Monday, December 18, 2006

Personal Aircraft

Monday, December 04, 2006

H.R. 5674: Protection Against Transmission of HIV for Women and Youth Act of 2006

H.R. 5674



109th U.S. Congress (2005-2006)





To require the President and the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator to establish a comprehensive and integrated HIV prevention strategy to address the vulnerabilities of women and girls in countries for which the United States provides assistance to combat HIV/AIDS, and for other purposes.

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Bill Status



Summary



Other Info



Status: Introduced

This bill is in the first step in the legislative process. Introduced bills go first to committees that deliberate, investigate, and revise bills before they go to general debate. The majority of bills never make it out of committee.

Bill Overview

Introduced: Jun 22, 2006

Sponsor:

Rep. Barbara Lee [D-CA]show cosponsors (84)

Cosponsors

Rep. Neil Abercrombie [D-HI]

Rep. Shelley Berkley [D-NV]

Rep. Howard Berman [D-CA]

Rep. Sanford Bishop [D-GA]

Rep. Earl Blumenauer [D-OR]

Rep. Corrine Brown [D-FL]

Rep. Sherrod Brown [D-OH]

Rep. Lois Capps [D-CA]

Rep. Michael Capuano [D-MA]

Rep. Benjamin Cardin [D-MD]

Rep. Russ Carnahan [D-MO]

Rep. Julia Carson [D-IN]

Rep. Donna Christensen [D-VI]

Rep. William Clay [D-MO]

Rep. James Clyburn [D-SC]

Rep. John Conyers [D-MI]

Rep. Joseph Crowley [D-NY]

Rep. Elijah Cummings [D-MD]

Rep. Danny Davis [D-IL]

Rep. William Delahunt [D-MA]

Rep. Lloyd Doggett [D-TX]

Rep. Chaka Fattah [D-PA]

Rep. Barney Frank [D-MA]

Rep. Al Green [D-TX]

Rep. Raul Grijalva [D-AZ]

Rep. Luis Gutiérrez [D-IL]

Rep. Jane Harman [D-CA]

Rep. Alcee Hastings [D-FL]

Rep. Maurice Hinchey [D-NY]

Rep. Rush Holt [D-NJ]

Rep. Michael Honda [D-CA]

Rep. Jesse Jackson [D-IL]

Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee [D-TX]

Rep. William Jefferson [D-LA]

Rep. Eddie Johnson [D-TX]

Rep. Stephanie Jones [D-OH]

Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick [D-MI]

Rep. Dennis Kucinich [D-OH]

Rep. Tom Lantos [D-CA]

Rep. James Leach [R-IA]

Rep. John Lewis [D-GA]

Rep. Zoe Lofgren [D-CA]

Rep. Carolyn Maloney [D-NY]

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy [D-NY]

Rep. Betty McCollum [D-MN]

Rep. James McDermott [D-WA]

Rep. James McGovern [D-MA]

Rep. Cynthia McKinney [D-GA]

Rep. Kendrick Meek [D-FL]

Rep. Gregory Meeks [D-NY]

Rep. Bradley Miller [D-NC]

Rep. George Miller [D-CA]

Rep. Dennis Moore [D-KS]

Rep. Gwen Moore [D-WI]

Rep. James Moran [D-VA]

Rep. Jerrold Nadler [D-NY]

Rep. Richard Neal [D-MA]

Rep. Eleanor Norton [D-DC]

Rep. Major Owens [D-NY]

Rep. Frank Pallone [D-NJ]

Rep. Donald Payne [D-NJ]

Rep. David Price [D-NC]

Rep. Charles Rangel [D-NY]

Rep. Bobby Rush [D-IL]

Rep. Bernard Sanders [I-VT]

Rep. Janice Schakowsky [D-IL]

Rep. Adam Schiff [D-CA]

Rep. Robert Scott [D-VA]

Rep. Christopher Shays [R-CT]

Rep. Robert Simmons [R-CT]

Rep. Adam Smith [D-WA]

Rep. Hilda Solis [D-CA]

Rep. Fortney Stark [D-CA]

Rep. Ellen Tauscher [D-CA]

Rep. John Tierney [D-MA]

Rep. Edolphus Towns [D-NY]

Rep. Christopher Van Hollen [D-MD]

Rep. Maxine Waters [D-CA]

Rep. Diane Watson [D-CA]

Rep. Melvin Watt [D-NC]

Rep. Henry Waxman [D-CA]

Rep. Robert Wexler [D-FL]

Rep. Lynn Woolsey [D-CA]

Rep. Albert Wynn [D-MD]

Cosponsorship information sometimes is out of date.

Last Action: Jun 22, 2006: Referred to the House Committee on International Relations.

Full Text: Text or PDF

[CitizenJoe] Learn more about Class Size, Foreign Aid, or Reproductive Health and Family Planning.

Committee Assignments



This bill is in the first stage of the legislative process where the bill is considered in committee and may undergo significant changes in markup sessions. The bill has been referred to the following committees:

House International Relations

GovTrack: H.R. 5674: Protection Against Transmission of HIV for Women and Youth Act of 2006

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Earth Observing 1

http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2006/26oct_sensorweb.htm

EO-1
is a new breed of satellite that can think for itself. "We
programmed it to notice things that change (like the plume
of a volcano) and take appropriate action," Chien explains.
EO-1 can re-organize its own priorities to study volcanic
eruptions, flash-floods, forest fires, disintegrating sea-ice—in
short, anything unexpected.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Friday, October 27, 2006

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Discovery Channel :: News - Travel :: China's Yellow River Turns Red

Discovery Channel :: News - Travel :: China's Yellow River Turns Red:

"Oct. 24, 2006 — A half-mile section of China's Yellow River turned 'red and smelly' after an unknown discharge was poured into it from a sewage pipe, state media said Monday.

The incident in Lanzhou, a city of 2 million people in western Gansu province, follows a string of industrial accidents that have poisoned major rivers in China over the last year, forcing several cities to shut down their water systems."

The Dilbert Blog: Good News Day

The Dilbert Blog: Good News Day:

"The day before yesterday, while helping on a homework assignment, I noticed I could speak perfectly in rhyme. Rhyme was a context I hadn’t considered. A poem isn’t singing and it isn’t regular talking. But for some reason the context is just different enough from normal speech that my brain handled it fine.

Jack be nimble, Jack be quick.
Jack jumped over the candlestick.

I repeated it dozens of times, partly because I could. It was effortless, even though it was similar to regular speech. I enjoyed repeating it, hearing the sound of my own voice working almost flawlessly. I longed for that sound, and the memory of normal speech. Perhaps the rhyme took me back to my own childhood too. Or maybe it’s just plain catchy. I enjoyed repeating it more than I should have. Then something happened.

My brain remapped.

My speech returned."

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Friday, October 20, 2006

These bacteria use radiated water as food

These bacteria use radiated water as food:

"BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Researchers from Indiana University Bloomington and eight collaborating institutions report in this week's Science a self-sustaining community of bacteria that live in rocks 2.8 kilometers below Earth's surface. Think that's weird? The bacteria rely on radioactive uranium to convert water molecules to useable energy.

The discovery is a confirmed expansion of Earth's biosphere, the three-dimensional shell that encompasses all planetary life.

The research has less Earthly implications, however. It will likely fuel optimism that life exists in other deep subsurface environments, such as in groundwater beneath the permafrost on Mars."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

FDA Approves Once-Daily JANUVIA(TM), the First and Only DPP-4 Inhibitor Available in the United States for Type 2 Diabetes - AlphaTrade FN

FDA Approves Once-Daily JANUVIA(TM), the First and Only DPP-4 Inhibitor Available in the United States for Type 2 Diabetes - AlphaTrade FN:

"U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved JANUVIA(TM) (sitagliptin phosphate), the first and only DPP-4 inhibitor available in the United States for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. JANUVIA has been approved as monotherapy and as add-on therapy to either of two other types of oral diabetes medications, metformin or thiazolidinediones (TZDs), to improve blood sugar (glucose) control in patients with type 2 diabetes when diet and exercise is not enough. The recommended dose of JANUVIA is 100 mg once daily. JANUVIA should not be used in patients with type 1 diabetes or for the treatment of diabetic ketoacidosis, as it would not be effective in these settings."

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Vitamin D levels linked to breast cancer progression

Vitamin D levels linked to breast cancer progression

17/10/2006 - Increasing vitamin D levels may help curb the development and progression of breast cancer, suggests a small study from Imperial College London.

