June 28, 2010
By Ethan A. Huff
A recent study from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota, has found that rheumatoid arthritis is on the increase among Caucasian women. And the culprit is likely an environmental one, like vitamin D deficiency, rather than a genetic one.
“It’s pretty unlikely that the genetic makeup of a population changed that quickly,” explained Dr. Sherine Gabriel, one of the authors of the study, in response to the likely cause of increase. And she is right, considering that cases of rheumatoid arthritis had been decreasing into the mid 1990s.
The study included data from the Rochester Epidemiology Project, which evaluated the medical records of people living in Olmstead County, Minnesota, since the early 1900s. The findings revealed that in recent years, there has been a slight increase in rheumatoid arthritis cases among Caucasian women, following a period of steady decrease among the entire population since the 1950s.
Smoking is commonly associated with causing rheumatoid arthritis, and since women have generally been slower at kicking the habit, researchers are hypothesizing that perhaps this has something to do with why rates among women are increasing.
June 28, 2010
By David Gutierrez
(NaturalNews) An advisory panel to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that every person be vaccinated for the seasonal flu yearly, except in a few cases where the vaccine is known to be unsafe.
“Now no one should say ‘Should I or shouldn’t I?’” said CDC flu specialist Anthony Fiore.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted 11-0 with one abstention to recommend yearly flu vaccination for everyone except for children under the age of six months, whose immune systems have not yet developed enough for vaccination to be safe, and people with egg allergies or other health conditions that are known to make flu vaccines hazardous. If accepted by the CDC, this recommendation will then be publicized to doctors and other health workers.
The CDC nearly always accepts the advisory committee’s recommendations.
Current CDC recommendations call for the yearly vaccination of all children over the age of six months, all adults over the age of 49, health care workers, people with chronic health problems and anyone who cares for a person in one of these groups. These recommendations cover 85 percent of the US population.
June 28, 2010
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
Entitled “Deflation: Making Sure It Doesn’t Happen Here”, it is a warfare manual for defeating economic slumps by use of extreme monetary stimulus once interest rates have dropped to zero, and implicitly once governments have spent themselves to near bankruptcy.
The speech is best known for its irreverent one-liner: “The US government has a technology, called a printing press, that allows it to produce as many US dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost.” Bernanke began putting the script into action after the credit system seized up in 2008, purchasing $1.75 trillion of Treasuries, mortgage securities, and agency bonds to shore up the US credit system. He stopped far short of the $5 trillion balance sheet quietly pencilled in by the Fed Board as the upper limit for quantitative easing (QE).
Investors basking in Wall Street’s V-shaped rally had assumed that this bizarre episode was over. So did the Fed, which has been shutting liquidity spigots one by one. But the latest batch of data is disturbing.
The ECRI leading indicator produced by the Economic Cycle Research Institute plummeted yet again last week to -6.9, pointing to contraction in the US by the end of the year. It is dropping faster that at any time in the post-War era.
The latest data from the CPB Netherlands Bureau shows that world trade slid 1.7pc in May, with the biggest fall in Asia. The Baltic Dry Index measuring freight rates on bulk goods has dropped 40pc in a month. This is a volatile index that can be distorted by the supply of new ships, but those who watch it as an early warning signal for China and commodities are nervous.
June 28, 2010
The Associated Press
By Mark Sherman
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court held Monday that the Constitution’s Second Amendment restrains government’s ability to significantly limit “the right to keep and bear arms,” advancing a recent trend by the John Roberts-led bench to embrace gun rights.
By a narrow, 5-4 vote, the justices also signaled, however, that some limitations on the right could survive legal challenges.
Writing for the court in a case involving restrictive laws in Chicago and one of its suburbs, Justice Samuel Alito said that the Second Amendment right “applies equally to the federal government and the states.”
The court was split along familiar ideological lines, with five conservative-moderate justices in favor of gun rights and four liberals opposed. Chief Justice Roberts voted with the majority.
Two years ago, the court declared that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess guns, at least for purposes of self-defense in the home.
That ruling applied only to federal laws. It struck down a ban on handguns and a trigger lock requirement for other guns in the District of Columbia, a federal city with a unique legal standing. At the same time, the court was careful not to cast doubt on other regulations of firearms here.
Gun rights proponents almost immediately filed a federal lawsuit challenging gun control laws in Chicago and its suburb of Oak Park, Ill, where handguns have been banned for nearly 30 years. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence says those laws appear to be the last two remaining outright bans.
Lower federal courts upheld the two laws, noting that judges on those benches were bound by Supreme Court precedent and that it would be up to the high court justices to ultimately rule on the true reach of the Second Amendment.
