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Follow @BigBearOP on Twitter - 20 Jan 2011, 4:35 pm

… until regular posting resumes.

Marijuana has been a cash crop for many years in this country. The only problem is that most of that crop had been grown illegally. Now, that medical marijuana is legal in 15 states and the District of Columbia, legalized marijuana has quickly become so popular it is attracting attention from hedge fund managers and venture capitalists, not to mention a whole new batch of entrepreneurs.

Doctors still can’t prescribe marijuana because it is categorized as a schedule one drug like LSD. But they can recommend it and that’s all anyone needs to get a medical marijuana license that allows them to buy marijuana legally in those 15 states, with three more states about join them.

Each license sells for around $130 and some clinics selling the licenses have brought in more than a million dollars in just their first year. The once illegal joint is selling like hot cakes throughout middle America to consumers who no longer have to worry about getting arrested for possession, at least by local or state authorities.

The federal government still outlaws marijuana possession but it’s unlikely someone with a medical marijuana license will be busted by an FBI or DEA agent if caught smoking in his or her own home. In fact, just last year U.S. enforcers promised to leave medical marijuana operations alone if they complied with state law.

That prompted a significant increase in interest among entrepreneurs. Today, there are an estimated 2,400 medical marijuana dispensaries from California to Maine. In Colorado, they outnumber Starbucks two to one.

 

Making a profit, however, can still be problematic. In every state except Colorado, medical marijuana dispensaries must be structured as a not-for-profit, which is not a problem for some. Steve DeAngelo, founder of Harborside Health Center in Oakland, California, told Smart Money magazine that he likes that model because it preserves the business for local owners and keeps big-money players out.

He adds that at Harborside, he uses profits to support in-house charities that offer free pot to people who can’t afford to buy it along with free addiction counseling. But he’s in the minority.

Others see a lot of money in medical marijuana. Even DeAngelo’s not for profit clinic brings in $50,000 a day so he also founded the for-profit CannBe, a management-consulting firm for medical marijuana start-ups.

Plus, there are a growing number of hedge fund managers and venture capitalists who are taking a close look at what is an estimated $36 billion market. They’re also predicting that many states who need cash will continue to relax rules and legalize marijuana for medical use.

According to Smart Money, two hedge funds announced at a recent National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws seminar that they would consider buying any medical marijuana dispensaries available for sale.

A recent Gallup poll found that 44% of Americans are in favor of legalizing marijuana, which is almost twice as many as 15 years ago. It’s still not enough however to change the laws surrounding recreational use. In November, California voted against ending cannabis prohibition all together.

Meanwhile, medicinal use of pot continues to be the acceptable method of allowing marijuana into the mainstream, even as critics clamor that it’s just a legal loophole to get high.

That may be, but the debate over lost tax revenue and expensive jailing for offenders continues to grow louder and that just might be enough of a tipping point to justify a closer look into the financial viability of legal sales.

Credit card companies that prevented card-holders from donating money to the secrets outlet WikiLeaks could have their operating licenses taken away in Iceland, according to members of the Icelandic Parliamentary General Committee.

Representatives from Mastercard and Visa were called before the committee Sunday to discuss their refusal to process donations to the website, reports Reykjavik Grapevine.

“People wanted to know on what legal grounds the ban was taken, but no one could answer it,” Robert Marshall, the chairman of the committee, said. “They said this decision was taken by foreign sources.”

The committee is seeking additional information from the credit card companies for proof that there was legal grounds for blocking the donations.

Marshall said the committee would seriously review the operating licenses of Visa and Mastercard in Iceland.

WikiLeaks’s payment processor, the Icelandic company DataCell ehf, said it would take immediate legal action against the companies to make donations possible again.

“DataCell who facilitates those payments towards Wikileaks has decided to take up immediate legal actions to make donations possible again,” DataCell CEO Andreas Fink said last week. “We can not believe WikiLeaks would even create scratch at the brand name of Visa.”

“It will probably hurt their brand much much more to block payments towards WikiLeaks than to have them occur,” Fink added.

 

After news that the companies had stopped processing donations to the secrets outlet, those participating in an online campaign known as “Operation Payback” temporarily knocked the websites of Visa and Mastercard offline.

“This does clearly create massive financial losses to WikiLeaks which seems to be the only purpose of this suspension,” Fink continued. “This is not about the brand of Visa, this is about politics and Visa should not be involved in this.”

Neither company has offered a detailed explanation of why they stopped processing payments to WikiLeaks. MasterCard said only that WikiLeaks had acted in an “illegal” manner, in violation of the company’s terms.

The companies still process payments to The Guardian and the New York Times, which have published leaked US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.

“I can use Visa and Mastercard to pay for porn and support anti-abortion fanatics, Prop 8 homophobic bigots, and the Ku Klux Klan,” Jeff Javis noted at The Huffington Post. “But I can’t use them or PayPal to support Wikileaks, transparency, the First Amendment, and true government reform. Just saying.”

Last week, the Swiss bank Postfinance closed the account of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange because he gave “false information regarding his place of residence during the account opening process.” Swiss authorities are investigating if the bank violated secrecy rules by publicly announcing that it had closed his account.

Four Queens men claim they were locked up for more than 30 hours by cops seeking revenge on a crowd of men who laughed at an officer who couldn’t catch a fleeing drug suspect.

The men insist they didn’t even laugh, says their lawyer Gabriel P. Harvis, who filed suit against the NYPD and 10 unidentified officers in Brooklyn Federal Court. They believe they were arrested because cops wanted to take their frustration out on them, he said.

“The cops knew my clients had done nothing wrong, but they didn’t care,” said Harvis, who represents Abdul Kabba, Isaiah Barnes, Hasan Allen and Ishmial Deas. Police “were embarrassed, so they abused their power by locking them up anyway.”

The four were held for 27 hours in the 103rd Precinct stationhouse before the Queens district attorney’s office dropped the charges.

The suit claims the men were held four hours longer while the officers claimed they were completing paperwork. Law enforcement sources say the average detention time for arrestees in Queens is about 18 to 19 hours.

The incident started about 4p.m. on Aug. 19, when cops approached a group blocking an entrance to Rufus King Park in Jamaica and saw someone throw a bag in a garbage can, a police source said.

They began searching members of the group, including the plaintiffs. An unidentified man told officers he had smoked all the marijuana and took off running with a cop in pursuit, according to the suit.

When the cop returned, huffing and puffing from the chase, some spectators at a handball game in the park laughed.

“‘If you think that’s funny, watch what I do to them,'” one cop said, the suit alleges. That’s when cops moved in on Harvis’s clients.

The four were initially charged with possession of marijuana found in the bag in the garbage can.

A police source familiar with the incident said the men were lawfully arrested for pot possession and tampering with evidence, but that the DA chose not to proceed.

The bag recovered at the scene contained 31 glassine envelopes of marijuana, the police source said. “Does that sound like someone smoked all the marijuana?”

The NYPD had no official comment.

Legalization ‘looking inevitable,’ spokesman says

If there’s one group of people who get their way in Washington, it’s lobbyists.

Now, advocates of marijuana legalization may have a reason to cheer that political reality: They’re getting their own marijuana lobby group.

And just Big Pharma and Big Oil lobby for greater leeway for their businesses, so too will Big Marijuana push for their industry to be given the freedom to succeed.

Aaron Smith, executive director of the newly formed National Cannabis Industry Association, says that marijuana legalization is “looking inevitable.”

Smith told McClatchy news service: “It’s pretty clear that the medical marijuana industry is becoming recognized more and more by the mainstream as a fully legitimate part of the economy.”

Legalization “didn’t happen in 2010, but it’s likely to happen in 2012,” he added. “It’s going to be relatively soon we’re going to see states move from medical marijuana into broader legal markets. And the federal government needs to catch up. Frequently the American people are ahead of the Congress.”

The NCIA notes that 15 states have now legalized medical marijuana, providing the lobby group with a legal base from which to operate and collect funding. And just as Big Pharma and Big Oil frame their demands through the prism of American jobs, so too will the National Cannabis Industry Association argue that legalizing marijuana will put thousands of Americans to work.

“The ever-expanding list of state-sanctioned medical cannabis providers and ancillary businesses have easily become a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States, generating thousands of good jobs and paying tens – if not hundreds – of millions in taxes,” Smith said in a statement last month. “These businesses have clearly earned the right to strong representation on the national stage and recognition as a true force for economic growth.”

According to McClatchy, the lobby group’s first target will be a federal law that upholds marijuana prohibition in states that have legalized it. But the news service notes it could be an uphill battle: By a margin of 400 to 4, House representatives recently voted in favor of a resolution calling for tougher laws against those who grow pot on federal land.

And the US’s most high-profile political battle for marijuana legalization — California’s Proposition 19 — lost by a margin of 57 to 43 in last month’s vote. The defeat for pot activists came after US Attorney General Eric Holder said he would continue enforcing federal marijuana laws in the state regardless of how Californians voted.

Smith sounded an ambivalent note about his lobby group’s prospects in the coming Republican-dominated House, suggesting that framing the argument as a states’ rights issue — each state should decide its own pot policies — should appeal to federalist Republicans.

“I can’t say that I’m super optimistic, but we’ll definitely be pushing the message of federalism, which the Republicans should listen to,” he told McClatchy. “All we’re really asking for is to allow the states to essentially make up their own minds on marijuana policy.”

Mental problems send more men in the U.S. military to the hospital than any other cause, according to a new Pentagon report.

And they are the second highest reason for hospitalization of women military personnel, behind conditions related to pregnancy.

The Defense Department’s Medical Surveillance report from November examines “a large, widespread, and growing mental health problem among U.S. military members.”

The 31-page report says mental disorders are a problem for the entire U.S. population, but that sharp increases for active duty military reflect the psychological toll of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Most notably in this regard, the rate of incident diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) increased nearly six-fold from 2003 to 2008,” the report says.

And new outreach and screening, as well as the military’s efforts to reduce the stigma attached to seeking treatment also contributed to higher numbers, according to the report.

The Army was hit hardest by the most common and long-lasting problems — post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression, bipolar disorder, alcohol dependence and substance dependence, according to the report.

“The Army was relatively most affected (based on lost duty time) by mental disorder-related hospitalizations overall; and in 2009, the loss of manpower to the Army was more than twice that to the Marine Corps and more than three times that to the other Services,” the report says.

“The Army has had many more deployers to Afghanistan and Iraq and many more combat-specific casualties; it is not surprising, therefore, that the Army has endured more mental disorder-related casualties and larger manpower losses than the other services.”

While most new diagnoses of mental illness were in the Army, the fewest were in the Air Force.

“The only exceptions to this observation were in 2007, 2008, and the first two quarters of 2010 when the incidence rates of new diagnoses of alcohol dependence in the Marine Corps were the highest of all the Services,” the report said.

But overall, the Marines were found to have fewer overall mental problems than the Army, Air Force and Navy with 4.3 percent of Marines versus 6.4-percent of the overall pool of active duty military.

Researchers call for additional study, and admit that tracking mental problems can be a moving target, as treatment and attitudes change.

“There are real and perceived barriers to seeking and accessing care for mental health disorders among military members. These barriers include shortages of mental health professionals in some areas and the social and military stigmas associated with seeking or receiving mental health care,” the report says. “The nature and effects of these barriers to care have likely changed.”

A New River Marine accused of killing a toddler last month in California has been transferred from base to the Onslow County Jail.

Joshua Kruzik, 21, is awaiting extradition on charges of murder and injury to a child resulting in death. He is accused of killing 18-month-old Audrey Allen, the daughter of Marines he was staying with while training at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms.

“Pursuant to an arrest warrant issued in San Bernardino County, Calif., and in accordance with Marine Corps policy, we transferred custody of Cpl. Kruzik to the Onslow County Sheriff’s Department,” New River spokeswoman 1st Lt. Kristin Dalton said. “There, he will be processed for extradition to California where he will face criminal charges brought by local authorities.”

While Kruzik is “in the hands of civilian authorities,” he has not been discharged from the Marine Corps, Dalton said, clearing up an erroneous report from California authorities that Kruzik had been dishonorably discharged.

She said Kruzik has not been charged with any military offenses and remains on active duty but is pending administrative separation. The characterization of Kruzik’s discharge has not yet been determined and will be based on the entirety of his military record.

Kruzik, 21, a water pump technician, has been held aboard base since his Dec. 2 arrest.

While training in California last month, Kruzik was staying off-base with Marines Timothy Allen and Melissa Allen. On Nov. 20, Timothy Allen found his daughter in her crib and not breathing. He called authorities while Kruzik gave CPR to the child, San Bernardino County Sheriff Rod Hoops said in a new release.

Kruzik was questioned by detectives the day the child died, returned as scheduled to New River and was arrested after the child’s autopsy showed the child died of blunt force trauma.

Kruzik, originally from Lansford, Penn., joined the Marine Corps in 2007, completed a tour in Okinawa, Japan, and has not seen combat, according to base officials.

Contact Lindell Kay at 910-219-8456 or lkay@freedomenc.com. Read his crime blog, “Off the Cuff,” at http://onslowcrime.encblogs.com.

 

VICTORVILLE • A jury found a former Fort Irwin soldier guilty of the murder and robbery of a fellow ex-soldier from Barstow.

Melvin Lee Satcher, 24, was found guilty of first degree murder, robbery, and a special firearms allegation in the killing of Sandi Duncan, 29, who was also a former Fort Irwin soldier. The jury returned the verdict after deliberating for five hours.

Ex-Fort Irwin soldier Phillip Ryan Franke, 27, of Las Vegas, is also charged with Duncan’s murder and robbery. Judge John M. Tomberlin separated their trials before jury selection. Franke’s trial is expected to begin in January.

Duncan’s body was found in a remote desert area in Apple Valley on Sept. 21, 2009. Authorities determined that Duncan was strangled — and likely unconscious — before she was shot twice.

At an evidence hearing police said Franke admitted that he was involved in a robbery and saw Satcher shoot Duncan twice, splitting $400 Duncan had between themselves and two other people.

In the trial, Deputy District Attorney Jill M. Gregory argued that cell phone records placing Satcher in Apple Valley at the time Duncan likely died and his lying to police were evidence of his guilt. Satcher’s attorney Ronald Allen Powell said Gregory presented only circumstantial evidence and did not prove Satcher’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Gregory said she was pleased with the verdict returned by the jury.

“The jury paid careful and thoughtful attention to all the evidence and came to a right and just verdict,” said Gregory.

Powell did not return a phone call for a response Friday afternoon.

Satcher is expected to face 25 years to life in prison. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Jan. 14 in Victorville.

Contact the writer:
(760) 256-4126 or adome@desertdispatch.com

 

Republicans passed over  Rep. Jerry Lewis in favor of a veteran Kentucky lawmaker Wednesday to chair the powerful House Appropriations Committee.

The party’s steering committee rejected Lewis’s request to waive term limits that bar him from reclaiming the post he held when Republicans last held the majority.

The decision deprives Lewis of a position that would have given him control over the federal government’s purse strings and a heightened ability to direct millions of dollars to his home district, which includes some of the Pass area.

See also: CREW’s Most Corrupt: Rep. Jerry Lewis

“I sincerely appreciate the steering committee’s careful deliberation throughout this process,’’ Lewis, R-Redlands, said following the vote. The vote tally was not disclosed.

The position went to Rep. Hal Rogers of Kentucky, the third ranking Republican on the committee and who was just re-elected to his 16th term in the House.

Lewis and Rogers are both well known for steering federal dollars to their districts. Rogers’ earmark requests for the last fiscal year totaled $98 million, almost exactly the amount requested by Lewis.

Both had pledged to abide by a ban on earmarks next year as part of an effort to bring down federal spending.

