Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Gunwalker scandal: ATF director out of top job
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Acting Director Kenneth Melson is being moved out of the top job at the bureau, ATF special agents in charge announced during an internal conference call today. He will transfer to the Justice Department and assume the position of senior advisor on forensic science, Office of Legal Programs.
The DOJ announced Melson will be replaced by the U.S. Attorney for Minnesota, Todd Jones.
"As a seasoned prosecutor and former military judge advocate, U.S. Attorney Jones is a demonstrated leader who brings a wealth of experience to this position," said Attorney General Eric Holder.
Also, U.S. Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke has submitted his resignation to President Obama, effective immediately. In an email sent to his staff Tuesday, Burke says his long tenure in public office has been intensely gratifying and intensely demanding.
Burke was interviewed by Congressional investigators behind closed doors on Aug. 18.
Sources tell CBS News that the Assistant U.S. Attorney in Phoenix, Emory Hurley, who worked under Burke and helped oversee the controversial case is also expected to be transferred out of the Criminal Division into the Civil Division. Justice Department officials provided no immediate comment or confirmation of that move.
The flurry of personnel shifts come as the Inspector General continues investigating the so-called gunwalker scandal at the Justice Department and theATF.
ATF promotes "Fast and Furious" supervisors
ATF denies promotions of controversial figures
The gunwalking scandal centered on an ATF program that allowed thousands of high-caliber weapons to knowingly be sold to so-called "straw buyers" who are suspected as middlemen for criminals. Those weapons, according to the Justice Dept., have been tied to at least 12 violent crimes in the United States, and an unknown number of violent crimes in Mexico.
Dubbed operation "Fast and Furious," the plan was designed to gather intelligence on gun sales, but ATF agents have told CBS News and members of Congress that they were routinely ordered to back off and allow weapons to "walk" when sold.
Previously, ATF Phoenix Special Agent in Charge Bill Newell was reassigned to headquarters, and two Assistant Special Agents in Charge under Fast and Furious, George Gillett and Jim Needles, were also moved to other positions.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
U.N. agency warns of possible bird flu resurgence
ROME (Reuters) - The United Nations warned of a possible major resurgence of bird flu and said a mutant strain of the H5N1 virus was spreading in Asia and elsewhere.
The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Monday urged increased surveillance and preparation for a potential outbreak of the virus, which it says has infected 565 people since it first appeared in 2003, killing 331 of them.
The virus was eliminated from most of the 63 countries infected at its peak in 2006 after mass poultry culling, but since 2008 it has been expanding geographically in both poultry and wild birds, partly due to migration patterns, the FAO said.
"The general departure from the progressive decline observed in 2004-2008 could mean that there will be a flare-up of H5N1 this fall and winter," the FAO's chief veterinary officer, Juan Lubroth, said in a statement.
He said the appearance of a variant strain of the virus in China and Vietnam was a concern, because it appeared to be able to sidestep the defenses of existing vaccines.
The circulation of the virus in Vietnam also poses a direct threat to Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia as well as endangering the Korean peninsula and Japan, FAO said.
The latest human death occurred earlier this month in Cambodia, which has registered eight cases of human infection this year, all of them fatal, the agency added.
Countries that could face the biggest problems are Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Indonesia and Vietnam, where the FAO said the virus is still firmly entrenched.
It said recently affected areas included Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Bulgaria, Romania, Nepal and Mongolia.
"Wild birds may introduce the virus, but people's actions in poultry production and marketing spread it," said Lubroth.
"Preparedness and surveillance remain essential ... no one can let their guard down with H5N1," he added.
Does this surprise anyone, and you really believe there will be a democracy there? They will take over there and we have financed it (again).
Iran 'discreetly aided Libyan rebels'
TEHRAN — Iran "discreetly" provided humanitarian aid to Libyan rebels before the fall of Tripoli, Jam-e-Jam newspaper quoted Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on Sunday as saying.
"We were in touch with many of the rebel groups in Libya before the fall of (Moamer) Kadhafi, and discreetly dispatched three or four food and medical consignments to Benghazi," Salehi told the daily.
"The head of the National Transitional Council (NTC), Mustafa Abdel Jalil, sent a letter of thanks to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for having been on their side and helping," he added.
Since the Libyan uprising erupted in mid-February, Iran has adopted a dual approach -- criticising the Kadhafi regime for its violent assaults on the rebels while at the same time condemning NATO's military intervention.
On Tuesday, Iran "congratulated the Muslim people of Libya" after rebels overran the capital Tripoli, but it has so far distanced itself from officially recognising the NTC.
I don't want to comment on this one
Pair Arrested For ‘Lack Of Common Sense’ After Rafting Down Main Street In Manayunk
Row, row, row your boat, just not down Main Street in Manayunk. That’s the message police are sending after arresting two men who used a raft as an alternate means of transportation down the flooded street Sunday.
CBS 3 reporter Dray Clark caught up with Pete and Pat, best friends and roommates from Manayunk, who paddled their way down the water covered street.
“I thought, Main Street floods a lot, go get a raft and float down,” said Pat, who admitted the idea was his.
“We thought it would be a good time and it turns out it is,” said Pete.
Minutes later, Philadelphia police stopped the men and hauled them away in handcuffs.
When Dray asked why the men were being arrested, he said the officers replied, “for lack of common sense.”
No charges were filed against the boaters.
Monday, August 29, 2011
Standing guard at the Tomb in the face of Hurricane Irene
WASHINGTON - As Hurricane Irene barrels her way toward the mid-Atlantic and up the East Coast, members of The Old Guard continue their vigilance at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
While on duty the Tomb Sentinel crosses a 63-foot rubber surfaced walkway in exactly 21 steps. He then faces the Tomb for 21 seconds, turns again, and pauses an additional 21 seconds before retracing his steps.
The 21 is symbolic of the highest salute according to dignitaries in military and state ceremonies.
Members of The Old Guard have guarded the Tomb every second, of every day regardless of weather or holidays since April 6, 1948.
If you are ever in the area it is worth stopping and contemplating.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Not long ago, the gun control advocates Jim and Sarah Brady visited the White House. President Barack Obama reportedly told them that he was working on new gun control schemes “under the radar.”
It’s been said that guns have two enemies — rust and politicians. Rust never sleeps, and neither do those who would seek to restrict our constitutional rights. So let me tell you about a meeting you weren’t invited to, where those people were planning an attack on our rights that’s very much “under the radar.”
It happened in July at the United Nations headquarters in New York, at a meeting to draft of what they call the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty.
An Arms Trade Treaty doesn’t sound bad in concept — isn’t that what the U.N. is for? The problem, however, is what U.N. diplomats consider to be “arms.” To you and me, the word means tanks, fighter jets, missiles, that kind of thing. But look no further than the U.N. plaza to see what the silk-stocking set considers “arms.” There you will find a bronze statue of a simple .38 revolver — with its barrel tied into a knot.
Remember no other country in the world enjoys America’s constitutional right to keep and bear arms. This is why the vast majority of U.N. diplomats believe that an arms trade treaty must reach into your gun safe and mine. There is little question that this treaty would require additional restrictions on our Second Amendment rights.
Consider the comments of a spokesman from “Project Ploughshares,” a Canadian arms control group. “From a humanitarian perspective,” the spokesman told the Canadian Postmedia News “all firearms need to be controlled, and that’s the bottom line.”
This attitude has spooked even Canada’s government, which typically embraces a disarmament agenda. During the meeting, Canada put forth a panicky petition for a hunting rifle exemption in the treaty. Mexico immediately objected.
For an administration with a secretive itch for gun control, the situation is ideal. They can let the United Nations do the dirty work of drafting onerous new restrictions on civilian firearms, then package them inside a treaty with legitimate measures to control true military armaments.
The U.N. has scheduled the treaty to be finished in July of next year — just in time to go to the Obama White House for ratification.
That’s “under the radar” for you.
But one risk of operating under the radar is that you can’t see the moves of your opponents. This is not the first U.N. gun-control rodeo for my friends at the National Rifle Association. They know treaty ratification requires a two-thirds vote in the Senate. Thirty-four senators would have to vote no to block the treaty.
While the rest of Washington was fixated on the debt ceiling debate, the NRA quietly marshaled opposition to the treaty among pro-gun senators.
