Saturday, March 25, 2006
That doesn't mean that daytime television is a brain drain, they say, since it's not clear that there's a direct relationship between the two.
But the findings do point to some association between TV choices and intellectual function, and that could prove useful in evaluating older people for cognitive decline, according lead investigator Dr. Joshua Fogel of Brooklyn College of the City University of New York.
Creekstone Farms Premium Beef wants to look for the disease in every animal it processes. The Agriculture Department has said no. Creekstone says it intends to sue the department.
...The department and larger meat companies oppose comprehensive testing, saying it cannot assure food safety. Testing rarely detects the disease in younger animals, the source of most meat.
...Larger companies worry that Japanese buyers would insist on costly testing and that a suspect result might scare consumers away from eating beef.
Schools from Vermont to California are increasing — in some cases tripling — the class time that low-proficiency students spend on reading and math, mainly because the federal law, signed in 2002, requires annual exams only in those subjects and punishes schools that fall short of rising benchmarks.
The changes appear to principally affect schools and students who test below grade level.
The intense focus on the two basic skills is a sea change in American instructional practice, with many schools that once offered rich curriculums now systematically trimming courses like social studies, science and art. A nationwide survey by a nonpartisan group that is to be made public on March 28 indicates that the practice, known as narrowing the curriculum, has become standard procedure in many communities.
In his latest PR offensive President Bush came to Cleveland, Ohio, on Monday to answer the paramount question on Iraq that he said was on people's minds: "They wonder what I see that they don't." After mentioning "terror" 54 times and "victory" five, dismissing "civil war" twice and asserting that he is "optimistic", he called on a citizen in the audience, who homed in on the invisible meaning of recent events in the light of two books, American Theocracy, by Kevin Phillips, and the book of Revelation. Phillips, the questioner explained, "makes the point that members of your administration have reached out to prophetic Christians who see the war in Iraq and the rise of terrorism as signs of the apocalypse. Do you believe this? And if not, why not?"
Bush's immediate response, as transcribed by CNN, was: "Hmmm." Then he said: "The answer is I haven't really thought of it that way. Here's how I think of it. First, I've heard of that, by the way." The official White House website transcript drops the strategic comma, and so changes the meaning to: "First I've heard of that, by the way."
But it is certainly not the first time Bush has heard of the apocalyptic preoccupation of much of the religious right, having served as evangelical liaison on his father's 1988 presidential campaign. The Rev Jerry Falwell told Newsweek how he brought Tim LaHaye, then an influential rightwing leader, to meet him; LaHaye's Left Behind novels, dramatising the rapture, Armageddon and the second coming, have sold tens of millions.
Responding to questions from Congress, the department also said that it sees no prohibition to using information collected under the NSA's program in court.
"Because collecting foreign intelligence information without a warrant does not violate the Fourth Amendment and because the Terrorist Surveillance Program is lawful, there appears to be no legal barrier against introducing this evidence in a criminal prosecution," the department said in responses to questions from lawmakers released Friday evening.
The department said that considerations, including whether classified information could be disclosed, must be weighed.
[The maps show ocean coasts in America and Europe. Also the maps are according to current land elevations. They do not take into account erosion.]
Friday, March 24, 2006
One team, using computer models of climate and ice, found that by about 2100, average temperatures could be 4 degrees warmer than today and that over the coming centuries, the world's oceans could rise 13 to 20 feet -- conditions last seen 130,000 years ago, between the last two ice ages.
The findings, being reported today in the journal Science, are consistent with other recent studies of melting and erosion at the poles. Many experts say there are still uncertainties about timing, extent and causes.
He gave us that warning twenty-five years ago, when Pat Robertson and other prominent evangelists began speaking of a new political religion that would direct its efforts at taking control of all major American institutions, including mainstream denominations and the government, so as to transform the United States into a global Christian empire. At the time, it was hard to take such fantastic rhetoric seriously. But fascism, Adams warned, would not return wearing swastikas and brown shirts. Its ideological inheritors would cloak themselves in the language of the Bible; they would come carrying crosses and chanting the Pledge of Allegiance.
