Archive for November 23, 2010

ProPublica – Testimony in Post-Katrina Shooting by Police Offers New Details on Alleged Cover-up

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Climate Progress – As Antarctica warms, a citadel of ice begins to melt

November 23, 2010 1 comment

From Climate Progress:

As Antarctica warms, a citadel of ice begins to melt

November 23, 2010

This is a re-post from Yale’s e360 blog by Fen Montaigne, author of the new book, Fraser’s Penguins: A Journey to the Future in Antarctica.

The fringes of the coldest continent are starting to feel the heat, with the northern Antarctic Peninsula warming faster than virtually any place on Earth. These rapidly rising temperatures represent the first breach in the enormous frozen dome that holds 90 percent of the world’s ice.

In 1978, when few researchers were paying attention to global warming, a prominent geologist at Ohio State University was already focused on the prospect of fossil fuel emissions trapping heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. His name was John H. Mercer, and when he contemplated what might be in store for the planet, his thoughts naturally gravitated to the biggest chunk of ice on Earth — Antarctica.

“If present trends in fossil fuel consumption continue…” he wrote in Nature, “a critical level of warmth will have been passed in high southern latitudes 50 years from now, and deglaciation of West Antarctica will be imminent or in progress…  One of the warning signs that a dangerous warming trend is under way in Antarctica will be the breakup of ice shelves on both coasts of the Antarctic Peninsula, starting with the northernmost and extending gradually southward.”

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Energy and Global Warming News for November 23rd: Massachusetts clears Cape Wind for construction; Simple discoveries could enhance wind turbine efficiency by 18%; Saving energy with a ’slow wall’

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Stephen Lendman – Haiti’s Sham Elections: Solidifying Imperial Control

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment

From Countercurrents:

Haiti’s Sham Elections: Solidifying Imperial Control

By Stephen Lendman

23 November, 2010

On November 28, first round legislative and presidential elections will be held. As a previous article explained, democracy will be absent because the nation’s most popular party, Aristide’s Fanmi Lavalas, and 14 others are excluded, the system rigged to install Washington’s favorites.

In a September 8, Miami Herald op-ed, Ira Kurzban, an immigration and employment law expert as well as Aristide’s former legal counsel headlined, “Unfair and undemocratic,” saying:

“Imagine if (America’s) Federal Election Commission disqualified the Democratic and Republican parties from the 2012 presidential election and declared that only candidates of minor parties could run.”

“Yet (Haiti’s November 28 elections) are just that – unfair, unconstitutional and undemocratic.”

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techdirt – President Obama, After Traveling With Naked Scanner CEO, Defends Naked Scans

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment

From techdirt:

President Obama, After Traveling With Naked Scanner CEO, Defends Naked Scans (Privacy)

by Mike Masnick from the well,-look-at-that… dept on Monday, November 22nd, 2010 @ 7:19AM

As the whole mess with the TSA scanners has received a lot more attention in the last week or so, a few folks are noticing that ex-Homeland Security boss Michael Chertoff, who’s been quite busy defending the naked scanners, happens to be making a ton of money from one of the main ones, Rapiscan, made by OSI, a client of Chertoff’s consulting firm. Of course, similar concerns were brought up a year ago when Chertoff was busy promoting the scanners, but it appears that many in the mainstream press continue to highlight his old Homeland Security title, while downplaying his current role making money from seeing those scanners sold.

However, perhaps even more interesting is the news that President Obama was finally asked to address the whole thing this weekend, and (not surprisingly) defended the scans and the pat downs as “the only [procedures] right now that [the TSA] considers to be effective,” to prevent terrorism (while also admitting that he doesn’t have to go through security to get on airplanes, so he hasn’t experienced the scans.

No surprise there. Of course, what he didn’t mention is that he just got done traveling with the CEO of OSI, the parent company of Rapiscan, the makers of the main naked scanner that is being purchased and put into all these airports. Apparently, OSI CEO, Deepak Chopra (no, not the new agey guy), “was selected to accompany US President, Barack Obama, to Mumbai and attended the US India Business Entrepreneurship meeting…”

Now, of course, all of this may be perfectly legit and reasonable. There may be plenty of reasons why all of these things happened. Chertoff and Obama may really believe these scanners are the best way to protect us. But, as Larry Lessig has been fond of pointing out lately with his anti-corruption project, it’s these kinds of “connections” that make the American public lose trust in their government, since it can certainly be read in a rather corrupt manner.