“I look forward to working with Chairman Rogers … to fulfill our pledge to cut spending, stop harmful government interference in our businesses, improve our economy and create jobs and get our nation onto a sustainable and responsible fiscal path,’’ Lewis said.

The steering committee’s decision must still be approved by the full Republican caucus, which ordinarily rubber stamps the panel’s recommendations.

Entering his 17th term, Lewis will remain a senior member of the appropriation committee, but without the chairman’s post, it not clear what his leadership role will be in the new Republican majority.

Lewis, a native of San Bernardino, chaired the committee from 2005 to 2007 and served as its most senior Republican member for four years after Democrats regained the majority.

In his bid to win the chairmanship, Lewis had fought to obtain a waiver from a GOP six year term limit, arguing that his last four years in the minority should not count. But the rules worked against him.

Many freshmen representatives were wary of giving Lewis a waiver.

The competition to chair the committee was a proxy for a larger fight between newly elected Tea Party Republicans and old guard Republicans. The Tea Party favored Rep. John Kingston of Georgia, the No. 2 Republican on the committee.

Lewis received the endorsement of a Sacramento based Tea Party group. Yet anti-earmark politicians viewed Lewis as an inappropriate spokesman for a party that campaigned on a pledge to curb government spending.

The Department of Justice just closed an investigation into allegations that he had requested earmarks for clients of a large donor.

Presumed chairman-elect Rogers also is  known for bringing home the bacon, dubbed by some critics as “the Prince of Pork.’’ His efforts to secure money for local road construction and security contracts have led some to call his district “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.’’

Lewis has described Republicans’ work on the committee in the past four years as bringing the nation back to “fiscal sanity.”

Lewis introduced legislation in November that would send unspent stimulus funds back to the Treasury for deficit reduction.

“At a time of $1.3 trillion deficits and historic levels of debt … our country can ill afford to throw away billions more on a stimulus program that does not work and the public abhors,” Lewis wrote in a letter to President Obama after the election.

Lewis was not the only Republican whose experience cost him the chance to chair an influential committee. The steering committee also passed over ranking Republican Rep. Joe Barton of Texas for Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan to chair the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Continental Airlines has been found guilty and “criminally responsible” by a French court for the Concorde crash that occurred 10 years ago.

The airline, now United Continental Holdings, was fined EUR 202,000 (USD 268,400). The ruling also stipulated that that Continental should pay 70 percent of any compensation claims to the families of the victims.

Aerospace group EADS (European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company N.V.) — the owner of the French factories which partly built the Concorde airliners — was ordered to pay the remaining 30 percent, according to state-funded BBC.

It has also been ordered to pay EUR 1 million to the jet’s operator Air France.

John Taylor, a Continental mechanic, received a fine of EUR 2,000 (USD 2,656) and a 15-month suspended prison sentenced over the crash.

In July 2000, the Concorde caught fire shortly after take-off from Paris, killing 113 people on board.

During the Concorde’s subsequent take-off run, the aircraft lost a titanium part. The piece of debris, still lying on the runway, ruptured a tire which then burst.

The airline confirmed on Monday it would appeal the ruling.

“We strongly disagree with the court’s verdict regarding Continental Airlines and John Taylor and will of course appeal this absurd finding,” a spokesman for the airline said in a statement.

Continental says the airliner, operated by Air France, had already caught fire before it hit the small piece of titanium.

“Portraying the metal strip as the cause of the accident, and Continental and one of its employees as the sole guilty parties, shows the determination of the French authorities to shift attention and blame away from Air France, which was government-owned at the time and operated and maintained the aircraft, as well as from the French authorities responsible for the Concorde’s airworthiness and safety,” a spokesman said in an earlier statement.

The flight was chartered by German company Peter Deilmann Cruises and all passengers were on their way to board the MS Deutschland cruise ship in New York City for a 16-day cruise to South America.

Religion as a Tool of Repression - 1 Dec 2010, 3:30 am

Freedom of speech and dissent are always curtailed in times of war. Whenever soldiers occupy foreign nations, rational thinking is proscribed in favor of nationalistic hubris. Minority opinions, although grounded in ethics and reason, are repressed, often brutally. The majority becomes intolerant of dissenting views. Thoughtful dialog is suspended and irrational ideology gains ascendancy. Civil discourse breaks down, and the social order disintegrates into anti-intellectual emotionalism and chaos.

During World War I and World War II, it was dangerous for anyone to oppose war or to speak truth to power. When Eugene Victor Debs delivered his Canton anti-war speech in 1918, he went to prison. In An Enemy of the People, Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen demonstrated that the majority of the people are easily deceived, their emotions manipulated by profiteers and special interests. It requires serious conviction to take a principled stand in the midst of nationalistic fervor in which men and women so easily turn upon one another. During war, nationalism and repression are conducted with the fervor of a religious crusade.

In this era of permanent war we see bumper stickers that attempt to meld religion with nationalism. They carry jingoistic slogans like “God bless America” or “God bless our troops.” Significantly, God even appears on our currency. But why would a just God, if God exists at all, bless a nation that kills with impunity? Why would God bless a nation with a history of repression and genocide?  Why would God bless a nation that institutionalized chattel slavery and the repression of its working class?

The Anglo-Saxons who came to America, most of them calling themselves Christians, virtually destroyed the indigenous population. They decimated native cultures and pillaged the land. They outlawed the Ghost Dance and other spiritual ceremonies. The Anglos forced Christianity upon the indigenous people.  They gave them blankets infected with smallpox so they would sicken and die. They stole their land and they slaughtered the buffalo. They murdered unarmed, half-starved elders, and women and children at Wounded Knee, and at a thousand other sites. Wouldn’t a just God, as the reverend Jeremiah Alvesta Wright, Jr. intimated, be more likely to damn than to bless America?

Through the interlocking policies of capitalism, manifest destiny, and American exceptionalism, we have exported our murderous paradigms to every nation on earth. Writing for Al-Jazeera, Paul J. Balles, a professor at American University, notes that the U.S. has established more than 1,000 permanent military bases outside of its national borders. These bases are found in more than 135 nations, ostensibly for the purpose of bringing democracy to the world.

But democracy is not democracy in the sense that most people think. Among capitalists, “democracy” is a code word for free market fundamentalism— deregulated corporate power. This, not Christianity or Islam, is America’s real religion.

Our every social institution, including the church, is corrupted by the theocracy of capitalism. Particularly during times of conflict, the church is needed as a moral counterweight to war and aggression, to greed and unregulated corporate power. But the church is impotent and irrelevant as a moral force. Not only does it fail to challenge the unethical basis of the dominant social and economic paradigm; it promotes them by adopting the corporate structure and by relegating women, homosexuals, and other minorities, to second and third class citizenship.

Beyond a few notable exceptions, Christianity has failed to take a principled stance against capitalism and its free market idolatry. It has failed to intervene on behalf of the exploited in the war waged by the rich against the working class and the poor. Moreover, it attempts to legitimize the domination of the working class by providing the façade of moral authority to the oppressor.

War, as a prominent feature of capitalism, should be denounced from every pulpit in the land. But it is aggrandized and glorified; it is eulogized as righteous and necessary: the triumph of good over evil. War sacrifices the lives of working class people for the benefit of a ruling plutocracy. Workers are admonished to bear their burden in this life without complaint: heavenly reward awaits them in the next. The ruling class is having its reward now.

Even the teachings of Christ, which advocated giving alms to the poor and living simply, were appropriated by the theocracy of free market fundamentalism. To identify Christ with America’s agenda of war and occupation, to equate him with the genocide of indigenous populations, to associate him with senseless consumerism and repression of the working class, is to turn him into his polar opposite, the anti-Christ. This is the implicit meaning behind the nationalistic jingles of “God Bless America” or “God Bless our Troops.”

It was the U.S., not the Soviet Union, or the North Koreans that deployed atomic weapons on the civilian populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in its quest for global dominance. In the endless pursuit of exploitable markets, cheap labor and hegemony, it is the U.S. that has contaminated the landscapes of Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq with radioactive depleted uranium. How many will suffer deformities or die as a result?

We behold the ethnic cleansing not only in present day Gaza, but also the broader usurpation of historic Palestine by radical Zionists financed by our tax dollars, using munitions bearing the insignia “made in the USA.” AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) is among the most powerful lobbying forces influencing the U.S. government.

Replacing the anointed one with the anti-Christ transmuted the Socialist who bathed the feet of the poor into a covetous sociopath who aligned himself with the rich and powerful of the ruling class. It turned the prince of peace into an imperial warrior who preached the use of violence to bring the gospel of greed to the world. It is the anti-Christ created by industrialists and perception managers, not the historical socialist Christ, who is revered today.

The socialist Christ, with his insistence upon the equal distribution of wealth and power, the man who advocated for the poor and the outcast, has been dead for more than two thousand years. It was the usurers, the early precursors to capitalists, who nailed him to the cross, just as their descendants crucified labor troubadour Joe Hill, Malcolm X, and Dr. Martin Luther King in the 20th century.

In the 1950s, the anti-Christ was resuscitated as Milton Friedman, a champion of free market capitalism, and Ronald Reagan’s chief economic advisor, preaching the gospel of greed and prosperity for the privileged, while waving the flag and uttering nationalistic catchphrases, including “God bless America.”

By contrast, the actions of the historical Christ bespeak a radical leftist philosophy of social agitation and intervention that smacks of Marxism. Modern Christians confuse the actual Christ with the deity created by money worship and trotted out in the modern church as the genuine article. Money spoils all that it touches.

While the anti-Christ gained primacy as the bogus moral force behind class conflict and imperial warfare, the socialist Christ has languished in obscurity. His admonitions are remembered but they are rarely acted upon. His uncompromised advocacy for the peasantry, his moral revulsion at the corruption of the ruling elite, is forgotten. What passes for Christianity today may be economically and politically expedient, but it is utterly useless as a moral revolutionary force for justice.

As a non-subscriber to any organized religion, it mystifies me how so many followers could substitute the anti-Christ for the socialist Christ without ever realizing their error. This underscores the danger of organized religion and its many contradictions. Anyone who can be led can also be misled. Lacking the capacity for critical thinking and being deficient in moral autonomy, people too easily fall prey to alluring leaders who are motivated by a selfish lust for power and privilege. Charismatic preachers and religious orators appeal to herd mentalities. This is the danger of choosing faith over reason. People too often place their trust in corruptible leaders and charlatans.

By indoctrinating their congregations with sermonizing that discourages challenging the unquestioned primacy of capitalism, the doctrine of American exceptionalism, and the existence of a privileged class, Christian ministers teach their flock to reject the leftist ideology of Christ by exchanging radicalism for obedience and principled action for passivity. And thus the anti-Christ gains supremacy and inequality flourishes.

There is need for faith in everyone’s life. But when faith does not provide methods for challenging the power of an unjust social and economic system, or impedes them, it loses its way and becomes a tool of mass repression rather than spiritually liberating. We must recognize that Christ was philosophically and pragmatically closer to Karl Marx than to Adam Smith.

Were he among us today, no doubt Christ, the historical Christ, would have serious reservations about the adulation of capitalism. Capitalism teaches that money is God. It holds that man and nature are commodities to be exploited by capital and those who own it. It is a soul-sucking philosophy that divides and stratifies. It is an aggressive cancer unleashed upon the earth.

Certainly Christ would be appalled by the selfish political conservatism of today that claims him for its own. He would be as much a leftist revolutionary today as he was some two thousand years ago.  And no doubt, cheered by a mob of reputable corporatists, the money changers would crucify him again.

 

[ The idea that a living, breathing human being can be effectively assassinated over a traffic code violation, stinks in a most vile fashion.  Mr. Grossich’s Facebook memorial page address is http://www.facebook.com/people/Gary-Grossich/100001806082821 Search “high-speed chases” on this site for stats and other info. ]

A 22-year-old Bloomington motorcyclist who was killed last night in a Fontana crash is believed to be the rider who twice evaded police shortly before the wreck, investigators say.

Gary Grossich died at the scene of the 8:29 p.m. Monday accident along Jurupa Avenue east of Pacific, according to San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department deputy coroners.

Five minutes earlier, an officer had spotted a motorcyclist driving with his headlight off — a traffic violation — along Tamarind Avenue near Jurupa Avenue and made a U-turn to chase him, but the biker sped away, said Sgt. Billy Green.

A few minutes later, a second officer radioed that he was chasing a motorcyclist west along Jurupa Avenue, Green said. That officer, too, lost sight of the bike.

Soon afterward, a third officer found the wreckage of a black 1998 Suzuki GSXR and Grossich’s body, Green said.

In memory of Gary Grossich - 1 Dec 2010, 1:40 am

San Bernardino County executives have come down hard on one of their own employees who also operates a local political blog.

A blog popular with readers, but not county leaders.

Sharon Gilbert, an almost thirty-year county employee, has taken on county government with great success through her website www.iePolitics.com. A widely-read blog in Southern California’s Inland Empire, which consists primarily of San Bernardino County and Riverside County.

Ms. Gilbert has a network of sources that aid her in routing out issues with local governments and exposing problems. A resource that has contributed to the blogs success.

However, Gilbert has paid a steep price for her crusading.

More than a year ago, at the direction of ousted county administrative officer Mark Uffer, county human resources officers overrode a physicians off-work order and pulled the plug on Gilbert’s disability benefits coverage.

An off-work order, which had the concurrence of a county-approved physician.

Last year the county directed The Hartford insurance company to deny Gilbert disability payments, while at the same time the county terminated her workers compensation treatment access.

Even though Gilbert has accepted the gracious offer of San Diego County-based attorney Edward Lee Faunce to fight for her benefits, the county continues to play hardball.

Recently, the county board of supervisors, at the request of staff, approved a contract with the law firm of Meyers Nave Riback Silver & Wilson to deal with Gilbert.

The cost? Tens of thousands of dollars.

In Gilbert’s latest workers compensation hearing, an attorney for the county told Gilbert and her attorney that the county would not give Gilbert anything unless her blog was shut down.

A stunt that routinely occurs in the private sector, but a local government hurting an employee over free speech is another story.

So far the county has denied more than $19,000 in disability payments to Gilbert, who has been surviving on a hardship withdrawal from her retirement savings.

But now with that resource exhausted Gilbert once again lives with no heat, no medical access, and a broken down vehicle.

Her latest request to be assisted with transportation to medical appointments through a county program was also denied.

First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt’s staff attempted to intervene on Gilbert’s behalf but stopped when, as chief of staff David Zook reportedly put it, ”We were making too many enemies in the county administrative office.”

Yes, a county supervisor!

It’s time for newly-appointed Chief Executive Officer Greg Devereaux to put an end to this mean-spirited treatment.

Merry Christmas from San Bernardino County.

A county that should change its seal from an arrowhead to an eight ball.

A medical marijuana collective engaged in a legal battle against Wildomar re-opened its storefront location Monday in defiance of a citywide ban on dispensaries.

The move by the Wildomar Patients Compassionate Group comes a week after the collective filed a legal petition seeking to block the city from enforcing its ban.

General Manager William Sump said the group believes Wildomar’s ban violates state law, which allows medical marijuana patients access to medication.

“I will only operate until a judge tells us not to,” Sump said.

Wildomar City Manager Frank Oviedo said the city would likely seek a court order forcing the dispensary to shut down.

“We’re going to enforce the city’s ordinance,” Oviedo said. “There is no other option. We can’t ignore our own laws.”

CLOSED ONCE BEFORE

The dispensary was open for three days in March, until Wildomar delivered a cease-and-desist order. The group complied and spent the next several months lobbying for a new ordinance that would allow dispensaries but set strict guidelines on their operations. That ordinance failed in a 3-1 Wildomar City Council vote in September.