Adams had watched American intellectuals and industrialists flirt with fascism in the 1930s. Mussolini’s “Corporatism,” which created an unchecked industrial and business aristocracy, had appealed to many at the time as an effective counterweight to the New Deal. In 1934, Fortune magazine lavished praise on the Italian dictator for his defanging of labor unions and his empowerment of industrialists at the expense of workers. Then as now, Adams said, too many liberals failed to understand the power and allure of evil, and when the radical Christians came, these people would undoubtedly play by the old, polite rules of democracy long after those in power had begun to dismantle the democratic state. Adams had watched German academics fall silent or conform. He knew how desperately people want to believe the comfortable lies told by totalitarian movements, how easily those lies lull moderates into passivity.
Adams told us to watch closely the Christian right’s persecution of homosexuals and lesbians. Hitler, he reminded us, promised to restore moral values not long after he took power in 1933, then imposed a ban on all homosexual and lesbian organizations and publications. Then came raids on the places where homosexuals gathered, culminating on May 6, 1933, with the ransacking of the Institute for Sexual Science in Berlin. Twelve thousand volumes from the institute’s library were tossed into a public bonfire. Homosexuals and lesbians, Adams said, would be the first “deviants” singled out by the Christian right. We would be the next.
I don't believe they'll give up on the bases and the oil. Nor will its successors, Republican or Democrat. So I think that's what we will be doing, staying forever. Unless the rest of us, outside the government, force change on the leadership of the Democrats as well as the Republicans, which will be difficult and take a long time.From DailyKos comes an excellent series of interviews with Daniel Ellsberg; leaker of The Pentagon Papers. Part 1: The Pentagon Papers and the Overlooked 1968 Leaks, Part 2: Judith Miller, the New York Times and Government-Controlled Press, Part 3: The Cult of Secrecy in Government and Its Undermining of Democracy, Part 4: Whistleblowing and Effective Activism, Part 5: Iraq/Vietnam Parallels and Other Foreign Policy Fiascos and Part 6: Bush, the Next 9/11 and the Approaching Police State.
MARCH 30, 2003: Donald Rumsfeld: We know where the WMD are
"We know where [the weapons of mass destruction] are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat." [ABC This Week, 3/30/03]
APRIL 1, 2003: Pfc. Jessica Lynch recovered by U.S. forces. What the Pentagon framed as a heroic rescue was later revealed to have been staged. [Guardian, 5/15/03]
APRIL 9, 2003: Saddam Statue Toppled
The Los Angeles Times later reported that the fall was “stage-managed” by the Army. [LAT, 7/3/04]
APRIL 11, 2003: Donald Rumsfeld: Stuff happens
"Think what’s happened in our cities when we’ve had riots, and problems, and looting. Stuff happens! … Freedom’s untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things. They’re also free to live their lives and do wonderful things, and that’s what’s going to happen here." [DoD briefing, 4/11/03]
APRIL 16, 2003: Bush signs $79 billion supplemental spending bill for Iraq [DoD, 4/16/03]
MAY 1, 2003: Mission Accomplished
"[M]y fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. [Bush, 5/1/03]
MAY 9, 2003: Paul Wolfowitz: We agreed on WMD rationale for bureaucratic reasons
"The truth is that, for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason" [to go to war]. [Wolfowitz, 5/9/03]
MAY 29, 2003: Bush: We found the WMD
We found the weapons of mass destruction. [Bush, 5/29/03]
JUNE 6, 2003: Rumsfeld blames Iraq problems on “pockets of dead-enders”
"In those regions where pockets of dead-enders are trying to reconstitute, Gen. Franks and his team are rooting them out. In short, the coalition is making good progress." [USA Today, 6/18/03]
JULY 2, 2003: Bring ‘Em On
"There are some who feel like — that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is, bring them on." [Bush, 7/2/03]
JULY 6, 2003: Joseph Wilson writes op-ed in the New York Times
"It did not take long to conclude that it was highly doubtful that any such [yellowcake] transaction had ever taken place." [NYT, 7/6/03]
MZM Inc., headed by Mitchell Wade, also received three contracts totaling more than $250,000 to provide unspecified "intelligence services" to the White House, according to documents obtained by Knight Ridder. The White House did not respond to an inquiry about what those intelligence services entailed.