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Democracy Now! – The Fear of Sicko: CIGNA Whistleblower Wendell Potter Apologizes to Michael Moore for PR Smear Campaign

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Democracy Now! – Joe Nocera on “All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis”

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Science Progress – A Stunning Year in Climate Science Reveals that Human Civilization is On the Precipice

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment

From Science Progress:

Is Our Agricultural Technology Innovation System Up to 21st Century Challenges?
As the season of Thanksgiving approaches, let’s take a moment to remember the proud tradition of agricultural innovation that feeds our nation and consider future challenges.

By Paul B. Thompson

Death Panels in Arizona
Ninety-eight people in Arizona who were promised life-saving organ transplants have had that promise broken by the Arizona State Legislature. Are death panels real?

By Arthur Caplan

Climate Rapid Response Communications Team Gears Up
It’s been a tough year for climate scientists. They’ve been skewered by biased media coverage. Now, a few are gearing up to set the record straight.

By Sean Pool

A Stunning Year in Climate Science Reveals that Human Civilization is On the Precipice
Climate journalists spent most of 2010 squabbling over stolen emails. Meanwhile, the science has become even more alarming. Here are Joe Romm’s top 10 developments in climate science for 2010.

By Joe Romm

The Stem Cell Stain
Bush recounts his logic behind the decision to allow NIH research only on existing embryonic stem cell lines in his new memoir—but does it pass muster?

By Jonathan D. Moreno

Interview With Youth Stem Cell Research Advocate Cody Unser
Jonathan Moreno interviews Cody Unser, a youth advocate for science-based healthcare policy with an inspiring story.

By Jonathan D. Moreno

Moving Ideas from University to Market Place
Government-funded university research often results in new intellectual property, but who owns it, and how is it best managed for the public good?

By Krisztina “Z” Holly

Send in the Scientists
U.S. universities should build on the Obama administration’s smart decision to enlist U.S. scientists to broaden foreign relations and tackle common global problems.

By Cathy Campbell

Americans Still Confused About Climate Science
A recent Yale poll shows only 63 percent of Americans believe climate change is happening, but 75 percent believe we should teach our children more about it in schools.

By Brett Daley

Blowing in the Wind
Recent private investments in offshore wind projects off the East Coast put wind in the sails of a nascent regional innovation ecosystem, but more government engagement is needed.

By Sean Pool

Innovation Policy in Tough Times on Tight Budgets
Jonathan Sallet explains the need to move place-based technology innovation policy forward, especially in difficult economic times.

By Jonathan Sallet

What’s Missing from the “Pledge to America” and Why it Matters
While touting the goals of competitiveness and job creation, the “Pledge to America” ignores innovation and education as systemic prerequisites for sustainable economic growth.

By Sean Pool

Silos of Small Beer
Maryann Feldman and Lauren Lanahan’s look at the efficacy of regional innovation programs in the eastern Midwest regional economy.

By Maryann Feldman and Lauren Lanahan

A Climate Change by Any Other Name
Climate disruption caused by global warming driven by human emissions of greenhouse gases by any other name is still Hell and High Water.

By Joe Romm and Sean Pool

Accountable Science
The House version of The America COMPETES Re-authorization bill includes a section emphasizing NSF’s Broader Impacts Merit Review Criterion. That’s a good thing.

By J. Britt Holbrook

One Week Reprieve for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Embryonic stem cell researcher Jeanne Lorring, Ph.D. updates us on the judicially imposed ban on embryonic stem cell research, and sends a special invitation to the judge responsible.

By Jeanne F. Loring, Ph.D.

The Proper Ends Do Justify the Means
Arthur Caplan reviews Worst Case Bioethics, and advances the case for a national philosophy of medicine for bioethics.

By Arthur Caplan

Informing the Genetically Engineered Crop Debate
Why what you think you know about agricultural biotechnology may be wrong.

