The densely populated coastal corridors from Boston to Washington and from San Diego to Berkeley are where most of America’s big decisions are made.
They remind us of two quite different Americas: one country along these coasts and everything else in between. Those in Boston, New York and Washington determine how our government works; what sort of news, books, art and fashion we should consume, and whether our money and investments are worth anything.
The Pacific corridor is just as influential, but in a hipper, cooler fashion. Whether America suffers through another zombie film or one more Lady Gaga video or Kanye West’s latest soft-porn rhyme is determined by Hollywood — mostly by executives who live in the la-la land of the thin Pacific strip from Malibu to Palos Verdes.
The political left is always harping about extreme weather and global warming. It goes together, like Red Bull and Vodka, for these people. They can’t talk about global temperatures anymore since the UK Meteorological Office reported in October 2012 that they’ve stagnated for the past 16 years.
So, they’ve pivoted towards extreme weather. Mother Jones posted a story last September about a study from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that linked extreme weather to global climate change.
Yet, NOAA posted Monday that the 2013 hurricane season was its calmest in 30 years. Additionally, we’ve seen the quietest tornado season in nearly 60 years; the creation of 19,000 Manhattans-worth of sea ice; and the Arctic ice cap, which was supposed to be completely gone by this year, grew by 920,000 square feet.
- See more at: cnsnews.com
Right now, humanity is engaged in an epic battle against fast-adapting and merciless predators. No, zombies are not beating down doors to tear chunks of flesh out of the living. Rather, humanity is being hunted by deadly pathogenic bacteria that have gained resistance to antibiotics.
And thanks to the peculiar incentives that drive the pharmaceutical industry, it looks like the cavalry may be a long time in coming.
To understand the current state of the antibiotics market, we have to go back millennia. Humans have co-existed with bacteria throughout our history. They live in our bodies from birth to death. It’s estimated that up to three percent of a typical human’s body mass is made up of symbiotic bacteria, which assist us with bodily functions like digesting food.
In a departure from most medical privacy cases, Anthem Blue Cross said it accidentally posted online Social Security or tax identification numbers for about 24,500 California doctors.
[Updated 1:03 p.m. PST Nov. 25: An Anthem spokesman said Monday that 24,500 doctors were affected, up from the previous 5,900 figure issued by the company.]
Anthem, a unit of insurance giant WellPoint Inc., said the private information was mistakenly included with its online provider directory for about 24 hours late last month.
The state’s largest for-profit health insurer said once it identified the error, it removed the information from its website. Anthem said this breach didn’t involve any patient data.
Most medical privacy cases involve hospitals or insurers exposing sensitive patient information.
An Anthem spokesman said the company has offered the affected doctors free credit monitoring and credit insurance.
Like many insurers, Anthem has been revamping its provider directory for consumers to reflect changing networks of doctors and hospitals for new policies being offered under the federal healthcare law.
If tax identification or Social Security numbers fall into the wrong hands, they can often be used to file bogus medical claims with insurers and government agencies such as Medicare.
Federal investigators have been trying to clamp down on Medicare billing fraud in recent years, particularly in hot spots such as Southern California.
And a big THANK YOU to all who have served!
This Sunday Marines in remote parts of Afghanistan’s Helmand province, aboard ships and elsewhere in the world will pause to celebrate the 238th birthday of the corps. The tradition has the youngest and oldest Marine cut a cake, preferably with a mameluke sword. But a k-bar knife will do as well.
The Marines take their birthdays - and other traditions - seriously. From their earliest days in boot camp, young Marines are told about Belleau Wood, Iwo Jima and the Chosin Reservoir. Over the course of their career they learn to revere Chesty Puller, Dan Daly and others in the pantheon of Marine legends.
Other services are defined by their missions and their equipment. The Marines too have a unique mission - it’s an expeditionary force able to respond quickly. But what really sets it apart is something that is harder to describe but no less potent. It’s sometimes described as an esprit de corps, but ultimately it’s hard to define.
