Saturday, July 09, 2005
Yet 80 years on, creationist ideas have a powerful hold in the US, and science is still under attack. US Supreme Court decisions have made it impossible to teach divine creation as science in state-funded schools. But in response, creationists have invented "intelligent design", which they say is a scientific alternative to Darwinism (see "A sceptic's guide to intelligent design"). ID has already affected the way science is taught and perceived in schools, museums, zoos and national parks across the US.
The $20 million project -- which would probe more deeply and more quickly into medical records than human researchers are capable of -- is designed to find links between patients' DNA and illnesses. Although the effort could raise concerns about privacy, researchers say the new program, called ''I2B2" (for ''Informatics for Integrating Biology and the Bedside") would respect the strict guidelines set out in federal and state laws, and could be a powerful tool for many kinds of research.
Hospitals gather huge amounts of information from patients each day -- from blood tests to chest X-rays and brain scans. For decades, researchers have pored through these records and gleaned insights that have helped millions of Americans. Now, the Harvard team hopes to put far more information at the fingertips of researchers, and to speed the process with sophisticated automation.
London Observer Chief Reporter Jason Burke, author of "Al-Qaeda: the True Story of Radical Islam", believes that the organization known as Al Qaeda was no more than a hard-core of 20-30 militants, largely eliminated after the war in Afghanistan. Burke claims Al Qaeda is a "convenient label applied misleadingly to a diverse, disorganized global movement".
The following quoted materials come from a transcript of the BBC documentary "The Power of Nightmares". I've seen a number of people on dKos recommend this 3-part series... but I haven't seen a thorough diary discussing the implications of it. In the wake of the London bombings, I think it's appropriate to take a fresh look at Al Qaeda.
(These transcripts were contained as part of a BitTorrent download of the video found here) [more]
Lawyers for the Newhouse Newspapers-owned PD have concluded that the newspaper would almost certainly be found culpable if the leaks were investigated by authorities.
Friday, July 08, 2005
Brian Kilmeade: First to the people of London, and now at the G8 summit, where their topic Number 1 --believe it or not-- was global warming, the second was African aid. And that was the first time since 9-11 when they should know, and they do know now, that terrorism should be Number 1. But it's important for them all to be together. I think that works to our advantage, in the Western world's advantage, for people to experience something like this together, just 500 miles from where the attacks have happened.
John Gibson: The bombings in London: This is why I thought the Brits should let the French have the Olympics -- let somebody else be worried about guys with backpack bombs for a while.
E/M's poll projections predicted a win for Democrat John Kerry by 3%, however, when votes were tallied, Republican President George W. Bush was given the win by 2.5%-the largest discrepancy in the poll's history.
Elsewhere, police opened fire on 1,000 demonstrators Thursday at the seat of the provincial government in Tikrit as they were protesting the killing of the local council's head official, authorities said. At least four were wounded.
The protesters demanded the resignation of the deputy governor and police chief because they believe their clan was responsible for Wednesday's killing of Ali Ghalib Ibrahim, who belongs to a rival clan, Mayor Wael Ibrahim Ali said.
The statement, citing an estimate from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, that donor pledges to official development assistance for all developing countries would increase by around 50 billion dollars a year by 2010.
But in his final speech at the G-8 summit, Prime Minister Tony Blair announced that the G-8 countries and five of the world's largest emerging economies — China, Brazil, India, Mexico and South Africa — had agreed to work together to counter global warming.
He said they would meet Nov. 1 in Britain to discuss the effort to "slow down and then in time reverse the rise in harmful greenhouse gas emissions."
Carlos F. Anderson, a licensed private investigator in Florida, offers a similar service for $165, for all major telephone carriers.
"This report provides all the calls with dates, times, and duration on the billing statement," according to Anderson's Web site, which adds, "Incoming Calls and Call Location are provided if available."
Learning who someone talked to on the phone cannot enable the kind of financial fraud made easier when a Social Security or credit card number is purloined. Instead, privacy advocates say, the intrusion is more personal.