The dispensary is on Mission Trail in a tan stucco building, nondescript except for blue awnings and the block letters “WPCG” on the front doors. The windows are barred and security cameras are posted inside and out.

The collective has 26 members who signed up during the facility’s three-day run in March, Sump said. The members will use the storefront dispensary to buy, sell and grow medical marijuana.

Collectives are, by law, nonprofit organizations and not allowed to make money off the sale of marijuana.

Wildomar’s situation is not unusual. Medical marijuana activists are testing dispensary bans in cities across California and the Inland area.

Dispensaries are now operating in Temecula and Lake Elsinore, despite bans.

The dispensary owners argue that the cities, which use zoning codes to block medical marijuana facilities, are violating the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (California Proposition 215), the law allowing marijuana for medical use.

Riverside, which is seeking court injunctions against seven medical marijuana facilities, was handed a victory last week when a Superior Court of California judge ruled the city was within its rights to use zoning laws to ban dispensaries.

Sump is also manager of the dispensary in that case, the Inland Empire Patients Health and Wellness Center.

The attorney representing the Riverside dispensary, J. David Nick, has said he will appeal the decision. Nick also represents Wildomar Patients Compassionate Group.

In a phone interview Monday, the attorney said he believes courts ultimately will decide cities have the right to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries, but not to block them from opening.

“Under no logic in the world is it consistent (with state law) to have a total ban,” Nick said.

Reach John F. Hill at 951-375-3738 or johnhill@PE.com

Ayala High sex abuse suit can proceed - 30 Nov 2010, 10:45 pm

CHINO – A judge has ruled that a sex abuse lawsuit brought against the Chino Valley Unified School District can proceed to trial.

The plaintiff, given the pseudonym “John Roe 79,” filed a law suit in August against the district for damages based on negligence, negligent hiring, sexual battery and sexual harassment as well as other issues.

Attorneys for the school district argued that the complaint should be tossed out because it was not presented within six months after the alleged abuse, as required by law.

The alleged incidents from 2000 to 2002 involved a former Ruben S. Ayala High School student and a former color guard instructor at the school.

The plaintiff is seeking $20 mil lion in damages.

Judge David A. Williams over ruled the timely claim-filing requirements this week in West Valley Superior Court in Rancho Cucamonga.

“The judge decided to overrule the (defendant’s objection to the claim),” said Devin Miles Storey, an attorney from the Zalkin Law Firm representing the plaintiff. “The case is able to move forward past the pleading stage.”

The judge’s ruling was based on the precedent of a similar case, K. J. vs. Arcadia Unified School District, where the alleged victim’s discovery of harm took place after the statute of limitations, said Devin Storey, the plaintiff’s attorney.

However, the judge indicated “down the road he may be willing to entertain a motion to dismiss the case based on the statute of limitations,” Storey said.

Attorneys for the plaintiff stated the claim was filed within six months of his reasonable discovery of adulthood injury resulting from molestation.

The plaintiff’s attorneys said the alleged victim did not recognize the alleged abuse he suffered from the perpetrator as wrongful until he saw a mental health therapist in January.

According to court documents, which do not name the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator, the plaintiff was 16 to 18 years old at the time of the alleged inci dents.

In summer 1999, the student met the instructor, who provided special treatment to the student, such as taking him on outings. A sexual relationship developed the following year, according to the complaint.

In March 2000, school administrators became aware of a rumored relationship and held a meeting with the plaintiff, his mother and the instructor, according to the claim.

The school principal told the instructor to stop showing special attention to the student, according to the claim. Attorneys for the district tried to show that the school meeting demonstrated the complaint was filed too late.

“The allegations in the com plaint demonstrate that plaintiff had reason to know at the time of the events giving rise to this com plaint that perpetrator’s alleged conduct was occurring and that it was wrong and harmful,” according to a legal document from the district’s attorneys, Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost.

John Roe 79’s complaints are similar to those surrounding the July arrest of George Armenta, 36, of El Monte, a former color guard instructor at Ayala High and a former district employee, according to court records. Armenta was employed as a color guard instructor for the Arcadia Unified School District when he was arrested.

According to the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office, any possible charges to be filed in Armenta’s case are pend ing review.

neil.nisperos@inlandnewspapers.com, 909-483-9356

While in the pool, the officer allegedly inappropriately touched one of the women, according to Michael Jeandron of the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.

A Cathedral City Police Department officer, who is accused of stripping off his uniform and jumping into a pool with two women while on duty, has been fired from the department, a police lieutenant confirmed today.

John Fox Jr. has pleaded not guilty to felony charges of assault under the color of authority and attempted digital penetration, as well as a misdemeanor count of indecent exposure and sexual battery.

Fox, who was the target of an internal investigation, was let go Monday, according to Cathedral City police Lt. Chuck Robinson.

“Laws prohibit me from discussing anything else regarding the details,” he said.

Fox, who is free on $25,000 bail in the criminal case, allegedly went skinny-dipping while investigating a loud noise complaint on Sept. 29.

While in the pool, the officer allegedly inappropriately touched one of the women, according to Michael Jeandron of the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.

The owner of the home, who was not swimming, called 911 to report the naked officer, he said. Fox put his clothes back on and left before officers arrived, Jeandron said.

Anti-US governor wins Okinawa poll - 28 Nov 2010, 10:32 pm

The Japanese on the southern Island of Okinawa have re-elected incumbent governor Hirokazu Nakaima, who wants an end to the American military presence.

Nakaima, who wants the US base off Okinawa altogether, beat his opponent who agreed to relocate the base to a less crowded area on the island.

In May, Tokyo and Washington agreed to implement a 2006 plan to relocate Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to a less crowded area in Okinawa.

The move infuriated local residents, who view the base as a source of noise, pollution and serious crime –including rape.

Futenma hosts about half the US troops in Japan and the row over this airbase has been giving new headaches to Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan.

The development comes after his Democratic Party lost an upper house election in August.

Kan’s predecessor Yukio Hatoyama had to resign after he failed to keep his election campaign promise to remove the base off Okinawa.

Futenma has provoked a wave of anger in the country, with the nation demanding a complete removal of the airbase, which has been under US command since the end of World War II, off Okinawa.

Japanese people have been urging their government to remove US military installations from the country altogether.

Tens of thousands of people have held several rallies against the American military engagement in the country over the past months.

A Danish-British security company has sold torture instruments to the Israeli prisons, holding Palestinians inmates, a Danish newspaper has written.

The firm, named G4s, sells the devices to the detention facilities in the occupied West Bank, which provide the necessary means for torture of the Palestinian prisoners, Berlingske Tidende reported on Nov. 23.

Merav Amir, from Who Profits?, an Israeli organization which is dedicated to expose those who stand to benefit from the occupation, said it knew that the firm did not directly engage itself in torture, has created the circumstances required for the abuse.

There are around 9,000 Palestinians in Israeli detention. The families have for long been calling on human rights organizations and groups to intervene in order to secure the release of their loved ones, many of whom have been incarcerated without charge, trial and sentence.

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Detainees, nearly 200 Palestinian inmates have so far died in Israeli confinement, either due to medical negligence or under torture.

The daily also exposed that the company also cooperates with armed Jewish settlers in Israel and sells tools and devices to the Israeli checkpoints.

The revelation came despite the human rights organizations’ insistence that the checkpoints — which dot the occupied lands — breach the Palestinians freedom of movement. It also defied the firm’s 2002 announcement that it would leave the West Bank in order not to cooperate with armed Israeli guards.

Startups Backed By The CIA - 28 Nov 2010, 1:54 am

The spy agency has a venture capital arm that is funding an array of companies developing bleeding-edge technologies.

Tiny cameras. Hearing devices for the teeth. Wi-fi for refrigerators. These are some of the products made by companies that have caught the eye of In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the Central Intelligence Agency.

One of the most recent companies to get an infusion of cash from the U.S. spy bureau’s investment fund is Cleversafe, a Chicago-based startup that offers software to keep data stored in cloud networks secure by slicing it up and storing it in different locations. In a press release issued last month about the investment, William Strecker, In-Q-Tel’s chief technology officer, said the intelligence community is looking for new ways to secure information given the increasing ubiquity of cloud computing.

The country’s only federally funded venture capital firm was created in 1999, during the tech boom, because the private sector was setting the pace in technological innovation, leaving the intelligence community feeling not very intelligent. In-Q-Tel invests in startups developing technologies that could prove useful to the Central Intelligence Agency and the national security community. But it knew it had to adjust to the Silicon Valley model to work. “The CIA had to offer Silicon Valley something of value, a business model that the Valley understood; a model that provides those who joined hands with In-Q-Tel the opportunity to commercialize their innovations,” CIA official Rick Yannuzzi wrote in a briefing document for the Defense Intelligence Journal in 2001.

In-Q-Tel invites startups to submit applications for funding through its website, asking for their business plan, a technology whitepaper and leadership list. The operation’s budget is classified, but the Washington Post reported in 2005 that it received $37 million in funding yearly from the CIA. It tends to invest from $500,000 to $2 million in a given company.

In-Q-Tel issues a press release every time it funds a new company, but it discloses neither the amount of the investment nor the product it’s focused on. It’s believed that the relationship can lead to the development of off-market products tailored specifically for the CIA. A spokesman for one company funded by In-Q-Tel told Forbes that their investment was focused on a specific project with a yearlong deadline, declining to provide further details.

What technologies is the CIA interested in now? One clear area of focus is energy. In 2007 In-Q-Tel plugged into , a company that develops products that harvest energy from impulse shocks, vibrations, and even footfalls. It also likes companies that are working on making smaller batteries, like Qynergy, a New Mexico-based company working on radioisotope batteries, and Infinite Power Solutions, a Colorado developer of thin-film batteries that can power RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tracking chips.

Speaking of RFID, In-Q-Tel seems to see potential there. In 2008 it invested in Massachusetts-based ThingMagic, a company that makes RFID chips that can “track anything.” The Florida State Attorney’s Office for West Palm Beach uses them to track felony case files, and Ford offered them up as an additional feature for pickup trucks. A contractor can put the tags on all of his tools, so that a quick scan of the truck bed with an RFID scanner will reveal everything in there. ThingMagic was acquired last month by Global Positioning System device maker Trimble Navigation for an undisclosed amount. In-Q-Tel has also invested in GainSpan, a company finding ways to make everything wi-fi-enabled, from refrigerators to health monitoring devices, for richer information on something than just its location.

Experts say the next big trend in data is going to be geolocation, and the power to predict where you’re going to go next and who you spend the most time with. Several companies focusing on geospatial technology are in the In-Q-Tel portfolio, including Image Tree Corp., which can help show where illicit crops are being grown, and FortiusOne and Geosemble, which map people, places and things instantly using location data from RSS feeds and tweets.

As one would expect from a spy support firm, In-Q-Tel is very interested in companies that make better cameras. Earlier this year, it sank money into Lens Vector, which is taking the moving parts out of cameras, employing electricity to change the focus of liquid crystal lenses; the company makes auto-focus devices that are dwarfed by pennies. IQT’s also interested in making sense of video shot by the increasing numbers of surveillance cameras. In 2005 it invested in 3VR, which creates video analytics to make surveillance video “Google-able.”

Companies coming up with better ways to use and monitor the Internet have attracted In-Q-Tel money. Earlier this year it invested in Recorded Future, a company that mines websites, blogs and Twitter accounts to “predict the future” by making “invisible links.” The company says it’s also popular among Wall Street traders.

Intelligence agencies are increasingly interested in mining open-source intelligence, particularly online, but the proliferation of voices, whether on social networks, blogs, or elsewhere, can be challenging to make sense of. Visible Technologies, FMS and StreamBase Systems, all companies that provide products that analyze the massive amount of data flowing out of social networking and communication sites, all found spots in the In-Q-Tel portfolio.

In-Q-Tel has some fun investments, like Destineer Studios, an outfit that develops military-themed videogames as well as training simulations for active-duty soldiers.

The espionage potential of many of the technologies in the In-Q-Tel portfolio are immediately apparent, but there are some surprises, like Sonitus Medical, which makes hearing aids that fit over the teeth and send sounds directly to the inner ear.

Is involvement with the CIA good for business? A connection to the CIA can be a slight disadvantage for companies when doing business overseas, particularly in China or the Middle East, where people are leery of the affiliation with the intelligence agency.

However, entrepreneurs generally welcome interest from In-Q-Tel, says Basis Technology CEO Carl Hoffman, because it’s a gateway to Washington for small companies that normally struggle to compete for federal contracts. An investment from In-Q-Tel led Hoffman’s company, which makes software that analyzes foreign-language texts, to expand to Middle Eastern languages, and it now does business with a variety of federal agencies, including the National Security Agency. He says that IQT is also well regarded in Silicon Valley because of its successful investing track record. “When we mention to other Silicon Valley investment firms that In-Q-Tel is one of our investors, that earns us brownie points.”

Josh Lerner, an investment banking professor at Harvard Business School, says that the liquidity crisis in venture capital has made venture firms eager to draw In-Q-Tel in as a partner. “Funds are increasingly looking to other, less traditional investors to fund portfolio firms, including In-Q-Tel, even if their ultimate objectives may be quite different from the venture capitalist’s goal of maximizing the rate of return.”

In Pictures: 10 Most Interesting CIA-Backed Startups

Cuban Rum Steps Up in World Markets - 28 Nov 2010, 12:21 am

Havana, Nov 26 (ACN-RHC) The worldwide prestige of Cuban rum is reaffirmed by the growing demand of Ron Legendario, whose sales show an annual 10 percent increase.

The trademark’s deputy director of marketing, Carlos Sanchez, stated that Ron Legendario is currently available in more than 15 European countries.

Ron Legendario is produced in six factories across the country, three of them located in Pinar del Rio, Matanzas and Villa Clara and one in Havana, Sanchez said. Legendario is distributed in Europe by the Valencian Legendario SL company, which is currently seeking entry into other markets.

The trademark’s leading product is the Legendario Elixir de Cuba 7-year-aged rum, which is the richest, smoothest, sweetest and most delicate rum produced in the island.

Other Legendario spirits commercialized by the Spanish company are
Dorado, Añejo, Añejo Blanco, Carta Blanca Superior and Gran Reserva 15 Years.

 

Washington, November 27 (RHC)– Protesters gathered Saturday in front of the White House in Washington to call for an end to the provocations against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The emergency anti-war rally was called in response to the latest escalation of hostilities in the Korean Peninsula.

Organizers of the anti-war protest said the provocations could lead to a new Korean War — “one that could expand to wider regional, and potentially nuclear, conflict.”

In a statement released just before Saturday’s protest rally began, organizers said that the biggest provocation in the region is the massive presence of U.S. military bases, troop, nuclear and conventional weapons. “In 2010, 65 years after the end of World War II, there are scores of U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine bases in the Republic of Korea, Okinawa, and all across Japan. This vast deployment of military power halfway around the world far exceeds that of any other country.”

The anti-war protesters said that the real purpose of this military machine “is to secure and further the interests of the U.S. corporate power and strategic domination in Asia and around the world. It is the enemy of the people of Korea, China, Japan and the people of the United States.”

An outstanding warrant remains in effect for an Air Force officer accused of soliciting sex from a person he thought was a 15-year-old girl in an Internet chat room.

Maj. Reinaldo Canton was arrested in 2007 on suspicion of meeting a girl he met online at a mall in Layton, Utah. The “girl” was actually an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent working for an Internet sex crimes unit.

Prosecutors dropped coercion and enticement charges in May 2009 against Canton because the retired airman had a serious heart condition, according to local media reports. Defense attorneys argued a trial would amount to cruel and unusual punishment.

The Utah Attorney General’s Office picked the case up that June after a second medical opinion on Canton’s condition, according to Utah Assistant Attorney General Paul Amann. Canton now lives in Florida and is being charged with three misdemeanor counts of enticing a minor, Amann said.