MZM's Pentagon and White House deals were part of tens of millions of dollars in federal government business that Wade's company attracted beginning in 2002.
MZM and Wade, who pleaded guilty last month to bribing Cunningham and unnamed Defense Department officials to steer work to his firm, are the focus of ongoing probes by Pentagon and Department of Justice investigators.
The previous record was 129 deaths, set in 2004. The December 26, 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia claimed eighty-nine journalists, and marked the start of an increasing trend in the field: foreign-location assignments are killing journalists.
"Unfortunately, journalists are now more part of the conflict," says Douglas Struck, foreign correspondent for The Washington Post. "It used to be that journalists felt with some degree of accuracy that we were not in the line of fire, that we had a special status as neutral observers that usually kept us pretty safe. That's clearly not true any more, particularly in Iraq, where journalists are targeted specifically by those on one side."
Thursday, March 23, 2006
"I am under censure for mentioning numbers...." "I am instructed NOT to use hard numbers when telling kids how old rocks are. I am supposed to say that these rocks are VERY VERY OLD... but I am NOT to say that these Ordovician rocks are thought to be about 300 million years old."In Arkansas, even supporters of teaching evolution feel they must hide, obfuscate, and water-down evolution.
Essentially, they are not allowing Bob to teach a certain set of scientific data in order to protect their ability to provide students the good science curriculum they do teach. The directors... have heard from them more than enough times that teaching evolution would be "political suicide".
Even though atheists are few in number, not formally organized and relatively hard to publicly identify, they are seen as a threat to the American way of life by a large portion of the American public. “Atheists, who account for about 3 percent of the U.S. population, offer a glaring exception to the rule of increasing social tolerance over the last 30 years,” says Penny Edgell, associate sociology professor and the study’s lead researcher.
Edgell also argues that today’s atheists play the role that Catholics, Jews and communists have played in the past—they offer a symbolic moral boundary to membership in American society.
A recent poll ranks atheists as America's most distrusted minority. Despite some inroads into American's acceptance of religious diversity, distrust of the godless appears to have held steady. Should atheists evangelize, or perhaps follow in the footsteps of certain Christian fundamentalists and seek an Atheist Homeland? The sticks and stones seem endless, after all.
And what did the USA want Iraq to do with Iraq's oil? The answer will surprise many of you: and it is uglier, more twisted, devilish and devious than anything imagined by the most conspiracy-addicted blogger. The answer can be found in a 323-page plan for Iraq's oil secretly drafted by the State Department. Our team got a hold of a copy; how, doesn't matter. The key thing is what's inside this thick Bush diktat: a directive to Iraqis to maintain a state oil company that will "enhance its relationship with OPEC."
Enhance its relationship with OPEC??? How strange: the government of the United States ordering Iraq to support the very OPEC oil cartel which is strangling our nation with outrageously high prices for crude.
Specifically, the system ordered up by the Bush cabal would keep a lid on Iraq's oil production -- limiting Iraq's oil pumping to the tight quota set by Saudi Arabia and the OPEC cartel.
There you have it. Yes, Bush went in for the oil -- not to get more of Iraq's oil, but to prevent Iraq producing too much of it.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Habitats ranging from coral reefs to tropical rainforests face mounting threats, the Secretariat of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity said in the report, issued at the start of a March 20-31 U.N. meeting in Curitiba, Brazil.
"In effect, we are currently responsible for the sixth major extinction event in the history of earth, and the greatest since the dinosaurs disappeared, 65 million years ago," said the 92-page Global Biodiversity Outlook 2 report.
