Monday, September 29, 2008

Chef dies after eating 'superhot' chilli for bet

Telegraph:"Andrew Lee, 33, suffered heart failure the morning after he ate the chilli.
Toxicology tests are now being carried out to see if the fork lift truck driver suffered a fatal reaction to the dish or whether anything else contributed to his death.
Mr Lee, of Edlington, Doncaster was apparently in perfect health and had just passed a medical at work, the opening of the Doncaster hearing was told.
Cooking was one of his main interests and he went to his girlfriend Samantha Bailey's house to make a chilli.
His father John Lee told the inquest: "He had a bet with Samantha's brother who could make the hottest chilli then went back to her house to stay."
Mother-of-four Miss Bailey called the emergency services to her home nine days ago.
Police officers were called to the house after receiving reports of a man suffering a cardiac arrest and Mr Lee was found lying on the floor.
Paramedics failed to revive him and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
A full post-mortem examination is underway and further inquiries are being carried out."

ACLU Action Alert

Under new FBI guidelines proposed by Attorney General Michael Mukasey, all the FBI has to do to put anybody they want under prolonged physical surveillance is assert an “authorized purpose” such as detecting or preventing crime or protecting “national security."

These kinds of Bush/Cheney/Gonzales/Mukasey “just trust us” policies have been eroding our rights for the past eight years. After illegal spying and top-level torture policies coming from the White House, this is absurd. Enough is enough!

These new guidelines would allow the FBI to interview you, your friends and family under a false pretext. The FBI could recruit secret informants, and have them infiltrate peaceful protest groups. And the FBI to could initiate investigations based on little more than race, ethnicity or religion.

The FBI could also search commercial databases for personal details about your life with no real reason.

And all of this would be allowed without an ounce of evidence that you or anyone else has done anything wrong.

These guidelines represent one step closer to a police state. And the worst part is that there is good reason to believe the FBI has been violating its internal guidelines all along.

Fortunately, there is something we can do about this before the new regulations are implemented.

I just demanded that the Inspector General at the Department of Justice launch an investigation to determine if the FBI has been violating its own guidelines. The Inspector General’s office at the Department of Justice has proven to be an unbiased, internal watchdog that has consistently exposed wrongdoing. We need to urge the IG to do it again. Take action now at:

Rep. Michael Burgess

“I have been thrown out of more meetings in this capital in the last 24 hours than I ever thought possible, as a duly elected representative of 825,000 citizens of north Texas.” Said Congressman Burgess. Also says the Speaker has declared "Martial Law."

Short North Koreans . . . and Americans

Short North Koreans . . . and Americans:
"During the first presidential debate, Senator John McCain called North Korea a “repressive brutal regime,” comparing life there to living in a prison camp. And then he summoned a bizarre statistic, saying that the average South Korean is three inches taller than the average North Korean.
Mr. McCain is correct that there appears to be a growing gap in height between North and South Koreans, likely due to poor nutrition and impoverished living conditions. Studies of escapees from North Korea show that those born after the partitioning of the Korean Peninsula in the North were consistently about two inches shorter than their counterparts in the South, according to a 2004 report in Economics and Human Biology.
While the conditions for North Koreans are troubling, Americans have a similar height gap to worry about, and it also appears to be due to a lower standard of living, poor health care and inadequate nutrition. Last summer, the journal Social Science Quarterly reported that Americans are, quite literally, falling short of Europeans. In 1880, Americans were the tallest people in the world. But by 2000, American men, at an average height of 5-feet-10.5-inches, ranked 9th, and women, at about 5-feet-5-inches, fell to 15th. Several Northern European countries rank the highest in height, with the Dutch coming in first, at just over 6 feet for the men and 5-feet-7-inches for the women.
The height gap between Americans and Northern Europeans can’t be explained by an influx of short immigrants. Experts say the United States takes in too few immigrants to account for the disparity, and the height statistics cited in the article include only English-speaking native-born Americans, and don’t include people of Asian and Hispanic descent.
The real answer may be that Northern European countries do a better job of spreading the wealth and taking care of their children.
“We conjecture that perhaps the Western and Northern European welfare states, with their universal socioeconomic safety nets, are able to provide a higher biological standard of living to their children and youth than the more free-market-oriented U.S. economy,” wrote John Komlos, professor of economics at the University of Munich."

The Rich Are Staging a Coup This Morning ...a message from Michael Moore


Let me cut to the chase. The biggest robbery in the history of this country is taking place as you read this. Though no guns are being used, 300 million hostages are being taken. Make no mistake about it: After stealing a half trillion dollars to line the pockets of their war-profiteering backers for the past five years, after lining the pockets of their fellow oilmen to the tune of over a hundred billion dollars in just the last two years, Bush and his cronies -- who must soon vacate the White House -- are looting the U.S. Treasury of every dollar they can grab. They are swiping as much of the silverware as they can on their way out the door.

No matter what they say, no matter how many scare words they use, they are up to their old tricks of creating fear and confusion in order to make and keep themselves and the upper one percent filthy rich. Just read the first four paragraphs of the lead story in last Monday's New York Times and you can see what the real deal is:

"Even as policy makers worked on details of a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry, Wall Street began looking for ways to profit from it.

"Financial firms were lobbying to have all manner of troubled investments covered, not just those related to mortgages.

"At the same time, investment firms were jockeying to oversee all the assets that Treasury plans to take off the books of financial institutions, a role that could earn them hundreds of millions of dollars a year in fees.

"Nobody wants to be left out of Treasury's proposal to buy up bad assets of financial institutions."
Unbelievable. Wall Street and its backers created this mess and now they are going to clean up like bandits. Even Rudy Giuliani is lobbying for his firm to be hired (and paid) to "consult" in the bailout.

The problem is, nobody truly knows what this "collapse" is all about. Even Treasury Secretary Paulson admitted he doesn't know the exact amount that is needed (he just picked the $700 billion number out of his head!). The head of the congressional budget office said he can't figure it out nor can he explain it to anyone.

And yet, they are screeching about how the end is near! Panic! Recession! The Great Depression! Y2K! Bird flu! Killer bees! We must pass the bailout bill today!! The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

Falling for whom? NOTHING in this "bailout" package will lower the price of the gas you have to put in your car to get to work. NOTHING in this bill will protect you from losing your home. NOTHING in this bill will give you health insurance.

Health insurance? Mike, why are you bringing this up? What's this got to do with the Wall Street collapse?

It has everything to do with it. This so-called "collapse" was triggered by the massive defaulting and foreclosures going on with people's home mortgages. Do you know why so many Americans are losing their homes? To hear the Republicans describe it, it's because too many working class idiots were given mortgages that they really couldn't afford. Here's the truth: The number one cause of people declaring bankruptcy is because of medical bills. Let me state this simply: If we had had universal health coverage, this mortgage "crisis" may never have happened.

This bailout's mission is to protect the obscene amount of wealth that has been accumulated in the last eight years. It's to protect the top shareholders who own and control corporate America. It's to make sure their yachts and mansions and "way of life" go uninterrupted while the rest of America suffers and struggles to pay the bills. Let the rich suffer for once. Let them pay for the bailout. We are spending 400 million dollars a day on the war in Iraq. Let them end the war immediately and save us all another half-trillion dollars!

I have to stop writing this and you have to stop reading it. They are staging a financial coup this morning in our country. They are hoping Congress will act fast before they stop to think, before we have a chance to stop them ourselves. So stop reading this and do something -- NOW! Here's what you can do immediately:

1. Call or e-mail Senator Obama. Tell him he does not need to be sitting there trying to help prop up Bush and Cheney and the mess they've made. Tell him we know he has the smarts to slow this thing down and figure out what's the best route to take. Tell him the rich have to pay for whatever help is offered. Use the leverage we have now to insist on a moratorium on home foreclosures, to insist on a move to universal health coverage, and tell him that we the people need to be in charge of the economic decisions that affect our lives, not the barons of Wall Street.

2. Take to the streets. Participate in one of the hundreds of quickly-called demonstrations that are taking place all over the country (especially those near Wall Street and DC).

3. Call your Representative in Congress and your Senators. (click here to find their phone numbers). Tell them what you told Senator Obama.

When you screw up in life, there is hell to pay. Each and every one of you reading this knows that basic lesson and has paid the consequences of your actions at some point. In this great democracy, we cannot let there be one set of rules for the vast majority of hard-working citizens, and another set of rules for the elite, who, when they screw up, are handed one more gift on a silver platter. No more! Not again!

Michael Moore

P.S. Having read further the details of this bailout bill, you need to know you are being lied to. They talk about how they will prevent golden parachutes. It says NOTHING about what these executives and fat cats will make in SALARY. According to Rep. Brad Sherman of California, these top managers will continue to receive million-dollar-a-month paychecks under this new bill. There is no direct ownership given to the American people for the money being handed over. Foreign banks and investors will be allowed to receive billion-dollar handouts. A large chunk of this $700 billion is going to be given directly to Chinese and Middle Eastern banks. There is NO guarantee of ever seeing that money again.