Fifty-eight senators have now called out the president on his plan. Led by Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.), 45 Republicans and 13 Democrats have written two strong letters —one from members of each party — to President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. All the senators have vowed to oppose any treaty that restricts civilian firearm ownership.
What’s ironic is that the United States already has the world’s pre-eminent system for regulation of true military arms sales. If the rest of the world merely adopted the U.S. regulatory regime, there would be no need for an Arms Trade Treaty.
But rather than harmonize other nations’ patchy regulations on arms transfers, the diplomatic crowd would rather force Washington to hew to its utopian vision of global disarmament.
If this were only a partisan exercise in bashing Obama and the U.N., one could be forgiven for concluding it has no substance. But 13 Democratic senators clearly think otherwise — a sign that this debate is far from over.
Chuck Norris, an actor, martial artist and author, is the honorary chairman of the National Rifle Association’s voter registration program, Trigger the Vote.
Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Unless you're charged with enforcing it.
Backdoor Nais, they don't want you to produce your own food
Salmonella traced to backyard chicken farms
The burgeoning trend of keeping chickens and ducklings in backyard farms may have brought a new problem home to roost: infections with salmonella.
By Carl D. Walsh, for USA TODAY
Backyard chicken farming has become a popular practice as people try to get closer to food sources.
Twin outbreaks of salmonella linked to chicks and ducklings bought for backyard farms have stricken 92 people in 20 states as of Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports.
The poultry were traced back to a mail-order hatchery in Ohio. The two outbreak strains, salmonella altona and salmonella johannesburg, have sickened 65 and 27 people respectively. Salmonella can cause diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps and more serious illness in the young and old.
Raising backyard chickens largely for egg production is a growing urban trend among people who want to get closer to their food, but CDC doctors warn that hobbyists may not realize how common it is for poultry to carry dangerous forms of salmonella.
The outbreak is ongoing and began in late February, says Casey Barton Behravesh, a veterinary epidemiologist with the CDC. The most recent person involved got sick on July 30.
The CDC is especially concerned about this outbreak because about 30% of those infected are children younger than 5.
The hatchery associated with the outbreak, Mount Healthy Hatcheries of Mount Healthy, Ohio, has hired a salmonella expert, and testing has found no illness in its breeder flocks, owner Robert O'Hara says. He says the problem might be at one of his suppliers but he has not been able to conclusively trace it back.
Salmonella is common in chicks, he says. "That's been going on since the beginning of time." What's changed is the number of novices raising chickens. "There's been a giant explosion of backyard flocks and unfortunately some people are raising them in their house for a certain period of time. You just can't do that. They're farm animals; they're not pets. Treat them as such."
He also thinks that children are seeing and handling chicks at feed stores which are selling to urban chicken owners and not washing their hands afterward.
With the growing popularity of urban and backyard chickens, it's important for people to know that live poultry can appear to be perfectly healthy and clean yet could be shedding salmonella.
Behravesh agrees the best way to reduce the risk of illness is to wash hands with soap and water after touching live poultry.
It is amazing how people, well never mind, what good does it do really? Look at the next two articles
Drop race labels to help realize MLK's dream
What a relief to finally see an opinion like defense lawyer Cheryl Stein's in a national forum such as USA TODAY. I heartily agree race relations would be vastly improved if we would drop all the labeling ...
Jesse Jackson slams Tea Party at MLK event
Jesse Jackson said Thursday that the Tea Party's tenets are reminiscent of state's rights philosophies used in decades past to oppose federally mandated integration.
"The Tea Party is not new," Jackson said at a luncheon honoring civil rights pioneers on Thursday. "It's just a new name for an old game."...
Friday, August 26, 2011
A hero and his dog
Rockford, Ia. - Jon Thomas Tumilson wrote a class paper when he was 15 about how he wanted to spend the next 20 years as a Navy SEAL, an elite member of the U.S. armed forces.
On Friday, an estimated 1,500 mourners paid their last respects to Petty Officer Tumilson, a Navy SEAL whose helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan on Aug. 6, about 20 years after Tumilson wrote that paper. He was 35 when he died in one of the deadliest attacks on U.S. forces in the decade-old U.S. deployment to Afghanistan.
"J.T. was going to be a Navy SEAL come hell or high water," friend Scott Nichols said of Tumilson, who was born in Osage on July 1, 1976, the nation's bicentennial year, and grew up in Rockford.
Outside the service at the Rudd-Rockford-Marble Rock gym, two cranes hoisted a huge U.S. flag in Tumilson's honor.
"If J.T. had known he was going to be shot down when going to the aid of others, he would have went anyway," said Boe Nankivel, another friend.
Tumilson was the baby of the family, the son of George and Kathleen Tumilson of Rockford.
His older sisters, Joy McMeekan of Taylor Ridge, Ill., and Kristie Pohlman of Cedar Rapids, sent many in the audience scrambling for tissues when they explained how crushed they were when they learned that the Taliban had shot down a helicopter with SEALs aboard.
McMeekan said she immediately thought her baby brother was dead. She could feel it. And when she went to bed, she felt like someone was in the room with her.
"Was it you coming to say goodbye?" she asked, as her brother's body lay in a flag-draped coffin in the front of the gym.
Pohlman said her brother had a big heart. "Your dreams were big and seemed impossible to nearly everyone on the outside," Pohlman said of her brother's desire to join one of the world's elite military units. "I always knew you'd somehow do what you wanted."
McMeekan and Pohlman walked back to their seats hand in hand as many onlookers in the stands sobbed. The sisters could be heard crying in the arms of other family members as the sound system played "Homesick," by MercyMe.
The song begins:
"You're in a better place, I've heard a thousand times
"And at least a thousand times I've rejoiced for you
"But the reason why I'm broken, the reason why I cry
"Is how long must I wait to be with you."
One other song had a special place in the service: Tumilson had picked a song for his own funeral, having no idea when that day would come. Early in the service, the sound system played that song, "If I Leave This World Alive," by Flogging Molly.
One of its lines promises a presence after death: "If I ever leave this world alive, I'll come back down and sit beside your feet tonight."
(more to the story at)
Two more articles that show a growing trend of common sence, just because you own a gun does not mean you are going to do bad stuff.
No gunfights at the saloon
Whether it’s the economy or gun control, liberals rarely consider the consequences of their misguided schemes. President Obama wants more “investment” spending to help the economy even though his nearly $1 trillion in supposed stimulus did nothing to reduce unemployment. Keynesian economics didn’t work under Franklin D. Roosevelt or Jimmy Carter, either, but the left refuses to learn the lesson. Now we know that gun-grabber complaints about concealed-carry in bars and restaurants are nonsense too.
Earlier this month, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reviewed Virginia State Police records and found the number of firearms-related crimes committed in establishments that serve alcohol dropped 5 percent a year after concealed-carry permit holders could legally pack heat while out on the town. There were 145 gun crimes reported in taverns and eateries a year after the law took effect, compared with 153 before. The Times-Dispatch could only identify a single permit holder who had misbehaved, though gun charges later were dropped against that person.
This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Gun owners tend to be law-abiding members of their communities. Allowing concealed-carry at the local watering hole did nothing to change that. The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police worked overtime to defeat restaurant carry, urging Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell to veto the bill in March of last year. “Allowing guns in bars is a recipe for disaster,” Virginia Beach Police Chief Jake Jacocks Jr. wrote. “We can fully expect that at some point in the future, a disagreement that today would likely end up in a verbal confrontation, or a bar fight, will inevitably end with gunfire if you sign this legislation into law.” The shootouts never happened.
Chief Jacocks said in his letter that he didn’t presume to interpret the Second Amendment but that he knew it would be irresponsible to allow “anyone other than a law enforcement officer” to carry a handgun in a bar. Allowing people other than police to protect themselves with firearms is exactly what the right to keep and bear arms is all about. When Mr. Obama took office, the public flocked to gun stores, fearing the imposition of new gun-control measures. Despite the unprecedented number of new gun owners, FBI crime statistics showed violent crime decreased 5.5 percent nationwide between 2010 and 2009. In Virginia’s major cities, the drop was 9 percent.
The arguments of the gun-control crowd are like an annoying barfly that needs to be sent home. Expanding the rights of lawful gun owners makes everyone safer.
