government wasn't spying on the American people. He subsequently apologized to Congress for lying.

And -- as the Director of National Intelligence -- Clapper is the U.S. spy-in-chief.

EmptyWheel notes:
"Neither Obama nor the Intelligence Committees get to hear from this Group themselves. It all goes through James Clapper."
[Read more...]

More of America's wind turbines are actually being built in America (13 August 2013)
The equipment that's powering America's wind energy boom is increasingly being made right at home.

In 2007, just 25 percent of turbine components used in new wind farms in the U.S. were produced domestically. By last year, that figure had risen to 72 percent, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Energy. And exports of such equipment rose to $388 million last year, up from $16 million in 2007.

This happened even as the U.S. was installing a whole lot of turbines. More than 13.1 gigawatts of new wind power capacity was added to the U.S. grid in 2012, representing $25 billion of investment. That made wind the nation's fastest-growing electricity source last year, faster even than natural gas--fueled power.

Unfortunately, there were job losses in the sector last year, with the number of wind industry manufacturing jobs falling to 25,500 from 30,000 the year before. That's because there was a lull and some factory closures after a mad scramble to fulfill orders placed before a federal tax credit expired. (It was renewed for this year, but its future is still up in the air.)
[Read more...]

Women who take statin drugs have 83-143% increased risk of breast cancer (13 August 2013)
(NaturalNews) New research published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention raises fresh concerns about the safety of statin drugs for high cholesterol, particularly amongst the female population. According to this population-based, case-controlled study, women who take statin drugs appear to have up to a 143 percent increased risk of developing breast cancer compared to women not taking the dangerous drugs.

The study, which involved 2,886 women from the Seattle-Puget Sound region of Washington state, looked at statin drug use among women with several prominent types of breast cancer, as well as control women with no breast cancer. All the women were between the ages of 55 and 74, and researchers questioned them both in-person and using questionnaires to look for a potential relationship between statin drug use and breast cancer prevalence.

After evaluating the data using a polytomous logistic regression model, the team determined that the women who used statin drugs were far more prone to developing either an invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) or an invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) compared to women who did not take any statin drugs. Overall breast cancer risk was even more pronounced among women diagnosed with hypercholesterolemia, also known as high cholesterol.

"Whereas recent publicity on statin drugs has focused on their potential use for cancer prevention or as anti-cancer agents, this study found exactly the opposite," writes Sayer Ji for GreenMedInfo.com. "[C]urrent users of statins for 10 years or longer [have] a 1.83-fold increased risk of invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) and a 1.97-fold increased risk of invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) compared to never users of statins."
[Read more...]

ADHD, texting a dangerous driving combination: study (13 August 2013)
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Teens with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder drive at a less consistent speed and spend more time out of their lane than young drivers without ADHD, according to a study that suggests texting at the wheel only makes the situation worse.

"Adolescents in that age range tend to have four times the rate of motor vehicle accidents (as adults), so it's a particularly high-risk group that only gets more high-risk if you have an ADHD diagnosis," Jeff Epstein, the study's senior author and director of the Center for ADHD at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, said.

He told Reuters Health his team was expecting to see texting affect 16- and 17-year-olds with ADHD more than their peers without the condition. It turned out the driving behavior of teens in both groups was significantly more hazardous when they texted.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, parent reports suggest close to one in 10 kids and teens in the U.S. has ever been diagnosed with ADHD.
[Read more...]

Study: Sugar even at moderate levels toxic to mice health, reproduction (13 August 2013)
Sugar, even at moderate levels, could be toxic to your health -- or at least to your sex life, a new study says.

Scientists at the University of Utah looked at how sugar affected mice and found that the mouse equivalent of just three sugary sodas a day had significant negative effects on life span and competition for mates.

"That's three sodas if the rest of your diet is pristine and sugar-free," said lead author and biologist James S. Ruff. "And those are 12-ounce sodas, not double Big Gulps."

Sugar-fed females died twice as quickly as control mice, which were fed the same total number of calories. While the sugar-fed males did not die more quickly, they had trouble competing against the control males for mates and were less likely to hold territory and reproduce.
[Read more...]

Surge of brain activity may explain near-death experience, study says (12 August 2013)
It's called a near-death experience, but the emphasis is on "near." The heart stops, you feel yourself float up and out of your body. You glide toward the entrance of a tunnel, and a searing bright light envelops your field of vision.

