Thursday, March 24, 2011

Deaths per TWH by energy source

Source: Seth Godin - Next Big Future Blog

Nothing is perfectly safe. Chasing perfection can cause us to ignore just improving and trading worse for a lot better. Non-roof installations of solar is safer than roof installation. Nuclear, wind, non-roof solar and hydro are a lot safer than coal and oil. Natural gas is safer but not as much as nuclear and those others. The focus needs to be on getting rid of the most dangerous energy sources which are coal and oil first. Then after that decades long project is done to look at the other energy sources. Safety and improvements for all energy sources should be made as we go.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at Seth Godin's Next Big Future Blog.
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Senator Ron Johnson’s WSJ Op-Ed Revives Death Panels And Misleads On Health Reform

The Policy Page - Forbes

In celebration of the one-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, Wisconsin GOP Senator Ron Johnson has taken to the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal to reinvigorate the misinformation campaign against health care reform as he continues to press the death panel narrative.

Johnson cynically uses his daughter, Carey, to make his point –explaining how Obamacare might have left her to die when she was born with a congenital heart ailment. Fortunately, highly capable surgeons were able to repair the problem, allowing Carey to live a normal life. Yet, Johnson fears that the result might have been different had the ACA been in effect at the time of young Carey’s birth.


The senator might want to think about how, prior to health care reform, a less fortunate baby would never have qualified for a health insurance policy given her rather extreme pre-existing condition. Indeed, a little girl belonging to a family where the breadwinner might lose his or her job –and the insurance that comes with it –would be in some serious medical trouble and the family in dire financial straits.

Today, thanks to Obamacare, someone less fortunate than the senator does not have to fear loss of health insurance as no child can now be denied health insurance.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at The Policy Page - Forbes.
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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The 'Kill Team' Images: US Army Apologizes for Horrific Photos from Afghanistan

Source: SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

A group of rogue US Army soldiers in Afghanistan killed innocent civilians and then posed with their bodies. On Monday, SPIEGEL published some of the photos --and the US military responded promptly with an apology. Still, NATO fears that reactions in Afghanistan could be violent.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International.
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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Man With 4th Amendment Written on Chest Sues Over Airport Arrest

Source: Threat Level on

A 21-year-old Virginia man who wrote an abbreviated version of the Fourth Amendment on his body and stripped to his shorts at an airport security screening area is demanding $250,000 in damages for being detained on a disorderly conduct charge.

Aaron Tobey claims in a civil rights lawsuit (.pdf) that in December he was handcuffed and held for about 90 minutes by the Transportation Security Administration at the Richmond International Airport after he began removing his clothing to display on his chest a magic-marker protest of airport security measures.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at Threat Level on
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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Gulf spill sickness wrecking lives

Source: Al Jazeera English

"I have critically high levels of chemicals in my body," 33-year-old Steven Aguinaga of Hazlehurst, Mississippi told Al Jazeera. "Yesterday I went to see another doctor to get my blood test results and the nurse said she didn't know how I even got there."

Aguinaga and his close friend Merrick Vallian went swimming at Fort Walton Beach, Florida, in July 2010.

"I swam underwater, then found I had orange slick stuff all over me," Aguinaga said. "At that time I had no knowledge of what dispersants were, but within a few hours, we were drained of energy and not feeling good. I've been extremely sick ever since."

Aguinaga's health has been in dramatic decline.

"I have terrible chest pain, at times I can’t seem to get enough oxygen, and I'm constantly tired with pains all over my body," Aguinaga explained, "At times I'm pissing blood, vomiting dark brown stuff, and every pore of my body is dispensing water."

And Aguinaga's friend Vallian is now dead.

"After we got back from our vacation in Florida, Merrick went to work for a company contracted by BP to clean up oil in Grand Isle, Louisiana," Aguinaga said of his 33-year-old physically fit friend.

"Aside from some gloves, BP provided no personal protection for them. He worked for them for two weeks and then died on August 23. He had just got his first paycheck, and it was in his wallet, uncashed, when he died."

Wilma Subra, a MacArthur Fellow and chemist in Louisiana, has been testing the blood of BP cleanup workers and residents in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. Subra tested Doom's blood and found high amounts of several VOC's.

"Ethylbenzene, mp-Xylene and Hexane are volatile organic chemicals that are present in the BP crude oil," Subra told Al Jazeera. "We're finding these in excess of the 95th percentile, which is the average for the entire nation. Sometimes we're finding amounts 5 to 10 times in excess of the 95th percentile."

Subra explained that there has been long enough exposure so as to create chronic impacts, that include "Liver damage, kidney damage, and damage to the nervous system. So the presence of these chemicals in the blood indicates exposure."

Testing by Subra has also revealed the chemicals are present "in coastal soil sediment, wetlands, and in crab, oyster and mussel tissues."

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at Al Jazeera English.
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U.S. funding tech firms that help Mideast dissidents evade government censors

Several technology organizations provide mechanisms to circumvent firewalls and gain access to Internet sites that are blocked by governments. These organizations are reporting huge increases in the number of people using their tools in the Arab states that are undergoing political upheaval.

The Washington Post has a great article on how the US government provides funding and support for organizations that develop technology and provide support to people who want free access to the Internet. Here are a few excerpts from the article:

The Obama administration may not be lending arms to dissidents in the Middle East, but it is offering aid in another critical way: helping them surf the Web anonymously as they seek to overthrow their government.

Federal agencies - such as the State Department, the Defense Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors - have been funding a handful of technology firms that allow people to get online without being tracked or to visit news or social media sites that governments have blocked. Many of these little-known organizations - such as the Tor Project and UltraReach- are unabashedly supportive of the activists in the Middle East.