By Paul B. Thompson

U.S. Stem Cell Ruling Invites Asian Competition
A ruling barring NIH funds from use in embryonic stem cell research will hurt American research efforts and send cutting-edge biotechnology jobs to Asia.

By Jonathan D. Moreno

Thrown Back to the 90’s
The misguided human embryonic stem cell research ruling by a U.S. court would discontinue amazing gains made over the past 12 years in regenerative medicine.

By Jeanne F. Loring, Ph.D.

A Win for Regional Innovation
On August 24th the Department of Energy Announced that a consortium of 90 organizations anchored at Penn State University will receive $129 million of to support energy efficiency innovation.

By Sean Pool

If You Can’t Win on the Science, Take ‘Em to Court
A poorly argued decision upends critical embryonic stem cell research funded by the National Institutes of Health.

By Jonathan D. Moreno

New “Ice Island” a Sign of Things to Come
Scientists conclude that recent glacial calving of a giant ice island off the Greenland ice shelf is a clear symptom of a warming world.

By Sean Pool and Sarah Busch

Read earlier features in the issues archive

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Kaiser Health News – Insuring Your Health: Retirees Can Find Insuring Young Adult Children Difficult

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment

From Kaiser health News:

Insuring Your Health: Retirees Can Find Insuring Young Adult Children Difficult

Nov 23, 2010

In her latest Kaiser Health News consumer column, Michelle Andrews writes: “According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the key is whether the retiree health plan is made up only of retirees and their dependents or a mix of both active and retired employees and dependents. If it’s a retiree-only group plan — the typical setup, according to experts — then it doesn’t have to abide by the market provisions of the health law (Andrews, 11/23). Read the column.

Electronic Intifada – The deadly lie of democracy in Iraq

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment

From The Electronic Intifada:

The deadly lie of democracy in Iraq

Ahmed Habib, The Electronic Intifada, 18 November 2010

An Iraqi boy in a music school that has not been restored since it was destroyed during the US-led war on Iraq. (Julie Adnan/Reuters)

“It has been almost a million months since Iraqis ran to the polls, to fill holes in their souls with bloodstained ballots. Hundreds of candidates dressed up as maggots colored the liberal lining in occupied skies, and perpetuated the lies that there is democracy. Hypocrisy of the highest order, politicians blaming their failure on porous borders, while blindly following American orders on everything from defense to education. The death of a nation, systematic assassination and relentless dehumanization of millions of people. The burning of mosques, schools, hospitals and steeples for crumbs of rotten bread. Iraq is dead, shot in the heart and stabbed in the head.” — Excerpt from a new spoken word piece entitled, “Unfinished Letters from Iraq.”

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Feds turn up heat on Wall St., raid 3 hedge funds

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment

From The Raw Story:

Top Stories

Bush’s mother blames the housekeeper for fetus in jar

Fuming O’Reilly dubs Simpsons ‘pinheads’ after Fox jibe

Franken asks DOJ to probe Comcast for anti-trust violation: Developing…

Massive fraud could threaten Bank of America

‘Sarah Palin’s Alaska’ loses nearly half its audience in second week

Corporate America has best quarter ever
Meanwhile: Study suggests nearly 1 in 5 Americans need work

Former insurance executive apologizes to Michael Moore

Poll: Majority in US oppose body scans, about half will not fly

GOP report attacking climate science was plagiarized: experts

Exclusive: Fox News said to reject television ad on ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’

Republican rep. endorses racial profiling ‘not based solely on race’

Senator-elect Rand Paul likened Obama to Hitler in 2009

Body scanner makers doubled lobbying cash over 5 years

Feds turn up heat on Wall St., raid 3 hedge funds

By The Associated Press

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010 — 8:40 am

r266049431 300x223 Feds turn up heat on Wall St., raid 3 hedge funds
FBI raids 3 hedge fund offices in Conn., NY, Boston as feds turn up heat on Wall Street

Federal investigators have turned up the heat on Wall Street, raiding three hedge funds in what one of the targets called a wide-ranging probe of insider trading.

The FBI on Monday searched the New York offices of Level Global Investors LP, and the Stamford, Conn., headquarters of Diamondback Capital Management LLC, a law enforcement official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss an ongoing case.

