Saturday, September 17, 2005

Q: How does Bush feel about Roe versus Wade?

A: He really doesn't care how people get out of New Orleans. [thanks, Sharon]

EFF, Florida Disability Rights Advocates Fight to Avert E-voting Debacle

Volusia County, FL - On Wednesday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals supporting Volusia County, Florida, in an ongoing legal battle to permit the County to consider voting systems that are both accessible to the disabled and auditable for everyone. EFF's brief strongly urged the Court to reject an argument by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) that Volusia County should be forced to purchase paperless touchscreen voting machines for the upcoming October 11th election. This deadline, EFF argued, would require the County to rush to prepare for the election, possibly jeopardizing its efforts to program the machines, train election and pollworkers, and educate the public. Instead, the County should be given the chance to acquire voting technology that creates an auditable paper trail, as well as provides accessibility features for a wider range of disabled voters.

FEMA Official Says Agency Heads Ignored Warnings

In the days before Hurricane Katrina hit land, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, FEMA Director Michael Brown and other top Homeland Security officials received e-mails on their blackberries warning that Katrina posed a dire threat to New Orleans and other areas. Yet one FEMA official tells NPR little was done.
Leo Bosner, an emergency management specialist at FEMA headquarters in Washington, D.C., is in charge of the unit that alerts officials of impending crises and manages the response. As early as Friday, Aug. 26, Bosner knew that Katrina could turn into a major emergency.
In daily e-mails -- known as National Situation Updates -- sent to Chertoff, Brown and others in the days before Katrina made landfall in the Gulf Coast, Bosner warned of its growing strength -- and of the particular danger the hurricane posed to New Orleans, much of which lies below sea level.
But Bosner says FEMA failed to organize the massive mobilization of National Guard troops and evacuation buses needed for a quick and effective relief response when Katrina struck. He says he and his colleagues at FEMA's D.C. headquarters were shocked by the lack of response.
"We could see all this going downhill," Bosner said, "but there was nothing we could do."

Katrina Information Google Map

Some attention is being given to this map of the hurricane zone, which uses Google Maps and citizen reporting to display conditions of specific houses and neighborhoods. It's a great use of the Google Maps API, which I've been urging news organizations to take advantage of.
This technique could be extremely valuable for news websites as the Katrina disaster continues to unfold. For example, it's estimated that in the city of New Orleans thousands of people died in the floodwaters. As information about bodies found at specific locations becomes available, that could be included in this sort of interactive map.
As victims are identified, they could be added to the map according to their home addresses, linked to photographs and biographies (and even guestbooks for friends and relatives to share their memories, a la Built out, you could end up with an interactive memorial to those who died in New Orleans -- a combination of professional journalism and citizen reporting. Viewing such a map-memorial by neighborhood, this would be an important and compelling service for survivors.
If any news organizations are working on or contemplating such a project, please let me know.

NBC News to Open Gulf Coast Bureau in New Orleans

News outlets described Katrina probe as "bipartisan," ignored that Democrats will be outnumbered and lack subpoena power

[I]n the week following the Republicans' announcement, several news outlets simply described Democrats as objecting to the formation of a "bipartisan" congressional panel. While some of these outlets did mention the Democratic support for an independent investigation modeled on the 9-11 Commission, they all ignored the Democrats' specific objections to the GOP-led probe. For example, on the September 12 edition of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, CNN White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux reported that Democrats refused to join the proposed investigation because "they just don't think it's a good idea."

Are U.S. troops dying as experts debate depleted uranium?

Officials contacted by Boise Weekly at the Idaho National Guard and Boise VA Hospital stated they were "ignorant" about DU, or referred us to Department of Defense Web sites. The only local source to comment was Jacques Chung Hee, who served for 25 years as a master sergeant in the U.S. Air Force. He currently works as a service officer for the Idaho Division of Veterans Services, helping veterans process claims for combat-related injuries. Chung Hee recalled being exposed to both DU and other "biological and chemical and environmental hazards" during the first Gulf War. During an interview conducted two years ago, he recalled being tested by the Air Force prior to deployment to Iraq, and receiving an exemplary health profile. After returning home, he began experiencing debilitating pain, fatigue, dizziness, constipation, chronic headaches and fevers, none of which VA physicians could diagnose or treat. But in the course of dealing with veterans with similar ailments, Chung Hee read about DU and started researching the topic in-depth--despite denials from doctors reluctant to perform tests. When pushed, VA doctors referred him to a Department of Defense study at Johns Hopkins University hospital, which did not return phone messages to either Chung Hee or BW.

PC World: 20 Things They Don't Want You to Know

Psssst! Wanna know a secret? How about a whole bunch of them? Sadly, the Colonel's Secret Recipe and Dick Cheney's Secure Undisclosed Location remain shrouded in mystery, but I'm going to spill the beans about a bunch of things that technology companies would rather you didn't know. These insider tips will help you cut through hype when you shop, save money when you buy, and get the most out of products you already own.

Ireland Bans TV Zombies Before 9pm

PTSD: Excellent 2-Part Public Radio Piece on Post-Traumatic Stress

Outsourcing Compassion: Debriefing Trauma Patients
Outsourcing Compassion: Stress and the Brain

Peak oil primer and links

What is Peak Oil?
Peak Oil is the simplest label for the problem of energy resource depletion, or more specifically, the peak in global oil production. Oil is a finite, non-renewable resource, one that has powered phenomenal economic and population growth over the last century and a half. The rate of oil 'production,' meaning extraction & refining (currently about 83 million barrels/day), has grown in most years over the last century, but once we go through the halfway point of all reserves, production becomes ever more likely to decline, hence 'peak'. Peak Oil means not 'running out of oil', but 'running out of cheap oil'. For societies leveraged on ever increasing amounts of cheap oil, the consequences may be dire. Without significant successful cultural reform, economic and social decline seems inevitable.

The Literature of Intelligence: A Bibliography of Materials, with Essays, Reviews, and Comments

If you are visiting this site for the first time, your stay will be enhanced by reading:
About this Bibliography
(Preface and Sources)
Otherwise, feel free to move on to the:
Main Table of Contents [or try our Author Search]

Survey of Soviet Air Bases

This site is meant primarily to capture the state of the Soviet military towards the end of the Cold War (the 1980s). Sources include maps and charts, Google Earth (LANDSAT) images, journals, and various sources on the Internet. The Department of Defense Tactical Pilotage Charts and Joint Operations Graphics, which have only been available to the public for a short number of years, have been of great help in this study, unfortunately an NGA directive intends to restrict them in October 2005 for nebulous "security reasons". The data is kept in a large spreadsheet and processed by custom-built software to generate these pages.

UK: Trawler crew exposed to deadly plague test

FOR more than half a century it has remained one of the most closely guarded secrets of the cold war.
In a series of biological weapons tests off the Isle of Lewis, monkeys and guinea pigs were suspended from cages on pontoon bridges and exposed to clouds of deadly bubonic plague.
Now, newly declassified files have revealed for the first time the recklessness of Operation Cauldron, where lives were put at risk and government officials embarked on a cover-up to prevent the tests being exposed.
The documents reveal that the fishing boat Carella strayed into the test zone and the crew were put at risk from the tests.
However, ministers decided not to warn the crew and failed to prevent them returning to port, potentially putting the population of Britain in danger from the deadly pathogen.
Instead, they ordered two ships, including a destroyer, to trail the trawler on its three-week fishing trip to Iceland and to intercept any distress calls should a crew member fall sick.
One memo makes it clear that the priority was to cover up the incident rather than protect the lives of those on board. “Requirements gravely political are more important than what may seem best from a purely medical point of view for individuals,” read the instructions to the captain of the destroyer.

Professor at Harvard Is Being Investigated for Hiding Data

Federal investigators and Harvard University officials are probing whether a Harvard professor buried research suggesting a link between fluoridated tap water and bone cancer in adolescent boys.
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), which funded Chester Douglass's $1.3 million study, and the university are investigating why the Harvard School of Dental Medicine epidemiologist told federal officials he found no significant correlation between fluoridated water and osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. Douglass, who serves as editor in chief for the industry-funded Colgate Oral Care Report, supervised research for a 2001 doctoral thesis that concluded boys exposed to fluoridated water at a young age were more likely to get the cancer.

DOE turns over more documents in Yucca probe

The Energy Department said it turned over more than 700 pages of additional documents Friday subpoenaed by a congressional panel investigating allegations of paperwork fraud on the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump project in Nevada.
But a spokesman for Rep. Jon Porter, R-Nev., who is pursuing the investigation, said the department still has not handed over some key items the panel is seeking. Among them: a draft of the license application the department will submit to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to get permission to open the dump 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

Billions in 9/11 recovery loans were misused

The government's $5 billion effort to help small businesses recover from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks was so loosely managed that it gave low-interest loans to companies that didn't need terrorism relief — or even know they were getting it, The Associated Press has found.
And while some at New York's "ground zero" couldn't get assistance they desperately sought, companies far removed from the devastation — a South Dakota country radio station, a Virgin Islands perfume shop, a Utah dog boutique and more than 100 Dunkin' Donuts and Subway sandwich shops — had no problem winning the government-guaranteed loans.
"That's scary; 9/11 had nothing to do with this," said James Munsey, a Virginia entrepreneur who described himself as "beyond shocked" to learn that his nearly $1 million loan to buy a special events company in Richmond was drawn from the Sept. 11 program.