The new rule has created confusion among health groups that wonder how it will affect them, and has drawn criticism from others who say it infringes on free speech rights and could do more harm than good.
It will affect about $2.2 billion in AIDS grants and contracts this year, according to Kent Hill, acting administrator for global health at the U.S. Agency for International Development, which recently issued a policy directive outlining the regulation.
"We will begin withdrawing 300 men in the month of September," Berlusconi said at the G-8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland. But he added that the decision was not final and would depend on the security conditions on the ground.
Heading for Oakland from Seattle to see my grandkids last week, the Alaska Airlines check-in machine refused to give me a boarding pass. Directed to the ticket counter, I gave the agent my driver's license and watched her punch keys at her computer.
Frowning, she told me that my name was on the national terrorist No Fly Watch List and that I had to be specially cleared to board a plane. Any plane. Then she disappeared with my license for 10 minutes, returning with a boarding pass and a written notice from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) confirming that my name was on a list of persons "who posed, or were suspected of posing, a threat to civil aviation or national security."
No one could tell me more than that. The computer was certain.
Thursday, July 07, 2005
The woman made no move to clean up the mess, and several fellow travelers got agitated. The woman allegedly grew belligerent in response.
What happened next was a remarkable show of Internet force, and a peek into an unsettling corner of the future.
One of the train riders took pictures of the incident with a camera phone and posted them on a popular Web site.
According to one blog that has covered the story, "within days, her identity and her past were revealed. Requests for information about her parents and relatives started popping up and people started to recognize her by the dog and the bag she was carrying," because her face was partially obscured by her hair.
Online discussion groups crackled with chatter about every shred of the woman's life that could be found, and with debate over whether the Internet mob had gone too far. The incident became national news in South Korea and even was discussed in Sunday sermons in Korean churches in the Washington area.
[The "allergic reaction" line is mine -- McLir]
The 40 members of the polar bear specialist group of the World Conservation Union warned last week that the population of the Arctic's top predator could crash by 30 percent over the next 35 to 50 years and should now be rated as vulnerable on an international "Red List" of threatened species.
"This is the first time that we've evaluated the plight of polar bears (with) respect to climate change, and we found that they were vulnerable to extinction," said the group's outgoing chairman, biologist Scott Schliebe, who oversees management of polar bears in Alaska for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "Polar bears don't have a place to go if they lose the ice."
"I'm impressed to have a detailed, thoughtful evaluation," said Rosa Meehan, chief of marine mammal management for the agency in Alaska. "The outcome makes my heart sink."
Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman is teaming up with Intel to launch an online movie-download site that aims to pull users away from illegal downloads of first-run films.
ClickStar will focus on making first-run and pre-DVD films available for download. Movie fans will be able both to purchase and rent films from the service.
..."We're going to bypass what the music industry had to come up with, and that's to get ahead of the whole piracy thing," Freeman told reporters at Sun Valley after making his presentation, which was closed to the press.
According to "The American Heritage Dictionary," "art" is the "human effort to imitate, supplement, alter, or counteract the work of nature." In many ways, nature is a harmonious numbers game. Sea turtles lay hundreds of eggs at a time because there will only be a realistic 10 percent survival rate due to predators. This is analogous to the other consumer-provider examples that exist in the delicate ecosystem.
We know human actions are complex and behaviors are somewhat specific to their indigenous environments. Yet many studies show that regardless of language barriers and cultural differences, people make most product purchase decisions based on a similar logical progression of benefits, features, feelings, emotions, motives, urges, and needs. This means they also exhibit similar behaviors when they make these decisions.
Online, which has already fundamentally deconstructed the traditional media consumption paradigm, is the most fertile environment to capture these behaviors. It has the advantage of bringing a new level of complexity (or insight) for marketers.
The House version of the pending energy bill would exempt many oil and gas exploration projects from NEPA review. And a congressional committee is holding public hearings with the stated intention of changing how the law works. To expedite a wide range of projects, the administration and lawmakers have exempted some categories of federal actions from NEPA assessments or limited their scope.
