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FIP Year In Review

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2014-07-09
R.I.P. William 'Bill' Herbert Kelder - Intellpuke

2013-11-28
Gamers Donate 37,500 Pounds Of Food To Needy

2013-09-30
Statement From The Whitehouse Regarding The Government Shutdown

2013-09-29
An Open Response To 'Organizing for Action'

2013-08-26
Bayou Corne: The Biggest Ongoing Disaster In The U.S. You Have Not Heard Of

2013-04-21
Boston Mayor Hopes Feds 'Throw the Book' at Marathon Bombing Suspect

2013-04-19
Boston Police Closing In On Suspects

2013-04-15
2 Explosions At Boston Marathon. 2 Dead, Many Injured.

2013-01-03
The Press vs Citizens Rights and Privacy - Act 3

2012-12-30
CBS News - Year In Review 2012

Nature.com - 366 Days: 2012 In Review

The Guardian - 2012 In Review: An Interactive Guide To The Year That Was

TruTV - The Biggest Conspiracy Theories of 2012

Colbert Nation: 2012: A Look Back

FIP Year In Review(s?)

2012-12-25
Happy Holidays

2012-12-21
Welcome To A New Era!

2012-12-16
An Open Letter To United Health Care, Medcom, And The Medical Insurance Industry In General

2012-11-17
Whitehouse Petition To Remove "Under God" and "In God" From Currency And The Pledge.

2012-11-15
December 21, 2012

2012-11-11
If Hillary Clinton Ran For President, She Would Probably Be The Best-prepared Candidate In American History

2012-11-10
CIA Director David Petraeus Resigns After FBI Investigation Uncovers Affair With High-Profile Journalist

FIP Format Update

2012-11-07
Thank you for voting.

2012-11-06
Live Election Results

2012-09-30
FIP In Hiatus

2012-09-18
U.S.-Afghan Military Operations Suspended After Attacks

Iran Nuclear Chief Says IAEA Might Be Infiltrated By 'Terrorists And Saboteurs'

Romney Stands By Gaffe

2012-09-17
President Obama Says China Trade Practices Harm American Auto Parts Workers



Free Internet Press - News Aggregator
Updated every 10 minutes.
Sandwiches Are a Major Contributor to Dietary Sodium Intake
2015-03-28 05:10:18 (9 minutes ago) 
Sandwiches account for one-fifth of total sodium intake, with nearly half of American adults consuming them on any given day, according to new study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
 
‘Turing got a pardon. I want one, too’
2015-03-28 05:04:19 (15 minutes ago) 

Enigma codebreaker Alan Turing was posthumously pardoned for gross indecency, but thousands of British men’s lives are still blighted by similar charges. Their primary offence? Being gay. We hear their stories

Continue reading...
 
How Philadelphia became the unlikely epicenter of American cricket
2015-03-28 05:01:04 (18 minutes ago) 

Cricket’s roots run surprisingly deep through American history – with Philadelphia playing an unlikely part as the sport’s stateside epicenter

The greatest bowler – arguably – in cricket’s long history was an American. Let that sink in for a moment.

Here’s another fact: cricket was America’s first modern team sport.

Look at the cricketers in their loose fitting, comfortable uniforms, their faces beaming with, good humour and ruddy health, engendered by exercise. Note the eager anxiety of the fielders, their mortification at an overthrow, or a chance for a catch not taken advantage of; see the high ascending ball, and hear the joyous shout of the triumph, as some unfortunate batsman gets permission to retire to the tent, and if you do not leave the ground impressed with the beauty and the utility of the game, why then-you were not cut out for a cricketer.

Continue reading...
 
Actress apologizes after claiming racial profiling
2015-03-28 05:00:18 (19 minutes ago) 
Actress Taraji P. Henson apologized Friday for claiming her son was racially profiled during a traffic stop in Southern California last year.
 
Sandwiches Are a Major Contributor to Dietary Sodium Intake
2015-03-28 04:50:15 (29 minutes ago) 
Sandwiches account for one-fifth of total sodium intake, with nearly half of American adults consuming them on any given day, according to new study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
 
The Stuggle
2015-03-28 04:41:02 (38 minutes ago) 
submitted by LPet4 to gaming
[link] [107 comments]
 
Alps crash co-pilot 'made prediction'
2015-03-28 04:40:18 (39 minutes ago) 
The co-pilot of the Germanwings Airbus which crashed in the French Alps predicted "one day everyone will know my name", his ex-girlfriend says.
 
Uzbekistan to Vote to Extend Veteran Leader's Rule
2015-03-28 04:40:03 (39 minutes ago) 
Uzbekistan to vote to extend leader's rule but provides little certainty for the future
 
Popular Nevada governor looms over fight for Reid seat
2015-03-28 04:30:15 (49 minutes ago) 
LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's decision to retire next year leaves no clear successor in his home state of Nevada, where a popular Republican governor appears reluctant to change jobs and the pending loss of Reid's clout in Washington is causing anxiety over who might replace him....
 
Uzbekistan to vote to extend veteran leader's rule
2015-03-28 04:30:14 (49 minutes ago) 
MOSCOW (AP) -- Uzbekistan is going through the motions of a presidential election this weekend, with a crushing win for its longtime leader a foregone conclusion, but the long-term future of the Central Asian nation is still far from certain....
 
Popular Nevada governor would be favorite for Reid seat in 2016, but shows little interest
2015-03-28 04:28:16 (51 minutes ago) 
 
Sandwiches Are a Major Contributor to Dietary Sodium Intake
2015-03-28 04:23:05 (56 minutes ago) 
Sandwiches account for one-fifth of total sodium intake, with nearly half of American adults consuming them on any given day, according to new study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
 
Sandwiches Are a Major Contributor to Dietary Sodium Intake
2015-03-28 04:20:23 (59 minutes ago) 
Sandwiches account for one-fifth of total sodium intake, with nearly half of American adults consuming them on any given day, according to new study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
 
Election Live blog readers' edition: Saturday 28 March
2015-03-28 04:10:19 (1 hours ago) 

Share breaking news, leave links to interesting articles and chat about the week’s electioneering – including the weekend previews of Thursday’s seven-way leaders’ debate – in our open thread

Continue reading...
 
Swedish MPs meet Snowden in Moscow
2015-03-28 04:09:04 (1 hours ago) 
Three Swedish parliamentarians met with fugitive US intelligence agent Edward Snowden at a secret location in Moscow on Friday to discuss mass surveillance.
 
Unreported World: The City That Beat Isis review – a 3am Girl goes to Syria
2015-03-28 04:01:16 (1 hours ago) 

Two seriously gutsy journalists smuggle themselves into a pulverised Kobani to witness the final days of the battle between Isis and the Kurds

Reporter Kiki King has a serious pair of bollocks. So does James Brabazon, director of Unreported World: The City That Beat Isis (Channel 4). Earlier in the year they got themselves smuggled into Kobani while it was surrounded – and still partly occupied – by the Islamic State. They witnessed the last days of the battle that saw Kurdish fighters finally repel the jihadis from the Syrian city.

I don’t know anything about Kiki’s and James’s family situations, but their mums must have been having kittens. Maybe they just sneak off without telling, or lie (like westerners going to fight for the caliphate, ironically). “Yeah, it’s like a travel programme we’re filming, Mum, cool places to go to beat the winter blues, Turkey and thereabouts … ” Maybe Kiki tells her mother she’s still a tabloid showbiz reporter. Actually, that’s probably pretty good training – if you’re hard enough to take the flak that comes with being a 3am Girl at the Daily Mirror, you can easily cope with anything those Isis pussies throw at you.

Continue reading...
 
Unreported World: The City That Beat Isis review – a 3am Girl goes to Syria
2015-03-28 04:00:35 (1 hours ago) 

Two seriously gutsy journalists smuggle themselves into a pulverised Kobani to witness the final days of the battle between Isis and the Kurds

Continue reading...
 
Saudis Pledge to Continue Yemen Bombing Campaign
2015-03-28 04:00:25 (1 hours ago) 
Coalition says it has established air superiority over Yemen and accomplished initial goals of destroying air defense systems under Houthi control.

 

The Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen has vowed to continue its air campaign as bombing entered a second day.

The Shia rebels’ northern stronghold and other key military installations were targeted and heavy air strikes hit Sana’a, the capital, in waves throughout the night. Officials at the rebel-controlled health ministry in the city said at least 39 civilians had been killed so far.

The Saudi defence minister’s adviser, Brig Ahmed bin Hassan Asiri, said at the campaign’s first press briefing late on Thursday night that the Saudi-led coalition had established air superiority over Yemen and accomplished its initial goals of destroying air defence systems under Houthi control.

He said a ground campaign was not planned, but he did not rule out the possibility. “At these current stages there is no planning for operations by ground forces, but if the situation necessitates it the Saudi ground forces are ready and the forces of friendly states are ready and any form of aggression will be answered,” he said.

Saudi Arabia and fellow Sunni-led allies in the Gulf and the Middle East view the Houthi takeover in Yemen as an attempt by Iran to establish a proxy on the kingdom’s southern border. The campaign, operation Decisive Storm, threatens to spark a regional confrontation between Iran and its Arab rivals, who are increasingly anxious at the Islamic republic’s growing influence in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

Arab officials still hope the air campaign – launched late on Wednesday and backed by the US, Gulf states, Egypt and Turkey – will weaken the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, who are attempting to overthrow President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, and avoid the need for a ground offensive.

Asiri said air strikes targeted surface-to-air missile batteries, anti-aircraft guns and Houthi command and communications centres. The Dulaimi air base was also hit, destroying aircraft hangars and runways as well as weapons, ammunition and maintenance depots.

“The operations will continue as long as there is a need for them to continue, until all their goals are achieved,” he said. “The goal is to prevent the Houthi militias from harming the Yemeni people and its neighbours led by the Kingdom [of Saudi Arabia], and we will not allow the Houthi rebellion to receive any supplies until the end of the operation,” he said.

The possibility of a ground offensive in Yemen grew significantly on Thursday when Egypt declared its readiness to send troops into the country “if necessary”.

Three senior Egyptian security and military officials told the Associated Press that Saudi Arabia and Egypt would lead a ground operation in Yemen after a campaign of air strikes to weaken the rebels, saying the forces would enter by land from Saudi Arabia and by sea from the Red Sea and Arabian Sea. They said on Thursday that other nations would also be involved.

Hadi, who fled to Aden earlier this month, arrived in Riyadh on Thursday, Saudi state television reported.

The Gulf states have intervened on the ground before in recent years, with Saudi troops moving in to quell the uprising in Bahrain in 2011 in support of the Sunni Khalifa monarchy, which rules over a Shia majority. But a ground campaign in Yemen would pose major challenges, pitting the coalition against an insurgent movement backed by Iran with important redoubts in the north of the country.

 

 

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Why on Earth Did the Feds Approve a High-Pressure Gas Pipeline Near a Nuke Plant?
2015-03-28 04:00:24 (1 hours ago) 
Nuclear safety expert: "We're talking tens of millions of people who could be endangered."

A gas explosion leveled two buildings in New York’s East Village this past week, with two neighboring structures damaged, one still at risk for collapse, and 22 people injured, four of them severely. The fire raged from early afternoon into the next morning with more than 250 firefighters responding. Just over a year ago, a gas explosion leveled two buildings in Harlem, killing eight people. The National Transportation Safety Board has not yet released its conclusions as to what caused the Harlem fire.

While fires, explosions, plane crashes and others disasters are considered newsworthy, drawing people and the media to the scene, the quiet dramas of government policy, approval and planning that set the stage for—or can prevent—disastrous events are every bit as riveting.

Many accidents occur due to unavoidable human or material error, such as inadequate inspection, corroded pipes or faulty valves. But some accidents arise when two things never meant to happen at the same time and place just do. Like the tsunami that overwhelmed inadequate safety protections at the aging Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. That deadly event exemplifies what the National Transportation Safety Board defines as “interactive threats,” two or more high-risk conditions that unpredictably meet and produce an outcome far worse than the risks of either one acting alone.

Since March 3, 2015, three high-risk conditions have begun converging north of the New York metro area: the aging Indian Point nuclear power plant; a high pressure, high-volume gas pipeline; and an authorization by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to build a new segment of the pipeline in close proximity to the nuclear plant. In the few weeks since the authorization, apart from some felled trees in Yorktown Heights, there have been few visible signs that millions of New Yorkers may soon be living with the increased risk of a fiery, pipeline-triggered nuclear accident, 37 miles north of the City.

In its ruling, with the approval of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, FERC granted the pipeline company, Spectra Energy a “conditional certificate of public convenience and necessity” to build the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) pipeline, one segment of the extended pipeline slated to carry fracked shale gas from Pennsylvania into New England. It will go directly along the outer perimeter of the Indian Point nuclear power plant.

A 2015 NTSB safety report detailed 119 “incidents” in gas transmission pipelines last year. The report also noted a mounting frequency of these incidents in what it called areas of “high consequence.” The NSTB found that “inadequate evaluation of interactive threats” leads pipeline operators to “underestimate the true magnitude of risks to a pipeline.”

In close proximity to one of this country’s major cities, Indian Point is certainly a “high-consequence” location. The quartet of organizations responsible for safety guarantees, which include the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, FERC, Entergy (the plant owners) and Spectra (the pipeline company) all claim the pipeline poses no risk to the nuclear power plant.

“Because of the distance of the proposed Project from the IPEC (Indian Point Energy Center) generating facilities and the avoidance and mitigation measures that it would implement, the proposed route would not pose any new safety hazards to the IPEC facility,” states the FERC-issued Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). 