Parks No Less Safe with Legal Concealed Carry
In early 2010, National Parks opened their doors to those carrying concealed firearms. Naturally, the Brady Campaign went nuts and started prognosticating about the trees of liberty being refreshed with not so metaphorical blood of patriots. Now, over one year later, a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by Herschel Smith has the hard and fast facts about reported crimes in our nation’s parks. And I have to say, the numbers don’t look good for the Brady bunch.
That’s not to say the numbers are outstanding, but they don’t definitively support the Brady campaign’s statements that “The Bush Administration’s last-minute gift to the gun lobby, allowing concealed semiautomatic weapons in national parks, jeopardizes the safety of park visitors in violation of federal law.” If their hypothesis were correct, then we would expect to see a jump in violent crime in National Parks. On the contrary, the total number seems to be remaining pretty stagnant.
(there is more to the article and the has several graphs, worth a look)
I guess this could fit under abuse of power or stupid stuff, but when i read it i thought you cant make this stuff up, unless you were a political appointee we a hunderd grand plus a year salary.Team Obama Regulates Goat Herders' Workplaces
The Obama administration is setting new workplace regulations to assist foreign workers who fill goat herding positions in the U.S. , including employee-paid cell phones and comfy beds.
These new special procedures issued by the Labor Department must be followed by employers who want to hire temporary agricultural foreign workers to perform sheep herding or goat herding activities. It describes strict rules for sleeping quarters, lighting, food storage, bathing, laundry, cooking and new rules for the counters where food is prepared.
“A separate sleeping unit shall be provided for each person, except in a family arrangement,” says the rules signed by Jane Oates, assistant secretary for employment and training administration at the Labor Department.
“Such a unit shall include a comfortable bed, cot or bunk, with a clean mattress,” the rules state.
Diane Katz, a research fellow in regulatory policy at The Heritage Foundation, unearthed the policy in the "Federal Register," the massive daily journal of proposed regulations that Washington bureaucrats publish every day.
Under the Obama Administration, the nanny state has imposed 75 new major regulations with annual costs of $38 billion.
“This captures what is wrong with government,” Katz said. “I could not have made this up.”
With unemployment holding steady at 9% and government regulations adding more burden to small businesses, such as those run by ranching families, Katz said, bureaucrats aren’t helping.
“Instead of remedying the problem, the regulations make it that much harder,” Katz insisted. “We may need a whole set of regulations just to define what a comfortable bed is. I imagine it’s not straw."
The new lighting standards say that in areas where it is not feasible to provide electrical service such as tents or mobile trailers, lanterns must be provided. “Kerosene wick lights meet the definition of lantern,” the regulations say.
“When workers or their families are permitted or required to cook in their individual unit, a space shall be provided with adequate lighting and ventilation.”
“Wall surfaces next to all food preparation and cooking areas shall be of nonabsorbent, easy-to-clean material. Wall surfaces next to cooking areas shall be of fire-resistant material,” the regulations say.
“It makes you wonder,” Katz said, “how they ever did this before the government got involved?”
“Who knew we needed all of this federal help for herding goats?” Katz quipped.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Swallow all liquids in your mouth before reading any further.
Updated numbers for the national debt are just out: It's now $14,639,000,000,000.
When Barack Obama took the oath of office twice on Jan. 20, 2009, CBS' amazing number cruncher Mark Knoller reports, the national debt was $10,626,000,000,000.
That means the debt that our federal government owes a whole lot of somebodies including China has increased $4,247,000,000,000 in just 945 days. That's the fastest increase under any president ever.
Remember the day the Democrat promised to close the embarrassing Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility within one year? That day the national debt increased $4,247,000,000. And each day since that the facility hasn't been closed.
Same for the day in 2009 when Obama flew all the way out to Denver to sign the $787 billion stimulus bill that was going to hold national unemployment beneath 8% instead of the 9.1% we got today anyway? Another $4,247,000,000 that day. And every day since, even Obama golfing and vacation days.
Same sum for the day Obama flew Air Force One nearly four hours roundtrip to Columbus, Ohio for a 10-minute speech about how well the stimulus was working in the politically crucial Buckeye state. Ohio's unemployment rate just jumped to 9% from 8.8% anyway.
Or last week's three-day Midwestern tour in the president's new $1.1 million Death Star bus? National debt went up $16,988,000,000 while he rode around speaking and buying ice cream cones.
Numbers with that many digits are hard to grasp, even for a Harvard head. So, let's put it another way:
One billion seconds ago Bill Clinton was nearing the end of his two terms and George W. Bush's baseball collection was still on the shelves in the Austin governor's office.
The nation's debt increased $4.9 trillion under President Bush too, btw. But it took him 2,648 days to do it. Obama will surpass that sum during this term.
Now, how to portray a trillion, or 1,000 billions. One trillion seconds ago much of North America was still covered by ice sheets hundreds of feet thick. And the land was dotted by only a few dozen Starbuck's.
Obama is saying yes, we can get control of the national debt. But ominously every time he says that he adds that trillions of dollars in infrastructure repairs are badly needed across the country. And with interest rates so low, according to the thinking on Obama's planet, now is an excellent time to borrow even more money.
So, it looks like not too long before Americans learn what comes after 1,000 trillions.
It's quadrillion. But for Bernanke's sake, please don't tell anyone in Washington.
KING 'MONUMENT TO GREED'
WASHINGTON -- The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s family has charged the foundation building a monument to the civil-rights leader on the National Mall about $800,000 to use his words and image -- and at least one scholar thinks that Dr. King would find such an arrangement offensive.
The memorial is being paid for almost entirely through a fund-raising campaign led by the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation.
"I don't think the Jefferson family, the Lincoln family [or] any other group of family ancestors has been paid a licensing fee for a memorial in Washington," said Cambridge University historian David Garrow, author of a Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Dr. King. ". . . [He would've been] absolutely scandalized."
Financial documents revealed that the foundation paid $761,160 in 2007 to Intellectual Properties Management Inc., an entity run by the King family. They also showed that a $71,700 "management" fee was paid to the family estate in 2003.
It is amazing the difference between two people from the same state, the video's are priceless if you go to watch them.
Dem Congresswoman Blames Black Unemployment On "Racism"
"When you look at African American males, 40% of them are unemployed, those under 30 years of age. I understand exactly the entire nation must be involved in this recovery but the black community is experiencing a great recession. That's what we're experiencing," Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) told MSNBC.
"And all of the growth in the past 30 years, we see it slipping away. From home ownership, the middle class; it's slipping away from our hands. And it has a lot to do with many issues. Racism, shipping jobs overseas, access -- no access to technology. You know, the digital divide is there and many of the new jobs that's what it requires. So, we have a problem."
"I think he's shredding his responsibilities as the president, and his respect and regard of the Constitution," Rep. Allen West (R-FL) said in an interview with the conservative publication Newsmax.
In an exclusive Newsmax.TV interview, West cited Homeland Security Department chief Janet Napolitano’s announcement last week that the federal government will allow illegals not charged with other crimes to remain in the country and will not deport them.
“It’s absolutely a form of amnesty, and it does go against our Constitution,” says West, who called for a congressional investigation into the administration action.
West is confident he won’t lose the support of the tea party base following his vote in favor of the compromise that raised the debt ceiling. He explained to grass-roots conservatives that it is not realistic to expect to get 100 percent of what they want until the current political balance changes in Washington.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Rural Council: It’s About Control
Al Gore was beside himself when the Senate failed to ratify the Convention on Biological Diversity in 1994. Gore had spent the first two years of his Vice-Presidency developing what he called his “Ecosystem Management Policy.” This new policy was nothing more than preparing the agencies of government to implement the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and Agenda 21. These three policy documents were adopted in Rio de Janeiro at the 1992 U.N. Conference on Environment and Development.
Agenda 21 was the only document that was not an international treaty. It was, instead, a non-binding “soft-law” document that was designed to avoid the necessity of Congressional debate or Senate ratification. Bill Clinton issued an Executive Order to create the President’s Council on Sustainable Development (PCSD) — especially to implement Agenda 21 administratively — without oversight or interference from Congress. The agencies of government have done a masterful job of infecting almost all urban communities with some form of government control under the guise of “Sustainable Development,” which is the objective of Agenda 21.
Now, the Obama regime intends to impose the same kind of control over rural America through his White House Rural Council, also created by Executive Order.