The federal government takes an estimated 50,000 actions each year — including building campgrounds in national forests and plotting the routes of superhighways. And, to varying degrees, every one of those actions involving federal land, funds and permits is subject to scrutiny under NEPA.
The three-page statute, known as the Magna Carta of environmental law, required the government for the first time to involve the public in decisions that could harm natural surroundings or disturb neighborhoods. The law has been imitated by other countries and many states.
The board voted 3-to-1 to reverse last month's decision to allow the exhibit. Mayor Bill LaFortune was the only dissenting vote.
The board voted 3-to-1 last month to allow an exhibit presenting the biblical account of the world's creation. It was to be put in the zoo's time gallery that has a display on evolution.
A group called Friends of Religion and Science then formed and collected nearly 2,000 signatures on an online petition asking the park board to reverse its decision.
In addition to one detainee with dual U.S.-Jordanian citizenship who was arrested in late October, coalition forces have snared four suspects since April in unrelated cases involving potential insurgent activities throughout Iraq, said Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman. Three of those arrested are Iraqi Americans and one is an Iranian American who said he was in Iraq to film footage for a historical documentary.
Several states have launched legislative and legal attacks against NCLB, or are openly defying provisions of the law, which calls for annual student testing in grades 3 to 8 and penalizes schools that fail to improve test scores in all racial and demographic groups.
Congress passed NCLB, President Bush’s signature education reform law, with strong bipartisan support in 2001 with the intent to raise academic achievement for all students and close the gaps in achievement that separate students of color and low-income students from their peers. However, states have complained since the law went into effect in 2002 that it is too costly and that federal standards usurp state and local control of schools.
"We al Qaeda in Iraq announce that the judgment of God has been implemented against the ambassador of the infidels, the ambassador of Egypt. Oh enemy of God, Ihab el-Sherif, this is your punishment in this life," said the group in an Internet statement posted on an Islamist Web site.
The group, led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, posted a video showing the hostage speaking but not the actual killing.
Defense Minister Saadoun al-Dulaimi signed a pact in Tehran agreeing to accept Iranian military training and other cooperation with the country Iraq fought for a decade under ousted leader Saddam Hussein.
Responding to the suggestion that the thaw in ties with Iran would anger Washington, Dulaimi said: "Nobody can dictate to Iraq its relations with other countries."
Here we provide some additional context, both facts that support Bush's case that "we have made significant progress" in Iraq, as well as some of the negative evidence he omitted.
Below are the texts and references from its 'Issues in brief' and 'Why join us now' sections. There are seperate papers for discussion forums.
Fossil fuels currently supply most of the world’s energy, and are expected to continue to do so for the foreseeable future.1 While supplies are currently abundant, they won’t last forever.2 Oil production is in decline in 33 of the 48 largest oil producing countries,3 yet energy demand is increasing around the globe as economies grow and nations develop.4 Abundant energy drives economic development, which in turn creates demand for still more energy.5 But it also puts pressure on supply and impacts the environment. Where does our fuel come from, how is our energy supply and the sources of energy changing, and what can we expect in the future? [more]
City National, which specializes in high-end clients, became a player in Northern California when it acquired San Francisco's Pacific Bank in 2000. It has 52 offices statewide and about $14 billion in assets.
After a New Jersey resident requested a digital copy of topographic mapping data from the Brick Township Municipal Utilities Authority (BTMUA), utility officials turned to DHS and asked that the requested information be designated as "protected critical infrastructure information (PCII)," so that they would be relieved of any obligation to disclose the data.
Last month, DHS approved the designation.
The guidelines, published in late June, call for vendors to follow better programming practices and make some suggestions for addressing problems with vote integrity.
Computer security experts say the guidelines are a step in the right direction, but fall short of making voting systems secure. They also don't require systems to produce a voter-verified paper audit trail, which would allow voters to confirm their vote.
The government is accepting public comment on the guidelines for 90 days, after which it will revise them, if needed, and release them for states to adopt. But there has been some confusion on whether these should be considered final guidelines, or simply a first step toward more permanent guidelines.