In line with the above, no emergency response plan has been submitted, say two independent safety experts. The experts claim to have uncovered evidence that the approval was based on unsupported safety promises, misused data and circumvented safety regulations, all provided by the NRC and Entergy. The closest point between the pipeline and plant infrastructures, according to one of the two engineers who assessed the plans, would be 105 feet from nuclear power structures in a significant seismic zone and densely populated region. An accident or failure of the new pipeline could result in a catastrophic explosion and release of the facility’s 40 years of radioactive spent fuel, rendering all of Westchester County, New York City and much of Connecticut and Long Island uninhabitable for generations.

The pipeline would be located approximately 2,500 feet (about half a mile or 10 city blocks) from the nuclear reactors themselves.

In a February 2015 letter, both New York senators, Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, asked FERC to delay its final decision until a “thorough, independent review of all the project’s potential impacts is completed and made available to the public, with full opportunity for comment and review, including additional public meetings.”

Schumer, who is the ranking member of the Committee on Rules and Administration, also sits on the powerful Senate Finance and Judiciary Committees. However, FERC overruled the senators’ request and went on to issue its final ruling a few weeks later.

Safety Experts

According to Susan Van Dolsen, a co-founder of SAPE2016, an advocacy group opposing the pipeline, many residents of Westchester county, with its upscale bedroom communities of high-earning professionals, are dismayed at the expected plummet of their quality of life and property values due to the pollution, noise and industrial activity the pipeline and the compressor stations along its pathway will bring.

The town of Courtlandt engaged the services of two independent scientific experts to determine the validity of concerns about whether the new pipeline increases the odds of a nuclear event. Richard Kuprewicz is a pipeline regulatory and safety advisor, incident investigator, and expert witness on gas pipeline risk analysis, while Paul Blanch is an engineer with 45 years of experience in nuclear safety, engineering operations and federal regulatory requirements. Each has the expertise (and the appropriate security clearances) to probe what Kuprewicz calls the main question: “In the event of a pipeline rupture, can the nuke plant be failsafe shut down?”

Danger of Fiery Explosions Due to Pipeline Ruptures

The primary pipeline safety risk is ruptures. When a gas pipeline ruptured in San Bruno, California in 2010, it leveled a Bay Area neighborhood and killed eight people, incurring $1.4 billion in damages. The San Bruno pipeline was much smaller and carried less gas at a lower pressure than the proposed Spectra pipeline in Westchester County.

With nearly 300,000 miles of gas pipelines in the U.S. (according to the National Transportation Safety Board), “the management of gas transmission pipelines requires expert knowledge and integration of multiple disciplines to detect potential problems.” 

A recent NTSB study focused specifically on “high consequence areas, where an accident could cause the most damage and loss of lives.” From 2010–2013, gas pipelines were “over-represented in documented incidents in such high consequence areas.” When the NTSB investigated three major gas transmission pipeline accidents— in Palm City, FLA (2009), San Bruno, CA (2010) and Sissonville, WVA (2012)— it attributed them to “deficiencies” in the operators’ plans and oversight. 

At Indian Point, neither the Nuclear Regulatory Commission nor FERC will require electronic safety features to automatically shut down the pipeline in the event of leaks, ruptures or explosions. Instead, Spectra, the pipeline company, will monitor the pipeline from Houston, with the promise that “upon viewing a drop in pressure within the distant pipeline, the Houston employees could close safety valves within three minutes.”

Spectra’s report gives “the impression that [they] will actually stop the gas burning, or the gas explosions, within a three-minute time period,” says Kuprewicz. “But they won't see pressure drop alarms for quite a while in the control room 1,000 miles away.”

The actual sequence of events following a pipeline rupture make the delay nearly inevitable, says Kuprewicz. In the aftermath of a rupture, there are big blasts and multiple explosions, as one or more huge fireballs rise a couple of hundred feet into the air.

“The tonnage releases on these large diameter pipelines are such that you can expect to see multiple detonations, multiple blasts,” he notes. These “cast out pipe steel in all directions and the steel forms these huge craters.” The gas roars out of the pipe at a velocity higher than the speed of sound. Given the confusion at the site in the aftermath of a rupture, “it's going to be a while before somebody in a control room gets the word that you might have a rupture.”

In the aftermath of a rupture, there are often delays in pressure monitoring devices in the control room, he says.

Long after the wait for valve closure, which Kuprewicz says could take a minimum of 20 minutes, and sometimes up to several hours, high temperature fires can continue to burn. “In the San Bruno pipeline rupture, a slightly different animal, smaller line, lower pressure, that burned for over 90 minutes,” says Kuprewicz. “The gas will explode and burn for quite a period of time.”

The pipeline valves are three miles apart, so that shut down or not, at the minimum three miles of gas (if the rupture occurred between two valves) and possibly as many as six miles of gas (if the rupture occurred at a valve site) could be released to fuel the fire.

Given his experience with rupture-precipitated fires, Kuprewicz is concerned about “the tremendous amount of heat flux generated from these high-tonnage release gas transmission pipeline ruptures that have ignited…The higher the heat flux, the longer the duration, the more damage that can occur. I have seen the heat fluxes so high that they will liquefy steel at a distance and vaporize aluminum.”

Kuprewicz adds, “I would expect extensive damage to auxiliary equipment such as transmission pipelines and equipment that might be related to fail-safe shutdown of the reactor facilities themselves.”

How near would a rupture-triggered fire be to nuclear plan structures? Paul Blanch, the nuclear safety expert, explained, “we have the gas turbine fuel oil tanks that are located in a very close proximity to the pipeline. They hold hundreds, maybe millions of gallons of burning jet fuel oil which would ignite and flow downhill into safety-related structures, including the switchyard, transformers, as well as vital tanks that are used for cooling which are in the high-heat flux and blast radius.”

In this scenario, a rupture “would disable all emergency generators, and then we have compounding problems. The fire takes out incoming power, and we wind up with no AC power on unit 2. Even backup generators would be inoperable. This scenario is similar to Fukushima. The primary reason they had a meltdown is because they lost all power. Batteries just last so long and they won’t cool the reactor,” Blanch explains.

Inadequate Safety Evaluation

Blanch initiated a FOIA request to evaluate the basis for the NRC’s assurance of a three-minute shutdown. In carefully studying the NRC analysis, and evaluating the accompanying data and references, Blanch found nothing to support a three-minute shutdown. Instead it turned out that the NRC had based its evaluation on an old 1986 EPA methodology, called the ALOHA program. As a result, the NRC vastly underestimated the risks.

“The ALOHA program itself says that it is not be used for this type of pipeline,” Blanch explains. “It applies to a gas line connected to a gas tank. It does not apply to a break in a continuous gas transmission line. You can’t use it where there are chemical leaks or fires. But the NRC used it to determine the safety of the Spectra pipeline.”

There were other errors and unsupported conclusions in the analysis, Blanch says.

For example, the determination of the statistical likelihood of a total rupture. According to the documents Blanch evaluated, the NRC analysis assumes that a total pipe rupture will occur in only 1% of the pipeline accidents. However, according to Blanch, the references accompanying that analysis clearly state that total ruptures occur in 20% of such accidents.

Another question remains “what are the odds of a pipeline rupture triggering a nuclear event?” According to Blanch, the NRC estimated those odds as approximately seven in 100 million years, which, according to NRC regulations, is considered an acceptable level of risk. However when Blanch recalculated the risk projection based on a 20% rate of pipeline accidents and the corrected size and velocity of the planned pipeline, the risk turned out to be one in 1000 years. This Blanch calls, “an unacceptable probability and a clear violation of NRC regulations.”

Blanch says that the evaluation done by the NRC is not commonly needed because “there just aren’t that many nuclear power plants in the vicinity of high speed gas transmission pipelines.” He wrote to the NRC engineer who prepared the safety analysis to point out that the rationale for the approval failed to follow NRC regulations. The NRC engineer told Blanch that he was not “familiar with the regulations and that is the responsibility of a different division within the NRC.”

From the evidence, both safety experts expressed concern that two federal agencies, the NRC and FERC, signed off on the three-minute shutdown promise, and underestimated the likelihood of an accident, based on miscalculations and inapplicable data.

“What you have in this matter are the agencies (including FERC) not having the specialized expertise and/or the willingness to challenge bogus information [concerning safety] near a nuclear plant— it’s unbelievable,” said Kuprewicz.

“The NRC is not an independent agency,” Blanch says. “They are so tied to the nuclear industry and so concerned that the industry will die, that they will minimize the impact of any possible event to lessen damage to the nuclear industry.”

Interactive Threats

“We have significant safety issues, and we're not talking about [California] where it killed seven people. We are talking tens of millions of people who could be endangered by releases from Indian Point,” says Blanch, who describes himself as “pro-nuclear.” “I’m not one of those environmentalists,” he said. “In my opinion, we need both nuclear power and this gas pipeline.” Blanch recommends that the pipeline be re-routed away from Indian Point, which he estimates would cost $2 to $3 billion.

Blanch has filed a petition alleging wrongdoing by Entergy in submitting inaccurate and incomplete information. He says it also “appears to me that the NRC has already made a determination in its inspection report that this information is accurate.”

For Blanch, this raises the question, “how can we be assured of an independent assessment of this petition if it's the same chain of command that has already approved and said this information is accurate?”

“It is irresponsible to take a recommendation from a company like Spectra that wants their business to be here, and not independently validate it. The safety of the people in the region should take precedence over the interests of two energy production companies,” says New York State Assemblywoman Sandy Galef. “There is no other place in this country where a gas pipeline comes as close to a nuclear power plant as it does here, so it requires above and beyond oversight and analysis.”

With the “inadequate evaluation of interactive threats” in “high consequence zones” now aimed at this country’s largest urban population, Blanch is repeating the call for an independent review, similar to the one that Senators Schumer and Gillibrand have already requested.

“Failure of any of these gas pipelines could result in a total loss of cooling to the reactor cores and the inventory of spent fuel. Spectra Energy and Entergy have made no provisions to address this type of event,” Blanch wrote to New York governor Andrew Cuomo.

“Some of the possible consequences of a gas pipeline fire or explosion at Indian Point include loss of power to the entire site, secondary fires from liquid fuel storage tanks, reactor core damage and melting, asphyxiation of site personnel, spent fuel radioactivity release, and massive social and economic damage for generations. None of these possible outcomes are being addressed.”

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'Help! My Boys Were Stopped Three Times by Police For Being Outside Unsupervised'
2015-03-28 04:00:24 (1 hours ago) 
Another mom grows incensed by a parenting culture gone mad, but we have to turn frustration into connection.

Recently, I got a letter that made me want to scream: A kid was stopped by the cops for riding his bike on a three-house street! But this exchange ends with … well, you’ll see. I learned something. Maybe we all will.

I changed the names to keep the author and her town anonymous.

Dear Lenore: 

Here’s a situation that has been ongoing for several months, and we’re in shock. We’re fortunate that so far, nothing worse has happened to us than a few uncomfortable conversations with cops, and the fact that now our kids are afraid to go past the boundaries of our (very tiny) yard without an adult for fear of being accosted again. Here’s the rough outline:

Several months ago, youngest son (age 6) was accosted by an officer for riding his bicycle on the sidewalk in front of our house (our block is three houses wide — he was riding from one end of the block to the other). The officer told my husband, who was home at the time, that our son wasn’t allowed to play on the sidewalk “without supervision.” He had apparently received a call from a “concerned citizen” who had seen him riding. In this case, the officer was aggressive and frightened us into thinking we might actually have broken some law. A little research showed that we had done no such thing, but we were shaken.

A few weeks later, I walked our middle son (age 10 at the time, now 11) halfway to the library, which is about six blocks from our house through a safe neighborhood, across no major roads, with a middle school smack in the center of the route. I let him take the second half of the route alone while I walked on to work (we live in a small town and my office is only several blocks from our house).

Just as I arrived at work, I received a call from a police officer. He had detained my son. He launched into an explanation of why it was dangerous for him to be out by himself. I explained that Danny had our permission, that we knew where he was, and that I appreciated the advice but that Danny was to be permitted to continue on his way. The officer replied with, “Ma’am, I’m going to need you to come down here.” I did, and when I arrived I received a lecture about safety, and then walked my son the rest of the way to the library (because he was now afraid to walk alone). He walked home alone safely, perhaps because I had let the officer know that he would be walking past the school again, and that he would be just fine.

Despite our best efforts to allay their fears, our children now won’t leave our property without our company, out of the legitimate fear that they will be stopped by police. Our youngest son (now 7) won’t even play in the front yard alone. He no longer rides his bike because there is nowhere flat to ride it unless one of us is able to make the time to go with him to the park (less than a block from our house). 

Yesterday, James (my husband) finally talked the 11-year-old into giving it another go, and walking to the convenience store that is two blocks from our house, with a traffic light/crosswalk across the main street (just a two-lane road, but fairly busy). He sent him with money and asked him to pick up a couple things for us and a treat for himself.

Because of our son’s anxiety, James followed at a distance, just out of sight, in case Danny got scared and decided to come back.

Danny made it approximately halfway there (one block) before being accosted by a police officer who said a “concerned citizen” had called about an unattended child. By the time James caught up, the officer had taken down Danny’s address and had just asked for his dad’s phone number. The officer in this case was kind and did not offer a lecture, but both the officer and the convenience store clerk agreed that “someone was looking out for” our son, i.e., the “concerned citizen” who called in the case.

To the credit of our tiny town, the assistant city manager has seen my Facebook posts and responded appropriately. After the first two incidents, he had the deputy chief of police call me and discuss the situation. The deputy agreed to send an email to his department instructing them how to handle these situations in the future (presumably, with less heavy-handedness).

After this last incident, the assistant city manager contacted me again and asked to have the city manager call me. We have not had that call yet. 

