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Archive for September, 2010

Cosmos – Did Australian Aborigines reach America first?

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

From Cosmos:

Did Australian Aborigines reach America first?
Thursday, 30 September 2010

by Jacqui Hayes

Cosmos Online

Skull of Luzia

The skull of Luzia, possibly the oldest skeleton in the Americas, who has facial features distinctive of Australian Aborigines.

Photo Credit: Marco Fernandes/COSMOS

SYDNEY: Cranial features distinctive to Australian Aborigines are present in hundreds of skulls that have been uncovered in Central and South America, some dating back to over 11,000 years ago.

Evolutionary biologist Walter Neves of the University of São Paulo, whose findings are reported in a cover story in the latest issue of Cosmos magazine, has examined these skeletons and recovered others, and argues that there is now a mass of evidence indicating that at least two different populations colonised the Americas.

He and colleagues in the United States, Germany and Chile argue that first population was closely related to the Australian Aborigines and arrived more than 11,000 years ago.

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The Commonwealth Fund – Health Insurance Exchanges: Overcoming Implementation Barriers

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

From The Commonwealth Fund:

Health Insurance Exchanges: Overcoming Implementation Barriers ›

The new health insurance exchanges will serve as major insurance marketplaces when they become fully operational in 2014. In this post, Timothy Jost offers policy options for handling some of the thorny issues federal and state governments will need to address during the implementation process. Read ›

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Browse Publications and Create Custom Charts

Visit the new International Health Policy Center to browse content by country or topic and create custom tables and charts using data from our international health policy surveys from 2006 to 2009. Go ›

The Progress Report – September 30, 2010

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

From Think Progress – The Progress Report:

California’s Climate Fight Heats Up

As temperatures reached a record-breaking 113 degrees in downtown Los Angeles Tuesday — it was so hot, a National Weather Service thermometer stopped working — the fight for California’s climate future is also heating up. Come election day, California voters are in danger of undoing “one of the most progressive pieces of environmental legislation ever enacted,” thanks to a ballot measure pushed by handful of big out-of-state oil companies to kill California’s landmark global warming law. Passed by bipartisan majorities and with strong support from businesses and environmentalists alike, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, commonly known as AB 32, will guide the state’s emissions back down to 1990 levels by 2020, resulting in hundreds of fewer premature deaths each year. Since it passed, the law has catalyzed billions of dollars in private sector investment in clean energy in the state, helping to create hundreds of thousands of jobs. Meanwhile, as the Los Angeles Times noted, California has already “begun to feel the effects [of global warming], with rising sea levels, the disruption of habitats for plants and animals, and diminishing mountain snowpacks that are critical to the state’s water supply.” However, Proposition 23 — placed on the ballot and promoted almost exclusively by three big out-of-state oil companies — would essentially kill this hugely successful piece of legislation. In an attempt to confuse voters, the referendum says it will merely “suspend” the law until California’s unemployment rate drops to the unrealistically low level of 5.5 percent for four consecutive quarters. The state’s current unemployment rate is 12.2 percent, and has dropped below 5.5 percent only three times since 1970, so the initiative’s passage would effectively kill the law. Moreover, suspending the law would actually hamper economic growth, according to economists, further jeopardizing the law’s eventual implementation. Recent polling offers mixed forecasts of Prop. 23’s prospects, but the data suggests that voters are unclear about what the measure will actually do, thanks to its deceptive wording. Once respondents were read a short explanation of the measure, the numbers shifted with a majority disproving of Prop. 23, suggesting that voters need to be better educated.

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THINK FAST

McDonald’s Corp. is threatening to drop its health insurance plan for nearly 30,000 hourly restaurant workers unless regulators waive a new health care law requirement. Sending “one of the clearest indications that new rules may disrupt workers’ health plans,” McDonald’s claims the requirement to spend 80 to 85 percent of premiums on benefits would be “economically prohibitive” to continue offering coverage.