Almost three years later, they have had astounding success. Twenty states have enacted versions of a "commonsense consumption" law. They vary slightly in substance, but all prevent lawsuits seeking personal injury damages related to obesity from ever being tried in their courts. Another 11 states have similar legislation pending.
Although plaintiffs' lawyers are confident there are ways around the new state laws, the measures, along with a class-action overhaul bill President Bush signed into law this year, will probably make it harder for lawyers in obesity cases to win the kind of large awards seen in tobacco cases.
The US Congress also voted to spend $18.4bn of US taxpayers' money on the redevelopment of Iraq. By June 28 last year, however, when Bremer left Baghdad two days early to avoid possible attack on the way to the airport, his CPA had spent up to $20bn of Iraqi money, compared with $300m of US funds. The "reconstruction" of Iraq is the largest American-led occupation programme since the Marshall Plan - but the US government funded the Marshall Plan. Defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Bremer have made sure that the reconstruction of Iraq is paid for by the "liberated" country, by the Iraqis themselves.
Negativland's latest release, from its own Seeland Records, is No Business, a CD of chopped-up audio tracks from the likes of Ethel Merman, The Beatles, and Disney's The Little Mermaid, packaged with a lengthy essay about the changing nature of copyright law in the digital age. No Business comes amid a yearlong celebration of Negativland's 25th anniversary: Earlier this year, Craig Baldwin's Negativland-heavy documentary Sonic Outlaws hit DVD, and a DVD of Negativland videos and short films is expected to be released shortly by Other Cinema. Helter Stupid was reissued this past spring, and in the fall, Gigantic Art Space in New York City' Tribeca neighborhood will be hosting an exhibition of the band's visual art. To mark this "year of Negativland," The A.V. Club spoke with the band's longest-serving members: founder Mark Hosler and 1981 recruit Don Joyce. They were interviewed separately, but their comments have been cut together, Negativland-style. [thanks, Toby]
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
The "Streamlined Procedures Act of 2005," introduced into the House of Representatives by California Rep. Dan Lungren and in the Senate by Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl (news, bio, voting record), would limit the ability of defendants facing the death sentence to have their cases reviewed by federal courts in what are known as habeas corpus appeals.
It is here, say some doctors and nurses, that Barbara Bush, one of President Bush's twin daughters, has been working in near anonymity as a volunteer.
While no one disputes that she has been in Cape Town for the last six weeks, nearly everything about her stay is shrouded in mystery. Hospital officials yesterday refused to confirm her presence, and many hospital workers ducked questions about Barbara Bush's role at one of the premier health facilities in Africa for children with AIDS and other ailments.
The real victims of this cover-up, which may have turned criminal, are the Congress, the Constitution and, most tragically, the Americans and Iraqis who have paid the ultimate price for Bush’s folly.
The Shanghai Co-operation Organisation said it continued to support the anti-terror coalition in Afghanistan, which had stabilised the situation.
But in a joint statement the group said the active military phase of the Afghan operation was nearing completion.
Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan host US bases used to back troops in Afghanistan.
About 18,000 coalition forces are in Afghanistan tracking al-Qaeda and Taleban militants.
...The increased bill parallels ballooning overall costs in Iraq. President Bush said in March 2003 that combat in Iraq would cost about $60 billion. But the cost for military operations alone had hit $135.3 billion as of March 2005, according to the Office of Management and Budget. The price tag would be far higher if the costs to fund the Coalition Provisional Authority, reconstruction projects and intelligence operations were included.
Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root has received more money from the U.S. involvement in Iraq than any other contractor. The company has been a lightning rod for criticism by administration foes who think Halliburton's high-level connections -- most notably its former chief executive, Dick Cheney, who is now vice president -- may have given it undue influence in winning sole-source business.
The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) says the rejection is a logical response to the Commission and Council's refusal to take parliament's will into consideration.
Three-quarters of respondents said that global warming was a problem that should be addressed by world governments.