As for us, we’re deciding whether to:

a. Move somewhere else (we’d have to wait out the lease on our house and my office, both of which we just renewed in February)

b. Make a stink (so much time and energy, and we’re still recovering from the recession — I work 60-hour weeks, James home-schools the kids and works part-time from home)

c. Lay low

In the wake of what’s happening with the Meitiv family, I’m inclined to put up a big fight. I’m a professional writer with a robust network, so I feel I could make a difference–not only for us, but on a larger scale, for other families too, maybe for the country as a whole. You’re already doing so much, and it can’t hurt to have more voices. But man, the investment. I just don’t know.

Anyway. Thank you for all you do for Free-Range and commonsense parents everywhere.

– Leslie

Dear Leslie:

Where do you live? And can I publish this? If so, it will probably go viral. You would probably be interviewed by the media is my guess. Let me know if that’s something you would want.

I’m on your side no matter what. My new push is for the “Free-Range Kids’ and Parent’s Bill of Rights,” which states that kids have the right to some unsupervised time (with their parents’ permission) and parents have the right to give it to them, without fear of government intervention. — Lenore

What happened to you is just nuts.

– Lenore

P.S. How many police officers does your town have???

Dear Lenore:

Ha! The short answer to how many police we have is: Twice as many as we need. 

I’m giving thought to your earlier email. My concern is that I don’t want to irrevocably create an adversarial relationship with our town’s leaders (I know several of them personally, and one of my friends and fellow business owners was just elected to the city council) by calling negative national attention to our town.

I had another thought, that will take a little more strategizing. I’ve got a call with the city manager in the near future. What if we could transform our lovely little town into a model for an evidence-based “safe haven” for kids to grow in health and independence, by making our neighborhoods old-fashioned safe zones? We might not call it a “Free-Range” town, but that’s what it could amount to. It would at minimum involve community education, the backing of the town leadership, and perhaps a little encouragement from national publicity. 

It’s clear that our town has the community involvement necessary (seriously, it’s a super-involved community — you wouldn’t believe how many community activities occur every weekend in the downtown park, and how packed it is … and then the parades … and the city vision committee meetings). People here care about kids (hence, I suppose, the calling the cops on us constantly, heh). Maybe we can align those two things with evidence, and make something wonderful. 

I don’t think that can happen if I bring my unbridled frustration to national attention before having a dialogue with town leadership. 

I welcome your thoughts.  

– Leslie

Dear Leslie:

You’re right. There’s more progress to be made by banding together than by public embarrassment (which, aside from being cruel, can cause people to dig in their heels). I feel that if you showed your letter to your friend who is on the city council, or even to the chief of police, it would become obvious to them that this is not the kind of thing that should be happening. Also, show them this. The Times of London has just declared “Free-Range villages” to be the most desirable places to live IN ALL OF BRITAIN.

You could raise property values AND get fantastic national attention by deliberately deciding that the police and the citizens will all be looking out for kids in a way that lets them know they are SAFE outside — the community is watching out for them (not investigating their parents)!

Talk about win win win win win.

You’d get national attention, but for being progressive and brilliant. And I KNOW someone will say, “But if the predators know that kids are outside, they will come here!”

You have to remind them that crime is at a 50-year low and that kids in your town were always outside until recently, and that you are not going to keep kids cooped up and fat and depressed — and turn parents into criminals —for the sake of worrying about the boogeyman, when you are actually TELLING the boogeymen: If you come to our town, all the cops and all the “concerned citizens” will POUNCE on you because we look OUT for our kids!

Does this make sense?

– Lenore

Dear Lenore:

Yes yes yes!! All of that!! This makes my day. Yes, this is what I want. Thank you.

And that is where we leave “Leslie” now. I will update you when she updates me. Meantime, I hope that this kind of frustration-turning-to-connection can take place all across America. It just may. I imagine a day when towns will compete to prove which one is more Free-Range, with more neighbors looking out for each other and more kids playing outside.

The revolution begins.

 

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A siege that started with gunmen detonating a bomb and spraying bullets in a hotel in Somalia ended early Saturday with at least 20 people dead, authorities said.
 
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NSW state election 2015: Mike Baird and Luke Foley prepare for first results - live
2015-03-28 03:21:00 (2 hours ago) 

Mike Baird and Luke Foley have cast their vote and now wait for the first results after the polls close at 6pm. Follow it live...

6.13pm AEST

And the first exit polls begin:

According to the Nine Galaxy Exit Poll, the Coalition is ahead 46% on the Primary Vote. #NSWvotes #9News pic.twitter.com/9E8RD822JW

6.06pm AEST

A senior Liberal is telling me Tamworth, Ballina and the Blue Mountains are lost.

This is early, so precautionary principles, please.

6.04pm AEST

Here are the numbers you need to know tonight.

There are 93 seats in the lower house of the New South Wales parliament so 47 are needed to form a government.

5.47pm AEST

The balloons are blown up, the cabanossi is on the Jatz and hopefully the telly is plugged in.

@gabriellechan just waiting for the party to begin in Coota @KatrinaHoddy @NSWNationals #nswpol pic.twitter.com/6D89aKDbYA

5.38pm AEST

According to a Sky News exit poll, voters listed the issues which influenced their votes.

They were:

5.26pm AEST

Good afternoon, political wonks,

It’s a beautiful day around the state of New South Wales and here you are, stuck to an election blog. I salute you, my fellow tragic.

Continue reading...
 
The Interview: Melissa Murray Bailey, Philly's only Republican mayoral candidate
2015-03-28 03:20:44 (2 hours ago) 
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A WOMAN WAS killed and her elderly mother was stabbed to death early yesterday morning in a home they shared, according to police.
 
The day the music ... spied
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Local musicians say music licensing groups are killing jazz by cracking down on bars. Are there jazz spies among us?
 
Briefly... CITY/REGION
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Girl, 4, found wandering by bus driver A Route 56 SEPTA bus driver found a 4-year-old girl alone near the intersection of Torresdale and Magee avenues at 3:12 a.m. yesterday, a SEPTA spokesman said.
 
German airline could face 'unlimited' damages for Alps crash
2015-03-28 03:20:44 (2 hours ago) 
STOCKHOLM - Lufthansa could face "unlimited" compensation claims for the crash that killed 150 people in the French Alps and it would be difficult, even counterproductive, for the German carrier to try to avoid liability, experts said Friday.
 
Christie goes after Obama in Mich. speech
2015-03-28 03:20:44 (2 hours ago) 
SHELBY TOWNSHIP, Mich. - Gov. Christie said Friday that the United States had become a "weaker" country under President Obama and that it needed a leader unafraid to "lead the world" and tell Americans the truth about addressing entitlement programs.
 
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2015-03-28 03:20:44 (2 hours ago) 
Robert Townshend Trump, 82, formerly of Whitemarsh and Tiverton, R.I., an antiques and fine-arts dealer who restored Society Hill homes in the 1950s and 1960s, died Sunday, March 22, of a stroke at the Quadrangle in Haverford.
 
Patrick Gale: ‘I turned my great-grandfather gay’
2015-03-28 03:20:31 (2 hours ago) 
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Cost of city breaks in Europe falls for UK tourists
2015-03-28 03:20:30 (2 hours ago) 

European short breaks are more of a bargain for UK tourists this year, as prices drop in destinations across Europe, with Vilnius emerging as the cheapest city

The cost of a European city break for UK tourists has fallen dramatically over the last year, driven by cheaper prices across Europe and the soaring value of sterling, according to the latest survey by Post Office Travel Money. Thanks to the strong pound, UK travellers will have up to 22% more to spend than a year ago.

The study, which compares the cost of common holiday expenses in 28 popular city-break destinations, reports a drop in prices at three-quarters of the cities that were studied. The biggest fall in prices is in the Austrian capital of Vienna, where prices have plunged 22.2% year-on-year. A weekend stay in Vienna is now markedly cheaper than one in Amsterdam, Copenhagen or Paris.

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Nigeria's election matters, and here's why
2015-03-28 03:20:17 (2 hours ago) 
Nigerians go to the polls Saturday to determine who will lead Africa's most populous nation.
 
Rosberg heads Hamilton in practice
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Official: Siege of Al-Shabab Gunmen by Somali Troops in Hotel Ends, at Least 17 Dead
2015-03-28 03:20:03 (2 hours ago) 
Official: Siege of al-Shabab gunmen by Somali troops in hotel ends, at least 17 dead
 
‘So grateful’: Amanda Knox saga ends in exoneration
2015-03-28 03:11:26 (2 hours ago) 
The Seattle woman who had earlier been convicted and served prison time for the slaying of her roommate in 2007 was weeping and speechless, her attorney said, after Friday’s verdict declaring her innocent.
 
Kevin Durant to miss from 4 to 6 months after another surgery
2015-03-28 03:10:13 (2 hours ago) 
Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant, last season’s MVP, will miss the rest of the season and have bone-graft surgery next week to treat a fractured bone in his right foot. He is expected to return to basketball activities in four to six months
 
Zags cold from long range but UCLA also struggled
2015-03-28 03:10:11 (2 hours ago) 
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Africa's political event of the decade? Nigeria goes to the polls
2015-03-28 03:09:48 (2 hours ago) 

Continent’s wealthiest and most populous country is voting today in what is being hailed as the country’s closest-ever election. Here’s what you need to know

Nigeria is holding elections today after a six-week delay. Originally scheduled for 14 February, they were postponed at the last minute after the national security adviser warned the military needed more time to drive out Boko Haram, the radical Islamist insurgents, from the north-eastern states.

Related: 'The super-rich don't vote in Nigeria': election in the land of rising inequality

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Minnesota man gets bionic eye, sees wife for first time
2015-03-28 03:08:24 (2 hours ago) 
submitted by zieg0052 to science
[link] [31 comments]
 
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2015-03-28 03:07:45 (2 hours ago) 
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2015-03-28 03:07:43 (2 hours ago) 
PUBLIC SCHOOL students in Philadelphia will get a day off before Pope Francis comes to town. District spokesman Fernando Gallard said yesterday that street closures which take effect Sept. 25 will make it too hard to get to class. Heavy traffic is anticipated ahead of the pontiff's two public appearances that weekend. More than 1.5 million pilgrims are expected to converge on the city.
 
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2015-03-28 03:07:41 (2 hours ago) 
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2015-03-28 05:08:57 (10 minutes ago) 
 
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£35 device allows residents to listen to pop music and watch South Korean soaps, Hollywood films and outside news programmes, despite government restrictions

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First Teaser Trailer for the next Bond film, Spectre!
2015-03-28 05:00:50 (18 minutes ago) 
submitted by Murreey to videos
[link] [224 comments]
 
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Weapons, drugs and cash are seized following police raids on a bar and a home in Cardiff.
 
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2015-03-28 04:40:34 (38 minutes ago) 
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2015-03-28 04:40:18 (39 minutes ago) 
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2015-03-28 04:30:27 (49 minutes ago) 

Opponents of the proliferation of tall buildings in the capital joined forces a year ago but height isn’t the issue that matters most

As with many campaigns in London against what’s being built and what’s getting knocked down, the Skyline Campaign deserve some sympathy but at the same misses much of the main point. Launched a year ago and backed by the Observer and Architects’ Journal, it issued a founding statement signed by 70 ”public figures” including lots of architects, a hedge fund founder, a few artists, some aesthetes and a Labour mayoral pretender or two.

You can’t quarrel with its core complaint that – and here I paraphrase – a lot of crap’s being chucked up which neither politicians nor planners seem to have the will or the wherewithal to stop. It speaks to that now familiar bad feeling that property developers are too often given the run of the place. But, at the same time, there’s something about the campaign that goes against the grain. I’ve never felt much affinity with self-appointed guardians of good taste. The Skyline Campaign feels a bit like an alliance of affronted civic worthies declaring war on vulgarity.

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Popular Nevada governor looms over fight for Reid seat
2015-03-28 04:30:15 (49 minutes ago) 
LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's decision to retire next year leaves no clear successor in his home state of Nevada, where a popular Republican governor appears reluctant to change jobs and the pending loss of Reid's clout in Washington is causing anxiety over who might replace him....
 
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2015-03-28 04:30:14 (49 minutes ago) 
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2015-03-28 04:28:02 (51 minutes ago) 
Anne Thwacks writes The British Government web site for applying for for a licence to be a security guard requires a plugin providing Internet Explorer emulation on Firefox to login and apply for a licence. It won't work with Firefox without the add-on, but it also wont work with Internet Explorer! (I tried Win XP and Win7 Professional). The error message says "You have more than one browser window open on the same internet connection," (I didn't) and "to avoid this problem, close your browser and reopen it." I did. No change. I tried three different computers, with three different OSes. Still no change. I contacted their tech support and they said "Yes ... a lot of users complain about this. We have known about it since September, and are working on a fix! Meanwhile, we have instructions on how to use the "Fire IE" plugin to get round the problem." Eventually, I got this to work on Win7pro. (The plugin will not work on Linux). The instructions require a very old version of the plugin, and a bit of trial and error is needed to get it to work with the current one. How can a government department concerned with security not get this sort of thing right?"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

 
From Kane to fable for England: three touches and 78 seconds are all it takes
2015-03-28 04:21:02 (58 minutes ago) 
The instant impact of Tottenham’s scoring sensation in the Euro 2016 qualifier against Lithuania is now the talk of the national scene
• Match report: England 4-0 Lithuania
• Five talking points from the game
• The best images from Wembley

Oh, Harry. It just had to be didn’t it? Plenty of England strikers have scored on their debut. Very few have done so with their third touch 78 seconds after walking on to the pitch. And yet there was Harry Kane in the 76th minute at Wembley, loitering in that portable little pocket of space he carries about with him at all times ready to nod in Raheem Sterling’s excellent far-post cross and make the score 4-0 to England on the night.

Who writes his scripts? Presumably somebody who spent a lot of their formative years reading children’s comics of the 1950s. Wembley erupted, Kane wheeled away to the corner flag – a man who just keeps on hitting the jackpot, cherries zeroing in every time – while up in his box even Greg Dyke could be seen leaping about in a state of chairmanly delirium.