“This report, while being an observational study, clearly shows that circulating vitamin D levels are lower in patients with advanced breast cancer than in those with early breast cancer,” wrote lead author Dr Carlo Palmieri in the Journal of Clinical Pathology (doi.10.1136/jcp.2006.042747).

Both forms of the vitamin, D2 and D3, are hydroxylated in the liver and kidneys to form 25-hydroxyvitamin D, the non-active ‘storage' form, and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, the biologically active form that is tightly controlled by the body. Scientists use serum 25- hydroxyvitamin D levels as a measure of vitamin D status.

This observation adds to an ever-growing body of evidence linking vitamin D status with incidence and risk of various cancers, including breast, colorectal and prostate. Indeed, the link between vitamin D intake and protection from cancer is not and dates from the 1940s when Frank Apperly demonstrated a link between latitude and deaths from cancer, and suggested that sunlight gave “a relative cancer immunity.”

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Dynamic Stark Control of Photochemical Processes -- Sussman et al. 314 (5797): 278 -- Science

Dynamic Stark Control of Photochemical Processes -- Sussman et al. 314 (5797): 278 -- Science

Dynamic Stark Control of Photochemical Processes

Benjamin J. Sussman,1,2 Dave Townsend,1 Misha Yu. Ivanov,1 Albert Stolow1,2*

A method is presented for controlling the outcome of photochemical reactions by using the dynamic Stark effect due to a strong, nonresonant infrared field. The application of a precisely timed infrared laser pulse reversibly modifies potential energy barriers during a chemical reaction without inducing any real electronic transitions. Dynamic Stark control (DSC) is experimentally demonstrated for a nonadiabatic photochemical reaction, showing substantial modification of reaction channel probabilities in the dissociation of IBr. The DSC process is nonperturbative and insensitive to laser frequency and affects all polarizable molecules, suggesting broad applicability.

1 Steacie Institute for Molecular Sciences, National Research Council of Canada, 100 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0R6, Canada.
2 Department of Physics, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6, Canada.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Report Says Nonprofits Sold Influence to Abramoff - washingtonpost.com

Report Says Nonprofits Sold Influence to Abramoff - washingtonpost.com

By James V. Grimaldi and Susan Schmidt
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, October 13, 2006; 1:32 AM

Five conservative nonprofit organizations, including one run by prominent Republican Grover Norquist, "appear to have perpetrated a fraud" on taxpayers by selling their clout to lobbyist Jack Abramoff, Senate investigators said in a report issued yesterday.

The report includes previously unreleased e-mails between the now-disgraced lobbyist and officers of the nonprofit groups, showing that Abramoff funneled money from his clients to the groups. In exchange, the groups, among other things, produced ostensibly independent newspaper op-ed columns or news releases that favored the clients' positions.

Officers of the groups "were generally available to carry out Mr. Abramoff's requests for help with his clients in exchange for cash payments," said the report, issued by the Senate Finance Committee. The report was written by the Democratic staff after a yearlong investigation and authorized by the Republican chairman, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa).

Abramoff has pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy and could go to prison as early as next month. Prosecution and defense lawyers jointly filed papers yesterday asking a judge to recommend that he be sent to a federal facility in Cumberland, Md., to make it easier for him to cooperate with the ongoing probe. The investigation has resulted in one conviction and seven guilty pleas -- including one from a lawmaker, Rep. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio), who is to appear today before a federal judge in the District.

The Senate report released yesterday states that the nonprofit groups probably violated their tax-exempt status "by laundering payments and then disbursing funds at Mr. Abramoff's direction; taking payments in exchange for writing newspaper columns or press releases that put Mr. Abramoff's clients in a favorable light; introducing Mr. Abramoff's clients to government officials in exchange for payment; and agreeing to act as a front organization for congressional trips paid for by Mr. Abramoff's clients."

High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photography in Photoshop CS2

High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photography in Photoshop CS2:

"High dyanmic range (HDR) images enable photographers to record a greater range of tonal detail than a given camera could capture in a single photo. This opens up a whole new set of lighting possibilities which one might have previously avoided—for purely technical reasons. The new 'merge to HDR' feature of Photoshop CS2 allows the photographer to combine a series of bracketed exposures into a single image which encompasses the tonal detail of the entire series. There is no free lunch however; trying to broaden the tonal range will inevitably come at the expense of decreased contrast in some tones. Learning to use the merge to HDR feature in Photoshop CS2 can help you make the most of your dynamic range under tricky lighting—while still balancing this trade-off with contrast."

The "Citizendium"

The "Citizendium"

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Science & Technology at Scientific American.com: Tiny Genome May Reflect Organelle in the Making

Science & Technology at Scientific American.com: Tiny Genome May Reflect Organelle in the Making:

"The bacterial species having the smallest genomes are typically those that spend their entire lives inside a host, exchanging nutrients that the host cannot synthesize in return for free room and board. Because the host supplies nourishment for these so-called endosymbionts, they are able to get by with fewer genes of their own. This reduction seemed to have limits, though. By randomly damaging bacteria, researchers had found about 300 genes essential for their growth. Accordingly, endosymbionts had never really dipped below a genomic sequence length of 500,000 to 600,000 base pairs."

Enter Carsonella rudii, which lives inside a special collection of cells in the abdomen of a certain psyllid, a flying insect that feeds on amino acid-deficient plant sap. Carsonella's genome is a mere 160,000 base pairs long, report Nancy Moran of the University of Arizona and her colleagues in the October 13 Science. The streamlined microbe contains at most 182 genes, which are smaller and overlap more with one another than is usual for bacteria. C. rudii is rich in genes for protein synthesis but lacks many genes for membrane synthesis, energy metabolism and DNA replication. Some of these genes may have been transferred to the host, which could be supplying its symbiont with essential enzymes, Moran notes. "If so, it would be very much like an organelle," she says. The mitochondrion and chloroplast are presumed endosymbionts that were assimilated into nascent plant and animal cells long ago. "This has never been shown to happen in an animal cell, because it's more difficult, but it's possible that Carsonella has basically done the same thing,"

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Ribosomal RNA - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ribosomal RNA - Wikipedia

What is 16s rRNA

What is 16s rRNA

CDC - Sequencing of 16S rRNA Gene: A Rapid Tool for Identification of Bacillus anthracis

CDC - Sequencing of 16S rRNA Gene:

Bacteria Don't Have Species :: Astrobiology Magazine ::

Bacteria Don't Have Species :: Astrobiology Magazine :::

"Astrobiology Magazine: You have argued that bacteria don't have species. I wonder if you could explain that idea.

Lynn Margulis: Bacteria are much more of a continuum. They drop their genes all the time. Like we say in What is Life?, it's like going swimming in a swimming pool, going in blue-eyed and coming out brown-eyed, just because you've gulped the water. Obviously, animals don't do that. But that's what bacteria do, all the time. They just pick up genes, they throw away genes, and they are very flexible about that.

Say you have a bacterium like Azotobacter. This is a nitrogen-fixing bacterium. It takes nitrogen out of the air and puts it into useable food. Nitrogen fixing is a big deal. It takes a lot of genes. If you put a little something like arsenium bromide in a test tube with these organisms, and put it in a refrigerator overnight, lo and behold, the next day the cells can't do this anymore, they can't fix nitrogen. So by definition you have to change them from one genus to another."

AMD Unveils Barcelona Quad-Core Details

AMD Unveils Barcelona Quad-Core Details:

"Processor architecture designs take years from initial conception to the first shipping CPU sliding out of the fab assembly. So it's clear that AMD's new CPU architecture has been in the works for some time. Whether that's a problem or not vis à vis the competition isn't yet known, since AMD isn't yet talking about performance details.

What is known is that Barcelona—as AMD has dubbed this first iteration—isn't so much a brand-new architecture as it is a highly refined, tweaked version of the existing AMD x86-64. Those tweaks are numerous and significant. It's probably fair to suggest that Barcelona is to the current Opterons as Intel's Core 2 is to the Pentium M—designed from the ground up, on a base of the old with a lot of new stuff rolled in.

The details of Barcelona discussed in this article were presented by Ben Sander, who led the performance modeling group for Barcelona. Sander's team cranked real-world application traces through iterations of the new processor—both simulated and real. Although he's uniquely positioned to discuss performance, Sander didn't really comment on performance yet. What he discussed instead were some of the enhancements built into Barcelona.