Neither Canton nor the last attorney known to represent him could be reached for comment.

Canton worked at the Space Development and Test Wing of Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.

GREAT FALLS, Mont. — A 22-year-old Great Falls man was convicted Monday of killing his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter.

A Cascade County jury deliberated for less than three hours before finding Jerimie Hicks guilty of deliberate homicide and solicitation to tamper with evidence in the death of Kaelyn Bray. Hicks, who was stationed at Malmstrom Air Force Base at the time of the girl’s death, will remain in custody without bail until he is sentenced in six weeks.

County Attorney John W. Parker said he would seek a life sentence without parole.

Prosecutors said the former airman severely beat Kaelyn on Feb. 26, leading to her death from brain injuries three days later. But Hicks, who was the only one with the girl when she was injured, said she suffered minor injuries when he shoved her into the wall out of frustration. He told police she fell down the stairs later after tripping on their puppy.

Parker, who portrayed Hicks as someone who continually changed his story, pointed to testimony from emergency responders and doctors who said they did not believe the girl’s injuries were consistent with a fall down the stairs.

Meanwhile, defense attorney Ed Sheehy argued the state did not present any evidence that Kaelyn’s injuries were not caused by an accident. Sheehy did not offer any comment after the verdict was read.

Hicks faced the solicitation to tamper with evidence charge for asking his mother to remove his bloody uniform from his house. Investigators found a uniform with blood stains on the boots and pants that matched Kaelyn’s DNA profile.

President Barack Obama has asked his bioethics council to look into the recent disclosure that in the mid-1940s, a United States Public Health Service scientist deliberately infected patients in Guatemala with syphilis. In a letter sent Wednesday to University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann, chair of the 13-member Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, Obama writes: “The research was clearly unethical. In light of this revelation, I want to be assured that current rules for research participants protect people from harm or unethical treatment, domestically as well as internationally.” The letter asks for a “thorough review” of U.S. rules protecting human subjects and a “thorough fact-finding investigation” of the Guatemala experiments. The commission, which is finishing up a report on synthetic biology, is to start its work in January and complete a report within 9 months.

(CNN) — A Catholic priest, facing criminal charges and a lawsuit alleging that he sexually abused a teenage boy, is now charged with attempting to hire someone to kill the youth, authorities said Tuesday.

The Rev. John M. Fiala was in the Dallas County, Texas, jail on Tuesday, charged with one count of criminal solicitation to commit capital murder, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety and the jail’s website. He also is charged with two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child. His bail totals $700,000.

Fiala, 52, of Dallas, was out on bond on other sexual assault charges involving the youth, now 18, when he allegedly attempted to negotiate the boy’s murder, said Thomas B. Rhodes, the teen’s attorney.

He was arrested last week after he offered an undercover agent with the Texas Department of Public Safety $5,000 to kill the teen, according to department spokeswoman Lisa Block.

“This guy,” Edwards County Sheriff Don Letsinger said, “is an evil man.”

A call to Rex Alan Gunter, the defense attorney listed in jail records for Fiala, was not immediately returned Tuesday.

The youth met Fiala in 2007, according to Rhodes. The attorney said the priest started “grooming him,” buying him gifts including a computer and a car. In early 2008, when the boy was 16, under the guise of providing private catechism lessons, Fiala “gained access to him and began to sexually abuse him once or twice a month, including on church grounds,” Rhodes said.

At the time, Fiala was administrator of Sacred Heart of Mary in Rocksprings, Texas, which is in Edwards County. The alleged abuse occurred in two counties — Edwards County and Howard County — and included the youth’s rape at gunpoint, the attorney said.

Fiala allegedly threatened to kill the youth if he told anyone — threats he repeated in daily text messages, Rhodes said, and Fiala also threatened to kill himself, telling the teen they would “go to heaven together.”

The teen, after struggling with the abuse, told a school counselor, who notified authorities, Rhodes said. He filed suit in April against Fiala, as well as the archdioceses of San Antonio, Texas, and Omaha, Nebraska — where Fiala was before Texas — and Fiala’s religious order, the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, the attorney said.

The suit claims that all three covered up Fiala’s record of abuse. All three have denied doing so, according to the San Antonio, Texas, Express-News. When former San Antonio Archbishop Jose Gomez and the religious order learned of the police investigation into Fiala’s relationship with the teen, he was removed from active ministry in October 2008, the newspaper reported.

In September, an Edwards County grand jury indicted Fiala on three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and one count of aggravated sexual assault by threat, according to the Express-News. Fiala was arrested in Kansas by a fugitive task force and was extradited to Texas, where he posted bail on September 27, according to the newspaper. He then moved to Dallas County.

A grand jury in Howard County handed up an indictment last week on the two aggravated sexual assault charges, the Express-News said.

Meanwhile, “approximately a week ago, we got an anonymous phone call from someone saying, ‘Look, I’m living in a building with this guy, and he’s talking about killing this young man,’ ” Rhodes said. “Our response was, ‘You need to call police.’ ”

Letsinger said he got a call November 11 from the neighbor. The man at first just told authorities they should “be looking at this guy,” the sheriff said, but later said Fiala had offered him $5,000 to kill the teenager. The allegation surprised him, Letsinger said.

The Department of Public Safety and its Texas Ranger Division got involved, sending the undercover agent to speak with Fiala, Rhodes said. The conversation was caught on video and audiotape.

Rhodes said his client was relieved to hear of Fiala’s arrest. He was attending college but had to withdraw and be spirited away somewhere safe because of the threats, he said.

“He’s still very afraid, but he is hoping that this time Fiala will stay behind bars,” Rhodes said.

A hearing on the lawsuit was held Monday, he said. The Omaha diocese had argued it should be sued in Nebraska rather than Texas. The judge rejected that argument, Rhodes said.

“I think he’s cooked his goose now,” Letsinger said of Fiala. “We know that pedophiles sometimes threaten their victims to keep them quiet. But this is kind of an older victim, and you wonder sometimes why they wouldn’t come forward. … I can see now the evil in this guy is pretty bad.”

So a bunch of high school teachers are upset that their students are bored with them. Well, that’s not how they say it. Instead, the New York Times has the backs of boring, stupid teachers everywhere: “Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction.” If kids didn’t have iPhones, they would pay attention in school.

Really?

What’s the last book you’ve read. How often do you – a big, bad, enlightened adult – sit down without the television or radio on? How often do you seek the lengthy solitude of reflection and reading? Can you even sit in silence for an hour?

Adults rarely read, and that’s fine. Adults spend most of our time in a distraction from our impending death. Or is there another justification for TV?

When you start claiming to have the moral high road when you’re doing the same things as your kids, there’s a problem. When you start diagnosing children – especially boys – with mental illnesses, then you are my enemy.

One teacher uses a student’s failing to read Cat’s Cradle as evidence of a cognitive defect. One student just can’t seem to finish it. That same student puts in full workdays working on film projects. He obviously has energy for something. I can relate.

I forced myself to read 25% of A Farewell to Arms. That’s a classic. I hated it. I couldn’t finish it. A disorder? Well, if you want to pull out the dicks: I’ll compare the quantity and quality of my reading list to any high school English teacher’s. One man’s entertainment is another man’s tedium.

Does the student have an “attention disorder,” or does he just not enjoy doing busywork? I spend hours a day reading, and if I didn’t work, I would read all day. Was my attention disorder cured once I graduated from high school? Who was the problem in high school – me, or my teachers? (Or neither?)

Well, he needs to do busywork, to prepare himself for the adult world. Great. Education’s sole concern should be with conditioning a young person to learn to suffer through putting covers on a TPS report? He’ll be a cubicle rat soon enough. Let the boys play before putting them in a cage.

When I coached youth boxing at a high school, I didn’t have problems keeping the students’ attentions. These wired-for-distraction teenage boys spent 2-3 hours a day at wrestling practice. On Saturday, practices were even longer. When training Judo, Sambo, American wrestling, boxing, or MMA….The only time one of them checked a cell phone was when a girlfriend was texting him. (And who can blame them?)

People are bored with you because you’re boring. That’s your problem, not theirs.

The United States has briefed its key allies, including Britain, France, Germany and Saudi Arabia ahead of the mass release of classified documents by WikiLeaks.

Whistleblower website WikiLeaks plans to release around three million leaked documents, including cables sent to Washington from American embassies throughout the world.

The website had previously posted online secret details of US military operations in war-ravaged Iraq and Afghanistan.

United States Department of State Spokesman Philip Crowley says the United States is “gearing up for the worst-case scenario.”


“Across the State Department, senior officials are reaching out to countries and warning them about a possible release of documents,” AFP quoted Crowley as saying.

“We are all bracing for what may be coming and condemn WikiLeaks for the release of classified material,” he said. “It will place lives and interests at risk. It is irresponsible.”

Several countries, including Israel, have been warned of potential embarrassment from the release.

Crowley says US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also phoned the senior officials of Germany, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Britain, France and Afghanistan regarding WikiLeaks.

The cables are said to date from the past five years and include media reports, talks with politicians, officials and journalists, as well as evaluations and various analyses by American diplomats regarding their host countries.

According to reports, the next release, due to take place in the next few days, is also expected to include thousands of classified cables reporting corruption allegations against politicians in Russia, Afghanistan and other Central Asian nations.

WikiLeaks has not confirmed exactly when the documents will be made public, but it said the release will be nearly seven times larger than the 400,000 documents on the Iraq war it published in October.

“The coming months will see a new world, where global history is redefined,” the organization said via Twitter.

Canadian police have charged the head of the Archdiocese of Canada of the Orthodox Church in America with two counts of sexual assault on young boys.

Archbishop Kenneth William Storheim, who has held many Church positions in Canadian communities, turned himself in to Winnipeg police on Wednesday after being charged. He has since been released on bail and is waiting to appear in court on January 10.

Authorities launched an investigation into the allegations after Storheim resigned from his post in October.

Canadian media report that the archbishop sexually assaulted the boys while he was the rector of a Winnipeg parish from 1984 to 1987.

His defense lawyer, Jeff Ginden, said Storheim will remain on a leave of absence as head of the church and plans to resume after the case is over.

“He has faith in the system that justice will be done,” Ginden said.

“He hasn’t been given the police report, he doesn’t know what the disclosure is. All he knows is one thing — those things he’s not responsible for,” Ginden further stated.

Melanie Sakoda of Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests told CBC News that they had been pushing for an investigation for two years.

“It makes me frustrated and angry but not surprised. They (the Church) have a habit of protecting the clergy rather than doing everything possible to make sure children are safe,” she said.

Storheim also held positions in London, Ontario, Saskatoon, North Carolina and Alberta.

The Orthodox Church in America has hundreds of parishes in Canada, the US, Australia and Mexico.

An inquiry has found that organs and bones from the bodies of dead British nuclear industry workers at Sellafield were illegally harvested without their consent over a period of 30 years.

The inquiry’s findings revealed that the relatives of 64 staff discovered their loved ones had been stripped of livers, tongues and even legs decades after they were buried, the daily Belfast Telegraph reported.

The findings also proved the existence of an “old boys’ club” among pathologists, coroners and scientists around Sellafield prior to 1992 which prioritized the needs of the nuclear industry above those of grieving family members.

Representatives of the workers told the inquiry’s Chairman Michael Redfern QC that they felt as if bodies had been “mutilated” and treated as “commodities” to assist in research on behalf of the industry to disprove the link between cancers and radiation.

Some missing bones had been replaced with broomsticks for deceased workers’ funerals. Redfern said the families had been “wronged”.

“In most cases considered by the inquiry, relatives were let down at the time when they were most vulnerable by those in whom they were entitled to place an absolute trust,” he said.

In the Commons, Energy Secretary Christopher Murray Paul-Huhne apologized to the families and said the practice had been stopped.

The 650-page report, following a three-year inquiry which also examined three other studies involving the nuclear industry in which 6,500 bodies, including children, were used, said the removal of organs and tissue was “unnecessary and inappropriate” in the majority of the Sellafield cases.

Cops & Firemen - 23 Nov 2010, 2:43 pm
Thank a Vet? - 11 Nov 2010, 4:50 pm

We’ve all seen the bumper stickers: “My son is in the Air Force,” “If You Can Read This in English, Thank a Marine,” “Proud Vietnam Veteran,” “Fly Navy,” and of course, “Thank a Vet.”

Why should we?

Why should we call them heroes, give them military discounts, grant them veterans preference, express our support for them with ribbons on our cars, honor them with a holiday, hold military appreciation church services for them, and thank them for their “service”?

Veterans Day began as Armistice Day to commemorate the signing of the armistice that ended World War I. It had nothing to do with honoring current and former members of the military like Veterans Day is celebrated today. And if the sole purpose of Armistice Day was to honor World War I veterans, it should never have been celebrated since no American soldier did anything honorable by intervening in a European foreign war. And it doesn’t matter if he was drafted or not.

Britain’s last World War I combat veteran, Harry Patch, died last year at the age of 111. He boasted that he hadn’t killed anyone in combat. “War isn’t worth one life,” Patch said, it is “calculated and condoned slaughter of human beings.” In his autobiography The Last Fighting Tommy, Patch wrote that “politicians who took us to war should have been given the guns and told to settle their differences themselves, instead of organising nothing better than legalised mass murder.” In the last years of his life, Patch warned some young naval recruits that they shouldn’t join.

Frank Buckles, age 109, is the only American veteran of World War I still living. When asked while being honored for his service at a 2007 Veterans Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery what he thought about being there while the United States was at war, he replied: “I’m no authority, but I’m not in favor of war unless it’s an emergency.” I think that Buckles is more of an authority on the horrors of war and the folly and wickedness of war than the current members of the Joint Chiefs.

It is only because World War I did not turn out to be the “war to end all wars” that the holiday was changed to Veterans Day as a tribute to all soldiers who fought for their country.

Although I believe World War II to be neither necessary nor good, I come not on this Veterans Day to criticize the “greatest generation,” who, it turns out, were also great at pillaging and carousing.

For reasons I explained in “U.S. Presidents and Those Who Kill for Them,” World War II marks the permanent establishment of the American military as the president’s personal attack force to kill by his decree Koreans, Vietnamese, Laotians, Cambodians, Grenadians, Panamanians, Yugoslavs, Serbians, Afghans, Iraqis, Somalis, Yemenis, and Pakistanis. Next on the list is Iranians. Sometimes these presidential decrees are rubberstamped by a congressional authorization to use force, but they are always preceded by presidential lies and warmonger propaganda.

So why should a Vietnam veteran be proud? He was typically young, ignorant, deceived, and drafted. He may have fought obediently, valiantly, selflessly, and fearlessly, but since he had no business fighting in Vietnam in the first place, I have nothing to thank him for. And I certainly can’t thank him for preventing the Viet Cong from turning America into a socialist republic. Besides, LBJ beat Ho Chi Minh to that anyway. Many Vietnam veterans have written me and expressed shame, remorse, anger, and resentment – not pride – for having been duped into going thousands of miles away from American soil to intervene in another country’s civil war. In fact, I have found that it is those who are not Vietnam veterans who are the most vociferous defenders of the war in Vietnam.

The most undeserved and oftentimes disgusting outpouring of thankfulness I have ever seen is over those who have fought or are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. The praise and adoration of those fighting in “the front lines in the war on terror” reaches its apex on Veterans Day, which has become a day to defend U.S. wars and recognize all things military. These soldiers certainly have done nothing worthy of thanks. Sure, they have rebuilt infrastructure – after bombing it to smithereens. They no doubt removed a brutal dictator – and unleashed American brutality in the process. And yes, they have rescued orphan children – after blowing their parents and brothers and sisters to kingdom come.