Continue reading...
 
Official: Al-Shabab siege at Somali hotel ends, 17 dead
2015-03-28 04:20:10 (59 minutes ago) 
 
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2015-03-28 04:10:16 (1 hours ago) 
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2015-03-28 04:08:27 (1 hours ago) 
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Lubitz wanted to ‘change system’
2015-03-28 04:01:13 (1 hours ago) 
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Unreported World: The City That Beat Isis review – a 3am Girl goes to Syria
2015-03-28 04:00:34 (1 hours ago) 

Two seriously gutsy journalists smuggle themselves into a pulverised Kobani to witness the final days of the battle between Isis and the Kurds

Reporter Kiki King has a serious pair of bollocks. So does James Brabazon, director of Unreported World: The City That Beat Isis (Channel 4). Earlier in the year they got themselves smuggled into Kobani while it was surrounded – and still partly occupied – by the Islamic State. They witnessed the last days of the battle that saw Kurdish fighters finally repel the jihadis from the Syrian city.

I don’t know anything about Kiki’s and James’s family situations, but their mums must have been having kittens. Maybe they just sneak off without telling, or lie (like westerners going to fight for the caliphate, ironically). “Yeah, it’s like a travel programme we’re filming, Mum, cool places to go to beat the winter blues, Turkey and thereabouts … ” Maybe Kiki tells her mother she’s still a tabloid showbiz reporter. Actually, that’s probably pretty good training – if you’re hard enough to take the flak that comes with being a 3am Girl at the Daily Mirror, you can easily cope with anything those Isis pussies throw at you.

Continue reading...
 
Why Did Gov't Give Big Thumbs Up to Notorious Monsanto Pesticide We Now Believe Causes Cancer?
2015-03-28 04:00:25 (1 hours ago) 
Monsanto has spun a complex glyphosate-fueled web across the world's food supply.

NEW YORK (March 25, 2015) — The World Health Organization, the U.N.'s public health agency, said on Friday that glyphosate, an herbicide widely used on genetically modified crops such as corn and soybeans, likely causes cancer.

Released by the WHO's cancer arm, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the report presents the findings of 17 biochemists, toxicologists, epidemiologists, molecular biologists and environmental scientists from 11 countries, who evaluated the carcinogenicity of glyphosate as well as the insecticides tetrachlorvinphos, parathion, malathion and diazinon. A summary of the evaluation has been published online by the Lancet Oncology.

Glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in Monsanto's popular home and garden weed killer Roundup, was classified by IARC as "probably carcinogenic to humans." The scientists found that the chemical "induced DNA and chromosomal damage in mammals, and in human and animal cells in vitro." They concluded that there was "sufficient evidence" that the herbicide causes cancer in non-human animals and "limited evidence" that it also causes non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in humans.

The agency, headquartered in Lyon, France, said glyphosate "has been detected in the air during spraying, in water and in food," noting that primary exposure to the chemical is through diet, home use and living near sprayed areas.

The researchers reviewed studies on the effect of the herbicide on healthy male workers in the agricultural and forestry sectors since 2001. They also highlighted a study of community residents that reported "increases in blood markers of chromosomal damage after glyphosate formulations were sprayed nearby."

Glyphosate is part of a group of biochemicals called organophosphates, which includes insecticides and nerve agents like sarin that irreversibly inactivate acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme essential for nervous system functionality in insects, humans and many other animals.

Monsanto released a statement Friday disagreeing with IARC's findings.

"There is no new research or data that was used; the most relevant, scientific data was excluded from review; the conclusion is not supported by scientific data; and there is no link between glyphosate and an increase in cancer when the full data set is included in a rigorous review," said Philip Miller, Monsanto’s vice president of global regulatory affairs. "We don’t know how IARC could reach a conclusion that is such a dramatic departure from the conclusion reached by all regulatory agencies around the globe."

On Monday, Monsanto’s chief technology officer Robert Fraley followed up with an encapsulation of the biotech giant's feelings on the matter: "We are outraged with this assessment."

Evidence of health risks mounting; so is revenue

While glyphosate may be most known among consumers for being the key ingredient in Roundup, the IARC report noted that it is also used in more than 750 different agricultural, industrial and residential products.

Its wide range of applications includes weed control in forests, rivers, lakes, parks, grass pastures, lawns, turf, gardens, greenhouses, fruit orchards, vineyards and olive groves. In the U.S., its largest agricultural use is on hay/pasture, soybeans and field corn. According to IARC, glyphosate "currently has the highest global production volume of all herbicides."

The herbicidal properties of glyphosate were first discovered and marketed by Monsanto in 1974. In 2001, it became the most used pesticide in the U.S. agricultural market and the second most used pesticide in the home and garden market.

While the debate surrounding its effect on health continues, sales of glyphosate are chugging right along, no doubt aided by Monsanto's release of Roundup Ready genetically modified crops that are resistant to the herbicide. In 2012, the global glyphosate market was valued at $5.46 billion. By 2019, it is expected to swell to $8.79 billion.

While glyphosate-driven revenues continue to grow, so does evidence of the chemical's health risks. The IARC assessment builds on existing studies indicating the potential health hazards of glyphosate, including cancer and renal disease.

A 2013 paper published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology found that glyphosate induces the growth of human breast cancer cells. The environmental toxicologists at Bangkok's Chulabhorn Graduate Institute who conducted the study concluded "low and environmentally relevant concentrations of glyphosate possessed estrogenic activity."

In February 2014, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published a paper by researchers from Rajarata University in Sri Lanka and California State University in Long Beach that investigated the potential role of glyphosate in Sri Lanka's chronic kidney disease (CKD) epidemic. Though glyphosate was ruled out as the lone causative factor, the authors said that when mixed with hard water or metals like arsenic and cadmium, the chemical "seems to have acquired the ability to destroy the renal tissues of thousands of farmers."

One thing is certain: It will be decades before scientists fully comprehend all the things that can go wrong when humans and wildlife are exposed to glyphosate. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Organic Systems found a stunning correlation between the rise of glyphosate-sprayed GMO crops and 22 diseases.

No agreement

IARC's conclusions contradict the official stance of the EPA, which maintains that glyphosate is safe. The agency originally classified it as "possibly carcinogenic to humans" in 1985, based on a study in which mice developed tumors after exposure. Then in 1991, the EPA changed its classification to "evidence of non-carcinogenicity" after a re-evaluation of that study.

"EPA's worst case risk assessment of glyphosate's many registered food uses concludes that human dietary exposure and risk are minimal," the agency said in a 1993 glyphosate fact sheet. "Existing and proposed tolerances have been reassessed, and no significant changes are needed to protect the public."

Some governments aren't waiting for another study. In September 2013, the legislature of El Salvador approved a glyphosate ban, following the deaths of thousands of agricultural workers along Central America's Pacific Coast.

It only took a few weeks after the 2014 glyphosate paper on Sri Lanka's CKD epidemic was published for Sri Lanka to ban glyphosate.

Also last year, the Dutch parliament announced a federal ban on non-commercial sales of glyphosate that went into effect in 2015.

"In garden centers Roundup is promoted as harmless, but unsuspecting customers have no idea what the risks of this product are," said Dutch MP Esther Ouwehand, who brought the motion to Holland's legislative body. "Especially children are sensitive to toxic substances and should therefore not be exposed to it."

Monsanto and EPA: Perfect together, not for kids

So Dutch kids gained some protection from glyphosate. What about in the United States?

In February 2012, the EPA said in its Budget in Brief that it would "continue to emphasize the protection of potentially sensitive groups, such as children," asserting that the federal pesticide program would "minimize exposure to pesticides [and] maintain a safe and affordable food supply."

Just three months later, on May 2, 2012, Monsanto challenged this mandate and filed a petition with the EPA to increase the allowable amount of glyphosate on oilseed, sunflowers and a number of fruits and vegetables, including grapes, cranberries, strawberries, carrots, sweet potatoes and citrus fruits.

Environmental and public health activists rallied against the request. The nonprofit Food & Water Watch responded with its own petition with more than 33,000 signatures, saying: "The EPA is failing to protect human health and the environment by neglecting to regulate the excessive use of herbicides; instead, it is just changing its own rules to allow the irresponsible and potentially dangerous applications to continue. Tolerance levels are put in place to protect human health—not the biotech industry."

One might think that, given the research pointing to health problems tied to glyphosate exposure, the EPA would take the time necessary to perform an extensive and thorough evaluation before amending the law. But that didn’t happen.

Instead of increasing protections against glyphosate's potential negative health effects, the EPA went in the opposite direction. On May 1, 2013, it approved Monsanto's request to increase glyphosate tolerance levels, in effect letting more of the chemical enter the American food supply.

The coziness between the EPA and Monsanto is concerning. Just six weeks after the EPA's pro-Monsanto ruling, the Gulf of Mexico Program awarded Monsanto with the First Place 2013 Gulf Guardian Award. This program—a non-regulatory consortium of state and federal government agencies and corporate representatives from the agricultural and fishing industries—is underwritten by, you guessed it—the EPA.

It is difficult to understand how Monsanto can be considered a "Gulf Guardian" considering the company's central role in the acidification of the Gulf: Synthetic nitrogen fertilizer, the major cause of the more than 400 oceanic dead zones around the world, including the Gulf of Mexico, is used on Monsanto's GMO corn more than any other crop.

Timing is everything

What is more puzzling is the fact that the agency awarded the glyphosate tolerance victory to Monsanto after only conducting preliminary reviews of the studies it was provided, blaming "the timing of the submission." In its ruling, the EPA said it "does not believe that further review will result in different conclusions concerning the neurotoxic or immunotoxic potential of glyphosate."

The EPA is hoping the American public will believe that an agency which earmarked $129 million of its 2013 fiscal year budget specifically to "support the EPA pesticide review processes" received a request from Monsanto to raise glyphosate tolerance levels and one year later, it was only able to conduct a preliminary review. 

EPA also said it didn't believe that a further review would turn up different results. Isn't that another way of saying it's not absolutely sure?

The EPA also seems to have forgotten that a "different conclusion" is exactly what it came to back in 1991 when it changed its original 1985 glyphosate classification as "possibly carcinogenic to humans" to "evidence of non-carcinogenicity"—precisely because it made a re-evaluation of a single mouse study.

Clearly one year isn't enough time for EPA to conduct more than a preliminary review. Give it seven years and it can conduct a re-evaluation that brings it to a different conclusion. Seven years is also a long time to make sales of—and be exposed to—glyphosate.

The EPA has a fresh opportunity to reach yet another different conclusion, as the agency is currently conducting a scheduled glyphosate review with its Canadian counterpart.

"We will give full consideration to the IARC study and all the other information we have before we reach a final decision," an EPA spokeswoman said.

Side of glyphosate to go with that GMO corn?

With Vermont and Maine passing America’s first mandatory GMO labeling laws in 2014 (and 22 other states considering it), consumers are increasingly concerned about how food is affected by herbicides like glyphosate. This concern may grow along with the increased use of glyphosate-resistant GMO crops.

But it's not just the potential negative health effects of glyphosate that are worrisome. Its massive use on U.S. crops has given rise to glyphosate-resistant "superweeds.

"More than half of all U.S. farms have some Roundup resistant 'superweeds'...that now infest 70 million acres of U.S farmland, an area the size of Wyoming," said Andrew Kimball, founder and executive director of the nonprofit Center for Food Safety.

"It's long past due that our government required real and rigorous science when regulating GE crops," he said. "It's time for them to say 'no' to these herbicide-promoting crops, and prevent the looming agronomic disaster they will inevitably bring with them."

With GMOs present in 80% of processed foods in the U.S., Monsanto, as a primary producer of both GMO crop seeds and pesticides, has become a main target for environmental and public health activists. The average consumer also plays a central role in this rapidly evolving drama, not only by purchasing Roundup and foods sprayed with glyphosate, but also by ingesting the chemical.

In addition to glyphosate's links to cancer and other deadly diseases, it may also play a role in not-so-often-deadly ailment that has nevertheless become a major health concern in recent years: gluten sensitivity. Stephanie Seneff, a senior research scientist at MIT, has co-authored two papers proposing a connection between glyphosate and gluten sensitivity. She and her colleagues found that glyphosate binds to gluten, "causing the gluten to stay in the form that is known to be more allergenic."

Cancer, chronic kidney disease, gluten sensitivity and agronomic disaster. The complex glyphosate-fueled web Monsanto has spun over the world's food system for the past four decades may take another four decades for scientists to untangle. But while the debate on glyphosate's numerous potential health effects rages on, one thing is fairly certain: It is a part of most Americans' diets.

Ronnie Cummins, the national director of the nonprofit Organic Consumers Association, put it bluntly: "If you eat foods that contain genetically modified organisms, you are consuming glyphosate."

 Related StoriesCould This Tree Solve the World's Food Crisis?New Way to Identify Pesticide-Free, Non-GMO FoodThere's Now a New Way to Identify Pesticide-Free, Non-GMO Food
 
I Was 32 When I Met the Love of My Life—She Was 92
2015-03-28 04:00:24 (1 hours ago) 
We both felt like we were in our 20s.

I remember the first time we met. I listened to the wheels of her walker rolling down the old carpet of her 1970s redwood bungalow and, moments later, rounding the corner was a spiffy 92-year-old woman who stood up straight, scanned the room like a curious little bunny rabbit, and settled on the new guy: “And you must be Gregor”. She said it with the most delightfully lilting Viennese accent I’d ever heard. It was love at first sentence, something I never thought existed.

I was 32 at the time, and an actor. A friend convinced me to interview for a job as caregiver to an elderly woman named Maria Altmann (played by Helen Mirren in the upcoming biopic Woman in Gold). I wasn’t excited about the idea in general - the only time I would ever even consider being a caregiver was to play one on TV. But I went along anyway and was nervous about it. I don’t know. Maybe the deepest part of me sensed something big was about to happen. 