The House yesterday approved a bill “to give up to $7.4 billion to workers sickened during the cleanup of the World Trade Center site after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.” New York lawmakers said they would push the Senate to pass a similar bill once Congress returns for its lame-duck session.

CIA Director Leon Panetta told Pakistan’s intelligence community yesterday that the U.S. government is working to counter a terror plot to attack several public targets in European capitals. According to Panetta, the CIA learned of the attack — which was set to occur in November — after “capturing one of the prospective attackers en route from Pakistan’s FATA region.”

Pakistan blocked a vital supply route for U.S. and NATO troops yesterday, following a cross-border helicopter strike that killed three Pakistani soldiers. The blockade appears to be a major escalation in tensions between the U.S. and Pakistan.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) “will not lift her hold on Office of Management and Budget director nominee Jack Lew,” continuing to demand that the Obama administration first lift its moratorium on offshore drilling. The senator met with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Tuesday, but there was no resolution of her issues with the moratorium.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and her Republican challenger, Carly Fiorina, traded charges that the other was too extreme for California during a debate last night. Boxer accused Fiorina of shipping jobs overseas as CEO of Hewlett-Packard, and attacked her opposition to health care reform.

Yesterday, Senate Democrats “agreed to a Republican demand” to block President Obama from making recess appointments while Congress is out for midterm elections. In scheduling pro-forma sessions, Democrats prevent Republicans from forcing any of the 115 executive- and judicial-branch pending nominations from having to be resubmitted and reconfirmed in the Senate.

And finally: Obama said he’s “amused” by Jon Stewart’s rally. “I was amused — Jon Stewart, the host of The Daily Show, apparently he’s going to host a rally called something like ‘Americans in Favor of a Return to Sanity‘ or something like that,” the president said. “And his point was, you know, 70 percent of the people…are just like you.”

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August TARP report to Congress

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment
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OMB Watch – Concerns over Industry Influence Mount in Cell Phone Right-to-Know Fight

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

From OMB Watch:

Concerns over Industry Influence Mount in Cell Phone Right-to-Know Fight

In an effort to ensure mobile phone buyers can make informed choices, the city of San Francisco recently passed an ordinance requiring retailers to label cell phones with the amount of radiation the devices emit. In retaliation, a wireless industry trade group announced it will no longer hold its trade shows in San Francisco and filed a lawsuit to block enforcement of the ordinance. The fight has caused right-to-know advocates to raise concerns over the extent of the wireless industry’s influence over regulators.

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Other…

OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Problems Continue, GAO Says

In a new report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has again strongly criticized the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for a range of problems and inconsistencies in the agency’s handling of whistleblower protections.

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Dan Froomkin – 40 Fold Increase In Carcinogenic Compounds In Gulf

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

From the Huffington Post:

Researchers Found 40-Fold Increase In Carcinogenic Compounds In Gulf

Dan Froomkin

Researchers testing the waters off Louisiana in June found hugely elevated levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, some of which are known carcinogens.

The researchers from Oregon State University say that a device taking samples just off the shore of Louisiana’s Grande Isle registered a 40-fold increase in PAHs between May and June.

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Ecuador – Vice President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Ecuador, Irina Cabezas

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

From VideosCubaHoy | September 30, 2010

Vice President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Ecuador, Irina Cabezas, demanded to end the conspiracy to destabilize the country’s democracy. Called on people to unite and fight against any coup.

Related…

UNASUR emergency meeting place for the attempted coup in Ecuador

Chile and Paraguay reject attempted coup in Ecuador

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Coup D’état in Ecuador — Breaking News

September 30, 2010 1 comment

From RTAmerica | September 30, 2010

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa says police forces and other sectors prepared a coup attempt. He was hospitalized because of injuries sustained during an attack by police with tear gas. Eva Golinger says the coup is in fact currently taking place and the attempt was a success. Police and military forces are not letting members of President Correa’s government into a military hospital that he was brought to. The police are protesting a law that would take away their benefits.

