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Member since: Fri Nov 12, 2004, 08:39 AM
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Tasers Pose Risks to Heart, a Study Warns (Taser Shot to the Chest Can Kill)

Source: The New York Times

Tasers Pose Risks to Heart, a Study Warns

Published: April 30, 2012

The electrical shock delivered to the chest by a Taser can lead to cardiac arrest and sudden death, according to a new study, although it is unknown how frequently such deaths occur.

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The study, which analyzed detailed records from the cases of eight people who went into cardiac arrest after receiving shocks from a Taser X26 fired at a distance, is likely to add to the debate about the safety of the weapons. Seven of the people in the study died; one survived.

Advocacy groups like Amnesty International have argued that Tasers, the most widely used of a class of weapons known as electrical control devices, are potentially lethal and that stricter rules should govern their use.

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“This is no longer arguable,” said Dr. Byron Lee, a cardiologist and director of the electrophysiology laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco. “This is a scientific fact. The national debate should now center on whether the risk of sudden death with Tasers is low enough to warrant widespread use by law enforcement.”

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/01/health/research/taser-shot-to-the-chest-can-kill-a-study-warns.html

Study: Atheists More Driven by Compassion than Highly Religious People

Source: Raw Story

Study: Atheists more driven by compassion than highly religious people

By David Edwards
Tuesday, May 1, 2012 16:17 EDT

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Research from University of California, Berkeley published in the most recent edition of the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science found a stronger link between compassion and generosity among non-religious or less religious people.

“Overall, we find that for less religious people, the strength of their emotional connection to another person is critical to whether they will help that person or not,” UC Berkeley social psychologist and study co-author Robb Willer explained. “The more religious, on the other hand, may ground their generosity less in emotion, and more in other factors such as doctrine, a communal identity, or reputational concerns.”

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“These findings indicate that although compassion is associated with pro-sociality among both less religious and more religious individuals, this relationship is particularly robust for less religious individuals,” the study said.

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“Overall, this research suggests that although less religious people tend to be less trusted in the U.S., when feeling compassionate, they may actually be more inclined to help their fellow citizens than more religious people,” Willer concluded.

Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/05/01/study-atheists-more-compassionate-than-highly-religious-people

AP EXCLUSIVE: US Not Reporting All Afghan Attacks

Source: Associated Press

AP EXCLUSIVE: US not reporting all Afghan attacks

From Associated Press
April 30, 2012 2:47 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S.-led military coalition in Afghanistan is under-reporting the number of times that Afghan soldiers and police open fire on American and other foreign troops.

The coalition routinely reports attacks in which a coalition soldier is killed by an Afghan in uniform. But it does not report the instances in which an Afghan wounds U.S. or NATO troops or misses his target.

Officials acknowledge the attacks are a worrisome problem for the U.S. and its military partners as they work increasingly closely with Afghan troops in preparation for handing off security responsibility.

The Associated Press has learned that just last week, two U.S. soldiers were wounded when Afghan policemen opened fire on them. The Afghans were quickly killed, and the incident was not reported by the international coalition.

Read more: http://enews.earthlink.net/article/top?guid=20120430/40eed492-951c-45fe-b6cf-427680fefe41

Tom Tomorrow: Conservative Jones, Citizen Journalist! Exposes Planned Parenthood

Daily Kos Link: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/04/30/1086563/-Conservative-Jones-citizen-journalist-?detail=hide

Some Background: http://mediamatters.org/iphone/blog/201204250013

Fresh Debt Scandal Rocks Minnesota Republican Party

Source: Star Tribune / Raw Story

Fresh debt scandal rocks Minnesota Republican Party

By Muriel Kane
Sunday, April 29, 2012 22:06 EDT

The financial troubles of the Republican Park of Minnesota first came to light a week ago, when it was reported that the party had been served with an eviction notice after failing to pay $111,000 in rent at its St. Paul headquarters over the past year.

Now it seems as though the debt problem may go even deeper than initially realized, with state regulators and a watchdog group investigating whether a fake company was created to keep additional debt stemming from the 2010 gubernatorial recount off the party’s books.

The potential scandal came to light this winter, when a man named George Fraley received a certified letter from a Republican attorney, addressing him as the CEO of a company called Count them All Property Inc. and billing him for over $219,000 in legal fees.

According to the Star Tribune, Fraley had no connections to the Republican Party, had never heard of the company, and had no idea how he had come to be listed as its CEO.

Regulators have since determined that “in the last two years, Count Them All Properly has listed two CEOs, both of whom say they have never heard of the company. Count Them All Properly has no corporate office, no phone number and no website. It does, however, have roughly $500,000 in debt, mostly to recount lawyers.”

Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/04/29/fresh-debt-scandal-rocks-minnesota-republican-party

Gawker Rant: "Fuck the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner"



Fuck the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

By Hamilton Nolan, Apr 27, 2012 12:33 PM

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Do you know who knows that the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner is a shameful display of whoredom that makes the "average American" vomit in disgust, or, more likely, simply continue to disregard the findings of any ostensibly neutral journalistic outlet in favor of their own ideology of choice, because they have a fully solidified belief that the "mainstream media" is little more than a bunch of ball-lapping lapdogs to whoever's in power? Everyone. Everyone knows this. Even the members of the media who attend the White House Whores Despondence Dinner know this, deep down, whether they admit it openly or lie defensively about how they, the true professionals, can stand in a receiving line to backslap and shake the hands of politicians like groupies and pose for pictures with Ashton Kutcher and Alec Baldwin and Stephen Baldwin and Anna Paquin and no, it does not matter tomorrow, because they are professionals who would never be compromised by the fact that they just spent their favorite evening of the year joshing playfully with the powerful officials they are supposed to be afflicting and reveling in their close proximity to the celebrities that they wish they were.

This is not just any segment of the working press, enjoying a night out. This is the DC press corps, which has arguably the most important job in American journalism: informing the public about the activities of its government, and serving as a strong and omnipresent check on the government's power. Great to know that our fearless watchdogs are busy swilling wine with the people they are supposed to be covering and introducing them to their wives and posing for pictures with Mila Kunis.

The United States of America is currently at war. In part because of the DC press corps' soft, friendly relationship with those in power. Glad to see they've learned their lesson from that.

Every year I ponder whether it's possible to go to Whore Dinner to cover it without being Part of the Problem, and I every year I decide that it is not. (Credit the New York Times and other news organizations who have come to the same conclusion.) And every year I and other humorless moralists write these somber diatribes about this event, and nothing ever changes, nor will it, because the media members themselves don't give a fuck, because they like to meet celebrities, and the public doesn't give a fuck because they already know the stars of the "mainstream media" are a bunch of patsy starfuckers who have to carefully consider how awkward next year's Dinner might be every time they're formulating uncomfortable questions for a politician, so who cares?


WikiLeaks Truck Owner Arrested For Photographing Cops; Image Deleted

Source: Pixiq

April 26, 2012 @ 7:29PM

WikiLeaks Truck Owner Arrested For Photographing Cops; Image Deleted

By Carlos Miller

Metropolitan Transit Authority police arrested a man for photographing them at Penn Station in New York City this afternoon – deleting his photo – before releasing him from a jail cell an hour later. Clark Stoeckley was issued a summons charging him with “engaging in threatening behavior.”

“I was walking through Penn Station and I came across these MTA cops with semi-automatic weapons,” he said in a phone interview with Photography is Not a Crime. “I stopped to take a photo and the cop came up to me and arrested me. I asked, ‘why am I being arrested?’

“’Because you’re a dick,’” the officer responded. While in custody, Stoeckley asked the cop why he felt threatened by a cell phone when he was carrying a semi-automatic gun.

"'Because it could have been a phone gun,'"  the cop responded.

Read more: http://www.pixiq.com/article/wikileaks-truck-owner-arrested-for-photographing-cops

Bob Dylan, Toni Morrison Among 13 Tapped for Presidential Medal of Freedom

Source: Agence France-Presse

Bob Dylan, Toni Morrison among 13 tapped for Presidential Medal of Freedom

By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, April 26, 2012 20:11 EDT

WASHINGTON — Music legend Bob Dylan and Nobel-winning writer Toni Morrison lead a list of 13 people who will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest US civilian honor, the White House said Thursday.

“These extraordinary honorees come from different backgrounds and different walks of life, but each of them has made a lasting contribution to the life of our nation,” President Barack Obama said in a statement.

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Dylan has been a defining figure in folk and rock music for nearly half a century. Known for his poetic lyrics, his work “had considerable influence on the civil rights movement of the 1960s,” the statement said.

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Other recipients of the prestigious award are:

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– Gordon Hirabayashi, who “openly defied the forced relocation and internment of Japanese Americans during World War II,” and took his challenge all the way to the US Supreme Court. He died in January and is to receive his award posthumously.

Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/04/26/bob-dylan-toni-morrison-among-13-tapped-for-presidential-medal-of-freedom

CISPA Cybersecurity Bill Passes House 248 to 168

Source: Digital Trends

CISPA cybersecurity bill passes House 248 to 168

Published on April 26th, 2012
Written by: Andrew Couts

Following hours of debate, the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, better known as CISPA, easily passed the House of Representatives this evening with a vote of 248 for, 168 against. The vote was primarily along party lines, with Democrats mostly voting against the legislation.

