Inside the Pentagon, meanwhile, the Ferguson Police Department’s misuse of this weaponry has been as frustrating to defense officials as it has been for many critics.
“These guys are idiots - riding around on the top of armored trucks looking like rednecks on a country drive, pointing their weapons at unarmed Americans,” said one Pentagon official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to give his opinion on the matter.
“Don’t tell me that’s militarization - our troops would never do that stuff, even in a war zone,” he says. “And why are they riding around in woodlands camo in a city? That kills me.”
Treason of the Intellectuals was the title of a 1928 book by Julien Benda, originally published in French as La Trahison des Clercs. Benda was distressed at the way intellectuals of the early 20th Century had been increasingly seduced by the appeal of power. Some devoted their energies to justifying nationalism, others to fanning class rivalry. One group would soon furnish an intellectual basis for fascism, the other had already been swept up by early Marxism, dazzled by the Russian Revolution. Benda warned that if these political passions were not reined in, mankind was “heading for the greatest and most perfect war the world has ever known.”
Volume II, of course, would be a study of the way Western intellectuals prostituted themselves to Communism during the Stalinist era and the Cold War. When I was growing up in the 1950’s, I got a fairly standard view of the horrors of Communism. By the mid 1960’s, I had come to regard a lot of that information as mere propaganda. Then I read Aleksander Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago and discovered that what I had been told in the 1950’s wasn’t the whole truth. The reality was far worse. Only the most massive and willful denial of reality could have accounted for the mind-set of Western intellectuals.
Marxism in particular presented a facade of support for culture and science, paid intellectuals highly and created huge academic institutions. True, intellectuals in the Soviet Union were well paid mostly in comparison to the general poverty of everyone else rather than in real terms, the economy was so decrepit that the money couldn’t purchase much of value, and a lot of the academic institutions were second-rate in comparison to any American community college, but at least the Soviet Union could put forth an illusion of fostering intellectual inquiry. (I once sent a letter to the Soviet Embassy inquiring about films on the Soviet space program. This was after word-processors had become universal in American offices. I got a reply - a couple of years later - typed on a manual machine that looked as if Lenin had typed his high school term papers on it, and the embassy was still using the same ribbon.)
Now we are writing Volume III, as a new magnet for intellectuals is emerging: radical Islam. It’s not that intellectuals are likely to embrace radical Islam themselves anytime soon - for one thing, the requirement of believing in God would deter many of them. But what they can do is obstruct efforts to combat radical Islam and terrorism, undermine support for Israel, stress the “legitimate grievances” of radical Islamists, and lend moral support to the “legitimacy” of radical Islamic movements.
This is a phenomenon at first glance so baffling it cries out for analysis. Both fascism and Marxism censored, harassed, and imprisoned intellectuals, but they also gave lip service to intellectualism. Russia and Germany both had great universities. Both fascism and Marxism appealed to their respective nations’ cultural heritage in support of their ideologies. Our mental picture of fascism is now mostly colored by images of Nazi book burnings and bad art, but before World War II fascism was quite successful at passing itself off as a blend of socialism and nationalism.
But radical Islam is openly hostile to intellectual inquiry. Iran under the Ayatollahs banned music. In the United States, the work Piss Christ ignited a fierce debate - not over whether such work should be allowed, but whether it should be publicly supported. In parts of the Islamic world, dissident works invite not debate over public funding, but death sentences. Fascism and Marxism at least offered the illusion that they supported intellectual inquiry. Radical Islam offers intellectuals nothing. They actively want to destroy all intellectual life apart from a rigid and sterile Koranic pseudo-scholarship. They destroyed the Buddhas of Bamyan and Shiite shrines in Iraq, and if they gain power elsewhere, you can absolutely believe they will seek to destroy the churches of Petra and the monuments of Pharaonic Egypt. So why aren’t Western intellectuals whole-heartedly behind any and all diplomatic and military attempts to combat radical Islam?