She wore a colorful silk scarf, a green cashmere sweater and bright white trousers that day. I’d never seen someone so elegant, yet there was something childlike about her too. She had an insatiable curiosity about everything. We sat down together as if we were the only two people in the room. And she listened to me not with her ears but with her heart. On that morning my life changed, and believe me, I don’t just let any girl sweep me off my feet. 

I set everything aside for the next three years until her death, the first of someone I truly loved in my entire life. Our connection was immediate. It was like we had met in another life. Despite the age difference between us, I would daily forget she was what others may consider old. We both felt like we were in our 20s, and we would admit that to each other regularly, without it ever getting uncomfortable. It was just perfectly magical.

My friends were really supportive and were all eager to meet her. I was very selective about who I introduced her to, though. It was like I was taking them to meet my new girlfriend, and all the butterflies that come with that. The last thing I wanted was for a woman with such gentility, who in many ways saw me as perfect, to see me with a bunch of goons. 

In the beginning, it concerned me that someone might think our uncommon bond was weird or inappropriate, but it wasn’t even remotely the case. Because anyone who knew our relationship understood it, and her family was thankful that their mother had someone like me that made her happy. 

Maria really meant everything to me. I said to her once: “Maria, you’re like a mother, a grandmother, and a friend to me.” And she responded: “What about a mistress?” We laughed together all day about these kinds of things. There’s no doubt we looked at each other romantically, but not in a physical sense. We were soul mates. Supernatural lovers, if you will. 

Over the next three years Maria introduced me to a whole new world of art, music and culture, regaling me with incredible stories of her charmed childhood growing up in the preeminent Bloch-Bauer family in Vienna. She told about her harrowing escape from the Nazis in 1938 with her husband, their migration to Los Angeles in 1942, and the epic Supreme Court case to recover her uncle’s paintings by Gustav Klimt. Many anecdotes she told me were filled with details you could never find in history books. 

Not only did I grow by being exposed to this world of culture, but my relationship with Maria also led me to ask myself difficult questions about life, the pursuit of my dreams and what my future would hold. The most difficult questions were: Why do I love this woman so much? Why does she love me? I struggled a great deal with the second one. 

In my eyes I didn’t do anything to deserve her love. But she saw things in me I never saw in myself. Like she’d always say: “You’re so elegant.” No one had ever called me that, especially someone who actually was the very definition of the word. 

Maria died on 7 February, 2011. I stood there and watched her take her last breaths. 

I didn’t want Maria before I met her, but I needed her once I did. We were exactly what we both needed. At the funeral her daughter Margie came up to me and said: “You were the last great love of my mother’s life.” To hear it said aloud from a family member brought tears of gratitude, and humility - that I had the chance to make someone’s last three years on earth a pleasure. Since I met Maria I’ve done some of the best creative work of my life. She guides me in everything I do. True love never ends.

 

 

 Related Stories10 Habits of Couples Who Stay Together10 Craziest Ways Sex Has ChangedThe Year in Sex Scenes
 
Is Your Memory Shaky? Might Not Be Your Age, But All That Sugar Ruining Your Liver
2015-03-28 04:00:24 (1 hours ago) 
A quarter of the U.S. population suffers from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease caused by dietary sugar.

We know foods like donuts and soda can make you fat, but the effects of sugar on the liver and brain are less well-known. Dietary sugar can fry your liver in much the same way alcohol can. This in turn can hurt your brain, leaving you with dementia-like symptoms decades too soon.

Most people associate liver disease with alcohol abuse or hepatitis. But another type, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which barely existed three decades ago, has quickly become the most common liver disease in America. NAFLD isn’t caused by booze or a nasty virus, but dietary sugar, which causes a buildup of fat in your liver. Overweight people are likely candidates for NAFLD. Memory loss and diminished cognitive function are often the first symptoms, as the liver loses its ability to filter toxins that compromise the brain.

According to the American Liver Foundation, at least a quarter of the U.S. population now suffers from NAFLD, and that number is expected to swell to 40 percent by 2030, apace with an accompanying swelling of the American body, thanks to the insatiable American sweet tooth and the corporate interests that feed it. A study published March 25 further solidified the connection between sugar and NAFLD, finding that even moderate amounts of sugary drinkswill stimulate the production of enzymes that deposit fat in the liver.

These are sour times at the Sugar Association, a DC-based trade group with a mission that appears increasingly impossible: “to promote the consumption of sugar through sound scientific principles.”

Alas for Big Sugar, it’s becoming ever more difficult to use even the most convoluted scientific principles to promote sugar consumption, much less defend it.

The Sugar Association once touted sugar as “a sensible approach to weight control,” something we now know is roughly the polar opposite of the truth. In addition to non-alcohol fatty liver disease, sugar promotes a variety of other ailments, including heart disease, tooth decay, and diabetes. Meanwhile, new research is mounting that suggests sugar is behind Alzheimer’s disease, which has been dubbed Type 3 Diabetes, aka diabetes of the brain.

The case against sugar has grown steadily but quietly in the last four decades, in the shadow of dietary fat, which has widely been blamed for these ailments. Meanwhile, the Sugar Association has engaged in tactics reminiscent of the tobacco industry during the height of its denial, including the funding of sugar-friendly research, the installation of sugar-friendly (and sugar-funded) scientists on government advisory panels, and even threats to scientists and politicians who question the place of sugar in a healthy diet.

The Sugar Association’s general response to the circling wagons of anti-sugar has been to claim a lack of consensus and inconclusive results. But despite these efforts, as with tobacco, this cat is proving too big for the bag.

In February, the recommendations of USDA’s Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) were published. They include several significant sugar-related proposals, including a sugar tax. The recommendations take specific aim at added sugars, suggesting they be labeled as such, and kept below 10 percent of total caloric intake.

Identifying added sugar would distinguish it from sugar that’s naturally in a food product. For example, a six-ounce container of plain yogurt has 7 grams of the sugar lactose, while a pomegranate yogurt has 19 grams of sugar, including 12 grams of added sugar, explains Robert Lustig, a specialist in pediatric obesity, in a March 20 op-ed in the LA Times.

The yogurt example hits home to me. My dad is diabetic, and used to eat sweetened yogurt daily. My son would eat sweetened yogurt every day, if left to his own devices.

Added sugar is another way of saying “Big Sugar’s bottom line,” and on March 24 the Sugar Association requested that the added sugar recommendations be removed. In a bitter irony, its letter to DGAC complained that the committee, “selected science to support its predetermined conclusions.”

In his op-ed, Lustig compared Big Sugar to a wild animal that has been cornered, and will fight with everything it has. But as with tobacco, the evidence against it is just too damning.

“Sugar starts to fry your liver at about 35 pounds per year, just like alcohol would at the same dosage. This is because fructose — the sweet molecule of sugar — is metabolized in the liver just like alcohol.” Americans, Lustig notes, consume an average of 100 pounds of sugar per year. “That is why children now get the diseases of alcohol consumption — type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease — without ever drinking alcohol.”

Big Sugar’s last chance, he says, is intra-agency dysfunction. “There are 51 separate agencies in charge of our food supply. That suits the food industry just fine. Their strategy is to divide and conquer.It's time for us to unite to tame this wild animal before it can sicken another generation of children. “ 

While this power struggle runs its course, we have a choice between limiting sugar consumption, or dealing with its consequences by pumping children full of insulin, lipo-sucking excess fat from teens, and swapping out the livers of absent-minded middle-agers.

While the dust settles and sugar consumption and labeling guidelines are inevitably restructured, you don’t have to wait for any final word from government agencies. You can use your common sense, though willpower might be more of an issue.

Sugar craving is widely considered an addiction that’s complicated by the fact that eating sugar is entangled with the healthy, necessary act of eating. But research at MIT, published in January, suggests that compulsive sugar consumption follows a different neural pathway than healthy eating.

These findings open the door to more research into dealing with sugar addiction. Meanwhile, it’s encouraging that your brain’s sweet tooth can be retrained, before your memory deteriorates to the point that you forget where you stashed the gummy bears.

 Related StoriesNew Study Determines Exact Level of Drinking that Leads to Liver Cancer9 Ways to Eat Better Without Really TryingPaleo Isn't a Fad Diet But an Ideology That Selectively Denies the Modern World
 
Northland decides: Winston Peters takes by-election
2015-03-28 03:50:55 (1 hours ago) 
The votes are in the Northland by-election and it's looking like a Winston Peters white-wash.
 
Official: Siege of gunmen in Somali hotel ends, 17 dead
2015-03-28 03:49:25 (2 hours ago) 

Somali government officials say they have taken control of the hotel where extremist gunmen were holed up for more than 12 hours in an attack that has left at least 17 people dead.

        
 
Wiggly words on immigration from 2016 Republican prospects show volatility of the issue
2015-03-28 03:48:17 (2 hours ago) 
 
Sandwiches Are a Major Contributor to Dietary Sodium Intake
2015-03-28 03:30:23 (2 hours ago) 
Sandwiches account for one-fifth of total sodium intake, with nearly half of American adults consuming them on any given day, according to new study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
 
The foodie traveller … chef Valentine Warner in Mexico City
2015-03-28 03:21:00 (2 hours ago) 

The TV chef was amazed by the sheer variety Mexican cuisine has to offer – including a taco made with an ingredient he had never imagined eating …

Top 10 budget hotels and B&Bs in Mexico City

All my preconceptions about Mexican food were blown out of the water on my first trip to the country, when I discovered a cuisine that offers everything from butch street food to incredibly refined dishes, from hearty food like grandmother’s mole to delicate crab soups.

I love to explore street stalls and local places to eat rather than posh restaurants and, while I was in Mexico City, I had two extraordinary experiences.

Continue reading...
 
Officials keeping hush on source of grub bug
2015-03-28 03:20:44 (2 hours ago) 
A "FOOD SOURCE" sickened nearly 100 restaurant patrons in Philadelphia last month, but city and state health officials say Pennsylvania law bars them from disclosing what the food was or how it was contaminated.
 
Singer's last note?
2015-03-28 03:20:44 (2 hours ago) 
City Commissioner Stephanie Singer says she’ll appeal ruling found hershort of enough voter signatures to get on the May primary ballot.
 
Assistant U.S. Attorney: "Human trafficking is the fastest growing crime in the country
2015-03-28 03:20:44 (2 hours ago) 
Temple University and local nonprofit host a conference to raise awareness about human trafficking
 
Google-J&J to develop robot surgical devices
2015-03-28 03:20:44 (2 hours ago) 
Google Inc. is joining forces with Johnson & Johnson to develop a robotic-assisted surgical program, moving into a growing field of medicine as the search-engine giant expands its health-care investments.
 
Trump supports Stockton campus, but not at Showboat
2015-03-28 03:20:44 (2 hours ago) 
Trump Entertainment Resorts supports development of a Stockton University campus in Atlantic City - just not next door to the Trump Taj Mahal, the company said Friday.
 
Avalon debates plan to save park beset by invasive species
2015-03-28 03:20:44 (2 hours ago) 
AVALON, N.J. - It seems everyone wants to save Armacost Park. But just how to accomplish the continued preservation of the 11-acre maritime forest - which experts say has been deteriorating for decades because of invasive vines and other non-native plant species - may be debatable.
 
Francis J. Haas, 76, builder
2015-03-28 03:20:44 (2 hours ago) 
Francis J. Haas, 76, of West Sadsbury Township, a builder, civic leader, and fire company official, died Friday, March 20, of cancer in the family home he built.
 
Africa's political event of the decade? Nigeria goes to the polls
2015-03-28 03:20:31 (2 hours ago) 

Continent’s wealthiest and most populous country is voting today in what is being hailed as the country’s closest-ever election. Here’s what you need to know

Continue reading...
 
Africa's political event of the decade? Nigeria goes to the polls
2015-03-28 03:20:30 (2 hours ago) 

Continent’s wealthiest and most populous country is voting today in what is being hailed as the country’s closest-ever election. Here’s what you need to know

Nigeria is holding elections today after a six-week delay. Originally scheduled for 14 February, they were postponed at the last minute after the national security adviser warned the military needed more time to drive out Boko Haram, the radical Islamist insurgents, from the north-eastern states.

Related: 'The super-rich don't vote in Nigeria': election in the land of rising inequality

Continue reading...
 
Official: Siege of gunmen in Somali hotel ends, 17 dead
2015-03-28 03:20:11 (2 hours ago) 
 
Feds Indict 1 After Noose Put on Ole Miss Integration Statue
2015-03-28 03:20:03 (2 hours ago) 
Mississippi fell short by deferring to feds in case of noose on Ole Miss statue, Meredith says
 
Search continues for at least 2 after NYC blast
2015-03-28 03:11:30 (2 hours ago) 

Emergency workers are searching for at least two people still missing after an apparent gas line explosion leveled three apartment buildings...

       
 
Northland by-election: National supporters react to results
2015-03-28 03:11:22 (2 hours ago) 
National party faithful are gathering at the Kerikeri Golf Club to follow the result of Saturday's Northland by-election. 
 
Duke freshmen pave the way to regional final with 63-57 victory over Utah
2015-03-28 03:10:13 (2 hours ago) 
Young, talented Blue Devils to face Gonzaga on Sunday
 
Wiggly words on immigration from potential Republican field
2015-03-28 03:10:05 (2 hours ago) 
DENVER (AP) -- It's become even clearer thanks to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker: Immigration is the banana peel of 2016 Republican presidential politics....
 
Mississippi fell short by deferring to feds in case of noose on Ole Miss statue, Meredith says
2015-03-28 03:09:22 (2 hours ago) 
 
Prosecutor's Conclusions
2015-03-28 03:07:47 (2 hours ago) 
John Sheridan had five wounds - including three stab wounds - to neck and torso area. One wound to the neck perforated the jugular. He also had five broken ribs, consistent with a piece of an armoire falling on top of him.
 