P.P.S. From talking to people I know in DC, they say the reason so many Dems are behind this is because Wall Street this weekend put a gun to their heads and said either turn over the $700 billion or the first thing we'll start blowing up are the pension funds and 401(k)s of your middle class constituents. The Dems are scared they may make good on their threat. But this is not the time to back down or act like the typical Democrat we have witnessed for the last eight years. The Dems handed a stolen election over to Bush. The Dems gave Bush the votes he needed to invade a sovereign country. Once they took over Congress in 2007, they refused to pull the plug on the war. And now they have been cowered into being accomplices in the crime of the century. You have to call them now and say "NO!" If we let them do this, just imagine how hard it will be to get anything good done when President Obama is in the White House. THESE DEMOCRATS ARE ONLY AS STRONG AS THE BACKBONE WE GIVE THEM. CALL CONGRESS NOW.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Where Have All The Protests Gone?

The stock market has gone nuts, and the federal government is treating Wall Street with experimental cures that will cost nearly $1 trillion. An unpopular foreign war, now in its sixth year, has resulted in more than 4,100 American deaths. For the first time in history, the presidential campaign includes an African American candidate for president and a Republican female candidate for vice president.

Taken together, these data points give this moment in American history a once-in-a-great-while feel of Something Large. But if this is truly a pivot in time, its most peculiar feature may be how un-peculiar it feels. For all the social and political upheaval, for all the 60-point headlines and for all the bipartisan calls for change, there is plenty of unease -- but a very notable lack of unrest.

It's as though the gods of turmoil threw a party and nobody came. When was the last time you saw a street protest? Or a burning effigy? Or a teach-in? Or a boycott? It's kind of odd: We have the sense that this is an emergency, but open the window and give a listen. There aren't any sirens.

How come?

Washington Square Park, near Greenwich Village, seemed like a good place to pose that question. Forty years ago, this was one of the city's counterculture epicenters, a frequent site of protests and rallies and as close to an open-air drug market as one could find downtown. If you had been near the south entrance at 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 4, 1968, you would have witnessed a spectacle: New York University students shouting obscenities at Ambassador Nguyen Huu Chi, South Vietnam's permanent observer to the United Nations, who had come to lecture at the nearby Loeb Center. A Nazi flag was tossed around his neck, and then someone poured a pitcher of water over his head.

Last Sunday, by contrast, the park looked serene. A jazz band played, a street juggler performed, and the only sign of politics was the "Bakin' for Barack" sale in the northeast corner. "Make a donation, take a treat," read the sign next to the slices of banana bread and chocolate chip cookies.

"My sense is that nobody feels they can make a difference in the same way that students did in 1968," said Sachin Makani, 29, a graduate student in neuroscience and one of a handful of people collecting money here. "A lot of us don't see the point in rallying in the streets."

As a historical reference point, 1968 is useful not just because it was an election year that unfolded in the midst of a grim and protracted foreign war. It was also the high-water mark for exactly the kind of radical activism that seems largely absent today, apart from the occasional horde that shows up whenever the World Bank and International Monetary Fund meet.

The differences go well beyond the occasional attack on visiting dignitaries. The culture back then was suffused in the atmospherics of insurrection. There were celebrity radicals, such as Abbie Hoffman and Timothy Leary. The Beatles, who only a few years earlier wanted to hold your hand, were singing "Revolution." There was a lot of talk about "the system" and how to avoid it, destroy it or drop out of it.

That's gone now.

"I've been to meetings for political clubs and they never seem to have any momentum," said Robert Hoyer, an NYU junior who was standing outside the library, wearing a pair of headphones. "I know people who really care about what's happening in the world and are trying to get something off the ground, but it's hard for me -- and a lot of students -- to see a way of making a contribution that means anything."

headlines mainstream media missed:

From the

U.S. Troops In Homeland “Crowd Control”

On September 8th by the Army Times website reported that from the beginning of next month the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team “Will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks.”

U.S. troops returning from duty in Iraq will be carrying out homeland patrols in America from October 1st in complete violation of Posse Comitatus for the purposes of helping with “civil unrest and crowd control” - which could include dealing with unruly Americans after a complete economic collapse.

The Insurrection Act of 1807.
For troops to be deployed, a condition has to exist that, “(1) So hinders the execution of the laws of that State, and of the United States within the State, that any part or class of its people is deprived of a right, privilege, immunity, or protection named in the Constitution and secured by law, and the constituted authorities of that State are unable, fail, or refuse to protect that right, privilege, or immunity, or to give that protection; or (2) opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws. In any situation covered by clause (1), the State shall be considered to have denied the equal protection of the laws secured by the Constitution.”

The deployment of National Guard troops to aid law enforcement or for disaster relief purposes is legal under the authority of the governor of a state, but using active duty U.S. Army in law enforcement operations inside America absent the conditions described in the Insurrection Act is completely illegal.

With the promise of an “October surprise” on behalf of Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda being bandied about by the media and the potential for civil unrest should a complete collapse of the U.S. economy unfold, the presence of U.S. troops inside America, returning fresh from kicking down doors, arresting “insurgents” and taking them to internment camps in Iraq, should put Americans on alert and provoke urgent questions about the legality of U.S. Army units engaging in law enforcement operations against American citizens.

White House Admits It Drew Up Bailout Months Ago

No one could have seen this coming, right?

Well, actually, the White House has admitted that they drew up the bail out plan months ago:

[White House Deputy Press Secretary Tony] Fratto insisted that the plan was not slapped together and had been drawn up as a contingency over previous months and weeks by administration officials. He acknowledged lawmakers were getting only days to peruse it, but he said this should be enough.

But the government did nothing real to prevent the financial meltdown. Instead, it let the meltdown happen, and now is trying to ram through terrible and counter-productive legislation drafted previously by using fear tactics.

Latin America uniting against neocons of Washington

And last but not least, here's an article about the political activity in Latin America, including the attempted coups against Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, US backed aggression against Bolivia's Evo Morales, among other things. Latin America hates the neo-con policies of meddling in their affairs and are gaining political clout to counter it.

Friday, September 26, 2008

NASA holds media teleconference to discuss changes in Sun's solar wind

The Ulysses space probe has detected fewer sunspots, decreased solar winds, and a weakening magnetic field—the lowest solar activity observed in 50 years, NASA scientists said yesterday.

That translates into a shrinking of the heliosphere, the invisible "bubble" of solar wind that extends beyond Pluto and guards the planets—ours included—from bombardment by cosmic rays.

Speaking yesterday at a NASA teleconference, scientists refused to draw conclusions from their observations, especially with respect to whether the changes are influencing Earth's climate.

"That area of science is in the realm of speculation at this point," said Nancy Crooker, a researcher at Boston University.

But David J. McComas of the Southwest Research Institute, who leads one of the experiments onboard Ulysses, called the changes "significant."

Some variance in solar activity is normal for the sun, which has a 22-year magnetic cycle and an 11-year sunspot cycle.

But McComas said in a statement that researchers have been "surprised to find that the solar wind is much less powerful than it had been in the previous solar minimum."

"This is a whole-sun phenomenon. The entire sun is blowing significantly less hard than it was 10 to 15 years ago," he said.

"Over the entire record of sun observations, this is the longest prolonged low pressure that we've observed."

Fed Facts

– The Federal Reserve is a private bank
– The Federal Reserve has never been audited
– The Federal Reserve prints money out of thin air
– The Federal Reserve destroys your savings
– The Federal Reserve uses your savings to bail out corporations
– The Federal Reserve caused the financial crises

Ron Paul: Congress Has Opted For 10-Year Plus Depression

Congressman Ron Paul says that the bailout bill is likely to pass, heralding a 10-year plus economic depression for America and the potential for martial law should civil unrest arise as the financial meltdown worsens.

Speaking on The Alex Jones Show, Paul said of the bailout, “They want dictatorship, they want to pass all the penalties and suffering on to the average person on Main Street,” adding, “We will have a depression or recession, it’s locked in place due to previous Federal Reserve actions.”

“When they say that if we don’t do exactly as they say and turn over more of our money and more of our liberties and exempt themselves from any court in the whole nation, they’re trying to intimidate us and lead us into doing the wrong thing,” said Paul.

The Congressman added that serious problems would arise if nothing was done to address the problem, but that more serious consequences would follow should the bailout be passed.

Paul warned that the only question was whether the meltdown would last one year or ten years and how much liberty would be lost in that time frame.

“It looks like from I see in Congress, that they’re opting for a decade plus of depression rather than saying let’s correct our ways, let’s balance the budget, let’s bring our troops home,” said Paul, adding that the same course of printing money would continue - prolonging the agony and preventing a necessary correction.