The technology that is now taking off in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya through word of mouth began as tools of digital disobedience elsewhere. In general, these programs work by redirecting users' Web traffic to servers outside their country. That makes it more difficult to identify the users while giving them access to blocked sites.

"What began as an effort to tear down firewalls in China has become something with extraordinary potential throughout the world," said Michael Horowitz, a Reagan administration official who serves as an adviser to UltraReach. "When UltraReach started getting hits in Egypt, the company had no idea how the people there found out about it. But they feel like they can't cut them off now - the company feels like it has a responsibility. But for every dollar that gets spent by companies like UltraReach, there's $10,000 spent by the governments to protect the firewalls."

Federal agencies have funded these companies through grants and contracts. By late spring, the State Department is expected to begin doling out even more money - about $30 million - to technology firms and human rights groups to help and train people to shatter firewalls and surf the Web without being tracked.

The Tor Project, a nonprofit organization that gets money from the State and Defense departments, has seen far more people use its product during the Middle East uprisings. The number of daily sessions jumped from 250 in December to about 2500 in February in Egypt, from 500 to about 900 in Tunisia and from 25 to nearly 300 in Libya.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at the Washington Post

You can help provide open and free access to the Internet by running a Tor relay on your home computer and donating some of your bandwidth to help the Tor network grow. To learn more check out the Tor Project web site.
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Fox and Glenn Beck Stare Into a Dark Future

His is Source:

Glenn Beck has lost over a third of his TV audience since last August, and Fox News officials are willing to say — anonymously, of course; they don’t want to be identified as criticizing the talent — that they are looking at the end of his contract in December.

This is a Suspiciois News Brief.
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Thursday, March 10, 2011

War on Drugs leads to gun smuggling nightmare

Source: Libertarian Party

WASHINGTON -According to CBS, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has been involved in undercover operations to smuggle high-powered weapons into Mexico, probably as some sort of tracking operation. Now many of those weapons are in the hands of ruthless drug traffickers, which they are using to intimidate and kill people. Libertarian Party chair Mark Hinkle issued this statement today:

"This is another sad chapter in the long story of the terribly destructive War on Drugs. Now our own government is apparently involved in smuggling weapons to drug lords in Mexico. This story is as bizarre as it is depressing."

"The War on Drugs has caused far more death and destruction than it has prevented. The War on Drugs is a failure in almost every measurable way. The War on Drugs should end."

"It's becoming more and more unclearwhether the U.S. government even wants the violence to decrease. More drug violence means more jobs forfederal drug agents. More drug arrests mean more jobs forprison construction and management contractors. There are a lot of people whose income depends on a big, thriving, unsuccessful War on Drugs."

"If the War on Drugs were halted, there would no longer be any such thing as 'drug trafficking.' Violence in Mexico would decrease very dramatically, as drug lords would quickly go out of business."

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at Libertarian Party.
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Monday, March 7, 2011

Have you heard the awesome news? The End of the World is almost here!
Harold Camping, host of the program "Open Forum" on Family Radio, predicts that the rapture will happen on May 21, 2011. Camping believes the church age ended and the "Great Tribulation" (the years leading up to the end, he says) began on May 21, 1988, when Satan entered the pews. Truth, he says, can be found only in the Bible and not through the mouths of clergy.

Ten loyal listeners of the Christian broadcasting ministry Family Radio joined the radio station's first "Project Caravan" team. They walked away from work, families and communities in places as far-flung as California, Kansas, Utah and New Jersey. They gave away cars, pets, music collections and more to relatives, friends and neighbors.

They're wearing sweatshirts and other clothing announcing the "Awesome News," that Judgment Day is coming on May 21. On that day, people who will be saved will be raptured up to heaven. The rest will endure exactly 153 days of death and horror before the world ends on October 21. That message is splashed across their five sleek, vinyl-wrapped RVs, bearing this promise: "The Bible guarantees it!"

Part of that work is answering the challenge they hear most from Christians, who say the Bible teaches them no one can know when Judgment Day is coming.

That may be true, this group says, but as the end approaches the rules have changed. They say secrets God told to Daniel -- as in the Book of Daniel -- have now been unsealed, revealing new truths.

And now that they know what they believe to be true, their job is to warn -- not save -- others.

What a person can do upon hearing the warning remains slightly unclear. They want people to open Bibles and study for themselves. They suggest that everyone "cry for mercy."

But they also believe that before he created the world, God predetermined who will be saved when the Rapture comes. So if you're not part of the elect, the 2% to 3% of the world destined to be saved, you will just have to endure the horrible days until you are killed or the world ends.

This is a Suspicious News Brief.
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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Texas State students offer scholarships exclusively for white males

Source: Austin American-Statesman

CNN Interview of Colby Bohannan and commentary

Colby Bohannan said that when he first applied to college, his family didn't have a huge stockpile of money set aside to pay for school. He found many scholarships for women and minorities, but none aimed at people like him: white men.

"I felt excluded," said Bohannan, a Texas State University student. "If everyone else can find scholarships, why are we left out?"

So Bohannan, a mass communication major and Iraq war veteran, and others formed the Former Majority Association for Equality — a San Marcos-based nonprofit group that is offering five $500 scholarships exclusively to white male students.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Tiny spy planes could mimic birds, insects

Source: AP

The Pentagon has poured millions of dollars into the development of tiny drones inspired by biology, each equipped with video and audio equipment that can record sights and sounds.

They could be used to spy, but also to locate people inside earthquake-crumpled buildings and detect hazardous chemical leaks.

The smaller, the better.

Besides the hummingbird, engineers in the growing unmanned aircraft industry are working on drones that look like insects and the helicopter-like maple leaf seed.

Researchers are even exploring ways to implant surveillance and other equipment into an insect as it is undergoing metamorphosis. They want to be able to control the creature.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at AP.
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