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marmar

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,621

Journal Archives

British paper sues Lance Armstrong for $1.5m over lost libel action


The disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong is being sued for more than $1.5m by a British newspaper which lost a libel action for publishing doping allegations against him.

The Sunday Times paid Armstrong £300,000 (now about $485,000) in 2006 to settle a case after it reprinted claims from a book in 2004 that he took performance-enhancing drugs.

This year, the US Anti-Doping Agency found that Armstrong had led a massive doping program on his teams. Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from cycling for life. The Sunday Times announced in an article in its latest edition that it has issued legal papers against Armstrong.

"It is clear that the proceedings were baseless and fraudulent," the paper said, in a letter to Armstrong's lawyers. "Your representations that you had never taken performance enhancing drugs were deliberately false." ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/dec/23/sunday-times-sues-lance-armstrong



Surprise Whale Sightings in Norway


from Der Spiegel:




Amateur photographer Espen Bergersen's career took a serendipitous turn when he spotted an unusual winter appearance of whales near his hometown in northern Norway. His spectacular images, marked by eerie polar light, were made possible by the changing migratory patterns of fish.

Two years ago, Espen Bergersen was visiting his parents in the northern Norwegian island of Andøya, where he grew up, for the holidays. About a week before Christmas he was walking along the shore, taking photos of the landscape. When the hobby nature photographer saw something splashing in the water, he thought perhaps there were waves crashing on the cliffs. But then he remembered there were no cliffs in the area, and realized that the splashing was coming from whales.



The sight caught Bergersen completely by surprise. While sperm whale watching has long been a summer activity in the deep waters far off the Norwegian coast, they aren't usually seen in the winter. Bergersen says that humpbacks and killer whales like the ones he saw had never been spotted near his hometown before -- and certainly not so close to land that residents could catch a glimpse without even getting on a boat.

Bergersen spent the rest of his holiday taking pictures of the whales every day, spreading news of the whale sightings and even landing an article in the local paper. By Christmas the word was out. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/suprise-whale-sightings-in-norway-bring-hobby-photographer-recognition-a-874312.html



Ode to Christmas presents past.....


I remember the happy day when I saw this under the tree.......








GE Salmon Swims Towards Approval, How’s that for a Holiday Surprise?


from Civil Eats:


GE Salmon Swims Towards Approval, How’s that for a Holiday Surprise?
By Anna Ghosh on December 21, 2012


Move over Grinch. The FDA is doing everything in its power to give American consumers a terrible holiday gift this year. Today they took the final step toward approving genetically engineered (GE) salmon, the first GE food animal. Even after countless Americans have expressed their deep concerns about this frankenfish, the FDA has turned a deaf ear moving forward with this reckless approval. That’s why we’re asking Congress to block the approval of GE salmon.

As we reported earlier this month, we’re not surprised that the FDA chose today, the Friday before Christmas, to release their draft Environmental Assessment. AquaBounty, the biotech company responsible for bringing us GE salmon, used its own data to convince the FDA that this fish is safe to eat. Of course they think it’s safe: their profits are inextricably linked to its approval. Which is why it’s so outrageous that the FDA would take AquaBounty’s word over that of dozens of legislators and scientists, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, not to mention thousands of concerned consumers. The best way we can fight the FDA’s abuse of its approval power is by asking members of Congress to keep GE salmon out of our grocery stores.

And if the approval of GE salmon wasn’t enough to zap the holiday spirit right out of you, this frankenfish may be hitting the market without any sort of label, meaning that concerned consumers will have no way of choosing to avoid GE salmon. You see, AquaBounty — and apparently the FDA as well — don’t believe consumers deserve the right to know whether the fish they’ve been eating is genetically engineered. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://civileats.com/2012/12/21/ge-salmon-swims-towards-approval-hows-that-for-a-holiday-surprise/



Naomi Wolf: The coming drone attack on America



The coming drone attack on America
Drones on domestic surveillance duties are already deployed by police and corporations. In time, they will likely be weaponised

Naomi Wolf
guardian.co.uk, Friday 21 December 2012


People often ask me, in terms of my argument about "ten steps" that mark the descent to a police state or closed society, at what stage we are. I am sorry to say that with the importation of what will be tens of thousands of drones, by both US military and by commercial interests, into US airspace, with a specific mandate to engage in surveillance and with the capacity for weaponization – which is due to begin in earnest at the start of the new year – it means that the police state is now officially here.

In February of this year, Congress passed the FAA Reauthorization Act, with its provision to deploy fleets of drones domestically. Jennifer Lynch, an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, notes that this followed a major lobbying effort, "a huge push by (…) the defense sector" to promote the use of drones in American skies: 30,000 of them are expected to be in use by 2020, some as small as hummingbirds – meaning that you won't necessarily see them, tracking your meeting with your fellow-activists, with your accountant or your congressman, or filming your cruising the bars or your assignation with your lover, as its video-gathering whirs.

Others will be as big as passenger planes. Business-friendly media stress their planned abundant use by corporations: police in Seattle have already deployed them.