Amazing compilation footage of reporters actually doing their jobs!

(to borrow a phrase from Xeni at Boing Boing)
Watch as corporate news people stop regurgitating and rolling over for government BS and actually challenge lying politicians and excuse-making bureaucrats about Katrina. Good work, guys. Now do you think you could keep doing that every time our so-called leaders spin, obfuscate, deny, and outright lie (which is to say, all the time)? Doesn’t it feel good to push hard for the truth instead of merely relaying official lies to your audience? [from]

Released 9/11 Hijacking Reports Further Detail Confused U.S. Response

Ten minutes after American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) controllers in New York saw United Airlines Flight 175 heading "right towards the city," [p.13] but thought it was aiming for an emergency landing at a New York airport, according to FAA documents released this week under the Freedom of Information Act and posted on the web by the National Security Archive. Minutes later, Flight 175 hit the south tower of the World Trade Center.
The FAA documents, which are referenced extensively in Chapter 1 of The 9/11 Commission Report, provide further detail on the report's chronology of the hijackings and its overall observation that the FAA was woefully unprepared and disorderly in its response to the attack. Distracted by Flight 11, the FAA notified the military at about 9:03 am that Flight 175 had been hijacked, almost the exact time the plane crashed into the second World Trade Center tower. Records show Flight 175 first exhibited signs of distress at 8:46 am.
Previously undisclosed, these documents contain minute-by-minute accounts of unfolding events as experienced by FAA officials, including radar reports and extensive chronologies tracking the larger U.S. government response to the attacks from September into late October 2001.
Unsettling quotes from hijackers on radio transmissions are also included in the documents. Passengers on flight 11 were told at 8:24 am, "we have some planes just stay quiet and you'll be ok we are returning to the airport." [see p. 4] The Cleveland Air Route Traffic Control Center heard a "radio transmission, mostly unintelligible… with sounds of possible screaming or a struggle and a statement, "get out of here, get out of here,"" [p. 20] from United Airlines Flight 93 at 9:28 am, before hearing "another mostly unintelligible, stated words that may sound like, "captain…bomb on board…our demands, …remain quiet."" [p. 21]

Gene Kelly's Naval Intelligence File

One of the leading lights of Hollywood's golden age of musicals, Gene Kelly danced, sang, choreographed, and acted in several dozen movies, including Anchors Aweigh, An American in Paris, and, of course, Singin' in the Rain. He served in the Navy in 1944-45, and continued as a Naval Reserve officer until 1954.
Beginning in March 1949, the Office of Naval Intelligence investigated Kelly under the direction of the Bureau of Naval Personnel Loyalty Review Board because, as they state, "According to reliable information received in 1945 this individual was actively associated during 1944 and 1945 with known Communists or Communist sympathizers in the Hollywood - Los Angeles area" [page 1 of the file].
Pages 16 to 25 of the file contain Kelly's detailed response to the accusations, which can be summed up by the sentence: "I could no more consider being a Communist than being a member of a voodoo sect." He does, however, have to engage is some fancy tapdancing to explain his actual and alleged involvement with some leftist organizations.
The document [PDF]

This Monday is International Talk Like a Pirate Day

Avast, me hearties!
Welcome to the one and only, official, accept-no-substitutes Talk Like A Pirate Day Web site.
You've read about it in Dave Barry's column. Maybe you caught one of our radio or TV interviews. Or maybe you just stumbled on to our site while googling around for sites your mother probably wouldn't approve of. Perhaps you're one of the millions of people from South Africa to Australia, from New York to the Pacific Northwest, who party like pirates every September 19th..
However you got here, stick around an' learn all about September 19 - International Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Home Values in New Orleans Soaring--in Certain Areas, 'Times-Picayune' Reports

While homes lost all value--or were simply lost--in many parts of the city, those on relatively dry or high land will now surge in value, real estate experts say.
An article in today's Times-Picayune in that city by its real estate writer, Greg Thomas, reports that property values in Slidell, West Jefferson, River Ridge, Kenner, Mandeville, and Covington, and Slidell – all of which emerged from the storm in relatively good shape – are expected to jump 10 to 15 percent.

Iraqis Being Bombarded With Propaganda

Iraqis, still stunned Saturday by sectarian violence that killed more than 200 people in four days, find themselves under a propaganda bombardment from all sides as the Americans and the Iraqi government duel insurgents for the hearts and minds of a battered people.
The most recent broadside showed up in al-Mutammar, a secular daily newspaper, as an anonymous paid advertisement denouncing al-Qaida in Iraq as "followers of the devil."
In language aimed at Arab sensitivities to family and tribe, the ad denounces al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his mentor, Osama bin Laden, as men who strayed from Islam and their Arab roots.
"There are two things in this world that warrant the direst of punishments: arrogance and cruelty against members of the same family," read the ad in Saturday's edition of al-Mutammar.

Mobil Phone Landscape Visualization of Graz Austria

several real-time maps titled 'Digital Derive' that visualize the volume & geographic source of cell phone usage in Graz, showing a visual conceptual layer in the use & experience of the city. thousands of mobile phones are simultaneously 'pinged' to establish their precise location in space at a given moment in time. for the first time, a high amount of mobile phone devices are used as highly dynamic tracking tools that describe how the city is used & transformed by its citizens.
the digital maps can be experienced in real-time as they constantly transform & shift in status, & act as means of observing & reading the city, its evolution & fluctuation. museum visitors can register their personal mobile phones which then become traced & highlighted on the map.
the project will be shown at the M-City exhibition (Kunsthaus Graz, Austria, Oct 2005 - Jan 08 2006).

Smokers Hat Patent Artwork (USPat# 4,858,627)

A portable hat system enables the smoking of tobacco type products without affecting the environment includes a hat for covering the head of the smoker an integral fan for intaking ambient air (contaminated and non contaminated) into the hat with this intake ambient air flowing in front of the smoker's face a filtration. purification and deionization system for removal of combustion products such as smoke odors and positive ions from the intake ambient air and an exhaust system for expelling the filtered deodorized deionized and optionally scented air from the hat.

Sierra Club: Seven Principles for Rebuilding the Gulf Coast

I. PUT PEOPLE FIRST The people who were hurt, suffered and were displaced must come first. The region should be rebuilt to meet their needs, and provide them with secure, prosperous and dignified lives. All must be welcomed back if they choose to return.
II. INVEST IN THE LOCAL WORKFORCE AND ECONOMY Local workers and local businesses must be partners in the rebuilding. The disaster should not be used to drive down wages or salaries. Arguments of "efficiency" should not be used to channel the benefits of rebuilding to outside mega-firms. Existing prevailing wage, equal opportunity and small business safety nets should be respected, not shredded. In addition, workers involved in the clean up, rebuilding and restart of industry must be adequately protected.
III. DON'T SACRIFICE HEALTH AND SAFETY FOR SPEED The community must be safe and healthy for those who are going to live and work there. While speed is of the essence for the immediate draining and restoration of basic infrastructure, scientists -- not politicians or bureaucrats -- must be allowed to determine what it will take to make the cleanup and rebuilding safe for residents, including children, the elderly, and those at particular risk from toxins. In addition, workers must be involved in the clean up, rebuilding and restart must adequately protected.

Bill H.R. 3766 Could Open "Disaster Profiteering"

"In times of crisis, we cannot afford for bureaucratic formalities to delay relief efforts," Marchant said in a statement. "The government must have the capacity to respond and recover immediately."
The Davis-Marchant legislation also allows agencies to treat emergency purchases as "commercial items" and escape some audit requirements. The bill is a "common sense measure to help us cut through the red tape and get help to people who desperately need it," Davis stated.
But the Project on Government Oversight, a Washington-based watchdog group, was quick to criticize the legislation as unnecessary and overly broad. "Contracting officers already have enough authorities at their disposal to respond to the Katrina crisis," the group stated.
"This provision is not about helping Katrina's survivors," POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian argued. "It is about helping major defense and homeland security contractors to loot the federal treasury."

Prison Sex Slave Trial Set to Begin in Texas

After enduring 18 months in a Texas prison where gangs bought and sold him as a sexual slave, Roderick Johnson will appear in federal district court Monday for the first day of his civil trial against the prison officials who failed to protect him, the American Civil Liberties Union announced today.
"Roderick Johnson was brutally raped by prison gang members," said Margaret Winter, Associate Director of the ACLU's National Prison Project and Johnson's lead attorney. "The devastating horror of the first rape was multiplied many times over the next 18 months because prison officials refused to intervene to protect him."

UK Artists Led by Bian Eno Call for Iraq Pullout

Dear Mr Blair,
The war and occupation of Iraq have been an unmitigated disaster both for the people of Iraq and Britain. Countless innocent Iraqis have lost their lives and still more innocents have been killed on our streets. British soldiers, many of whom do not want to serve in Iraq, have been killed, wounded or maimed.
The United Nations' mandate for the occupation of Iraq expires this December. We call on you to initiate the first steps to end this carnage by announcing that British troops will be brought home by the end of this year.
If you do this, you can stop the killing of any more Iraqis by British troops. You can save the lives of our soldiers. You can make Britain's streets safer. You can defend civil liberties rather than erode them.