Rebecca Gomperts is a Dutch doctor who pushes the limits of abortion law. In this excerpt from Diana Whitten’s documentary “Vessel,” Gomperts creates a mobile clinic aboard a ship.
Produced by: Diana Whitten
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You might think it strange that an organization wanting separation of church and state is fighting this battle, but it’s not strange in the least. Government should have neither the power to impose religion nor should the have the power to ban religion.
A Minnesota town is being sued by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for denying a zoning permit to a mosque.
Members of the Abu Huraira Islamic Center claim they were unconstitutionally denied the permit by the city of St. Anthony in 2012. On Wednesday, the DOJ agreed.
Speaking at a press conference about the suit, U.S. Attorney Andrew Lugar didn’t mince words.
“An injustice has been done,” Lugar announced. “I will not stand by while any religious group is subject to unconstitutional treatment that violates federal civil rights laws.”
He added, “Abu-Huraira’s right to hold prayer services in their building, in the city of St. Anthony, is the only resolution we seek. And we will not give up until we receive it.”
The lawsuit is the outcome of a federal investigation that spanned two years. As local NBC affiliate KARE 11 reports, the town’s rejection of the permit, which would have allowed construction of the mosque in a light industrial area, immediately followed a contentious public hearing. Local residents packed the meeting to express opposition to the plan, and their reasons didn’t exactly have much to do with the practicalities of urban planning.
Rather, they took aim at Islam itself. The vitriol hurled at the original public meeting has been well-recorded by local press, and likely formed the impetus for DOJ’s investigation and subsequent lawsuit.
“There is no other religion in the world that condones violence. Islam is evil,” said resident John Murlowski.
Added Rob Lundeen: “There are no pluses at all in letting this mosque into our city.”
Another dose of The Crazy. Hopefully they’ve overstepped in targeting their own small town library.
It’s shaping up to be a small town showdown straight out of an old West tale: gun-rights group Rocky Mountain Gun Owners is threatening to wage a legal battle on its own turf against the Clearview Library District in Windsor, where RMGO is also based.
The dust-up was spurred when librarians asked mother Erika Sattler to leave the Windsor-Severance Library after another patron noticed Sattler’s concealed handgun. Librarians apparently advised Sattler that guns are prohibited at the library unless being carried by law enforcement. Sattler gathered up her children and departed, but while she may have lost the battle RMGO has rallied to help her win the war.
Politicians love to tout their humble beginnings, but Lucy Flores’ are of a different order altogether—and her commitment to springing people from the trap of urban poverty that much greater.
Flores urges everyone to tweet about her fundraiser—a Cinco de Mayo party featuring hot street tacos and beer—at #FiestaForFlores. She tells how her father brought his family to Vegas after his two eldest sons were killed in gang violence in Los Angeles, how her dad loves music and she does too, which is a good thing because it was one of the only positive outlets she had growing up. “I was a very, very bad kid,” she says.
Then she lays into her first song. It’s “Por un Amor”—and there are no pinstripes, no flag pins, no corn dogs, just the six-member Mariachi de Mexico band fronted by a beautiful 34-year-old woman in a black dress that hits well above her knees, in sky-high stacked heels, a green tattoo on her ankle, her body trembling with vibrato:
Por un amor he llorado gotitas de sangre del corazón…
“Gracias!” shouts Flores four songs later, before stepping down from the stage to do the more traditional political work of pressing the flesh, of introducing herself to her constituency.
Sitting in the back of the police cruiser after the arrest for assaulting her mother, Flores thought she’d reached one of those ends: “It was over. I’d tried.” But to her shock, her parole officer recommended that instead of throwing the girl back in jail, the judge remand her to her father. “The thing about Lucy is that I felt like she was listening to me,” says that parole officer, Leslie Camp, by phone. “Lucy was trying to do the right thing, and I told her as much: ‘You’re making some mistakes, doing things you shouldn’t be doing, but it’s really not you.’” The two remain in touch, and Camp says that despite being a staunch Republican, she’ll be voting for her ex-parolee in November because she knows that “her heart’s in the right place.”
