Click here to show or hide the menubar.

No Agenda Episode 491 - Pope and Change

By Adam Curry. Posted Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 1:33 PM.

Pope and Change

A picture named NA-491-Art-SM.jpg

Direct [link] to the mp3 file

ShowNotes Archive of links and Assets (clips etc) 491.nashownotes.com

New: Directory Archive of Shownotes (includes all audio and video assets used) nashownotes.com

The No Agenda News Network- noagendanewsnetwork.com

RSS PodcastFeed

Get the No Agenda News App for your iPhone and iPad

Torrents of each episode via BitLove

Cover Art

By Adam Curry. Posted Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 1:33 PM.

NA-491-Art-BIG

Art By: Thoren

See All The Art in the Generator

Credits

By Adam Curry. Posted Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 1:33 PM.

Pope and Change

Executive Producer: Random Hillbilly

Associate Executive Producers: Noel Oakes, Christine Mickelson, Alex Kroke, Robert Alter

Become a member of the 492 Club, support the show here

Art By: Thoren

ShowNotes Archive of links and Assets (clips etc) 491.nashownotes.com

New: Directory Archive of Shownotes (includes all audio and video assets used) nashownotes.com

The No Agenda News Network- noagendanewsnetwork.com

RSS Podcast Feed

Get the No Agenda News App for your iPhone and iPad

Torrents of each episode via BitLove

Search

PR

zofiaart.com

zofia and chester

Lukasz - Poland

ISAF Patches Betsy Ross of The Armed Forces

noagendacd.com

Adam,

I just checked the tracking information for your shipment of NACDs and they

left for your place at 5:22 In The Morning. Hopefully you'll get a look at

them before you start the show.

I know it's bad form to ask for Karma without sending in a donation,

especially with your low numbers lately, but since our house is being

auctioned out from under us my family and I need to find a new place to

live. We put in an application on a rental in exactly the neighborhood we

want to live in but we're not sure we'll get it. It's tough to find a place

when you have a dog, two slavelets and a third on the way. If you could be

so kind as to hit me with a harp and bell I'd be forever grateful; last

time I donated the karma got me in at the company I'm at now which is

paying for the whole NACD project, so I know karma works.

Thanks for everything, you guys are the best,

Ramsey

Schedule | sxsw.com

sxsw.curry.com

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 23:44

Currently a self-titled "Government Legislation Analyst," Adam Curry reads legislation, watches C-SPAN, deconstructs the media and reports his findings twice weekly on his listener-supported "No Agenda" podcast. Last summer he toured the US to meet and talk personally with his listeners '' whom he calls producers '' to get a deeper sense of the impact of his efforts to help people understand what drives the media, and of the future of the 'Value for Value' model.

Adam started in radio at the age of 15, working in Dutch pirate radio and television before becoming widely known for his 1987-94 stint as an MTV VJ, where he interviewed countless stars including Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney.

An early advocate and innovator in web technology, Adam left MTV to found "OnRamp", which ultimately grew to 700 employees as the NASDAQ listed company THINK New Ideas, which he and his partners merged with Answerthink in 1999. In 2005, he co-founded PodShow '' now Mevio '' which has raised over $38 million since its launch, and in the process earned the nickname "The Podfather" as one of the pioneers of podcasting.

A resident of Austin, Texas, Adam is also a licensed fixed wing and helicopter pilot.

Shut Up Slave!

SC throws out FISA Case

Link to Article

Tue, 26 Feb 2013 16:51

By Associated Press, Published: TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 11:06 AM ET Aa WASHINGTON '-- A sharply-divided Supreme Court on Tuesday threw out an attempt by U.S. citizens to challenge the expansion of a surveillance law used to monitor conversations of foreign spies and terrorist suspects.

With a 5-4 vote, the high court ruled that a group of American lawyers, journalists and organizations can't sue to challenge the 2008 expansion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) because they can't prove that the government will monitor their conversations along with those of potential foreign terrorist and intelligence targets.

Justices ''have been reluctant to endorse standing theories that require guesswork,'' said Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote for the court's majority.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, was enacted in 1978. It allows the government to monitor conversations of foreign spies and terrorist suspects abroad for intelligence purposes. The 2008 FISA amendments allow the government to obtain from a secret court broad, yearlong intercept orders, raising the prospect that phone calls and emails between those foreign targets and innocent Americans in this country would be swept under the umbrella of surveillance.