It could be the afterlife, as many people who have come close to dying have asserted. But a new study says it might well be a show created by the brain, which is still very much alive. When the heart stops, neurons in the brain appeared to communicate at an even higher level than normal, perhaps setting off the last picture show, packed with special effects.

"A lot of people believed that what they saw was heaven," said lead researcher and neurologist Jimo Borjigin. "Science hadn't given them a convincing alternative."

Scientists from the University of Michigan recorded electroencephalogram (EEG) signals in nine anesthetized rats after inducing cardiac arrest. Within the first 30 seconds after the heart had stopped, all the mammals displayed a surge of highly synchronized brain activity that had features associated with consciousness and visual activation. The burst of electrical patterns even exceeded levels seen during a normal, awake state.

In other words, they may have been having the rodent version of a near-death experience.
[Read more...]

World Trade Organization Forces Russia to Import GMO Seed (12 August 2013) [Rense.com]
If you have ever wondered just how far up the political food chain the GMO industrialists throw their bloated weight, you can look to the World Trade Organization (WTO). It is here that regulations which define membership with the WTO will now force Russia to import genetically modified organisms (GMO).

Russia has been trying to become a part of the WTO for 18 years with multiple heated negotiations, but you can bet they weren't prepared for the small print in the WTOs member documents. What's worse is that, in line with WTO regulations, Russia will have to enable producers of GMO to sell and label the product as any other -- without a specific GMO label, which states that the product contains genetically modified ingredients.

Activists and environmentalists are practically choleric about this new development. Anti-GMO rallies are at an all time high in the country with the release of this news. Not unlike the country of Bhutan -- many would like to make Russia a GMO-free zone. Activists plan to present President Vladimir Putin with over a million signatures requesting a non-GMO country. In recent planned demonstrations Moscow authorities would only allow people to picket, but not formally march to protest the WTO's GMO poison being politically asserted into their food supply.

The director of the National Association for Genetic Safety (NAGS), Yelena Sharoikina, says,
"People should be allowed to choose what products they can buy. We believe it is necessary to label products that contain GMO accordingly . . . We want to take every possible precaution. The experiments on hamsters, for example, are particularly troubling. Animals that have been fed with genetically modified foods stop reproducing after the second generation. Of course, you can't directly apply these results to humans, but it's definitely food for thought."
[Read more...]

New York's stop-and-frisk policy is unconstitutional, judge rules (12 August 2013)
A New York judge ruled Monday that stop-and-frisk searches carried out by city police are unconstitutional -- and ordered that a federal monitor be brought in to oversee their reform.

In a major victory for civil rights activists who have long contended that stop-and-frisk amounts to racial profiling, US district court judge Shira Scheindlin said the stops violated individuals' right to privacy and equal treatment under the law. In addition, the city's highest officials had "turned a blind eye" to evidence that officers carried out the searches in a "racially discriminatory manner", she added.

The ruling provoked a furious response from both New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and police commissioner Ray Kelly -- both fervent supporters of the stop-and-frisk policy.

Announcing an appeal against the ruling, Bloomberg claimed that the city's police and mayor's office did not get a fair trial.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: Hopefully they'll spend their time on solving actual crimes now.

Official: Embassy Attack Threat "Had No Basis in Fact" (12 August 2013) [InfoWars.com]
A high-ranking Yemeni security official has told McClatchy that the Obama administration's recently announced terror threat which supposedly targeted US embassies had "no basis in fact" and was manufactured merely to dampen opposition to drone strikes.

After initially warning of a terror plot "thought to have been one of the most serious against American and other Western interests since the September 11 attacks," the US closed 20 embassies and consulates earlier this month, 18 of which reopened yesterday.

The announcement of the threat occurred as it was simultaneously acknowledged that the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi last year was linked to a clandestine CIA arms smuggling operation based in the Libyan city that was being used to transport arms to rebels in Syria, many of whom are allied with Al-Qaeda militants.

The announcement of the threat against US embassies also served to justify blanket NSA surveillance, leading some to suggest that the alleged plot was being hyped to distract from the Edward Snowden scandal. It was later claimed that the NSA had intercepted a "conference call" of Al-Qaeda members during which militants discussed an attack.
[Read more...]

Eric Holder proposes major shift in 'war on drugs' (+video) (12 August 2013)
In a fundamental shift in America's decades-long war on drugs, Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Monday he has ordered federal prosecutors to stop seeking maximum punishments for certain low-level, nonviolent drug offenders.

