Friday, May 23, 2008

Come Together

This drawing provided Thursday May 10, 2007 by Legacy Fine Art and Productions-Artwork of John Lennon shows 'Come Together,' a drawing by former Beatles star John Lennon. Limited edition prints made from Lennon's pen and ink drawings will be displayed and sold at The Maryland Inn in Annapolis, Md. May 31 and June 1.

Quote of the day

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi gestures during a news conference while answering a question about oil prices, May 16, 2008, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Friday, May. 16, 2008

Open quoteWe will raise production when the market justifies it.Close quote

  • Saudi Arabia's minister of petroleum and mineral resources, after the country rebuffed President Bush's request to immediately pump more oil to lower record prices
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John McCain's Childhood

McCain Backer Hagee Said Hitler Was Fulfilling God's Will (AUDIO)

by Sam Stein

John Hagee, the controversial evangelical leader and endorser of Sen. John McCain, argued in a late 1990s sermon that the Nazis had operated on God's behalf to chase the Jews from Europe and shepherd them to Palestine. According to the Reverend, Adolph Hitler was a "hunter," sent by God, who was tasked with expediting God's will of having the Jews re-establish a state of Israel.

Going in and out of biblical verse, Hagee preached: "'And they the hunters should hunt them,' that will be the Jews. 'From every mountain and from every hill and from out of the holes of the rocks.' If that doesn't describe what Hitler did in the holocaust you can't see that."

He goes on: "Theodore Hertzel is the father of Zionism. He was a Jew who at the turn of the 19th century said, this land is our land, God wants us to live there. So he went to the Jews of Europe and said 'I want you to come and join me in the land of Israel.' So few went that Hertzel went into depression. Those who came founded Israel; those who did not went through the hell of the holocaust.

"Then god sent a hunter. A hunter is someone with a gun and he forces you. Hitler was a hunter. And the Bible says -- Jeremiah writing -- 'They shall hunt them from every mountain and from every hill and from the holes of the rocks,' meaning there's no place to hide. And that might be offensive to some people but don't let your heart be offended. I didn't write it, Jeremiah wrote it. It was the truth and it is the truth. How did it happen? Because God allowed it to happen. Why did it happen? Because God said my top priority for the Jewish people is to get them to come back to the land of Israel." (Listen to the audio below.)

The sermon, which was first posted by Bruce Wilson on his site, Talk To Action, adds another element to Hagee's controversial stance on the state and history of Israel. It also may provide a new round of political headaches for McCain who has admitted that seeking out Hagee's endorsement was a mistake, but still declared himself "glad to have" it.

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Cross could adorn state license plates

2 groups oppose religious symbol

This proposed license plate in Florida is similar to the one proposed for South Carolina

This proposed license plate in Florida is similar to the one proposed for South Carolina

COLUMBIA — The cross could soon grace a state specialty license plate.

But if the Legislature endorses the new plate, which would say "I Believe" across the bottom and carry the image of a cross in front of a stained-glass window, the state could end up in court.

The bill received key approval in the House on Wednesday with a 109-0 vote. A change from the Senate version will send it back to that body before it could go to Gov. Mark Sanford's desk.

"People can express their views however they want, on a bumper sticker,

whatever," said Ronald Lindsay, director of the First Amendment Task Force for the Council for Secular Humanism, a New York-based group.

"Once you get into the license plate area, that's an official government document, or tag. There is simply no need for it."

Sen. Larry Grooms sees things differently.

This is just one of several bills the Bonneau Republican has sponsored that helps the state use constitutional law to carve out rights for people to display their faith in public places.

Grooms signed on to a bill that lays out ground rules for prayer at public meetings and another that would let government agencies and schools display historic and religious documents, including the Ten Commandments, side by side.

Both those bills are making their way through the legislative process and are on track to become law.

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Odd baseball promotion: Free tickets for fans who receive a rectal exam at the stadium

3b7742b1fba14aefa5fb12a6809e1070pob Want free baseball tickets? All you had to do last night was show up at Miller Park, home to the Milwaukee Brewers, and let a doctor check your prostate.

After the "free and confidential" rectal exam, you would have scored two free tickets to a future Brewers game.

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Where Are Those Iranian Weapons in Iraq?

Analysis by Gareth Porter

WASHINGTON, May 21 (IPS) - The U.S. military command in Iraq continues to talk about an alleged pipeline of Iranian weapons to Iraqi Shiites opposing the U.S. occupation, implying that they have become dependent on Iran for indirect-fire weapons and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs).