With these thoughts in mind, let's take a look at some of the shiny new features."

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Mars orbiter looks down on rover

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Mars orbiter looks down on rover



Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity near the rim of Victoria Crater. Victoria is an impact crater about 800m (half a mile) in diameter at Meridiani Planum near the equator of Mars. Opportunity is the dot at the centre of the zoomed image. (Nasa/JPL/UA)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Unclaimed Territory - by Glenn Greenwald: John Boehner = Denny Hastert, at least -- Plus, key questions for Tom Reynolds

Unclaimed Territory - by Glenn Greenwald: John Boehner = Denny Hastert, at least -- Plus, key questions for Tom Reynolds

...now there seems to be still another Boehner version, as The Palm Beach Post reports this morning: "Boehner told the Dayton Daily News he was '99 percent' sure he talked to Hastert about the matter, but also said he did not recall their conversation."

So: (a) Boehner told Hastert about Foley and Hastert assured him they were "taking care of it"; (b) Boehner does not remember whether he ever talked to Hastert about Foley; (c) Boehner affirmatively claims that it "is not true" that he spoke with Hastert; and now, (d) Boehner is "99 percent" sure he talked to Hastert about Foley but remembers nothing about the converstaion. Does that sound like someone qualified to be Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, let alone Denny Hastert's replacement for Speaker of the House?

And this event has gone under-noticed because it happened late afternoon last Friday. Nancy Pelosi introduced a Motion on the House floor to mandate that the House Ethics Committee investigate how Foley was able to engage in such inappropriate conduct with Congressional pages and whether the House leadership failed in its duties. Boehner blocked the motion by claiming that they only learned of it that day, and therefore introduced a motion of his own -- which the GOP majority quickly approved -- to have the question of whether there will even be an investigation decided by the House Ethics Committee, the majority 5-member GOP contingent of which (out of 10 Committee members) is composed of the most subservient GOP backbenchers selected exactly for that reason. Predictably, they still have not decided whether they will even "investigate" at all.

The GOP-controlled House is a legislative body which routinely passes the most monumental legislation within days or even hours of its being completed, without there being anywhere near sufficient time for representatives even to read the bill, let alone contemplate its merits or deliberate in any meaningful way. Just this past week, Boehner's House Republican caucus voted to legalize torture, indefinite detention powers and warrantless eavesdropping before the ink on the final drafts was even dry.

They routinely shove legislation down the throats of House members as quickly as they can. Yet Boehner claimed that more time was needed to contemplate a very short and straightforward Motion directing the House Ethics Committee to investigate the Foley matter. The duplicity and obstructionism is hard to fathom, but that is how Congressional Republicans operate. Boehner not only helped conceal Mark Foley's behavior with pages, but he then actively obstructed an attempt to have the House investigate this matter by invoking the flimsiest and most transparently deceitful rationale to do so.

(2) Following up on what I really believe is the most incriminating fact yet -- that it was Tom Reynolds' current Chief of Staff, Kirk Fordham, who negotiated on behalf of Mark Foley to try to persuade ABC not to release the sexually explicit IMs -- last night I e-mailed the post I wrote about the Fordham-ABC negotiations to Brian Crowley, The Palm Beach Post reporter who first reported that Fordham was working to help Foley manage the crisis. I asked Crowley if he knew whether it was Fordham who negotiated with ABC (this was before Aravosis reported that he confirmed that it was). Crowley did not answer, but he did include this in his article this morning:

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Ted Rall Online

Ted Rall Online

101 People Who Are Really Screwing America - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

101 People Who Are Really Screwing America

Moyers on America | PBS

Moyers on America | PBS

The Blog | Alec Baldwin: The Embarrassed Republicans | The Huffington Post

The Blog | Alec Baldwin: The Embarrassed Republicans | The Huffington Post

Alec Baldwin Alec Baldwin Bio

Blitzer To GOP Rep: "Yes Or No: Do You Have Any Evidence" That Dems Knew About Foley Emails?... | The Huffington Post

Blitzer To GOP Rep: "Yes Or No: Do You Have Any Evidence" That Dems Knew About Foley Emails?... | The Huffington Post

Posted October 8, 2006 12:14 PM wildwolfweb.jpg

This morning on CNN's Late Edition, Wolf Blitzer hosted a segment on the Foley page scandal with guests Representative Patrick McHenry (R-NC) and Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY). McHenry was slinging accusations that Democrats had knowledge of Foley's inappropriate emails to pages, and held the information until before midterm elections, even though there is no evidence of such a maneuver and ABC News, after breaking the story, said that their sources were Republican.

CQ Says GOP In Danger Of Losing Both Houses | TPMCafe

CQ Says GOP In Danger Of Losing Both Houses | TPMCafe

CQ Politics today weighed in with a big-picture overview of many of its recent ratings changes to races, and its new macro-analysis finds that the GOP is in danger of losing both the Senate and the House:

As a result of these ratings changes, CQPolitics.com’s Balance of Power Scorecard now shows the Republicans short of a majority of seats in both chambers.

CQ also notes -- ominously for the GOP -- that "several additional ratings changes are imminent." CQ's full analysis here.

Lawmaker Saw Foley Messages In 2000 - washingtonpost.com

Lawmaker Saw Foley Messages In 2000 - washingtonpost.com

Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 9, 2006; Page A01

A Republican congressman knew of disgraced former representative Mark Foley's inappropriate Internet exchanges as far back as 2000 and personally confronted Foley about his communications.

A spokeswoman for Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.) confirmed yesterday that a former page showed the congressman Internet messages that had made the youth feel uncomfortable with the direction Foley (R-Fla.)

Bush cites authority to bypass FEMA law - The Boston Globe

Bush cites authority to bypass FEMA law - The Boston Globe:

"By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff | October 6, 2006

WASHINGTON -- President Bush this week asserted that he has the executive authority to disobey a new law in which Congress has set minimum qualifications for future heads of the Federal Emergency Management Agency."

Congress passed the law last week as a response to FEMA's poor handling of Hurricane Katrina. The agency's slow response to flood victims exposed the fact that Michael Brown, Bush's choice to lead the agency, had been a politically connected hire with no prior experience in emergency management.

To shield FEMA from cronyism, Congress established new job qualifications for the agency's director in last week's homeland security bill. The law says the president must nominate a candidate who has ``a demonstrated ability in and knowledge of emergency management" and ``not less than five years of executive leadership."

Bush signed the homeland-security bill on Wednesday morning. Then, hours later, he issued a signing statement saying he could ignore the new restrictions. Bush maintains that under his interpretation of the Constitution, the FEMA provision interfered with his power to make personnel decisions.

The law, Bush wrote, ``purports to limit the qualifications of the pool of persons from whom the president may select the appointee in a manner that rules out a large portion of those persons best qualified by experience and knowledge to fill the office."

The homeland-security bill contained measures covering a range of topics, including terrorism, disaster preparedness, and illegal immigration. One provision calls for authorizing the construction of a 700-mile fence along the Mexican border.

But Bush's signing statement challenged at least three-dozen laws specified in the bill. Among those he targeted is a provision that empowers the FEMA director to tell Congress about the nation's emergency management needs without White House permission. This law, Bush said, ``purports . . . to limit supervision of an executive branch official in the provision of advice to the Congress." Despite the law, he said, the FEMA director would be required to get clearance from the White House before telling lawmakers anything.


The Majority Report

The Majority Report

Sam and Janeane

CIA Leak Investigation - washingtonpost.com

CIA Leak Investigation - washingtonpost.com

Understanding the Plame Affair

IMG ALT• Key Players in the Plame Affair
Analysis and short biographies of the main individuals involved in the investigation of the leak of Valerie Plame's identity to the press.
Explaining the Charges
Q & A: The Leak Case Facts
Timeline: Libby's Role
Full Text of Indictment: U.S. vs Libby
Full Text of Complaint: Plame v. Cheney et al (pdf)
Special Counsel's Press Release Detailing Libby Indictment
Transcript: Fitzgerald's 10/28 Press Conference
President Bush's Remarks

The Fleecing of Black Borrowers - washingtonpost.com

The Fleecing of Black Borrowers - washingtonpost.com:

"According to new Federal Reserve Board data, less than one-fifth of non-Hispanic white borrowers took out high-priced loans last year. But for African Americans, the proportion was more than half. Black borrowers paid -- and will continue to pay for the life of these loans -- high prices at more than triple the rate that whites did. And Latinos were more than 1 1/2 times more likely than whites to pay high prices.