The rather bland 18-page Convention on Biological Diversity came with an 1140-page instruction book called the Global Biodiversity Assessment. Page 993 of this instruction book says that the Convention’s plan for protecting biodiversity is “…central to the Wildlands Project recently-proposed in the United States.” Page 15 of the Wildlands Project says:
… at least half of the land area of the 48 conterminous states should be encompassed in core reserves and inner corridor zones … assuming that most of the other 50 percent is managed intelligently as buffer zone.
(Click Wild Lands Map for Detail)
Since the President’s Council on Sustainable Development was created, agencies of the federal government, and complicit environmental organizations, have been working overtime to get people out of rural areas, and into “stack-’n'-pack” high-rise so-called “sustainable” communities. Under the guise of “preserving open space,” unelected bureaucrats ignore the property rights of the people who own the open space, and write regulations that sometimes require as much as 40 acres to build a single home. Quite often, development of any sort is absolutely prohibited. These regulations are typically delivered to a community through a comprehensive land use plan.
In more rural areas, especially in the farming and ranching parts of the country, these measures have not been as successful as the government wants. That’s why a new extension of the PCSD is needed. This time, however, they are calling it the White House Rural Council.
This Council, chaired by the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, and consisting of the heads of 25 government departments and agencies, is charged with extending “sustainability” to that part of the country that has not already been subdued by the measures implemented by the PCSD.
How will they do it? Let us count the ways.
Consider the Department of Transportation’s recent announcement of its intention to reclassify farm vehicles and implements as “commercial” vehicles and require all drivers of these vehicles to hold a Commercial Driver’s License. Applicants for a CDL must be 21 years of age; submit a medical record, a complete driving record from any state in which a license has been obtained; and pass rigorous written and driving tests. CDL holders must keep a log of their activities available to law enforcement at any time; must not work more than 12 consecutive hours; must carry at least $750,000 in liability insurance; and many more requirements that farmers and ranchers just can’t meet.
Farm children have always helped by learning early how to drive farm vehicles. Grandpa could drive the tractor, when he could not do the heavy lifting he did as a youngster. This DOT regulation will end farming and ranching as it has always been known in this country. Farmers and ranchers cannot afford to pay professional CDL holders to come plow the fields, mow the hay, or harvest the corn. Farmers and ranchers who can no longer make a living from the land will have no choice but to sell their land and move to a “stack-’n'-pack” sustainable community. The only potential buyers for these farms are corporate agricultural conglomerates, land trusts, or the government. Since comprehensive land use plans, or other government regulations preclude the possibility of development in the open space, farmers and ranchers will never get the real value of the land.
To add to the hardship on rural families, the Department of Agriculture is still planning to require every farm animal to have an electronic identification ear tag, which will add more costs and bureaucratic red tape to farming and ranching operations.
Every agency that is a member of the White House Rural Council can, and will, find some regulation that rural land owners must comply with in order to stay on their land. This new Executive Order has but one purpose: to further tighten regulatory control over people in rural communities to ensure that their life-style becomes “sustainable,” or in plain language, government-approved.
You can never own the land, you will pay for it, but you don't have final say over what happens there and i'm not just talking about HOA but even local governments can and will tell you what you are allowed to do with your land, oh they will tax you for the privledge to tell you what you can do with your own land.
Property owner in trouble with DEP
Riding the success of his Internet technology company, Francois Bitz bought nearly 200 acres of old farmland in Marshall 15 years ago, not only to build a $1.5 million mansion but to allow horses, goats and other animals to roam free.
Now, the multimillionaire's work to set up three watering holes for his cattle could cost him dearly. Marshall Township engineer Robert Robinson on Friday said Bitz performed the work without the proper permits, destroying more than 2 acres of wetlands and damaging nearby streams. Bitz said he'll end up spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to make things right.
"I wake up every morning and say, 'It's green. Why are they complaining?'" said Bitz, 51, the founder of Fore Systems. "I'm questioning why I'm even living in Marshall Township."
The state Department of Environmental Protection issued a news release saying Bitz would pay $137,000 in fines and pay to fix the property, but quickly retracted it, saying a final consent order hadn't been signed.
Bitz's attorney, Jonathan Kamin, said he was negotiating final details. DEP spokeswoman Katie Gresh said she could not comment.
Bitz and his business partners sold Fore Systems in 1999. His Bitz Foundation has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Pittsburgh Opera and donated land for the Pittsburgh School for the Creative and Performing Arts, Downtown.
According to Robinson, Bitz excavated two acres of wetlands and impacted nearly 1,100 feet of an unnamed tributary of Big Sewickley Creek, which is classified as a trout-stocked fishery, without an erosion- or sediment-control plan. Bitz's property is near the RIDC Thorn Hill Industrial Park.
Robinson said Bitz didn't get permission from the township before he started excavation work with heavy equipment, and also installed pipes on the property. Robinson said the impact to the wetlands was "pretty substantial," but added that no wildlife was affected.
Robinson said Bitz was "less than cooperative" when the township first told him he couldn't complete the work without the proper permits but he cooperated when the DEP got involved last year.
Bitz said the work on the ponds is essentially complete, but it could cost him more than $250,000 to restore the wetlands and repair the tributaries, along with paying more than $100,000 in legal and consulting fees. He said the DEP isn't convinced that he needs any ponds and he won't go along with any agreement that orders the ponds to be removed.
Robinson said he believes the ponds can remain.
Bitz said he's being unfairly singled out, adding that he has created more wetlands on the property than existed when he bought it.
"If I was a poor farmer, they wouldn't have said anything to me," Bitz said.
Robinson said the township tries to treat everyone equally.
"We certainly want to make sure everyone is in compliance," he said.
A pallet bench
What reason do we have for spending a thousand million dollars in Libya? Did not just give them a bunch of millions of dollars when they "gave up" on the neuclear plan a few years ago? No wonder we can not even balance our own budget.
US Military Intervention in Libya Cost At Least $896 Million
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
A woman fighting a terminal form of bone cancer is trying to raise money to help pay bills with a few weekend garage sales, but the city of Salem says she’s breaking the law and is shutting her down.
Jan Cline had no idea, but the city of Salem has a clear law that states a person can only have three yard sales a year.
Cline has been selling her stuff in the backyard for a few weekends and said she thought she’d be fine by keeping the sale out of everyone’s way.
“It’s a struggle,” Cline says. “It’s a struggle for me because I’m very independent, used to taking care of myself.”
She’s run businesses and supported herself for years but this summer she was diagnosed with bone cancer.
“It’s a bone marrow cancer that eats through the bones and causes holes in the bones so that just by walking I can break a bone,” she says.
In one day she lost her independence, her ability to work and earn an income that could pay for all those medical bills.
So she decided to sell what she owned. The sale was bringing in several hundred dollars each weekend until one neighbor complained and she got a visit from the city.
“He said, ‘I’m sorry. Rules are rules.’”
Cline says she understands the city is trying to prevent nuisances in neighborhoods but she doesn’t think she’s causing any trouble.
“We make such an effort of making it back here (backyard) so that it’s not goobering up the neighborhood, so it’s not like a garage sale all laid out day after day after day,” she says.
Cline says she’s not looking for special treatment but maybe some understanding.
“I just hope that nobody else has to go through this kind of thing. I hope no one else has to give their lives away for nickels and dimes and then be told they can’t even do that. I hope nobody else has to do this ever.”
According to the Community Development Department, there is a reason for the law. In the past some people had set up what ended up being permanent flea-market-type sales on their property.
After hearing more about Cline’s situation, a supervisor said he is going to take another look to see if there’s anything she can do to operate within the law. But if she reopens now, it is a misdemeanor and about a $300 fine.
President Bush and other economist have been talking about this for years, maybe something will finally get done about it. (yeah get real, lol)
Social Security disability on verge of insolvency
WASHINGTON (AP) — Laid-off workers and aging baby boomers are flooding Social Security's disability program with benefit claims, pushing the financially strapped system toward the brink of insolvency.
Applications are up nearly 50 percent over a decade ago as people with disabilities lose their jobs and can't find new ones in an economy that has shed nearly 7 million jobs.
The stampede for benefits is adding to a growing backlog of applicants — many wait two years or more before their cases are resolved — and worsening the financial problems of a program that's been running in the red for years.
New congressional estimates say the trust fund that supports Social Security disability will run out of money by 2017, leaving the program unable to pay full benefits, unless Congress acts. About two decades later, Social Security's much larger retirement fund is projected to run dry as well.