But U.S. officials have failed thus far to provide evidence that would support that claim, and a long-delayed U.S. military report on Iranian arms is unlikely to offer any data on what proportion of the weapons in the hands of Shiite fighters are from Iran and what proportion comes from purchases on the open market.

When Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner was asked that question at a briefing May 8, he did not answer it directly. Instead Bergner reverted to a standard U.S. military line that these groups "could not do what they're doing without the support of foreign support [sic]." Then he defined "foreign support" to include training and funding as well as weapons, implicitly conceding that he did not have much of a case based on weapons alone.

Bergner's refusal to address that question reflects a fundamental problem with the U.S. claims about Iranian weapons in Iraq: if there are indeed any Iranian rockets and mortars, and RPGs in the Mahdi Army's arsenal of stand-off weapons, they represent an insignificant part of it.

Reports by the U.S. command in Iraq over the past 15 months cited only a handful of Iranian weapons out of hundreds counted in caches found in Shiite areas. Nearly 700 mortars and rockets were reported by specific caliber size, along with a handful of RPGs, in nearly two dozen caches. Of that total, only four rockets were reported as being of Iranian origin, and another 15 were listed as possibly being Iranian.

Although those reports do not represent all the Mahdi Army caches found, they provide further evidence of the relative importance of Iranian rockets, mortars and RPGs in the Mahdi Army arsenal. That is because U.S. military officials are so eager to publicise any discovery of an Iranian-made weapon system that they would exploit any opportunity available to do so.

The U.S. command has gone so far as to claim that it had found "four Iranian hand grenades" -- but they were in a cache of weapons found in an al Qaeda area.

Based on weapons caches discovered over the past 15 months, the Mahdi Army has relied overwhelmingly on four types of heavy weapons: 60mm and 120mm mortars, 107mm rocket, and 57mm anti-tank missile.

Those are essentially the same mortars and rockets that have turned up in al Qaeda and Sunni insurgent weapons caches, suggesting that both groups have obtained their heavier weapons from the international arms market. In fact, 60mm and 120mm mortars were used by Sunni guerrillas in the very early months of the war against U.S. occupation troops.

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New fears on long-term oil supplies drive prices higher

Traders at the New York Mercantile Exchange on Wednesday, when oil hit a high of $133.82 a barrel. It broke that record later during Asian trading. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

The price spike occurred overnight, and by Thursday morning oil had fallen back slightly to $132.87, down 30 cents from its close on Wednesday.

But the leap capped a rally that has seen oil rise nearly $5 a barrel in two days, underscoring the dire implications of the current price run-up for businesses across the globe.

Ford Motor Company, the American auto manufacturer, said on Thursday it would cut vehicle production for the rest of this year and fall short of reaching profitability in 2009, a long-held company goal. In a statement, a top Ford executive said rising gasoline prices "are having a tremendous impact on our sales, our manufacturing operations and our profitability."

Meanwhile, Europe's biggest airline, Air France-KLM, warned of a profound reshaping of the world airline industry caused by what it called the "explosion" in the price of oil. And American Airlines said on Wednesday that it would slash flights and begin charging passengers to check bags, part of a company effort to cut costs in the face of skyrocketing fuel prices.

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Bill O'Reilly Flips Out — DANCE REMIX

Jail Is Likely for Congressman Fossella, Say Lawyers

by Jared Allen

photoCongressman Vito Fossella (R-N.Y.), shown here with President Bush is expected to jail time for a DUI arrest.(Photo: US House of Representatives)

    If Rep. Vito Fossella (R-N.Y.) is unable to reach a deal with prosecutors on his DUI arrest, he will likely have to serve five days in jail before the end of the year, making him only the fourth sitting member of Congress to be locked up following a criminal conviction and dragging his troubles back into the spotlight just as Republicans were counting on them having vanished.

    Not since Rep. John Dowdy (D-Texas) was sent to prison for his 1972 conviction for bribery, obstruction of justice and perjury has a sitting member of the House been sentenced to jail or prison following a criminal conviction, according to the House historian.

    If Fossella has to serve jail time and steps down to avoid forcing House Republicans to deal with having a member of their conference locked up, he could trigger a special election in his district.

    Under state law, any resignation before July 1 gives New York's Democratic Gov. David Paterson the option of calling a special election. And Republicans have lost three special House elections since March. If Fossella resigned after July 1, there would be no special election and the seat would remain empty for the remainder of the term.