The strategy is outlined in a 40-page document, approved last month, that marks the Pentagon's first attempt since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to present a comprehensive plan for defending the U.S. homeland.
The document argues that a more "active, layered" defense is needed and says that U.S. forces must be ready to deal not just with a single terrorist strike but also with "multiple, simultaneous" attacks involving mass casualties.
The document does not ask for new legal authority to use military forces on U.S. soil, but it raises the likelihood that U.S. combat troops will take action in the event that civilian and National Guard forces are overwhelmed. At the same time, the document stresses that primary responsibility for domestic security continues to rest with civilian agencies.
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
The details of the bombings, provided by the British ministry of defense to parliament in February 2002, markedly revise a picture painted by critics of Bush’s airstrikes...
The nature of the strikes differed; Clinton’s bombings were part of what some dubbed a “war of attrition,” an attempt to degrade Hussein’s hold on power without resorting to full-scale war, whereas Bush’s bombings appear to have been part of a concerted effort to clear the way for a ground invasion.
A sweeping attack, conducted in January of 1999, rained down 25 missiles on Iraqi soil, killing civilians. Clinton said the attack was in response to four planes violating the no-fly zones.
Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair authorized air strikes on more than 100 days in 1999, sometimes several times per day.
Last week, police demanded access to the server to gain the IP details of a posting. The alternative media outlet is receiving advice from civil liberties organisations and the NUJ. Before being legally forced to hand over the server, Indymedia Bristol stated: "We do not intend to voluntarily hand over information to the police as they have requested". Bristol Indymedia see the seizure of their server and the arrest of one of their volunteers as an attack on the freedom of speech.
This is the second time that law enforcement authorities have attacked Indymedia servers in the UK in the run up to a major event. Last October, just prior to the European Social Forum, Indymedia servers in London were seized in an international law enforcement operation - prompting a wave of protests and solidarity statements from a wide range of organisations [report]. This time, events are unfolding one week before the G8 Summit begins in Scotland.
...European Union officials, who support the protocol, said it appeared that Washington would climb down from this position and abstain from the protocol, which would then be adopted by other countries.
A European diplomat said that rejecting the protocol outright would have placed America in the company of "the torturing countries" such as Cuba, Iran, China and Nigeria and the Bush administration was reluctant to do that. "It is another US-EU difference, but I don't think the Americans are going to go and push this one to a head," he said.
"We're not here to march for charity; we are here to march for justice," said Walden Bello, of the advocacy group Focus on the Global South.
The FDA should have issued these warnings at least a decade ago. I first began writing about antidepressant-induced suicidality in 1991. At that time I identified drug-induced suicidality as part of a much larger problem -- antidepressant-induced activation or stimulation similar to that caused by amphetamine, methamphetamine and cocaine. Antidepressant stimulation can lead to violence as well as suicide and a wide variety of abnormal and even psychotic behaviors.
Four days after the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a resolution urging the Bush administration to block the proposed transaction as a threat to national security, China's Foreign Ministry excoriated Congress for injecting politics into what it characterized as a standard business matter.
"We demand that the U.S. Congress correct its mistaken ways of politicizing economic and trade issues and stop interfering in the normal commercial exchanges between enterprises of the two countries," the Foreign Ministry said in a written statement. "CNOOC's bid to take over the U.S. Unocal company is a normal commercial activity between enterprises and should not fall victim to political interference. The development of economic and trade cooperation between China and the United States conforms to the interests of both sides."
In what would represent the biggest operational shake-up involving the armed forces since the Iraq war, the first stage of a run-down in military operations is likely to take place this autumn with a handover of security to Iraqis in at least two southern provinces.
Defence officials emphasised that all plans for Iraqi deployments were contingent on the ability of domestic security forces to assume peacekeeping duties from UK troops. Iraqi forces have so far proven unable to take over such roles in areas where the insurgency is most intense, and progress has disappointed coalition officials.