It’s an ancient code that holds that discipline, will and spirit can overcome numerical and technical advantages of an enemy. It is what got Marines to stand up on the beach at Iwo Jima and assault heavy Japanese fortifications.
Anachronistic? Perhaps, but the Marine Corps believes it is this spirit as much as anything else that gives it an edge over its enemies.
MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday watched Russia’s biggest military maneuvers since Soviet times, involving 160,000 troops and about 5,000 tanks across Siberia and the far eastern region in a massive show of the nation’s resurgent military might.
Dozens of Russia’s Pacific Fleet ships and 130 combat aircraft also took part in the exercise, which began on Friday and continue through this week. Putin watched some of the drills on Sakhalin Island in the Pacific, where thousands of troops were ferried and airlifted from the mainland.
Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov assured foreign military attaches on Monday that the exercise was part of regular combat training and wasn’t directed against any particular nation, though some analysts believe the show of force was aimed at China and Japan.
Konstantin Sivkov, a retired officer of the Russian military’s General Staff, told the daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta that the Sakhalin part of the maneuvers was intended to simulate a response to a hypothetical attack by Japanese and U.S. forces.
Russia and Japan have a dispute over a group of Pacific islands, which Russia calls the Kurils and Japan calls the Northern Territories.
The islands off the northeastern tip of Japan’s Hokkaido Island were seized by Soviet troops in the closing days of World War II. They are surrounded by rich fishing grounds and are believed to have offshore oil and natural gas reserves and other mineral resources.
Antonov said that Russia had warned its neighbors about the exercise before it started, and provided particularly detailed information to China in line with an agreement that envisages a mutual exchange of data about military activities along the 4,300-kilometer (2,700-mile) border.
The two Cold war-era rivals have forged what they described as a “strategic partnership” after the 1991 Soviet collapse, developing close political, economic and military ties in a shared aspiration to counter U.S. power around the world.
Russia has supplied sophisticated weapons to China, and the neighbors have conducted joint military drills, most recently a naval exercise in the Sea of Japan earlier this month.
But despite close economic ties and military cooperation, many in Russia have felt increasingly uneasy about the growing might of its giant eastern neighbor.
Some fear that Russia’s continuing population decline and a relative weakness of its conventional forces compared to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army could one day tempt China to grab some territory.
Russia and China had territorial disputes for centuries. Relations between Communist China and the Soviet Union ruptured in the 1960s, and the two giants fought a brief border conflict in 1969.
Moscow and Beijing signed a new border treaty in 2004, which saw Russia yielding control over several islands in the Amur River. Some in Russia’s sparsely populated far east feared that the concessions could tease China’s appetite.
Alexander Khramchikhin, an independent Moscow-based military analyst, said that the massive exercise held in the areas along the border with China was clearly aimed at Beijing.
“It’s quite obvious that the land part of the exercise is directed at China, while the sea and island part of it is aimed at Japan,” he said.
Khramchikhin, who recently posted an article painting a grim picture of Russia being quickly routed in a surprise Chinese attack, said that the war games were intended to discourage China from harboring expansionist plots.
“China may now think that Russia has finally become more aware of what could happen,” he said, describing the exercise as a sobering signal.
The maneuvers are part of recent efforts to boost the military’s mobility and combat readiness after years of post-Soviet decline, but they have far exceeded previous drills in both numbers and territorial scope.
As part of the war games held across several time zones, some army units deployed to areas thousands of kilometers away from their bases. Paratroopers were flown across Russia in long-range transport planes, and some units were ferried to Sakhalin under escort of navy ships and fighter jets.
A decade of post-Soviet economic meltdown has badly crippled Russia’s military capability, grounding jets and leaving navy ships rusting in harbors for lack of funds to conduct training. Massive corruption and vicious bullying of young conscripts by older soldiers have eroded morale and encouraged widespread draft-dodging.
The weakness of the once-proud military was shown in two separatist wars in Chechnya when Russian troops suffered heavy losses at the hands of lightly armed rebels.