Greta City Council Upholds Blocking of Evacuees

Little over a week after this mostly white suburb became a symbol of callousness for using armed officers to seal one of the last escape routes from New Orleans — trapping thousands of mostly black evacuees in the flooded city — the Gretna City Council passed a resolution supporting the police chief's move.
"This wasn't just one man's decision," Mayor Ronnie C. Harris said Thursday. "The whole community backs it."
Three days after Hurricane Katrina hit, Gretna officers blocked the Mississippi River bridge that connects their city to New Orleans, exacerbating the sometimes troubled relationship with their neighbor. The blockade remained in place into the Labor Day weekend.

FEMA Fumbles on Operation Blessing and Pat Robertson

Several progressive bloggers went on the attack, and the story slowly filtered into the mainstream media. New York Daily News columnist Juan Gonzalez did a piece Sept. 6, noting that Robertson used the charity to ferry diamond-mining equipment in and out of Zaire in the mid 1990s.
Gonzalez examined Operation Blessing's financial records and was surprised at what he saw. “The biggest single U.S. recipient of the charity's largess, according to its latest financial report, was Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network,” he wrote. “It received $885,000 in the fiscal year ended March 2004.”
Gonzalez noted that “Robertson uses that Christian network for some markedly unchristian purposes,” pointing out his association with dictators like Charles Taylor in Liberia.
The next day, The Nation magazine posted a column about Operation Blessing on its website. The piece by Max Blumenthal brought up the Africa charges again but also scored Robertson's “700 Club” for airing biased reports critical of the hurricane victims struck in the New Orleans Convention Center.

Pentagon Looking to End Posse Comitatus Act

Di Rita said Rumsfeld has not made recommendations to Bush, but among the issues he is examining is the viability of the Posse Comitatus Act. Di Rita called it one of the "very archaic laws" from a different era in U.S. history that limits the Pentagon's flexibility in responding to 21st century domestic crises.
Another such law, Di Rita said, is the Civil War-era Insurrection Act, which Bush could have invoked to waive the law enforcement restrictions of the Posse Comitatus Act. That would have enabled him to use either National Guard soldiers or active-duty troops _ or both _ to quell the looting and other lawlessness that broke out in New Orleans.
The Insurrection Act lets the president call troops into federal action inside the United States whenever "unlawful obstructions, combinations or assemblages _ or rebellion against the authority of the United States _ make it impracticable to enforce the laws" in any state.

The text of the law: Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.

Murdoch, Blair and Clinton Attack BBC Katrina Coverage

Bush Waxes Rhapsodic Over God's Plans for New Orleans

"In the life of our nation, we have seen that wondrous things are possible when we act with God's grace," Bush said in his weekly radio address. "From the rubble of destroyed homes we can see the beginnings of vibrant new neighborhoods. From the despair of lives torn asunder we can see the hope of rebirth. And from the depth of darkness we can see a bright dawn emerging over the Gulf Coast and the great city of New Orleans."
With Thursday night's speech from the heart of New Orleans' French Quarter and while marking Friday's national day of prayer for Hurricane Katrina's victims, the president has begun turning more frequently to religious language as he seeks to comfort suffering evacuees and guide the nation forward.
He often speaks easily of the strength that his faith provides him and talks humbly of his place before God. When big moments require big rhetoric, the famously plainspoken Bush seems the most comfortable with soaring language that is tinged with religious overtones.

Firms with White House ties get no-bid Katrina contracts

Companies with ties to the Bush White House and the former head of FEMA are clinching some of the administration's first disaster relief and reconstruction contracts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
At least two major corporate clients of lobbyist Joe Allbaugh, President Bush's former campaign manager and a former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, have already been tapped to start recovery work along the battered Gulf Coast.
One is Shaw Group Inc. and the other is Halliburton Co. subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root. Vice President Dick Cheney is a former head of Halliburton.
Bechtel National Inc., a unit of San Francisco-based Bechtel Corp., has also been selected by FEMA to provide short-term housing for people displaced by the hurricane. Bush named Bechtel's CEO to his Export Council and put the former CEO of Bechtel Energy in charge of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
See also this prescient Onion article: Halliburton Gets Contract To Pry Gold Fillings From New Orleans Corpses' Teeth

As Angry Patients Vent Online, Doctors Sue to Silence Them

"The potential problems are huge," said Matt Messina, a dentist in Fairview Park, Ohio, and a spokesman for the American Dental Association. "My reputation is my stock in trade … and we work years and years to build that reputation. To have that shattered potentially [by an Internet posting] is a concern."
Patient advocates, meanwhile, say patients have First Amendment rights to describe their experiences with physicians. "Blogs and personal Web sites are no different than talking over the back fence," said Charles Inlander, president of People's Medical Society, a patient advocacy group in Allentown, Pa. "Those who read it have to take it with whatever grain of salt you would take, just like a neighbor. It's too bad if doctors are insulted by this."

Friday, September 16, 2005

Experts Assess Deregulation as Factor in '03 Blackout

Twenty-five months after a blackout darkened cities from New York to Toronto and Detroit, the Energy Department and its Canadian counterpart held their first public technical discussion on the episode Thursday to talk about one factor widely considered to have been behind it: the deregulation of the electric system.
Engineers, government officials and executives said at the meeting that amid its restructuring the industry needed further changes to reduce the frequency of blackouts as utilities that formerly generated power, transmitted it and delivered it were broken up into separate entities of competing businesses.
"The most serious mistake we can make is pretending that markets do things that they do not do," said Kellan Fluckiger, executive director of the electricity division at the Alberta Department of Energy. "Markets allocate risk, they allocate capital, they provide price signals. Markets do not have a conscience, they do not provide social policy, and they do not do things they are not paid to do."

New Scientist: The world's 10 biggest ideas

Certain questions define the way we see the world. How did the universe begin? What is matter made of? What shaped our planet? How did the amazing diversity of life arise? We take many of the answers for granted, but maybe we shouldn't.
When we asked 10 of the biggest names in science to explain the significance of their discipline we were surprised by their response: who would have thought understanding quantum theory was relevant to the abortion debate? Or that a diamond ring can take you back to Pangaea? Set your mind spinning with our guide to the World's 10 Biggest Ideas...
1. The big bang
2. Evolution
3. Quantum mechanics
4. The theory of everything
5. Risk
6. Chaos
7. Relativity
8. Climate change
9. Tectonics
10. Science

Researchers recover typed text using audio recording of keystrokes

The researchers were able to take several 10-minute sound recordings of users typing at a keyboard, feed the audio into a computer, and use an algorithm to recover up to 96 percent of the characters entered.
"It's a form of acoustical spying that should raise red flags among computer security and privacy experts," said Doug Tygar, UC Berkeley professor of computer science and information management and principal investigator of the study. "If we were able to figure this out, it's likely that people with less honorable intentions can - or have - as well."

America from the Great Depression to World War II: Color Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1939-1945

U.S. Military Failing To Probe Killing of Journalists In Iraq

Though American troops have killed 13 journalists in Iraq since the beginning of the war in March 2003, the U.S. military has failed to investigate the killings fully, or implement its own recommendations to improve the safety of the news media, according to a study by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
New York City-based CPJ said that in most cases of killed journalists, the military has either failed to investigate at all, or has not made its investigation or conclusions public.

Coming 'Sun-Sentinel' Series: Katrina Only Latest of FEMA Foul-Ups

A two-day investigative series that the South Florida Sun-Sentinel will publish starting this Sunday says that the wretched performance of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) during Hurricane Katrina is the rule rather than the exception for the agency.
The series comes down hard on FEMA from the first graf: "The federal government's mishandling of Hurricane Katrina is just the latest in a series of missteps by a national disaster response system that for years has been fraught with waste and
FEMA's bungling during Katrina came as no surprise to the Sun-Sentinel, says Editor and Sr. Vice President Earl Mauker.
"We actually called for [Michael Brown's] resignation a year ago," he said, referring to the FEMA head who resigned earlier this week.
The Tribune Co.-owned Fort Lauderdale paper has been on FEMA's case since last year when its computer-assisted investigation turned up massive fraud and waste in the wake of Hurricane Frances. FEMA, the paper found, had paid millions of dollars in claims in Miami-Dade County -- even though the hurricane made landfall 100 miles away.

Electricity Turned On In New Orleans Neighborhood For Bush, Turned Off When He Left

Brian Williams: I am duty-bound to report the talk of the New Orleans warehouse district last night: there was rejoicing (well, there would have been without the curfew, but the few people I saw on the streets were excited) when the power came back on for blocks on end. Kevin Tibbles was positively jubilant on the live update edition of Nightly News that we fed to the West Coast. The mini-mart, long ago cleaned out by looters, was nonetheless bathed in light, including the empty, roped-off gas pumps. The motorcade route through the district was partially lit no more than 30 minutes before POTUS drove through. And yet last night, no more than an hour after the President departed, the lights went out. The entire area was plunged into total darkness again, to audible groans. It's enough to make some of the folks here who witnessed it... jump to certain conclusions.

