Wednesday, June 30, 2010

VA hospital may have infected 1,800 veterans with HIV

(CNN) - A Missouri VA hospital is under fire because it may have exposed more than 1,800 veterans to life-threatening diseases such as hepatitis and HIV.

John Cochran VA Medical Center in St. Louis has recently mailed letters to 1,812 veterans telling them they could contract hepatitis B, hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) after visiting the medical center for dental work, said Rep. Russ Carnahan.

(Full story)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Who's to blame for the oil spill?

The federal government, of course. The incompetent fools in Washington provided erroneous information regarding the threat of a potential spill, they wouldn't allow BP to drill in shallower water where a spill could be better contained, and they won't allow local communities to do what is necessary to do to clean up or minimize damage from the spill.

The real reason the feds are capitalizing on this tragedy is the same reason they capitalize on every tragedy: more money and more power. Look for Obama to try to use this to push through carbon taxes, cap and trade, and more government control over the oil industry.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

WHO swine flu experts 'linked' with drug companies

(BBC) - Key scientists behind World Health Organization advice on stockpiling of pandemic flu drugs had financial ties with companies which stood to profit, an investigation has found.

The British Medical Journal says the scientists had openly declared these interests in other publications yet WHO made no mention of the links.

(Full story)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Too much government in the gulf

by Ron Paul ( - Sadly, the disaster in the Gulf continues this week as BP's efforts at containment keep hitting snags and residents along the coast scramble to clean up and defend their shores and wildlife. Many have criticized the federal government in the past weeks for not doing enough. The reality is there is only so much government can do to help, yet a lot they can do to prolong the problem and misdirect the pain. For example, in the interest of "doing something" the administration has enacted a unilateral ban on offshore drilling. This is counterproductive. I am proud to cosponsor legislation to lift that ban. Why punish other oil companies and their hard-working employees who had nothing to do with this disaster, and who have better safety records?

And, as usually happens after disasters, countless people -- even officials in local and state government -- have come forward who know what needs to be done and are willing to help, but have been stymied by federal bureaucratic red tape as the oil continues to gush. The real problem is not so much a lack of government assistance, but government getting in the way of those who have solutions. We witnessed the same phenomenon during hurricanes Katrina and Ike. It seems government's main role in these situations is to find excuses to stall relief, hold meetings and press conferences, waste money, punish the wrong people, and over-regulate.

(Full article)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Newlywed arrested after rushing wife to hospital

(AOL News) - When a newlywed cancer survivor with a heart condition started showing stroke symptoms, her husband knew he needed to get her to the hospital immediately. Now, the new groom faces a felony charge from an encounter with a police officer he says delayed his wife's access to treatment.

Just married last week, Eric and Aline Wright of Chattanooga, Tenn., both medical professionals at Erlanger Medical Center, were enjoying what was supposed to be their honeymoon when Aline's speech became slurred and her face began to droop on Wednesday. During the ride to the hospital, Eric says he stopped at two red lights but ran them both. After passing through the second red light, a police cruiser pulled behind the couple's vehicle, following it with lights and sirens on to the hospital.

(Full story)

Napolitano: Internet monitoring needed to fight homegrown terrorism

WASHINGTON (Fox News) - Fighting homegrown terrorism by monitoring Internet communications is a civil liberties trade-off the U.S. government must make to beef up national security, the nation's homeland security chief said Friday.

As terrorists increasingly recruit U.S. citizens, the government needs to constantly balance Americans' civil rights and privacy with the need to keep people safe, said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

(Full story)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Ohio Supreme Court okays estimates for speeding tickets

(AOL Autos) - The verdict rang alarm bells far beyond The Buckeye State. On June 2nd, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that police officers could issue speeding tickets based merely on visual estimates. The media frenzy was predictable, with most outlets mirroring a CNN report that said, "Motorists in Ohio, beware: Speeding is in the eye of the beholder, especially when police are the ones guesstimating."

But what’s the real story here? Have Ohio police truly been given official sanction to write you a speeding ticket without any radar proof? When it’s your word against the cop’s, does this mean the cop automatically wins, and you have no recourse to appeal? Will this decision grossly impact traffic enforcement in Ohio?

(Full story)

Girl punched by cop apologizes

A jaywalking incident in Seattle that resulted in a costumed tax-feeder sucker punching a teenage girl has been resolved. The girl has apologized to the cop, apparently for bruising the poor man's fragile ego.

