Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Vietnam War still stirs passionate divisions at Kent State May 4 events

Spirited debate about the Vietnam War and its legacy lives on at Kent State University.

War veteran and anti-war activist Country Joe McDonald screened two short documentary-style films about the war's impact at a gathering Sunday.

The reaction to the movies at Kent State -- where the impact of that war may have been felt more than anywhere else -- was divided and passionate.

The first film, "The Vietnam Experience," a 29-minute musical montage directed by McDonald, follows the war from the recruitment and draft of clean-cut kids to the rocky return home of bearded veterans with blank stares. It features music from McDonald's recording of the same name.

The second film, "Welcome Back Vietnam Veterans," documents the 1985 ticker-tape parade for veterans in New York City.

The discussion, sponsored by the May 4th Task Force, was part of events marking the 40th anniversary of the May 4, 1970, shootings on campus. It was meant to paint the mood of the war as the backdrop for student protests at the Portage County university four decades ago.

Ohio National Guard troops fired on a crowd of students that day, killing four and wounding nine others.

Alan Canfora, who was wounded by a National Guard shot on May 4, said the link between the deaths in Vietnam and at Kent State are often overlooked, as are the reasons the students were protesting.

The protests at Kent, and other American campuses, began in earnest after President Richard Nixon announced on April 30, 1970, that U.S. troops were invading neighboring Cambodia.

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Rush Limbaugh blames ‘environmentalist wackos’ for massive oil spill

While there's not yet any indication as to what caused the disasterous explosion that sunk a British Petrolium drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico, right-wing radio personality Rush Limbaugh has come up with a rather coy suggestion: "environmentalist wackos" did it.

Noting that the explosion happened on Earth Day, the man sometimes known as the GOP's de-facto leader spun a web of happenstance in which "the jury" was "still out," but "the regime" will let everyone know what really went down.

Later, on Thursday, HBO's Bill Maher Tweeted, "Every asshole who ever chanted 'Drill baby drill' should have to report to the Gulf coast today for cleanup duty."

President Obama has declared the spill a national disaster and Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal initiated a state of emergency, calling for urgent help to prevent fragile wetlands and vital fishing communities along the coast from pollution on a massive scale.

[ ... ]

"The carbon tax bill, cap and trade, that was scheduled to be announced on Earth Day," Limbaugh said, arguing that "hardcore environmentalist wackos" were opposed to its allowances for more nuclear power and more offshore drilling.

"What better way to head off more oil drilling, nuclear plants, than by blowing up a rig?" he rhetorically asked. "I'm just, I'm just noting the timing here."

"Shares in BP and Swiss-based rig company Transocean Ltd fell by more than 6 percent Thursday as investors feared a significantly higher cleanup cost," Reuters reported. "BP is down more than 10 percent and Transocean is down nearly 14 percent since the rig explosion April 20.

"Oilfield services companies Cameron International Corp and Halliburton Co saw their shares tumble on fears about their ties to the Deepwater Horizon rig. [...] Halliburton said it did a variety of work on the rig and was assisting with the investigation."

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Dead woman who accused Bush of rape

Margie Schoedinger dies as a result of a gunshot wound to the head

Margie Schoedinger, the woman who allegedly filed a lawsuit against George W. Bush in December 2002, claiming that she had been raped, has died of a gunshot wound to the head, registered officially as "suicide".

 The allegations were serious: the law suit apparently filed against George W. Bush in the County Civil Court in Fort Bend County, Texas, on 2nd December 2002, claimed that George Bush, the former Governor or Texas and current President of the United States of America, had committed "individual sex crimes" against her and her husband.

Margie Schoedinger further stated that after the claim, she had been
harassed, that her bank account had been interfered with, that she had been threatened and beaten. She claimed 1 million USD in actual damages plus 49 million USD in punitive damages and emotional stress caused by the alleged incidents.

Court documents filed on December 4th 2002 mention Bush, giving him 20 days to respond or appear in a court in Fort Bend. These papers were initialed by Fort Bend County Deputy Clerk, Becky Kasper. However, due to the ambiguous nature of the claims, which have never been substantiated, it is unclear whether the President of the USA was served with the suit.

Whatever the case, Margie Schoedinger is dead. At 38 years of age, she died on Monday 22nd September 2003. The Harris Country Examiner's Office states "gunshot wound to the head" and "suicide".

John ASHTEAD
PRAVDA.Ru

~ Link ~

Censorship in the AIDS debate









Joan Shenton talks about the Censorship in the AIDS debate the success of stifling, muzzling and a strategy of silence.