Much of the focus in Washington has been on fixing Social Security's retirement system. Proposals range from raising the retirement age to means-testing benefits for wealthy retirees. But the disability system is in much worse shape and its problems defy easy solutions.
The trustees who oversee Social Security are urging Congress to shore up the disability system by reallocating money from the retirement program, just as lawmakers did in 1994. That would provide only short-term relief at the expense of weakening the retirement program.
Claims for disability benefits typically increase in a bad economy because many disabled people get laid off and can't find a new job. This year, about 3.3 million people are expected to apply for federal disability benefits. That's 700,000 more than in 2008 and 1 million more than a decade ago.
"It's primarily economic desperation," Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue said in an interview. "People on the margins who get bad news in terms of a layoff and have no other place to go and they take a shot at disability,"
The disability program is also being hit by an aging population — disability rates rise as people get older — as well as a system that encourages people to apply for more generous disability benefits rather than waiting until they qualify for retirement.
Retirees can get full Social Security benefits at age 66, a threshold gradually rising to 67. Early retirees can get reduced benefits at 62. However, if you qualify for disability, you can get full benefits, based on your work history, even before 62.
Also, people who qualify for Social Security disability automatically get Medicare after two years, even if they are younger than 65, the age when other retirees qualify for the government-run health insurance program.
Congress tried to rein in the disability program in the late 1970s by making it tougher to qualify. The number of people receiving benefits declined for a few years, even during a recession in the early 1980s. Congress, however, reversed course and loosened the criteria, and the rolls were growing again by 1984.
The disability program "got into trouble first because of liberalization of eligibility standards in the 1980s," said Charles Blahous, one of the public trustees who oversee Social Security. "Then it got another shove into bigger trouble during the recent recession."
Today, about 13.6 million people receive disability benefits through Social Security or Supplemental Security Income. Social Security is for people with substantial work histories, and monthly disability payments average $927. Supplemental Security Income does not require a work history but it has strict limits on income and assets. Monthly SSI payments average $500.
As policymakers work to improve the disability system, they are faced with two major issues: Legitimate applicants often have to wait years to get benefits while many others get payments they don't deserve.
Last year, Social Security detected $1.4 billion in overpayments to disability beneficiaries, mostly to people who got jobs and no longer qualified, according to a recent report by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress.
Congress is targeting overpayments.
The deficit reduction package enacted this month would allow Congress to boost Social Security's budget by about $4 billion over the next decade to invest in programs that identify people who no longer qualify for disability benefits. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that increased enforcement would save nearly $12 billion over the next decade.
At the same time, the application process can be a nightmare for legitimate applicants. About two-thirds of initial applications are rejected. Most of these people drop their claims, but for those willing go through an appeals process that can take two years or more, chances are good they eventually will get benefits.
Astrue has pledged to reduce processing times for applicants' appeals, and he has had some success, even as the number of claims skyrockets. The number of people waiting for decisions has increased, but their wait times are going down.
"It's ludicrous to say that the backlog problem is getting worse," Astrue said. "The backlog problem has gotten dramatically better."
Patricia L. Foster said she was working as a nurse in a hospital in Columbia, S.C., in 2005 when she was attacked by a patient who was suffering from a mental illness. Foster, 64, said she injured her neck so bad she had a plate inserted. She said she also suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Foster was turned down twice for Social Security disability benefits before finally getting them in 2009, after hiring an Illinois-based company, Allsup, to represent her. She said she was awarded retroactive benefits, though the process was demeaning.
"I have to tell you, when you're told you cannot return to nursing because of your disability, you don't know how long I cried about that," Foster said. "And then Social Security says, 'Oh no, you don't qualify.' You don't know what that does to you emotionally. You have no idea."
Federal disability programs: www.ssa.gov/disability/
Congressional Budget Office projections: www.cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=12375
Government Accountability Office report: www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-724
Here is an follow up on blurp the other day about making bullet proof skin from spider webs
Utah researcher helps artist make bulletproof skin
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A bio-art project to create bulletproof skin has given a Utah State researcher even more hope his genetically engineered spider silk can be used to help surgeons heal large wounds and create artificial tendons and ligaments.
Researcher Randy Lewis and his collaborators gained worldwide attention recently when they found a commercially viable way to manufacture silk fibers using goats and silkworms that had spider genes inserted into their makeup.
Spider silk is one of the strongest fibers known and five times stronger than steel. Lewis' fibers are not that strong but much stronger than silk spun by ordinary worms.
With Lewis' help, Dutch artist Jalila Essaidi conducted an experiment weaving a lattice of human skin cells and silk that was capable of stopping bullets fired at reduced speeds.
"Randy and I were moved by the same drive I think, curiosity about the outcome of the project," Essaidi said in an email interview. "Both the artist and scientist are inherently curious beings."
Lewis thought the project was a bit off the wall at first, Essaidi acknowledged.
"But in the end, what curious person can say no to a project like this?" she said.
Essaidi, who used a European genetics-in-art grant to fund her project at the Designers & Artists 4 Genomics Awards, initially wanted to use Lewis' spider silk from goats to capitalize on the "grotesque factor" of the mammal-spider combination.
But Lewis didn't yet have enough of the spider goat silk to send hundreds of yards to Essaidi. So he sent her spools of silk from silkworms he had genetically engineered in a fashion similar to the goats.
Essaidi initially intended to fire .22 caliber bullets at the "skin" stretched in a frame. But she decided to place the "skin" on a special gelatin block used at the Netherlands Forensic Institute.
Using a high-speed camera, she showed a bullet fired at a reduced speed piercing the skin woven with an ordinary worm's silk But when tested with Lewis' genetically engineered worm's silk grafted between the epidermis and dermis, the skin didn't break. Neither was able to repel a bullet fired at normal speed from a .22 caliber rifle.
"We were more than a little surprised that the final skin kept the bullet from going in there," Lewis said of the tests at reduced speed. "It still ended up 2 inches into the torso, so it would not have saved your life. But without a doubt the most exciting part for us is the fact that they were able to recreate the skin on top of our fibers. It's something we haven't done. Nobody has worked in that area."
Essaidi was intrigued by the concept of spider silk as armor, and wanted to show that safety in its broadest sense is a relative concept, hence bulletproof.
"If human skin would be able to produce this thread, would we be protected from bullets?" she wondered on her blog. "I want to explore the social, political, ethical and cultural issues surrounding safety in a world with access to new biotechnologies."
She said it is legend that Achilles was invulnerable in all of his body except for his heel.
"Will we in the near future due to biotechnology no longer need to descend from a godly bloodline in order to have traits like invulnerability?" she asked.
Lewis downplayed the potential bulletproof applications of his research.
"I certainly would not discount that, but I don't see that as a tremendous application at the moment," he said.
He said bulletproof vests already exist. But being able to grow cells and use the material to replace large amounts of human skin could be significant for surgeons trying to cover large wounds, or treat people with severe burns.
He said the material's strength and elasticity would enable doctors to cover large areas without worrying about it ripping out _ a big advantage over small skin grafts.
Lewis couldn't give a time frame for such a use because it would require FDA approval. But he hoped to do some animal testing within two years, and noted spider silk already has proven very compatible with the human body.
The next step is to generate more material to test what cells will grow on it _ made easier with the "transgenic" silk worms and milk from goat spiders.
The real stuff is still the holy grail for fibers and textiles but not the easiest to come by as evidenced by an 11-by-4 foot tapestry unveiled two years ago at the New York Museum of Natural History that took millions of spiders to complete.
"We know some skin cells will grow (on our fibers), but can we get cells that make ligaments and tendons grow," Lewis said.
He said it may be easier to use the genetically engineered silk to make materials better than actual ligaments or tendons.
Essaidi, meanwhile, said she has plenty of wild ideas but wants to transplant the bulletproof skin.
She said Geert Verbeke, director of Verbeke Foundation in Belgium, the biggest Eco/BioArt museum, wants to wear the skin "as an ode to BioArt."
Back at Utah State's bio-manufacturing facility in Logan, Utah, Lewis just started breeding for the next round of milking in January. He has about three dozen of the genetically engineered goats. He extracts proteins from the special milk then spins them in a way that replicates the spider's method, resulting in a strong, light-weight fiber.
"Nothing is as strong as the natural fiber, yet," Lewis said of spider silk. "But we are working on solving that problem."
