“A new drug that dampens the body’s overzealous immune response to the deadliest strain of flu has shown good results in mice. The approach could hold promise for treating a range respiratory diseases in humans, including the deadly SARS virus, say UK scientists.” —New Scientist
“A bright purple frog shaped like a donut with a pointy snout has been discovered in the mountains of southern India. The seven-centimeter long amphibian hopped around the feet of dinosaurs. Researchers say the small-headed critter belongs to a new family of frogs thought to have disappeared millions of years ago.” —CBC News
Should we torch oil spills off Alaska with napalm? “No two oil spills …burn the same, and some burn weakly before sputtering out. (Investigators are) trying to learn if fire can be used to clean up oil spills on slushy ice during the fall—conditions considered too dangerous for cleanup workers operating out of boats.” —Discover I have often seen the layman’s perennial question of why oil slicks cannot simply be ignited scoffed at as naive. I never saw the naiveté…
The unhappy afterlife of ’60’s radicalism: “Now, more than a generation later, the Weathermen are back in the news. This summer, a new documentary, ‘The Weather Underground,’ directed by Sam Green and Bill Siegel, brought the group’s story into movie theaters. In September, one of the group’s most famous members, Kathy Boudin, was released on parole from the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in upstate New York, where she had spent more than two decades after pleading guilty to a felony charge connected to a murder in the robbery of a Brink’s truck in 1981. Boudin’s release has in turn prompted the early release of Susan Braudy’s book ‘Family Circle: The Boudins and the Aristocracy of the Left‘ (Knopf).” —Boston Globe
Yet another popular therapy is called into question. It was inevitable after 9/11 that more scrutiny would be drawn to this intervention technique based on questionable and untested assumptions. —The Chronicle of Higher Education
Studios Killing (but Carefully) for an R Rating: ‘…NC-17 movies are severely limited in how they can be marketed. “I don’t think any film made by the American film industry can economically tolerate an NC-17″…
An R rating means a child cannot be admitted to a movie without an adult or guardian. An NC-17 rating means no children are admitted. With such a rating, most mainstream newspapers will not run ads. But more important, video stores like Blockbuster will not offer the DVD’s on store shelves. And mass-market retail chains like Walmart, where studios can earn as much as 50 percent of a movie’s revenue, will not sell them, either.’ —New York Times
Tom Hayden: The Rise of a New Movement: “Converging progressive movements are in sync with the larger body of public opinion, and are spilling over into the mainstream to create a new global movement.” —AlterNet
Related: The Greening of the Beat-Bush Movement:
“Who says George W. Bush never did anything for the great outdoors? His running for reelection could be the best thing to happen to the U.S. environmental movement in years. The threat of four more years of Bush has provoked a significant rethinking of the movement’s tactics, according to interviews with movement leaders, their financial supporters, and political advisers. Not only has it energized activists as never before, it has also produced unprecedented expressions of unity within the movement and beyond – specifically with labor unions, feminist organizations, and civil rights groups. While the short-term goal is a new president in 2004, some environmental leaders hope the Beat Bush campaign will help these groups build working relationships that could give rise to a broad-based progressive movement in the United States.” —Grist [via AlterNet]
“Iran will suspend uranium enrichment and allow spot checks of its nuclear program, as sought by the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, a senior Iranian official said Tuesday after three European foreign ministers came to Tehran to press their case.” —Washington Post
“Don Catlin, the scientist who identified a previously undetected steroid and oversaw tests indicating that as many as a half-dozen athletes in track and field had used the drug, said yesterday that he thought athletes were probably using similar unidentified drugs.” —New York Times
Treatment for Addiction Meets Barriers in the Doctor’s Office: “Surveys …found that 9 of 10 primary care doctors fail to diagnose substance abuse in patients who display classic symptoms of the problem.
The researchers attributed these failures to insufficient training in the treatment of addiction, doctors’ frustration with afflicted patients, the common perception among doctors that treatment for substance abuse does not work, and a poor rate of insurance reimbursement for such services.” —New York Times
Seymour Hersh’s fascinating New Yorker analysis of ‘the uranium lie’ and its relationship to disarray in the US intelligence establishment; it is far worse than someone just telling a lie. Hersh is one of those journalists whose grasp of the breadth and subtlety of national security issues, and his wealth of (mostly anonymous) sources, gives him a unique take on many of the important stories of the day. I wonder why few listen.
Hersh outlines the dismal and unprecedented state of the relationship between the US intelligence establishment and the Bush administration. In order to hear what it wants to hear, the Bush administration has essentially totally dismantled and bypassed the painstaking machinery for assessing raw intelligence data — its plausibility, accuracy and implications — before it gets passed on to government officials. This happens at the State Dept. too but has found its greatest fruition at Defense, where Rumsfeld has essentially built a parallel intelligence bureaucracy and bypasses CIA channels readily. CIA briefing officers, in the past the conduits of ‘vetted’ intelligence information to the administration, are either ignored and excluded or browbeaten into providing their consumers with pleasing information. CIA personnel are enraged at the administration and at CIA higher-ups who fail to support them and prevent the utter disenfranchisement of their enterprise. George Tenet, reeling from the effort of covering the CIA’s (and his own) tail for not predicting the Sept. 11 attacks, is in no position to play hardball with the administration and protect the integrity of his employees.
Against this backdrop, Hersh has gotten an incredible ‘scoop’ (if we are to believe it). CIA sources say that a group of ex-CIA officers, disgruntled at this state of affairs, created and leaked to an Italian journalist a set of false contracts, bills of lading, etc., to support the already-discredited story about Iraq having sought to buy yellowcake from Niger. They knew that in the current climate the evidence would be passed on to the US government and work its way up uncritical channels without being substantiated. They hoped the falsity of the story would come back to bite whomever had given it credence; reportedly, they had not realized it would work its way all the way up to the State of the Union address, though… Ah, revenge is sweet, if it brings down an administration.
Theirs for the taking: sensitive credit data: “Sensitive personal financial information belonging to Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney recently ended up on sale online for $125, exposing the inner workings of a credit reporting network that operates largely on an honor system and is rarely policed. As part of a story on the vulnerability of personal financial data, The Boston Globe purchased Romney’s TransUnion credit report — listing his credit card accounts, credit card numbers, credit limits, and payment history — from a Colorado company calling itself Goldshield Inc.
It wasn’t hard to do. On its website, Goldshield asked: ‘What are you looking for?’ On sale were Social Security numbers ($30), unlisted telephone numbers ($85), telephone billing information ($95), vehicle information ($65), credit reports ($125), and credit card billing statements ($125). Everything a thief would need to steal an identity.” —Boston Globe
Eli Lilly Puts a Limit on Drug Sales to Canadian Pharmacies: “Eli Lilly & Co. has limited sales to Canadian pharmacies, joining other U.S. drug makers that are trying to prevent their medications from being re-imported and sold to consumers in the United States.
In a letter sent to 24 Canadian drug wholesalers, Eli Lilly said it would limit sales of its drugs to amounts that Lilly estimates are sufficient to supply the Canadian market only. Lilly’s contracts with wholesalers in Canada do not allow exports out of Canada.” —Washington Post