Speaking at the annual meeting of the American Bar Association in San Francisco, Mr. Holder said the effort was aimed at reducing the number of nonviolent offenders clogging the nation's prisons.

"Too many Americans go to too many prisons for too long for no good law enforcement reason," he said.

The Obama administration was undertaking a pragmatic approach to recalibrate the federal criminal justice system, Holder said, and to address the stark racial disparity in American prisons.
[Read more...]

'Whitey' Bulger guilty of 11 murders in sweeping Boston mob case (12 August 2013)
(Reuters) - James "Whitey" Bulger, a brutal gangster who ruled over Boston's criminal underworld in the 1970s and '80s and evaded capture for 16 years, was found guilty of murder and racketeering by a jury on Monday and will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.

The 83-year-old Bulger, dressed in a gray shirt, dark pants and white sneakers, stood quietly as the verdict was read, showing little emotional response to the decision by jurors to convict him after five days of deliberation in Boston federal court. His sentencing was scheduled for November 13.

A legendary figure in Boston's underworld, Bulger ran the "Winter Hill" crime gang after coming to power in a mob war that resulted in the death of members of rival gangs. He cemented his grip on Boston's crime scene through ties with corrupt Federal Bureau of Investigation officials who shared his Irish ethnicity and turned a blind eye to his crimes in exchange for information they could use against the Italian Mafia.

During the two month-long trial, the 12 jurors heard vivid descriptions of Bulger's crimes. They included brazen daylight shootings of fellow criminals, the terrifying extortion of a victim at whose crotch Bulger aimed a machine gun and how one associate would pull teeth from the mouths of dead victims, hoping to make the bodies harder to identify.

Nicknamed "Whitey" because of the shock of light-colored hair he had as a young man, Bulger fled Boston in 1994 after a tip from a corrupt agent that his arrest was imminent.
[Read more...]

LAPD detains photographer for 'interfering' with police investigation --from 90 feet away (12 August 2013)
Words like "interference" or "obstruction" seem to be thrown around quite frequently when law enforcement officers decide they'd rather not be filmed while on duty. How the passive act of filming can interfere with investigations or obstruct officials is left to the imagination. Fortunately (I guess...), law enforcement officials have very vivid imaginations. This allows them to arrest, detain, hassle or confiscate devices as needed, in order preserve the peace by chilling speech.

The latest definition of "interference" stretches the limits of credulity -- to nearly 100 feet.

"Shawn Nee is an award winning street and documentary photographer living in Hollywood, California. He says that on June 2, 2013, his right to take photos under the First Amendment was violated when the Los Angeles Police Department officers detained him while working in Hollywood.

"Nee was standing on a residential sidewalk taking pictures of a man he had been photographing for years when LAPD officers showed up about 90 feet away to investigate a domestic dispute."

The whole incident, caught on "tape" thanks to the three body cameras Nee wears, shows officers covering a lot of ground to reach the "interfering" photographer. As is almost always the case, the officers' first move is intimidation, with one demanding Nee identify himself and his employer.
[Read more...]

A Texan tragedy: Ample oil, no water (12 August 2013)
Beverly McGuire saw the warning signs before the town well went dry: sand in the toilet bowl, the sputter of air in the tap, a pump working overtime to no effect. But it still did not prepare her for the night in June when she turned on the tap and discovered the tiny town where she had made her home for 35 years was out of water.

"The day that we ran out of water I turned on my faucet and nothing was there and at that moment I knew the whole of Barnhart was down the tubes," she said, blinking back tears. "I went: 'dear God help us.' That was the first thought that came to mind."

Across the Southwest, residents of small communities like Barnhart are confronting the reality that something as basic as running water, as unthinking as turning on a tap, can no longer be taken for granted.

Three years of drought, decades of overuse, and now the oil industry's outsize demands on water for fracking are running down reservoirs and underground aquifers. And climate change is making things worse.

In Texas alone, about 30 communities could run out of water by the end of the year, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
[Read more...]

Senate Insider Speaks Out: Ex-Wyden Staffer on Secret Laws, Domestic Spying and Obama's NSA Reforms (12 August 2013) [DemocracyNow.org]
AMY GOODMAN: That is President Obama at his news conference on Friday. Jennifer Hoelzer, your response?