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OpenSecrets – Agribusiness

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment

From OpenSecrets:


The agribusiness sector is composed of a diverse group of interests — crop producers, livestock and meat producers, poultry and egg companies, dairy farmers, timber producers, tobacco companies and food manufacturers and stores.

Individuals and political action committees associated with the agribusiness sector contributed $65 million at the federal level during the 2008 election cycle and leaned Republican — giving the GOP 62 percent of its contributions. In years past, the sector has been even more supportive of Republicans, giving as much as three-quarters of its contributions to the party. However, the sector marginally increased its contributions to Democrats after they regained Congress in 2006 – a trend that has persisted going into the 2012 presidential elections. [Read more Background]

Top Contributors, 2009-2010

Contributor Amount
American Crystal Sugar $2,071,550
Altria Group $970,400
Farm Credit Council $677,184
Dean Foods $639,700
Safeway Inc $555,175

…view more Contributors

Top Industries Lobbying on Agribusiness, 2010

Industry Total
Agricultural Services/Products $25,770,916
Food Processing & Sales $20,155,916
Crop Production & Basic Processing $15,133,351
Tobacco $12,616,881
Forestry & Forest Products $10,145,759

…view more Lobbying

Top Recipients, 2009-2010

Candidate Office Amount
Lincoln, Blanche (D-AR) Senate $1,311,716
Moran, Jerry (R-KS) House $465,995
Peterson, Collin C (D-MN) House $449,496
Blunt, Roy (R-MO) House $434,677
Burr, Richard (R-NC) Senate $372,253

…view more Recipients

…view more Money to Congress

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Cornucopia Institute – Agribusiness Shows Its True Colors!

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment

From the Cornucopia Institute:

Agribusiness Shows Its True Colors!

Even though an agreement was reached on the Tester-Hagan amendment last week, by the leadership in the Senate, this issue in the food safety bill is still not over!

The Tester-Hagan amendment would exempt smaller, organic and local growers from expensive regulatory burdens. Read Full Article »

Crooks and Liars – Comcast vs. FCC, or How to Be Arrogant and Presumptuous While Negotiating a Merger

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment

From Crooks and Liars:

Comcast vs. FCC, or How to Be Arrogant and Presumptuous While Negotiating a Merger

By karoli

Comcast is evidently so confident they will receive approval of their merger that they’ve named their new management staff publicly while government officials fume behind the scenes at their arrogance. And why not? I can’t think of any recent megamergers that have been denied by our brave and fearless regulators, can you?

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Tom Burghardt – FBI Wiretapping of Internet Users. “All Your Data Belongs to Us”

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment

From Global Research:

FBI Wiretapping of Internet Users. “All Your Data Belongs to Us”

A Seamless Global Surveillance Web

by Tom Burghardt

In a further sign that Barack Obama’s faux “progressive” regime will soon seek broad new Executive Branch power, The New York Times disclosed last week that FBI chief and cover-up specialist extraordinaire, Robert S. Mueller III, “traveled to Silicon Valley on Tuesday to meet with top executives of several technology firms about a proposal to make it easier to wiretap Internet users.”

Times’ journalist Charlie Savage reported that Mueller and the Bureau’s chief counsel, Valerie Caproni, “were scheduled to meet with senior managers of several major companies, including Google and Facebook, according to several people familiar with the discussions.”

Facebook’s public policy manager Andrew Noyes confirmed that Mueller “is visiting Facebook during his trip to Silicon Valley;” Google, on the other hand, “declined to comment.”

Last month, Antifascist Calling reported that the U.S. secret state, in a reprise of the crypto wars of the 1990s, is seeking new legislation from Congress that would “fix” the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) and further curtail our civil- and privacy rights.

When the administration floated the proposal in September, The New York Times revealed that among the “fixes” sought by the FBI and other intrusive spy satrapies, were demands that communications’ providers build backdoors into their applications and networks that will give spooks trolling “encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct ‘peer to peer’ messaging like Skype” the means “to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.”

And with a new “security-minded” Congress set to convene in January, chock-a-block with Tea Partying “conservatives” and ultra-nationalist know-nothings, the chances that the administration will get everything they want, and then some, is a sure bet.