    Fossella's Staten Island seat is seen as a traditional GOP stronghold in the New York City area.

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Enforcement on Steroids: Homeland Security's Emerging Immigration Police State (Part I)

By Joshua Holland

Forced drugging. Abuse. Death. That's what workplace-based immigration enforcement without deeper reform looks like.

Last week, hundreds of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, flanked by helicopters, a trail of SUVs and a convoy of buses, descended on the tiny town of Postville, Iowa. They set up a perimeter around the 60-acre kosher meat-processing plant operated by the global giant Agriprocessors, Inc. and conducted the largest workplace raid in U.S. history. Around 400 people were arrested -- most from Mexico, Eastern Europe and Guatemala -- representing 40 percent of the plant's workers and 17 percent of the town's population. Warrants for another 300 were issued.

Some would call it a victory for law and order. But a closer look at the showy example of "getting tough on illegals" offers some insight into what immigration restrictionists are really asking for when they call for more immigration enforcement.

During a similar sweep last year, ICE generated some bad publicity when reporters found that a number of young children had been left unattended when their parents were arrested. So 56 of those arrested last week -- mostly mothers of small kids -- were released on "humanitarian grounds." Nonetheless, a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of dozens of the Postville detainees "noted that a number of immigrant workers' children have been stranded with baby sitters and other caretakers as a result of the raid."

The suit charges that some of the detained workers are victims of crimes by Agriprocessors, Inc., which may entitle them to a visa, and accuses the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of arbitrary and indefinite detention and violating the workers' constitutional rights.

According to the Associated Press, an attorney who interviewed some of those swept up in the raid said that the company itself "obtained false identification for immigrant workers." But in the overwhelming majority of these raids -- 98 percent, according to the Washington Post -- the only people to pay any penalty are poor people trying to earn a substandard wage working in America's growing unregulated economy.

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Slavery Today: A Clear and Present Danger

by Matt Renner, t r u t h o u t | Report

Greenpeace says workers in the Amazon are forced by McDonald's to burn the rain forest for low-cost food production.
(Photo: Greenpeace)

    Slavery never ended in the United States; it continues here and across the globe, facilitated by globalization, corruption and greed. There are more people enslaved today - controlled by violence and forced to work without pay - than at any time in human history.

    Experts put the number of slaves at 27 million worldwide. These men and women work across many sectors of the global economy, raking in profits for the criminals who hold them against their will. The US State Department estimates that 17,500 slaves are brought into the United States every year. An estimated 50,000 slaves are forced to work as prostitutes, farm workers and domestic servants in the US.

    Republican presidential nominee John McCain recently mentioned domestic slavery during a stump speech. He pledged to establish a task force to coordinate various federal law enforcement agencies to target human trafficking - the process of smuggling slaves between countries. However, the Think Progress blog pointed out that such an agency already exists. Shortly after the speech, Democratic National Committee spokesperson Damien LaVera pointed out in an email that McCain had complained about and voted against a $200,000 earmark intended to fund a conference on human trafficking in 2001. "Once again McCain's earmark obsession conflicts with his campaign rhetoric," Lavera wrote.

    McCain's campaign failed to return repeated calls for comment on the issue.

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Clockwork Hillary

Putz of the Week Presents:

Honoring reporters who just can't handle the truth!

May 22, 2008

Rush Limbaugh

For reporting that is an embarrassment to the profession of journalism, and for being beholden to corporate paymasters rather than the citizens of America.

Fresh off his high of being the generalissimo of coordinating "Operation Chaos," which succeeded in getting an unknown number of Republicans to vote for Hillary Clinton in the primaries, Rush Limbaugh is on a high, even as his own party of the wealthy heads for a crash landing in the gutter.

John C. Christman of Spokane, Washington, felt strongly that Limbaugh deserves at least an annual Media Putz recognition:

Few would proclaim that Rush Limbaugh is anything approaching a genius, even though he continues to state that he has "talent on loan from God." He proved just how inept he is this week when he told his listeners that he had Googled and come up with yet more proof that college professors were evil left-leaning ne'er-do-wells who are doing their best to lead America's youth astray.

Limbaugh was railing on about Barack Obama's comments that there are some similarities between the lead-in to the Great Depression and today's economic picture. Rush came across what he thought was a paper published by a college professor and proceeded to rip it apart, after stating that he was very fortunate not to have to sit through such propaganda since he never graduated from college. The only problem is that a listener recognized the name of the author of the paper as having been a classmate in high school who now works as a programmer for Microsoft. The paper was written by Paul Alexander Gusmorino III while he was a tenth grade student. We have all had good reason to suspect that Rush was playing with less than a full deck for a number of years now, but he has given us even further proof that he is deserving of the Buzzflash Media Putz of the Week Award.