If enacted, the measure could protect journalists from jail terms for refusing to give prosecutors the names of anonymous sources. But, depending on the wording of the final bill, it may not apply to online reporters, including legions of unaccredited bloggers.
Rove traveled with President Bush when he spoke at a July 4 event in West Virginia today, but refused all requests for interviews about his role in the controversy that threatens to send Cooper, of Time magazine, and Judith Miller of The New York Times to jail this week for refusing to reveal sources.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) had called on Rove to clear the air on Sunday. "We've heard it from his lawyer, but it would be nice to hear it directly from Mr. Rove that he didn't leak the identity of Valerie Plame, and that he didn't direct anyone else to do such a dastardly thing," said Schumer.
"This situation has been very hard on her, professionally and personally," said Melissa Boyle Mahle, a former C.I.A. case officer and a friend of Ms. Wilson. "Not only have you removed from the playing field a very knowledgeable counterproliferation officer at a time when we really need her services. But before this she was on a fast track as a candidate for senior management at the agency. With something like this, her career will never recover." [via DailyKos.com]
Recent trade negotiations, such as the proposed Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement involving the United States, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, have incorporated the pharmaceutical companies' primary demands.
For example, a CAFTA-Dominican Republic draft document stipulates that "export and import price requirements" are prohibited "except as permitted in enforcement of countervailing and antidumping duty orders and undertakings." In other words, under the agreement, countries would be barred from capping the price of pharmaceuticals except as a retaliatory measure against another CAFTA signatory's unfair trading practices.
Though CAFTA has yet to be adopted, the USTR has been enforcing its provisions. Last year, when the Guatemalan legislature passed a law that permitted lower priced generic drugs to be marketed alongside their brand-name counterparts—a practice that would cut into the profits of American pharmaceutical companies—the USTR responded by threatening to keep Guatemala out of CAFTA. The legislature repealed the measure.
Monday, July 04, 2005
"Geez, and we thought it was going to be subtle," exulted JPL scientist Don Yeomans, one of the Deep Impact science team. "That was considerably brighter, and had considerably more material coming out, than I had expected," he said.
"We are just ecstatic," said JPL director Charles Elachi of the success of the $330 million mission. "It was worth every penny we spent on it."
The aim of the cosmic collision was to punch a hole in the comet's crusty surface to release material from below, revealing details about the interior of comets. These bodies of ice and dust a few kilometres across are believed to contain primordial material, preserved since the formation of the solar system in the deep-freeze of space.
PRESIDENT BUSH: I walked away from Kyoto because it would damage America's economy, you bet. It would have destroyed our economy. It was a lousy deal for the American economy. I felt there was a better way. And that's why --
TONIGHT [interrupting]: But is that putting American industrial economic interests above the global interests of the environment?
PRESIDENT BUSH: No, I think you can do both. See, I think you can grow your economy and at the same time do a better job of harnessing greenhouse gases. That's exactly what I intend to talk to our partners about. I don't think you can expect any American leader to wreck the economy, nor as an ally and a friend of America and a trading partner of America should you want us to wreck our economy.
The image of the U.S. slipped sharply in 2003, after its invasion of Iraq, and two years later has shown few signs of rebounding either in Western Europe or the Muslim world, an international poll found.
''The U.S. image has improved slightly, but is still broadly negative,'' said Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. ''It's amazing when you see the European public rating the United States so poorly, especially in comparison with China.''
In Britain, which prides itself on its ''special relationship'' with Washington, almost two-thirds of Britons, 65 percent, saw China favorably, compared with 55 percent who held a positive view of the United States. In France, 58 percent had an upbeat view of China, compared with 43 percent who felt that way about the U.S. The results were nearly the same in Spain and the Netherlands, the Pew poll found.
"We have to verify the motive for the attempt on the life of (Karol) Woytyla. And this will be the work of theologians."
Ever since Pope Benedict XVI announced May 13 that he was putting John Paul on the fast track to be beatified, questions have swirled about whether he could be declared a martyr. Doing so would remove the need for the Vatican to confirm that a miracle attributed to his intercession had occurred after his April 2 death — a necessary step for beatification.