What is there to thank our soldiers for? They are not defending our freedoms. They are not keeping us safe from our enemies. They are not protecting us from terrorists. They are not guaranteeing our First Amendment rights. They are not defending U.S. borders. They are not guarding U.S. shores. They are not patrolling U.S. coasts. They are not enforcing no-fly zones over U.S. skies. They are not fighting “over there” so we don’t have to fight “over here.” They are not avenging 9/11. They are not safeguarding the American way of life. Oh, and they are not ensuring that I have the liberty to write what I do about the military.

What, then, should we thank our soldiers for? Should we thank them for fighting an unconstitutional war, an unscriptural war, an immoral war, an offensive war, an unjust war, or a senseless war? Should we thank our veterans for helping to carry out an aggressive, reckless, belligerent, and interventionist foreign policy? Should we thank the military for sucking $1 trillion out of the federal budget?

But, some will say, these soldiers are just doing their jobs. They can’t help it if the U.S. military sends them to fight in an unjust war in Iraq or Afghanistan. They are just following orders. They didn’t enlist in the military to kill people.

What would any sane man think about a doctor who takes a job at a hospital knowing that the hospital instructs its doctors to euthanize old and sickly patients – and then says he was just doing his job, following orders, and didn’t take the job to kill people?

Why are soldiers treated so differently? Why do they get a pass on committing or supporting those who commit murder and mayhem?

But, someone else says, the military has lowered its recruiting standards and is scraping the bottom of the barrel. Many soldiers are ignorant about the true nature of the military and U.S. foreign policy. Why should we fault them for their ignorance? Why should they be criticized for unjustly killing Iraqis or Afghans or Pakistanis? They are just following orders.

Let’s go back to the doctor I mentioned. Suppose that after he takes a job in ignorance at what he thinks is a reputable hospital he is instructed to euthanize old and sickly patients? What should he do? I don’t know of anyone who would say anything else but that he should quit his job or at least refuse to euthanize anyone.

Again, why are soldiers treated so differently? Why do they get a pass on committing or supporting those who commit murder and mayhem?

But, comes another reply, soldiers have a term of enlistment. They can’t just quit their jobs. Doctors can walk away from their jobs at any time. Then I guess it all comes down to morality: Be a mercenary and kill for the state or refuse to do so and suffer the consequences of dishonorable discharge and/or imprisonment.

It is high time that Americans stop holding veterans and current members of the military in such high esteem. It is scientists, engineers, inventors, businessmen, industrialists, software developers, and entrepreneurs that made America great – not veterans of foreign wars. It is doctors, iron workers, taxi drivers, bricklayers, writers, electricians, and cooks that positively contribute to society – not soldiers.

I would like to be able to thank a vet – on Veterans Day and every other day of the year – but I’m still searching for a reason.

November 11, 2010

Laurence M. Vance [send him mail] writes from Pensacola, FL. He is the author of Christianity and War and Other Essays Against the Warfare State and The Revolution that Wasn’t. His newest book is Rethinking the Good War. Visit his website.

Copyright © 2010 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

The Best of Laurence M. Vance

LOS ANGELES – A former Chino prison guard convicted of abusing inmates was sentenced Monday to more than four years in federal prison.

Robert McGowan of Bloomington was convicted by a federal jury three years ago in connection with a May 9, 2002, incident in which, prosecutors said, he and two other correctional officer hurled shackled inmates to the ground and conspired to cover it up.

In November 2007, a federal judge overturned guilty verdicts for the three officers from the California Institution for Men, but McGowan’s conviction – for two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law – was reinstated on appeal.

U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II sentenced McGowan, 41, to 51 months in prison Monday in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release.

The allegations of abuse came after the inmates reportedly assaulted an officer, first throwing a jacket over his head and then beating him.

McGowan shackled two prisoners and took them in a van to the prison’s administrative segregation unit. Once they arrived, prosecutors said, the officer threw the shackled inmates from the van.

Because their hands were bound, the inmates were unable to break their falls and suffered minor injuries, prosecutors said.

One of McGowan’s colleagues threw another shackled inmate to the ground, prosecutors said, and lied about the incident to a federal grand jury.

The third officer indicted in the case was accused of lying about the incident in a memo to prison officials.

Two Norview High School teachers were placed on paid administrative leave this week after a parent complained that they distributed classroom materials that gave advice on how to deal with police if stopped.

The materials – a one-page handout and a video distributed and aired in a 12th-grade government class – are sponsored by two organizations, one a nonprofit that supports legalization of marijuana and one that calls itself a “decentralized anarchist collective.”

The last paragraph of the flier, titled “When Dealing with Police” states, “Remember You have legal rights, but many police will not respect your rights. Be careful – Be Street Smart.”

Schools spokeswoman Elizabeth Thiel Mather said division leaders are investigating the incident over concerns that the materials were unauthorized.

The parent, who asked not to be named out of fear that her daughter could be ostracized or get a lower class grade, told The Pilot that she contacted the division and police after her daughter described the leaflet and video.

“She came home recently and said, ‘You won’t believe what we are learning in Government. They are teaching us how to hide our drugs,’ ” the parent recounted.

Last week, an Oakwood Elementary School employee was placed on leave with pay in connection with the distribution of plastic fetus models to children, which division leaders also considered unauthorized material. Oakwood’s principal was also put on leave in connection with the incident, and an investigation is continuing.

Mather said it is uncommon to have to put staff on leave for using inappropriate materials. The division typically gets no more than two parent complaints a year about the suitability of textbooks or library materials, she said.

The leaflet handed out at Norview describes the rights citizens have if they are stopped or arrested by police or witness police activity. It is posted on the Web here.

A credit on the leaflet reads, “Assembled by the Crimethinc Police Unwelcoming Committee.” On its website, Crimethinc.com calls itself a “decentralized anarchist collective.”

The video, “Busted: Citizen’s Guide to Surviving Police Encounters,” is posted online here.  It opens with a portrayal of young adults stopped by a traffic officer who searches their car and arrests them for marijuana possession. Other scenes depict police questioning a young man at a bus stop and patrol officers who visit a home where loud partiers are smoking marijuana.

A commentator on the video states, “Whether or not you break the law, this video is designed to explain what the law is and how you can legally and properly assert your constitutional rights through even the most stressful police encounters.”

For each scene, the commentator explains how legal rights apply to police searches of vehicles, homes or individuals and how people can cite those rights during encounters with police.

The video was created by Flex Your Rights, a nonprofit that advocates educating the public about how constitutional protections apply during encounters with law enforcement. The production has gotten 2.3 million viewings on YouTube since November 2006.

The video’s end credits cite funding from the MPP Foundation, which is part of the Marijuana Policy Project. On the Web, the group advocates legal regulation for marijuana and noncoercive treatment for problem marijuana users.

Pilot writers Hattie Brown Garrow, Lauren Roth and Alicia P.Q. Wittmeyer contributed to this report.

Steven G. Vegh, (757) 446-2417, steven.vegh@pilotonline.com

DESERT HOT SPRINGS — A security guard at Desert Springs Middle School is behind bars, today, and faces charges that forced sex on a child.

Marvin Cash was arrested at his home in Desert Hot Springs by police, and brought in for questioning, Tuesday. He will be transported to the Riverside County Jail, where is bail is set at $50,000.

Police tell News Channel 3 several students came forward, and reported incidents involving Cash. Details of the encounters were not released.

Cash was arrested for committing a lewd act on a child under 14-years-old, sexual battery, and annoying/molesting a child under 18.

Desert Hot Springs Police say they have contacted Palm Springs Unified School District to inform them, and they cooperated with the investigation.

Stay with News Channel 3 and KESQ.com for more.

Source

In the news today, worldwide controversy around an Israeli commando attack on a “Free Gaza Movement” flotilla carrying aid supplies to the blockaded Gaza strip. NYT story here. Varying reports on how many were killed: 10 according to Israel, and 19 or more according to the activists and some news organizations. Some 600 people were aboard the flotilla including a Nobel Peace Prize recipient and an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor. The attacked ship was some 100km (70 miles) off the coast, in international waters. Above, video of the event.

Analysis and reactions around the web: The Wikinews article is interesting, in part for the clash of perceptions from those who condemn and those who support the actions of Israel’s military. This Jerusalem Post article touches on the resulting PR and media offensive out of Israel, and the government’s rationalization for what it maintains was a justified and defensive event (and pointed to ties with Turkey and alleged “Islamist” groups). More reading: “Why the Gaza boat deaths are a huge deal,” Blake Hounshell in Foreign Policy. Condemnation from South African Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. “A Lesson in Information Operations,” Center for a New American Security. Ha’aretz: “Israel Lost at Sea.” Top Israeli official when Gaza blockade was imposed several years ago: “The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet.”

Measure ensures Texas standards don’t ‘creep into our textbooks,’ senator tells Raw Story

The California Senate on Friday approved legislation that sends a clear message to Texas and textbook publishers: don’t mess with our kids’ minds.

“My bill begins the process of ensuring that California students will not end up being taught with Texas standards,” State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), who authored and sponsored the legislation, said in an interview. Texas standards had better not “creep into our textbooks,” he said.

The S.B. 1451 measure – approved on a bipartisan vote of 25-5 – requires the California State Board of Education to examine and report any discrepancies between the new Texas standards and California’s standards. “At that point,” Yee told Raw Story, “we will make it very, very clear that we won’t accept textbooks that minimize the contributions of minorities and propagate the close connection between church and state.”

California, also a critical client for textbook companies, can counteract Texas’s influence on how books are written for schools across the country. “It’s a warning to the textbooks writers and companies,” said Yee, who served on the San Francisco Board of Education earlier in his career and is currently the second highest ranking Democrat in California’s upper house.

The Texas modifications – approved last Friday include elevating the significance of Christianity in the nation’s founding, minimizing the importance of Thomas Jefferson and his framework for separation of church and state, emphasizing “the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s,” diminishing the scope of Latino history, and redefining slavery in more pleasant terms.

Yee called the changes “pretty disturbing,” accusing the Texas board of seeking to “wipe away history” and “rewrite history.” School curriculum, especially social studies and history, he said, should be “devoid of politics.”

America “came into existence because the founding fathers wanted to flee the tyranny of the church over a government,” added Yee, who immigrated from China at age three. “That part of the pride and joy of living here – that you’re not dictated by religion.”

Book publishers argue that such worries are unfounded in the digital age, where textbooks can easily be re-customized based on the different curriculum standards of different states.

“Whenever someone tells me not to worry, that’s when I worry,” Yee retorted, explaining that textbook publishers are in business not to “help out students” but to “make money,” so if given the choice they’d prefer not to spend the extra money re-customizing books.

The legislation now faces a vote in the California Assembly before it’s considered by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has not announced whether he will sign it.

Sahil Kapur is Washington correspondent for Raw Story. He Tweets here.

Japan‘s Social Democratic Party (SDP) is threatening to leave the ruling coalition over the controversial US military base on the southern island of Okinawa.

Senior SDP official Seiji Mataichi said Saturday that it was natural for the party to leave the coalition.

The development comes after the Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama dismissed the SDP chief from his cabinet for opposing his decision to keep the American base on Okinawa.

Hatoyama has abandoned his campaign promise to move the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma off the southern Japanese island, resulting in a dramatic drop in his approval rating to nearly 20 percent.

The airbase has been under US command since after World War II. More than half of some 47,000 US troops in Japan are stationed in Okinawa.

Islanders have for long been opposed to the presence of US military personnel, who are allegedly involved in crime, pollution, noise and accidents, on Okinawa.

Yesterday, researchers led by John Craig Venter reported that they had built a genome from scratch and used it to control a cell. We asked if you had any questions about the discovery—which raises important scientific and ethical issues—and you responded in force. Below is a selection of some of our favorites (edited for length and clarity), compiled from our Web site, e-mail, and Facebook. Science reporter Elizabeth Pennisi, who wrote a news story about the discovery, and Mark Bedau, a philosopher and scientist at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and editor of the scientific journal Artificial Life, offer their answers and opinions.

Q: Does the advance really represent the creation of new life?

M.B.: There are a couple of reasons why this achievement should not be called the creation of “new” life. First, the form of life that was created was not new. What was essentially done was the re-creation of an existing bacterial form of life, except that it was given a prosthetic genome (synthesized in the laboratory), and except that the genome was put into the cytoplasm of a slightly different species.

The methods used here could relatively easily be used to produce something that would be “new” in the sense of never having existed before. This would be done by introducing enough new genes (or removing enough existing genes). This is technically feasible today, and eventually taking advantage of this potential is the primary motivation for creating “synthetic cells” in the first place. However, it should be emphasized that it will probably be very difficult to make very new forms of life. This is because even the simplest form of life is very complex, so it is very difficult to predict what will happen when you substantially change their genomes.

Now, even if the synthetic genome was substantially different from any existing form of life, one might still object to calling this the creation of new life, because the synthetic cell was made by modifying an existing form of life. Almost all of the material in the synthetic cell comes from a previously existing form of life; only the genome is synthesized. In this respect, one might say that a synthetic cell qualifies as “new” life only if the whole cell is synthesized. A handful of research teams around the globe are working on trying to create fully synthetic cells (sometimes called “protocells”) using materials obtained solely from a chemical supply company. Even a living protocell would still not qualify as creation from nothing, of course, since it would be created from pre-existing materials.

Q: Can this technology help us increase human life span? Can it help cure diseases like diabetes and cancer?

E.P.: Although this achievement was a milestone for synthetic genomics, it represents just a very small step toward harnessing synthetic biology to improve health and cure diseases. Next the team is going to try to make synthetic genomes that carry the instructions for bacteria to make a flu vaccine, but no one knows how difficult that step will be.

Q: Can the synthetic cell reproduce? If so, are its daughter cells viable?

E.P.: The cell with the transplanted genome reproduced, as did the resulting daughter cells. In fact, the colony went through a billion rounds of replication before the researchers froze the cells for archiving.

Q: What would happen if the bacterial cells are accidentally released into the environment? Are there precautionary measures?

M.B.: Researchers working in this field are well aware that there is a big ethical difference between creating synthetic cells that exist only in research laboratories and creating synthetic cells that are released in the environment. Environmental release has much more significant risks. For this reason, any environmental release would occur only under appropriately stringent conditions. Nevertheless, there is still the chance that an accident could happen and unintended environmental release might occur. In this case, there are a couple of points to appreciated.

First, it is not easy to keep synthetic cells alive even under ideal conditions in the laboratory. So, an accidental environmental release of synthetic cells might well lead to their quick extinction.

Second, there is active discussion and planning to build in multiple safeguards in synthetic cells. These include such things as: giving them a strictly limited lifespan, installing an on/off switch, making them depend on foods or conditions that are not present naturally in the environment, and/or taking steps to prevent them from evolving. In addition to safeguards, it is important to build in unique identifying marks, so that any damage could be traced back to the responsible parties. It is notable that Venter’s team already included such “watermarks.”

Q: Did this work only replace the DNA in the nucleus of the cell, or also the mitochondrial DNA? And how close are we from synthetically creating the cell, too?

E.P.: Bacterial cells lack nuclei and mitochondria. Researchers studying the origin of life have worked for years to build a self-replicating cell from the bottom up and have made some progress on this, but it’s not clear how one would build one that was sophisticated enough to read and carry out the instructions of a synthetic chromosome. It’s a chicken and egg problem that could take a long time to work out.

Q: Does the discovery challenge religious notions about the creation of life and the concept of a spirit?