In the World
2015-03-28 03:07:46 (2 hours ago) 
 
Saudis continue airstrikes in Yemen
2015-03-28 03:07:45 (2 hours ago) 
LOS ANGELES TIMES SANA'A, Yemen - Saudi-led warplanes pounded military installations in Yemen on Friday in a campaign aimed at halting the advance of Shiite Muslim rebels and ensuring the return of President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, who has fled the country.
 
Italy's top court clears Knox
2015-03-28 03:07:45 (2 hours ago) 
ROME - Italy's highest court on Friday overturned the murder conviction against Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend in the 2007 slaying of Knox's roommate, bringing to a definitive end the high-profile case that captivated trial-watchers on both sides of the Atlantic.
 
Prosecutor's Conclusions
2015-03-28 03:07:44 (2 hours ago) 
John Sheridan had five wounds - including three stab wounds - to neck and torso area. One wound to the neck perforated the jugular. He also had five broken ribs, consistent with a piece of an armoire falling on top of him.
 
In the World
2015-03-28 03:07:43 (2 hours ago) 
 
Saudis continue airstrikes in Yemen
2015-03-28 03:07:42 (2 hours ago) 
LOS ANGELES TIMES SANA'A, Yemen - Saudi-led warplanes pounded military installations in Yemen on Friday in a campaign aimed at halting the advance of Shiite Muslim rebels and ensuring the return of President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, who has fled the country.
 
Italy's top court clears Knox
2015-03-28 03:07:42 (2 hours ago) 
ROME - Italy's highest court on Friday overturned the murder conviction against Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend in the 2007 slaying of Knox's roommate, bringing to a definitive end the high-profile case that captivated trial-watchers on both sides of the Atlantic.
 
Sandwiches Are a Major Contributor to Dietary Sodium Intake
2015-03-28 03:03:57 (2 hours ago) 
Sandwiches account for one-fifth of total sodium intake, with nearly half of American adults consuming them on any given day, according to new study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
 
Dot-sucks sucks, say lawyers: ICANN urged to kill 'shakedown' now
2015-03-28 05:08:54 (10 minutes ago) 
Trademark briefs complain of 'predatory, exploitative and coercive practices'

The intellectual property constituency (IPC) of domain overseer ICANN has formally asked the organization to halt the rollout of the controversial .sucks top-level domain, due to start on Monday.…

 
'Something nasty is stirring': inside Nigel Farage's battle for South Thanet
2015-03-28 05:04:10 (15 minutes ago) 

First the Ukip leader declared his candidacy, then Al Murray and the Prophet Zebadiah of Ooog. Who will win? Constituent Marina O’Loughlin joins the protesters on the campaign trail

Continue reading...
 
How Philadelphia became the unlikely epicenter of American cricket
2015-03-28 05:00:31 (18 minutes ago) 

Cricket’s roots run surprisingly deep through American history – with Philadelphia playing an unlikely part as the sport’s stateside epicenter

The greatest bowler – arguably – in cricket’s long history was an American. Let that sink in for a moment.

Here’s another fact: cricket was America’s first modern team sport.

Look at the cricketers in their loose fitting, comfortable uniforms, their faces beaming with, good humour and ruddy health, engendered by exercise. Note the eager anxiety of the fielders, their mortification at an overthrow, or a chance for a catch not taken advantage of; see the high ascending ball, and hear the joyous shout of the triumph, as some unfortunate batsman gets permission to retire to the tent, and if you do not leave the ground impressed with the beauty and the utility of the game, why then-you were not cut out for a cricketer.

Continue reading...
 
Inmate 'emailed own release order'
2015-03-28 05:00:10 (19 minutes ago) 
A convicted fraudster used an "ingenious" escape plot to trick prison wardens into letting him go free, a court has heard.
 
Sandwiches Are a Major Contributor to Dietary Sodium Intake
2015-03-28 04:43:06 (36 minutes ago) 
Sandwiches account for one-fifth of total sodium intake, with nearly half of American adults consuming them on any given day, according to new study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
 
Taraji Henson apologizes to officers after racial profiling claims
2015-03-28 04:40:29 (39 minutes ago) 
 
Alps crash co-pilot 'made prediction'
2015-03-28 04:40:18 (39 minutes ago) 
The co-pilot of the Germanwings Airbus which crashed in the French Alps predicted "one day everyone will know my name", his ex-girlfriend says.
 
Sandwiches Are a Major Contributor to Dietary Sodium Intake
2015-03-28 04:30:25 (49 minutes ago) 
Sandwiches account for one-fifth of total sodium intake, with nearly half of American adults consuming them on any given day, according to new study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
 
Popular Nevada governor looms over fight for Reid seat
2015-03-28 04:30:15 (49 minutes ago) 
LAS VEGAS (AP) - Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's decision to retire next year leaves no clear successor in his home state of Nevada, where a popular Republican governor appears reluctant to change jobs and the pending loss of Reid's clout in Washington is causing anxiety over who might replace him. As of Friday, the list of potential candidates came down to Gov. Brian Sandoval and everyone else. The political centrist who was easily re-elected last year is likely to face intense pressur...
 
5 things you need to know this weekend
2015-03-28 04:29:22 (50 minutes ago) 

The biggest and most buzzworthy news to start your weekend.

       
 
Queensland premier accused of covering up MP's abuse allegation
2015-03-28 04:24:22 (55 minutes ago) 

Opposition leader says Annastacia Palaszczuk was trying to gloss over claims against Labor MP Billy Gordon, which have now been referred to police

Queensland’s opposition leader Lawrence Springborg has accused Annastacia Palaszczuk of trying to cover up criminal allegations levelled at one of her MPs.

Palaszczuk referred the allegations concerning Billy Gordon, the member for Cook, to Police Commissioner Ian Stewart late on Friday afternoon. Queensland police have confirmed the premier has referred an allegation of domestic violence to them.

Continue reading...
 
Germanwings flight 4U9525: what’s it like to listen to a black box recording?
2015-03-28 04:20:31 (58 minutes ago) 
After every air disaster, finding the black box recorder becomes the first priority – but for the crash investigators who have to listen to the tapes of people’s final moments, the experience can be incredibly harrowing Continue reading...
 
Steel finishes in top 20 in China
2015-03-28 04:20:09 (59 minutes ago) 
Britain's Gemma Steel and Rhona Auckland finish inside the top 20 at the World Cross Country Championships in China.
 
Forum chat is like Clarkson punching you repeatedly in the face
2015-03-28 04:09:10 (1 hours ago) 
 
Winston Peters romps home in Northland by-election
2015-03-28 04:08:27 (1 hours ago) 
Northland has a new MP - NZ First leader Winston Peters.
 
Has there ever been any species of plant, capable of killing and eating a full grown man?
2015-03-28 04:01:07 (1 hours ago) 
submitted by icethegreat8 to askscience
[link] [191 comments]
 
Patrick Gale: ‘I turned my great-grandfather gay’
2015-03-28 04:00:34 (1 hours ago) 
Enthralling and irreverent, Gale‘s granny was full of family gossip – about everyone except her father. In his latest novel, the author tells the story of this enigmatic man who left his home for the life of a cowboy on the Canadian prairies

We were imaginatively brought-up children so of course we had a dressing-up box. Actually it was better than a box; it was a Gladstone bag of ancient leather. There were cowboy hats, holster belts, high heels and baby revolvers, a multi-tiered frou-frou petticoat and a terrible old floral skirt, handy for combining with a battered black hat. There were matching his and hers “gypsy” outfits, a moth-eared rabbit costume, a bridesmaid’s dress in soiled salmon-pink satin and a pair of bearskin gloves.

These were the real thing and, when worn by a small child, as big as motorcycle gauntlets: heavy, with furry backs and dark leather palms, perfect for terrifying me when worn with the remaining accessory, an old gas mask. The older brother who dictated all our games assured me the gloves had been made by Cowboy Grandpa, who had shot and skinned the bear himself. I accepted this as gospel and, because both our grandfathers were already dead, I thought no more about it.

Continue reading...
 
Twitter Pounds Indiana Gov. Mike Pence for His Absurdly Discriminatory 'Religious Freedom' Act
2015-03-28 04:00:25 (1 hours ago) 
Lots of celebrities get in on the act.

While the state of Indiana is taking a beating across the country for passing the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,”  allowing businesses and individuals to deny services to gays on religious grounds, Governor Mike Pence has come in for an extra heaping of scorn on social media.

In a speech following the signing of the bill, Pence defended his actions saying, “If I thought it legalized discrimination I would have vetoed it.” Across the country many disagreed with the governor, once believed to harbor national aspirations, and expressed themselves bluntly.

A host of celebrities, including Broadway star Audra McDonald, Larry King, Harvey Fierstein, Miley Cyrus, and popular Indiana-based author John Green took shots at the governor, while others jumped on Pence’s Twitter account to express their contempt and displeasure with his decision to sign the bill into law.

A sampling of comments below Pence’s Twitter announcement of the signing the bill attended by a group of observers he has, thus far, refused to identify by name:




 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

 

  

 

 Related StoriesEmails Show Museum Canceled Palestine Event Because of Pressure From Pro-Israel GroupFor Years, DEA Agents Attended Illegal Sex Parties Paid for by Drug CartelsWhy Trade Pacts Like the Trans-Pacific Partnership Are Scary and Anti-Democractic
 
Fear Is the Biggest Threat to Our Democracy
2015-03-28 04:00:24 (1 hours ago) 
Join us in our fight against the pernicious culture of fear and creeping authoritarianism.

Dear Readers, 

Fear is a huge problem in the United States, and it’s only getting worse as our society frequently smells of creeping authoritarianism. All of us experience the consequences of living in fear-based society, we see it when people don't stand up for themselves, are too afraid to reach out to strangers, or when we turn off the TV in disgust.

I’m writing to ask your support for AlterNet’s critical new initiative to push back against destructive fear-mongering. Can you make a contribution to AlterNet right now? 

Click here to donate now.

Two Kinds of Fears: One Fake, the Other Real

Fear is a big problem for two reasons. First, propaganda and disinformation are used by conservatives and the media to scare people and generate anxiety. The result is that many people are fearful of the wrong things, which makes our society ripe for militarism, spying, and denying people basic rights – while people clamor for more guns.

On the other hand, there are many millions of people who are afraid for very real reasons. These include bad policies and messed-up priorities resulting in half the country living on the economic margins or in poverty; widespread PTSD from our wars; and massive militarization of local police departments who use their equipment, gear and racist attitudes to treat citizens as if they were terrorists.

These are real and valid fears. But they tend to be the ones politicians and the wealthy elites deny or ignore.

The Culture of Fear

People cannot think clearly when they are afraid. Fear is the enemy of reason. It distorts emotions and perceptions, and often leads to poor decisions. Advertising, political ads, news coverage and social media all send the constant message that people should be afraid —very afraid.

Americans are endlessly bombarded with media messages that are deceitful or exaggerated – fake threats about crime, drugs, terrorists and diseases. Television and film are filled with extreme violence and millions of fictional deaths, far out of proportion to what happens in real life.

Yet the crime rate is actually on the decline. In fact, you have more of a chance of being hit by lightening than killed by a terrorist.

Fear, along with militarism, inequality, and criminalization, are the biggest threats to our democracy. Going forward, AlterNet is emphasizing the emotionality of politics – race, violence, gender and trauma – all which are highly influenced by  the culture of fear.

Our Coverage

AlterNet has initiated our fear coverage with a flurry of articles, which is a good start​. But there is so much more to do. We need your help to move forward over the weeks and months ahead. Please make a contribution today. 

Everyone who makes a financial contribution* to our annual spring fundraising campaign will receive our new e-book, Fear in America: The Biggest Threat to Our Democracy. 
 

Thanks for reading,

 

 

Don Hazen

Executive Editor, AlterNet.org

 

P.S. Some of the most popular articles in our fear coverage includes:

How Americans Are Brainwashed to Fear Exactly the Wrong Things

Social Panics That Gripped the Nation, Were Totally False, and Did Horrible Lasting Damage

10 Things Black People Fear That White People Don't (Or Don't Nearly as Much)

 

P.P.S. For contributors: We will email you to link to the ebook as soon as it is finished... within 10 days for sure.

 

 

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7 of the Biggest Quacks and Scam Artists in Medical History
2015-03-28 04:00:24 (1 hours ago) 
Some of these charlatans may have even believed their own preposterous theories.

Mike Huckabee, former Fox News talking head and possible presidential contender again, recently came under considerable fire for being the spokesman for a dubious “cure” for diabetes, a disease that affects 29 million Americans and is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. The Diabetes Solution Kit Huckabee endorsed includes recommendations for supplements like cinnamon to supposedly cure the disease.

Huckabee did a cut and run from the gig after criticism became too intense, but the fact that he chose to be the front man for snake oil in the first place would seem to call his judgment into question. Then again, quack medicine has a long history in the arena of conservative politics. Because many right-wingers seem to think that science itself is somehow liberally biased, quackery often fills the hole left by rejected science. Newsmax, Fox News and Glenn Beck are just some of the conservative outlets for quackery. You might say that ignorance, like nature, abhors a vacuum.

In truth, there wasn’t much difference between a doctor and a quack for much of human history. Angry gods, flat Earths and demon possessions ruled the ancient days. Despite the incredible advances science has made in the past few hundred years, it seems belief in gods and demons as the causes of disease still lurk. As long as there has been a problem to solve and money to make, charlatans have been ready to step forward to cure your disease and take your money. 

Here are seven of the quackiest frauds in medical history.

1. William J. A. Bailey

Radioactivity, for that healthy glow.