Every pawn shop and surplus story outside of every military base in the US has this happen everyday. Not suppose to use miltary in a law enforsement role. All they are doing is blurring the lines.
Air Force recovers stolen materials from Friday's raid
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV)- We're learning more on why the U.S. Air Force raided a local gun store Friday. They say it wasn't guns they were looking for.
An official from the Air Force is speaking to Action News about that raid. New information clarifies that this may have been an inside job, and the penalties could turn out to be very severe.
It was an afternoon that rocked businesses near Dean Martin and Flamingo. Local and federal law enforcement agencies swarmed in and served search warrants on Citadel Gun and Safe.
New information gives us an insight on the massive raid that up until now, authorities were tight lipped about. Turns out it was the Air Force Office of Special Investigations that led the raid.
"They went in there and did in fact find stolen air force military property that was stolen from Nellis Air Force Base," says Linda Card with the Air Force OSI.
Metro lent a hand as well as the FBI, ATF, and ICE. The recovered material though would not have posed a danger to regular people, says the Air Force.
"It did not include weapons, guns, explosives of any kind, bombs, nothing like that. It was basic stolen military property," says Card.
It's unclear what "basic military property" really is. We went to the Citadel Gun and Safe store Saturday it was open for business, but they promptly told us, not open for comment. After questioning the store owner and raiding his home, authorites have turned their investigation to Nellis Air Force Base.
"But if someone is in fact guilty at Nellis and they did steal military equipment and they tried to sell it outside, yes they will be charged for whatever it is that they did," says Card.
At this point no one has been charged, but as the questioning continues, formal charges could come as early as next week. We're told the gun store's owner did cooperate with authorities, and the investigation is still open.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Fewer Youths to Be Deported in New Policy
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration announced Thursday that it would suspend deportation proceedings against many illegal immigrants who pose no threat to national security or public safety.
The new policy is expected to help thousands of illegal immigrants who came to the United States as young children, graduated from high school and want to go on to college or serve in the armed forces.
White House and immigration officials said they would exercise “prosecutorial discretion” to focus enforcement efforts on cases involving criminals and people who have flagrantly violated immigration laws.
Under the new policy, the secretary of homeland security, Janet Napolitano, can provide relief, on a case-by-case basis, to young people who are in the country illegally but pose no threat to national security or to the public safety.
The decision would, through administrative action, help many intended beneficiaries of legislation that has been stalled in Congress for a decade. The sponsor of the legislation, Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, has argued that “these young people should not be punished for their parents’ mistakes.”
The action would also bolster President Obama’s reputation with Latino voters as he heads into the 2012 election. Just a week ago the leaders of major Hispanic organizations criticized his record, saying in a report that Mr. Obama and Congress had “overpromised and underdelivered” on immigration and other issues of concern to Latino voters, a major force in some swing states.
The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Representative Lamar Smith, Republican of Texas, denounced the new policy.
“The Obama administration has again made clear its plan to grant backdoor amnesty to illegal immigrants,” Mr. Smith said. “The administration should enforce immigration laws, not look for ways to ignore them. Officials should remember the oath of office they took to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the land.”
White House officials emphasized that they were not granting relief to a whole class of people, but would review cases one by one, using new standards meant to distinguish low- and high-priority cases.
“The president has said on numerous occasions that it makes no sense to expend our enforcement resources on low-priority cases, such as individuals” who were brought to this country as young children and know no other home, Ms. Napolitano said in a letter to Mr. Durbin.
She said that low-priority cases were “clogging immigration court dockets” and diverting enforcement resources away from individuals who pose a threat to public safety.
Mr. Durbin said he believed the new policy would stop the deportation of most people who would qualify for relief under his bill, known as the Dream Act (formally the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act).
Some experts have estimated that more than two million people might be eligible to apply for legal status under the Dream Act. Mr. Durbin’s office estimates that 100,000 to 200,000 could eventually earn citizenship, though the numbers are uncertain.
Under the new policy, the government will review 300,000 cases of people in deportation proceedings to identify those who might qualify for relief and those who should be expelled as soon as possible.
White House officials said the new policy could help illegal immigrants with family members in the United States. The White House is interpreting “family” to include partners of lesbian, gay and bisexual people.
Richard Socarides, a New York lawyer who was an adviser to President Bill Clinton on gay issues, said, “The new policy will end, at least for now, the deportations of gay people legally married to their same-sex American citizen partners, and it may extend to other people in same-sex partnerships.”
J. Kevin Appleby, director of migration policy at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the initiative would keep immigrant families together. “It is consistent with the teaching of the church that human rights should be respected, regardless of an immigrant’s legal status,” he said.
Cecilia Muñoz, a White House official who helped develop the new policy, said officials would suspend deportation proceedings in low-priority cases that, for example, involve “military veterans and the spouses of active-duty military personnel.”
Stephen W. Yale-Loehr, who teaches immigration law at Cornell, said the new policy could also benefit “illegal immigrants who were stopped for traffic violations and thrown into deportation proceedings, as well as people whose only violation of immigration law is that they stayed beyond the expiration of their visas or worked here illegally.” Ms. Napolitano said her agency and the Justice Department would do the case-by-case review of all people in deportation proceedings.
Those who qualify for relief can apply for permission to work in the United States and will probably receive it, officials said.
The new policy “will not provide categorical relief for any group” and “will not alleviate the need for passage of the Dream Act or for larger reforms to our immigration laws,” Ms. Napolitano said.
People in deportation proceedings stand to benefit most from the new policy. The new enforcement priorities also make it less likely that the government will begin such proceedings in the future against people who have no criminal records and pose no threat to national security.
White House officials said the new policy ratified guidance on “prosecutorial discretion” recently issued by John Morton, the director of immigration and customs enforcement at the Department of Homeland Security.
The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, praised the new directive, saying it would allow federal agents to “focus on serious felons, gang members and individuals who are a national security threat, rather than college students and veterans who have risked their lives for our country.”
Roy H. Beck, the president of Numbers USA, a nonprofit group that wants to reduce legal and illegal immigration, said he could understand the decision to defer deportation in some cases. But he said the decision to grant work permits was distressing.
“This is a jobs issue,” Mr. Beck said. “The president is taking sides, putting illegal aliens ahead of unemployed Americans.”
From a friends emails
New Breed of Super Cookie Defies Removal - Almost
More than half of the internet's top web sites use a little known capability
of Adobe's Flash plug-in to track users and store information about them,
but only four of them mention the so-called Flash Cookies in their privacy
I thought this second one was tinfoil hat kind of thing when i first heard about it. I guess there are still mad scientists about.
Bulletproof Human Skin" Made From Spider Silk And Goat Milk Developed By
imagine replacing keratin, the protein responsible for the toughness of the
human skin, with this spidersilk protein.
The first stage involves growing a layer of real skin around a sample of the
bulletproof skin, which takes about five weeks
If human skin would be able to produce this thread, would we be protected
from bullets? This is possible by adding the silk producing genes of a
spider to the gnome of a human: creating a bulletproof human
Hopefully they quit molesting people now and stick with things that are proven to work.
TSA launching behavior-detection program at Boston airport
As part of a pilot program, screeners will engage passengers at Logan International Airport in conversation in an effort to detect suspicious behavior.
Friday, August 19, 2011
Aliens may destroy humanity to protect other civilisations, say scientists
Rising greenhouse emissions may tip off aliens that we are a rapidly expanding threat, warns a report for Nasa
It may not rank as the most compelling reason to curb greenhouse gases, but reducing our emissions might just save humanity from a pre-emptive alien attack, scientists claim.
Watching from afar, extraterrestrial beings might view changes in Earth's atmosphere as symptomatic of a civilisation growing out of control – and take drastic action to keep us from becoming a more serious threat, the researchers explain.
This highly speculative scenario is one of several described by scientists at Nasa and Pennsylvania State University that, while considered unlikely, they say could play out were humans and alien life to make contact at some point in the future.
Shawn Domagal-Goldman of Nasa's Planetary Science Division and his colleagues compiled a list of plausible outcomes that could unfold in the aftermath of a close encounter, to help humanity "prepare for actual contact".
In their report, Would Contact with Extraterrestrials Benefit or Harm Humanity? A Scenario Analysis, the researchers divide alien contacts into three broad categories: beneficial, neutral or harmful.