I would vote for her just because she sings Mariachi, but oh my goodness, read the rest of her story! Lucy Flores - Gang Girl to Governor - Elle
Here is her campaign website.
Here’s a little something from her Twitter account, in case you want to follow her:
In case you haven’t kept touch, there are new reports on memory loss associated with statins.
On this page
Liver Injury Called Rare
Reports of Memory Loss
The Risk of Diabetes
The Potential for Muscle Damage
If you’re one of the millions of Americans who take statins to prevent heart disease, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has important new safety information on these cholesterol-lowering medications.
FDA is advising consumers and health care professionals that:
Routine monitoring of liver enzymes in the blood, once considered standard procedure for statin users, is no longer needed. Such monitoring has not been found to be effective in predicting or preventing the rare occurrences of serious liver injury associated with statin use.
Cognitive (brain-related) impairment, such as memory loss, forgetfulness and confusion, has been reported by some statin users.
People being treated with statins may have an increased risk of raised blood sugar levels and the development of Type 2 diabetes.
Some medications interact with lovastatin (brand names include Mevacor) and can increase the risk of muscle damage.
This new information should not scare people off statins, says Amy G. Egan, M.D., M.P.H., deputy director for safety in FDA’s Division of Metabolism and Endocrinology Products (DMEP). “The value of statins in preventing heart disease has been clearly established,” she says. “Their benefit is indisputable, but they need to be taken with care and knowledge of their side effects.”
FDA will be changing the drug labels of popular statin products to reflect these new concerns. (These labels are not the sticker attached to a prescription drug bottle, but the package insert with details about a prescription medication, including side effects.)
The statins affected include:
Altoprev (lovastatin extended-release)
Products containing statins in combination with other drugs include:
Advicor (lovastatin/niacin extended-release)
Simcor (simvastatin/niacin extended-release)
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Liver Injury Called Rare
FDA has found that liver injury associated with statin use is rare but can occur. Patients are advised to consult their health care professional if they have symptoms that include unusual fatigue, loss of appetite, right upper abdominal discomfort, dark urine or yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes.
Statins work in the liver to reduce the production of cholesterol, a waxy substance that can form plaque on the walls of the arteries and keep the heart from getting the blood it needs.
Egan explains that there had been signals in early clinical trials of possible liver damage tied to statin use, so health care professionals were advised to regularly test their patients’ liver enzyme levels. However, she says, such damage is rare, and the tests are not effective at predicting or preventing who will develop this rare side effect.
So FDA is now recommending that liver enzyme tests be performed before statin treatment begins and then as needed if there are symptoms of liver damage.
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Reports of Memory Loss
FDA has been investigating reports of cognitive impairment from statin use for several years. The agency has reviewed databases that record reports of bad reactions to drugs and statin clinical trials that included assessments of cognitive function.
The reports about memory loss, forgetfulness and confusion span all statin products and all age groups. Egan says these experiences are rare but that those affected often report feeling “fuzzy” or unfocused in their thinking.
In general, the symptoms were not serious and were reversible within a few weeks after the patient stopped using the statin. Some people affected in this way had been taking the medicine for a day; others had been taking it for years.
What should patients do if they fear that statin use could be clouding their thinking? “Talk to your health care professional,” Egan says. “Don’t stop taking the medication; the consequences to your heart could be far greater.”
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The Risk of Diabetes
Diabetes occurs because of defects in the body’s ability to produce or use insulin—a hormone needed to convert food into energy. If the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin or if cells do not respond appropriately to insulin, blood sugar levels in the blood get too high, which can lead to serious health problems.
A small increased risk of raised blood sugar levels and the development of Type 2 diabetes have been reported with the use of statins.
“Clearly we think that the heart benefit of statins outweighs this small increased risk,” says Egan. But what this means for patients taking statins and the health care professionals prescribing them is that blood-sugar levels may need to be assessed after instituting statin therapy,” she says.