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Naomi Freundlich – I’ll Have a Burger With a Side of Lipitor, Please

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

From The Century Foundation Taking Note Blog:

I’ll Have a Burger With a Side of Lipitor, Please

by Naomi Freundlich

Naomi Freundlich

Want to eat all of the McDonald’s cheeseburgers, fries and shakes you want without increasing your risk of heart attack? Why not pick up a statin capsule when you stop by the condiment bar to put ketchup on that burger? This may sound like a spoof commercial for Lipitor or a skit on Saturday Night Live, but it’s actually the recommendation made by the authors of a recent study published in The American Journal of Cardiology. The authors, who are from the Imperial College in London and funded by the British Heart Association, write; “Fast food outlets already offer free condiments to supplement meals. A free statin-containing accompaniment would offer cardiovascular benefits, opposite to the effects of equally available salt, sugar, and high-fat condiments.”

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Keith Olbermann: Glenn Beck vs. FOX News

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Related…

Fox News vs. Glenn Beck
September 30, 2010 6:24 pm ET

A recent report detailed growing tension between Fox News and its most famous on-air personality, Glenn Beck, and cited complaints by Fox president Roger Ailes of “Beck’s hawking his non-Fox ventures too much on his Fox show.” Fox News journalists are reportedly “worried about the prospect that Beck is becoming the face of the network.”

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Rooftops of Hebron

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

From abumiz | August 31, 2010

This is a video showing the route an elderly Palestinian woman has to use to exit her house because she cannot go onto Shuhada Street in Hebron.

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Democracy NOW! – Ann Jones on War Is Not Over When It’s Over

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Democracy NOW! – Henry Red Cloud of Oglala Lakota Tribe

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment
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Ecologist – ‘Slavery’ uncovered on trawlers fishing for Europe

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

From the Ecologist:

Bycatch
‘Slavery’ uncovered on trawlers fishing for Europe
30th September, 2010

Violence and incarceration for months or even years found on ships off coast of west Africa, which supply European consumers with fish.

Other…

Plant life in peril – IUCN and Kew Gardens study
29th September 2010

Alarming new research reveals human activity is ‘devastating’ plant life ahead of UN biodiversity summit, with up to twenty-two per cent of the world’s plants facing extinction.

Offshore wind farm
Offshore wind: can we afford it?
29th September 2010

High costs of offshore wind farms could be reduced through investment in a UK manufacturing base says report, but warns nuclear is no cheap alternative.

bush meat
Special report Horrific bush-meat trade stalks Guinea-Bissau
29th September 2010

In a remarkable and harrowing dispatch from Guinea-Bissau, Dawn Starin reports how logging, mining and agriculture are opening up the country’s once intact forests to the ravages of the growing bush-meat trade, threatening some of the country’s most enigmatic monkey species.

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Michael Snyder – 20 Signs that the Economic Collapse Is Already Upon Us

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

From AlterNet:

20 Signs that the Economic Collapse Is Already Upon Us

This year, millions of Americans are discovering that the music has stopped playing and they are left without a seat at the table

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Left Versus Right Is Meaningless — It’s Us Versus the Corporations

It is now an Individual vs. Corporate debate – and the Humans are losing.

Modest Tax on Billionaires Could Erase Budget Shortfalls of Every Single US State

The ten richest Americans on the new Forbes list carry, all by themselves, more than the inflation-adjusted net worth of the entire initial Forbes 400 list back in 1982.

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Matt Taibbi – Tea & Crackers

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

From Rolling Stone:

Tea & Crackers

How corporate interests and Republican insiders built the Tea Party monster


Illustration by Victor Juhasz

By Matt Taibbi
Sep 28, 2010 7:01 AM EDT

This is an article from the October 15, 2010 issue of Rolling Stone.