'Make Poverty History' message banned in Britain

The coalition at the forefront of a British campaign to fight poverty in Africa has been banned from advertising on radio and television after the nation's media watchdog decided it was a "political" organisation.
Make Poverty History, a coalition of more than 500 charities and social groups, said Monday it was "disappointed" by the decision from OFCOM, just days before world leaders gather in New York where the plight of the world's poor is on the agenda of the World Summit at UN headquarters.

Under the Guise of “Character and Civic Renewal” Ohio State Foists a Religious Moral Code upon Its Citizens

J. Kenneth Blackwell has stepped to the forefront of the American culture wars. Standing with his feet securely rooted in a form of Orwellian “Double-Think,” he has posted his official endorsement of a 20-point religious moral code claimed to be “a shared vocabulary of character-building ethics” on Ohio’s official Secretary of State web site. Blackwell wrote, “Character is the cornerstone of American citizenship. And good citizenship is the foundation of community. It is also the foundation of both good business and good government.” (Note that he places business before government.)
The 20-Rules to “good” character is titled “UncommonSense[10] which Blackwell recommends “as a character ethics model for Ohio’s business and government leaders.” Blackwell invites candidates for office to join him in launching “a revolution of character-building in our great state.”
Blackwell speaks candidly. It is a revolution in a deceptively pretty package. Hidden in its paragraphs are concepts of submission, obedience, inspection of the personal lives of people, and the loss of personal rights and freedom that would make America’s founding fathers stand on their heads in their graves. In short it is a Dominionist document: a religious treatise in secular terms, but dominionist to the core. It’s a brilliant little package to get millions of evangelical Christians and their friends to accept authoritarian government without even a whisper of protest.

How FEMA Overcompensated Florida Citizens in the Run-Up to the Presidential Election

In the fall of 2004, with the presidential election on the horizon, the key battleground state of Florida was facing its second hurricane in less than a month.
In response, FEMA awarded millions of dollars in disaster funds to residents of Miami-Dade County, even though the area did not experience hurricane conditions.
FEMA officials, the governor and the White House steadfastly denied suggestions that politics played a role in the distribution of hurricane aid in Florida.
But records contained in hundreds of pages of e-mails of Governor Jeb Bush suggest otherwise. According to the documents, a federal consultant to FEMA predicted that a disaster could reflect poorly on President Bush and suggested that his re-election staff be brought in to minimize any political liability.

75% of Iraqis detained are later freed for lack of evidence

The U.S.-led dragnet for insurgents catches the harmless much more often than the dangerous, according to military figures, helping breed resentment among Iraqis who often languish in prison for months before the system sets them free.
Nearly 75 percent of all detainees arrested are being set free because there is not enough evidence that they pose a threat, according to the Army. Many -- about half -- are freed within days of their arrests by the units or divisions that captured them. But thousands of others are sent to major prisons, such as Abu Ghraib, where they are waiting an average of six months before their release, according to 1st Lt. Kristy Miller, spokeswoman for the military's detention system in Iraq.

Iraq's Disappearing Billions

Former DIA/CIA counter-terrorism officer Philip Giraldi reports in the September 12th issue of The American Conservative:
"A Homeland Security Customs Enforcement Department top-secret audit of contracting in Iraq is beginning to reveal a level of corruption and fraud that is crippling both reconstruction and self defense efforts. Water and electricity supplies are at lower levels than one year ago, while the lines at gas stations have become longer. A weapons procurement of more than $5 billion for the Ministries of Defense and Interior under interim Prime Minister Iayd Allawi has reportedly completely disappeared, while a $300 million purchase of 24 military helicopters from Poland bought obsolete aircraft, many of which had already been stripped for parts. Work has never started on hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure-improvement contracts given to military cronies. Several deputy ministers who balked at signing multimillion-dollar fictitious contracts have been fired and replaced by more amenable appointees. Meanwhile, the disproportionate number of Kurds in the Defense Ministry is diverting funds and equipment to peshmerga militia units preparing to seize Kirkuk. On the other side of the Green Zone, the Interior ministry's police commandos provide cover for anti-Sunni hit teams from the Iranian-supported Badr Brigade and from rogue Shi'ite radical Moqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi Army. The Potemkin-villiage Baghdad government is increasingly irrelevant to the future of Iraq."

Court Rules Against DoJ Cell Phone Tracking Request

Orenstein disagreed. Location information amounts to a wiretap, he said, and therefore requires prosecutors to show "probable cause"--that is, at least some evidence of criminal behavior. Such an order "would effectively allow the installation of a tracking device without the showing of probable cause normally required for a warrant."
Citing congressional testimony by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, Orenstein rejected the request and told the Justice Department to appeal if it wanted further clarification. Freeh had assured Congress that "the authority for pen registers and trap and trace devices cannot be used to obtain tracking or location information."

Talk show dropped in Utah after host urges locals to welcome black refugees

"This is, unfortunately, a clear case of bigotry," he said. "Something about this event really got their backs up. People have to draw their own conclusions. There's a lot of white folks, when black families move in, the white people begin to move out. We have to stop this." [from]

Doctor says FEMA ordered him to stop treating hurricane victims

In the midst of administering chest compressions to a dying woman several days after Hurricane Katrina struck, Dr. Mark N. Perlmutter was ordered to stop by a federal official because he wasn't registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
"I begged him to let me continue," said Perlmutter, who left his home and practice as an orthopedic surgeon in Pennsylvania to come to Louisiana and volunteer to care for hurricane victims. "People were dying, and I was the only doctor on the tarmac (at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport) where scores of nonresponsive patients lay on stretchers. Two patients died in front of me.
"I showed him (the U.S. Coast Guard official in charge) my medical credentials. I had tried to get through to FEMA for 12 hours the day before and finally gave up. I asked him to let me stay until I was replaced by another doctor, but he refused. He said he was afraid of being sued. I informed him about the Good Samaritan laws and asked him if he was willing to let people die so the government wouldn't be sued, but he would not back down. I had to leave."

Sociologists question how much looting and mayhem really took place in New Orleans

Many observers have found the footage of looting and reports of crime to be, in the words of New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof, ''one of the most dispiriting" aspect of the tragedy. Slate's William Saletan went so far as to call it ''a second-wave destructive force" that must be anticipated in future disaster planning. Yet Quarantelli and a half-dozen other experts on disaster aftermaths and crowd behavior contacted last week insisted that follow-up investigations will reveal that the impression of Hobbesian violence in New Orleans over the past two weeks was created in large part by rumor and amplified by sometimes credulous reporters. The scholars' suspicions are fueled by what they say is a well-documented history of misinformation during disasters--and a general human tendency to misread crowds, even violent ones, as more malevolent than they really are.
''As a researcher, I base what I say on evidence and there was no evidence for a lot of what was being reported," says Kathleen Tierney, a sociologist at the University of Colorado at Boulder and director of the Natural Hazards Center there. ''I don't think I've ever seen such an egregious example of victim blaming as I have in this disaster."

Global warming 'past the point of no return'

"The changes we've seen in the Arctic over the past few decades are nothing short of remarkable," said Mark Serreze, one of the scientists at the Snow and Ice Data Centre who monitor Arctic sea ice.
Scientists at the data centre are bracing themselves for the 2005 annual minimum, which is expected to be reached in mid-September, when another record loss is forecast. A major announcement is scheduled for 20 September. "It looks like we're going to exceed it or be real close one way or the other. It is probably going to be at least as comparable to September 2002," Dr Serreze said.
"This will be four Septembers in a row that we've seen a downward trend. The feeling is we are reaching a tipping point or threshold beyond which sea ice will not recover."

Leaked Justice Department Email Targets Environmental Groups Over Flood

The Clarion-Ledger has obtained a copy of an internal e-mail the U.S. Department of Justice sent out this week to various U.S. attorneys' offices: "Has your district defended any cases on behalf of the (U.S.) Army Corps of Engineers against claims brought by environmental groups seeking to block or otherwise impede the Corps work on the levees protecting New Orleans? If so, please describe the case and the outcome of the litigation."
Cynthia Magnuson, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, said Thursday she couldn't comment "because it's an internal e-mail."
Shown a copy of the e-mail, David Bookbinder, senior attorney for Sierra Club, remarked, "Why are they (Bush administration officials) trying to smear us like this?"
The Sierra Club and other environmental groups had nothing to do with the flooding that resulted from Hurricane Katrina that killed hundreds, he said. "It's unfortunate that the Bush administration is trying to shift the blame to environmental groups. It doesn't surprise me at all."

Bill Would Let E.P.A. Relax Rules for Cleanup

The Environmental Protection Agency could suspend any law governing air, water or land in responding to Hurricane Katrina under a measure introduced Thursday by the chairman of the Senate environment committee.
The legislation, which drew immediate criticism from environmental groups, would create a 120-day period in which the agency's administrator, Stephen L. Johnson, could waive or modify laws if it became "necessary to respond in a timely and effective manner" to a situation created by the storm.
The proposal would allow changes in law at the discretion of the Bush administrator in consultation with the governor of "any affected state."