The review, for the National Institutes of Health director's office, substantiates many of the concerns that whistle-blower Jonathan Fishbein raised about the agency's AIDS research division and its senior managers.
The division suffers from "turf battles and rivalries between physicians and Ph.D scientists" and the situation has been "rife for too long," the report concluded.
NIH formally fired Fishbein on Friday, over the objections of several members of Congress. The top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee are protesting, saying the firing is an example of whistle-blower punishment.
The agency began mailing letters to residents this year to recoup overpayments from people who received federal aid after Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne hit Florida last August and September.
According to data supplied to The News-Press of Fort Myers, the agency found 6,579 cases in which they say people owe a total of $27.2 million.
Many of the problems stem from the agency's providing money for items that were later covered by property insurance policies, more than one person from the same household applying for benefits or processing errors.
"Perhaps I'm a bit of an Earth-snob," says student Terry Walcott at Strawson University, "but rocks and dust are not very photogenic. The only significant points of interest are the bits of litter we've sent there."
NASA's [Public Relations Officer Clara] Wilms bristles at such talk. "President Bush has made the exploration of Mars a national priority. There is even the chance that microscopic life once existed on the planet. Over the coming years, we may see new human structures on the planet like vast colonies and oil refineries which will surely make the landscape more interesting. Just imagine."
Indeed, many in the Bush Administration had hoped Google Mars would enhance public support for Bush's Mars objectives. To the disappointment of one senior official, who spoke on conditions of anonymity, the search tool seems to be creating "the reverse effect."
Google responded only to say, "We are waiting for it to catch on."
Several U.S. states were reportedly prepared to offer more than double that amount of subsidy. But Fedchun said much of that extra money would have been eaten away by higher training costs than are necessary for the Woodstock project.
He said Nissan and Honda have encountered difficulties getting new plants up to full production in recent years in Mississippi and Alabama due to an untrained - and often illiterate - workforce. In Alabama, trainers had to use "pictorials" to teach some illiterate workers how to use high-tech plant equipment.
"The educational level and the skill level of the people down there is so much lower than it is in Ontario," Fedchun said.
In addition to lower training costs, Canadian workers are also $4 to $5 cheaper to employ partly thanks to the taxpayer-funded health-care system in Canada, said federal Industry Minister David Emmerson.
..."We're not playing the issue. I'm not sure I can say that about others," Lee Raymond, Exxon's chairman and chief executive, said in a recent interview at Exxon headquarters in Irving, Texas. "I get this question a lot of times: 'Why don't you just go spend $50 million on solar cells? Charge it off to the public-affairs budget and just say it's like another dry hole?' The answer is: That's not the way we do things."
"We can no longer stand by and watch people speak hatred, division, war and greed in the name of our faith," said Patrick Mrotek, founder of the new Christian Alliance for Progress. "We must reclaim our faith."
Left-leaning Christians shudder at the prominence of conservative televangelists like Reverend Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, who preside over vast political empires.
Sunday, July 03, 2005
They listened to Army National Guard Spc. Gerard Matthew and Sgt. Herbert Reed. The two Bronx men were among those from the National Guard's Orangeburg-based 442nd Military Police Company who were tested for depleted uranium exposure. They spoke about numerous health problems that they said were caused by exposure to the metal while serving in the Middle East.
The film profiled several military personnel who served during the Gulf War in 1991. Among the conditions they reported were loss of muscle function, headaches and impaired bowel and urinary function. The program also discussed birth defects in exposed Iraqi children and American children of exposed parents. Several times, when Pentagon and other military officials appeared and discounted claims linking depleted uranium with health problems, many in the audience audibly scoffed.
All appeared horrified — some moaned — when they were confronted with the video images of Iraqi children and infants, their young faces wizened, some with severely bloated bellies and others plagued by grotesque protruding tumors, ulcerated faces and misshapen or missing limbs.
America's former ambassador to the United Nations, John Danforth, made the admission in an interview in which he confirmed that the Bush administration's stance was dictated by domestic considerations.