It’s taken three trips to Kentucky, but I’m finally getting my Tea Party epiphany exactly where you’d expect: at a Sarah Palin rally. The red-hot mama of American exceptionalism has flown in to speak at something called the National Quartet Convention in Louisville, a gospel-music hoedown in a giant convention center filled with thousands of elderly white Southerners. Palin — who earlier this morning held a closed-door fundraiser for Rand Paul, the Tea Party champion running for the U.S. Senate — is railing against a GOP establishment that has just seen Tea Partiers oust entrenched Republican hacks in Delaware and New York. The dingbat revolution, it seems, is nigh.

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Climate Progress – McCain drinks the Kool-Aid [iced tea?]

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

From Climate Progress:

McCain drinks the Kool-Aid [iced tea?] and becomes a climate conspiracy theorist
September 30, 2010

The main (though not only) reason the climate and clean energy jobs bill died this year was that anti-science, pro-pollution ideologues killed it.  Until Senate rules change, any such bill would have required at least three Senate Republican votes and probably five.

In a semi-rational world, heck, even a semi-hemi-demi-rational world, that was imaginable, but not on on planet Earth. Who could have imagined that just 18 months after campaigning for President on a platform of climate action, the strongest conservative voice in the Senate for action on global warming would demagogue and campaign against policies that were weaker than the ones he had spent years advocating?

But McCain hasn’t merely drunk the flip-flop inducing Kool-Aid served by those who oppose even modest, centrist, business-friendly, Republican designed climate strategies (see “Republicans demagogue against market-oriented climate measures they once supported“).

Now he has sipped from the frosty, globally-cooled beverage made from the water of the river Lethe and served by the Tea Party climate zombies and the rest of the anti-science, pro-pollution crowd.  Brad Johnson just re-posted this video from McCain campaigning in New Hampshire with Senate candidate (and fellow denier) Kelly Ayotte.

Watch it and weep for homo ’sapiens’ sapiens:

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Related…

From: theGlobalReport | September 26, 2010

All but one of the 48 Republican hopefuls for the Senate mid-term elections in November deny the existence of climate change or oppose action on global warming, according to a just released report. The report, by the Center for American Progress, says the strong Republican front against established science includes entrenched Senate leaders such as John McCain.

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Senator Franken’s Floor Statement on Abusive Debt Collection Practices

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment
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People & Power – White Power USA

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Plastic Bottles & Ocean Pollution

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Glenn Greenwald – Obama to finally punish torturers!

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

From Glenn Greenwald:

Obama to finally punish torturers!
By Glenn Greenwald

Obama to finally punish torturers!

Wikipedia

(updated below)

For many people, one of the earliest and gravest disappointments in Barack Obama was his announcement that those who implemented a worldwide torture regime should not be punished in any way, because we must Look Forward, Not Backward.  He even chose a General neck-deep in detainee abuse to lead his war in Afghanistan, and chose a Bush-era CIA official who endorsed many “enhanced interrogation techniques” as his top Terrorism adviser.  Torture and other crimes was something to be forgiven and swept entirely under the rug.  Obama now appears to view such matters differently . . . . at least when the torturers are Iranian rather than American (h/t Atrios):

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UTNE – New Maps Show Racial Segregation in Vivid Color

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

From UTNE Reader:

New Maps Show Racial Segregation

How segregated is your city? Vivid shots of metro areas show America isn’t very integrated.

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Keiser Report №82: Markets! Finance! Scandal!

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment
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UN: Israel Executed Flotilla Activists

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America Horse With No Name With Lyrics

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Wired – Despite Clinton Pledge, State Dept. to Pay Out Billions More to Mercs

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

From Wired Danger Room:

Despite Clinton Pledge, State Dept. to Pay Out Billions More to Mercs

By Spencer Ackerman

September 29, 2010

Get ready to meet America’s new mercenaries. They could be the same as the old ones.