June 28, 2010
The Wall Street Journal
By Andy Pasztor
The Obama administration as early as Monday is expected to call for significantly greater international cooperation than ever before in outer space, covering a wide range of civilian and national-security programs.
The new policy, according to industry and government officials familiar with the details, also endorses the pursuit of verifiable arms-control proposals for space. And it envisions stepped-up U.S. government efforts to bolster domestic rocket and satellite manufacturers, making them more economically viable and competitive overseas.
The principles, according to these officials, reflect President Barack Obama’s desire to have Washington and various foreign governments increasingly share funding and expertise on major projects, while negotiating conflicts if possible and exchanging more data about orbiting debris and other hazards in space.
The policy paper’s call for more international cooperation was reported by Space News, an industry publication.
The policy paper doesn’t specifically spell out which countries would be invited to take part, but the intent is to open participation to allies and other established space powers, such as China and Russia, and emerging powers including India and Brazil, according to the officials.
Breaking sharply from earlier White House policies that relied largely on all-U.S. solutions, the latest document foresees international ventures spanning everything from environmental and other types of earth-observation satellites to critical space-based navigation systems that were previously considered off-limits to foreign partnerships.
Some national-security officials and outside experts, worried about potential threats posed by China and other countries developing anti-satellite weapons, are likely to balk at elements of the revised strategy.
June 28, 2010
By Paul Joseph Watson
President Obama will be handed the power to shut down the Internet for at least four months without Congressional oversight if the Senate votes for the infamous Internet ‘kill switch’ bill, which was approved by a key Senate committee yesterday and now moves to the floor.
The Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act, which is being pushed hard by Senator Joe Lieberman, would hand absolute power to the federal government to close down networks, and block incoming Internet traffic from certain countries under a declared national emergency.
Despite the Center for Democracy and Technology and 23 other privacy and technology organizations sending letters to Lieberman and other backers of the bill expressing concerns that the legislation could be used to stifle free speech, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee passed in the bill in advance of a vote on the Senate floor.
In response to widespread criticism of the bill, language was added that would force the government to seek congressional approval to extend emergency measures beyond 120 days. Still, this would hand Obama the authority to shut down the Internet on a whim without Congressional oversight or approval for a period of no less than four months.
The Senators pushing the bill rejected the claim that the bill was a ‘kill switch’ for the Internet, not by denying that Obama would be given the authority to shut down the Internet as part of this legislation.
June 28, 2010
The New York Times
By Paul Krugman
Recessions are common; depressions are rare. As far as I can tell, there were only two eras in economic history that were widely described as “depressions” at the time: the years of deflation and instability that followed the Panic of 1873 and the years of mass unemployment that followed the financial crisis of 1929-31. Neither the Long Depression of the 19th century nor the Great Depression of the 20th was an era of nonstop decline — on the contrary, both included periods when the economy grew. But these episodes of improvement were never enough to undo the damage from the initial slump, and were followed by relapses.
We are now, I fear, in the early stages of a third depression. It will probably look more like the Long Depression than the much more severe Great Depression. But the cost — to the world economy and, above all, to the millions of lives blighted by the absence of jobs — will nonetheless be immense. And this third depression will be primarily a failure of policy. Around the world — most recently at last weekend’s deeply discouraging G-20 meeting — governments are obsessing about inflation when the real threat is deflation, preaching the need for belt-tightening when the real problem is inadequate spending.
In 2008 and 2009, it seemed as if we might have learned from history. Unlike their predecessors, who raised interest rates in the face of financial crisis, the current leaders of the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank slashed rates and moved to support credit markets. Unlike governments of the past, which tried to balance budgets in the face of a plunging economy, today’s governments allowed deficits to rise. And better policies helped the world avoid complete collapse: the recession brought on by the financial crisis arguably ended last summer.
June 28, 2010
OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss., June 27 (Reuters) – Large patches of thick oil washed ashore in Mississippi on Sunday, the first time crude from the BP Plc <BP.L><BP.N> spill in the Gulf of Mexico has hit the state’s coast.
Oil hit two tourist beaches at Ocean Springs, about 10 miles (16 kilometres) east of Biloxi, and a beach used by fisherman that is close to an inland marsh. Wildlife officials picked up one pelican covered in oil.
State officials and the Coast Guard, who said they were expecting more oil to arrive, were waiting on BP contractors to start cleaning up.
“We cannot clean up or catch the oil until BP gets here. They have all of our people,” said Earl Etheridge, a spokesman for Mississippi’s Department of Environmental Quality. “We want to clean this up now. Maybe this will amp up BP’s effort but we can’t do anything because they have all the money.”
Efforts to contain and clean up oil from the massive spill are being handled jointly by federal, state and local officials and funded by the energy giant, leading to frustration among people whose coastlines are most at risk.