Liberals will cite these numbers as evidence of lending discrimination. Conservatives will argue that minorities should pay higher prices because they have lower incomes and less wealth, making them financially riskier. These explanations tell only part of the story."

The home loan market is what economists call "inefficient" and what the rest of us might call plain unfair: Minorities -- and many whites -- receive high-priced loans when they are financially qualified for lower-priced loans.

Why? As an official of the American Bankers Association, quoted in The Post, put it: "People shop more for a loaf of bread than they do for a mortgage."

But why don't Americans shop for the best loan price? Perhaps it's because loan officers and brokers present a certain price as "the rate for which you qualify" and some 40 percent of Americans then erroneously believe that under the law this is the best rate for which they qualify. Because lenders are less likely to suggest to minorities that they have any choice, more than 65 percent of African Americans believe this is indeed the rate they must pay.

Consumers who know that the law does not control prices may think their loan broker will shop for the best price. But lenders pay brokers kickbacks ("yield spread premiums") for selling loans priced higher than those for which borrowers qualify. Data show that brokers are more likely to fleece minority borrowers than white borrowers to "earn" these kickbacks.


Bush Balks at Criteria for FEMA Director - washingtonpost.com

Bush Balks at Criteria for FEMA Director - washingtonpost.com:

"President Bush reserved the right to ignore key changes in Congress's overhaul of the Federal Emergency Management Agency -- including a requirement to appoint someone with experience handling disasters as the agency's head -- in setting aside dozens of provisions contained in a major homeland security spending bill this week.

Besides objecting to Congress's list of qualifications for FEMA's director, the White House also claimed the right to edit or withhold reports to Congress by a watchdog agency within the Department of Homeland Security that is responsible for protecting Americans' personal privacy."

Rock Star Rattles Radical Islam - washingtonpost.com

Rock Star Rattles Radical Islam - washingtonpost.com:

"By Rebecca U. Cho
Religion News Service
Saturday, October 7, 2006; Page B09

To the millions of Indonesian youths who sell out his concerts, Ahmad Dhani is a superstar who has commanded the nation's rock scene for more than a decade.

But the charismatic leader of Dewa, one of Indonesia's top bands, isn't just any entertainer crooning about the heartaches of romantic love. Dhani is an ambassador for peace, using his music to lead Indonesia's youth away from radical Islam."

This week, the Muslim rocker was in the United States to share his message of religious tolerance with an entirely different audience: top U.S. government and military leaders at a national conference on homeland defense.

Dhani, 34, says attacking the ideology that motivates terrorists is the key to suppressing radical Islam.

With a longtime acquaintance, former Indonesian president Abdurraham Wahid, Dhani spoke to the group on Tuesday about a long-term strategy to combat religious extremism.

"The countries in the West cannot be disengaged from the Muslim world," Dhani said in an interview before his speech. "Building up the values of tolerance is critical in Indonesia and the Muslim world in order to defeat terrorism."


Crooks and Liars » Olbermann’s Special Comment: It is not the Democrats whose inaction in the face of the enemy you fear

Crooks and Liars » Olbermann’s Special Comment: It is not the Democrats whose inaction in the face of the enemy you fear:

"'If you listen closely to some of the leaders of the Democratic Party,' the President said at another fundraiser Monday in Nevada, 'it sounds like they think the best way to protect the American people is — wait until we're attacked again.'

The President doesn't just hear what he wants. He hears things, that only he can hear.

It defies belief that this President and his administration could continue to find new unexplored political gutters into which they could wallow.

Yet they do.

It is startling enough that such things could be said out loud by any President of this nation.

Rhetorically, it is about an inch short of Mr. Bush accusing Democratic leaders; Democrats; the majority of Americans who disagree with his policies — of treason.

But it is the context that truly makes the head spin.

Just 25 days ago, on the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, this same man spoke to this nation and insisted, quote, 'we must put aside our differences and work together to meet the test that history has given us.'

Mr. Bush, this is a test you have already failed."

Friday, October 06, 2006

Fortress America?

Fortress America?:

Five years and $44 billion later Americans are as vulnerable to a biological attack as they were when envelopes containing anthrax spores turned up in government and media mail rooms.... hard on the heels of 9/11, someone sent anthrax spores through the US mail to journalists and politicians. Five people died, and at least 17 more got sick. The culprit was never caught.

This relatively unsophisticated attack confirmed fears, already growing in the US, that with a bit more effort a determined bioterrorist could spread disease and mayhem across the nation. To combat the threat, the Bush administration launched an unprecedented biodefence effort. To date it has spent $44 billion – three-quarters of it aimed at protecting civilians – on new organisations, training, and buying existing remedies such as the classic smallpox vaccine.

Has this massive spending made Americans any safer? According to experts at the Center for Biosecurity at the University of Pittsburgh, the answer is no. Last month, they announced that the Us remains unable to defend itself against any anthrax attack involving more than a few envelopes. So what has gone wrong? The centrepiece of the administration's biodefence effort is Project BioShield. Launched in 2004, it is designed to turn drug companies into defence contractors, delivering products to counter potential bioweapons. Project BioShield has $5.6 billion to spend by 2014 on drugs to be stored in what is known as the strategic National stockpile. Yet, contrary to expectations, the pharmaceutical industry has not beaten a path to Project BioShield's door. The sluggish response has prompted a bill in Congress, expected to pass this year, that attempts to make BioShield more industry friendly.

Yet many biosecurity specialists say these adjustments do nothing to alter the fact that Project BioShield may be missing the point. They see problems in two crucial areas: the limited range of pathogens that BioShield is targeting, and inadequate plans for deploying the countermeasures it do"

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

PentaxLife

PentaxLife

K10D battery is actually Minolta

Minolta NP-400 batteryAccording to PDML user Thibault Massart aka Thibouille (you can reach him at DPreview forums as well), Pentax K10D proprietary Lithium battery is actually widely available (and cheaper - priced around $20 USD) Minolta NP-400.

Shel, a rep at the Pentax booth at Photokina told me (and was not supposed to so I won’t say his/her name) that those batteries for the K10D are the same as Minolta **-400. Don’t remind the first letters but according to the quick search I did on google they may be NP-400 which you should be able to find easily (and cheaper) than from Pentax.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Super chow, laced with semi-synthetic vitamin E derivative, inhibited spread of cancer in mice

Super chow, laced with semi-synthetic vitamin E derivative, inhibited spread of cancer in mice:

"PHILADELPHIA -- A chemically altered form of vitamin E mixed into mouse chow dramatically reduced spread of aggressive mammary cancer in mice, suggesting that the compound in pill form could be used to treat human metastatic cancer, according to a report in the October 1 issue of the journal Cancer Research."

New wood-plastic composites to boost industry, help use waste products

New wood-plastic composites to boost industry, help use waste products

"Composite products made from wood and plastic are highly desirable for their low maintenance and ability to resist rot," said Kaichang Li, an associate professor in the OSU Department of Wood Science and Engineering. "But their use has been limited because of high cost and low strength, a result of inadequate adhesion between the wood fibers and plastic."

Fundamentally, Li said, this is because wood and plastic are like oil and water, and do not mix well. Wood is hydrophilic – it absorbs water – and plastic is hydrophobic, repelling it. A "compatibilizer," typically a polymer that bridges the interface between the wood and plastic in these products, improves stress transfer and increases their strength and stiffness.

The new wood-plastic composites use superior compatibilizers developed in Li's laboratory, and an innovative technology for mixing wood and thermoplastics such as nylons, in which the melting temperature of the plastic is higher than the wood degradation temperature.

Compound Eyes, Evolutionary Ties

Compound Eyes, Evolutionary Ties

By Kim McDonald

Click for larger image.

Photo Credit:
Andrew Zelhof, UCSD

Click for larger image.

Biologists at the University of California, San Diego have discovered that the presence of a key protein in the compound eyes of the fruit fly (which glow at center due to a fluorescent protein) allows the formation of distinct light gathering units in each of its 800 unit eyes, an evolutionary change to an “open system” that enabled insects to make significant improvements in visual acuity and angular sensitivity. In contrast, beetles (shown surrounding the fruit fly), bees and many mosquito species have the light-gathering units fused together into a “closed system.”