It is not a surprise that Limbaugh should be entitled to a Media Putz Award. It is a mystery to me how he has avoided being named for his second such award, the first having been awarded during August of last year. I guess that only serves to prove that there is no shortage of halfwits hawking their wares in today's media.

It's been a longstanding belief that Limbaugh and FOX News (last week's BuzzFlash Media Putz winner) are the most responsible for the skewed misinformed perspective of many Americans who rely on television and radio for propaganda disguised as news and "informed" opinion. Limbaugh and FOX have been successfully molding public perspective into a prism that favors the wealthy and corporations through the election of Republicans.

Theirs is the art of the demagogue, the prestidigitator, the charlatan.

Limbaugh is a multi-millionaire elitist who scorns his listeners while he lights up expensive cigars and goes on hedonist trips to the Dominican Republic.

He's an ultra wealthy con artist and is once again the BuzzFlash Media Putz of the Week.

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Proposed coal plant pits economy vs. Navajo belief


In a corner of the Navajo Nation burdened by old and heavily polluting coal-fired power plants, it matters little to many tribal elders that another facility promises to be the most efficient and cleanest of all.

With two plants already a dozen miles away, the last thing they want is another one even closer, a 1,500-megawatt project barely two miles in another direction.

"We want the smoke to stop," said 76-year-old Alice Gilmore in Navajo, raising a hand toward the belching plants.

Others say the $3 billion Desert Rock Energy Facility could invigorate the lagging economy of the Navajo Nation, which stretches across parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. Backers say it would bring $52 million a year in revenues to the tribal government and provide up to 400 jobs on a reservation where unemployment hovers around 50 percent.

The plan - the largest-ever economic development partnership for the Navajos - has prompted fierce debate pitting that economic windfall against environmental concerns and traditional culture on the 27,000-square-mile reservation, rich with natural gas, uranium and low-sulfur coal.

Some Navajos believe they are inseparable from Mother Earth and Father Sky - stewards of the land who must live in harmony with the natural world. There are no Navajo words to describe the complexities of power plants; to many elders, they are big stoves that produce electricity, the emissions wild spirits capable of harm.

"You treat your mother with great respect and love," said Harry Walters, a historian and cultural anthropologist at Dine College in Tsaile, Ariz. "You don't give your mother bad food, you don't take your mother to a place where there is bad air, you don't let her drink dirty water."

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The group blog of The American Prospect

Steven Pinker has a frightening piece in the today. He analyzes the President's Council on Bioethics report released earlier this spring, and notes the strong influence of (TNR contributor) Leon Kass on the panel. Pinker also digs up this often and justifiably mocked passage from one of Kass's essays:

Worst of all from this point of view are those more uncivilized forms of eating, like licking an ice cream cone--a catlike activity that has been made acceptable in informal America but that still offends those who know eating in public is offensive. ... Eating on the street--even when undertaken, say, because one is between appointments and has no other time to eat--displays [a] lack of self-control: It beckons enslavement to the belly. ... Lacking utensils for cutting and lifting to mouth, he will often be seen using his teeth for tearing off chewable portions, just like any animal. ... This doglike feeding, if one must engage in it, ought to be kept from public view, where, even if we feel no shame, others are compelled to witness our shameful behavior.

As Pinker sardonically notes, the freedom-hating Kass went on to become the president's adviser, from which perch he convinced Bush to ban federal funding of research using stem-cell lines. It makes one long for the day when Bush hacks were merely incompetent, not actually illiberal.

--Jordan Michael Smith

The Vitamins are Coming! The Vitamins are Coming!

Doug BremnerI was watching public TV with my wife a couple of years ago when a researcher was being interviewed about the Beta Carotene and Retinol Efficacy Trial (CARET), in which 18,314 smokers took either beta carotene and Vitamin A or a placebo. He embarrassedly stated that the beta carotene (found in carrots and orange vegetables) and Vitamin A, even though they are 'anti-oxidant' and theoretically should prevent heart disease and cancer, actually increased it in their trial. In fact, people on supplements equal to four carrots a day had 17% more heart disease and were 17% more likely to die than people on a placebo.

I found that pretty surprising, especially since you hear those natural health guru types yapping on the radio all the time about the benefits of anti-oxidant vitamins.