The Russian military won a quick victory in a war with Georgia’s small military in August 2008, but the five-day conflict also revealed that the military had trouble quickly deploying its forces to the area. The shortage of precision weapons and modern communications were also apparent.
The Kremlin responded by launching a military reform intended to turn the bloated military into a more modern and agile force.
The government also has unveiled an ambitious arms modernization program that envisages spending over 20 trillion rubles (over $615 billion) on new weapons through 2020.
Some military analysts cautioned, however, that the rearmament effort was badly planned and might not be sufficient to reverse the military’s decline. “This program is clearly insufficient,” Khramchikhin said.
- See more at: cnsnews.com
EMPO.CO, Jakarta - An intelligence brief said that a small Australian town called Coober Pedy has A$ 20 trillion worth of shale oil—the biggest find in 50 years, the Money Morning TV reported. The oil deposit is estimated to be six times larger than the Bakken, 17 times the size of the Marcellus formation, and 80 times larger than the Eagle Ford shale.
The recently discovered Arckaringa Basin, located just outside the sleepy Australian town, contains more oil more than in all of in Iran, Iraq, Canada, or Venezuela. With current estimates at 233 billion barrels, its just 30 billion shy of the estimated reserves in all of Saudi Arabia.
According to one renowned international expert, this massive discovery could eventually dwarf the oil rich kingdom as the original estimates are revised.
An advisor to six of the top 10 oil producers and active consultant to 20 world governments, Dr. Kent Moors now believes the find, “may land at 300 or 400 billion barrels,” making it one of “the greatest unconventional oil discoveries any of us will see in our lifetimes.”
“It’s represents a bona fide redrawing of the global energy map as we know it,” Moors says, “and the mainstream media is completely ignoring it.”
Where is Coober Pedy?
Coober Pedy is an inhospitable speck on the map in Southern Australia. Founded in 1915, Coober Pedy had long been the home to 1,700 people who lived in residences literally carved out in its caves.
Now another 20,000 people have suddenly flocked there, making it one of the hottest real estate markets in all of Australia.
Encompassing an area in excess of 30,000 square miles, what’s buried within the Arckaringa basin is enough black gold to completely change the global oil landscape-not to mention the lives early investors.
Analysts now believe ground zero will be much like is was in Saudi Arabia in the 1950’s. And according to the inner circle briefing below by Dr. Moors, there’s one little company that controls the whole thing.
Death Knell for OPEC
The massive find has been likened to the Bakken and Eagle Ford shale oil projects in the US, which have created legitimate boom times in Texas and North Dakota.
The outflows from these areas have been so big they have given way to predictions that the US could overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer as soon as this year.
Even at the lowest estimate, the Coober Pedy fins is set to make Australia a net oil exporter; at the higher estimate, Australia would become one of the world’s biggest oil exporters.
“What we’re seeing up there is a very, very big deposit,” says South Australia’s mining minister, Tom Koutsantonis, “If the reserves and the pressure was right over millions of years and the rocks have done the things they think they’ve done, they think they can extract vast reserves of oil out of South Australia which would have a value of about $20 trillion.”
Dependence on OPEC’s crude is already slipping as the U.S. and Canada unlock unconventional oil supplies from deep underground shale deposits with new drilling techniques. And now there’s more completion bubbling up from “Down Under.”
Given all of the trouble in the Middle East, the Saudi’s have good reason to be alarmed.
WASHINGTON — Justice Anthony Kennedy of the Supreme Court denied on Sunday a request from Proposition 8 supporters in California to halt the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses in the nation’s most populous state.
Justice Kennedy turned away the request with no additional comment.
Same-sex marriage opponents had asked Justice Kennedy to step in on Saturday, a day after the federal appeals court in San Francisco allowed same-sex marriages to go forward. Numerous weddings were performed at San Francisco City Hall after the court decisions. The appeals ruling came a day after the Supreme Court declined to decide the California case, effectively allowing same-sex marriages in the state.