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Two Months Before 9/11, an Urgent Warning to Rice - washingtonpost.com

Two Months Before 9/11, an Urgent Warning to Rice - washingtonpost.com

On July 10, 2001, two months before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, then-CIA Director George J. Tenet met with his counterterrorism chief, J. Cofer Black, at CIA headquarters to review the latest on Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda terrorist organization. Black laid out the case, consisting of communications intercepts and other top-secret intelligence showing the increasing likelihood that al-Qaeda would soon attack the United States. It was a mass of fragments and dots that nonetheless made a compelling case, so compelling to Tenet that he decided he and Black should go to the White House immediately.

Tenet called Condoleezza Rice, then national security adviser, from the car and said he needed to see her right away. There was no practical way she could refuse such a request from the CIA director.


ScienceDaily: Geologists Find First Clue To Tyrannosaurus Rex Gender In Bone Tissue

ScienceDaily: Geologists Find First Clue To Tyrannosaurus Rex Gender In Bone Tissue


Tissue within T. rex bone led to a determination of the dinosaur's gender. (Credit: North Carolina State University)

Paleontologists at North Carolina State University have determined that a 68 million year-old Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil from Montana is that of a young female, and that she was producing eggs when she died.

The proof, they say, is in the bones.

In a case of a literal “lucky break,” the scientists discovered unusual bone tissue lining the hollow cavity of the T. rex’s broken leg bone. In a paper published in the June 3 issue of the journal Science, Dr. Mary Schweitzer, assistant professor of paleontology with a joint appointment at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, and her technician, Jennifer Wittmeyer, along with colleagues at Montana State University, share their findings and say that the presence of this particular tissue provides evidence of the dinosaur’s gender and a connection between the extinct giants and living birds, specifically ostriches and emus.

Pharyngula: The Special Favors for Fundamentalists Act of 2005

Pharyngula: The Special Favors for Fundamentalists Act of 2005

Our Republican overlords have taken one more step on the road to theocracy with the approval of H.R. 2679, the Public Expression of Religion Act. You can read the full text of the bill, but here's the gist:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a court shall not award reasonable fees and expenses of attorneys to the prevailing party on a claim of injury consisting of the violation of a prohibition in the Constitution against the establishment of religion brought against the United States or any agency or any official of the United States acting in his or her official capacity in any court having jurisdiction over such claim, and the remedies with respect to such a claim shall be limited to injunctive and declaratory relief.

What this does is give religious organizations a special privilege, bestowing on them a small measure of impunity in breaking the law, all with the intent of discouraging citizens from seeking relief from violations of the prohibition against establishment of religion. It's a curious thing: it's basically saying that someone can be found guilty of law-breaking, but if they are carrying out their criminal activity in the name of religion, there is a whole class of punishments that cannot be applied to them, and specifically, lawyers working to prevent violations of church and state will not be rewarded for their efforts if successful. They are legislating to support violations of the Constitution.

Nice and sneaky. The religious bigots know they want to break the law, so the solution is to put hurdles in place to inhibit attempts to make them accountable.

Scientists recover T. rex soft tissue - Science - MSNBC.com

Scientists recover T. rex soft tissue - Science - MSNBC.com:

If we can isolate certain proteins, then perhaps we can address the issue of the physiology of the dinosaur," Schweitzer said.

Of course, the big question is whether it will be possible to see dinosaur DNA. "We don't know yet. We are doing a lot in the lab now that looks promising," Schweitzer said.


"To make sure she was seeing what she thought she was seeing, Schweitzer, a biologist by training, compared the Tyrannosaur samples with bone taken from a dead ostrich. She chose an ostrich because birds are thought to be the closest living relatives of dinosaurs and ostriches are big birds.

Both the dinosaur and ostrich blood vessels contained small, reddish brown dots that could be the nuclei of the endothelial cells that line blood vessels."

Science Now

Can this be true?

Science Now:

"When paleontologists find fossilized dinosaur bones during a dig, they usually do everything in their power to protect them, using tools like toothbrushes to carefully unearth the bones without inflicting any damage. However, when scientists found a massive Tyrannosaurus rex thigh bone in a remote region of Montana a few months ago, they were forced to break the bone in two in order to fit it into the transport helicopter. This act of necessity revealed a startling surprise: soft tissue that had seemingly resisted fossilization still existed inside the bone. This tissue, including blood vessels, bone cells, and perhaps even blood cells, was so well preserved that it was still stretchy and flexible.

A scanning electron microscope revealed that the dinosaur blood vessels, which are 70 million years old, are virtually identical to those recovered from modern ostrich bones. The ostrich is today’s largest bird, and many paleontologists believe that birds are the living descendants of dinosaurs. Scientists may be able to confirm this evolutionary relationship if they can isolate certain proteins from the recently discovered T. rex tissue. These proteins could also help solve another puzzle: whether dinosaurs were cold-blooded like other reptiles or warm-blooded like mammals.

Does this discovery of soft dinosaur tissue mean that scientists will soon be able to clone a Tyrannosaurus rex? Probably not – most scientists believe that DNA cannot survive for 70 million years. Then again, before this discovery, most scientists believed that soft tissue could not survive for 70 million years either."

Rolling Stone : Was the 2004 Election Stolen?

Rolling Stone : Was the 2004 Election Stolen?: YES!!!

"Republicans prevented more than 350,000 voters in Ohio from casting ballots or having their votes counted -- enough to have put John Kerry in the White House."

Friday, September 29, 2006

FT.com / Comment & analysis / Columnists - A view from (under) the long tail

FT.com / Comment & analysis / Columnists - A view from (under) the long tail:

"I sometimes imagined the Amazon customer service folk borrowing the Tardis to deliver apologies for their incredibly rare mistakes before they even happened. But that was as a purchaser. As a vendor I entered into a shadowy different universe. Where Amazon’s normal customer service seems to be run by suspiciously cheerful MBAs from Stanford, who break off from counting their stock options to write apologies and deliver refunds, “Amazon Advantage”, the ironically named system for selling wares, is clearly based on the last days of the Soviet system.

The problem with their representatives is not that their native language is not English, it is that their native planet is not Earth. Only that could explain the strange delays of weeks in replying to emails, the apparent time distortions that will suddenly lead them to re-enter a months-long dispute in the middle, and the curiously non-terrestrial logic of their replies. When the Amazon system inserted random hieroglyphics into the description of our comic book it took many e-mails to reach a human – or at least sapient – being. When we did we were told reassuringly that Amazon’s system for updating web pages was broken and that there was no prospect of fixing it. For this, we give them 55 cents out of every dollar and an annual fee?"

ScienceDaily: Tarantulas Produce Silk From Their Feet

ScienceDaily: Tarantulas Produce Silk From Their Feet:

"The researchers placed tarantulas on a vertical glass surface. Though ground dwelling, these spiders can normally hang on to vertical surfaces by using thousands of spatulate hairs and small claws. However, the scientists noticed that when the spider started to slip down the surface, it produced silk from all four pairs of legs, allowing it to adhere to the glass for more than 20 minutes. The silk secretions were clearly visible on the glass. Using scanning electron microscopy, the scientists also were able to see the openings on the legs that resemble the silk-producing spigots on spider abdominal spinnerets."

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Seed: White House Said to Bar Hurricane Report

Seed: White House Said to Bar Hurricane Report:

"The Bush administration has blocked release of a report that suggests global warming is contributing to the frequency and strength of hurricanes, the journal Nature reported Tuesday. The possibility that warming conditions may cause storms to become stronger has generated debate among climate and weather experts, particularly in the wake of the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

In the new case, Nature said weather experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—part of the Commerce Department—in February set up a seven-member panel to prepare a consensus report on the views of agency scientists about global warming and hurricanes.
In May, when the report was expected to be released, panel chair Ants Leetmaa received an e-mail from a Commerce official saying the report needed to be made less technical and was not to be released, Nature reported.
According to Nature, a draft of the statement said that warming may be having an effect."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Think Progress » FULL TRANSCRIPT: Clinton Takes On Fox News

Think Progress » FULL TRANSCRIPT: Clinton Takes On Fox News

FULL TRANSCRIPT: Clinton Takes On Fox News

Today, President Bill Clinton taped an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, which is scheduled to be aired Sunday. He was told the interview would focus on his nonpartisan efforts to raise over $7 billion to combat the world’s biggest problems.