Right-Wing Talking Points on Katrina Speech

* America and the Gulf Coast are recovering from one of the greatest natural disasters this country has ever faced.
* Tonight President Bush will talk about how there is some optimism that we can see as we move forward. We’re going to build a better Gulf Coast, a better New Orleans and we’ll work with local officials to make sure that happens.
* This will be a massive funding effort at every level of government. We shouldn’t just look at government - we’re seeing private charities, and the American people’s enormous compassion. [More]

Law Schools Denied Federal Funding After Barring Military Recruiters

The Pentagon action came under a federal law, commonly known as the Solomon Amendment, that denies most federal grants and contracts (with the prominent exception of student financial aid) to colleges that deny military recruiters access to their students. The law, which was enacted in 1994 and has been expanded several times in the decade since, was designed to stem the tide of more than two dozen law schools that barred military recruiters because they said the Pentagon’s treatment of gay servicemen and women violated the institutions’ nondiscrimination policies.

38 Nobel Laureates Write Kansas State Board Of Ed. In Support Of Teaching Evolution

In a letter to the board released Thursday, the group of leading scientists and thinkers from around the world said Darwinian evolution was the foundation of biology.
“ ... its indispensable role has been further strengthened by the capacity to study DNA,” the group wrote.
The conservative majority on the State Board of Education have accepted science standards that were proposed by proponents of intelligent design, which holds that the complexities of life point toward evidence of a master planner. A final vote on the standards is expected in October or November.
The Nobel winners, however, said intelligent design could not be tested as a scientific theory “because its central conclusion is based on belief in the intervention of a supernatural agent.”
The group said it wanted to defend science and reject “efforts by the proponents of so-called intelligent design to politicize scientific inquiry.”

Sidney Blumenthal: Breach of a myth

Bush's America is gone with the wind. It lasted just short of four years, from Sept. 11, 2001, to Aug. 29, 2005. The devastation of New Orleans was the watery equivalent of a dirty bomb, but Hurricane Katrina approached the homeland with advance warnings, scientific anticipation and a personal briefing of the president by the director of the National Hurricane Center, alerting him about a possible breaching of the levees. It was as predictable as though Osama bin Laden had phoned in every detail to the television networks. No future terrorist attack would or could be as completely foreseen as Katrina.
Bush's entire presidency and reelection campaign were organized around one master idea: He stood as the protector and savior of the American people under siege. On this mystique he built his persona as a decisive man of conviction and action. In the 2004 election, a critical mass of voters believed that because of his unabashed patriotism and unembarrassed religiosity he would do more to protect the country. They also believed that his fervor must be strength. The criticism of Bush that he was overzealous, simplistic and single-minded only served to reinforce his image.

You Blew Me Up You Bastard

You know how when someone dies in a terrorist attack, media always publishes their high school or vacation photos? is there to help. "We'll store a photo of you, giving it large at the terrorists what done you in, and in the event of your body being blown to bits by a suicide bomber, we'll supply your disgusted image to all news services."

Picture shows Mike from Roseville, USA. Mike's tag line: "Now I'm seriously ticked off!"[from]

DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms [PDF]

Bush Wage Cuts for Relief Workers May be Legal Error

On September 8, President Bush issued a proclamation suspending the minimum wage requirements for relief workers engaged in Katrina recovery operations.
But in order to do so, he relied upon a statutory authority that has been dormant for thirty years and that appears to be legally inoperative.
"I find that the conditions caused by Hurricane Katrina constitute a 'national emergency' within the meaning of section 3147 of title 40, United States Code," President Bush declared on September 8 as he removed the Davis Bacon Act wage supports for workers in Louisiana, and portions of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.
But this emergency statute was one of numerous authorities that were rendered dormant by the National Emergencies Act of 1976, and that can only be activated by certain procedural formalities that were absent in this case.
In particular, the President must formally declare a national emergency under the National Emergencies Act, and he must specify which standby legal authorities he proposes to activate so as to permit congressional restraint of emergency powers.
Strangely, however, President Bush proceeded as if the National Emergencies Act did not exist.
The September 8 presidential declaration was "an anomaly," according to a new Congressional Research Service assessment, and it did not follow "the historical pattern of declaring a national emergency to activate the suspension authority."
"The propriety of the President's action in this case may be ultimately determined in the courts," the CRS report stated delicately.
The newly updated CRS report, written by Harold C. Relyea, traces the evolution of emergency powers and includes a tabulation of declared national emergencies from 1976-2005.
See "National Emergency Powers," Congressional Research Service, updated September 15, 2005 (esp. pp. 18-19):

Hurricanes Getting Stronger, Study Suggests

Peter Webster of Georgia Tech University and his colleagues analyzed hurricane data collected between 1970 and 2004 around the world. Studying the number, duration and the intensity of the storms, the researchers determined that the number of days with tropical cyclone activity on an annual basis has been declining since a peak in 1995. At the same time, the strength of the storms demonstrate an upswing. "In the 1970s, there was an average of about 10 Category 4 and 5 storms hurricanes per year globally," Webster notes. "Since 1990, the number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes has almost doubled, averaging 18 per year globally."

More Iraqis Lured to Al Qaeda Group

Al Qaeda's top operative in Iraq is drawing growing numbers of Iraqi nationals to his organization, increasing the reach and threat of an insurgent group that has been behind many of the most devastating attacks in the country, U.S. officials and Iraqi government leaders say.
The group, headed by Jordanian-born radical Abu Musab Zarqawi, previously was composed almost exclusively of militants from other Arab nations, and has symbolized the foreign dimension of a stubborn insurgency fighting to oust U.S. forces.
But Zarqawi "is bringing more and more Iraqi fighters into his fold," a U.S. official said, adding that Iraqis accounted for "more than half his organization."
Although Zarqawi is believed to command fewer than 1,000 fighters, the daring and lethal nature of their attacks, coupled with Zarqawi's links to the Al Qaeda terrorist network, has made him the most notorious figure in the Iraq insurgency.

WIPO wants to give webcasters the right to steal from public domain, Creative Commons and GPL

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO, a UN agency that makes copyright and related treaties, which lead to disasters like the DMCA) is once again considering adding "webcasting" to the upcoming Broadcast Treaty. This would allow a webcaster (anyone who sends you audiovisual material over the Internet) to have a 50 monopoly over what you do with the material you receive from him -- even if he's sending you Creative Commons-licensed work, GPL'ed Flash animations, or stuff that's in the public domain. It would also make it illegal to break any DRM used in connection with webcasting.
Last year, we took a letter from 20 webcasters opposing this to WIPO. They temporarily abandoned webcasting then, but now there are sneaky moves afoot to get it back on the table.

Texas county bans parking near Bush ranch

Two weeks after Cindy Sheehan left her anti-war campsite by the road leading to President Bush's ranch, county commissioners have banned parking along 23 miles of roads in the area.
Before the 4-1 vote Tuesday, McLennan County Commissioner Ray Meadows said about 80 residents had complained of blocked roads, loud music and public health and safety concerns during the 26-day protest near Bush's ranch outside Crawford, about 20 miles west of Waco.
"It's not a First Amendment issue. It's a safety issue," Meadows said, adding that "no parking" signs could be put up this week.

ACLU: Troops Say They Used Techniques "Remembered From the Movies"; Deaths Could Have Been Avoided with Better Training

The documents, which appear to be interviews conducted for Army Inspector General Lt. Gen. Paul T. Mikolashek's July, 2004 report on detainee abuse, contradict the report's finding that there were no systemic failures that resulted in abuse.
"When troops rely on movies to learn interrogation techniques rather than proper training, our government has failed and the blame is on Washington, not Hollywood," said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU. "Once again we have evidence of widespread abuse, but no high ranking government official or member of the military has been held accountable for the actions that occurred on their watch."

Keepers of Bush image lift stagecraft to new heights

Lights, camera, empathy! The Bush adminstration has gone to great lengths and great expense to create just the right image... from the "magic hour light" Mission Accomplished speech aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln to hiring a small floatilla of barges with floodlights to illuminate the Statue of Liberty, to sticking his head on Mount Rushmore. It seems a bit absurd, however, to spend a huge amount of money to bring in lighting crews and massive theatrical floodlights to bathe a building blue in the middle of a humanitarian crisis. They even took the time to reset the clocktower back to the correct time. Why didn't they just use the building's existing white lights instead? Did they need the lights to match the president's shirt? Note that his sleeves are rolled up and his collar is unbuttoned. It sure is hard work rebuilding New Orleans, isn't it?

Thank you to Democratic Underground for the link. However (credit where it's due) the above is not written by me but a copy-paste from The actual author is insomnia_lj
-- McLir

Thursday, September 15, 2005

9/11 Documents Destroyed

A Pentagon employee was ordered to destroy documents that identified Mohamed Atta as a terrorist two years before the 2001 attacks, a congressman said Thursday.
The employee is prepared to testify next week before the Senate Judiciary Committee and was expected to identify the person who ordered him to destroy the large volume of documents, said Rep. Curt Weldon R-Pa.
Weldon declined to identify the employee, citing confidentiality matters. Weldon described the documents as "2.5 terabytes" — as much as one-fourth of all the printed materials in the Library of Congress, he added.
A Senate Judiciary Committee aide said the witnesses for Wednesday hearing had not been finalized and could not confirm Weldon's comments.
Army Maj. Paul Swiergosz, a Pentagon spokesman, said officials have been "fact-finding in earnest for quite some time."