I later visited my sister-in-law Rossana (pronounced ROE - SSSS - ana, as my kids always point out) in the US Virgin Islands. Rummaging in her refrigerator while she was at work (Hey -- I didn't have anything else to do!) I found several large bottles of vitamins and supplements. I looked at the ingredients and found that she was taking Vitamin A at several times the recommended daily levels. When she got home from work I confronted her about it.

Doug: "Rossana, why are you taking so many vitamins and supplements?"

Rossana: "I don't have time to cook meals and eat enough vegetables, so this gives me what I need."

Doug: "But did you realize that the amount of Vitamin A you are taking may cause osteoporosis?"

[It's true-- women taking the highest amounts of Vitamin A supplements doubled their risk of fracture, leading Denmark to ban vitamin fortified Kellogg's breakfast cereals. You can see a goofy picture I made about the topic here.]

I don't want to be dodgy and name the company that made the vitamins and supplements she was taking, but I looked them up on the internet, and if you followed their recommendations, you would be spending $7,128 dollars per year on their products!

When I got home I read up more on vitamins. In the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta Carotene (ATBC) Cancer Prevention Study smokers treated with beta-carotene and alpha tocopherol (Vitamin E) had an 8% increase in death, while those with a prior history of heart attack had a 75% increase in heart attack with beta carotene therapy. People on Vitamin E had a 2% increase in mortality.

Looking at all studies put together, there is an increased risk of heart disease with Vitamin A and beta carotene and no heart disease prevention with Vitamin E. Vitamin A and beta carotene when taken together are associated with a 29% increase in mortality.

Even though in the laboratory there has been shown some connection between oxidative stress and heart disease, and in spite of the known role of vitamins C and E as anti-oxidants, you can't get around the fact that there is now a large body of research -- including studies with tens of thousands of patients -- that shows that vitamins do not prevent heart disease or lengthen your life.

In fact, they may actually have the opposite effect.

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Smile! Your crime is on YouTube

LONDON (AFP) - A British man has been branded a city's "dumbest criminal" after he posted more than 80 videos of himself committing various misdemeanours on YouTube, officials said Wednesday.

Andrew Kellett, 23, was banned from boasting about his criminal activities on the Internet after posting videos of himself and others taking Class A drugs, racing cars at high speeds and trespassing and shouting abuse.

He even filmed himself receiving a suspended sentence for an offence at Leeds Magistrates' Court in the northern English city.

On Tuesday, the court issued him with an interim anti-social behaviour order (Asbo) to stop him showing unlawful activities on the video-sharing website. Some of the videos were shown to magistrates as part of the prosecution's case.

"Kellett must be in the running to be Leeds' dumbest criminal. He has handed us the evidence against him on a plate," said Leeds councillor Les Carter.

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It's Over

by Will Durst

I'm not saying Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's historic presidential run is toast. Finished. Down the drain. Caput. Washed up. History. A memory. In the archives. Defunct. Extinct. Artifacto. Took a hike. Sleeping with the fishes. Part of the vast past tense. Joined the choir invisible. Totally obliterated. Entering Sidekick City. Sheer finito. Thoroughly through. Down goes Frasier. Swept away by the Tahiti Express. See ya: Wouldn't want to be ya. So long and sayonara sweetheart. Became an ex- presidential run. Experiencing fossilization. Stick a fork in her- she's done. Game over, man. Say bye.

No. No. No. That's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that it's down to the wire but that wire is starting to unravel. She's hanging by a thread, down to her last dime and the wheels are coming off. Its two outs, two strikes, nobody on, bottom of the ninth and she's behind by about 142. Got her back up against the wall because an elephant is standing on the couch with the remote. Its closing time: and she don't have to go home but she can't stay here. The window of opportunity has slammed shut on her fingers while hanging outside onto the sill 12 stories up. Her time clock has been punched by a mob of boxing kangaroos. Half of her team is handing her a white flag to wave and the other half is throwing in a towel on her behalf.

She's down to the last banana in the bunch and even though that one is pretty bruised up, the tarantulas won't let her go there anyway. She's going down for the umpteenth time in high seas. The 2- minute warning was a minute fifty ago and its 4th and 97. The undertaker is walking this way pulling out a tape measure while whistling to the jingling of the nails in his pocket. The horse she rode in on can smell its stall and is starting to gallop. The fat lady has adjusted her horn helmet and is reaching for the throat spray. Could that be the referee looking at his watch with the whistle in his mouth and he's starting to pucker? Why yes, it could. Not to mention the train has pulled out of the station and the conductor is waving a lantern from the railing of the caboose.