So let's review: A 19-year-old girl gets attacked for the (non-)crime of jaywalking, her friend tries to defend her, the attacker hauls off and slugs the 17-year-old in the face, and then she has to apologize to him. What bothers me is that most Americans will automatically side with the cop, praising him for "just doing his job." Personally, I would hope that any man in the position of having to arrest young girls for simply crossing the street in the middle of the block would do some serious soul-searching and consider doing something productive for a living.

Friday, June 18, 2010

What If...?

Ron Paul asks some tough questions...

Obama admin: Don't question torturers' sincerity

( Blog) - The Supreme Court disgraced itself on Monday by torpedoing the appeal of Maher Arar, the Canadian who was kidnapped at John F. Kennedy International Airport and sent by the U.S. government to Syria for torturing.

The Canadian government has publicly apologized to Arar for providing false information to the U.S. government about Arar’s suspicious connections. The U.S. government has refused to admit it did anything wrong in shipping Arar to the Middle East to be tortured at U.S. behest.

(Full story)

Obama internet 'kill switch' proposed

(The Age) - U.S. President Barack Obama would be granted powers to seize control of and even shut down the internet under a new bill that describes the global internet as a U.S. "national asset".

Local lobby groups and academics have rounded on the plan, saying that, rather than combat terrorists, it would actually do them "the biggest favour ever" by terrorising the rest of the world, which is now heavily reliant on cyberspace.

(Full story)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Police Brutality in Seattle

From the video description:
    The altercation took place on Martin Luther King Junior Way South in Seattle. The tape begins as the officer appears to be trying to arrest one of the girls for jaywalking.

    Both girls, ages 19 and 17, were eventually cuffed and booked on suspicion of obstructing an officer. The one who was punched was checked out by medics and deemed to be OK.

Protectionist law slowing oil spill cleanup?

(Fox News) - Foreign companies possessing some of the world's most advanced oil skimming ships say they are being kept out of efforts to clean up the oil spill in the Gulf because of a 1920's law known as the Jones Act -- a protectionist law that requires vessels working in U.S. waters be built in the U.S. and be crewed by U.S. workers.

Joseph Carafano of the Heritage Foundation has been studying the matter and wonders, "Are we accepting all the international assistance in the maritime domain that we can, and is the Jones Act an impediment to that?"

(Full story)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

How an Alabama fire chief risked jail to save town from Gulf oil spill

MAGNOLIA SPRINGS, Ala. (Christian Science Monitor) - Magnolia Springs, Ala., has a plan to stop the Gulf oil spill from entering the Magnolia River. A flotilla of nine spud barges – flanked by containment boom – will be waiting, ready to block the 530-foot-wide entrance to Weeks Bay.

The blockade is being led by Jamie Hinton, the local volunteer fire chief who, at one point, was faced with the possibility of being jailed for violating the federal and state chain of command.

(Full story)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Apple secrecy is bitter fruit on Hill

(Politico) - Apple is famous for its veil of secrecy around the new iPads and iPhones. But Sen. John Rockefeller and others in Congress wonder whether the company has more than technological innovations to hide.

When Apple didn't participate in an April hearing on children's online privacy, the West Virginia Democrat who chairs the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, gave voice to his suspicions.

"When people don't show up when we ask them to ... all it does is increases our interest in what they're doing and why they didn't show up," Rockefeller said of Apple and Google, which both declined to testify. "It was a stupid mistake for them not to show up, and I say shame on them."

(Full story)

When congressmen attack

U.S. flag recalled after causing 143 million deaths

WASHINGTON (The Onion) - Citing a series of fatal malfunctions dating back to 1777, flag manufacturer Annin & Company announced Monday that it would be recalling all makes and models of its popular American flag from both foreign and domestic markets.

Representatives from the nation's leading flag producer claimed that as many as 143 million deaths in the past two centuries can be attributed directly to the faulty U.S. models, which have been utilized extensively since the 18th century in sectors as diverse as government, the military, and public education.

(Full story)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

In jail for being in debt

(Minneapolis Star Tribune) - As a sheriff's deputy dumped the contents of Joy Uhlmeyer's purse into a sealed bag, she begged to know why she had just been arrested while driving home to Richfield after an Easter visit with her elderly mother.