An unclassified US air force document reported by CBS news expands on this unprecedented and unconstitutional step – one that formally brings the military into the role of controlling domestic populations on US soil, which is the bright line that separates a democracy from a military oligarchy. (The US constitution allows for the deployment of National Guard units by governors, who are answerable to the people; but this system is intended, as is posse comitatus, to prevent the military from taking action aimed at US citizens domestically.) ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/dec/21/coming-drone-attack-america



The Moose Sex Project

(Toronto Star) The Nature Conservancy of Canada wants you to help moose in the Maritimes get it on.

The environmental group is looking for $35,000 for its Moose Sex Project: a plan to buy 100 hectares on the narrow strip of land that connects New Brunswick, where moose are aplenty, to Nova Scotia, where they’re endangered on that province’s mainland.

The New Brunswick moose could help change that — as long as they can reach their dwindling neighbours to the east.

“In New Brunswick, the moose populations are quite healthy. However, the same can’t be said in Nova Scotia,” said NCC Atlantic spokesman Andrew Holland. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/1305967--moose-sex-project-conservationists-play-matchmaker-in-the-maritimes



Gun Pandemonium as No Background Needed for Web Sales


(Bloomberg) The ad features an AR-15 semi- automatic rifle, similar to a gun used in the Newtown, Connecticut, school shootings for $2,000. “No background check required. Just cash face to face with valid PA Drivers License. It’s Pandemonium!”

The classified ad was posted Dec. 20 on Armslist.com, a website for gun enthusiasts. Closely held Armslist LLC’s site and others like it offer an easy way for gun buyers to avoid background checks, gun-control advocates say. While some sellers on the site require one, most don’t because federal law doesn’t require background checks for guns sold privately. In a disclaimer, the site places the responsibility on users to comply with laws and doesn’t certify or investigate any person or transaction.

“People need to realize there is a permanent gun show every day online that is accessible to anyone with a computer,” Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said in an interview.

Armslist, which matches buyers and sellers and doesn’t sell guns itself, didn’t respond to e-mails seeking comment. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-21/gun-pandemonium-as-no-background-needed-for-web-sales.html



The Nation: NRA vice president Wayne LaPierre unloaded a thirty-round magazine of crazy


Backfire: The Disgusting NRA Press Conference
George Zornick on December 21, 2012 - 2:08 PM ET


I fully expected the National Rifle Association to hold a press conference this morning that would help blunt the momentum for gun control legislation now building in Washington: to solemnly pay tribute to those lost at Sandy Hook; to pledge to work with all sides to stop this from happening again while subtly trying to shift the conversation more towards mental health issues and, heck, maybe video games too. It would make the NRA seem reasonable, and concerned, and give hesitant members of Congress some comfort in sticking to the NRA line.

Instead, NRA Vice President Wayne LaPierre unloaded a thirty-round magazine of crazy. He bizarrely called for a national database of the mentally ill, bashed decade-old video games that nobody plays anymore and invoked the spectre of a lawless America after a hurricane or “man-made disaster,” in which every citizen would need a gun to defend him or herself. (This is, incidentally, not unlike the mindset that reportedly led Nancy Lanza to stockpile weapons in her home.)

He then came out with the official NRA proposal: to put armed guards in every school in America. By January. (Really, that’s the proposal. It’s called the National School Shield Emergency Response Program. You ought to watch the whole thing.) .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.thenation.com/blog/171899/backfire-disgusting-nra-press-conference



Are pythons invading Georgia?


Georgia wildlife biologists felt a little thrill of fear when they saw a news item out of south Georgia last month.

Two men saw an 11-foot Burmese python slithering across a Charlton County back road, followed it into the woods and shot it.

The biologists weren’t worried about the unfortunate python’s fate, however.

Their fear was for the future of the Okefenokee Swamp, much of which is in Charlton, Georgia’s southernmost county. Burmese pythons, invasive natives of Asia, have already overrun the Everglades and Big Cypress swamps in south Florida, taking a drastic toll on the swamps’ mammal and bird life and altering the swamp’s ecology in ways that will play out for decades. .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/metro/2012-12-07/are-pythons-invading-georgia



The Nation: NRA vice president Wayne LaPierre unloaded a thirty-round magazine of crazy


Backfire: The Disgusting NRA Press Conference
George Zornick on December 21, 2012 - 2:08 PM ET


I fully expected the National Rifle Association to hold a press conference this morning that would help blunt the momentum for gun control legislation now building in Washington: to solemnly pay tribute to those lost at Sandy Hook; to pledge to work with all sides to stop this from happening again while subtly trying to shift the conversation more towards mental health issues and, heck, maybe video games too. It would make the NRA seem reasonable, and concerned, and give hesitant members of Congress some comfort in sticking to the NRA line.

Instead, NRA Vice President Wayne LaPierre unloaded a thirty-round magazine of crazy. He bizarrely called for a national database of the mentally ill, bashed decade-old video games that nobody plays anymore and invoked the spectre of a lawless America after a hurricane or “man-made disaster,” in which every citizen would need a gun to defend him or herself. (This is, incidentally, not unlike the mindset that reportedly led Nancy Lanza to stockpile weapons in her home.)

He then came out with the official NRA proposal: to put armed guards in every school in America. By January. (Really, that’s the proposal. It’s called the National School Shield Emergency Response Program. You ought to watch the whole thing.) .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.thenation.com/blog/171899/backfire-disgusting-nra-press-conference



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