Beneficial encounters ranged from the mere detection of extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI), for example through the interception of alien broadcasts, to contact with cooperative organisms that help us advance our knowledge and solve global problems such as hunger, poverty and disease.
Another beneficial outcome the authors entertain sees humanity triumph over a more powerful alien aggressor, or even being saved by a second group of ETs. "In these scenarios, humanity benefits not only from the major moral victory of having defeated a daunting rival, but also from the opportunity to reverse-engineer ETI technology," the authors write.
Other kinds of close encounter may be less rewarding and leave much of human society feeling indifferent towards alien life. The extraterrestrials may be too different from us to communicate with usefully. They might invite humanity to join the "Galactic Club" only for the entry requirements to be too bureaucratic and tedious for humans to bother with. They could even become a nuisance, like the stranded, prawn-like creatures that are kept in a refugee camp in the 2009 South African movie, District 9, the report explains.
The most unappealing outcomes would arise if extraterrestrials caused harm to humanity, even if by accident. While aliens may arrive to eat, enslave or attack us, the report adds that people might also suffer from being physically crushed or by contracting diseases carried by the visitors. In especially unfortunate incidents, humanity could be wiped out when a more advanced civilisation accidentally unleashes an unfriendly artificial intelligence, or performs a catastrophic physics experiment that renders a portion of the galaxy uninhabitable.
To bolster humanity's chances of survival, the researchers call for caution in sending signals into space, and in particular warn against broadcasting information about our biological make-up, which could be used to manufacture weapons that target humans. Instead, any contact with ETs should be limited to mathematical discourse "until we have a better idea of the type of ETI we are dealing with."
The authors warn that extraterrestrials may be wary of civilisations that expand very rapidly, as these may be prone to destroy other life as they grow, just as humans have pushed species to extinction on Earth. In the most extreme scenario, aliens might choose to destroy humanity to protect other civilisations.
"A preemptive strike would be particularly likely in the early phases of our expansion because a civilisation may become increasingly difficult to destroy as it continues to expand. Humanity may just now be entering the period in which its rapid civilisational expansion could be detected by an ETI because our expansion is changing the composition of the Earth's atmosphere, via greenhouse gas emissions," the report states.
"Green" aliens might object to the environmental damage humans have caused on Earth and wipe us out to save the planet. "These scenarios give us reason to limit our growth and reduce our impact on global ecosystems. It would be particularly important for us to limit our emissions of greenhouse gases, since atmospheric composition can be observed from other planets," the authors write.
Even if we never make contact with extraterrestrials, the report argues that considering the potential scenarios may help to plot the future path of human civilisation, avoid collapse and achieve long-term survival.
Why is CBS News Selling Barack Obama Merchandise in its Online Store?
There‘s some curious merchandise for sale in CBS News’ online store.*
Alongside a travel mug, tote bag and T-shirt that all bear the CBS News logo, the store also includes the following:
•“Dreams From My Father,” by Barack Obama
•“Dreams From My Father,” by Barack Obama (hardcover)
•“Change We Can Believe In: Barack Obama‘s Plan to Renew America’s Promise”
•“The American Journey of Barack Obama,” by Life Magazine
•“Obama: The Historic Campaign in Photographs”
•“The Official Inauguration Celebration DVD”
Thursday, August 18, 2011
I'm dumb enough that I haven't selected gun and photo ads to go with my gun and photo videos and blog posts. I get all kinds of ads. Lately, Obama has been showing up. His campaign has to pay for those ads depending on how many clicks he gets. I also get paid, so clicking on HIS ad buys ME ammunition. Is this a win-win or what?
Please click. Every time you click Obama he drops another round of match-grade ammo into my stash!
Clickety-click-click-click-click! Thanks, Obama! It's hope and change!
Update: use the little arrow-thingie to page through the ad choices below. The ONE! He buys the ammo! If he isn't up on the rotation, hit anything you can see and THANKS!
The oxymoron of our government, they are going to cause us to destroy us for our own good. We already can not grow enough food to feed our own people let alone the appetite that China has. We are not the bread basket of the world anymore, more like a basket case. Our government pursue a policy that cripples its own people, forces us to put something in vehicles that destroys it. As a ramification they are trying to force us to buy newer and newer equipment.
E15 fears: More ethanol in gasoline is bad news for power equipment, critics say
It seems like a great idea: Increase the amount of renewable ethanol from grain at the gas station and decrease America's reliance on foreign oil.
But a push to add another 50 percent to the ethanol content of some automobile fuel has opened a barrel of worms. Automakers say they don't know how it will affect their cars; power-equipment and boat manufacturers are predicting calamitous misfuelling; and gas station owners are looking at a slew of legal and logistical impediments.
The Environmental Protection Agency has approved a request from the ethanol industry to allow ethanol content in a gallon of gas to climb from 10 to 15 percent. The waiver to the Clean Air Act to permit so-called E15 fuel applies only to cars and light trucks made since model year 2007, but the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute and manufacturers argue that once gas stations sell it, consumers will misfuel their power equipment, with terrible results.
The availability of E15 could produce "a train wreck in the marketplace," said the institute's attorney, Bill Guerry.
Opponents of E15 are considering a concerted legal action to try to reverse the waiver. "We don't know the long-term effects of E15 on automobiles," said Gloria Bergquist of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. "There's a sweep of studies underway now, and we had urged EPA to wait until next year when more of these studies would be concluded."
In approving the waiver Oct. 13, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said "thorough testing has shown that E15 does not harm emissions control equipment in newer cars and light trucks."
For veteran power-equipment guys such as Mick Matuskey, the prospect of E15 entering the fuel stream is vexing. Matuskey, co-owner of Power and Lawn Equipment in Gaithersburg, has been in the business for 44 years and remembers when snowblowers, chain saws and mowers lasted much longer.
"You're getting half of the life out of the product today compared to 30, 40 years ago," he said.
Cheaper components and higher running temperatures are taking their toll. But critics say a 15 percent ethanol blend would shorten engine life more and make equipment prone to fuel leaks and fire hazards. Apart from causing engines to run hotter, ethanol fuel eats away at rubber components.
"E15 is going to make fuel lines on older equipment turn to mush a lot faster," Matuskey said. "You've got spillage and environmental issues as well as fire and safety issues."
Prentiss Searles of the American Petroleum Institute said, "Having seals fail on your backpack blower isn't a good thing, because you've got a gas tank sitting on your back."
Tools such as trimmers, mowers and blowers generally use engine technologies long abandoned by car makers: air cooling, carburetion and, often, two-cycle engines fueled by an oil-gas mix . Ethanol blends cause engines to run leaner and hotter - modern auto engines can adjust for that; lawn mowers and chain saws cannot.
Today's gas-pump blend, ubiquitous and known as E10, pushes power equipment to the limit, said Kris Kiser, the petroleum group's executive vice president. With E15, "our machines fail," he said.
The institute says its members can develop machines that will run on more ethanol, just as they are making them less polluting. But there are as many as 200 million existing pieces of equipment now in jeopardy, used by homeowners, landscapers, foresters, companies and institutions.
Stephanie Dreyer, spokeswoman for the ethanol coalition that requested the waiver, Growth Energy, said labels at the pump, to be required by the EPA, will explicitly direct consumers to the right type of fuel. "There are two types of diesel on the road now, and they are indicated by a label," she said. "And as far as we know it hasn't been a problem."
The use of E15 in cars, she said, "will accelerate the use of renewable fuel, increase energy security, create jobs, reduce transportation costs and improve the environment." Dreyer said it will also encourage investment in the next generation of ethanol made from a variety of plant materials.
Cathy Milbourn, an EPA spokeswoman, says the agency is not advocating E15 but simply responding to a waiver request under the clean-air statute.
The waiver covers about one-fifth of the vehicles on the road. The agency is waiting for further engine emission tests by the Energy Department before deciding whether to extend approval of E15 for cars built since 2001.
If the agency extends the waiver back to model-year-2001 vehicles, E15 would be approved in more than half the automobiles in the country, a percentage that would grow as older cars are scrapped.
Power-equipment makers say consumers filling a portable gas can while also fueling their vehicles are not going to pay attention to a sign telling them to use E15 only in approved automobiles. They also speculate that gasoline retailers will make more money from E15 than E10, and if it becomes legal for 54 percent of automobiles, "at some point there is likely to be a wholesale transfer over to a majority fuel," Guerry said.