Asked if civil unrest was a possibility in the midst of an economic depression, referencing a recent Army Times report concerning the use of active duty military being brought back from Iraq for “Homeland patrols” and “crowd control,” Paul questioned, “Are we going to have martial law or are we going to have more freedoms? The more problems that we have, the more likely it is that we’re going to have martial law, so I do think they anticipate and they plan for these things.”

Asked if criminal investigations and prosecutions of individuals on Wall Street should commence, Paul agreed but said that the main target of criminal inquiry should be the Federal Reserve board itself because, “That’s where the fraud is.”

“They want to be lawless, they don’t want to be held accountable,” he added.

Paul said that grand juries should be convened to take on prosecutions rather than the FBI becoming involved, stating, “We have proper authority with that and experience with it and the Enron case is a good example.”

History reveals: Tesla totally awesome!

Host Bre Pettis and his Tesla coil on the set of his show "History Hacker."
Bre Pettis reverse-engineers ‘the man who invented the 20th century’
By Helen A.S. Popkin
Circuit-bending YouTube star Bre Pettis doesn’t want you to know that before making his History Channel pilot, he hadn’t seen “The Prestige.”
It’s not that he purposely failed to catch Chris Nolan’s 2006 adaptation of the steam punk novel about rival magicians starring Batman (Christian Bale) and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman).
It seems Pettis never got around to it. And by the time he started putting together “History Hacker,” premiering tonight at 8 and 11 p.m., it was too late.
Not too late to ever see “ The Prestige,” mind you. But “History Hacker’s” premise is to focus each episode on the life and innovations of one inventor, and the pilot is about Nikola Tesla.
Pettis didn’t want to infect his flow by watching David Bowie’s critically-acclaimed portrayal of “The Father of Physics,” a pivotal — albeit fictionalized — character in the film.
Perfectly reasonable. Lots of these creative types censor their sensory input for just that reason. What’s funny here is that in a recent interview with Technotica about his “History Hacker” pilot, Pettis kind of, sort of wanted his missing “Prestige” experience left off the record.
“Don’t get me wrong, I love David Bowie,” Pettis said via VoIP. “Please don’t tell anybody.”
Mind you, Pettis is a guy who can reverse engineer Tesla creations, and he's worried it wouldn't look right if people found out he didn't see some movie that introduced many a modern layperson to Tesla’s existence.
Whatever. It's amusing. So with Pettis’s reluctant permission, I’m sharing.
If Edison and Tesla got in a fight, who would win?
Meanwhile, if you came away from “The Prestige” wanting to know more about the real guy behind Bowie’s portrayal of an enigmatic inventor who walked through storms of electric current of his own creation, the truth is at least as cool as the fiction.
“At the turn of the century, electricity was magic, and really, it still is today,” Pettis says.
“This (TV show) is for all the curious people out there who want to learn about the electricity that comes out of your wall. You can run a hair dryer from the electricity in your wall generated from a power plant far, far way. That blows my mind.”

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hugh Hefner to sack Playboy bunnies amid financial crisis

Hugh Hefner [centre] with Playboy bunnies Shelia Levell [left] and his 'No 1' girlfriend Holly Madison Photo: GETTY
Playboy bunnies have become the latest victim of the credit crunch.
By Charlotte Bailey
Tycoon Hugh Hefner has been advised to cut back on staff at his multi-million dollar glamour empire as it struggles to cope during the global economic turmoil.
The 83-year-old has been told to lay off some of his staff at his Los Angeles and New York offices as soon as this month or go bankrupt.
The company has recently seen shares fall from £6.20 to £1.55.
An insider at the company told the Daily Star that bosses had been aware of the worsening situation for "a while".
"Only the top brass has known for a while how bad things have been for Hef recently."
Spokeswoman Elizabeth Austin would not confirm the sackings, saying: "It is our policy not to comment on corporate matters such as employee issues."
The news will be another blow to Hefner who recently discovered that two of his "bunnies" may have been cheating on him.
Holly Madison, who has previously been named as Hefner's "No.1" girlfriend, is alleged to have had an affair with magician Criss Angel and another bunny, Kendra Wilson, is reportedly dating football star Hank Baskett.
Playboy spokesman Rob Hillburger denied the rumours, saying: "The rumours that Holly left Hef for Criss Angel are not true. Holly and Kendra are all still living at the Mansion."

9 siblings among 11 kids abandoned under Neb. law

OMAHA, Neb. -- Nine siblings are among 11 children as old as 17 who were left at Omaha hospitals Wednesday under Nebraska's unique and new safe haven law, which allows caregivers to abandon babies and teenagers alike at hospitals without fear of prosecution.

The law, originally intended to protect infants, was expanded in a legislative compromise to protect any "child." Some have interpreted that to mean anyone under 19.

Gov. Dave Heineman, who signed the law, and some other former supporters are among those now saying changes are needed.

"People are leaving them off just because they can't control them," state Sen. Arnie Stuthman, who introduced the original bill, said Thursday. "They're probably in no real danger, so it's an easy way out for the caretaker."

The nine siblings - five boys and four girls ages 1 to 17 - were left by their father, who was not identified, at Creighton University Medical Center's emergency room, according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. Unrelated boys ages 11 and 15 also were surrendered Wednesday at Immanuel Medical Center.

At least 16 children have been abandoned since the law took effect in July, the state agency said.

Todd Landry, director of the state division of Children and Family Services, said that in nearly every case, the parents who left their children felt overwhelmed and had decided they didn't want to be parents anymore. None of the kids dropped off so far have been in danger, he said.

"It was the parents not wanting to continue the journey with their kids," Landry said Thursday at a news conference in Lincoln.

The department was still investigating Wednesday's drop-offs. The abandoned siblings were in no danger and it wasn't clear why their father gave them up, Landry said.

Five of the nine siblings were placed in a foster home and the rest were taken to an emergency shelter, he said. The department was working on a new arrangement that would keep the kids together.

In the other cases on Wednesday, one child was temporarily placed in foster care and the other was in the hospital for evaluation.

Youngsters abandoned under the safe haven law are generally placed in protective custody while the courts decide where the child should live.

Parental rights don't end automatically but parents who change their minds about abandonment may find it difficult to regain custody. A county attorney may determine that a child should be allowed to return home, Landry said.

Nebraska was the last state in the nation to adopt a safe haven law. Under previous law, a parent who abandoned a baby could have been charged with child neglect or abandonment, both misdemeanors, or child abuse, a felony.

Sen. Stuthman said he introduced the bill intending to protect infants. In a compromise with senators worried about arbitrary age limits, the measure was expanded.

Though the governor has called for changes to the safe haven law, the Legislature does not meet until January. When asked whether Heineman would call a special session, his spokeswoman said the focus now is on educating parents about alternatives to abandonment.

Speaker of the Legislature Mike Flood said he talked with Heineman on Thursday about the recent uses of the law. Flood, of Norfolk, said other state senators have also been discussing what changes need to be made.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

PETA Urges Ben & Jerry's To Use Human Milk

VERMONT -- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent a letter to Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, cofounders of Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc., urging them to replace cow's milk they use in their ice cream products with human breast milk, according to a statement recently released by a PETA spokeswoman.
"PETA's request comes in the wake of news reports that a Swiss restaurant owner will begin purchasing breast milk from nursing mothers and substituting breast milk for 75 percent of the cow's milk in the food he serves," the statement says.
PETA officials say a move to human breast milk would lessen the suffering of dairy cows and their babies on factory farms and benefit human health.
"The fact that human adults consume huge quantities of dairy products made from milk that was meant for a baby cow just doesn't make sense," says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. "Everyone knows that 'the breast is best,' so Ben & Jerry's could do consumers and cows a big favor by making the switch to breast milk."
In a statement Ben and Jerry's said, "We applaud PETA's novel approach to bringing attention to an issue, but we believe a mother's milk is best used for her child."
Read PETA's letter to Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield
September 23, 2008
Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, Cofounders
Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc.
Dear Mr. Cohen and Mr. Greenfield,
On behalf of PETA and our more than 2 million members and supporters, I'd like to bring your attention to an innovative new idea from Switzerland that would bring a unique twist to Ben and Jerry's.
Storchen restaurant is set to unveil a menu that includes soups, stews, and sauces made with at least 75 percent breast milk procured from human donors who are paid in exchange for their milk. If Ben and Jerry's replaced the cow's milk in its ice cream with breast milk, your customers-and cows-would reap the benefits.
Using cow's milk for your ice cream is a hazard to your customer's health. Dairy products have been linked to juvenile diabetes, allergies, constipation, obesity, and prostate and ovarian cancer. The late Dr. Benjamin Spock, America's leading authority on child care, spoke out against feeding cow's milk to children, saying it may play a role in anemia, allergies, and juvenile diabetes and in the long term, will set kids up for obesity and heart disease-America's number one cause of death.
Animals will also benefit from the switch to breast milk. Like all mammals, cows only produce milk during and after pregnancy, so to be able to constantly milk them, cows are forcefully impregnated every nine months. After several years of living in filthy conditions and being forced to produce 10 times more milk than they would naturally, their exhausted bodies are turned into hamburgers or ground up for soup.
And of course, the veal industry could not survive without the dairy industry. Because male calves can't produce milk, dairy farmers take them from their mothers immediately after birth and sell them to veal farms, where they endure 14 to 17 weeks of torment chained inside a crate so small that they can't even turn around.
The breast is best! Won't you give cows and their babies a break and our health a boost by switching from cow's milk to breast milk in Ben and Jerry's ice cream? Thank you for your consideration.
Tracy Reiman
Executive Vice President

Money As Debt

A back to basics overview of the history and current reality of money. Complete with corny cartoons! If you're like me, you need this stripping away of BS to get to a kernel of truth to better understand the current events.