Marie Curie discovered the radioactive metal radium. For this, and other groundbreaking research on radioactivity, she deservedly received historical acclaim. However, others took advantage of her discoveries and applied their own ignorance and greed to medical history. One such person was William J.A. Bailey. Bailey noticed that the properties of radium fascinated most people, especially the fact that it glowed and seemed to give off a power.

Bailey, who called himself a doctor but had no medical degree, founded Radium Company, whose chief product was Radithor, a medicine that would “invigorate” his patients. Radithor was essentially radium dissolved in water, but Bailey promised it would provide glowing health. Eben Byers was one of Bailey’s wealthiest clients. Byers consumed well over 1,000 bottles of Radithor. His jaw fell off and he died. His autopsy revealed large holes in his brain and skull. Among other products Bailey marketed was a radium paperweight, to provide a lift to the deskbound, and a radium belt clip for portable energy.

2. John R. Brinkley

Goat testicles, anyone?

John R. Brinkley had interesting ideas about male sexuality. After observing the sexual prowess of goats in a meatpacking company, he decided goat testicles were the answer to male impotence. In thousands of procedures, he opened up the scrotums of his unfortunate patients, and inserted goat testicles in their scrotal sacs. He didn’t physically attach the goat testicles to anything. He just put them in and closed up the sac. Brinkley lucked out when his first patient managed to get his wife pregnant. The subsequent publicity was a bonanza, and Brinkley began promoting his procedure as a cure for all sorts of ailments, including dementia and flatulence. He began advertising his “breakthrough” on radio, claiming his transplants turned men into “the ram that am with every lamb.” Of course, the fact that Brinkley was minimally trained, never completed medical school, was often drunk when operating, and not particularly hygienic became a problem. Several of his patients died (not directly from the goat testicle, which was simply absorbed into the body, but from infections). He was sued for malpractice, eventually wound up bankrupt and disgraced, and died penniless from a heart attack in 1942.

3. John Harvey Kellogg

No sex, please. Bad for the digestion.

Although John Harvey did invent the corn flake, it was his brother, Will Kellogg, who ran the cereal company. Immortalized in the bestselling novel and subsequent movie, The Road to Wellville, John Harvey Kellogg was a genuinely strange man. He was an actual medical doctor, unlike some quack magnates, and may be considered the father of the modern health food movement. Kellogg operated a sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan, where wealthy clients adopted vegetarian diets, exercised regularly, quit drinking and smoking, and did deep breathing exercises. No doubt these lifestyle changes were excellent for the health. The quackery came in with some of Kellogg’s other beliefs.

John Harvey was a big advocate of enemas. His patients had them regularly, using a machine that forced several gallons of water into the intestine. Water enemas were followed by yogurt, taken by mouth as well as via the back door. In addition to the enemas, high-fiber diets were prescribed, further scraping clean the colon, which Kellogg believed to be the cause of most disease. Sexual activity was also banned under the Kellogg regimen as he believed sex weakened the system. Masturbation, which he thought was the cause of cancer of the womb, urinary disease and epilepsy, among other illnesses, was a no-no. Circumcision was prescribed for men to reduce sexual pleasure, and the application of carbolic acid to the clitoris for women. Despite the extreme nature of Kellogg’s treatments, he had a huge roster of famous clients, including former president William Howard Taft, Amelia Earhart, Tarzan movie star Johnny Weissmuller, Henry Ford, and Thomas Edison.

4. William Radam

Gardening and medicine—the same thing.

William Radam was a Prussian who settled in that hotbed of quackery, Texas, in the later 19th century. Beset by malaria and other ailments, Radam was frustrated by his doctor’s inability to cure his illnesses. Radam was living during the time Louis Pasteur made the connection between disease and bacteria. Radam, an ardent gardener, likened bacteria to weeds, and figured that by destroying the bacteria in the body he could destroy disease. After some research, he came up with the “Microbe Killer,” a potion that destroyed all microbes in the body and cured all disease. The label on the bottle showed a man swinging a bat at a skeleton, presumably representing death. "The Microbe Killer cannot be compared with ordinary drugs,” Radam wrote about his discovery. “It does not contain any of them. It is pure water, permeated with gases which are essential to the nourishment of the system, and in which micro-organisms cannot live and propagate, or fermentation exist."

He marketed the Microbe Killer as a “weed killer” with a wink and a nod, to avoid lawsuits in case anyone died from the elixir. His cure-all was an immediate bestseller, and Radam moved from Texas to New York City, where he expanded his company (at its height, up to17 factories). Eventually, however, his potion was called to task. A Long Island doctor, whose analysis found Radam's “medicine” to be 99% water with small amounts of hydrochloric acid and sulfuric acid, called Radam a “misguided crank.” The revelation did nothing to sway the public. Despite court cases that went against Radam, the Microbe Killer continued to sell even after his death in 1902.

5. Clark Stanley

The father of snake oil.

Clark Stanley was the original snake oil salesman. In the early 1900s, Mr. Stanley put on quite a show. Gathering a large crowd, he would kill rattlesnakes while pitching his miracle snake oil medicine. He claimed that his concoction of snake venoms was derived from the secret recipe of an Indian medicine man and would cure toothaches, sprains, pain and all manner of ills, for just 50 cents a bottle. In 1917, federal agents decided to see what was in Stanley’s snake oil. No snake oil, it turned out. It was 99% mineral oil, a bit of beef fat, and some red pepper and turpentine to give it that medicinal flavor. Stanley found himself out of business, but the term “snake oil salesman” lives on, almost 100 years later.

6. D.D. Palmer

Curing lower back pain and cancer all at once.

A lot of people feel they have been helped by chiropractors, but the truth is that chiropractic medicine is built on a pretty shaky foundation. D.D. Palmer, the father of chiropractic “science,” based his theories on two instances. In one, he accidentally hit a deaf janitor in the ear during some horseplay, and days later the janitor showed up and said he could miraculously hear again. In the second, he manipulated a patient’s spine and claimed to cure her of heart problems. Somehow, out of this gossamer research, he came up with the theory that the body had a fluid with “innate intelligence” and clearing the pathway for the fluid could cure any ailment whatsoever. To do that, one simply had to manipulate the spine.

Most (not all) of today’s practitioners might back away from the origins of chiropractic practice, and claim other dubious benefits of spinal manipulation, but given the “science” chiropractic is based on, one might just as easily argue for the benefits of fairy dust.

7. Bernard Jensen

The eyes have it.

Bernard Jensen was a famous chiropractor who also popularized the “medical” practice of iridology, diagnosing disease by studying the iris of the eye. Different parts of the iris, he believed, corresponded to different parts of the body and different organs. Darker parts of the iris indicated disease. If, for example, the part of the iris that represented the liver was dark, the liver was in distress. Jensen even developed a chart of the iris showing which body parts corresponded to which area of the iris.

There has never been any actual science to substantiate iridology, and in fact, the iris is one of the only parts of the body that rarely changes. People are born with light and dark areas of their irises and basically die with their irises unchanged.

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Somali government officials say they have taken control of the hotel where extremist gunmen were holed up for more than 12 hours in an attac...

       
 
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LGBT vote is crucial for mayoral candidates
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IT'S TOO EARLY to predict which of the mayoral candidates will be in or out come November. But one thing is clear, the six Democratic candidates, who are in a heated battle to win the May primary, think the LGBT vote could make or break them.
 
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Cathy McVey started a non-profit to help provide holiday meals to families who need a little extra help.
 
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Two people were killed and one wounded Thursday night when a pair of would-be armed robbers pulled a gun on a man walking in West Philadelphia - and the man, in turn, pulled his own gun and fired.
 
Copilot appeared healthy, but may have hidden illness
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4,000 foreign fishermen stranded on remote Indonesian islands
2015-03-28 03:20:31 (2 hours ago) 

Migrant workers dumped on islands after being abandoned by boat captains when Indonesia banned foreign fishing

The number of foreign fishermen stranded on remote eastern Indonesian islands has risen to 4,000.

Many are migrant workers abandoned by their boat captains after the government passed a moratorium on foreign fishing five months ago, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said on Friday.

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NSW state election 2015: Mike Baird and Luke Foley prepare for first results - live
2015-03-28 03:20:30 (2 hours ago) 

Mike Baird and Luke Foley have cast their vote and now wait for the first results after the polls close at 6pm. Follow it live...

6.13pm AEST

And the first exit polls begin:

According to the Nine Galaxy Exit Poll, the Coalition is ahead 46% on the Primary Vote. #NSWvotes #9News pic.twitter.com/9E8RD822JW

6.06pm AEST

A senior Liberal is telling me Tamworth, Ballina and the Blue Mountains are lost.

This is early, so precautionary principles, please.

6.04pm AEST

Here are the numbers you need to know tonight.

There are 93 seats in the lower house of the New South Wales parliament so 47 are needed to form a government.

5.47pm AEST

The balloons are blown up, the cabanossi is on the Jatz and hopefully the telly is plugged in.

@gabriellechan just waiting for the party to begin in Coota @KatrinaHoddy @NSWNationals #nswpol pic.twitter.com/6D89aKDbYA

5.38pm AEST

According to a Sky News exit poll, voters listed the issues which influenced their votes.

They were:

5.26pm AEST

Good afternoon, political wonks,

It’s a beautiful day around the state of New South Wales and here you are, stuck to an election blog. I salute you, my fellow tragic.

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Venus and Jupiter Strife
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ARIES (March 21-April 19). Believe your gut reaction — the one you had before you got the chance to intellectually process things. It was the first response you had, and it came with a physical sensation. It was correct.

 
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Quotations in the News
 
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Florida State women edge Arizona State
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Patrick Gale: ‘I turned my great-grandfather gay’
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Enthralling and irreverent, Gale‘s granny was full of family gossip – about everyone except her father. In his latest novel, the author tells the story of this enigmatic man who left his home for the life of a cowboy on the Canadian prairies

We were imaginatively brought-up children so of course we had a dressing-up box. Actually it was better than a box; it was a Gladstone bag of ancient leather. There were cowboy hats, holster belts, high heels and baby revolvers, a multi-tiered frou-frou petticoat and a terrible old floral skirt, handy for combining with a battered black hat. There were matching his and hers “gypsy” outfits, a moth-eared rabbit costume, a bridesmaid’s dress in soiled salmon-pink satin and a pair of bearskin gloves.

These were the real thing and, when worn by a small child, as big as motorcycle gauntlets: heavy, with furry backs and dark leather palms, perfect for terrifying me when worn with the remaining accessory, an old gas mask. The older brother who dictated all our games assured me the gloves had been made by Cowboy Grandpa, who had shot and skinned the bear himself. I accepted this as gospel and, because both our grandfathers were already dead, I thought no more about it.

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2015-03-28 04:28:44 (50 minutes ago) 

It’s almost worthy of Spinal Tap – a collection of the musician’s thoughts, jotted down while in transit on sick bags. But his book The Sick Bag Song provides a window on Cave’s honesty as well as his narcissism, and there’s the odd flash of brilliance

When you’ve personally witnessed Nick Cave nodding out on heroin and slowly lowering his head into a candle flame – his mass of dyed black hair igniting as you rush over with a tea towel to extinguish the blaze – you are likely to do a minor double-take when, years later, you hear that he’s been made an honorary doctor of letters by the University of Brighton, the English seaside town he calls home.

Such is the unlikely trajectory of a musician who, for more than three decades, has staggered along the fissure that separates low life from highbrow art. Like very few other “rock stars” – not a breed he has ever closely identified himself with – Cave has survived the thanatos of his self-destructive impulses to become a canonised artist of the transgressive. He’s made several acclaimed albums, written novels and screenplays, and been showered with awards. He’s even had his own South Bank Show.

I reposition my face so that I stop looking like Kim Jong-un and start looking more like Johnny Cash

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Nick Cave: pass the sick bag
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It’s almost worthy of Spinal Tap – a collection of the musician’s thoughts, jotted down while in transit on sick bags. But his book The Sick Bag Song provides a window on Cave’s honesty as well as his narcissism, and there’s the odd flash of brilliance

When you’ve personally witnessed Nick Cave nodding out on heroin and slowly lowering his head into a candle flame – his mass of dyed black hair igniting as you rush over with a tea towel to extinguish the blaze – you are likely to do a minor double-take when, years later, you hear that he’s been made an honorary doctor of letters by the University of Brighton, the English seaside town he calls home.

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2015-03-28 04:20:30 (59 minutes ago) 
The instant impact of Tottenham’s scoring sensation in the Euro 2016 qualifier against Lithuania is now the talk of the national scene
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Oh, Harry. It just had to be didn’t it? Plenty of England strikers have scored on their debut. Very few have done so with their third touch 78 seconds after walking on to the pitch. And yet there was Harry Kane in the 76th minute at Wembley, loitering in that portable little pocket of space he carries about with him at all times ready to nod in Raheem Sterling’s excellent far-post cross and make the score 4-0 to England on the night.

Who writes his scripts? Presumably somebody who spent a lot of their formative years reading children’s comics of the 1950s. Wembley erupted, Kane wheeled away to the corner flag – a man who just keeps on hitting the jackpot, cherries zeroing in every time – while up in his box even Greg Dyke could be seen leaping about in a state of chairmanly delirium.

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2015-03-28 04:03:15 (1 hours ago) 
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Cop Gets Firsthand Taste of Police Brutality During His Own Violent Arrest
2015-03-28 04:00:25 (1 hours ago) 
Videotape caught the whole incident.

Pittsburgh, PA– A Pennsylvania State Trooper, David Williams, is suing the city of Pittsburgh and four police officers following his own brutal arrest in September. This cop on cop violence was caught on surveillance video.

The encounter began at Williams’ brother’s wedding reception where a server alleged that the groom got “touchy-feely” with her and tried to pressure her into drinking alcohol despite her informing him that she was pregnant.

The uncomfortable woman called her boyfriend to come pick her up, and upon arrival, the man confronted the groom about his behavior. A fight broke out between the two men, and when police arrived a confrontation between the officers and Williams began.  The arresting officers claim that Williams would not move back and became aggressive with the police.