Encryption can't stop the wiretapping boom

By Andy Greenberg, Forbes

As encryption technologies have outpaced the mathematical methods of breaking crypto schemes, law enforcement has feared for years that scrambled messages between evildoers (or law-breaking activists) would thwart their snooping. But it seems that either lawbreakers aren't using encryption, or those privacy tools simply don't work.

In an annual report published Friday by the U.S. judicial system on the number of wiretaps it granted over the past year (see full document below), the courts revealed that there were 2,376 wiretaps by law enforcement agencies in 2009, up 26% from 1,891 the year before, and up 76% from 1999. (Those numbers, it should be noted, don't include international wiretaps or those aimed at intelligence purposes rather than law enforcement.)

But in the midst of that wiretapping bonanza, a more surprising figure is the number of cases in which law enforcement encountered encryption as a barrier: one.

According to the courts, only one wiretapping case in the entire country encountered encryption last year, and in that single case, whatever privacy tools were used don't seemed to have posed much of a hurdle to eavedroppers. "In 2009, encryption was encountered during one state wiretap, but did not prevent officials from obtaining the plain text of the communications," reads the report.

Matt Blaze, a crypto-focused computer science professor at the University of Pennsylvania, points out that the numbers should put to rest the government's decades-old concern that widely available encryption technology would unleash a wave of untrackable criminal conspiracies of cypherpunk mafioso.

"This counters the predictions of almost the entire US government law enforcement and national security crypto debate," says Blaze. "It's been argued that the widespread availability of encryption would cripple law enforcement. None of those predictions have borne fruit."

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House Of Numbers exclusive clip reveals AIDS fraud



This exclusive clip from the House of Numbers documentary (HouseOfNumbers.com) reveals startling quotes from Dr. Joe Sonnabend, co-founder of amfAR, and other important observers (journalists) who describe the P.R. fraud behind the marketing of AIDS.

Iraq: Detainees describe torture in secret jail

Prosecute Officials Involved at All Levels

(Baghdad) - Detainees in a secret Baghdad detention facility were hung upside-down, deprived of air, kicked, whipped, beaten, given electric shocks, and sodomized, Human Rights Watch said today. Iraq should thoroughly investigate and prosecute all government and security officials responsible, Human Rights Watch said.

Human Rights Watch interviewed 42 of the men in the Al Rusafa Detention Center on April 26, 2010. They were among about 300 detainees transferred from the secret facility in the old Muthanna airport in West Baghdad to Al Rusafa into a special block of 19 cage-type cells over the past several weeks, after the existence of the secret prison was revealed.

The men's stories were credible and consistent. Most of the 300 displayed fresh scars and injuries they said were a result of routine and systematic torture they had experienced at the hands of interrogators at Muthanna. All were accused of aiding and abetting terrorism, and many said they were forced to sign false confessions.

"The horror we found suggests torture was the norm in Muthanna," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "The government needs to prosecute all of those responsible for this systematic brutality."

The Iraqi authorities should establish an independent and impartial inquiry to investigate what happened at Muthanna, determine who was responsible, and prosecute them, Human Rights Watch said, including anyone in authority who failed to prevent the torture. The government also needs to ensure that courts will not admit any confessions obtained through torture.

The men interviewed said the Iraqi army detained them between September and December 2009 after sweeps in and around Mosul, a stronghold of Sunni Arab militants, including Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. They said torture was most intense during their first week at Muthanna. Several well-informed sources told Human Rights Watch that this secret facility was under the jurisdiction of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's military office.

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Antisocial networking?

From Hilary Stout's article in The New York Times:

Children used to actually talk to their friends. Those hours spent on the family princess phone or hanging out with pals in the neighborhood after school vanished long ago. But now, even chatting on cellphones or via e-mail (through which you can at least converse in paragraphs) is passé. For today's teenagers and preteens, the give and take of friendship seems to be conducted increasingly in the abbreviated snatches of cellphone texts and instant messages, or through the very public forum of Facebook walls and MySpace bulletins. (Andy Wilson, the 11-year-old boy involved in the banter above, has 418 Facebook friends.)

Last week, the Pew Research Center found that half of American teenagers — defined in the study as ages 12 through 17 — send 50 or more text messages a day and that one third send more than 100 a day. Two thirds of the texters surveyed by the center's Internet and American Life Project said they were more likely to use their cellphones to text friends than to call them. Fifty-four percent said they text their friends once a day, but only 33 percent said they talk to their friends face-to-face on a daily basis. The findings came just a few months after the Kaiser Family Foundation reported that Americans between the ages of 8 and 18 spend on average 7 1/2 hours a day using some sort of electronic device, from smart phones to MP3 players to computers — a number that startled many adults, even those who keep their BlackBerrys within arm's reach during most waking hours.