I guess this is part 5, but its the most relevant to right now. Start at the 1st to get an even broader and deeper overview of the banking system.

Top 25 Censored Stories for 2009

#1. Over One Million Iraqi Deaths Caused by US Occupation
# 2 Security and Prosperity Partnership: Militarized NAFTA
# 3 InfraGard: The FBI Deputizes Business
# 4 ILEA: Is the US Restarting Dirty Wars in Latin America?
# 5 Seizing War Protesters’ Assets
# 6 The Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act
# 7 Guest Workers Inc.: Fraud and Human Trafficking
# 8 Executive Orders Can Be Changed Secretly
#9 Iraq and Afghanistan Vets Testify
# 10 APA Complicit in CIA Torture
# 11 El Salvador’s Water Privatization and the Global War on Terror
# 12 Bush Profiteers Collect Billions From No Child Left Behind
# 13 Tracking Billions of Dollars Lost in Iraq
# 14 Mainstreaming Nuclear Waste
# 15 Worldwide Slavery
# 16 Annual Survey on Trade Union Rights
# 17 UN’s Empty Declaration of Indigenous Rights
# 18 Cruelty and Death in Juvenile Detention Centers
# 19 Indigenous Herders and Small Farmers Fight Livestock Extinction
# 20 Marijuana Arrests Set New Record
# 21 NATO Considers “First Strike” Nuclear Option
# 22 CARE Rejects US Food Aid
# 23 FDA Complicit in Pushing Pharmaceutical Drugs
# 24 Japan Questions 9/11 and the Global War on Terror
# 25 Bush’s Real Problem with Eliot Spitzer

Link above to w/ more information on each item listed.

Campbell Brown: FREE SARAH PALIN!

dear campbell,

you have been awesome lately.

thank you!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Naomi Klein: Disaster Capitalism

Naomi Klein on "Real Time w/Bill Maher" putting the recent financial crisis into perspective. So grateful for her discerning mind.

Friday, September 19, 2008

RIP David Foster Wallace

Transcription of the 2005 Kenyon Commencement Address - May 21, 2005
(If anybody feels like perspiring [cough], I'd advise you to go ahead, because I'm sure going to. In fact I'm gonna [mumbles while pulling up his gown and taking out a handkerchief from his pocket].) Greetings ["parents"?] and congratulations to Kenyon's graduating class of 2005. There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says "Morning, boys. How's the water?" And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes "What the hell is water?"

This is a standard requirement of US commencement speeches, the deployment of didactic little parable-ish stories. The story ["thing"] turns out to be one of the better, less bullshitty conventions of the genre, but if you're worried that I plan to present myself here as the wise, older fish explaining what water is to you younger fish, please don't be. I am not the wise old fish. The point of the fish story is merely that the most obvious, important realities are often the ones that are hardest to see and talk about. Stated as an English sentence, of course, this is just a banal platitude, but the fact is that in the day to day trenches of adult existence, banal platitudes can have a life or death importance, or so I wish to suggest to you on this dry and lovely morning.

Of course the main requirement of speeches like this is that I'm supposed to talk about your liberal arts education's meaning, to try to explain why the degree you are about to receive has actual human value instead of just a material payoff. So let's talk about the single most pervasive cliché in the commencement speech genre, which is that a liberal arts education is not so much about filling you up with knowledge as it is about quote teaching you how to think. If you're like me as a student, you've never liked hearing this, and you tend to feel a bit insulted by the claim that you needed anybody to teach you how to think, since the fact that you even got admitted to a college this good seems like proof that you already know how to think. But I'm going to posit to you that the liberal arts cliché turns out not to be insulting at all, because the really significant education in thinking that we're supposed to get in a place like this isn't really about the capacity to think, but rather about the choice of what to think about. If your total freedom of choice regarding what to think about seems too obvious to waste time discussing, I'd ask you to think about fish and water, and to bracket for just a few minutes your skepticism about the value of the totally obvious.

(full speech at the link above)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Gut Instinct’s Surprising Role in Math "You are shopping in a busy supermarket and you’re ready to pay up and go home. You perform a quick visual sweep of the checkout options and immediately start ramming your cart through traffic toward an appealingly unpeopled line halfway across the store. As you wait in line and start reading nutrition labels, you can’t help but calculate that the 529 calories contained in a single slice of your Key lime cheesecake amounts to one-fourth of your recommended daily caloric allowance and will take you 90 minutes on the elliptical to burn off and you’d better just stick the thing behind this stack of Soap Opera Digests and hope a clerk finds it before it melts.
One shopping spree, two distinct number systems in play. Whenever we choose a shorter grocery line over a longer one, or a bustling restaurant over an unpopular one, we rally our approximate number system, an ancient and intuitive sense that we are born with and that we share with many other animals. Rats, pigeons, monkeys, babies — all can tell more from fewer, abundant from stingy. An approximate number sense is essential to brute survival: how else can a bird find the best patch of berries, or two baboons know better than to pick a fight with a gang of six?
When it comes to genuine computation, however, to seeing a self-important number like 529 and panicking when you divide it into 2,200, or realizing that, hey, it’s the square of 23! well, that calls for a very different number system, one that is specific, symbolic and highly abstract. By all evidence, scientists say, the capacity to do mathematics, to manipulate representations of numbers and explore the quantitative texture of our world is a uniquely human and very recent skill. People have been at it only for the last few millennia, it’s not universal to all cultures, and it takes years of education to master. Math-making seems the opposite of automatic, which is why scientists long thought it had nothing to do with our ancient, pre-verbal size-em-up ways.
Yet a host of new studies suggests that the two number systems, the bestial and celestial, may be profoundly related, an insight with potentially broad implications for math education.
One research team has found that how readily people rally their approximate number sense is linked over time to success in even the most advanced and abstruse mathematics courses. Other scientists have shown that preschool children are remarkably good at approximating the impact of adding to or subtracting from large groups of items but are poor at translating the approximate into the specific. Taken together, the new research suggests that math teachers might do well to emphasize the power of the ballpark figure, to focus less on arithmetic precision and more on general reckoning.
“When mathematicians and physicists are left alone in a room, one of the games they’ll play is called a Fermi problem, in which they try to figure out the approximate answer to an arbitrary problem,” said Rebecca Saxe, a cognitive neuroscientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who is married to a physicist. “They’ll ask, how many piano tuners are there in Chicago, or what contribution to the ocean’s temperature do fish make, and they’ll try to come up with a plausible answer.”"

LA Times Employees Sue Tribune Company

From the Press Release:

Los Angeles, CA-A class action complaint CV08-06040 was filed today against Samuel Zell, the Tribune Company, and others in U.S. District Court, Central District of California, by Joseph Cotchett and Philip Gregory of the law firm of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy on behalf of Dan Neil, Los Angeles Times Pulitzer Prize winning auto critic; Corie Brown, former Los Angeles Times wine and food writer; Henry Weinstein, founding faculty member of UC Irvine School of Law and former Los Angeles Times legal affairs writer; Myron Levin, former Los Angeles Times consumer affairs writer; Walter Roche Jr., former Los Angeles Times writer; and Jack Nelson former Los Angeles Times Washington, D.C. bureau chief on behalf of themselves and other members of a class consisting of current and former employees of the Tribune Company who have rights under the Tribune Employee Stock Option Plan (ESOP) or various Tribune retirement plans.

The complaint alleges that since completing his takeover of the Tribune Company in December 2007, Sam Zell's illegal and irresponsible actions and public statements have damaged the reputation and business of the company he purports to want to preserve. According to the filed complaint, through both the structure of his takeover and his subsequent conduct, Zell and his accessories have diminished the value of the employee-owned company to benefit himself and his fellow board members. It alleges further that through their destructive management and self-dealings at the expense of employees, Zell and his co-fiduciaries have repeatedly breached their fiduciary duties to beneficiaries of the Tribune Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).