Williams was ultimately arrested for allegedly ignoring police orders to stand back and fighting with officers, CBS reported.  The trooper and his lawyer are disputing the official story and say that the video proves that the Pittsburgh officers were the ones who assaulted him.

“Throwing him to the ground, punching him in the head, kicking him in the groin, and for that conduct, he was then charged with criminal offenses that he didn’t commit in an effort to justify these abusive tactics,” his attorney Tim O’Brien told KDKA.

The video very clearly shows Williams being kicked and assaulted.

“These officers’ false reports destroyed my reputation, traumatized my family and nearly caused me to lose my job and my liberty. If I hadn’t discovered the surveillance videotape, I might never have been able to clear my name,” Williams said in a statement to KDKA.

This is not the first time we have seen that thin blue line injuring its own.

In February, an officer responding to a domestic disturbance at a North Texas residence, shot and killed an off-duty sheriff’s deputy.

At the end of January, we reported on a Yonkers police officer who shot a suicidal officer from another precinct, claiming he feared for his safety.

Earlier in the month of January we reported on an undercover Albuquerque police officer who was shot by another officer during a drug bust over $60 worth of meth.  The media called it a “tragic accident” while, in reality, it was another example of police shooting someone who poses no threat to them.

In another tragic incident, John Ballard Gorman was shot and killed by fellow officer during a training exercise in Tunica, MS last month. The officer who shot Gorman failed to switch out his weapon for a training weapon and fired a real round into his fellow officer, killing him.

Watch the video here.

Read more at here. 

 

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5 Crooked Drug War Cops Who Outraged Us This Week -- Sticky Fingered Narc Edition
2015-03-28 04:00:24 (1 hours ago) 
An FBI agent whose heroin habit got the best of him, and more all make the rogues' gallery.

Enforcing the drug laws leads to constant temptation for the men and women of law enforcement, and some are not strong enough to resist it. Week in, week out and year in, year out, there's a constant cavalacade of crooked and corrupt cops who seem to have lost their moral compass in the ethically ambigous arena of policing drug prohibition. Here's this week's bad apples:

1. In Washington, DC, an FBI agent was arrested last Friday on charges he stole hundreds of grams of heroin seized in drug raids, keeping it in his car, and occasionally using it. Matthew Lowry, 33, will plead guilty to 64 counts of obstruction of justice, heroin possession, and conversion of property, his attorney said. Lowry's larceny caused federal prosecutors to have to drop charges against at least 28 defendants in drug cases and to notify 150 more than Lowry had been part of their investigations.

2. In South Salt Lake, Utah, a Unified police detective was arrested last Friday on charges he stole more than $8,500 in drug buy money from the department. Sgt. Kenneth Calhoun, 49, went down after an audit earlier this year revealed discrepancies in the drug buy funds. The audit identified at least 46 cases where Calhoun submitted "chits" for drug buy funds, but never turned in any drugs. He is charged with misuse of public money and official misconduct. The 19-year department veteran is now on administrative leave.

3. In Memphis, four Shelby County corrections deputies were arrested Monday on charges they conspired to smuggle Oxycontin into the county jail. The four went down in a sting after the FBI's Tarnished Badge Task Force found "cooperating" inmates who agreed to ask them to smuggle the drugs into the jail. The sting included meetings between the jailers and people named by the inmates as intermediaries where fake Oxycontin pills and cash were given to them. The jailers then smuggled the pills into the jail, where the cooperating inmates turned them in to authorities. All four are now looking at up to 20 years in federal prison.

4. In San Francisco, a former San Francisco police undercover officer was sentenced last Wednesday to three years and three months in prison for stealing money and belongings from people during drug searches. Edmond Robles, 47, a 22-year veteran of the force, had been convicted in February of five counts -- conspiracy to violate civil rights, two counts of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit theft from a federally funded program (namely, the Police Department) and theft. Robles is the third San Francisco police officer to go down in the case, which targeted residents of the city's SRO hotels.

5. In Houston, a former Houston police officer was sentenced last Friday to more than five years in federal prison for agreeing to use his law enforcement position to provide security for a 10-kilogram drug deal. He agreed to provide security for a $2,500 payment. He had been indicted on charges of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine.

This article produced in partnership with the Drug War Chronicle.

 
Somalia hotel attack: Diplomat, others killed
2015-03-28 04:00:23 (1 hours ago) 
 
Wiggly words on immigration from potential Republican field
2015-03-28 03:50:04 (1 hours ago) 
DENVER (AP) - It's become even clearer thanks to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker: Immigration is the banana peel of 2016 Republican presidential politics. Just ask Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. He stepped up as a Senate leader on immigration only to slip and fall in a tea party ruckus over the issue. In a moment of candor, Rubio remembered the months of trying to get back up as "a real trial for me." Others, too, have shifted on the matter....
 
Northland by-election a wake-up call for National
2015-03-28 03:48:18 (2 hours ago) 
Shockwave. That is what will be going through National after the Northland rout.
 
The Banana Bunker
2015-03-28 03:41:09 (2 hours ago) 
submitted by TankBro to funny
[link] [121 comments]
 
Sandwiches Are a Major Contributor to Dietary Sodium Intake
2015-03-28 03:23:17 (2 hours ago) 
Sandwiches account for one-fifth of total sodium intake, with nearly half of American adults consuming them on any given day, according to new study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
 
Official: Siege of Gunmen in Somali Hotel Ends, 17 Dead
2015-03-28 03:20:47 (2 hours ago) 
Somali government officials say they have taken control of the hotel where extremist gunmen were holed up for more than 12 hours in an attack that has left at least 17 people dead.






 
Sex assault suspects caught by cops and victim's family
2015-03-28 03:20:44 (2 hours ago) 
The assailants were just 14 and 16
 
A Food Book to Chew On
2015-03-28 03:20:44 (2 hours ago) 
Jeff Benjamin’s new book might be about the restaurant industry, but it’s really so much more.
 
Attorney seeks new trial in stop-and-frisk case
2015-03-28 03:20:44 (2 hours ago) 
Juror says the panel was confused by the verdict sheet and its intention was not carried out.
 
Stocks close with slight gains, but still end the week lower
2015-03-28 03:20:44 (2 hours ago) 
NEW YORK - A tough week on the stock market ended quietly Friday. Major indexes notched modest gains, not nearly enough to make up for the four previous days of losses. It wound up being the second-worst week for the market so far this year.
 
Camera on stun gun offers evidence in Pa. shooting by officer
2015-03-28 03:20:44 (2 hours ago) 
HARRISBURG - Footage from police vehicle dashboard cameras has long been broadcast on television and posted online, and there has been much debate about the use of body cameras for police since the fatal shooting last year of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.
 
Reid announces retirement, endorses Schumer as heir
2015-03-28 03:20:44 (2 hours ago) 
WASHINGTON - Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, a tenacious deal-maker who has been the top Democrat in the Senate for the last decade, said Friday he will not run for reelection in 2016.
 
Cost of city breaks in Europe falls for UK tourists
2015-03-28 03:20:31 (2 hours ago) 

European short breaks are more of a bargain for UK tourists this year, as prices drop in destinations across Europe, with Vilnius emerging as the cheapest city

The cost of a European city break for UK tourists has fallen dramatically over the last year, driven by cheaper prices across Europe and the soaring value of sterling, according to the latest survey by Post Office Travel Money. Thanks to the strong pound, UK travellers will have up to 22% more to spend than a year ago.

The study, which compares the cost of common holiday expenses in 28 popular city-break destinations, reports a drop in prices at three-quarters of the cities that were studied. The biggest fall in prices is in the Austrian capital of Vienna, where prices have plunged 22.2% year-on-year. A weekend stay in Vienna is now markedly cheaper than one in Amsterdam, Copenhagen or Paris.

Continue reading...
 
The foodie traveller … chef Valentine Warner in Mexico City
2015-03-28 03:20:30 (2 hours ago) 

The TV chef was amazed by the sheer variety Mexican cuisine has to offer – including a taco made with an ingredient he had never imagined eating …

Top 10 budget hotels and B&Bs in Mexico City

All my preconceptions about Mexican food were blown out of the water on my first trip to the country, when I discovered a cuisine that offers everything from butch street food to incredibly refined dishes, from hearty food like grandmother’s mole to delicate crab soups.

I love to explore street stalls and local places to eat rather than posh restaurants and, while I was in Mexico City, I had two extraordinary experiences.

Continue reading...
 
What's 'true' about the cross that killed Jesus?
2015-03-28 03:20:17 (2 hours ago) 
In July of 2013, the oldest of Jesus relics stories rose again when Turkish archaeologists discovered a stone chest in a 1,350-year-old church that appeared to contain a piece of Jesus' cross.
 
Rosberg heads Hamilton in practice
2015-03-28 03:20:09 (2 hours ago) 
Nico Rosberg edges out Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to set the pace in final practice at the Malaysian Grand Prix.
 
Pakistan Says Soldiers Kill 15 Militants Near Afghan Border
2015-03-28 03:20:03 (2 hours ago) 
Pakistan army says its soldiers kill 15 militants in ground operation near Afghan border
 
Indiana’s ‘religious-objections’ law gets blasted
2015-03-28 03:11:26 (2 hours ago) 
Use of the hashtag #boycottindiana spread across Twitter, spurred on by activists such as “Star Trek” actor George Takei, who argue the measure opens the door to legalized discrimination against gay people.
 
Sandwiches Are a Major Contributor to Dietary Sodium Intake
2015-03-28 03:10:14 (2 hours ago) 
Sandwiches account for one-fifth of total sodium intake, with nearly half of American adults consuming them on any given day, according to new study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
 
Chris Baker’s rare homer lifts Washington to a 5-1 victory over USC
2015-03-28 03:10:12 (2 hours ago) 
Chris Baker hits his first homer since Little League
 
Cost of city breaks in Europe falls for UK tourists
2015-03-28 03:09:49 (2 hours ago) 

European short breaks are more of a bargain for UK tourists this year, as prices drop in destinations across Europe, with Vilnius emerging as the cheapest city

The cost of a European city break for UK tourists has fallen dramatically over the last year, driven by cheaper prices across Europe and the soaring value of sterling, according to the latest survey by Post Office Travel Money. Thanks to the strong pound, UK travellers will have up to 22% more to spend than a year ago.

The study, which compares the cost of common holiday expenses in 28 popular city-break destinations, reports a drop in prices at three-quarters of the cities that were studied. The biggest fall in prices is in the Austrian capital of Vienna, where prices have plunged 22.2% year-on-year. A weekend stay in Vienna is now markedly cheaper than one in Amsterdam, Copenhagen or Paris.

Continue reading...
 
Budget gives congressional Republicans a chance to regain their footing after early stumbles
2015-03-28 03:09:22 (2 hours ago) 
 
Report: Murder-suicide for Cooper exec & wife
2015-03-28 03:07:46 (2 hours ago) 
AHOSPITAL EXECUTIVE who spent decades as an important figure in New Jersey politics and policy killed his wife, set their house ablaze, then killed himself, a prosecutor ruled yesterday, finally giving an explanation six months later of the mysterious deaths.
 
Pilot used ax to try to break in
2015-03-28 03:07:46 (2 hours ago) 
In a last-ditch attempt to enter the cockpit, the pilot of doomed Germanwings Flight 9525 used an ax to try to break down the reinforced door moments before the plane slammed into the French Alps, reports said Friday.
 
Copilot appeared healthy, but may have hidden illness
2015-03-28 03:07:45 (2 hours ago) 
MONTABAUR, Germany - Germanwings copilot Andreas Lubitz appeared happy and healthy to acquaintances, but a picture emerged Friday of a man who hid evidence of an illness from his employers - including a torn-up doctor's note that would have kept him off work the day authorities say he crashed Flight 9525 into an Alpine mountainside.
 
NYC mayor: Gas line may have been tapped
2015-03-28 03:07:45 (2 hours ago) 
NEW YORK - Someone may have improperly tapped a gas line before an explosion that leveled three apartment buildings and injured nearly two dozen people, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday as firefighters soaked the still-smoldering buildings and police searched for at least two missing people.
 
Report: Murder-suicide for Cooper exec & wife
2015-03-28 03:07:43 (2 hours ago) 
AHOSPITAL EXECUTIVE who spent decades as an important figure in New Jersey politics and policy killed his wife, set their house ablaze, then killed himself, a prosecutor ruled yesterday, finally giving an explanation six months later of the mysterious deaths.
 
Pilot used ax to try to break in
2015-03-28 03:07:43 (2 hours ago) 
In a last-ditch attempt to enter the cockpit, the pilot of doomed Germanwings Flight 9525 used an ax to try to break down the reinforced door moments before the plane slammed into the French Alps, reports said Friday.
 
Copilot appeared healthy, but may have hidden illness
2015-03-28 03:07:42 (2 hours ago) 
MONTABAUR, Germany - Germanwings copilot Andreas Lubitz appeared happy and healthy to acquaintances, but a picture emerged Friday of a man who hid evidence of an illness from his employers - including a torn-up doctor's note that would have kept him off work the day authorities say he crashed Flight 9525 into an Alpine mountainside.
 
NYC mayor: Gas line may have been tapped
2015-03-28 03:07:42 (2 hours ago) 
NEW YORK - Someone may have improperly tapped a gas line before an explosion that leveled three apartment buildings and injured nearly two dozen people, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday as firefighters soaked the still-smoldering buildings and police searched for at least two missing people.
 
Arizona man slaps son, then fatally stabs wife for complaining, police say
2015-03-28 03:01:31 (2 hours ago) 
John Leo Davis Jr., 37, of Goodyear, Arizona, was charged with first-degree murder and jailed on $2 million bond in the death of Michele Davis, 35.
 
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