Early in the interview, Wallace attempted to smear Clinton with the same kind of misinformation contained in ABC’s Path to 9/11. Clinton was having none of it.

ThinkProgress has obtained a transcript of the interview. Here are some highlights –

Wallace repeats Path to 9/11 misinformation, Clinton fights back:

Rechargeable Batteries Battery Chargers Rechargeable Lithium Digital Camera Batteries Maha Ansamann Energizer Sanyo

I purchased a POWEREX MH-C808M battery charger from Thomas Distributing and after a couple of months one of the charging circuits became permanently on. So with great trepidation I called, the phone was answered on the first ring and I was promised that a new unit would be shipped today. All told my call lasted less than a minute. I am just stunned with the quality of service I received.

Rechargeable Batteries Battery Chargers Rechargeable Lithium Digital Camera Batteries Maha Ansamann Energizer Sanyo

Linux hackers re-claim the Linksys WRT54G

Linux hackers re-claim the Linksys WRT54G

Jun. 26, 2006

As predicted, the open source community has come up with a way to convert VxWorks-based LinkSys wireless WRT54G routers to Linux. The process does not require hardware hacking, and installs a recent version of "DD-WRT micro."

A version of Linux that supports the VxWorks-based "series 5" WRT54G has been available since April, when the DD-WRT project created its "micro" edition, with a 1.7MB footprint. However, the firmware could only be installed on routers modified to expose their JTAG ports (complicated instructions here).

Recording Industry vs The People

Recording Industry vs The People:

"Lime Wire alleged that the RIAA's

goal was simple: to destroy any online music distribution service they did not own or control, or force such services to do business with them on exclusive and/or other anticompetitive terms so as to limit and ultimately control the distribution and pricing of digital music, all to the detriment of consumers. (Counterclaim, paragraph 26, page 18).
"

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

news @ nature.com - Little 'Lucy' fossil found - Toddler hominin has arms for swinging and legs for walking.

news @ nature.com - Little 'Lucy' fossil found

Little 'Lucy' fossil found

The 3.3-million-year-old bones of a female toddler from Ethiopia are telling scientists a story about the route human ancestors took from the trees to the ground.

In today's issue of Nature, an Ethiopian-led international team reports the discovery of a juvenile skeleton of the species commonly known as 'Lucy', or Australopithecus afarensis.1,2 The researchers have named her Selam, after an Ethiopian word for 'peace'.
The specimen, which is the oldest and most complete juvenile of a human relative ever found, has features that stand as striking examples of part-way evolution between primitive apes and modern humans.

Pharyngula

Pharyngula

These six medical professionals:

Ashraf al-Hajuj
Valya Chervenyashka
Snezhana Dimitrova
Nasya Nenova
Valentina Siropulo
Kristiyana Valtcheva

were working at the al-Fateh Children's Hospital in Banghazi, Libya in the late 1990s. A year later, about 400 children were diagnosed with HIV; the doctors and nurses were accused of conspiring with Israel and the USA to intentionally infect children with the disease, and were thrown into jail.

Five years later — five years spent in a Libyan jail, where they were tortured with electric shocks and beatings, and two of the nurses were raped! — defenders were able to show that the children were largely victims of HIV exposure prior to the arrival of the accused, and that the real culprit was a policy of poorly trained staff, unsterilized equipment, and generally shoddy hygiene. It didn't matter; they were convicted in a sham trial, and sentenced to death by firing squad....

Articles of Impeachment presented against Presdient Andrew Johnson

Articles of Impeachment presented against Presdient Andrew Johnson

Slashdot | Brave New Ballot

Slashdot | Brave New Ballot:

"The take away point is this:

The most reliable, secure way to vote in the USA today is to use voter-correctable precinct-based optical scanners. That means paper ballots at poll sites fed into a ballot scanner."

Avi Rubin's Blog

Avi Rubin's Blog

Welcome to my blog. Here, I will post items of interest to me most likely focusing on:
  • Electronic Voting Security
  • Computer and Network Security
  • Independent Security Evaluators
  • Sports: Soccer, tennis, golf, football, Michigan sports

Slashdot | Hotel Minibar Key Opens Diebold Voting Machines

Slashdot | Hotel Minibar Key Opens Diebold Voting Machines

"As if Diebold doesn't have enough to worry about! On the Freedom To Tinker blog, Ed Felten, one of the co-authors of the recent report 'Security Analysis of the Diebold AccuVote-TS Voting Machine', reveals an even more bizarre finding related to the initial report. It turns out that you can gain access to an AccuVote-TS machine using a hotel minibar key. In fact, the key in question is a utilitarian type used to open office furniture, electronic equipment, jukeboxes, and the like. They might as well hand them out like candy."

Slashdot | Brave New Ballot

Slashdot | Brave New Ballot:

"Brave New Ballot (BNB) is Rubin's story of how in 2003, he and his graduate students at Johns Hopkins University demonstrated that the Diebold Election Systems electronic voting technology in wide use was full of security problems. It was just in 2002 that Sherron Watkins of Enron was named Time magazine person of the year for her work in uncovering fraud at Enron. It would have been thought that Rubin's work would have immediately won him some sort of patriot of the year award for his work."

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Women graduates challenge Iran

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Women graduates challenge Iran

By Frances Harrison
BBC News, Tehran

The number of women graduating from Iran's universities is overtaking the number of men, promising a change in the job market and, with it, profound social change.

Twenty postgraduate students are sitting in a plush modern classroom listening to a lecture on environmental management at the Islamic Azad University - a private institution with 1.6 million students across Iran.

The room is darkened so the students can watch the lecturer's slide show comparing energy consumption around the world.

Three quarters of the students in this class are women - the five men in the class are huddled together in a corner.

Off the Kuff: February 2005 Archives

Off the Kuff: February 2005 Archives:

" Tracking what happened to $175,000 contributed by two Indian tribes to a political group called CREA leads from a disgraced lobbyist to an elusive environmental organization spawned by Gale Norton before she became secretary of the Interior.

The money, which the tribes say they contributed to the group at the direction of a Washington, D.C., lobbyist now under federal investigation, is unaccounted for in public records where federal regulations say it should be listed.

The absence of an accounting adds another layer to the mystery of what became of more than two dozen contributions missing among $300,000 in checks issued by a Texas tribe to 79 political committees selected by lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

CREA stands for Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy. According to its filings with the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt organization, it has operated for more than four years without receiving any contributions or making any expenditures.

The Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana said it issued checks for $50,000 to CREA in 2001 and $100,000 in 2002.

Also, the Tigua Indians, whose Ysleta del Sur Pueblo adjoins El Paso, said they issued a $25,000 check to CREA in 2002 and included it in a bundle of other political contributions they sent to Abramoff to distribute. Tribal Lt. Gov. Carlos Hisa said the check was cashed, but he would not disclose how it was endorsed.
"

Burnt Orange Report - From the email bag

Burnt Orange Report - From the email bag

Another letter regarding the Dallas County Democratic Party Executive Committee Meeting:

[ed. note: The following letter is in response to this letter by Chair Susan Hays to the precinct chairs of Dallas County which arrived in the mail of precinct chairs today. The letter from Hays also included a letter (PDF file) signed by State Rep. Rafael Anchia, State Sen. Royce West, County Commissioner John Wiley Price and Sheriff Lupe Valdez. State Rep. Jesse Jones wrote a seperate letter (PDF file).]


CONCERNED DEMOCRATS OF DALLAS COUNTY

February 26, 2005

Dear Fellow Democrat:

By now you have no doubt received a letter from Dallas County Democratic Party Chair Susan Hays about the County Executive meeting called for 6:30 p.m. Monday at the CWA Hall. We write in response....

Monday, September 18, 2006

OpenDNS > Get Started

Changing your DNS settings

OpenDNS > What We Do

OpenDNS > What We Do

Rolling Stone : Was the 2004 Election Stolen?

Rolling Stone : Was the 2004 Election Stolen?:

"Immediately after the polls closed on Election Day, GOP officials -- citing the FBI -- declared that the county was facing a terrorist threat that ranked ten on a scale of one to ten. The county administration building was hastily locked down, allowing election officials to tabulate the results without any reporters present.

In fact, there was no terrorist threat. The FBI declared that it had issued no such warning, and an investigation by The Cincinnati Enquirer unearthed e-mails showing that the Republican plan to declare a terrorist alert had been in the works for eight days prior to the election."