No one had an answer. Uhlmeyer spent a sleepless night in a frigid Anoka County holding cell, her hands tucked under her armpits for warmth. Then, handcuffed in a squad car, she was taken to downtown Minneapolis for booking. Finally, after 16 hours in limbo, jail officials fingerprinted Uhlmeyer and explained her offense -- missing a court hearing over an unpaid debt. "They have no right to do this to me," said the 57-year-old patient care advocate, her voice as soft as a whisper. "Not for a stupid credit card."

(Full story)

Obama appeals to Congress for $50 billion in emergency aid

WASHINGTON (Fox News) - President Obama is pressing Congress to approve emergency aid money to support economic recovery and help avoid widespread layoffs of public workers, the Washington Post reported Saturday.

Congressional leaders received a letter from the president asking for almost $50 billion for distribution to state and local governments, saying that increased spending is "urgent and unavoidable," the Post reported. The money would protect the jobs of teachers, police and firefighters.

(Full story)

Friday, June 11, 2010

5 officers indicted in Katrina killing

NEW ORLEANS, La. (NY Times) - A federal grand jury charged five police officers Friday in connection with the shooting death of a civilian in the days after Hurricane Katrina.

An 11-count indictment against the officers revealed a sequence of events that led to the body of Henry Glover, 31, being found burned in an abandoned car.

The killing occurred Sept. 2, 2005, four days into the flooding of the city, in the Algiers neighborhood on the west bank of the Mississippi River, according to the indictment. David Warren, a police officer at the time, was charged with shooting Mr. Glover with an assault rifle.

(Full story)

Raft guide arrested after helping stranded rafter

(Denver Post) - Clear Creek sheriff's deputies on Thursday arrested a rafting guide for swimming to a stranded young rafter who had tumbled from his boat on Clear Creek.

Ryan Daniel Snodgrass, a 28-year-old guide with Arkansas Valley Adventures rafting company, was charged with "obstructing government operations," said Clear Creek Sheriff Don Krueger.

(Full story)

Feds consider banning peanuts on planes

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - Federal regulators are considering a snack attack on the nation's airlines that would restrict or even completely ban serving peanuts on commercial flights.

Advocates say the move would ease fears and potential harm to an estimated 1.8 million Americans who suffer from peanut allergies. Peanut farmers and food packagers, however, see it as overreaching and unfair to their legume.

(Full story)

Ladies' night not all right, state says

(Minneapolis Star-Tribune) - It's a bastion of bar culture: "Ladies' Night," staged to attract female customers by cutting their drink prices and cover charges.

It's also illegal gender discrimination, according to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.

The department charged this week that by having ladies' nights, five Twin Cities establishments denied men the right to "full and equal enjoyment" of their businesses.

(Full story)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Human experimentation part of Washington's torture program

WASHINGTON (NY Times) - Medical professionals who were involved in the Central Intelligence Agency's interrogations of terrorism suspects engaged in forms of human research and experimentation in violation of medical ethics and domestic and international law, according to a new report from a human rights organization.

Doctors, psychologists and other professionals assigned to monitor the C.I.A.'s use of waterboarding, sleep deprivation and other "enhanced" interrogation techniques gathered and collected data on the impact of the interrogations on the detainees in order to refine those techniques and ensure that they stayed within the limits established by the Bush administration's lawyers, the report found. But, by doing so, the medical professionals turned the detainees into research subjects, according to the report, which is scheduled to be published on Monday by Physicians for Human Rights.

(Full story)

Crime scene investigator found guilty of evidence tampering sentenced

CASS COUNTY, Neb. (KETV 7) - David Kofoed, the disgraced former Douglas County chief crime scene investigator, has been sentenced to 20 months to four years for evidence tampering.

Judge Randall Rehmeier of Cass County District Court handed down the sentence at 4:36 p.m. Tuesday.

Rehmeier cited Kofoed's lack of remorse and the seriousness of the crime just before delivering the sentence.

(Full story)

Off-duty police officer kills man after dispute

(Baltimore Sun) - Tyrone Brown, a 32-year-old former Marine from East Baltimore, was out with his sister and her friend enjoying the Mount Vernon club scene early Saturday when he may have taken one of his trademark jokes too far. Glancing at a woman in an alley off East Eager Street, he put his hands on her behind.