Apart from the disappearance of the dinosaurs, the other "Big Five" extinctions were about 205, 250, 375 and 440 million years ago. Scientists suspect that asteroid strikes, volcanic eruptions or sudden climate shifts may explain the five.
It is important to note that the actual medical care directives that we wrote and United States Department of Defense enacted, mandating medical care for DU exposures, required that the radiobioassay - urine, feces, and nasal swabs - be completed within 24 hours of the initial exposure not days, weeks, or years later as is happening if any tests are even ever conducted.
Today, medical tests are only given to some selected persons and not all exposed children, women, and men. THAT IS ABSOLUTELY WRONG AND A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
The case concerns a patent granted in 1990 to scientists at the University of Colorado and Columbia in New York. They discovered that high levels of an amino acid, homocysteine, in the blood or urine tended to be associated with a deficiency of B vitamins. But their patent does not just relate to the test they invented. It asserts their ownership of the idea of correlating the two chemicals - leading to the charge that they have patented a law of nature, rather than a human invention.
"Unfortunately for the public, the Metabolite case is only one example of a much broader patent problem in this country," the bestselling novelist Michael Crichton wrote in the New York Times at the weekend. "We grant patents at a level of abstraction that is unwise, and it's gotten us into trouble in the past."
“Is it protectionism or discrimination? Is it okay for US companies to buy everywhere but it is not okay for other companies to buy the US?” said Hamad Saud Al Sayyari, the governor of the Saudi Arabian monetary authority.
The head of the United Arab Emirates central bank, Sultan Nasser Al Suweidi, said the bank was considering converting 10 per cent of its reserves from dollars to euros.
Monday, March 20, 2006
Ever since she was in her early teens, Mary Worthington has been vehemently opposed to contraception, which she regards as immoral and dangerous. To spread her anti-birth-control gospel, this month she launched No Room for Contraception, a clearinghouse for arguments and personal testimonials on this subject. NRFC joins other anti-contraception Web sites like Quiverfull and One More Soul.
Worthington, who wouldn't reveal where she lives and works, or her exact age, is a recent graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, in Ohio, where she earned a B.A. in theology and a minor in human life studies. She is also vehemently opposed to abortion. But NRFC doesn't even address abortion; its sole purpose is to "prove" that the pill and the IUD cause health problems and destroy women's fertility, that condoms lead to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases by making people believe that sex can be completely safe, that contraception destroys marriages by rendering sex an act of pleasure rather than one of procreation. Emboldened by the fact that the president and the two most recent Supreme Court nominees are anti-choice, a recent antiabortion victory in South Dakota, and legislative success restricting access to emergency contraception, groups like NRFC are shifting their focus and resources away from abortion and putting their energy into restricting birth control.
"As its federal funding came under threat," U.S. National Public Radio increased its ad sales. "Public-radio stations now count 18% of their revenue from businesses, compared with 11% from the federal government." Corporate "underwriters" include Clear Channel Communications, Starbucks and Wal-Mart Stores. "More on-air sponsorships are now weaved into programming breaks rather than lumped at the end of each show," reports Sarah McBride. "And more minutes per hour are given over to these announcements, a sweetener for all concerned because such underwriting is tax-deductible." The trend was informed by a 2004 report for 21 large public-radio stations, which found listeners disliked on-air pledge drives, but "weren't bothered by" fundraising by direct mail or on-air underwriting. NPR ombudsman Jeffery Dvorkin admits that listener concerns "about corporate influence on programming as well as the number of messages" are increasing.
Libby told FBI investigators and testified before a grand jury that he found out about Plame Wilson's CIA employment from reporters on July 9 or 10, 2003. But Fitzgerald said Libby discussed Plame Wilson with former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer on July 7, 2003, and Fleischer testified that Libby said the information was "hush, hush" on the "QT" and was not widely known ...
Libby's defense team responded to Fitzgerald's comments, saying that Plame Wilson was a blip on Libby's radar screen and that Libby was too busy dealing with terrorism, the Iraq war and national security issues to pay any attention to her.