Plaintiffs seek to recover all losses to the Tribune ESOP and the company caused by Defendants’ breaches of fiduciary duties. As well, Plaintiffs seek the removal of Defendants from their fiduciary positions and removal of the Tribune Board in its entirety for their ongoing dereliction of duties.

Sam's Response:

"The lawsuit filed yesterday is filled with frivolous and unfounded allegations, and I hope every partner in this company is as outraged as I am at having to spend the time and money required to defend ourselves against it. The media industry is in crisis, the advertising environment is extremely difficult and the economy is in turmoil. The overwhelming majority of our employees have taken up the challenge — they are working hard, leading by example, and devoting themselves to re-inventing our businesses by developing new and innovative products for our readers, viewers and advertisers. As a company we are attacking our problems and revolutionizing the media industry.

"This lawsuit is a mere distraction, and we will work quickly to see that
it is dismissed. It will not deter us from completing the work ahead."

No job? No money? No clean air? No problem.

John Kass
September 18, 2008
Writing about that stupid Forbes magazine article on Chicago as America's most stressful city is like writing that Sarah Palin is a bloodthirsty demon from hell: Everybody in the media is already doing both, and with gusto.
So why can't I jump in?
No, not on Palin, since most everybody in journalism has weighed in with purely objective and completely unbiased advice, on how they hope Barack Obama can stop her with a garland of garlic flowers and a squirt gun filled with holy water.
Is Chicago the most stressful city? Or is this just another ploy by the flat-tax guy to sell his magazine to panicked LaSalle Street bankers? Forbes says Chicago is stressful because the unemployment rate is at 7.3 percent and rising; that the air is the eighth most polluted in the land; that gas is expensive and it's too crowded.
What absolute nonsense.
For one thing, Chicagoans love crowds. Forty thousand stuff a tiny deteriorating ballpark every day to shriek, get drunk and wear funny blue hats, insisting they're going straight to the World Series without first stopping at something called "the playoffs." And smaller crowds show up to a big ballpark to drink beer and wear black hats and wonder when the Minnesota Twins will end our misery and suffocate us in our sleep.
Crowds don't cause stress. Baseball causes stress.
Yes, there are crowds on public transportation, which I don't ride because I don't like getting coughed on by strangers who may have tuberculosis. And let's be realistic—is it truly stressful when you're packed into a hot, crowded train and your forearms and back are soaked with perspiration, but the perspiration isn't yours?
My former legman, Mrs. Flynn, complained that there are creeps on the "L" who like to rub up against women, and others leave little greasy piles of chicken bones on the seats, and some CTA riders have been known to clip their toenails, sending shards zinging into the eyeballs of the guy across the aisle, but Forbes magazine didn't study these issues, so they don't count.
Chicago unemployment is high, but don't worry, our politicians will hire the unemployed to work on campaigns, and stick them on the public payroll with juicy pensions for the public good. The largest employer in the state of Illinois is government, so when City Hall rules the free world after Nov. 4, just think of all the jobs that will be filled with qualified individuals.
Gas is expensive, sure, but what are the poor Illinois farmers going to do with all that pricey corn the feds have mandated be stuffed into our gas tanks? Sell their produce to impoverished Third World peasants? They don't have money, either.
And Chicago's air quality? It's better than Beijing's air, isn't it? Or Detroit, or Athens or Los Angeles. So take a deep breath, Mr. Forbes.
If I were still living within the city limits—but don't because I can't afford $15,000 for private school for each kid, and I can't find Kevlar in XXX large, and I don't want some City Hall bureaucrat telling me I can't enjoy trans-fats—this is what I'd say to Mr. Forbes:
Gwan. Go back to your own neighborhood.
Happily, Chicago's beloved sovereign, Richard Shortshanks—who is so wise he promoted Sen. Barack Obama into the presidential campaign so Obama can't run for mayor—knows that Forbes magazine is ridiculous. Reporters asked if Forbes is right about Chicagoans suffering from the stress epidemic.
"How can we be [stressed]?" Daley said. "I don't know where they get this. It's kind of laughable."
The mayor said no matter what Forbes says, Chicago has fantastic air.
"We have great air quality," he insisted. "…You don't think New York is stressed today? And London?"
What Forbes doesn't know is that if there's one person in Chicago who isn't stressed, it's the mayor.
The poor guy usually works four-day weeks, and he's always on vacation in some beautiful paradise, slaving away for the benefit of oppressed taxpayers who can't afford Paris. Recently, he was in Switzerland—land of discreet bank accounts, luscious chocolate and fine skiing. He's been to China, Greece, India, you name it. Every week, it seems, he's on another "fact-finding trip" with stupendous views. Who pays? Who knows? Don't stress yourself.
How can the mayor be stressed? He doesn't have to park his own car and pay for parking, or worry about burglars busting into his house, or wait for centuries on an "L" platform. His CTA spent a billion or so dollars on the Brown Line and now he's blaming public transportation problems on a few seniors who got free Blago-rides.
"Cuckoo!" the mayor said of the governor the other day, in his high pitched cuckoo-clock voice, the one he uses when he's being funny, like when he insisted there's no such thing as a Chicago political machine, declaring such claims were "laughable."
Laughable! Cuckoo!
See Mr. Forbes? Stress? What stress?

Study into near-death experiences

By Jane Dreaper
Health correspondent, BBC News
Many people report seeing a bright light
A large study is to examine near-death experiences in cardiac arrest patients.
Doctors at 25 UK and US hospitals will study 1,500 survivors to see if people with no heartbeat or brain activity can have "out of body" experiences.
Some people report seeing a tunnel or bright light, others recall looking down from the ceiling at medical staff.
The study, due to take three years and co-ordinated by Southampton University, will include placing on shelves images that could only be seen from above.
To test this, the researchers have set up special shelving in resuscitation areas. The shelves hold pictures - but they're visible only from the ceiling.
Dr Sam Parnia, who is heading the study, said: "If you can demonstrate that consciousness continues after the brain switches off, it allows for the possibility that the consciousness is a separate entity.
"It is unlikely that we will find many cases where this happens, but we have to be open-minded.
"And if no one sees the pictures, it shows these experiences are illusions or false memories.
"This is a mystery that we can now subject to scientific study."
Dr Parnia works as an intensive care doctor, and felt from his daily duties that science had not properly explored the issue of near-death experiences.
Process of death
He said: "Contrary to popular perception, death is not a specific moment.
"It is a process that begins when the heart stops beating, the lungs stop working and the brain ceases functioning - a medical condition termed cardiac arrest.
"During a cardiac arrest, all three criteria of death are present. There then follows a period of time, which may last from a few seconds to an hour or more, in which emergency medical efforts may succeed in restarting the heart and reversing the dying process.
"What people experience during this period of cardiac arrest provides a unique window of understanding into what we are all likely to experience during the dying process."
Dr Parnia and medical colleagues will analyse the brain activity of 1,500 cardiac arrest survivors, and see whether they can recall the images in the pictures.
Hospitals involved include Addenbrookes in Cambridge, University Hospital in Birmingham and the Morriston in Swansea, as well as nine hospitals in the US.

Bob Barr Busts Ballot

5:20 PM Wed, Sep 17, 2008
by Christy Hoppe
Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr has filed suit that would keep voters from seeing the names Barack Obama and John McCain on their voting machines, saying they failed to follow the Texas law to get their names placed on the ballot. The Libertarians are claiming that both the Texas Democratic and Republican parties missed the deadline to certify their presidential nominees and report them to the Texas Secretary of State.
Texas law says that has to happen 70 days prior to the general election. The problem? Neither party held its convention in time to meet that Aug. 26 deadline. Obama and Joe Biden were nominated by roll call vote on Aug. 27, and McCain and Sarah Palin until Sept. 3.
The Secretary of State's office says there's no problem and the paperwork's all fine, thank you. Barr, a former congressman from Georgia, says not so fast. You can't certify that someone is the nominee before there's been a vote, he says. Palin wasn't even named the VP selection until Aug. 29. The law does not provide exceptions for late conventions.
So, while Barr faces a high bar at the legal bar, just think if -- in particular -- McCain couldn't get on the ballot. He's absolutely banking on those 34 electoral votes from Texas. Then it would be "Katie, Barr the door."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Tax myth

Below are charts of the proposed tax cuts by McCain and Obama--the two shapes, almost the inverse of each other, demonstrate the two candidates' opposing tax-cutting philosophies: Obama will cut taxes for everyone except the extremely rich (the top 1% of earners), while McCain will cut taxes mainly for the wealthy. For most Americans, Obama is the 'tax-cutting candidate.'

Yes You Can

fit a mini keg of bells on the back rack of a road bike.