JENNIFER HOELZER: It's very hard to hear that, to be honest. To know a little bit about me, I worked for Senator Ron Wyden for six years. And Senator Wyden, his conscience did move him to try to speak up about these things and try to draw attention and try to start a debate, and, quite frankly, there were no other avenues to bring this information to light. When the president tries to make it sound like, you know, he was already moving us in this direction, he had five years to do that. And I--you know, we--you could see on Senator Wyden's website--I think we put up a timeline, you know, because our frustration of how many times we asked the administration to declassify information so that we could have a public debate on these issues, where we asked him to slow down because Congress didn't know what it was voting on and didn't know what the authorities the administration was claiming to have. And, you know, I think, as somebody who I'm fairly confident, you know, having worked for him--and keep in mind, I was his deputy chief of staff, and he couldn't even tell me, you know, what programs he was attempting to conduct oversight over--that there was no way. I think we left no stone unturned to try to bring these issues to light.

Obviously, I'm concerned, you know, as is the president, the only way we seem to be able to have this debate was through an unauthorized disclosure. Our national security policy should be such that there is a respect for classification procedures and that, you know, whistleblowers don't feel a need to come forward with this information. I share his concern. It would have been much, much better had we been able to have this debate and under more rational circumstances, with facts coming out on both sides. But the fact of the matter is, the president of the United States had five years to make that happen, and he didn't. And I find that concerning. And I'm glad he's coming to the table now, and I think--hope he's sincere, and I hope he puts the muscle behind this that he claims to be doing. But I think his track record thus far does not show a personal commitment from him or many members of his administration to make that happen.
[Read more...]

Ratepayers should bear part of San Onofre closure cost, utility says (12 August 2013)
SACRAMENTO -- Preparing for months of battle over who should pay the estimated $4.1-billion cost of permanently shutting down the San Onofre nuclear power plant, which closed in June, Southern California Edison has launched a public relations campaign suggesting that ratepayers pick up part of the cost.

Who pays -- ratepayers, stockholders, equipment manufacturers or insurers -- is expected to be a long and thorny dispute before state and federal regulatory agencies as well as in the courts.

On the eve of legislative hearings Tuesday on the issue, the utility offered its 4.9 million customers a preview of its point of view in an advertisement published in the Los Angeles Times.

Closing the power plant is in the "best interests" of customers, it said, and ratepayers should be prepared to pitch in. The company discovered that hundreds of new steam generating tubes were wearing out, and it determined that keeping the plant open till the problem was resolved would be too costly.
[Read more...]

CDC tries to rewrite history by burying facts about SV40 cancer viruses in polio vaccines (12 August 2013)
The pages that were deleted dealt specifically with the fact that the Simian virus (SV40), which at one time was exclusive to monkeys, began showing up in polio vaccines in 1960. "Because SV40 was not discovered until 1960, no one was aware in the 1950s that polio vaccine could be contaminated," the CDC website explained.

In fact, it was only discovered, the agency said, purely by accident:

"Soon after its discovery in 1960, SV40 was identified in polio vaccine. It was found in the injected form of the vaccine (IPV), not the kind given by mouth (OPV). At that time, rhesus monkey kidney cells, which contain SV40 if the animal is infected, were used in preparing viral vaccines."

Though the tainted vaccine containing monkey cancer virus was discovered in 1960, "existing polio vaccine stocks were not recalled and were used until 1963," said the deleted site. That means the agency was, for a period of years, conspicuously dispersing vaccines containing a possible link to cancer to hundreds of millions of people in the U.S., UK, Australia and the former Soviet Union.
[Read more...]

Blood sugar linked to dementia, even without diabetes (12 August 2013)
You may have thought you dodged a bullet because your elevated blood sugars weren't high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. But new research shows they may still be taking a toll on your health.

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found a higher dementia risk even among people who do not have diabetes.

"The most interesting finding was that every incrementally higher glucose level was associated with a higher risk of dementia in people who did not have diabetes," said first author Dr. Paul Crane, of the University of Washington.

For example, in people without diabetes, risk for dementia was 18 per cent higher for people with an average glucose level of 115 milligrams per decilitre compared to those with an average glucose level of 100 mg/dl. And in people with diabetes, whose blood sugar levels are generally higher, dementia risk was 40 per cent higher for people with an average glucose level of 190 mg/dl. compared to those with an average glucose level of 160 mg/dl.
[Read more...]