Without proof that the law would directly affect them, Americans can't sue, Alito said in the ruling.

Despite their documented fears and the expense of activities that some Americans have taken to be sure they don't get caught up in government monitoring, they ''have set forth no specific facts demonstrating that the communications of their foreign contacts will be targeted,'' he added.

Alito also said the FISA expansion merely authorizes, but does not mandate or direct, the government monitoring. Because of that, he said, ''respondents' allegations are necessarily conjectural. Simply put, respondents can only speculate as to how the attorney general and the Director of National Intelligence will exercise their discretion in determining which communications to target.''

Alito was joined in his decision by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

Justice Stephen Breyer, writing in dissent, said that he would have allowed the lawsuit to move forward because he thinks ''the government has a strong motive to listen to conversations of the kind described.''

''We need only assume that the government is doing its job (to find out about, and combat terrorism) in order to conclude that there is a high probability that the government will intercept at least some electronic communication to which at least some of the plaintiffs are party,'' Breyer said. ''The majority is wrong when it describes the harm threatened plaintiffs as ''speculative,'' Breyer said.

He was joined in his dissent by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

A federal judge originally threw out the lawsuit, saying the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue. But the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the lawsuit. The Supreme Court was not considering the constitutionality of the expansion, only whether lawyers could file a lawsuit to challenge it in federal court.

Alito re-emphasized that point, saying the decision did not insulate the FISA expansion from judicial review, and he suggested a couple of ways a challenge could be brought to court, including a scenario in which an American lawyer actually did get swept up in FISA monitoring.

''It is possible that the monitoring of the target's conversations with his or her attorney would provide grounds for a claim of standing on the part of the attorney,'' Alito said. ''Such an attorney would certainly have a stronger evidentiary basis for establishing standing than do respondents in the present case.''

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(C) Copyright 1996-2013 The Washington Post

View desktop site

Supreme Court says Americans don't have standing to challenge surveillance law.

Link to Article

Tue, 26 Feb 2013 22:12

Police officers outside the Supreme Court in January 2013

Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

The spies at the National Security Agency must have breathed a major sigh of relief today. The Supreme Court ruled that Americans have no standing to challenge the constitutionality of the NSA's secret eavesdropping efforts.

The significant decision comes after grappling in the lower courts that began in 2008. Back then, a group of lawyers, human rights groups, journalists, and media organizations challenged in court the legality of the Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act. A 2008 amendment to the law, they alleged, had authorized sweeping ''dragnet surveillance'' that could pull in Americans' international communications in violation of constitutional rights, such as those enshrined by the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures.

The district court for the Southern District of New York rejected the claim in 2009, agreeing with the government that the plaintiffs lacked standing because they could not prove they were subject to surveillance. But then the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the ruling in 2011, concluding that the plaintiffs had a ''reasonable fear of future injury.''

Now, the Supreme Court has weighed in to settle the issue, reversing the 2nd Circuit's judgment on a 5-4 vote and agreeing with the government that the plaintiffs have no standing to challenge the spy law. The Supreme Court said that the plaintiffs' argument ''fails'' in part because it ''rests on a speculative chain of possibilities that does not establish that their potential injury is certainly impending or is fairly traceable.'' The ruling states that ''it is highly speculative whether the government will imminently target communications to which respondents are parties,'' adding that ''they have no actual knowledge of the government's [FISA] targeting practices.''

The decision will come as a major blow to Americans concerned about the NSA's secret surveillance programs, which first came to widespread attention in 2005, with a ''warrantless wiretapping'' scandal involving domestic surveillance of phone calls and emails. However, the ruling does not necessarily shield FISA from future legal challenges. It states explicitly that ''the holding in this case by no means insulates [FISA] from judicial review.''