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The Potential for Muscle Damage
Some drugs interact with statins in a way that increases the risk of muscle injury called myopathy, characterized by unexplained muscle weakness or pain. Egan explains that some new drugs are broken down (metabolized) through the same pathways in the body that statins follow. This increases both the amount of statin in the blood and the risk of muscle injury.
FDA is revising the drug label for Lovastatin to clarify the risk of myopathy. The label will reflect what drugs should not be taken at the same time, and the maximum lovastatin dose if it is not possible to avoid use of those other drugs.
Patients and health care professionals should report negative side effects from statin use to FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program.
This article appears on FDA’s Consumer Update page, which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products.
Updated: January 31, 2014
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Generic hardware meets generic OS — future generations of these devices are going to cause some upheaval.
Japanese site ask-corp.jp has pictures and specs. The little computer looks a lot like other members of the Zotac ZBOX Nano family, but it’s what’s inside that’s different.
Instead of an Intel or AMD processor, this model has Freescale’s ARM Cortex-A9 quad-core processor. And instead of shipping with no operating system (or Windows), the ZBOX Nano D518 features 1GB of RAM, 8GB of eMMC solid state storage, and Google Android 4.3 software.
George Dvorsky at Io9 has some really bad news for us. If only all those people out there denying that our actions are effecting the climate, had stopped and actually helped us solve the problem instead. Maybe than we wouldn’t be facing this terrifying prospect in the future.
During the 1930s, America’s High Plains were ravaged by an 8-year long drought, resulting in the dreaded Dust Bowl. Scientists now warn that, owing to global warming, this could happen again — and that by next century many parts of the world could experience “megadroughts” lasting for several decades.
The new study, which was conducted by Cornell University, the University of Arizona, and U.S. Geological Survey researchers, used climate model simulations and paleoclimate data to predict that the chances of the southwestern United States experiencing a decade-long drought is at least 50%. The analysis suggests that the risk is at least 80%, and possibly as high as 90%, in certain areas.
I’m sensing a trend here….
The police say that during an “investigative stop,” a struggle ensued in which Ford “turned, grabbed one of the officers.” After that, “they fell to the ground,” and Ford allegedly attempted to pull an officer’s handgun from its holster. The “partner officer then fired his handgun and the officer on the ground fired his backup weapon” at Ford.
In other news:
Jeter says he was scared he’d be shot if he exited the car. Instead, he says — and the video supports this claim — he sat where he was with his hands in the air as the officers broke the window, unlocked his door and worked to get his seatbelt off to arrest him.
“The next thing I know, as he’s coming around the car, the glass gets busted and all the glass goes in my face,” Jeter told WABC. “My hands are up. As soon as he opens the door, one of the officers just reached in and punched me in the face. As he’s trying to take my seatbelt off, he’s elbowing me in my jaw. And I’m like ‘Ahhh!’ and he’s like ‘Stop trying to take my gun! Stop resisting arrest!’”
A video from the dash cam of a second police vehicle on the scene showed that Jeter had his hands up and was not resisting or trying to take the officer’s gun. The officer was out of view from his own vehicle’s dash cam, but he was playacting for the audio that he hoped would justify his brutality! It seems like “he reached for my gun” is the go to excuse cops have learned to exploit.
And then there is the “Wilson” (Josie) version of events in Ferguson where Brown allegedly “reached for the gun”. It all reminds me of that song from “Chicago”.
Here’s a clip with some of the lyrics underneath. Enjoy! (The song starts at about 1:05.)
He had strength and she had none
And yet we both reached for the gun
Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes, we both, oh yes we both
Oh yes, we both reached for the gun
The gun, the gun, the gun
Oh yes, we both reached for the gun, for the gun
Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes, they both, oh yes, they both
Oh yes, they both reached for the gun
The gun, the gun, the gun
Oh yes, they both reached for the gun, for the gun
Yes, it’s perfectly understandable
Not a bit reprehensible, it’s so defensible