In time, E10 may no longer be available, at which point, Guerry said, "people are going to be stuck filling their portable containers with E15 no matter how effective the misfuelling regulation is."
Equipment makers are also worried that the ethanol, which absorbs water, will make the fuel unstable and destructive to engines when seasonable equipment is stored for months on end. Another problem, Kiser said, is that the faster engine idling speeds will cause machines with centrifugal clutches, such as chain saws, to engage blades at rest.
For gas station owners, the waiver has raised its own set of questions and concerns. Tanks, pipes and pumps must be listed by Underwriters Laboratories, an independent product-safety testing organization, for E15 to meet Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations, as well as contractual obligations with insurers and others.
"The existing infrastructure is not certified," said Tim Columbus, counsel to the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America. "Somebody has got to go through all the hoops to get the fuel registered, and then you have to figure out what are you going to do with the existing infrastructure. This isn't going to happen in 10 minutes."
John Eichberger, an executive with the other major gas station trade group, the National Association of Convenience Stores, said some existing tanks are certified for E15 but others aren't.
"The bigger issue is the pipes from the tanks to the dispensers and the materials used to connect them, the gaskets, glues and seals," he said. As with replacing underground storage tanks, "you would have to crack concrete to get to them. Add a decimal point to the price."
With the extended waiver, E15 is "more likely to be assimilated into the marketplace, and misfuelling will be more likely," Kiser said. And while the EPA may permit E15 in older vehicles, using the fuel might still void the manufacturer's warranty, he said. He predicted "a challenge for the consumer."
Congress is considering a bill that would shield gas retailers from liability suits for mis-fueled engines.
Another concern of Kiser's members in the American Petroleum Institute is that E15 will be cheaper to retailers and that eventually E10 will no longer be available. They have asked the EPA to mandate its continued sale.
Meanwhile, equipment makers, as well as retailers such as Matuskey, are trying to deal with the uncertainties spawned by the E15 waiver. If and when it arrives, "it'll have a major impact on our industry," he said.
and a glimspe at another article
EPA approves E15 fuel label despite engine risk
EPA says tests show E15 won't harm 2001 and newer vehicles, which have hoses and gaskets and seals specially designed to resist corrosive ethanol. But using E15 fuel in older vehicles or in power equipment such as mowers, chainsaws and boats, can cause damage and now is literally a federal offense.
and part B of the stupidity, China is not the only country, just a big buyer. We ship corn all over the world.
China's corn demand mind blowing
China's struggle to meet the growing demands of its middle class is fueling a sudden surge in demand for corn, sending vast ripples across the U.S. farm belt and potentially upending the grain's trade flows around the world.
China's need for corn -- which forms the basis of sweeteners, starch and alcohol as well as feed for livestock -- was on stark display in July when the nation ordered 21 million bushels of U.S. corn in one hit, more than the U.S. government thought the country would buy in a year. The purchase surprised the market and came as an intense July heat wave was shrinking the potential size of the Midwest crop. China bought another 2.2 million bushels of U.S. corn early this month.
Corn prices, which have nearly doubled over the past year, climbed another 1% Tuesday. The corn futures contract for December delivery at the Chicago Board of Trade rose 7.5 cents to settle at $7.275 a bushel.
China's influence on corn demand underlines how its fast-growing economy is reshaping global commerce. The nation, with its growing population of 1.3 billion people, has been a major player in commodities markets in recent years.
China already buys about a quarter of all U.S. soybeans. But its sudden demand for corn caught many off guard. China, which hadn't been a net importer of corn for 15 years until last year, has a vast corn belt of its own and for many years strove to be self-sufficient. And because China is secretive about the levels of commodities it holds in its strategic reserves, the rest of the market can only guess what its supply needs are.
Many attribute the larger-than-expected demand to a growing middle class that is changing its tastes more quickly than anticipated. As the Chinese population becomes wealthier, for example, it is eating more pork. And the Chinese government is pushing its farmers to adopt Western methods of raising their pigs, including feeding them more corn. Citizens also are slurping up juices and other products that include corn-based sweeteners: Coca-Cola Co. said that its volume in China spiked 21% in the second quarter.
Ma Liangfeng, a 69-year-old retired engineer living in Shanghai, says the array of packaged products lining store shelves was "unthinkable" just 30 years ago. Back then, families had to reserve staple meats like pork for special occasions.
The changes have caused big changes throughout the food chain, including U.S. companies and farmers putting in place infrastructure that will enable massive shipments of grains and other products to Asia.
Many U.S. traders and economists believe the recent purchases signal U.S. sales will grow so rapidly that China could become the biggest foreign buyer of U.S. corn within five to 10 years, dethroning Japan, which bought about 610 million bushels of U.S. corn last year. "We think this is the inflection point," says Brian Schouvieller, a grain marketing executive at CHS Inc., the U.S.'s biggest farmer-owned cooperative. "We believe that, from now, China is going to be a steady buyer."
To be sure, Western executives have been wrong before about China's appetite for foreign corn. A sudden surge of Chinese buying in the mid-1990s sparked talk of a trade boon for U.S. farmers, but it was a blip. While China's middle class is far bigger now, and its gross domestic product grew a blistering 9.5% in the second quarter, economists predict turbulence. Much of China's breakneck growth is fueled by government-led investment, not entrepreneurs, and China's housing market appears to be overheating.
Still, the threat of instability might well work in the favor of U.S. farmers. China's ruling Communist Party worries in particular about food inflation, which could put social stability at risk. In an effort to preserve domestic supplies, the government has already stopped construction of factories that convert Chinese corn into ethanol fuel.
But rising pork prices, thanks in part to higher demand and the rising cost of feed, accounted for more than a quarter of the 6.5% jump in China's consumer price index in July from a year earlier.
In the eastern province of Zhejiang, pig farmer Qian Fang Hua operation has grown to about 2,000 animals today, from less than 200 pigs four years ago. Mr. Qian's hogs require about 4,000 kilograms of corn-based feed each day. His growing farm, and others dotted around the country, is one of the reasons domestic corn prices have climbed so high as to make U.S. corn seem affordable.
This year, China is expected to use about five billion bushels of corn to make feed, a growth of 20% from five years ago, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The USDA now forecasts that China will import 79 million bushels of corn from all sources for the 2011-2012 crop year. But some grain traders are much more optimistic. They said in interviews that they think China wants to buy 200 million bushels of corn from the U.S. alone.
U.S. companies are already investing with China's ever-expanding appetite in mind. Decatur, Ill., grain exporter Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. said in July that it would build a shuttle-loading grain elevator near St. Cloud, Minn., with the capability of loading trains that are 110 cars long. And Minneapolis-commodity processing giant Cargill Inc. is expanding its corn sweetener factory in Pinghu.
A port terminal in Longview, Wash., scheduled to open this fall is the nation's first in at least two decades for loading ocean-going ships with grain. Grain giant Bunge and two Asian partners invested $200 million to build it. "The Asia market is the fastest growing market in the world," says Larry Clarke, the ventures chief executive. "We're working to get our infrastructure ahead of it."
Biotechnology giant Monsanto Co. has had talks about deepening ties with Sinochem, the state-owned chemicals conglomerate with which it has had a corn seed-breeding venture in China since 2001.
Ron Litterer, a Greene, Iowa, farmer, says he is paying close attention to China's growth and while he hasn't yet decided to increase his corn planting, that could change. Mr. Litterer raises 1,000 acres of corn and 500 acres of soybeans. "It just makes sense to think they will have to depend more and more on [food] imports," Mr. Litterer says.
For now, the amount of Chinese business confirmed by Washington is relatively small alongside America's total foreign sales. The U.S. exports about 1.8 billion bushels of corn globally.
While nobody in the West knows for sure how much corn China will want to import and how soon, the possibilities fascinate grain traders. According to Michael Swanson, a Wells Fargo & Co. economist, doubling of per capita meat consumption in China so that it matches the U.S. level would require the country to use an additional 24 billion bushels of corn, or about twice what the U.S. produces in a year.
"There's not enough grain in the world for them to do that," Mr. Swanson says. "But just moving in the direction is staggering to consider."
and a glimpse at another article
Corn Imports by China Seen Doubling to Cool Fastest Inflation Since 2008
China, the second-largest corn user, may more than double purchases to a record as it seeks to boost stockpiles and cool the fastest inflation in three years.