It's also worth noting that the Supreme Court judgement is also clear in that it accepts ''the government's interception of a private telephone or e-mail conversation amounts to an injury that is 'concrete and particularized'.'' The reason the plaintiffs' case failed was that they could not prove that they were subject to surveillance'--and they could not do so because the government refuses to comment on its surveillance capabilities or divulge details about whom it is targeting. Indeed, in a bizarre piece of circular reasoning, the NSA told lawmakers last year that it could not even so much as provide a rough estimate of how many Americans it has spied on because it argues that providing this information would itself ''violate the privacy of U.S. persons.'' This hammers home the point that the problem is not necessarily the surveillance per se, but the secrecy that surrounds the surveillance.

FISA was recently renewed for a further five years, granting the NSA broad eavesdropping authorization until 2017. Aside from concerns about the law's domestic surveillance implications, it has recently attracted attention in Europe, with a report for the European Parliament calling it ''a carte blanche for anything that furthers U.S. foreign policy interests'' that had legalized ''heavy-calibre mass surveillance fire-power aimed at the cloud.''

TSA Employee Tip!!!

> From: Anonymous

> Subject: TSA and more

>

> Message Body:

> Just to start, I'm a huge fan and have listened to John for many years now on TWiT

and Cranky Geeks. Much to Adam's anger I will admit that I work for the TSA. I'm

not proud nor will I ever be. I voted Gary Johnson and would have voted Ron Paul

if he were on the ballot. The issue with the 3 year old girl and the threats that

filming on the checkpoint are illegal piss me off to an extent I can't even

describe. I do my very best to make sure every single officer I work with knows

that it is perfectly within any passengers rights to film in any public place. I'm

sure this won't make up for me working for the Nazi devils but I do make an effort

to improve the organization from within. I will never be the guy you mentioned in

a few shows prior who tried to talk you into going through the AIT imager

(bodyscanner). Most of the people I work with don't trust a word the government

tells us and we do everything we can to help people without "breaking" the rules.

Rules can be bent and we do

> our best to do so in the favor of the traveling public. I hope I don't get 2 to

the head for this email but that remains to be seen. Even if you scold me for this

email on your next show I will still listen and as soon as I can either find a

second job or get full time for TSA I will make a substantial donation. Of course

that is if you are ok with receiving your soiled tax payer money back from the

government through a TSA employee, likely laced with glitter from strippers and

coke. The issue with recording being prohibited in some airports as opposed to

others is likely due to local laws. Some areas have adopted laws making it illegal

to film law enforcement using a clause in the wiretapping laws. I believe those to

be unconstitutional. As far as some employees knowing what needs to be done and

others not, this is a difficult one. I do my best to know the "rules" that we are

required to live by but to defend the idiots in the video I would only say that

because this organization

> is so bloated and has so much bureaucracy, the!

> rules c

> hange ever 3 months which makes it very difficult to stay current. It does not

excuse the language used and the stern tone or the requirement to not film. I am

definitely an advocate of small government and even though I work for TSA, I am

for dismantling it in favor of a system where airlines employ their own security

staff if any. Also if you even read this far, if you fly regularly all you have to

do to avoid "opting out" or going through the AIT (bodyscanner) is tell the person

directing you to one of those places that you are unable to lift your arm over

your head and you will be considered "ineligible" for AIT screening and thus will

have not opted out either. This means that you would instead walk through the

metal detector and not receive a pat down. I suggest you pass this on during your

show. One last note on the TSA. The Pre-Check system that has been introduced and

was discussed by Mr. Pistole is the biggest sham I have seen recently. The idea

that a citizen of the U.S.

> is required to go through a background check and an interview processs so that

they can finally be treated like a human being again during the screening process

is unbelievable. Not only is it extremely unfair it also decreases security. My

concern when the idea was first mentioned to us was that all it would take is a

terrorist to kidnap a person's family who is on the "pre-check" list and require

them to smuggle something through, as they go through less security than the

average passenger. Which means to me that being on the "pre-check" list could

actually make you a target. Also this is a running joke/remark between co-workers.

"You saved the world again, one bottle of water at a time" Love the show!

>

Bob Woodward: Obama's Sequester 'Madness'

Link to Article

Source: Twitter / The2News

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 16:59

The Washington Post's Bob Woodward ripped into President Barack Obama on "Morning Joe" today, saying he's exhibiting a "kind of madness I haven't seen in a long time" for a decision not to deploy an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf because of budget concerns."Can you imagine Ronald Reagan sitting there and saying, 'Oh, by the way, I can't do this because of some budget document?'" Woodward said.