They say that anything can happen, and it can, except for what the Junior Senator from New York needs to have happen, and that, my friends, simply can't happen. Or could it? A week is a year in politics. The moon could fall out of the sky. Pigs could sprout wings and fly to Mars. Jeremiah Wright could have another attack of the talkies. Who knows? Bill could rustle up the Arkansas Calvary to ride to her rescue. Look. Up in the sky. It's a bird. It's a plane. No, it's a flock of Superdelegates. Is that a light at the end of the tunnel? Unh, no, sorry. Its Obama with a flashlight directing her to the shoulder and he's repo- ing the Clinton bandwagon. The math just doesn't work. We've moved from the eminently possible to the minorly theoretical. Unless, that is; something really really odd happens. Which it very well could. At any moment. But then again, probably not. Oh yeah. It's over.

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Web advice from a moron

News Groper: These Blogs Are Not Real


The News Groper Editors

News Groper is a network of fake parody blogs.
Address: News Groper LLC, 18 Bridge St., Suite 2E, Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA.

Zuneral this Saturday!

We regret to report the sudden, unexpected death of Digital Rights Management. Details of the tragedy at present remain unclear, but he was rushed to the hospital following a direct collision with an oncoming future last week at 10 PM. He was seven years old.

Zuneral Services
May 24th
(this Saturday)
6:30 PM
JFK Park, Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA

Yesterday, in preparation of the public funeral that will take place this Saturday, members of Harvard College Free Culture entombed the recently-deceased Digital Rights Management in Quincy Courtyard at around 5 PM. As part of the healing process, all the attendees took part in saying goodbye to DRM by constructing its coffin.

The Decedents
The Decedents
The decedents are encased into their pourable-but-not-too-liquidy coffin

The final funeral and burial services for the recently deceased will take place at 6:30 PM on Saturday, May 24th in Cambridge's JFK Park. A reception will follow to give attendees the chance to reminisce of the short life and accomplishments of DRM and to grieve together.

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Trust drug may cure social phobia

People shaking hands
The discovery could lead to treatments for social phobia

A nasal spray which increases our trust for strangers is showing promise as a treatment for social phobia, say scientists from Zurich University.

They found that people who inhaled the "love hormone" oxytocin continued to trust strangers with their money - even after they were betrayed.

Brain scans showed the hormone lowered activity in the amygdala - a region which is overactive in social phobics.

Drug trials are under way and early signs are promising say the scientists.

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Redneck American Problem

Cisco Leak: 'Great Firewall' of China Was a Chance to Sell More Routers

By Sarah Lai Stirland

An internal Cisco document (.pdf) leaked to reporters on the eve of a Senate human rights hearing reveals that Cisco engineers regarded the Chinese government's rigid internet censorship program as an opportunity to do more business with the repressive regime.

The 90-page document is an internal presentation that Cisco engineers and staffers in China mulled over in 2002 as the central government was upgrading its local, state and provincial public safety and security network infrastructure. Under the category "Cisco Opportunities," the document provides bullet point suggestions for how it might service China's censorship system called the "Golden Shield", and better known in the West as the Great Firewall of China.


China's "Golden Shield" project was one of several government-run commercial opportunities for Cisco in 2002.
Credit: Cisco

The document is the first evidence that the networking giant has marketed its routers to China specifically as a tool of repression. It reinforces the  double-edged role that Americans' technological ingenuity plays in the rest of the world. Companies including Cisco, Yahoo, Microsoft and Google have faced criticism for cooperating to various degrees with the repressive Chinese regime, and the document leak on Monday came one day before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing into U.S. technology companies' participation in foreign government censorship programs.

"If you know ahead of time that a sale could lead to human rights violations, and there's no way of mitigating that, maybe you shouldn't offer it to that entity," says Arvind Ganesan, a director at the nonprofit Human Rights Watch, who called on Cisco to conduct a global audit for similar marketing behavior.

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Telescope tunnel between London and NYC opens today


(Photo from Gothamist, which has a story here.)

SuperCatBarf says: "There is a tunnel beneath the sea, recently completed, that allows citizens of London and New York to see right through the Earth and gaze upon each other, with the help of an optical device called a Telectroscope, one of which has been installed at either end."

It's not totally real, unfortunately, but the setup makes it seems real. Link | CNN report