M.B.: The creation of life from nonlife (fully synthetic cells) might well impact some religious and cultural world views, and the achievement of a partly synthetic cell already opens the door to these implications. The achievement of Venter’s team vividly demonstrates that the genome of simple life forms is nothing more than a complex molecule constructed out of nothing more than certain chemicals. (Most molecular biologists have already believed this for many generations, of course.) This result strongly implies that fully synthetic cells would likewise be merely very complex chemical devices, created out of nothing more than chemical ingredients that are organized in the appropriate way. There is no need for a concept of “spirit” or nonchemical “vital spark” to explain simple bacterial life. This, in turn, in my opinion, implies (but does not prove) that more complex forms of life, including humans, are essentially nothing more than exceedingly complex chemical devices, and so there is no need for a concept of “spirit” or “vital spark” to explain what make humans alive.

Q: What is the taxonomic classification of these synthetic cells? Which species do they belong to?

E.P.: Microbial taxonomists have not yet weighed in on how synthetic life should be fit into the tree of life. But because the synthetic chromosome was basically a copy of the bacterium, Mycoplasma mycoides, with a few changes, the resulting bacterium was just a new strain of M. mycoides. The team is taking a cue from software developers in naming these new strains: This one is called M. mycoides JCVI-syn1.0.

Q: At which point would/should the policymakers come in? Are there plans in progress to regulate such research and monitor the consequences?

M.B.: A number of teams of scientists, ethicists, religious leaders, policy analysts, et cetera from the U.S. and Europe have been scrutinizing the social, ethical, and policy implications of this and related research. This work has been going on for a number of years, and the results to date are typically freely available to the public. Policy makers at all levels, including the highest levels, are already in the loop, and plans for certain kinds of regulations are well under way (e.g., regulation of the synthesis of large pieces of DNA). Further kinds of regulation are actively being discussed.

Q: Is the DNA synthesis part now a “solved problem”? Could you reliably create a DNA strand that encoded, say, the complete works of Shakespeare, without regard for its genetic function?

M.B.: It would be relatively trivial now to encode the works of Shakespeare in DNA, but it would presumably have no biological function. The main significance of the achievement of Venter’s team is that the synthetic genome actually functions just like a normal genome.

Q: This breakthrough is “decades in the making,” but how long would it take to reproduce the experiment today?

E.P.: It took years for these researchers to work out the bugs in making a synthetic genome that looked very much like a natural one and in booting it up in the cell of another species. That experiment now takes about a week, and it seems now that synthesizing the genome, while quite expensive, is not the rate-limiting step. But as the team starts to manipulate the genome and add different genes, it is delving into new territory where such manipulations might make the recipient cell reject the synthetic genome or the synthetic genome may lead to emergent properties incompatible with life. Then the team will have to go back to the drawing board to try to figure out why the experiment didn’t work.

This compilation is dedicated to the latest and most competent resources for knowledge discovery available over the Internet. The key is to be able to find the important knowledge discovery resources and sites both in the visible and invisible World Wide Web. The following selected knowledge discovery resources and sites offer excellent knowledge and information discovery sources to help you accomplish your research goals.

ACM SIGKDD: Current Explorations Issue
http://www.acm.org/sigs/sigkdd/explorations/issue.php?issue=current Explorations is published twice yearly, in June/July and in December/January each year. The newsletter is distributed in hardcopy form to all members of the ACM SIGKDD. It is also sent to ACM’s network of libraries. Online versions are available on the web free to the general public. Their goal is to make the SIGKDD Newsletter an informative, rapid means of publication and dynamic forum for communication with the Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining community.

Advanced Knowledge Technologies
http://www.aktors.org/ The Advanced Knowledge Technologies (AKT) project aims to develop and extend a range of technologies providing integrated methods and services for the capture, modelling, publishing, reuse and management of knowledge. AKT is a multi-million pound , six year collaboration between internationally recognized research groups at the Universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, the Open University, Sheffield and South Hampton.

APECKS: a Tool to Support Living Ontologies
http://ksi.cpsc.ucalgary.ca/KAW/KAW98/tennison/index.html Ontology servers are currently under-developed in terms of the support they provide for collaborative activities on their content. This paper presents the APECKS (Adaptive Presentation Environment for Collaborative Knowledge Structuring) system, an ontology server which supports collaboration by allowing individuals to create personal ontologies. These ontologies can be compared with others’ to prompt discussion about the sources of their differences and similarities.

Association of KnowledgeWork (AOK)
http://www.kwork.org/index.html At the Association of Knowledgework, people from every specialty cross professional, geographic, cultural, economic and hierarchical barriers to learn together. Not just another website, this is a virtual home for those who work with knowledge.

BAYESIA: Bayesian Networks and Data Mining Tool
http://www.bayesia.com/ The Bayesian Network approach merges and supersedes existing approaches coming from Artificial Intelligence and Data Mining, both symbolic and statistical ones. Bayesian Networks are rigorously justified, provide a distributed knowledge representation, and are as understandable as a rule base. They deal particularly well with uncertainty, and they can be manually generated by consultation of an expert, or inductively built by machine learning.

Bibliomining Information Center Data Mining for Libraries
http://www.bibliomining.com/ The basic definition is “data mining for libraries.” For years, bibliometrics has been used to track patterns in authorship, citation, etc. Today, there are many more tools available for discovering similar patterns in complex datasets from data mining and statistics. In addition, tools from management science such as Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) can be used to explore the data for patterns. Therefore, a more complex definition is: Bibliomining is the combination of data mining, bibliometrics, statistics, and reporting tools used to extract patterns of behavior-based artifacts from library systems

Brint.com – Business Technology – Information Economy – Knowledge Management
http://km.brint.com/ KMNetwork and the WWW Virtual Library of Knowledge Management combined to bring together an excellent resource for research papers and portals on knowledge management and discovery. In depth research articles and research portals from over the entire global Internet discuss the business, technologies, processes, systems, sociology, creativity, psychology and philosophy of Knowledge Management.

Creative Commons RDF-Enhanced Search
http://search.creativecommons.org/ This search engine will help you find photos, music, text, books, educational material, and more that is free to share or build upon. Copyright applies fully and automatically to any work. a photograph, a song, a web page, an article, pretty much any form of expression, the moment it is created. This means that if you want to copy and re-use a creative work you find online, you usually have to ask the author’s permission. This “all rights reserved” protection is good thing for many authors and artists. But what about those who want you to use their work freely without permission — but on certain conditions? This search engine helps you quickly find those authors and the work they have marked as free to use with only “some rights reserved.” If you respect the rights they have reserved (which will be clearly marked, as you’ll see) then you can use the work without having to contact them and ask. In some cases, you may even find work in the public domain — that is, free for any use with “no rights reserved.”

Conceptual Graphs
http://conceptualgraphs.org/ Conceptual graphs (CGs) are a system of logic based on the existential graphs of Charles Sanders Peirce and the semantic networks of artificial intelligence. They express meaning in a form that is logically precise, humanly readable, and computationally tractable. With their direct mapping to language, conceptual graphs serve as an intermediate language for translating computer-oriented formalisms to and from natural languages. With their graphic representation, they serve as a readable, but formal design and specification language. CGs have been implemented in a variety of projects for information retrieval, database design, expert systems, and natural language processing.

D2K – Data To Knowledge
http://alg.ncsa.uiuc.edu/do/tools/d2k D2K – Data to Knowledge is a rapid, flexible data mining and machine learning system that integrates analytical data mining methods for prediction, discovery, and deviation detection, with data and information visualization tools. It offers a visual programming environment that allows users to connect programming modules together to build data mining applications and supplies a core set of modules, application templates, and a standard API for software component development.

Data Mining Resources
http://www.DataMiningResources.info/ A blog developed and created by Marcus P. Zillman, M.S., A.M.H.A. for monitoring data mining resources and sites on the Internet.

Data Mining : White Papers, Webcasts and Product Information
http://www.bitpipe.com/data/rlist?t=itmgmt_10_40_96 Research the latest Data Mining technologies, tools and techniques. Read white papers, case studies, webcasts and product information from multiple vendors .

Deep Web Research 2010
http://DeepWeb.us/ Marcus P. Zillman’s guide extensively documents resources that include articles, books, websites, presentations, search engines, and technology applications that facilitate the challenging task of accessing information, published in many formats, that encompass the hundreds of millions of pages comprising the “deep web.”

Explore Open Archives
http://opcit.eprints.org/explorearchives.shtml This site lists and comments on other lists of individual open archives. This list and its categorisation gives a broad overview of the structure, size and progress of full-text open access eprint archives. This list will be maintained and updated as far as is possible, and is intended to assist further quantitative research on the open access eprint phenomenon for those who want to measure the growth and quality of open access eprint archives.

Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP)
http://www.globalknowledge.org/ The Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP) is a worldwide network committed to harnessing the potential of information and communication technologies (ICTs)* for sustainable and equitable development. GKP’s vision is a world of equal opportunities where all people can access and use knowledge and information to improve their lives. The network enables the sharing of information, experiences and resources to help reduce poverty and empower people.

GMDH – Group Method of Data Handling
http://come.to/GMDH Group Method of Data Handling was applied in a great variety of areas for data mining and knowledge discovery, forecasting and systems modeling, optimization and pattern recognition. Inductive GMDH algorithms give possibility to find automatically interrelations in data, to select optimal structure of model or network and to increase the accuracy of existing algorithms. This original self-organizing approach is substantially different from deductive methods used commonly for modeling. It has inductive nature – it finds the best solution by sorting-out of possible variants.

Gurteen Knowledge Website
http://www.gurteen.com/ This site acts as a gateway Knowledge Management, Learning, Thinking, Creativity, Personal Mastery; Personal Knowledge Management and the effective use of Technology. The site has been created by and maintained by David Gurteen an UK-based knowledge consultant.

Google(TM) Directory – Knowledge Discovery
http://directory.google.com/Top/Reference/Knowledge_Management/Knowledge_Discovery/ Google’s directory of Knowledge Discovery resources on the world wide web in the following categories: 1) Books, 2) Business and Companies, 3) Data Mining, 4) Information Visualization, 5) Magazines and eZines, 6) OLAP, 7) Organizations, 8) Software, and 9) Test Mining.

IBM Research – Knowledge Discovery & Data Mining (KDD)
http://www.research.ibm.com/compsci/kdd/ IBM Research has been at the forefront of the exciting new area of Knowledge Discovery & Data Mining (KDD) from the very beginning. Key advances in robust and scalable data mining, methods for fast pattern detection from very large databases, text and web mining, and innovative business intelligence applications have come from our research laboratories. Links to their current projects as well as KDD links are available from this site.

Insightful Miner 3
http://www.insightful.com/products/iminer/default.asp Insightful Miner is a highly scalable data mining and analysis workbench that gives new analysts and skilled modelers the ability to deploy predictive intelligence throughout the enterprise. Insightful Miner 3 increases support for large data environments with new versions for Windows and Solaris servers and adds many new features that allow data analysts and data miners to easily build and deploy analytic applications that boost product performance and improve the efficiency of critical business processes.

International Workshop on Peer-to-Peer Knowledge Management (P2PKM)
http://www.p2pkm.org/ The P2PKM workshop is intended to serve as an active forum for researchers and practitioners, where they will have the possibility to exchange and discuss novel ideas, research results and experiences, laying in the intersection of the P2P, Knowledge Management (KM), Semantic Web, databases, pervasive computing, agents, as well as other related fields.

ITtoolbox Knowledge Management Knowledge Management Information and Tools
http://knowledgemanagement.ittoolbox.com/ A comprehensive site for Knowledge Management and Discovery Resources including browse by type of content: Blogs, FAQs, Groups, Jobs, News, Peer Publishing, PR, Research and White Papers. Also available browse by Knowledge Management Topic: Business Intelligence, Business Strategy/Planning, Communication/Collaboration, Data Warehousing, Document/Content Management, e-Learning, Enterprise Portals, General Knowledge management, KM Career, Knowledge Transfer, and Packaged KM Suites.

KBL(sm): A Registry of Library Knowledge Bases
http://www.public.iastate.edu/~CYBERSTACKS/KBL.htm Library-created or library-related Knowledge Bases. A Knowledge Base / Knowledgebase may be defined as a database with a focus on empirical or practical knowledge. In recent years, Knowledge bases have become common components for many businesses and services.

K-CAP2005 – Third International Conference on Knowledge Capture
http://www.kcap05.org/ Areas covered: Knowledge engineering and modeling methodologies, Mixed-initiative planning and decision-support tools, Acquisition of problem-solving knowledge, Programming-by-demonstration systems, Knowledge management environments, Knowledge-based markup techniques, Knowledge extraction systems, Knowledge acquisition tools, Advice taking systems, and Learning apprentice.

k-collector – Enterprise Knowledge Aggregator
http://www.evectors.it/itideatools/story$data=ideatools&num=142&sec=5 k-collector is an enterprise knowledge aggregator that leverages the power of social software, weblogs and shared topics to present new ways of finding and combining the real knowledge in your organization.

KDD-2010: The 16th Annual ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining
http://www.acm.org/sigs/sigkdd/kdd2010/ The 16th annual ACM SIGKDD conference is the premier international forum for data mining researchers and practitioners from academia, industry, and government to share their ideas, research results and experiences. KDD-10 will feature keynote presentations, oral paper presentations, poster sessions, workshops, tutorials, panels, exhibits, demonstrations, and the KDD Cup competition.

KDnuggets: Data Mining, Web Mining, and Knowledge Discovery Guide
http://www.kdnuggets.com/ KDnuggets.com (KD stands for Knowledge Discovery) is the leading source of information on Data Mining, Web Mining, Knowledge Discovery, and Decision Support Topics, including News, Software, Solutions, Companies, Jobs, Courses, Meetings, Publications, and more. KDnuggets News has been widely recognized as the leading newsletter on Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery.

KmBlogger
http://kmwiki.wikispaces.com/ A resource covering site, resources, communities and related information about the relationship between blogs and knowledge management and knowledge discovery.

Know-Center – Austria’s Competence Center for Knowledge Management
http://www.know-center.at The Know-Center is Austria’s Competence Center for knowledge-based Applications and Systems. The Know-Center has its core competences in the fields of information technology as enabling technologies for knowledge management and in human-oriented knowledge management.

Knowledge Discovery
http://www.KnowledgeDiscovery.info/ A blog developed and created by Marcus P. Zillman, M.S., A.M.H.A. for monitoring knowledge discovery resources and sites on the Internet.

Knowledge Harvesting
http://www.KnowledgeHarvesting.org/ Knowledge Harvesting is used to rapidly convert top-performer expertise into knowledge assets that enhance corporate valuation and protect the organization from knowledge degradation. The purpose of this site is to offer an extensive introduction to Knowledge Harvesting.

Knowledge Management Cluster Web
http://www.kmcluster.com/ KMCluster focus is knowledge management (KM). Focus is also on the key KM techniques of enterprise collaboration (EC), organizational learning (OL), communities of practice (CP), social networks (SN), intellectual capital (IC), complexity science (CS), content management (CM), measurement & metrics (MM), policy & procedures (PP), innovation & invention (II) and analytics & taxonomies (AT).

Knowledge Management Magazine – Inside Knowledge
http://www.kmmagazine.com/ The original knowledge management publication. The knowledge that exists within your organization is your only sustainable source of competitive advantage. They believe this makes knowledge management a strategic imperative for you. Each issue of Inside Knowledge is designed to provide you with the information you require to: 1) Learn from the mistakes and success stories of others, 2) Lower business costs and increase productivity across your organization, 3) Ensure the ongoing professional development of yourself and your colleagues, and 4) Keep on top of industry developments, new techniques and tools for knowledge management and knowledge discovery.

Knowledge Management Research Center – CIO
http://www.cio.com/topic/1467/Knowledge_Management Making the most of intellectual capital. Topics in the Knowledge Management Research Center include: 1) Overview, 2) Strategy, 3) Process, 4) Measurement, 5) Technology, 6) Portal and Collaboration, 7) In the Know, 8) Case Studies, 9) Metrics, 10) CIO Radio, 11) Q&A, 12) Books, 13) Events, and 14) Newsletters. A comprehensive research center presented and updated by CIO.