If Libby did not provide accurate answers to the FBI or the grand jury, his attorneys said, it's only because he was dealing with national security matters and therefore forgot about how and when he found out about Plame Wilson. He did not intentionally lie, Libby's attorneys William Jeffress and Theodore Wells said during the court hearing.
Sunday, March 19, 2006
The reason for all the fuss was kept a secret even from the family that received Bush. They didn't know it was prelude to a presidential visit until the day Bush arrived.
But one part of the preparation for the President's arrival involved two government agents posing as journalists.
Recounting the pre-visit days for WLOX and the Sun Herald, Jerry Akins, who received Bush, mentioned that on the Friday before Bush arrived, two men approached him identifying themselves as members of the media.
He said the men told him they were with Fox News out of Houston, Texas, and were on a "scouting mission" for a story on new construction. They took pictures inside Akins' house, which is under construction and looked up and down the road in the neighborhood.
Another time he said, "Some say that if you're Muslim you can't be free."
"There are some really decent people," the president said earlier this year, "who believe that the federal government ought to be the decider of health care ... for all people."
Of course, hardly anyone in mainstream political debate has made such assertions.
When the president starts a sentence with "some say" or offers up what "some in Washington" believe, as he is doing more often these days, a rhetorical retort almost assuredly follows.
The device usually is code for Democrats or other White House opponents. In describing what they advocate, Bush often omits an important nuance or substitutes an extreme stance that bears little resemblance to their actual position.
He typically then says he "strongly disagrees" — conveniently knocking down a straw man of his own making.
The right of habeas corpus has been a part of this country's legal tradition longer than we've actually been a country. It means the government has to explain why it's holding a person in custody. But now, the war on terror has nixed many of the rules we used to think of as fundamental. At Guantanamo Bay, our government initially claimed that the prisoners should not be covered by habeas – or even by the Geneva Conventions – because they're the most fearsome terrorist enemies we have. But is that true? Is it a camp full of terrorists, or a camp full of our mistakes?
Prologue. Joseph Margulies, a lawyer for one of the detainees at Guantanamo, explains how the detention facility there was created to be an ideal interrogation facility. Any possible comfort, like water or natural light, are entirely controlled by the interrogators. (3 minutes)
Act One. There's No U.S. in Habeas. Jack Hitt explains how President's Bush's War on Terror changed the rules on prisoners of war, and how it is that under those rules, it'd be possible that someone whose classified file declares that they pose no threat to the United States, could still be locked up indefinitely – potentially forever! – at Guantanamo. Jack Hitt reports. (24 minutes). Clarification: When Seton Hall Professor Baher Azmy discusses the classified file of his client, Murat Kurnaz, in this Act, he is referring to information that had previously been made public and published in the Washington Post. That material has subsequently been reclassified.
Act Two. September 11th, 1660. Habeas Corpus began in England, and 175 members of the British Parliament filed a "friend of the court" brief in one of the Supreme Court cases on habeas and Guantanamo, apparently the first time that's happened in Supreme Court history. In their brief, the MP's warn about the danger of suspending habeas: "During the British Civll War, the British created their own version of Guantanamo Bay and dispatched undesirable prisoners to garrisons off the mainland, beyond the reach of habeas corpus relief." In London, reporter Jon Ronson, author of Them, goes in search of what happened. (6 minutes)
Act Three. We Interrogate the Detainees. Although over two hundred prisoners from the U.S. Facility at Guantanamo Bay have been released, few of them have ever been interviewed on radio or television in America. Jack Hitt conducts rare and surprising interviews with two former Guantanamo detainees about life in Guantanamo. (20 minutes)
..."So, Scientology, you may have won THIS battle, but the million-year war for earth has just begun! Temporarily anozinizing our episode will NOT stop us from keeping Thetans forever trapped in your pitiful man-bodies. Curses and drat! You have obstructed us for now, but your feeble bid to save humanity will fail! Hail Xenu!!!"
The duo signed the statement "Trey Parker and Matt Stone, servants of the dark lord Xenu."