"Or George W. Bush saying, 'You know, I'm not going to invade Iraq because I can't get the aircraft carriers I need?'" Or even Bill Clinton saying, 'You know, I'm not going to attack Saddam Hussein's intelligence headquarters,' ... because of some budget document?"

The Defense Department said in early February that it would not deploy the U.S.S. Harry Truman to the Persian Gulf, citing budget concerns relating to the looming cuts known as the sequester.

"Under the Constitution, the President is commander-in-chief and employs the force. And so we now have the President going out because of this piece of paper and this agreement. 'I can't do what I need to do to protect the country,'" Woodward said.

"That's a kind of madness that I haven't seen in a long time," he said.

Woodward's harsh criticism came after he stirred controversy last weekend by calling out Obama for what he said was "moving the goal posts" on the sequester by requesting that revenue be part of a deal to avert it.

Here's the clip, via Mediaite:

Now Watch: The Most Brutal Budget Cuts Of The Sequestration

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Dept of Peacebuilding

House Democrats propose Department of Peacebuilding | The Daily Caller

Link to Article

Thu, 28 Feb 2013 01:30

California Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee has introduced legislation to create a federal Department of Peacebuilding that would cultivate peace and take on the causes of violence and conflict.

Lee's legislation H.R. 808 ''Department of Peacebuilding Act of 2013'" also would create a Cabinet-level Secretary of Peacebuilding focused on creating peace and preventing violence.

''This culture of violence that we live in is unacceptable,'' Lee said in a statement her office distributed earlier this month. ''On our streets and across the globe, the pervasive presence of violence has infected the lives of millions, and it is far past time we address it as a nation. We invest hundreds of billions each year in the Pentagon, in war colleges, military academies, and our national defense universities all to develop war tactics and strategies.''

''Now we need that kind of investment in peace and nonviolence here at home,'' Lee added.

The proposed department carries on an idea initially proposed by former Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who attempted to establish a Department of Peace.

''The Department of Peacebuilding advances the good work of my friend and former colleague Congressman Kucinich and has the potential to reduce suffering on a national and global scale while saving billions of dollars through violence reduction and increased economic productivity,'' Lee added.

While the legislation's text '-- which points out that more than 100 million people have died in wars during the 20th century and ''at the dawn of the 21st century, violence seems to be an overarching theme in the world'' '-- is not yet posted online. The Hill, which first reported on the legislation, obtained and posted a copy Tuesday.

The legislation would require the department to develop national strategies and programs to encourage violence prevention, and dispute resolution to reduce problems such as gun violence, racial and ethnic violence and violence against LGBT Americans and women.

The department would work with other agencies, sharing peace findings and assisting the international community in peace endeavors, including fostering conflict resolution initiatives.

The department would also create a four-year Peace Academy in the model of the military service academies, and offer grants and incentives for peacebuilding initiatives. The Secretary will also encourage Americans to observe and celebrate ''Peace Days.''

The ''Department of Peacebuilding Act of 2013'' introduced Monday and Referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, currently has eight original co-sponsors, all Democratic.

Follow Caroline on Twitter

To establish a Department of Peacebuilding. (H.R. 808) - GovTrack.us

Link to Article

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 15:57

GovTrack's Bill SummaryWe don't have a summary available yet.

Library of Congress SummaryThe summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.

No summary available.

House Republican Conference SummaryThe summary below was written by the House Republican Conference, which is the caucus of Republicans in the House of Representatives.

No summary available.

House Democratic Caucus SummaryThe House Democratic Caucus does not provide summaries of bills.

So, yes, we display the House Republican Conference's summaries when available even if we do not have a Democratic summary available. That's because we feel it is better to give you as much information as possible, even if we cannot provide every viewpoint.

We'll be looking for a source of summaries from the other side in the meanwhile.

Earth Charter - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Terminology Comission

Azerbaijan: Baku's Terminology Commission Ditching Russian-Origin First Names | PRI's The World

For our Geo Quiz, we've got our eyes on a former Soviet republic.

This now-independent nation is in the Caucasus region. It was part of the Soviet Union until 1991.