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Rolling Stone : Was the 2004 Election Stolen?

Rolling Stone : Was the 2004 Election Stolen?

exit polls, which predicted an overwhelming victory for John Kerry, had gotten it so wrong. By midnight, the official tallies showed a decisive lead for George Bush -- and the next day, lacking enough legal evidence to contest the results, Kerry conceded.

Nearly half of the 6 million American voters living abroad(3) never received their ballots -- or received them too late to vote(4) -- after the Pentagon unaccountably shut down a state-of-the-art Web site used to file overseas registrations.(5) A consulting firm called Sproul & Associates, which was hired by the Republican National Committee to register voters in six battleground states,(6) was discovered shredding Democratic registrations.(7) In New Mexico, which was decided by 5,988 votes,(8) malfunctioning machines mysteriously failed to properly register a presidential vote on more than 20,000 ballots.(9) Nationwide, according to the federal commission charged with implementing election reforms, as many as 1 million ballots were spoiled by faulty voting equipment -- roughly one for every 100 cast.(10)

The reports were especially disturbing in Ohio, the critical battleground state that clinched Bush's victory in the electoral college. Officials there purged tens of thousands of eligible voters from the rolls, neglected to process registration cards generated by Democratic voter drives, shortchanged Democratic precincts when they allocated voting machines and illegally derailed a recount that could have given Kerry the presidency. A precinct in an evangelical church in Miami County recorded an impossibly high turnout of ninety-eight percent, while a polling place in inner-city Cleveland recorded an equally impossible turnout of only seven percent. In Warren County, GOP election officials even invented a nonexistent terrorist threat to bar the media from monitoring the official vote count.(11)

Any election, of course, will have anomalies. America's voting system is a messy patchwork of polling rules run mostly by county and city officials. ''We didn't have one election for president in 2004,'' says Robert Pastor, who directs the Center for Democracy and Election Management at American University. ''We didn't have fifty elections. We actually had 13,000 elections run by 13,000 independent, quasi-sovereign counties and municipalities.''

But what is most anomalous about the irregularities in 2004 was their decidedly partisan bent: Almost without exception they hurt John Kerry and benefited George Bush. After carefully examining the evidence, I've become convinced that the president's party mounted a massive, coordinated campaign to subvert the will of the people in 2004. Across the country, Republican election officials and party stalwarts employed a wide range of illegal and unethical tactics to fix the election. A review of the available data reveals that in Ohio alone, at least 357,000 voters, the overwhelming majority of them Democratic, were prevented from casting ballots or did not have their votes counted in 2004(12) -- more than enough to shift the results of an election decided by 118,601 votes.(13) (See Ohio's Missing Votes) In what may be the single most astounding fact from the election, one in every four Ohio citizens who registered to vote in 2004 showed up at the polls only to discover that they were not listed on the rolls, thanks to GOP efforts to stem the unprecedented flood of Democrats eager to cast ballots.(14) And that doesn’t even take into account the troubling evidence of outright fraud, which indicates that upwards of 80,000 votes for Kerry were counted instead for Bush. That alone is a swing of more than 160,000 votes -- enough to have put John Kerry in the White House.(15)

''It was terrible,'' says Sen. Christopher Dodd, who helped craft reforms in 2002 that were supposed to prevent such electoral abuses. ''People waiting in line for twelve hours to cast their ballots, people not being allowed to vote because they were in the wrong precinct -- it was an outrage. In Ohio, you had a secretary of state who was determined to guarantee a Republican outcome. I'm terribly disheartened.''

Indeed, the extent of the GOP's effort to rig the vote shocked even the most experienced observers of American elections. ''Ohio was as dirty an election as America has ever seen,'' Lou Harris, the father of modern political polling, told me. ''You look at the turnout and votes in individual precincts, compared to the historic patterns in those counties, and you can tell where the discrepancies are. They stand out like a sore thumb.''


Saturday, September 16, 2006

ScienceDaily: Researchers Reveal 'Extremely Serious' Vulnerabilities In E-voting Machines

Classified under common knowledge nobody does anything about.
Researchers Reveal 'Extremely Serious' Vulnerabilities In E-voting Machines

In a paper published on the Web this week, a group of Princeton computer scientists said they created demonstration vote-stealing software that can be installed within a minute on a common electronic voting machine. The software can fraudulently change vote counts without being detected.

Edward Felten (center), director of the Center for Information Technology Policy, has coauthored a paper with graduate students Ariel Feldman (left) and Alex Halderman on a demonstration vote-stealing software that highlights security vulnerabilities in electronic voting machines. (Credit: John Jameson, Princeton University)

"We have created and analyzed the code in the spirit of helping to guide public officials so that they can make wise decisions about how to secure elections," said Edward Felten, the director of the Center for Information Technology Policy, a new center at Princeton University that addresses crucial issues at the intersection of society and computer technology.

Friday, September 15, 2006

BBC NEWS | Technology | Europe gets glimpse of HD future

BBC NEWS Europe gets glimpse of HD future

Japanese scientists have shown Ultra High Definition TV for the first time in Europe.
The system has 16 times the resolution of current HDTV. However, it is unlikely to be available to the public for at least 25 years.
The demonstration comes less than six months after cable firm Telewest launched Britain's first high-definition TV service.
Consumers are still getting to grips with the technology needed to watch its super-sharp pictures but researchers from Japanese state broadcaster NHK have already developed its successor.

Media ownership study ordered destroyed - Politics - MSNBC.com

Media ownership study ordered destroyed

WASHINGTON - The Federal Communications Commission ordered its staff to destroy all copies of a draft study that suggested greater concentration of media ownership would hurt local TV news coverage, a former lawyer at the agency says.
The report, written in 2004, came to light during the Senate confirmation hearing for FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. received a copy of the report "indirectly from someone within the FCC who believed the information should be made public," according to Boxer spokeswoman Natalie Ravitz.
Note: In June of 2006, the FCC announced the start of a new review of media ownership, including a "series of public hearings on media ownership issues at diverse locations across the nation". That review is still ongoing.)
'Every last piece' destroyed
Adam Candeub, now a law professor at Michigan State University, said senior managers at the agency ordered that "every last piece" of the report be destroyed. "The whole project was just stopped - end of discussion," he said. Candeub was a lawyer in the FCC's Media Bureau at the time the report was written and communicated frequently with its authors, he said.

In a letter sent to Martin Wednesday, Boxer said she was "dismayed that this report, which was done at taxpayer expense more than two years ago, and which concluded that localism is beneficial to the public, was shoved in a drawer."

The report, written by two economists in the FCC's Media Bureau, analyzed a database of 4,078 individual news stories broadcast in 1998. The broadcasts were obtained from Danilo Yanich, a professor and researcher at the University of Delaware, and were originally gathered by the Pew Foundation's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

The analysis showed local ownership of television stations adds almost five and one-half minutes of total news to broadcasts and more than three minutes of "on-location" news. The conclusion is at odds with FCC arguments made when it voted in 2003 to increase the number of television stations a company could own in a single market. It was part of a broader decision liberalizing ownership rules.

Monday, September 11, 2006

1080P is history, the industry wants 4096x2160

1080P is history, the industry wants 4096x2160

Recording Industry vs The People

If they do not have enough evidence why did they go to trial?

Recording Industry vs The People

RIAA Says That Without Pretrial Discovery, It Does Not Have Enough Facts to Oppose Paul Wilke's Summary Judgment Motion

In Elektra v. Wilke, the Chicago RIAA case in which defendant Paul Wilke has moved for summary judgment, the RIAA has filed a motion for "expedited discovery", alleging that it does not have sufficient evidence to withstand Mr. Wilke's motion. The RIAA's lawyer said

"Plaintiffs cannot at this time,
without an opportunity for
full discovery
present by affidavit
facts essential to justify
their opposition to Defendant's motion.

Friday, September 08, 2006

New Numa





Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Science

Science

The Fuel Cycle
If nuclear power is to expand by such an extent, what kind of nuclear plants should be built? A chief consideration is the fuel cycle, which can be either open or closed. In an open fuel cycle, also known as a once-through cycle, the uranium is "burned" once in a reactor, and spent fuel is stored in geologic repositories. The spent fuel includes plutonium that could be chemically extracted and turned into fuel for use in another nuclear plant. Doing that results in a closed fuel cycle, which some people advocate [see "Smarter Use of Nuclear Waste," by William H. Hannum, Gerald E. Marsh and George S. Stanford; Scientific American, December 2005].