A new multibillion-dollar private security contract to protect U.S. diplomats is “about to drop” as early as this week, say two State Department sources, who requested anonymity because the contract is not yet finalized and they are not authorized to speak with the press.

So much for Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s one-time campaign pledge to ban “private mercenary firms.”

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Kaiser Health News – Medical Loss Ratio Regulation

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

From Kaiser Health News:

KHN Column: The NAIC’s Effort To Find Balance In Its Medical Loss Ratio Regulation
In his latest Kaiser Health News column, Timothy Jost writes that the development of this draft rule is not a contest with winners and losers, but an effort to create a framework to press insurers to spend less money on bureaucracy and more on health care in a way that benefits consumers and keeps insurance markets viable…

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Food Safety News – DeLauro Bill Would Require Labels on GM Fish

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

From Food Safety News:

DeLauro Bill Would Require Labels on GM Fish
by Helena Bottemiller | Sep 30, 2010

As a federal regulatory panel mulls over whether to approve genetically modified salmon for human consumption, a new effort to require labeling for the engineered fish is afoot.

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Other…

Bean Sprouts Cause of S. Bareilly Outbreak In UK
by Dan Flynn | Sep 30, 2010

The Salmonella bareilly outbreak in the United Kingdom is now all but certain to be stemming from the consumption of raw or under-cooked bean sprouts, the UK’s Health Protection Agency…

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zero hedge – Distrust In US Media Hits Record High

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

From zero hedge:

Tyler Durden's picture
Distrust In US Media Hits Record High, As CNBC (And Especially Mad Money) Viewership Drops To Multi-Year Low

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/29/2010 21:40 -0500

In today’s “less than surprising data point” category, the clear winner is Gallup’s analysis of people’s ever increasing distrust in the mass media. From 46% in 1998, the percentage of people who indicate they have “not very much/none at all” trust in mass media has grown to a stunning 57% currently. This is an all time record, as the general public perception toward the MSM has flipped over the past decade. Is it becoming increasingly more difficult to lie to the average American? In this time of unprecedented economic upheaval, where the political regime depends on just how far any given administration’s lies can penetrate amongst the broader population, this may well become the most critical factor in determining policy for the future. And with ever increasing alternatives of non-traditional media, could the legacy ad-supported media model, which by definition is one which espouses the status quo, be doomed precisely by the slow but steady education of the average American, who intuitively realizes that nearly every “fact” appearing in the media, especially that supported by any given political party, is a lie? Which brings us to CNBC. If the above study is indeed correct, one would correctly guess that the viewership of the station once known for fair and objective analysis and breaking news reporting, and has now devolved to nothing more than the butt of jokes on financial media propaganda, should have plunged, even as the market remains as volatile as ever, with the VIX currently trading at levels not seen since the March highs. As the chart below shows, using data compiled from Nielsen, focusing on the ad revenue-critical target demo, this is in fact the case.

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Other…

Mark Pittman Wins: Fed To Disclose Emergency Lending Details By December 1
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/29/2010 15:49 -0500

21st Sequential Weekly Outflow Confirms Investors Refuse To Be Suckered Into Stock Market
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/29/2010 15:01 -0500

Mortgage Gate Just Got Weirder: Counterfeit Court Summons
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/29/2010 13:59 -0500

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Yes Magazine – How to Make Biking Mainstream: Lessons from the Dutch

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

From Yes Magazine:

How to Make Biking Mainstream: Lessons from the Dutch

What will it take to transform biking from a recreational pastime to an integral part of our transportation system?

by Jay Walljasper
posted Sep 29, 2010

Bike Nation, photo by Bastian

Photo by Bastian

Last spring, public officials from Madison, Wisconsin, returned home from a tour of the Netherlands, and within three weeks were implementing what they learned there about promoting bicycling on the streets of their own city.

This month, I joined a similar group of latter-day explorers on a quest to discover what American communities can learn from the Dutch about transforming bicycling in the U.S. from a largely recreational pastime to an integral part of our transportation system.

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