Russia still looms large on its northern border. But the country is looking to diminish Russia's cultural influence.

One tool it's using is its "terminology commission." It's designed to regulate language, including what names parents can give their newborns.

So Dmitry and Olga, for example, are out...but Leyla and Pasha are in.

Can you name this former Soviet republic which also borders Georgia, Armenia, and the Caspian Sea?

Entertainment Industrial Complex

Argo Credits

Besides Huma Abedin:

ITM Adam,

I was recently perusing the credits for the Oscar winning CIA Infomercial *

Argo*, and I spotted something a bit interesting.

Other than our good friend and confidante Huma Abedin, another name appears

that is kind of interesting.

Have you ever heard of a Whitney Williams?

I suspect that the profile here:

http://williamsworks.com/team/whitney-williams/ refers to the same person.

It begins:

"*As First Lady Hillary ClintonÕs Director of Operations...* "

*

*therein follows a list of elitist achievements, and it ends with:

"* ...Whitney also serves as co-founder, Chief Executive Officer and

Board Member of the Eastern Congo Initiative, the first U.S.-based advocacy

and grant making organization focused solely on working with and for the

people of eastern Congo.*"

A quick look at http://www.easterncongo.org/about yields the following

blurb:

"*Founded by Ben Affleck **[Coincidince? I think not!]** in 2010,

Eastern Congo Initiative is a 501(c)(3) organization registered in the

United States. ECI investors include the Howard G. Buffett Foundation,

Humanity United, Cindy Hensley McCain, Google, Laurene Powell Jobs of

Emerson Collective, williamsworks and others.*"

Her company does some sort of consulting for, amongst others, the Clinton

Foundation (listed as the William J. Clinton Foundation).

I'm not sure what this all means. I suspect that williamsworks is just

another cash conduit in the incestuous web of charitable foundations. As

for probative value, well, the link between Argo and the Royal Obamas

doesn't get much more blatant than having Her Majesty of Mac and Cheese

present the oscar and listing Huma Abedin right there in the credits. More

interestingly, it seems that williamsworks gets cash from Clinton

Foundation and gives to Eastern Congo Initiative. I admit it's tentative,

but perhaps this sheds some light on the funding for some of the

Sellebrities' activities in Sudan/Uganda/DRC.

Much Love,

James D

Senate Intelligence Committee drops bin Laden film probe

Link to Article

Tue, 26 Feb 2013 02:05

Senate Intelligence Committee drops bin Laden film probeTop News

Senate Intelligence Committee drops bin Laden film probe

Mon, Feb 25 17:38 PM EST

By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - One day after "Zero Dark Thirty" failed to win major awards at the Oscars, a congressional aide said on Monday the Senate Intelligence Committee has closed its inquiry into the filmmakers' contacts with the Central Intelligence Agency.

The intelligence committee gathered more information from the CIA, film director Kathryn Bigelow, and screenwriter Mark Boal and will not take further action, according to the aide, who requested anonymity.

Sony Pictures Entertainment, which produced the film, had no immediate comment. But attacks by Washington politicians may have damaged its prospects at the Academy Awards. "Zero Dark Thirty" was nominated for a best picture award, which it did not win. Also, in what industry watchers considered a snub, Bigelow did not receive a best director nomination.

The Senate committee launched its review of the film, a dramatization of how the U.S. government located and killed Osama bin Laden, after its chairwoman, Senator Dianne Feinstein, expressed outrage over scenes that implied that "enhanced interrogations" of CIA detainees produced an breakthrough that helped lead to the al Qaeda leader.

In December, as "Zero Dark Thirty" was about to premiere nationwide, Feinstein joined fellow Democrat Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Republican Senator John McCain in condemning "particularly graphic scenes of CIA officers torturing detainees" in the film.

A source familiar with contacts between the filmmakers and intelligence officials said the CIA did not tell the filmmakers "enhanced interrogations" led to bin Laden. Instead, the agency helped develop characters in the film, said the source.

The political fallout prompted Bigelow to write in an op-ed piece: "Those of us who work in the arts know that depiction is not endorsement. If it was, no artist would be able to paint inhumane practices, no author could write about them, and no filmmaker could delve into the thorny subjects of our time."