The Bush administration aligned its position last year with that of the US Congress, which urged President Bush in a vote in July to call the mass killings and ethnic cleansing in western Sudan "by their rightful name: genocide".
Looking back on my draft, I find I used the word "terrorist" about our adversaries to the same effect Bush did.
Like Bush's advisors, I felt the need for a global threat to explain the scale of effort we faced. For that role, I felt China was better suited as our "real" adversary than North Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh, just as Bush prefers to focus on Al Qaeda rather than Iraqi nationalists. "They are trying to shake our will in Iraq — just as they [sic] tried to shake our will on Sept. 11, 2001," he said.
The French and Germans would prefer a 7-1 split over the final communiqué on the issue, which is being negotiated this weekend by officials in London, rather than bow to pressure by the US for it to be watered down.
A leaked draft of the communiqué yesterday showed that the Americans are still resisting a tough wording on the scientific evidence that human activity is causing climate change. British negotiators are seeking a compromise to keep the US on board, but France and Germany are insisting on an explicit reference to the scientific evidence, with wording on the urgency of the threat from global warming.
As a fawn dashes away, worker Scott Mills says, "I feel bad for them. And I hate tearing trees down. But this is for a good cause."
Arlington National Cemetery is adding 26,000 graves to the roughly 215,000 already in place on the sweeping lawns across the Potomac River from the nation's capital. An additional 77,000 remains are in columbariums, tombs for urns with cremated remains.
Assem Jihad told Dow Jones Newswires that there had been 300 acts of sabotage against Iraqi oil installations between June 2003 when Iraq resumed exports and May 31. He said 70 acts of sabotage took place in the first five months of 2005.
Iraqi Police Service officers said that ammunition, weapons and vehicles earmarked for the IPS are being taken by shock troops at the forefront of Iraq's new dirty counter-insurgency war.
The allegations follow a wide-ranging investigation by this paper into serious human rights abuses being conducted by anti-insurgency forces in Iraq. The Observer has seen photographic evidence of post-mortem and hospital examinations of alleged terror suspects from Baghdad and the Sunni Triangle which demonstrate serious abuse of suspects including burnings, strangulation, the breaking of limbs and - in one case - the apparent use of an electric drill to perform a knee-capping.
The investigation revealed:
· A 'ghost' network of secret detention centres across the country, inaccessible to human rights organisations, where torture is taking place.
· Compelling evidence of widespread use of violent interrogation methods including hanging by the arms, burnings, beatings, the use of electric shocks and sexual abuse.
· Claims that serious abuse has taken place within the walls of the Iraqi government's own Ministry of the Interior.
· Apparent co-operation between unofficial and official detention facilities, and evidence of extra-judicial executions by the police.
"Karl did nothing wrong. Karl didn't disclose Valerie Plame's identity to Mr. Cooper or anybody else," Luskin told the Post's Carol D. Leonnig. Luskin said the question remains unanswered: "Who outed this woman? ... It wasn't Karl."
...O'Donnell responded Sunday with a post at the Huffington Post web site: "Luskin claimed that the prosecutor 'asked us not to talk about what Karl has had to say.' This is highly unlikely. Prosecutors have absolutely no control over what witnesses say when they leave the grand jury room. Rove can tell us word-for-word what he said to the grand jury and would if he thought it would help him....
"If what I have reported is not true, if Karl Rove is not Matt Cooper’s source, Rove could prove that instantly by telling us what he told the grand jury. Nothing prevents him from doing that, except a good lawyer who is trying to keep him out of jail."
Frank McKenna wants the "Canadian diaspora'' to be armed with facts, to debate Americans, to lobby when Washington makes decisions that can hurt Canadians and to try to counter the "Fox factor," referring to the U.S. television network, which often spreads disinformation and feeds a negative perception of its neighbour to the north.
McKenna is enlisting Florida snowbirds, northern exiles in Arizona, Hollywood comedians and actors, investment bankers in New York and professors and students at universities across the United States.