Knowledge Management Resource Center
http://www.kmresource.com/ Knowledge Management Resource Center is a gateway to the world of Knowledge Management (KM). On this site you’ll find a comprehensive collection of KM resources, each reviewed and described to help you quickly locate what you’re looking for. You can explore knowledge management in their 17 departments, browse their bookstore, or search the site by keyword.

Linguistic Tools for Knowledge Discovery
http://www.montague.com/abstracts/discovery.htm The gaps between subject and functional boundaries are one of the best sources of breakthrough innovation. Yet for a variety of reasons — managerial, technical, and editorial — it’s often difficult to exploit them. In this article they use an example from their own research and experience to show how linguistic tools such as thesauri, glossaries, and navigation schemes can promote knowledge discovery by exposing potential linkages between seemingly unrelated subjects.

my Knowledge Explorer (mKE) and the mKR Language
http://mKRmKE.org/ my Knowledge Explorer (MKE) is an interactive tool for organizing knowledge. It helps the user to record, change and search knowledge, and provides extensive error checking to ensure the internal consistency of the knowledge. Interaction with mKE uses the mKR language. mKR is a very-high-level knowledge representation language with simple English-like statements, questions and commands, plus UNIX-shell-like variables, methods and control structures.

Megaputer Intelligence
http://www.megaputer.com/ Megaputer Intelligence Inc., a Delaware corporation established in May of 1997, is a leading developer and distributor of advanced software tools for data mining, text mining, and intelligent e-commerce personalization. Their tools help reveal knowledge hidden in data. They add intelligence and insight to every step of the business decision-making process. The mission of Megaputer is to provide customers around the world with top quality software tools for transforming raw data into knowledge and facilitating better business decisions.

Open Directory – Knowledge Discovery
http://dmoz.org/Reference/Knowledge_Management/Knowledge_Discovery/ A listing pf knowledge discovery resources broken into the following categories: 1) Books, 2) Business and Cmpanies, 3) Magazine and eZines, 4) Organizations, 5) Software, 6) Data Mining, 7) Information Visualization, 8) OLAP, and 9) Text Mining.

PEPITe S.A.
http://www.pepite.be/ PEPITe is a company specialized in intelligent data exploration and knowledge extraction techniques. PEPITe sells Knowledge Discovery in Databases (KDD) solutions. These solutions combine software modules and services. PEPITe offers a complete range of services and products dedicated to industrial Data Mining (DM) applications.

STATISTICA – Data Mining, Data Analysis, Quality Control, and Web Analytics Software
http://www.statsoft.com/ StatSoft’s flagship product line is the STATISTICA suite of analytics software products. STATISTICA provides the most comprehensive array of data analysis, data management, data visualization and data mining procedures. Its techniques include the widest selection of predictive modeling, clustering, classification and exploratory techniques in one software platform. Ideal for the knowledge discovery starter kit ….

T2K – Text to Knowledge
http://alg.ncsa.uiuc.edu/do/tools/t2k The T2K (Text to Knowledge) tool provides text mining and analysis capabilities that have been specially designed to operate in and capitalize upon the complexity of rich natural language domains of very large stores of text and multimedia documents.
T2K is a library of D2K modules that implements sophisticated algorithms for text analysis.

Telemakus – Mining and Mapping Research Findings to Promote Knowledge Discovery
http://www.telemakus.net/ The goal of the Telemakus System is to enhance the knowledge discovery process by developing retrieval, visual and interaction tools to mine and map research findings from the research literature. The objective of the research is to create, test and validate an infrastructure to permit the automation of the creation and maintenance of a searchable database that generates knowledge maps via query tools and concept mapping algorithms. We will also be applying natural language processing models and information analysis methods to ultimately speed up the scientific discovery process.

The Data Mine
http://www.the-data-mine.com/ The Data Mine was launched in April 1994, to provide information about DataMining (AKA KnowledgeDiscoveryInDatabases or KDD). There are 6 seperate DataMining topic areas (known as “webs”), each with an index. You could also start with the IntroductionToDataMining. Popular pages include: OnLine Analytical Processing (OLAP) , Data Mining Journals, Data Mining Tutorials, Data Sources. Topic areas include: Data Mining Software, Data Mining Index, Data Mining General/Misc, People Working in Data Mining, and Data Mining Companies and Organizations.

The Protege Project
http://protege.stanford.edu/ Protege is an ontology editor and a knowledge-base editor. Protege is also an open-source, Java tool that provides an extensible architecture for the creation of customized knowledge-based applications. Protege’s OWL Plug-in now provides support for editing Semantic Web ontologies.

Visual Analytics – VisuaLinks, Link Analysis, Data Mining Software
http://www.visualanalytics.com/ VisuaLinks(R) is a platform-independent, graphical analysis tool used to discover patterns, trends, associations and hidden networks in any number and type of data sources. VisuaLinks presents data graphically uncovering underlying relationships and patterns. VisuaLinks addresses the entire analytical process – from access and integration to presentation and reporting – providing a single and complete solution to a broad range of data analysis needs.

UCI Knowledge Discovery in Databases Archive
http://kdd.ics.uci.edu/ This is an online repository of large data sets which encompasses a wide variety of data types, analysis tasks, and application areas. The primary role of this repository is to enable researchers in knowledge discovery and data mining to scale existing and future data analysis algorithms to very large and complex data sets. The archive is intended to serve as a permanent repository of publicly-accessible data sets for research in KDD and data mining.

Knowledge Discovery/Management and Data Mining

Academic Earth – Thousands of Video Lectures From the World’s Top Scholars
http://academicearth.org/

Academici – Where People Who Know Meet People Who Know
http://www.academici.com/

ACM SIGKDD: Current Explorations Issue
http://www.acm.org/sigs/sigkdd/explorations/issue.php?issue=current

ACM SIGKDD Home Page
http://www.acm.org/sigs/sigkdd/

Advanced Knowledge Technologies
http://www.aktors.org/

Advancing Knowledge and the Knowledge Economy
http://advancingknowledge.com/

Amazon.com: A Glance: Managing Knowledge : A Practical Web-Based Approach
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/020143315X/002-5401737-1036049

Ambient Intelligence: Changing Forms of Human-Computer Interaction and their Social Implications by Mahesh S. Raisinghani*, Ally Benoit, Jianchun Ding, Maria Gomez, Kanak Gupta, Victor Gusila, Daniel Power and Oliver Schmedding
http://journals.tdl.org/jodi/article/viewArticle/149/147

Analyzing the Role of Knowledge Organization in Scholarly Communication
http://www.db.dk/dbi/samling/phd/jackandersen-phd.htm

Association of KnowledgeWork (AOK)
http://www.kwork.org/

BAYESIA: Bayesian Networks and Data Mining Tool
http://www.bayesia.com/

Bibliomining for Automated Collection Development in a Digital Library Setting: Using Data Mining to Discover Web-Based Scholarly Research Works by Dr. Scott Nicholson
http://dlist.sir.arizona.edu/archive/00000625/

Bibliomining Information Center
http://www.bibliomining.com/

BLIASoft Knowledge Discovery
http://www.bliasoft.com/Eindex.html

Brint.com – Business Technology – Information Economy – Knowledge Management
http://www.brint.com/

Center for Automated Learning and Discovery
http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~cald/

ChangeThis – A New Media
http://www.changethis.com/

Community Intelligence labs (CoIL)
http://www.co-i-l.com/coil/knowledge-garden/cop/index.shtml

Conzilla – Concept Browser
http://www.conzilla.org/

CORDRA (Content Object Repository Discovery and Registration/Resolution Architecture)
http://cordra.net/

Creative Commons RDF-Enhanced Search
http://search.creativecommons.org/

Context Discovery – Text Summarization and Knowledge Discovery Tool
http://www.contextdiscovery.com/

D2K – Data To Knowledge
http://alg.ncsa.uiuc.edu/do/tools/d2k

DataFerrett – Data Mining Tool
http://dataferrett.census.gov/

Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery in Databases
http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=10.1.1.42.1071

Data Mining Resources
http://www.DataMiningResources.info/
Data Mining, Web Mining and Knowledge Discovery Resources
http://www.eruditionhome.com/datamining/

Data Mining : White Papers, Webcasts and Product Information
http://www.bitpipe.com/data/rlist?t=itmgmt_10_40_96

DBpedia Knowledge Base
http://dbpedia.org/

Deep Web Research
http://www.deepwebresearch.info/

ePresence Interactive Media
http://epresence.tv/

Excited Utterances – Archived Resource Of All Things Legal KM
http://www.excitedutterances.blogspot.com/

Explore Open Archives
http://opcit.eprints.org/explorearchives.shtml

Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP)
http://www.globalknowledge.org/

GMDH – Group Method of Data Handling
http://come.to/GMDH

Gurteen Knowledge Website
http://www.gurteen.com/

IBM Research – Knowledge Discovery & Data Mining
http://www.research.ibm.com/compsci/kdd/

IET Discover
http://discover.theiet.org/

Information Retrieval Intelligence
http://www.miislita.com/

Insead Knowledge
http://knowledge.insead.edu/

Insightful Miner
http://www.insightful.com/products/iminer/default.asp

Intellexer – Custom Built Search Engines, Knowledge Management Tools, Natural Language Processing
http://www.intellexer.com/

Intelligent Portals
http://www.intelligent-portals.com/

Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge, and Management
http://ijikm.org/

Interdisciplinary Journal of Knowledge and Learning Objects
http://www.ijklo.org/

International Conference on Knowledge Management (ICKM 2008)
http://www.ickm2008.org/

International Journal of Knowledge and Learning (IJKL)
http://www.inderscience.com/browse/index.php?journalCODE=ijkl

International Journal of Knowledge-Based and Intelligent Engineering Systems
http://www.kesinternational.org/journal/

International Journal of Knowledge Management (IJKM)
http://www.igi-global.com/journals/details.asp?id=4288

International Journal of Knowledge Management Studies (IJKMS)
http://www.inderscience.com/ijkms/

International Workshop on Peer-to-Peer Knowledge Management (P2PKM)
http://www.p2pkm.org/

ITtoolbox Knowledge Management
http://knowledgemanagement.ittoolbox.com/

J.UKM: Universal Journal of Knowledge Management
http://www.jukm.org/

KANA — Knowledge Management
http://www.kana.com/

KBL(sm): A Registry of Library Knowledge Bases
http://www.public.iastate.edu/~CYBERSTACKS/KBL.htm

K-CAP2005 – Third International Conference on Knowledge Capture
http://www.kcap05.org/

KDD-2010: The 16th ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining
http://www.acm.org/sigs/sigkdd/kdd2010/

KDnuggets: Data Mining, Web Mining, and Knowledge Discovery Guide
http://www.kdnuggets.com/

KM4d – Open Access, Peer-Reviewed, On Knowledge Management In Development
http://www.km4dev.org/

KmBlogger
http://kmwiki.wikispaces.com/

KMCI – The New Knowledge Management
http://www.kmci.org/

KmForums
http://kmwiki.wikispaces.com/

KMNetwork
http://www.brint.com/km/

KmWiki
http://kmwiki.wikispaces.com/

KMWorld
http://www.kmworld.com/

Know-Center – Austria’s Competence Center for Knowledge Management
http://www.know-center.at/

Knowledge and Distributed Intelligence
http://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/news/publicat/nsf9860/start.htm

Knowledge at Wharton
http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/

Knowledge Base – Indiana University
http://kb.indiana.edu/

Knowledge-Based Collaboration Webs
http://www.ai.mit.edu/projects/its/

KnowledgeBoard: the European Knowledge Management (KM) Community
http://www.knowledgeboard.com/

Knowledge Connections Website
http://www.skyrme.com/index.htm

Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)
http://www.keionline.org/

KnowledgeForge – Digital Open Knowledge Community
http://www.knowledgeforge.net/

Knowledge Management
http://www.mapnp.org/library/org_perf/know_mng.htm

Knowledge Management for Development (KM4Dev)
http://www.km4dev.org/

Knowledge Management Cluster Web
http://www.kmcluster.com/

Knowledge Management Consortium International – Resource Center
http://www.kmci.org/

Knowledge Management Is a Business Imperative
http://www.llrx.com/features/kmsmarter.htm

Knowledge Management Knowledge Base
http://knowledgemanagement.ittoolbox.com/

Knowledge Management Magazine
http://www.kmmagazine.com/

Knowledge Management Research and Practice (KMRP)
http://www.palgrave-journals.com/kmrp/index.html

Knowledge Management Resource Center
http://www.kmresource.com/

Knowledge Nurture
http://www.knowledge-nurture.com/

KnowledgeTree(TM) – Open Source Document Management System
http://kt-dms.sourceforge.net/

Linguistic Tools for Knowledge Discovery
http://www.montague.com/abstracts/discovery.htm

LLRX: Deep Web Research 2010
http://www.llrx.com/features/deepweb2010.htm

LLRX — Knowledge Management: A Bibliographic Resource
http://www.llrx.com/features/km_bib.htm

London Knowledge Lab
http://www.lkl.ac.uk/cms/index.php

M2K (Music-to-Knowledge)Toolkit
http://www.music-ir.org/evaluation/m2k/

Megaputer Intelligence
http://www.megaputer.com/

Melcrum’s Knowledge Management Newsletter
http://www.melcrum.com/services/topic_alerts/source_km/archive_new.shtml

Meta Knowlege Management Portal
http://www.metakm.com/

MIT Center for Collective Intelligence
http://cci.mit.edu/

OpenClinical – Knowledge Management for Healthcare
http://www.openclinical.org/

OpenKM – Knowledge Management
http://www.openkm.com/

Open Knowledge Definition (OKD) – Defining the Open in Open Data, Open Content and Open Information
http://www.opendefinition.org/

Open Knowledge Foundation
http://www.okfn.org/

PEPITe S.A.
http://www.pepite.be/

Perilog
http://ettc.usc.edu/ames/perilog/homepage.html

Public Knowledge Project (PKP)
http://pkp.sfu.ca/

Resource Discovery iKit
http://cdlr.strath.ac.uk/rdinfokit/service/index.cfm

SecondBrain – Organize and Discover Online Content
http://secondbrain.com/

Semantic Knowledge Technologies and Language Computation
http://gate.ac.uk/projects/sekt/

SIGKDD Explorations
http://www.acm.org/sigs/sigkdd/explorations/

Software Suites for Data Mining, Analytics, and Knowledge Discovery
http://www.kdnuggets.com/software/suites.html

SPREE – The Knowledge Exchange Network Project
http://spree.dai-labor.de/

STATISTICA – Data Mining, Data Analysis, Quality Control, and Web Analytics Software
http://www.statsoft.com/

T2K – Text to Knowledge
http://alg.ncsa.uiuc.edu/do/tools/t2k

Team Knowledge Management: A Computer-Mediated Approach – A Knowledge Ability White Paper
http://www.knowab.co.uk/wbwteam.html

Telemakus – Mining and Mapping Research Findings to Promote Knowledge Discovery
http://www.telemakus.net/

The Brain – Visual Information Management
http://www.TheBrain.com/

The Data Mine
http://www.the-data-mine.com/

The Gurteen Knowledge Website – Knowledge Management
http://www.gurteen.com/

The Protege Project
http://protege.stanford.edu/

The Nonsense of ‘Knowledge Management’ by T.D. Wilson
http://www.informationr.net/ir/8-1/paper144.html

The Semantic Indexing Project – Creating Tools To Identify the Latent Knowledge Found in Text
http://www.knowledgesearch.org/

TripleHop Technologies: Knowledge Management
http://www.triplehop.com/solutions/knowledge.htm