Lever Voting Machines Suddenly Outlawed in Connecticut

Connecticut's 3,300 voting booths are in for a quick and drastic change. The state is being told to get rid of all lever voting machines by 2006.
Pulling that familiar lever could become a thing of the past. Connecticut must change to comply with the Help America Vote Act, which was created in the wake of the 2000 Bush/Gore presidential election. That means spending millions of dollars for new machines, but that's easier said than done.
"Never did we get any indication from the federal government that such a ruling would be made so close to the deadline," says Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz.
The surprise for Bysiewicz is how quickly that change could take place. The election assistance commission has ruled Connecticut's 3,300 lever machines may have to be replaced before the 2006 election, because the machines are not accessible to all voters. Local election leaders could be forced to use optical scan or touch screen devices.

Preview: Excerpts of Tonight's Bush Speech

The work that has begun in the Gulf Coast region will be one of the largest reconstruction efforts the world has ever seen. When that job is done, all Americans will have something to be very proud of - and all Americans are needed in this common effort.

CRS Looks at Replacing Nuclear Warheads with Conventional Warheads on ICBM's [PDF]

The United States has deployed long-range ballistic missiles as a part of its strategic offensive nuclear forces for more than 40 years. In recent years, analysts both inside and outside the government have suggested that the United States deploy conventional warheads on these missiles. This would provide the United States with the ability to strike promptly anywhere in the world, regardless of the presence of overseas bases or nearby naval forces.
The United States could use medium or long-range aircraft or sea-based cruise missiles or ballistic missiles to contribute to the prompt global strike (PGS) mission. However, only long-range ballistic missiles have the range and prompt attack capability needed to strike suddenly at the start of an unanticipated conflict. The Air Force and Navy have both studied the possible deployment of conventional warheads on their long-range ballistic missiles. The Navy sought funding, in FY2003 and FY2004, for research into a reentry vehicle that would be able to maneuver when approaching its target. The improved accuracy would allow effective strikes with conventional warheads. Congress refused to fund the project, but the contractors have continued some research into the program. The Air Force is pursuing, with DARPA, research into a number of technologies that might enhance the U.S. longrange strike capability. In particular, it is developing a hypersonic glide vehicle, known as the Common Aero Vehicle (CAV), that could carry conventional munitions and be deployed on modified Minuteman II or Peacekeeper missiles.

Brad Blog: Diebold Insider Reveals Security Flaws in E-Voting Machines

Pointing to a little-noticed "Cyber Security Alert" issued by the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the source inside Diebold -- who "for the time being" is requesting anonymity due to a continuing sensitive relationship with the company -- is charging that Diebold's technicians, including at least one of its lead programmers, knew about the security flaw and that the company instructed them to keep quiet about it.
"Diebold threatened violators with immediate dismissal," the insider, who we'll call DIEB-THROAT, explained recently to The BRAD BLOG via email. "In 2005, after one newly hired member of Diebold's technical staff pointed out the security flaw, he was criticized and isolated."
In phone interviews, DIEB-THROAT confirmed that the matters were well known within the company, but that a "culture of fear" had been developed to assure that employees, including technicians, vendors and programmers kept those issues to themselves.
The "Cyber Security Alert" from US-CERT was issued in late August of 2004 and is still available online via the US-CERT website. The alert warns that "A vulnerability exists due to an undocumented backdoor account, which could a [sic: allow] local or remote authenticated malicious user [sic: to] modify votes."

Breast Tumors In Mice Eradicated Using Cancer Vaccine

A team from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine has shown that by using a cancer vaccine based on the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, they can cure mice with established breast tumors. Cancer vaccines, which are more properly described as immunotherapy, work by boosting an immune response against tumor-associated antigens. Using Listeria, the researchers, led by Yvonne Paterson, PhD, Professor of Microbiology, delivered the tumor-associated antigen HER-2/Neu to immune cells. HER-2/Neu is overexpressed in 20 to 40 percent of all breast cancers and also present in many cancers of the ovaries, lung, pancreas, and gastrointestinal tract. These cells eventually enlist killer T cells to seek out and destroy the tumor cells that display the HER-2/Neu molecule.

Bill Maher to President Bush

"Mr. President, this job can't be fun for you any more. There's no more money to spend--you used up all of that. You can't start another war because you used up the army. And now, darn the luck, the rest of your term has become the Bush family nightmare: helping poor people. Listen to your Mom. The cupboard's bare, the credit cards maxed out. No one's speaking to you. Mission accomplished.
"Now it's time to do what you've always done best: lose interest and walk away. Like you did with your military service and the oil company and the baseball team. It's time. Time to move on and try the next fantasy job. How about cowboy or space man? Now I know what you're saying: there's so many other things that you as President could involve yourself in. Please don't. I know, I know. There's a lot left to do. There's a war with Venezuela. Eliminating the sales tax on yachts. Turning the space program over to the church. And Social Security to Fannie Mae. Giving embryos the vote.
"But, Sir, none of that is going to happen now. Why? Because you govern like Billy Joel drives. You've performed so poorly I'm surprised that you haven't given yourself a medal. You're a catastrophe that walks like a man. Herbert Hoover was a shitty president, but even he never conceded an entire city to rising water and snakes.
"On your watch, we've lost almost all of our allies, the surplus, four airliners, two trade centers, a piece of the Pentagon and the City of New Orleans. Maybe you're just not lucky. I'm not saying you don't love this country. I'm just wondering how much worse it could be if you were on the other side.
"So, yes, God does speak to you. What he is saying is: 'Take a hint.' "

What is "Stare Decisis"?

Stare decisis (Latin:[ˈstareː ˈdekisis], Anglicisation:[ˈstaːɹɛ dəˈsajsɪs], "to stand by things decided") is a Latin legal term, used in common law to express the notion that prior court decisions must be recognized as precedents, according to case law.
This doctrine is not held within most civil law jurisdictions as it is argued that this principle interferes with the right of judges to interpret law and the right of the legislature to make law. Most such systems, however, recognize the concept of jurisprudence constante, which argues that even though judges are independent, they should rule in a predictable and non-chaotic manner. Therefore, judges' right to interpret law does not preclude the adoption of a small number of selected binding case laws.

The principle of stare decisis can be divided into two components:
The first is the rule that a decision made by a higher court is binding precedent which a lower court cannot overturn.
The second is the principle that a court should not overturn its own precedents unless there is a strong reason to do so and should be guided by principles from lateral and lower courts. The second principle is an advisory one which courts can and do occasionally ignore.

Hacking's a snap in Legoland

When Lego executives recently discovered that adult fans of the iconic plastic bricks had hacked one of the company's new development tools for digital designers, they did a surprising thing: They cheered.
Unlike executives at so many corporations, who would be loath to let their customers anywhere near the inner workings of their software tools, the Lego honchos saw an opportunity to lean on the collective thinking of an Internet community to improve their own product while bolstering relations with committed customers.
All it took was being open-minded enough to see that their biggest fans weren't trying to rip them off; they were trying to improve Lego's products in a way that, just maybe, the company's own designers hadn't thought of.

Karl Rove to Run Gulf Coast Reconstruction

Republicans said Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff and Mr. Bush's chief political adviser, was in charge of the reconstruction effort, which reaches across many agencies of government and includes the direct involvement of Alphonso R. Jackson, secretary of housing and urban development.
As of Wednesday, few if any members of Congress had been informed by the administration of the president's plans. But Congressional leaders nonetheless offered Mr. Bush advice on his speech.

House GOP Blocks CIA Leak Documents

House Republicans derailed Democratic attempts on Wednesday to force the Bush administration to surrender documents on prewar intelligence and the disclosure of the identity of a CIA operative.
Democrats have introduced several "resolutions of inquiry" to compel President Bush and members of his Cabinet to release all information relating to communications with British officials before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and the Valerie Plame case.

Company Hired to Handle Katrina's Dead Has Tainted History

According to the Department of Health and Hospitals, Kenyon International has been in charge of recovering and handling Hurricane Katrina's dead without a contract since last Wednesday. That contract was finally inked these past few days by Governor Kathleen Blanco, who obviously felt FEMA was dragging its feet.
Even before Katrina hit, the accusations and criticisms for both federal and local leaders were endless. First, national attacks on the slow search and rescue efforts, and now more trouble concerning the recovery of Katrina's dead. Governor Blanco has just inked the deal with Kenyon International to lead body recovering efforts. The only problem -- Kenyon's parent company is Service Corporation International, a scandal-ridden, Texas-based company accused in a number of lawsuits for illegally discarding and desecrating corpses.
The state Department of Health and Hospitals says it was unaware of the company's legal troubles and was only doing what the governor had asked.

Wiretap mosques, Romney suggests

Governor Mitt Romney raised the prospect of wiretapping mosques and conducting surveillance of foreign students in Massachusetts, as he issued a broad call yesterday for the federal government to devote far more money and attention to domestic intelligence gathering.
In remarks that caused alarm among civil libertarians and advocates for immigrants rights, Romney said in a speech to the Heritage Foundation that the United States needs to radically rethink how it guards itself against terrorism.
''How many individuals are coming to our state and going to those institutions who have come from terrorist-sponsored states?" he said, referring to foreign students who attend universities in Massachusetts. ''Do we know where they are? Are we tracking them?"
''How about people who are in settings -- mosques, for instance -- that may be teaching doctrines of hate and terror," Romney continued. ''Are we monitoring that? Are we wiretapping? Are we following what's going on?"
As he ponders a potential run for president in 2008, Romney has positioned himself as a homeland security expert: He sits on a federal homeland security advisory council, is active on the issue with the National Governors Association, and repeatedly speaks about the lessons the country has learned from the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and, more recently, from Hurricane Katrina.

