The motivation for blocking investigations into Bush lawbreaking

Glenn Greenwald writes in Salon: “With regard to illegal Bush programs of torture and eavesdropping, key Congressional Democrats were contemporaneously briefed on what the administration was doing (albeit, in fairness, often in unspecific ways). The fact that they did nothing to stop that illegality, and often explicitly approved of it, obviously incentivizes them to block any investigations or judicial proceedings into those illegal programs.”

Pathologists Believe They Have Pinpointed Achilles Heel Of HIV

It would be very nice if this pans out: “Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) researchers at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston believe they have uncovered the Achilles heel in the armor of the virus that continues to kill millions.

The weak spot is hidden in the HIV envelope protein gp120. This protein is essential for HIV attachment to host cells, which initiate infection and eventually lead to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome or AIDS. Normally the body’s immune defenses can ward off viruses by making proteins called antibodies that bind the virus. However, HIV is a constantly changing and mutating virus, and the antibodies produced after infection do not control disease progression to AIDS. For the same reason, no HIV preventative vaccine that stimulates production of protective antibodies is available.

The Achilles heel, a tiny stretch of amino acids numbered 421-433 on gp120, is now under study as a target for therapeutic intervention. Sudhir Paul, Ph.D., pathology professor in the UT Medical School, said, “Unlike the changeable regions of its envelope, HIV needs at least one region that must remain constant to attach to cells. If this region changes, HIV cannot infect cells. Equally important, HIV does not want this constant region to provoke the body’s defense system. So, HIV uses the same constant cellular attachment site to silence B lymphocytes – the antibody producing cells. The result is that the body is fooled into making abundant antibodies to the changeable regions of HIV but not to its cellular attachment site. Immunologists call such regions superantigens. HIV’s cleverness is unmatched. No other virus uses this trick to evade the body’s defenses.”…

Paul’s group has engineered antibodies with enzymatic activity, also known as abzymes, which can attack the Achilles heel of the virus in a precise way. “The abzymes recognize essentially all of the diverse HIV forms found across the world. This solves the problem of HIV changeability. The next step is to confirm our theory in human clinical trials,” Paul said. ” (Science Daily)

Kafka Dept.

Terrorist Watch List Hits One Million Names: “The nation’s terrorist watch list has hit one million names, according to a tally maintained by the American Civil Liberties Union based upon the government’s own reported numbers for the size of the list.

‘Members of Congress, nuns, war heroes and other ‘suspicious characters,’ with names like Robert Johnson and Gary Smith, have become trapped in the Kafkaesque clutches of this list, with little hope of escape,’ said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office.” (American Civil Liberties Union)

eBay listing offers Bigfoot Hunting services

Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yeti, will search for and find – eBay (item 260259571943 end time Jul-16-08 15:13:16 PDT): “With all the stories and rumors surrounding the legend of Bigfoot,I think it is time to have the right person hunting (searching) for the real answers.Most of the Tv shows,books,and articles covering the search for Bigfoot are a joke.Nothing but pure amatuers.Most searches involve people setting up trail cameras,etc.,in stationary settings,this is totally the wrong approach.My methods would be covering lots and lots of territory in very remote country.I have been a big game hunter nearly all of my life and am an experienced big game hunting guide and am currently employed by a big game hunting outfitter in Wyoming.Contact me if you would be interested in funding an expedition that will get results.” [via boing boing]