The government cooperated as much, if not more, on "Argo," the film about the 1979-81 hostage crisis in Iran that won the best picture Oscar. Actor-director Ben Affleck and his team were allowed to film scenes in the lobby of the CIA building in Langley, Virginia; the "Zero Dark Thirty" crew did no such filming.

(Reporting By Mark Hosenball. Editing by Warren Strobel and Doina Chiacu)

Senate Intelligence Committee drops bin Laden film probeTop News

Senate Intelligence Committee drops bin Laden film probe

Mon, Feb 25 17:38 PM EST

By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - One day after "Zero Dark Thirty" failed to win major awards at the Oscars, a congressional aide said on Monday the Senate Intelligence Committee has closed its inquiry into the filmmakers' contacts with the Central Intelligence Agency.

The intelligence committee gathered more information from the CIA, film director Kathryn Bigelow, and screenwriter Mark Boal and will not take further action, according to the aide, who requested anonymity.

Sony Pictures Entertainment, which produced the film, had no immediate comment. But attacks by Washington politicians may have damaged its prospects at the Academy Awards. "Zero Dark Thirty" was nominated for a best picture award, which it did not win. Also, in what industry watchers considered a snub, Bigelow did not receive a best director nomination.

The Senate committee launched its review of the film, a dramatization of how the U.S. government located and killed Osama bin Laden, after its chairwoman, Senator Dianne Feinstein, expressed outrage over scenes that implied that "enhanced interrogations" of CIA detainees produced an breakthrough that helped lead to the al Qaeda leader.

In December, as "Zero Dark Thirty" was about to premiere nationwide, Feinstein joined fellow Democrat Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Republican Senator John McCain in condemning "particularly graphic scenes of CIA officers torturing detainees" in the film.

A source familiar with contacts between the filmmakers and intelligence officials said the CIA did not tell the filmmakers "enhanced interrogations" led to bin Laden. Instead, the agency helped develop characters in the film, said the source.

The political fallout prompted Bigelow to write in an op-ed piece: "Those of us who work in the arts know that depiction is not endorsement. If it was, no artist would be able to paint inhumane practices, no author could write about them, and no filmmaker could delve into the thorny subjects of our time."

The government cooperated as much, if not more, on "Argo," the film about the 1979-81 hostage crisis in Iran that won the best picture Oscar. Actor-director Ben Affleck and his team were allowed to film scenes in the lobby of the CIA building in Langley, Virginia; the "Zero Dark Thirty" crew did no such filming.

(Reporting By Mark Hosenball. Editing by Warren Strobel and Doina Chiacu)

Pro-Carter 'Argo' Is Historic Revisionism Masquerading As Revelation - Investors.com

Propaganda: Among Oscar's favorites, "Argo" claims to be a broadly accurate retelling of real events in the Iranian hostage crisis. But it's historic revisionism masquerading as revelation.

And that revisionism, carried out by Democrat activists Ben Affleck and co-producer George Clooney, conveniently makes the Democrat laughingstock of the crisis, former President Carter, look good.

The more we learn about the project, the more it smells like a bad Hollywood plot to rehab Carter's legacy as one of the worst presidents in history.

It turns out that Carter quietly collaborated on the film, and has breathlessly promoted it ahead of the Oscars. "I hope it gets the Academy Award," he giddily told CNN's Piers Morgan on Thursday.

The ex-president has even signed "Argo" posters for auction at his Carter Center.

Carter makes a surprise cameo -- by voice-over -- at the end of the film, which claims to be "based on a true story" of how Carter OK'd a CIA plot to set up a fake movie production and crew as cover to rescue six American diplomats stranded in post-revolutionary Tehran.

As the credits roll, you hear him express how frustrating it was not to take credit for the daring rescue. He suggests that if the facts in the film had come out in 1980, they would have "helped" his presidency, possibly even changed the outcome of the election.

Humble and honorable man that he is, he kept it all "secret." Until now. Only, the story is mostly fiction.

Yes, a CIA operative (played by Affleck) traveled to Tehran posing as a Hollywood producer.