Monday, September 15, 2008

John McCain's health records must be released: Sign the Petition

John McCain has not yet released his medical records to the public. McCain is 72 years old, and has been diagnosed with invasive melanoma. In May of this year, a small group of selected reporters were allowed to review 1,173 pages of McCain's medical records that covered only the last eight years, and were allowed only three hours to do so. John McCain's health is an issue of profound importance. We call on John McCain to issue a full, public disclosure of all of his medical records, available for the media and members of the general public to review.

Sign name at link above.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Newman Center priest posts bond on cocaine charges

By Daily Illini Staff Report
A St. John's Catholic priest was sent to the Champaign County Jail Wednesday night after three grams of powdered cocaine were found during a warranted search of the Newman Center and rectory, 604 E. Armory.

Rev. Christopher Layden, 33, was arrested Wednesday night by the University Police.

He has been charged with two counts of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance and one count of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a church, according to the State's Attorney's office.

A spokeswoman for the State's Attorney's office said that Layden pleaded innocent to all three counts Thursday afternoon.

Layden posted $5,000 bond Thursday and is no longer in custody of the Champaign County correctional system, an official said. He is scheduled to appear in court Oct. 21.

The Diocese of Peoria said in a release that Layden has been suspended from all pastoral ministry duties. The Diocese also said the Newman Center did not suspect him of having a drug use problem prior to this incident.

University Police Investigation Lt. Roy Acree said Layden's arrest was part of an ongoing investigation.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Champion eater to defend his grits title

SHREVEPORT, La. -- Pat Bertoletti has eaten 1.75 gallons of ice cream in 8 minutes, 266 pickled jalapenos in 15 minutes and 42 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in 10 minutes, and 21 pounds of grits in 10 minutes.
His ability to down grits at a record pace gave him a title. On Saturday, Bertoletti will defend it at the Super Derby World Grits Eating Championship at Harrah's Louisiana Downs in Bossier City.

Bertoletti said winning the grits title was pretty easy because there's no chewing. He said the difficulty comes when you start to get full.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

7 Years Later, There Still Are Questions

Bob Woodward hints at A Secret Killing Machine in Iraq

Bob Woodward is best known for exposing Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal. His discoveries have prompted swift direct intervention from Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter. In his new book about the Bush administration and Iraq, Mr. Woodward hints at a stealth project that has changed the course of the conflict, something akin to the Manhattan Project.

But this time, anyway, he isn't saying what the secret is.

"I'm really not going to go beyond what's in the book because it is so secret," Mr. Woodward said about the book, The War Within. "The arguments were made by senior White House people and senior generals that you just can't write about this: It will tip off the other side," he said, his voice trailing with disappointment.

While remaining tight-lipped on its details in his book, he was a little more explicit during his publicity tour earlier this week. "If you were a member of al-Qaeda or some extremist militia, you would be wise to get your rear end out of town," he told CNN's Larry King this week.

Dan Rather: 'The News Stops With Making Bucks'

125 Shot Dead In Chicago Over Summer: Double The U.S. Troop Death Toll In Iraq

CHICAGO (CBS) ― An estimated 125 people were shot and killed over the summer. That's nearly double the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq over the same time period. In May, began tracking city shootings and posting them on Google maps. Information compiled from our reporters, wire service reports and the Chicago Police Major Incidents log indicated that 125 people were shot and killed throughout the city between the start of Memorial Day weekend on May 26, and the end of Labor Day on Sept. 1.

According to the Defense Department, 65 U.S. soldiers were killed in combat in Iraq. About the same number were killed in Afghanistan over that same period. In the same time period, an estimated 247 people were shot and wounded in the city.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Google, Tribune Co. at odds over spread of United story

By David Greising | Chicago Tribune correspondent
September 10, 2008
A day after the recirculation online of an old newspaper story caused a temporary collapse in the price of United Airlines stock, Google and Tribune Co. offered sometimes conflicting versions of events while failing to pinpoint what started the bizarre occurrence.
Tribune Co. said the Google News search engine caused a spike in traffic by adding a Sept. 6, 2008, date to a 6-year-old story about United's bankruptcy on the Web site of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
Tribune Co. owns the Sun Sentinel and the Chicago Tribune.
Google, meanwhile, said its search engines played no role in prompting Internet users to suddenly begin clicking on the Sun Sentinel's Web site early Sunday morning Florida time.
The two sides agreed that the old article, stored in the Sun Sentinel's archives, received enough clicks in the wee hours Sunday to make it one of the Florida newspaper's most-viewed stories in the business section of the site. That occurred well before the Google News search engine steered any users to the newspaper's Web site, but neither side could explain why.
Whatever caused the spike in traffic, the result is quite clear. Once a headline for the story hit the Bloomberg news terminal early Monday morning, it prompted a hair-raising, 75 percent sell-off in United shares and a halt in trading.
A full trading day later, United shares still are down more than 10 percent. Only briefly Tuesday did the shares come close to the $12 level where they traded prior to all the confusion.
The two sides took differing views of whether Google or Tribune Co. ultimately set the chain of events in motion.
On Tuesday, Google spokesman Gabriel Stricker said the episode began because the story did not have a date on it when the Google News search program came across it early Sunday morning.
"We indexed the story in Google News," Stricker said. As part of that process, the Google search program assigns a date to a story.
Tribune Co.'s spokesman, in turn, argued that the key event was when Google's "bot" put a Sept. 6, 2008, date on the story. That date made the story appear fresh when it was accessed through Google News, the spokesman said.
"After the story appeared on Google News, traffic went through the roof," said Gary Weitman, a spokesman for Tribune Co.
While it might take an Internet-age sleuth familiar with "bots," "scrapes," page views and URLs to get to the bottom of the dispute, one key conclusion emerged Tuesday: The initial spike in traffic was the starting point of a remarkable chain of events that ultimately led six-year-old news to appear, as if fresh, on the Bloomberg site early Monday.
After a researcher at a financial information service called Income Securities Advisors forwarded the story to a market information site operated by Bloomberg, a headline saying only "UAL Corp: United Airlines files for Ch. 11 to cut costs," went out on the Bloomberg News Service. That was enough to prompt investors nervous about the airline industry to trounce the shares of United and dump stock of other major airlines too.
After nearly two full days of investigation, neither Tribune nor Google seemed able to explain why the article, first published by the Chicago Tribune, suddenly popped up as a "most viewed" story on the Sun Sentinel Web site's business page early Sunday.
The Sun Sentinel and Chicago Tribune routinely carry each other's content.
The occurrence took place between 1:00:34 a.m. 1:36:03 a.m. Sunday Eastern time. A few seconds after that, a Google search program—dubbed a "bot"—visited the site, partly in response to the story appearing as "Popular Stories Business: Most Viewed" on the Sun Sentinel site.
Stored in the newspaper's archives, the story carried no time stamp. As a result, the Google bot followed its own programming instructions and put a date on the content—Sept. 6, 2008. The date was Saturday, not Sunday, because Google programs run on Pacific time, and it was still before midnight at Google's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters.
Roughly three minutes later, at 1:39 a.m. Sunday in Florida, the first visitor arrived via the Google News search engine at the Sun Sentinel's Web site.
Traffic remained heavy enough all of Sunday to keep the story on the Sun Sentinel's "most viewed" list, where it sat Monday morning when an employee at the Florida investment information service forwarded it to Bloomberg.
After that, the sell-off began. United's stock plummeted, prompting Nasdaq to halt trading of its shares. Trading resumed more than an hour later Monday.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Eating too much? 'Law & Order' may be guilty
Must-bleed TV fans consumed with thoughts of death — and groceries?
"Crime TV has become a staple of the typical American viewer’s diet. From “Law & Order” and “CSI” — both of which come in three separate flavors — to “Criminal Minds,” “Cold Case” and “The Closer,” it’s hard to avoid the banquet of brutality offered up each week, each day or even each hour if you happen to have cable.
But a new study published in the Journal of Consumer Research may give viewers pause about all the death they’re routinely letting into their living rooms. Apparently, must-bleed-TV may just make you eat and shop more.
In the study, titled “The Sweet Escape,” researchers conducted four experiments revealing that “consumers who have been recently reminded of their own impending mortality” spend more on groceries — and actually eat more of those groceries."