The opponents said the appeals court had acted about three weeks too soon. Proposition 8 supporters could continue their efforts to halt gay marriage by filing their request with another Supreme Court justice.
Amazon and other e-commerce firms are cutting ties with all Minnesotans who earn money by posting links that send traffic to online merchants after lawmakers passed a tweak to state sales tax law.
Minnesota E-Fairness legislation, signed by Gov. Mark Dayton on May 23 and going into effect July 1, classifies independent bloggers and online reviewers as a physical presence of a business in the state. This means online companies who pay these people to generate new sales must collect tax not just on those sales, but on all sales in the state.
The tax on online sales is already due, but the onus has been on consumers, who often never pay the tax. The new law puts the onus on Amazon, as long as they have a single blogger posting links to its products from Minnesota.
The state has estimated the new law will generate $5 million in new revenue, but Amazon is having none of it.
The company sent an email to associates in Minnesota, saying it will close all accounts in the state to avoid the tax.
“This is a direct result of the unconstitutional Minnesota state tax collection legislation passed by the state legislature and signed by Governor Dayton,” the letter said. “We will no longer pay any advertising fees for customers referred to an Amazon Site after June 30 nor will we accept new applications for the Associates Program from Minnesota residents.”
The state Department of Revenue said it is working on this issue today, but was not immediately ready to comment.
Aaron Hall, an attorney in Minneapolis who has clients who will be affected and has written about the new law, said even he will lose a couple hundred dollars a month as Amazon pulls the plug on the Minnesota program.
“A lot of bloggers have been hit,” Hall said.
Amazon, which was not immediately available for further comment, is not the only company cutting off ties with Minnesota bloggers and reviewers. Commission Junction, a California-based firm that handles online marketing and advertising, has also pulled out of the state, Hall said. Commission Junction was not immediately ready to comment.
The people affected are part of a grass-roots, independent e-commerce sales force, creating accounts with these companies and posting special links to blog posts, reviews and display ads that credit them for sales. Sometimes they earn a commission, up to 6 percent, Hall said. Some people make tens of thousands of dollars a year.
Amazon has already pulled out of states like California, North Carolina, Colorado, Connecticut, Arkansas, Illinois and Rhode Island for similar reasons.
The online giant called Minnesota’s E-Fairness legislation “unconstitutional” in its lette, and called for federal lawmakers to pass the Marketplace Fairness Act to resolve the confusion of online sales tax policy from state to state.
“Congressional legislation is the only way to create a simplified, constitutional framework to resolve interstate sales tax issues and it would allow us to re-open our Associates program to Minnesota residents,” Amazon said.
LE BOURGET, France — Boeing Co. won major orders from five customers for a stretched-out version of its popular 787 Dreamliner jet at the Paris Air Show Tuesday, further evidence of a strengthening market for more expensive long-haul jets.
Boeing announced the formal launch of its 787-10 program at the Paris Air Show on Tuesday and says it already has commitments for 102 jets from five customers: Air Lease Corp., Singapore Airlines, United Airlines, International Airlines Group and GE Capital Aviation Services. The new 787-10 lists at $290 million, making the deal worth nearly $30 billion at full price, although customers often negotiate deep discounts.
United remains the only U.S.-based airline to fly the 787, which is steadily winning customers after being beset with problems concerning lithium-ion battery on two Japanese carriers. The plane, like its newest rival the Airbus A350, uses lightweight materials and new engine technology to cut down on fuel consumption at a time of rapidly increasing jet fuel prices. Boeing has said passengers will notice bigger windows and an adjustment in cabin pressure which means they will not suffer from jet lag as badly as on other aircraft.
The original 787 can seat between 210 and 250 passengers. Boeing has started building a longer version, the 787-9, that would hold between 250 and 290 passengers, while the 787-10 would seat between 300 and 330.
The air show is a platform for the race for sales between Boeing and its European rival Airbus, which is hoping that the event spark interest in its A350, its long-haul wide-body rival to the 787. The first A350s are expected to be delivered in mid-2014, after the aircraft receives regulatory approval.