Prior to the CISPA’s passage, House Members approved a number of amendments, many of which provide further limits on what types of private information may be shared under the bill, as well as more narrow definitions of “cyber threat intelligence,” among others. All amendments backed by CISPA authors Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) were approved.

Despite these amendments, civil liberties advocates are still unhappy with the bill, saying that it continues to threaten individual privacy. Some even believe the bill is now more dangerous, as it includes a provision that allows information shared under the bill to be used for law enforcement purposes outside the realm of “cybersecurity” or “national security.”

The future of CISPA remains uncertain. It now moves on to the Senate, where it will likely face greater opposition than it did in the House. Moreover, the Obama administration on Wednesday threatened to veto CISPA if it does not include greater protections for privacy and for critical national infrastructure, like electrical grids and water supply systems.

The Senate is expected to take up CISPA debate sometime next month.

Read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/web/cispa-cybersecurity-bill-passes-house-248-to-168/#

Salon: CIA Official "Boasts" of Destroying Torture Tapes


@wikileaks CIA Official Boasts of Destroying Torture Tapes


WEDNESDAY, APR 25, 2012 04:54 AM EDT

Crime boasting for profit
Shielded from all forms of accountability, a CIA official is able to publish a book glorifying his illegal acts


On December 7, 2007, The New York Times reported that the CIA “in 2005 destroyed at least two videotapes documenting the interrogation of two Qaeda operatives in the agency’s custody, a step it took in the midst of Congressional and legal scrutiny about its secret detention program.” Documents obtained when the ACLU asked a federal judge to hold the CIA in contempt of court — for destruction of evidence which that judge had ordered be produced — subsequently revealed that the agency had actually “destroyed 92 videotapes of terror-suspect interrogations.” The videotapes recorded interrogations of detainees who were waterboarded and otherwise tortured. The original NYT article, by Mark Mazzetti, reported that “the decision to destroy the tapes was made by Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., who was the head of the Directorate of Operations, the agency’s clandestine service” (the NYT later reported that some White House officials had participated in the deliberations and even advocated the tapes’ destruction).

Destruction of these tapes was so controversial because it seemed so obviously illegal. At the time the destruction order was issued, numerous federal courts — as well as the 9/11 Commission — had ordered the U.S. Government to preserve and disclose all evidence relating to interrogations of Al Qaeda and 9/11 suspects. Purposely destroying evidence relevant to legal proceedings is called “obstruction of justice.” Destroying evidence which courts and binding tribunals (such as the 9/11 Commission) have ordered to be preserved is called “contempt of court.” There are many people who have been harshly punished, including some sitting right now in prison, for committing those crimes in far less flagrant ways than was done here. In fact, so glaring was the lawbreaking that the co-Chairmen of the 9/11 Commission — the mild-mannered, consummate establishmentarians Lee Hamilton and Thomas Kean — wrote a New York Times Op-Ed pointedly accusing the CIA of “obstruction” (“Those who knew about those videotapes — and did not tell us about them — obstructed our investigation”).

In 2008, Attorney General Michael Mukasey appointed a Special Prosecutor to determine if criminal charges should be filed. When I was writing my last book about the legal immunity bestowed on political elites even for egregious crimes, I actually expected that Rodriguez would be indicted and that his indictment would be an exception to the rule of elite immunity which I was documenting. As I wrote in my book, “even our political class, I thought, couldn’t allow lawbreaking this brazen to go entirely unpunished.” But I was quite wrong about that.

In November, 2010, the Obama DOJ — consistent with its steadfast shielding of Bush-era criminals from all forms of accountability — announced that the investigation would be closed without any charges being filed. Needless to say — given how subservient federal judges are to the Executive Branch in the post-9/11 era — the federal judge who had ordered the CIA to preserve and produce any such videotapes, Alvin Hellerstein, refused even to hold the CIA in contempt for deliberately disregarding his own order. Instead, Hellerstein — who, like so many federal judges, spent his whole career before joining the bench as a partner for decades in a large corporate law firm serving institutional power — reasoned that punishment for the CIA was unnecessary because, as he put it, new rules issued by the CIA “should lead to greater accountability within the agency and prevent another episode like the videotapes’ destruction.”

In other words, as I put it in a Guardian Op-Ed about Hellerstein’s CIA-protecting decision: the CIA has promised not to do this again, so they shouldn’t be punished for the crimes they committed.

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