To date, much of the concern over all this use of technology has been focused on the implications for kids' intellectual development. Worry about the social repercussions has centered on the darker side of online interactions, like cyber-bullying or texting sexually explicit messages. But psychologists and other experts are starting to take a look at a less-sensational but potentially more profound phenomenon: whether technology may be changing the very nature of kids' friendships.

“In general, the worries over cyber-bullying and sexting have overshadowed a look into the really nuanced things about the way technology is affecting the closeness properties of friendship,” said Jeffrey G. Parker, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Alabama, who has been studying children's friendships since the 1980s. “We're only beginning to look at those subtle changes.”

The question on researchers' minds is whether all that texting, instant messaging and online social networking allows children to become more connected and supportive of their friends — or whether the quality of their interactions is being diminished without the intimacy and emotional give and take of regular, extended face-to-face time.

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NYU's snuff film

Steven Thrasher reports for The Village Voice:

This week, the film department at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts holds its annual spring showcase for student work, the First Run Film Festival. Beginning Thursday, and over the course of four days, more than a hundred films will be shown.

Near the end of the program, on early Sunday evening, a short film will be shown that's titled Only Criminals. According to the festival's website, the 12-minute film is about a couple of guys who come across a wrecked and abandoned car, search through it, and find a handgun.

Only Criminals was directed by John Hunt Lamensdorf, who was killed last May while working on the set of another NYU student's movie at a shoot in Georgia.

Deaths on movie sets are rare enough for professionals, but the electrocution death of an NYU student—and serious injury to another—seemed particularly tragic, and resulted in news stories both here and in Georgia.

But since those early stories, there's not only been no detailed public account of what happened on the movie set, but students and employees at NYU say there's been an active campaign on campus to clamp down on any discussion of what occurred.

The students who were on the set that day don't want to talk about it. NYU encourages them and anyone else connected to the students not to speak publicly.

Part of the reason for that campaign of silence: Several people with involvement in that day's shooting (and NYU itself) are being sued by Lamensdorf's parents, including Lamensdorf's friend, Andrés Cardona, who not only tried to resuscitate him after he was mortally wounded, but went on to finish his friend's film so it could be shown this Sunday.

Cardona, like the others at NYU, won't talk to the Voice about what happened in Georgia.

One of the people on the scene, however, is talking about what he saw.

Jason Welin is a particularly important eyewitness to what happened. The Atlanta-based filmmaker was at the controls of the aerial lift that made contact with overhead power lines and created a powerful explosion of electrical energy on the set. As Welin explains it, he contributed to the errors that led to Lamensdorf's death, but, almost a year later, he's unhappy that people believe he has "blood" on his hands.

NYU doesn't want this story told, but Welin isn't waiting for the school's permission.

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'Smart dust' aims to monitor everything

In the 1990s, a researcher named Kris Pister dreamed up a wild future in which people would sprinkle the Earth with countless tiny sensors, no larger than grains of rice.

These "smart dust" particles, as he called them, would monitor everything, acting like electronic nerve endings for the planet. Fitted with computing power, sensing equipment, wireless radios and long battery life, the smart dust would make observations and relay mountains of real-time data about people, cities and the natural environment.

Now, a version of Pister's smart dust fantasy is starting to become reality.

"It's exciting. It's been a long time coming," said Pister, a computing professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

"I coined the phrase 14 years ago. So smart dust has taken a while, but it's finally here."

Maybe not exactly how he envisioned it. But there has been progress.

The latest news comes from the computer and printing company Hewlett-Packard, which recently announced it's working on a project it calls the "Central Nervous System for the Earth." In coming years, the company plans to deploy a trillion sensors all over the planet.

The wireless devices would check to see if ecosystems are healthy, detect earthquakes more rapidly, predict traffic patterns and monitor energy use. The idea is that accidents could be prevented and energy could be saved if people knew more about the world in real time, instead of when workers check on these issues only occasionally.

HP will take its first step toward this goal in about two years, said Pete Hartwell, a senior researcher at HP Labs in Palo Alto. The company has made plans with Royal Dutch Shell to install 1 million matchbook-size monitors to aid in oil exploration by measuring rock vibrations and movement, he said. Those sensors, which already have been developed, will cover a 6-square-mile area.

That will be the largest smart dust deployment to date, he said.

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John Perkins: Economic hitman and shaman





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