UCI Machine Learning Repository Content Summary
http://mlearn.ics.uci.edu/MLSummary.html

Uncovering Epistemological and Ontological Assumptions of Software Designers
http://arxiv.org/ftp/cs/papers/0406/0406022.pdf

wePapers – Creating the World’s Biggest Study Group for Knowledge Discovery
http://www.wepapers.com/

Knowledge Discovery/Retrieval and the World Wide Web

Advanced Knowledge Technologies (AKT)
http://www.aktors.org/akt/

AnkaSearch – Meta Search and Deep Web Search Desktop Tool
http://www.ankasoftware.com/ankasearch.html

APECKS: a Tool to Support Living Ontologies
http://ksi.cpsc.ucalgary.ca/KAW/KAW98/tennison/index.html

CGI: Common Gateway Interface
http://www.w3.org/CGI/

Cirilab Knowledge Generation Engine(TM) (KGE)
http://www.cirilab.com/

Comindwork – Collaboration Mind Work: Online Tools for Project Management, Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing
http://www.comindwork.com/

Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network (CKAN)
http://www.ckan.net/

Conceptual Graphs
http://meganesia.int.gu.edu.au/~phmartin/WebKB/doc/CGs.html

Controlled Languages in Industry
http://cslu.cse.ogi.edu/HLTsurvey/ch7node8.html

Corporate Memory Through Cooperative Creation of Knowledge Bases and Hyper-Documents
http://ksi.cpsc.ucalgary.ca/KAW/KAW96/euzenat/euzenat96b.html

Creative Commons RDF-Enhanced Search
http://search.creativecommons.org/

CSA – Guide to Discovery
http://www.csa.com/

Cuil Search – Search 127 Billion Web Pages
http://www.cuil.com/

Database Projects — WebLog
http://users.encs.concordia.ca/~bibdb/weblog.html

dgCommunities – Knowledge Sharing and Collaboation Worldwide
http://topics.developmentgateway.org/

Eigenfactor.org – Ranking and Mapping Scientific Knowledge
http://www.eigenfactor.org/

Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management (EJKM)
http://www.ejkm.com/

Evri – Search Less Discover More
http://www.evri.com/

Foundations and Trends(R) in Information Retrieval
http://www.nowpublishers.com/ir/

FreshNotes – Why Search? Discover
http://www.freshnotes.com/

Go-Geo! – Geo-Spatial Datasets and Related Resources
http://www.gogeo.ac.uk/

Google Directory – Reference & Knowledge Management & Knowledge Discovery
http://snipurl.com/7f7v

Harvest Information Discovery and Access System
http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=10.1.1.21.1842

intelligentKM
http://www.intelligentkm.com/

International Journal of Knowledge and Web Intelligence
http://www.inderscience.com/ijkwi

Knowledge Harvesting
http://www.KnowledgeHarvesting.org/

Knowledge Interchange Format (KIF)
http://logic.stanford.edu/kif/kif.html

Knowledgespeak – STM Publishing News from Scope eKnowledge Center
http://www.knowledgespeak.com/Index.asp

KnowleSys – Web Data Extraction
http://www.knowlesys.com/

Librarians’ Resource Centre – SLA Toronto Chapter Toolbox
http://slatoronto.andornot.com/lrc.aspx

News To Watch – Discover, Visualize and Embed the News
http://www.newstowatch.com/

OntoBroker and Related Initiatives for the Semantic Web
http://ontobroker.semanticweb.org/

Ontosaurus: Loom Web Browser
http://www.isi.edu/isd/ontosaurus.html

Qitera – Unleashing Collective Knowledge
http://www.qitera.com/

Qlipso – Content Discovery Collectively Tool
http://www.qlipso.com/

OWL – Library of Useful Knowledge, Opinions and Images from Experts Worldwide
http://www.owl.com/

RDF: Resource Description Framework
http://www.w3.org/RDF/

Sharein – Share Your Discoveries
http://sharein.com/

Surfulater – Software for Internet Research and Web Information Management
http://www.surfulater.com/

Swivel – Explore and Discover Data
http://www.swivel.com/

Tadzebao and WebOnto: Discussing, Browsing, and Editing Ontologies on the Web
http://ksi.cpsc.ucalgary.ca/KAW/KAW98/domingue/

The Klearinghouse: An Inventory of Knowledge Technologies
http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue25/brett/

The Lemur Toolkit – Language Modeling and Information Retrieval Research
http://www.lemurproject.org/

ThoughtMesh – Publishing and Discovering Scholarly Papers Online
http://thoughtmesh.net/

Universal Data Element Framework (UDEF)
http://xml.coverpages.org/udef.html

Video Lectures – Exchange Ideas and Share Knowledge
http://videolectures.net/

Visual Analytics – VisuaLinks, Link Analysis, Data Mining Software
http://www.visualanalytics.com/

Visual Programming Languages Bibliography: A Branch of the Visual Language Research Bibliography
http://web.engr.oregonstate.edu/~burnett/vpl.html

Web Information Retrieval/Natural Language Processing Group (WING)
http://wing.comp.nus.edu.sg/portal/

Web IR & IE
http://www.webir.org/

WebKB Set of Tools
http://meganesia.int.gu.edu.au/~phmartin/WebKB/

WordNet
http://wordnet.princeton.edu/

YourVersion – Real Time Discovery Engine of Relevant Content for Your Personal Interests
http://www.yourversion.com/

The Iraq war is still being touted by Washington and the Pentagon as a war for progress and stability in the region. A study released May 26, however, reveals a radically different reality.

The Mercer Quality of Living Survey ranked Baghdad last in a list of “most livable cities.” The study took into account political, economic, ecological, social and cultural factors.

The result is not surprising considering the devastation brought on by the U.S.-led invasion. Sewage treatment plants, factories, schools, hospitals, and museums have been destroyed. As a result, Iraqi citizens now have scarce access to water and electricity.

The demolition of infrastructure is an important tactic in imperialist war and helps explain why the study found that, “A lack of security and stability continue to have a negative impact on Baghdad’s quality of living.”

The only benefactors from the occupation have been big corporations like BP, who got access to the giant Rumaila oil field. The citizens of Iraq continue to pay with their lives.

OCEANSIDE, Calif. – A Marine Corps fighter pilot accused of stealing $440,000 in Iraq reconstruction funds turned himself in on Monday, federal officials said.

Maj. Mark R. Fuller, 42, of Yuma, Ariz., is facing 22 counts under an indictment issued by a federal grand jury, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Phoenix. An arrest warrant was issued for Fuller, who appeared before a federal judge Monday and “was released on his own recognizance,” said Special Agent James McCormick, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Federal prosecutors charge that Fuller took cash earmarked for the Commander’s Emergency Response Program, or CERP, and made 91 cash deposits totaling more than $440,000 into bank accounts with Navy Federal Credit Union, Bank of America and Chase Bank from October 2005 to April 2006. Each deposit was less than $10,000, the threshold at which federal law requires banks to report cash deposits.

While he was in Iraq in 2005, Fuller was assigned as a project purchasing officer with 5th Civil Affairs Group, officials said.

Fuller is an F-5 pilot assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 401, the Corps’ aggressor squadron based at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, said Gunnery Sgt. Bill Lisbon, an air station spokesman.

The case stems from an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the Special Inspector General for Iraqi Reconstruction, officials said.

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — A Marine Corps recruiter for the Grand Junction area faces charges alleging more than 200 files of child pornography had been downloaded to his computer.

Craig Thomas Walker surrendered Monday on a warrant alleging sexual exploitation of a child.

An arrest warrant affidavit says authorities tracking IP addresses of computer systems that were sharing pornography files were led to the 25-year-old’s computer.

Walker’s attorney, Edward Nugent, told a judge Tuesday that Walker cooperated with investigators. He says Walker has served active duty with the Marine Corps for eight years, is a combat veteran, and has worked the past three years as a local recruiter.

Walker’s bond was set at $60,000.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — An Alaska-based soldier is under investigation for a video on his Facebook page that taunts smiling Iraqi children by asking if they’re gay, if they engage in certain sex acts and if they would grow up to be terrorists.

The two young boys did not appear to understand the questions, which were in English, but smiled at the camera and at times flashed “thumbs up” gestures during the 30-second clip.

Spc. Robert A. Rodriguez, who is based at Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks, was ordered to remove the video from his site, Army spokesman Maj. Bill Coppernoll said Monday.

“The incident is currently under investigation, and the Army will take appropriate action based on the findings of the investigation,” he said.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Rodriguez shot the video or just posted it, and discovering that will be part of the Army’s investigation, Coppernoll said.

The video is “disgraceful and clearly inconsistent” with standards expected of every soldier, he said.

Raleigh, N.C., television station WRAL first reported the video after another soldier stationed at Fort Wainwright shared it with friends in North Carolina, who took their concerns to the station.

WRAL aired part of the video and quoted from Rodriquez’s Facebook page before the site was made private.

Above the Facebook video posting — which was titled, “future gay terrorist!” — is written, “i got bored in iraq … so I kept myself entertained!”

The boys are shown on a dirt road, facing a camera.

A voice is heard asking the boys, “Are you going to grow up to be a terrorist?”

When the boys show two thumbs up, the voice on the video says, “Yeah. All right. Cool. Yeah, terrorist.”

There was no phone listing for Rodriguez in the Fairbanks area. Coppernoll said he did not know the soldier’s hometown, but the video of the Facebook page shown on WRAL indicated Rodriguez listed Miami.

“For anybody to be so cruel and disrespectful to children of any country but especially a country that we are occupying is really disgraceful and repugnant,” said Tim Stallard, a spokesman for Alaskans Together for Equality.

An officer from Scott Air Force Base, Ill., pleaded guilty in federal court May 17 to a charge of online enticement after traveling to Tennessee to have sex with a 15-year-old girl.

Capt. Felix Tran, assigned to Air Mobility Command, will be sentenced Sept. 23 in Chattanooga, Tenn. He faces a minimum sentence of 10 years, said Bryan Hoss, Tran’s defense lawyer.

The 32-year-old officer met the girl five years ago while playing the online fantasy game Everquest II, according to court documents. The two developed a relationship via online chat, e-mail, MySpace, text messages and phone calls. The girl’s mother discovered the relationship after Tran mailed the teenager a sex toy, and an undercover employee of the Federal Bureau of Investigation began working with the family in November.

The girl invited Tran to visit her in Chattanooga, where Tran was arrested shortly after he arrived Dec 18. According to an affidavit filed by an FBI special agent, Tran knew the victim’s age and worried he was being set up by police.

He was taken into custody following his guilty plea, and Hoss said his client will be discharged from the Air Force soon.

“He was keeping his unit aware of what was going on,” Hoss said. “They knew this day was coming.”

See also:  Nature: Shut Down Army’s Human Terrain Program

A member of the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command management team in Afghanistan, according to sources, is a “gun runner.” That individual is allegedly listed in an “Federal Bureau of Investigation database” and has “ties to Ahmad Wali Khan Karzai and the drug business.”

Another Human Terrain System leader has apparently been accused by “local nationals…of being a pedophile—touching young Afghan children while out in the field and making disturbing comments about them.” Members of a US Army Stryker group in Afghanistan have made the same comments.

These comments appear outrageous but, then again, this is the US Army Human Terrain System. It’s a head-shaker that the US Army (TRADOC) and Lieutenant General William James Lennox Jr. heap praise upon it even as the US Congress, House Armed Services Committee, has said the program needs a good scrub, as reported by the authorities on HTS at Wired the Washington Independent.

HASC is to be applauded for this action. And it could not come at a better time.

In Other News

One team leader resigned recently “due to his team turning on him.” Some members of Human Terrain Teams (HTT’s) have reportedly taken to wearing side arms on each leg. Another HTT leader was “dismissed due to incompetence.” In one instance, an HTT member disrupted “a night patrol she should not have been on.” That person quit the HTS program and ended up with a position at USAID.

Observers say that Dr. Montgomery McFate and Dr. Marilyn Mitchell are overseeing the development of anthropology training within the program. According to many, these are the “two most unqualified people” to manage the training. “This choice assures future failure and possible casualties/fatalities,” they said. Management, recruitment and training continue to be the weak links in the program.

Others argue that McFate and Mitchell are qualified PhDs and are up to the task. Observer’s counter that McFate and Mitchell (earns $1,200 USD a day) have no substantive field work or military experience. Those weaknesses can lead to gaps in training and, perhaps, deadly outcomes in a combat zone. Such has been the experience of HTS to date.

Speaking of qualifications one of the social scientists hired by HTS and deployed to Afghanistan, and now the butt of Wired’s Caption Contest, received her PhD at the age of 25.

“Anna Maria completed her doctoral dissertation at the University of Notre Dame. Her Ph.D. was awarded in Theology with an emphasis in Latino Studies. The topic of her dissertation, however, reflected a lifetime of interdisciplinary study. Anna Maria carefully researched the early roots of today’s Spanish flamenco as they are preserved in the liturgical tradition of the New Mexican Penitentes–a society whose worship presents a time-capsule of medieval Spanish spirituality. Her research yielded surprising revelations about a historically unique time and place where Islam, Judaism and Christianity flourished in community. Her work speaks both of the tragedy of the destruction of this delicately beautiful balance and the triumph of its continued survival in the arts. Surprisingly enough, Anna Maria’s interest in her culture’s ancient roots revealed a message of cooperation of terribly timely relevance to today’s troubled world.”

John Stanton is a Virginia based writer specializing in national security matters. Reach him at cioran123@yahoo.com

Britain to change arrest rule - 29 May 2010, 1:22 pm

Britain’s new Foreign Secretary William Hague promises to “act speedily” to change the way arrests are ordered under international law in Britain.

“The current situation is as unsatisfactory as it is indefensible. We cannot have a position where Israeli politicians feel they cannot visit this country… and indeed this would apply to many other nations as well,” said Hague on Thursday.

Currently in Britain under the Geneva Convention Act 1957, Judges can issue arrest warrants for war crimes suspects around the world without consulting public prosecutors.

It was because of this law that Tzipi Livni, the former Israeli foreign minister, reportedly cancelled her trip to Britain in December.

Following an application by Palestinian activists, a court had issued a warrant for her arrest over her involvement in Israel’s 22-day war against Gaza Strip.

“We find it completely unacceptable that someone such as Mrs. Livni feels she cannot visit the United Kingdom,” Hague said, adding: “Be in no doubt that we will take action on it,” AFP reported.

He stated that the new coalition government would consider different options for changing the rule including the one that Labor government had proposed while in power.

Japan minister fired over US airbase - 29 May 2010, 1:11 pm

The Japanese premier fires a minister for rejecting Tokyo’s recent compromise with Washington on a controversial US airbase on Okinawa Island.

Japan’s Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama dismissed consumer affairs minister, Mizuho Fukushima, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

Tokyo and Washington have issued a statement, saying that Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in the southern island of Okinawa would be relocated to a new site on the same island.

Fukushima told a press conference that she “could not betray the people of Okinawa,” Press TV’s Michael Penn reported. The former minister added that she “could not accept the plan to create a new US airbase on the island which would increase the burden for Okinawan people.”

Fukushima said that politics demanded trust and that if she betrayed her campaign promises to the people, she would be breaking that trust.

Hatoyama had run for premier on a campaign to materialize a “more equal” relationship with Washington. He had also promised to move the base off the island which houses three-quarters of the thousands-strong Japan-based US military.

Locals there have for long protested the presence of the military personnel who are allegedly involved in crime, pollution, noise and accidents.

Fukushima had stood up to Hatoyama’s and other Cabinet ministers’ plea for her to endorse the agreement.

Her party, the Social Democratic Party of Japan, could, meanwhile, leave Hatoyama’s coalition, jeopardizing his chances in the Upper House elections set to be held in July.