Disappointment as UN Drops Nuclear Anti-Proliferation Measures

Despite increasing concerns over illicit nuclear weapon networks and terrorists seeking weapons of mass destruction, negotiators working for months on a reform package to beef up the United Nations failed to agree on how to revamp global non-proliferation rules.
They adopted a watered-down package of reforms to be endorsed by the leaders of the world attending the 60th anniversary meeting of the global body.
Proposed new rules on nuclear weapons proliferation and disarmament were completely disregarded.
"It's a real disgrace," said UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, lamenting the omission, which reportedly came after Washington gave only lukewarm support for the reforms.

Speculators Rushing In as the Water Recedes

In some ways, Hurricane Katrina seems to have taken a vibrant real estate market and made it hotter. Large sections of the city are underwater, but that's only increasing the demand for dry houses. And in flooded areas, speculators are trying to buy properties on the cheap, hoping that the redevelopment of New Orleans will start a boom.
This land rush has long-term implications in a city where many of the poorest residents were flooded out. It raises the question of what sort of housing — if any — will be available to those without a six-figure salary. If New Orleans ends up a high-priced enclave, without a mix of cultures, races and incomes, something vital may be lost.
"There's a public interest question here," said Ann Oliveri, a senior vice president with the Urban Land Institute, a Washington think tank. "You don't have to abdicate the city to whoever shows up."
For now, though, it's a seller's market, at least for habitable homes.

US May Postpone Pressures on Iran

Iran's new president, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, urged the U.N. not to bend to U.S. pressure.
"The raison d'etre of the United Nations is to promote global peace and tranquility," he told the General Assembly. "Therefore, any license for pre-emptive measures which are essentially based on gauging intentions rather than objective facts ... is a blatant contradiction to the very foundation of the United Nations and the letter and the spirit of its charter."
Washington had been a key force in trying to marshal enough support at Monday's board meeting of the Vienna-based IAEA for referral. But in comments Wednesday, Rice indirectly acknowledged that drive was faltering.
"I am not so concerned about exactly when it happens," Rice told the Fox News Editorial Board, "because I don't think this matter is so urgent that it has to come on Sept. 19."
The European Union has taken the lead in trying to persuade Iran to halt development of nuclear activities that could be used to make weapons in exchange for economic concessions.
The European official said that - as of Thursday - any resolution in Vienna demanding immediate referral to the Security Council would have "only a slim majority of two or three countries" on the 35-member IAEA board.

Pope Ratzinger to "Purify" Church

Management aiming to clean house (NYT, acct. req'd) — Pope Joseph Ratzinger begins to fulfill his promise to rid the Catholic Church of freethinking undesirables who propagate an "unacceptable democratic model of the Church", starting with the rooting out of gay clergymen, who — by simple virtue of their sexuality — are assumed to be child molesters, never mind Ratzinger's complicity in widespread interference with investigations into and long-standing cover-ups of the Church's worst offenders. [from]

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Robert Byrd: A Call for Debate on National Priorities

Our economic resources are stretched dangerously thin, and so is our military might. We have taken on too much, turned our backs on cooperation with the international community, decided to go it alone and pursue some grandiose scheme of remaking the world in our own image. By now it should be clear to all that grand experiments are very, very costly. It is time for a national epiphany. The sound of Katrina's bugle must be heeded. We cannot continue to commit billions in Iraq when our own people are so much in need, not only now, in New Orleans, but all across America for everything from education to health care to homeland security to securing our own borders. We need to stop making excuses, stop spinning the facts, and come to grips with the unpleasant truth. The government of the United States is failing the American people.
Where is the national debate about our priorities which Katrina should prompt? What does it take to wake us up? It is a debate that must begin, if not on this Senate Floor, then in the barber shops and grocery stores of America and in the print and broadcast media of this great nation.

Iraq Justice Minister Condemns U.S. Detentions, Immunity for Troops

Iraq's justice minister has condemned the U.S. military for detaining thousands of Iraqis for long periods without charge and wants to change a U.N. resolution that gives foreign troops immunity from Iraqi law.
Speaking to Reuters, Justice Minister Abdul Hussein Shandal also criticized U.S. detentions of Iraqi journalists and said the media, contrary to U.S. policy in Iraq, must have special legal protection to report on all sides in the conflict.
"No citizen should be arrested without a court order," he said this week, complaining that U.S. suggestions that his ministry has an equal say on detentions were misleading.
"There is abuse (of human rights) due to detentions, which are overseen by the Multinational Force (MNF) and are not in the control of the justice ministry," said Shandal, a Shi'ite judge respected for standing up to Saddam Hussein on the rule of law.
Killings and unjustified arrests of Iraqi civilians by U.S. troops risked going unpunished, he said, because of U.N. Security Council resolution 1546, which granted U.S.-led forces sweeping powers following their overthrow of Saddam in 2003.

Frontline: Private Warriors

In "Private Warriors," FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith travels throughout Kuwait and Iraq to give viewers an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at companies like Kellogg, Brown & Root, a Halliburton subsidiary, and its civilian army. KBR has 50,000 employees in Iraq and Kuwait that run U.S. military supply lines and operate U.S. military bases. KBR is also the largest contractor in Iraq, providing the Army with $11.84 billion dollars in services since 2002.
Historically, there is nothing new about the military's use of private contractors, but the Iraq war has seen outsourcing on an unprecedented scale. The policy change came after the Cold War when the Pentagon was downsizing under then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. Cheney first hired Halliburton as a consultant and later became the company's president. Halliburton subsidiary KBR is now one of the largest recipients of government contracts.
FRONTLINE visits the biggest Halliburton/KBR run base, Camp Anaconda, in the Sunni triangle. Behind concrete walls 28,000 soldiers and 8,000 civilians live in bases that offer Taekwondo and Salsa lessons, movie theatres, fast food courts, and four meals a day. The amenities are impressive, but some argue that there is a price to pay. Says a former base commander Marine Colonel Thomas X. Hammes, "it's misguided luxury … somebody's risking their lives to deliver that luxury."
And while KBR was glad to provide Smith with a tour of the facilities, they weren't able or willing to answer some basic questions about how much certain services -- like feeding the troops -- cost.

Response from
Personally, I loved the part where the KBR mayor of Anaconda tries to convince the reporter that they don't know how much it costs to serve each meal per person. I found it just incredulous that he would even try to say that. And the press co-ordinator was equally amusing. I don't know what it is about catching someone in telling a whopper that makes it so interesting, but it just does! You bet that KBR knows exactly how much it costs per serving. They have to know the costs to make money. Yet when the reporter asked the actual mayor of Anaconda how much it cost per serving, he knew. About $20.00 per meal. To me, that amount is staggering. When I was in the Navy, they had the cost of a meal broken down to $8.35 per DAY.

National Geographic 10/2004: The Threat of a New Orleans Flood

Excerpt: The chances of such a storm hitting New Orleans in any given year are slight, but the danger is growing. Climatologists predict that powerful storms may occur more frequently this century, while rising sea level from global warming is putting low-lying coasts at greater risk. "It's not if it will happen," says University of New Orleans geologist Shea Penland. "It's when."
Yet just as the risks of a killer storm are rising, the city's natural defenses are quietly melting away. From the Mississippi border to the Texas state line, Louisiana is losing its protective fringe of marshes and barrier islands faster than any place in the U.S. Since the 1930s some 1,900 square miles (4,900 square kilometers) of coastal wetlands—a swath nearly the size of Delaware or almost twice that of Luxembourg—have vanished beneath the Gulf of Mexico. Despite nearly half a billion dollars spent over the past decade to stem the tide, the state continues to lose about 25 square miles (65 square kilometers) of land each year, roughly one acre every 33 minutes.

Al Gore: On Katrina, Global Warming

We have to rise with this occasion. We have to connect the dots. When the Superfund sites aren't cleaned up, we get a toxic gumbo in a flood. When there is not adequate public transportation for the poor, it is difficult to evacuate a city. When there is no ability to give medical care to poor people, its difficult to get hospital to take refugees in the middle of a crisis. When the wetlands are turned over to the developers then the storm surges from the ocean threaten the coastal cities more. When there is no effort to restrain the global warming pollution gasses then global warming gets worse, with all of the consequences that the scientific community has warned us about.
My friends, the truth is that our circumstances are not only new; they are completely different than they have ever been in all of human history. The relationship between humankind and the earth has been utterly transformed in the last hundred years. We have quadrupled the population of our planet. The population in many ways is a success story. The demographic transition has been occurring more quickly than was hoped for, but the reality of our new relationship with the planet brings with it a moral responsibility to accept our new circumstances and to deal with the consequences of the relationship we have with this planet. And it's not just population. By any means, the power of the technologies now at our disposal vastly magnifies the average impact that individuals can have on the natural world. Multiply that by six and a half billion people, and then stir into that toxic mixture a mindset and an attitude that says its okay to ignore scientific evidence - that we don't have to take responsibility for the future consequences of present actions - and you get a collision between our civilization and the earth.