Police said the woman's companion, an off-duty Baltimore police officer, got into an argument and physical confrontation with Brown after they left the club Eden's Lounge. His sister said there was no fight, and that her brother apologized and tried to walk away. What happened next is not in dispute — the officer pulled out his department-issued Glock handgun and fired at the unarmed Brown 13 times from just a few feet away.

(Full story)

Expose murderous war criminals, go to jail

( - Federal officials have arrested an Army intelligence analyst who boasted of giving classified U.S. combat video and hundreds of thousands of classified State Department records to whistleblower site Wikileaks, has learned.

SPC Bradley Manning, 22, of Potomac, Maryland, was stationed at Forward Operating Base Hammer, 40 miles east of Baghdad, where he was arrested nearly two weeks ago by the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division. A family member says he’s being held in custody in Kuwait, and has not been formally charged.

Manning was turned in late last month by a former computer hacker with whom he spoke online. In the course of their chats, Manning took credit for leaking a headline-making video of a helicopter attack that Wikileaks posted online in April. The video showed a deadly 2007 U.S. helicopter air strike in Baghdad that claimed the lives of several innocent civilians.

(Full story)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Make way for the president...or else

It happened Thursday night in the nation's capital. President Obama was on his way home from a school event for one of his daughters, and two men refused to move out of the way of his motorcade. This is America, so of course the would-be terrorists were arrested.

The Hill also reported the story. One commenter on that site claims to have witnessed the incident, saying that what happened was more a result of confusion than anything else, and that the officers involved "certainly appeared to use excessive force."

In the old days, failing to bow or curtsy before the king's procession would have meant a swift execution. Things aren't quite that bad anymore. Today, failure to humble yourself when the ruler of the land passes by might only result in your being tackled, arrested, and charged with assault.

Friday, June 4, 2010

U.S. "secret war" expands globally as Special Operations forces take larger role

(Washington Post) - Beneath its commitment to soft-spoken diplomacy and beyond the combat zones of Afghanistan and Iraq, the Obama administration has significantly expanded a largely secret U.S. war against al-Qaeda and other radical groups, according to senior military and administration officials.

Special Operations forces have grown both in number and budget, and are deployed in 75 countries, compared with about 60 at the beginning of last year. In addition to units that have spent years in the Philippines and Colombia, teams are operating in Yemen and elsewhere in the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia.

(Full story)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Detained immigrants may help bring in census money

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) - Paulo Sergio Alfaro-Sanchez, an illegal immigrant being held at a detention center in Washington state, had no idea that the federal government would count him in the census.

No one gave him a census form. No one told him his information would be culled from the center's records.

But counted he was, along with other illegal immigrants facing deportation in detention centers across the country - about 30,000 people on any given day, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs and Enforcement.

(Full story)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Right to remain silent? Suspect better speak up

WASHINGTON (AP) - Want to invoke your right to remain silent? You'll have to speak up.

In a narrowly split decision, the Supreme Court's conservative majority expanded its limits on the famous Miranda rights for criminal suspects on Tuesday — over the dissent of new Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who said the ruling turned Americans' rights of protection from police abuse "upside down."

(Full story)

Is "compulsory voting" the answer?

(NPR) - William Galston thinks the key to less polarization in the electorate is compulsory voting. It's the disaffected, the angry, who vote. The Howard Beales of the world. If everyone — including those in the less intense middle — voted, you would get fewer ideologues in office.

The Brookings Institution scholar is among those who are dismayed at the turnout in this country. Those in the wide middle of the spectrum are the ones who abstain from voting, and Galston thinks that's not good. Get more people in the process by making it easier to vote through things like liberalized absentee voting.

(Full story)

Soaring costs force Canada to reassess health model

TORONTO (Reuters) - Pressured by an aging population and the need to rein in budget deficits, Canada's provinces are taking tough measures to curb healthcare costs, a trend that could erode the principles of the popular state-funded system.

Ontario, Canada's most populous province, kicked off a fierce battle with drug companies and pharmacies when it said earlier this year it would halve generic drug prices and eliminate "incentive fees" to generic drug manufacturers.

British Columbia is replacing block grants to hospitals with fee-for-procedure payments and Quebec has a new flat health tax and a proposal for payments on each medical visit -- an idea that critics say is an illegal user fee.

(Full story)