Just 'Cause: Huddie Ledbetter

Gut Reactions

A MOLECULAR WRECKING YARD: Electron-micrograph images of the termite's third gut, where food is turned into fuel
(Images by Falk Warnecke, Phil Hugenholtz, Doe Joint Genome Institute and Manfred Auer, UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)
The termite’s stomach, of all things, has become the focus of large-scale scientific investigations. Could the same properties that make the termite such a costly pest help us solve global warming?
For more than a hundred million years, termites have lived in obscurity, noticed only by the occasional hungry anteater or, more recently, by dismayed home owners. Other social insects, such as bees and ants, are celebrated for their industriousness and engineering feats, but popular culture has not gotten around to cheering on termites for theirs—even though they build mounds as tall as 20 feet, which may be oriented north-south as accurately as if plotted with a compass, in order to maximize heat from the sun. The extraordinary powers evolution has bestowed on termites—some protect the mound by spraying chemicals from nozzles on their heads at intruders, while others have snapping mandibles that can decapitate invading ants—have similarly failed to elevate their status. On the contrary: last year, scientists at the London Natural History Museum called termites “social cockroaches” and proposed reclassifying them, in a paper brusquely titled “Death of an Order.
The more closely one examines the termite, the more mysteries one finds. In some species, if a termite discovers a contamination in the mound, it alerts everyone else, and a hygiene frenzy begins. As a disease passes through a mound, the survivors vaccinate the young with their antennae. When a mound’s queen is no longer capable of reproduction, the workers may gather around her distended body and lick her to death.
The greatest mystery of all is found in the worker termite’s third gut, which is delineated by an intricately structured stomach valve, as unique from species to species as individual snowflakes are and, in its way, just as lovely. The size of a sesame seed, the third gut contains a dense mush of symbiotic microbes. Many of these microbes live nowhere else on Earth; they depend on adult termites to pass them on to the young by means of a “woodshake,” a microbial slurry.
This microbial mush may be a treasure trove for the human race. Recently, sophisticated genetic sequencing produced an inventory of more than 80,000 genes, spanning some 300 microbial species, from the guts of Costa Rican termites. These findings, published last November in the journal Nature, got a lot of attention, not for the quantity of microorganisms—after all, the human mouth contains 600 species of bacteria—but for their complexity, and in particular for the fact that among them are 500 genes for enzymes able to break down the cellulose in wood and grasses.
With oil prices at historic highs, the quest is on to turn such plant materials into a replacement for gasoline—call it grass o line. Since 2007, U.S. energy policy has been shaped by the premise that we can brew enough biofuels to replace 35 billion gallons of gasoline by 2017, and 60 billion by 2030. Corn ethanol has been a bust, blamed for wasting water, exhausting croplands, and causing tortilla shortages in Mexico and rice shortages in Asia. For all these problems, it currently contributes the equivalent of only about 4.2 billion gallons of gas a year. And the carbon dioxide emitted in the process of growing and fermenting corn and then distilling and burning ethanol is nearly as much as that emitted by extracting, refining, and burning gasoline.
Wood and grasses seem to hold more promise. They contain chains of thousands of glucose molecules that could be made into so-called cellulosic ethanol and then burned like gasoline, while releasing just 15 percent of gasoline’s greenhouse-gas emissions. But there’s a catch. Wood has evolved to keep its sugars to itself, covering them with lignin—a substance that gives cell walls rigidity—and then locking them in a matrix of cellulose and hemicellulose protected by complex chemical bonds. Because these sugars are so hard to get at, our output of cellulosic ethanol is still, after decades of research, just 1.5 million gallons a year—less than 1 percent of one day’s gasoline consumption.
But where humans have failed, the termite succeeds—spectacularly. A worker termite tears off a piece of wood with its mandibles and lets its guts work on it like a molecular wrecking yard, stripping away sugars, CO2, hydrogen, and methane with 90 percent efficiency. The little biorefineries inside each termite allow the insects to eat up $11 billion in U.S. property every year. But some scientists and policy makers believe they may also make the termite a sort of biotech Rumpelstiltskin, able to spin straw—or grass, or wood by-products—into something much more valuable. Offer a termite this page, and its microbial helpers will break it down into two liters of hydrogen, enough to drive more than six miles in a fuel-cell car. If we could turn wood waste into fuel with even a fraction of the termite’s efficiency, we could run our economy on sawdust, lawn clippings, and old magazines.

"The Change You Deserve"

See more Adam "Ghost Panther" McKay videos at Funny or Die

Monday, September 08, 2008

The right dictates MSNBC's programming decisions

"MSNBC's announcement that it is replacing Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews with David Gregory as anchors for its main political events (the upcoming presidential debates and election) vividly illustrates several long-obvious facts. First, nothing changes the behavior of our media corporations more easily than vocal demands and complaints from the Right, which petrify media executives and cause them to snap into line."
The rest of Glenn Greenwald's excellent piece here.

Also, here's an interesting thread with questions/answers on blog "Critiquing the Press"

and finally, a simple question: why is it ok to be bill o'reilly or rush limbaugh but not keith olbermann or phil donahue?

Wake Up America! Activists aren't Terrorists

(and the only news group to cover this story also got handcuffed. what is happening to this country?? democracy now! democracy now! democracy now!)

"Prosecutors charge 8 alleged leaders of RNC WC with Conspiracy to Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism: “In what appears to be the first use of criminal charges under the 2002 Minnesota version of the Federal Patriot Act, Ramsey County Prosecutors have formally charged 8 alleged leaders of the RNC Welcoming Committee with Conspiracy to Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism. Monica Bicking, Eryn Trimmer, Luce Guillen Givins, Erik Oseland, Nathanael Secor, Robert Czernik, Garrett Fitzgerald, and Max Spector, face up to 7 1/2 years in prison under the terrorism enhancement charge which allows for a 50% increase in the maximum penalty.

The criminal complaints filed by the Ramsey County Attorney do not allege that any of the defendants personally have engaged in any act of violence or damage to property. The complaints list all of alleged violations of law during the last few days of the RNC — other than violations of human rights carried out by law enforcement — and seeks to hold the 8 defendants responsible for acts committed by other individuals.""

Message from Senator Barack Obama:

A message from my dad regarding upcoming state park closures:

"The Illinois Governor is preparing to close 11 state parks. This represents parks where over 5 million people use. One in particular is the Hennepin Canal, which has over 1 million visitors a year. It is also where the Canal building techniques were tested and then used for the Panama Canal. Over $15 million of Federal funding has transformed this into a park that stretches 75 miles across the state. That touches constituents from The Illinois River to the Mississippi.

Why should you get involved?

The state is going to close down a Federally Funded Park and let nature take it's course. Therefore abandoning the $15 million in Federal Funds. Please ASK FOR THE MONEY BACK! The state should understand that commitments go along with Federal Funds."

Barack Obama's response (well, his 2nd response, the first one being pretty much "sorry, i don't deal with that anymore"

Dear Mark:

Thank you for contacting me to share your concerns regarding the need for increased fiscal responsibility in Washington. You and I are in complete agreement on this issue. I appreciate the information on this specific program in Illinois, and will be sure to keep your comments in mind during the Fiscal Year 2009 budget discussions.

Currently, our national debt exceeds $9 trillion. That represents approximately $30,000 of debt for every American citizen -- including our children and grandchildren – financed in part by borrowing from the Social Security Trust Fund and from foreign countries. The more we depend on foreign nations to lend us money, the more vulnerable our economic security is to the whims of foreign leaders whose interests might diverge with ours. Also, as our national debt climbs, the amount of money we must devote annually to interest payments rises, at the expense of investments in our schools, better healthcare or roads.

Restoring fiscal discipline and funding valuable government functions are not mutually exclusive objectives. During my time in the Senate, I have worked closely with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to restore fiscal responsibility, consistently supporting greater transparency and accountability over federal spending. A reasonable approach is to require that all new spending or tax cuts be "paid for." That is why I support such commonsense budgeting practices as "Pay-As-You-Go," or "PayGo" rules, which require this approach.

One of the legislative accomplishments of which I am most proud is a law I wrote creating a searchable website of all federal contracts and grants, found at Transparency over federal spending is critical to controlling the budget and ensuring accountability for the use of taxpayer dollars. I am once again working with Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) to pass a follow-up bill to strengthen the website. The Strengthening Transparency and Accountability in Federal Spending Act of 2008 (S. 3077) would expand the information available on, as well as make the data more accessible and understandable.

I have also championed greater disclosure requirements for earmarks to ensure increased accountability for earmarked projects. The public has a right to know where federal funds are being allocated and who is responsible for that request. Hidden, last-minute earmarks hide pork and add to wasteful federal spending. We can no longer accept an earmarks process in which many of the projects being funded escape public scrutiny and fail to address the real needs of our country.

Additionally, I have fought to prevent abuse of our tax system and to shut down tax havens. Congress recently enacted a bill that I worked on with Senator John Kerry (D-MA) that provides tax relief to the men and women in our nation's armed services and others volunteering service on behalf of the United States. This program would be paid for by closing a tax loophole that allowed defense contractor KBR to set up a shell corporation as a tax shelter in order to avoid paying its fair share of taxes.