Some countries, most notably France, currently use a closed fuel cycle in which plutonium is separated from the spent fuel and a mixture of plutonium and uranium oxides is subsequently burned again. A longer-term option could involve recycling all the transuranics (plutonium is one example of a transuranic element), perhaps in a so-called fast reactor. In this approach, nearly all the very long lived components of the waste are eliminated, thereby transforming the nuclear waste debate. Substantial research and development is needed, however, to work through daunting technical and economic challenges to making this scheme work.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Pharyngula: Even wingnuts respond to culture shock

Pharyngula: Even wingnuts respond to culture shock:

"When I get into discussions of this topic with evangelical acquaintences, which is not often enough from my perspective because I think they might be shunning me, I like to point out that I live in San Francisco.

When they say, 'What?'

I say, 'San Francisco is where the Temple of Set is headquartered, which is the largest congregation of openly avowed Satanists in the world [I know that's not really true, but it's close enough to true for my purposes].'

They usually look at me with mounting horror at this point.

Then I drive home the point. 'I can't wait until the government starts giving me vouchers to pay for sending my child to private parochial schools, because then your tax dollars will be going to teaching my kid the freaking Dark Arts. How does that sound, Mike?'

They never talk to me after that."

Being an Atheist in America Isn't Easy - Newsweek Society - MSNBC.com

Being an Atheist in America Isn't Easy - Newsweek Society - MSNBC.com:

"'Breaking the Spell,' by the philosopher Daniel C. Dennett, which asks how and why religions became ubiquitous in human society. The obvious answer—'Because they're true'—is foreclosed, Dennett says, by the fact that they are by and large mutually incompatible. Even to study 'religion as a natural phenomenon,' the subtitle of Dennett's book, is to deprive it of much of its mystery and power. And next month the British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins ('The Selfish Gene') weighs in with 'The God Delusion,' a book that extends an argument he advanced in the days after 9/11. After hearing once too often that '[t]o blame the attacks on Islam is like blaming Christianity for the fighting in Northern Ireland,' Dawkins responded: Precisely. 'It's time to get angry,' he wrote, 'and not only with Islam.'"

Saturday, September 02, 2006

ESA - Space Science - Cassiopeia A - The colourful aftermath of a violent stellar death

ESA - Space Science - Cassiopeia A - The colourful aftermath of a violent stellar death

The image is a composite made from 18 separate images taken using Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), and it shows the Cas A remnant as a broken ring of bright filamentary and clumpy stellar ejecta, showing the complex and intricate structure of the star’s shattered fragments.

A family today revealed how they narrowly escaped injury when a laptop computer exploded in their home.

A family today revealed how they narrowly escaped injury when a laptop computer exploded in their home.:

"BY SHIRLEY ELSBY

10:15 - 31 August 2006
A family today revealed how they narrowly escaped injury when a (Dell) laptop computer exploded in their home.

The incident, at a house in Eskdale Road, Hinckley, sent small batteries from the device around the room, setting fire to carpets and a settee.

The family of six, including a 12-year-old boy who had suffered a scalding accident a few days previously, were terrified."

Iomega's REV Loader 280: The Ultimate Backup Master? | Tom's Hardware

A good idea but with too little capacity for way too much money. Just getting a USB hard drive makes more sense.

Iomega's REV Loader 280: The Ultimate Backup Master? | Tom's Hardware

The REV Loader 280 is compact and lightweight (1.8 kg) compared to the footprint of tape autoloaders, and it provides a welcome freeing of space in the server room. The physical dimensions of the unit are 7" x 5" x 11", which are smaller than most printers, and the unit fairly unobtrusive. As tested, the REV loader has space for eight REV disks at 35 GB each (up to 70 GB compressed at a 2:1 compression ratio), leading to a total net unit capacity of 280 GB uncompressed.

CPU core control key to power efficiency, says AMD | TG Daily

CPU core control key to power efficiency, says AMD | TG Daily:

"Sunnyvale (CA) - AMD's quad-core architecture won't be released until mid-2007, but the company is already discussing some features of the new Opterons and Athlons. Power consumption will remain a center piece of AMD's product strategy: Clock speed control of the individual cores will allow the chips to remain in the same power envelope as their dual-core predecessors.

About a year ago, dual-core processors were just about becoming available to the enthusiast computer buyer. Within another year, a dual-core system will be making its way deep into the entry-level segment of the desktop and notebook PC market. By then, quad-core systems are expected to dominate the high-end range of PC and x86 server systems.
"

A wireless hacking computer that can't be hacked | TG Daily

A wireless hacking computer that can't be hacked | TG Daily:

"Williams is improving the Janus computer to crack wireless networks even faster. He is optimizing software routines to use the C7 chip to crack WPA and WPA2 protected networks without the use of Rainbow tables. He is also working on breaking SHA1 and RSA encryption in a single processor instruction cycle. Previous methods have required multiple clock cycles to go through one cracking pass."

Friday, September 01, 2006

Michael Sutton's Blog : Why All The Hype About 0day?

Michael Sutton's Blog : Why All The Hype About 0day?

We've always believed that Internet is plagued with unpatched machines to an extent far greater than most people realize. Today, I set out to prove this to myself. The challenge in doing this is to find a way to identify vulnerable machines without attacking them. I want to prove a theory but I don't want to do damage in the process (note: no web servers were harmed during the filming of this blog). Fortunately, web applications provide us with a unique means of identifying vulnerable applications. Due to the fact that search engines archive and index the content served by web apps, if we can identify a unique signature within a vulnerable application, we can locate vulnerable servers without ever needing to connect to them. Johnny Long created somewhat of a cult following doing just this with his Google Hacking Database.

Science & Technology at Scientific American.com: Global Warming Shows Up in Fly Genes

Science & Technology at Scientific American.com: Global Warming Shows Up in Fly Genes:

"Climate warming over the last quarter century is writ large in tiny fruit flies, according to a genetic analysis. In a species of fruit fly, the frequencies of so-called inversions, in which a piece of chromosome is flipped around, were observed decades ago to correspond to the latitude at which the flies were found. In nearly all the sites where the flies have recently been sampled--a span of three continents--the frequency of specific inversions has increased hand in hand with climbing temperatures. 'It's a very clear signal that climate warming is going to have a big impact on our environment,' says Raymond Huey of the University of Washington, co-author of a report in the September 1 Science that documents the change."

Lockheed Wins Job of Building Next Spaceship - New York Times

Lockheed Wins Job of Building Next Spaceship - New York Times


Published: September 1, 2006

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 — Lockheed Martin won a multibillion-dollar contract from NASA on Thursday to build the nation’s next spaceship for human flight, a craft called Orion that is to replace the space shuttle and eventually carry astronauts to the moon and beyond.

The much-awaited announcement was a major victory for Lockheed and a startling setback for its rival, a joint venture of Boeing and Northrop Grumman.


MiamiHerald.com | 09/01/2006 | Iraq war's ties to Sept. 11 have unraveled

MiamiHerald.com | 09/01/2006 | Iraq war's ties to Sept. 11 have unraveled

...Indeed, there was an interesting exchange between Bush and a reporter at a news conference last week. In the process of answering a question about Iraq, Bush reflexively invoked Sept. 11, leading the reporter to interrupt him.

''What did Iraq have to do with that?'' the reporter asked.

''Nothing,'' Bush said irritably. ...

For the record: On Sept. 11, 2001, we were attacked by men directed from a terrorist base in Afghanistan. We quickly knocked over Afghanistan and just as quickly forgot about it, turning instead to the troublesome dictatorship the president just knew in his gut was behind the carnage. Now we find ourselves mired in a poorly defined, poorly designed mission in a nation which, with all due respect to the presidential gut, had no known connection to Sept. 11.

The Seattle Times: Nation

The Seattle Times: Nation

Gene-therapy results touted in 2 advanced-cancer cases

The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — Researchers from the National Cancer Institute on Thursday reported they have successfully treated two patients with advanced cancer using gene therapy.

Two men, both with the rapidly growing skin cancer melanoma, were given immune-system cells taken from their own blood and engineered to attack their tumors. They are alive, with no evidence of cancer, 18 months later. Fifteen other patients who got the same treatment died.

Edward A. Villarreal. Powered by Blogger.

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