Baltimore researchers turn carnivorous fish into vegetarians (11 August 2013)
Cobia is a sleek and powerful fish that devours flesh and doesn't apologize for it. Open its belly and anything might pop out -- crab, squid, smaller fish, you name it.

Recently, three Baltimore researchers -- Aaron Watson, Frederic Barrows and Allen Place -- set out to tame this wild and hungry fish sometimes called black salmon. They didn't want to simply domesticate it; hundreds of fish farmers have already done that. They sought to turn one of the ocean's greediest carnivores into a vegetarian.

The researchers announced last week that they pulled off the feat at a laboratory in the Columbus Center in downtown Baltimore. Over the course of a four-year study, Watson said, they dabbled with mixtures of plant-based proteins, fatty acids and a powerful amino acid-like substance found in energy drinks until they came up with a combination that cobia and another popular farm fish, gilt-head bream, gobbled down.

The conversion of these carnivorous fish to a completely vegetarian diet is a first, according to the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, and a key to breaking a cycle in which the ocean's stocks of small fish -- menhaden, anchovies and sardines -- are plundered by industrial fishing partly to provide fish feed to aquaculture, one of the fastest-growing economic sectors in the world.

"It would take the pressure off harvesting the menhaden fishery," Place said, referring to the bony and oily little fish billed as the most important in the sea. Menhaden, caught off Virginia's coast, feed a plethora of marine animals, including dolphin, swordfish and birds.

The research was published in this month's issue of the journal Lipids and is supported by a paper published earlier in the Journal of Fisheries and Aquaculture. It's part of a race to replace feed from wild-caught fish as the diet of choice for farm-raised fish, set in motion by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Department of Agriculture in 2007.
[Read more...]

Russia among countries atop NSA surveillance priority list (11 August 2013)
Russia, alongside the EU, China and Iran, are on top of the NSA's spying priority list, according to a document leaked by fugitive Edward Snowden and published by Der Spiegel weekly.

In the classified document, dated April 2013, countries are assigned levels of interest for NSA surveillance from 1 (the highest) to 5 (the lowest).

Among the top surveillance targets are China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan, North Korea and Afghanistan. The EU, as a whole is also ranking high, though individually its 28 member-states are of lesser importance to the US intelligence, with Germany and France representing mid-level interest, while countries like Finland, Croatia and Denmark are denoted as almost irrelevant in data gathering.

Specification is also provided on what areas of interest are to be mostly looked at in different countries. Der Spiegel, which published the leaked document on Saturday, focuses on which German issues interested US spying agency the most.
[Read more...]

PETA, no-kill groups disagree on life or death (11 August 2013)
His coat is thick and black except for a big white patch on his chest. His right ear sticks up. The other one flops over. His deep brown eyes are fixed thoughtfully on the camera snapping his portrait.

Oreo, a lab mix, was dropped off at Norfolk's public animal shelter by owners who no longer wanted him, his ad on the shelter's website says. He's probably about 4. He likes kids. He's affectionate.

What the website doesn't say - much to the chagrin of Jean Linman, who last year helped launch a group called No-Kill Hampton Roads - is that Oreo and the rest of the shelter's wards are about as likely to be killed there as they are to be adopted.

The stated goal of No-Kill Hampton Roads - to end euthanasia among healthy or treatable shelter animals - sounds like an easy sell. But not everyone agrees, and the group's most vocal opponent may seem a surprising one: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the international animal welfare organization with headquarters in downtown Norfolk.

PETA's position is that limiting suffering should always take priority, and it is impossible to humanely handle all of the country's unwanted animals without euthanasia.
[Read more...]

FBI agents in Marques probe found sick websites (11 August 2013)
THE world's three biggest secret paedophile websites, with potentially millions of users, were identified by the FBI as part of its investigation into Irishman Eric Eoin Marques.

Three sites called Lolita City, The Love Zone and Pedo Empire and containing huge numbers of images, including brutal rapes of children, were identified by the American law enforcement agency during its investigations.

The sickening websites cannot be accessed over the ordinary internet. Users download and use encryption software before paying for access.

US authorities are seeking to extradite Mr Marques, 28, to Maryland to face charges of distributing, conspiring to distribute and advertising child pornography as part of a major global investigation.

According to the FBI, the charges relate to images on a large number of websites that are described as extremely violent, graphic and depicting the rape and torture of children.
[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.)