Washington routinely forgets the fundamental principle that there is no free lunch. If we fail to pay our bills now, our kids will pay for them later. You can be assured that I will continue to work towards greater fiscal responsibility, and that your concerns as a taxpayer will remain of utmost importance to me as this discussion continues.


Barack Obama
United States Senator

Breaking Down The Conventions By Word Usage

Triumph the Insult Dog at the RNC

low brow, and therefore, hilarious

Friday, September 05, 2008


Proud American Needing Token Hillary Estrogen Replacement

eight activists charged with TERRORISM charges

From Dan H:

This sets an important precedent, that anyone involved in coordinating a protest, even a peaceful, non violent one promoting civil disobedience which is CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED can now be charged with felony terrorism charges under a revision of the patriot act. Additionally, they have used literature and writings of these kids to charge them with 'conspiracy' charges (conspiracy to commit civil disorder, damage...) Since when is freedom of speech the same as an act? Also an important precedent. These 8 kids, similar to the way we were in college, are facing 5 to 7 years in prison for coordinating the protest.

local news:
democracy now:

p.s., watch this OUTRAGEOUS VIDEO FROM LOCAL NEWS glorification of illegal spying on citizens and instigating violence. Kelly, this confirms your hunch in the other video, that they were actually police informants. The man with the bandanna is the same guy that jumped on the police. It appears they are using these 'informants' to both spy on and arrest people as well as instigate violence within the protests by creating it, therefore bolstering public support for the inappropriately strong use of force, detainments, and illegal arrests and charges. If you ask me, they are the ones who should be charges with 'conspiracy to commit riot/damage/civil disorder', as that is exactly what they're doing.

local news:

Thursday, September 04, 2008

We Can't Stop - We Won't Stop!

When the police shut down the PA on Rage Against the Machine at an anti-RNC concert, the band took to the turf with a megaphone and performed a capella, delivering inspiring commentary between songs.

Agents Provocateurs? People Start Asking the Right Questions

(this crossed my mind as well. its a proven tactic throughout history; i hope the internet community can begin to find answers)

Seriously, who are these people? I mean the person breaking that store window and the person or persons who smashed the windows of that police car: who are they? Are they protestors? Are they idiots just pretending to be anarchists, but whose actual agenda is to get their rocks off on breaking things? (I’ve seen one blog post describing how most of the self-described anarchists in the breakaway group yelled at the window-breaker to stop, and asked what the hell the vandals were doing; the observer said that some of the anarchists then went and cleaned up the trash in the street from the dumpster* somebody pushed over.) Are they agents provocateurs, sent in undercover to do something bad and give authorities a reason to gas everybody else?

I cannot help but remember some people I knew in college, one of whom turned out to be an informant and provocateur who infiltrated antiwar and other related groups. I thought of it again, sharply, when I read this LiveJournal post about a past event. I look at that photograph, where the “protesters” being detained and the officers ostensibly arresting them have matching footwear, and I read that no charges were pressed against the “protesters,” even though they were the ones committing acts of vandalism, and I cannot help but think “provocateurs.” Which brings me to the question I started with: Who are these people?

Seriously. We have a lot of people who can look at photos and figure this stuff out. Supposedly the pro-surveillance folks are doing it to us. Let’s put our heads together and figure out who really broke stuff at the demonstration, and then let’s find out if they’re really regular protesters, idiots with a taste for vandalism and no political savvy, or provocateurs. Let’s find out if they even get charged.

Let’s find out who these people are.

Stop the Arrests of Journalists. Sign the Letter.

I found this petition letter from

I've signed it and added my two cents:

"This frankly is embarrassing for not only your city but America at large. On the heels of Chinese crackdowns on journalist, protests and free speech during the Olympics, we had the comfort of thinking "at least not here at home." Not anymore. The world has gotten a lot bleaker this past week, and the people to blame are not the ones behind bars or being charged. "

and here's the link and letter:

Stop the Arrests of Journalists. Sign the Letter.

Police in St. Paul arrested several journalists yesterday, including Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman and an AP photographer as they were covering protests of the Republican National Convention. And earlier this weekend, police raided a meeting of the video journalists' group I-Witness with firearms drawn to arrest independent media, bloggers and videomakers.

Fill out the form below to demand that press intimidation cease immediately and that all charges be dropped. Your message will be delivered to:

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman
Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner
St. Paul City Attorney John Choi
Host Committee of the Republican National Convention

To Whom It May Concern,
I strongly condemn the arrests and harassment of journalists covering the Republican National Convention. We call upon St. Paul officials to free all detained journalists and drop all charges against them. These include arrests made during police raids in the days prior to the convention and, on Sept 1, of Associated Press photographer Matt Rourke, Democracy Now! anchor Amy Goodman and her two colleagues Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar.

Independent journalists have been targeted, pepper-sprayed and held at gunpoint during these raids. We call on the mayor and local authorities to rein in these aggressive and violent tactics.

Arresting and detaining journalists for doing their jobs is a gross violation of free speech and freedom of the press. Journalists must be free to do their jobs without intimidation.

Yours Truly,
Abe Lincoln

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

NPR: Parsing the Bechdel Rule, and Writing a Few of Our Own

NPR: "Americans watch an average of five hours of TV a day — but how much of it is actually good? Twenty-three years ago, cartoonist Alison Bechdel had one of her female characters cite a simple rule: She'd only go to see a movie if it had:

1. At least two female characters, who ...
2. talk to each other about...
3. something besides a man.

It became known as The Bechdel Rule. It seemed like such a simple idea -- and it still resonates, because it articulates something often missing in popular culture.

More Bechdel, more rules — yours included — after the jump..."

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Outrageous! Amy Goodman Arrested at RNC

YouTube - Amy Goodman Arrested at RNC

Police seize ‘propaganda literature,’ staples, curtain rods, and caltrops from raided home on 17th Avenue

A look over the inventory receipt for the raid at 3240 17th Avenue (hat tip TC Indy Media) reveals that most of the items the police seized out of the the home this morning as “evidence to riot” are things that could be found in nearly any home: They confiscated a pack of staples, laptop computers, bike locks, cell phones, a storage device, a computer hard drive, curtain rods, a checkbook. The police also took what they call “propaganda literature,” such as leaflets and other information material tenants and guests planned on distributing at the RNC.

Did I miss something? Is "Thought Crime" an arrestable offense now?

Really, I'm confused. Can you get arrested for thinking or planning to do something? Is this like that phillip k dick movie starring tom cruise? Are you innocent until, well, you actually do something. Or now that the federal government taps our phone lines, and intenet use, and who we're "friends" with, etc., they can build up this big case against you before you even do a single thing? Will someone explain this to me, I need to know.

6 Anarchists Arrested, Property Seized in Friday, Saturday Raids

MINNEAPOLIS— Police arrested a total of six people in Friday and Saturday raids, all of them connected to the anarchist group the 'RNC Welcoming Committee,' a "criminal enterprise made up of 35 anarchists who are intent on committing criminal acts before and during the Republican National Convention," says Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher.


In St. Paul, police raided a building with RNC protesters inside, looking for items that could support criminal behavior.

Protesters associated with RNC Welcoming Committee say police busted in the doors around 9:15 Friday night. They say police stormed in with guns drawn.

Dozens of protesters were inside the building on Smith Avenue watching a movie and eating. The protesters say the police came in and ordered everyone on the ground, then handcuffed each person with plastic handcuffs.

Some protesters say the police read the search warrant and said they were looking for items ranging from computers to jars, paints and rags for Molotov cocktails.

Many of the protesters there were from out of town, coming in to get ready for the RNC on Monday.


According to Minneapolis Police Department, three different locations in Minneapolis were searched as part of an ongoing investigation regarding serious criminal acts with key members of the RNC Welcoming Committee.

Searches were executed at 2301 23rd Ave South, 3500 Harriet Avenue and 3240 17th Avenue South all in Minneapolis.

Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher stated, “This investigation pertains to actions of the RNC Welcoming Committee. The 'Welcoming Committee' is a criminal enterprise made up of 35 anarchists who are intent on committing criminal acts before and during the Republican National Convention. These acts include tactics to blockade and disable delegate buses, breaching venue security and injuring police officers. They have recruited assistance in their criminal conspiracy from other anarchists groups throughout the country. Through their plans and actions they have exhibited a blatant disregard for the law and the safety of others.”


Police arrested six people Saturday, all of who are involved with the RNC Welcoming Committee.

At 2301 23rd Avenue South, Nathanael David Secor was arrested.

At 3240 17th Avenue South, Garrett Scott Fitzgerald, Eryn Chase Trimmer, Monica Rachel Bicking, Erik Charles Oseland were arrested and are being held at the Hennepin County Jail.

A lawyer with the National Lawyers Guild representing the RNC Welcoming Committee says that the sixth protester was arrested in Powderhorn Park in Minneapolis.

Her name has not been released.

These individuals are being held at the Ramsey County Jail.