“All Your Data Belongs to Us”

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Alex Pareene – Joe Barton’s climate report was plagiarized

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment

From Salon:

Joe Barton’s climate report was plagiarized

By Alex Pareene

Joe Barton's climate report was plagiarized

Joe Barton – Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

A couple of years ago, Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, asked a statistician named Edward Wegman to produce a report that would cast doubt on climate change science, because Barton — then the chairman of the House energy committee — is less a citizen legislator than the whims of the oil and gas industries made animate and elected to Congress.

The report criticized some statistics used to prove that the last century was the warmest one in centuries, which means it proved that global warming is pretend, in the eyes of most Republicans. (Although a follow-up report by the National Research Council “found that Wegman report-style criticisms of the type of statistics used in 1998 and 1999 papers reasonable but beside the point, as many subsequent studies had reproduced their finding that the 20th century was likely the warmest one in centuries.”)

And also huge chunks of the whole thing were plagiarized — from the textbook written by one of the attacked scientists himself, and from Wikipedia.

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The Blowback Syndrome: Oil Wars and Overreach

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment

AMERICAblog – British Conservatives cave in to bankers who want larger bonuses

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment

From AMERICAblog:

British Conservatives cave in to bankers who want larger bonuses

by Chris in Paris on 11/23/2010 01:30:00 AM

Prepare for the same easy ride on Wall Street once the GOP takes over the House. The Republicans received too much cash from the bankers to do anything other than give in to their wish list. Let’s face it, these “conservatives” are liberal when it comes to helping the ultra-rich. They’re soft on the economy, but the Democrats hardly have much room to talk. How many more banker handouts until there’s nothing left?

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Christopher Mims – Has Google Succumbed to Monopolistic Practices?

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment

From Mims’s Bits:

Has Google Succumbed to Monopolistic Practices?

A devastating critique suggests the search engine is unfairly favoring its own services.

Christopher Mims 11/21/2010

(cc) Danny Sullivan

When you control 85% of the search market, deciding to put your own services at the top of your search rankings, no matter their popularity or pagerank — what’s known as hard-coding, as opposed to “unbiased” algorithmic search results — constitutes monopolistic practices. A straightforward analysis of Google’s search results conducted by Ben Edelman, a professor at Harvard Business School, suggests this is exactly what the search giant is doing.

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Technology Review – How to Train Your Own Brain

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment

From Technology Review:

How to Train Your Own Brain

By Lauren Gravitz

Technology might not be advanced enough yet to let people read someone else’s mind, but researchers are at least inching closer to helping people to read and control their own. In a study presented last week at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego, scientists used a combination of brain-scanning and feedback techniques to train subjects to move a cursor up and down with their thoughts. The subjects could perform this task after just five minutes of training.

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The Project for a New American Century

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Media Matters – Beck still doesn’t understand net neutrality

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment

From Media Matters:

Beck still doesn’t understand net neutrality

November 22, 2010 11:46 pm ET

Glenn Beck again claimed that proposed net neutrality rules are “basically a Fairness Doctrine for the Internet” and would allow the government to “control what you see on the Internet.” In fact, net neutrality prohibits Internet service providers from controlling access to Internet content, and — contrary to Beck’s suggestion — would not require Fox to change its content.

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Conversations with History: Chalmers Johnson

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment
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Decline of Empires: The Signs of Decay

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment
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Interview – Chalmers Johnson – The Sorrows of Empire

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment
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Mark Thoma – Will the US Follow Japan?

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment

From Economist’s View:

Will the US Follow Japan?

Via Tom Keene, here’s a chart showing “deflation adjusted” real wages for Japan. The US has followed Japan in other ways, will real wages in the US do the same?:

This is a killer chart of Chairman Bernanke’s worst nightmare. Well, at least one of them, vintage 2003. This is deflation-adjusted real wages for Japan. … The real Japanese wage has tanked 6.5% or so in a decade-plus.

Unless labor markets pick up soon, and most forecasts are for just the opposite — a very slow recovery for employment — this is something to worry about. [Also posted at MoneyWatch.]

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