CPI: Justice Department makes a valuable public database all but inaccessible

It is a detailed database that could be shining a constant light on the shadowy and complicated world of Washington lobbyists working for foreign governments and overseas companies, a potentially invaluable tool for promoting government transparency, honesty and accountability.
Instead, the Foreign Agent Registration Act database housed at the Justice Department— which is a public record by law—is a shadowy, complicated beast. And that seems to be just fine with the government officials in charge of it.
For example, many of the most damning records in the Washington, D.C., scandal involving indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff lay buried in the FARA database until they were finally dug up by congressional investigators. The database is rich in such records, everything from meetings between government officials and high-powered lobbyists to public relations campaigns.
The Justice Department defended its stewardship of the FARA database when contacted by the Center for this report.
"It is the mission of the FARA office to provide public information in a timely, effective and fair manner," said Justice Department spokesman Bryan Sierra in an email response to questions from the Center. "The FARA staff is committed to providing publicly available information as quickly and efficiently as possible." (See the Center's response to Justice and the Department's reply.)
Whether by design or neglect, the FARA public records office itself is a Byzantine operation. It is only open to the public for only four hours each day, although it allows the lobbyists for foreign principals to stop by with filings anytime between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

"Smoking gun" documents nail FEMA, Chertoff, and Bush

The [June 3, 2004] Scope of Work expressly directed the contractor to plan for the following specific conditions:

* "Over one million people would evacuate from New Orleans. Evacuees would crowd shelters throughout Louisiana and adjacent states."

* "Hurricane surge would block highways and trap 300,000 to 350,000 persons in flooded areas. Storm surge of over 18 feet would overflow flood-protection levees on the Lake Pontchartrain side of New Orleans. Storm surge combined with heavy rain could leave much of New Orleans under 14 to 17 feet of water. More than 200 square miles of urban areas would be flooded."

* "It could take weeks to `de-water' (drain) New Orleans: Inundated pumping stations and damaged pump motors would be inoperable. Flood-protection levees would prevent drainage of floodwater. Breaching the levees would be a complicated and politically sensitive problem: The Corps of Engineers may have to use barges or helicopters to haul earthmoving equipment to open several hundred feet of levee."

* "Rescue operations would be difficult because much of the area would be reachable only by helicopters and boats."

* "Hospitals would be overcrowded with special-needs patients. Backup generators would run out of fuel or fail before patients could be moved elsewhere."

* "The New Orleans area would be without electric power, food, potable water, medicine, or transportation for an extended time period."

* "Damaged chemical plants and industries could spill hazardous materials."

* "Standing water and disease could threaten public health."

* "There would be severe economic repercussions for the state and region."

* "Outside responders and resources, including the Federal response personnel and materials, would have difficulty entering and working in the affected area."

Geometric Reconstructions of Crop Circles

What are ruler-and-compass constructions? In contrast to making use of a ruler with divisions to take the measure of things and express it in metres or feet, ruler-and-compass constructions only use undivided rulers and compasses.
Not all patterns can be constructed by (strict) ruler-and-compass rules. For instance, a regular heptagon � 7-sided polygon � can not be constructed in this way. See the ruler-and-compass constructions page to learn more. There are, however, other ways of constructing odd-numbered polygons. Refer to the non ruler-and-compass constructions page.
How are cropcircle reconstructions worked out? Usually, it takes a number of steps. First, I use MS Word, insert the aerial picture as a background image and draw ellipses and lines over it as accurately as possible in accordance with the pattern. This helps to get an idea about the internal relationships, and to have a means to make measurements.

Cognitive science’s search for a common morality

The appeal of the new methods is clear: if an aspect of reasoning is genuinely universal, part of the human genetic endowment, then such reasoning might be manifest in massive cross-cultural samples, in subjects not yet exposed to any culture, such as very young infants, and perhaps even in the biological structure of our reasoning organ, the brain.
How far have these technologies come in teaching us new truths about our moral selves? How far could they go? And what will be the implications of a new biopsychological science of natural morality? “The truth, if it exists, is in the details,” wrote Wilson, and therefore I will concentrate on the details of three sets of very recent experiments, each of which approaches the problem using a different method: an Internet survey, a cognitive study of infants, and a study of brain imaging. Each is at the cutting edge of moral psychology, each is promising but flawed, and each should be greeted with a mix of enthusiasm and interpretative caution.

Great Hack: Google Maps and Census Data

Navigate to a place via Google Maps. Click and you get Census demographic data such as population, median income and housing. [from]

One Year in the Hot Zone

Our Mission:
To cover every armed conflict* in the world within one year, and in doing so to provide a clear idea of the combatants, victims, causes, and costs of each of these struggles - and their global impact. With honest, thoughtful reporting we'll strive to establish Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone as a forum for information and involvement. Users will not only learn about the scope of world conflict, but will find ways to be part of the solutions- through dialogue, debate, and avenues for action.
How We'll Do It:
Veteran war correspondent Kevin Sites will travel solo to these conflict zones, aided by a U.S.-based "mission control" team: Producer Robert Padavick (NBC News, CNN) and Researcher Lisa Liu (Radio Free Asia, International Medical Corps).
Using the latest technology, including high-definition digital cameras and satellite modems, Kevin will deliver stories via a five-fingered multimedia platform of text, photography, video, audio, and interactive chat - all available on one website (

Swapping Scoops: Every Night the 'NY Times' and 'Wash Post' Exchange Front Pages for the Following Day

As part of a secret arrangement formed more than 10 years ago, the Post and Times send each other copies of their next day's front pages every night. The sharing began as a courtesy between Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. and former Times Executive Editor Joseph Lelyveld in the early 1990s and has continued ever since.
"It seemed logical, because for years we would always try to get a copy of each other's papers as soon as they came out," Downie tells E&P. "It made sense to both of us to make it simpler for everybody." Lelyveld, who left the Times in 2001, declined comment.

Library Thing

Catalog your books online

  • Easy. Catalog your books online (example); no software required.
  • Powerful. LibraryThing mines the full Library of Congress catalog—ideal for collectors and scholars.
  • Free. Enter 200 books for free; lifetime membership $10 (beta special).
  • Tagged. LibraryThing allows blog/Flickr-style tagging (example).
  • Shared. Show everyone your library, or keep your library private. You can even put a widget on your blog to show people what you're reading.
  • Safe. LibraryThing's not going away, but you can export your data.

Judge rules Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional in public schools

U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton ruled that the pledge's reference to one nation "under God" violates school children's right to be "free from a coercive requirement to affirm God."
Karlton said he was bound by precedent of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which in 2002 ruled in favor of Sacramento atheist Michael Newdow that the pledge is unconstitutional when recited in public schools.
The Supreme Court dismissed the case last year, saying Newdow lacked standing because he did not have custody of his elementary school daughter he sued on behalf of.

Countries Concerned Over Google Earth as Security Threat

The recent news that South Korea is to take the US to task over Google Earth images which expose its military installations to close Commie scrutiny has provoked a mini stampede of other peace-loving nations eager to protect their assets from prying eyes.
Enter stage right Thailand, which says it may ask Google to "block images of important state buildings vulnerable to attack". Armed forces spokeschap Major General Weerasak Manee-in told Reuters: "We are looking for possible restrictions on these detailed pictures, especially state buildings. I think pictures of tourist attractions should do, not crucial places which could threaten national security."

Countries Concerned Over Google Earth as Security Threat

The recent news that South Korea is to take the US to task over Google Earth images which expose its military installations to close Commie scrutiny has provoked a mini stampede of other peace-loving nations eager to protect their assets from prying eyes.
Enter stage right Thailand, which says it may ask Google to "block images of important state buildings vulnerable to attack". Armed forces spokeschap Major General Weerasak Manee-in told Reuters: "We are looking for possible restrictions on these detailed pictures, especially state buildings. I think pictures of tourist attractions should do, not crucial places which could threaten national security."

Afghan official says commanders let Osama escape

Osama bin Laden was provided safe passage to Pakistan in 2001 by Afghan commanders paid by al Qaeda and sympathetic to its cause, a senior Afghan official told Reuters on Wednesday.
Lutfullah Mashal, Afghanistan's Interior Ministry spokesman, said commanders helped the al Qaeda leader escape from the Tora Bora mountains as U.S. warplanes and Afghan forces attacked his hideout near the Pakistan border in late 2001.
"The help was provided because of monetary aid availed by al Qaeda and also partly because of ideological issues," Mashal said.

Corporate philanthropy as ethical indicator

Hurricane Katrina not only swept through the Gulf Coast, it exposed new questions for social investors: What does the size of a company's postdisaster donations say about its ethical performance? Do high gas prices mean a boom for alternative energy? The Monitor's Laurent Belsie invited two Boston-based experts to examine these questions: Robert Zevin, a pioneer of socially responsible investing and head of his own investment advisory firm, and Matthew Patsky, portfolio manager of the Winslow Green Growth Fund, which as of Aug. 31 had the best one-year, three-year, and 10-year record of any domestic equity fund tracked by