But the Canadians were responsible for over 90% of the rescue of those U.S. Embassy workers, from safehousing them at the Canadian ambassador's home to securing their visas to even securing the Swiss Air flight that spirited them out of Iran.

In fact, "Argo's" final heart-thumping scene at the Tehran airport, where the American diplomats' cover is almost blown as they race to the gate, never happened. Their exit was a cakewalk.

The Carter administration contributed next to nothing to securing their freedom. It played not just a minor role, but an insignificant one.

The Hollywood cover story had zero to do with their rescue. It wasn't even needed!

Carter sheepishly conceded on CNN that the Canadians did the heavy lifting, but quickly added, "I was very much involved with the Canadian government."

It's plain "Argo" was designed to rehab Carter's failed presidency, just as "Zero Dark Thirty" was made as a paean to Obama, just as "Inside Job" was a coordinated Democrat attack on Wall Street, just as Michael Moore's "documentaries" were anti-GOP propaganda.

At press time, it looks quite possible that "Argo" will take the Oscar. Meanwhile, a real documentary -- "2016: Obama's America" -- gets snubbed. Why? It actually tells the truth about a Democrat administration.

White House Down - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Olympus Has Fallen l Official Site l Coming March 22 2013

Olympus Has Fallen - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Oscar protest that you didn't know happened

Link to Article

Tue, 26 Feb 2013 01:51

If you watched the Academy Awards tonight, you may have noticed an awkward music cut-off during the Life of Pi Visual Effects acceptance speech. It may have looked like they were just stopping a long running speech, but in truth the speaker was about to mention a hot button topic of the evening, and many people think it was cut short intentionally to hide the truth.Most viewers were unaware of this incident and most media outlets failed to report on it, but outside the Dolby Theater, there were over 400 picketers protesting the poor state of the visual effects industry. Although it was being ignored on the televised broadcast, it started gaining momentum online during the ceremony, and is finally getting the media attention it was lacking.

So what is the protest about?The film Life of Pi was nominated for Visual Effects (and won!), but sadly the studio that did the effects for the movie (Rhythm & Hues) had to file for bankruptcy a few weeks ago, and laid off close to 250 employees. The protest was named "A Piece of the Pi" to show that the VFX studio behind the film wasn't getting their share of its success.

This tragic story is just one example of the poor state of the VFX industry. With overseas competition, domestic VFX houses have been surviving on less than 5% profit margins, and other studios have gone bankrupt as well (see: Digital Domain). Supporters decided it was time to raise awareness to figure out how to stop this from continuing, so they set up a protest outside the Oscars.

Sadly, the media did not report on the protest at all, and there was no mention of it on the televised broadcast. But the Internet can always be counted on in cases like these, to get the truth out there.

When Life of Pi won for Visual Effects, everyone was listening intently to hear any mention of the protest happening outside. But when Bill Westenhofer was done giving his thank yous and tried turning the subject to Rhythm & Hues, the orchestra music obnoxiously drowned him out until his mic was turned off (watch the video here).

When this happened, the #VFXProtest hashtag on Twitter went nuts calling foul play:

The next opportunity for visibility came when Ang Lee gave his speech for winning Best Director for Life of Pi. While he did thank "all 3,000 people" who worked on the movie, he didn't mention Rhythm & Hues by name (possibly just an oversight), and that enraged the protestors and fueled the fire even further:

So let's view the reality of the situation. Even if these 2 incidents were unrelated to the protest, it still seems like the Academy handled this situation poorly. The speech being cut off could have been purely about Westenhofer going over his time limit. And Ang Lee may have honestly just forgotten to mention them in all his excitement. But the damage has been done. People are angry, and the events from tonight are only fueling that anger further.

In the hours since the Oscars ended, throngs of people are changing their profile picture to a solid green square. This represents a green screen, which temporarily substitutes for effects during a film shoot so they can be added later. It looks like it started from the Facebook group VFX Solidarity, which has been "liked" more than 7,000 times since last night.

This movement seems to be just getting started. It will be interesting to see how big it gets, despite being ignored by the Oscars. To me, it represents the Internet's ability to reach beyond corporations and businesses, and get the truth out there.

My hope is that it really does raise awareness to these issues, and make it possible for real discussions to be had. They will need to start thinking about tangible solutions, but as we've seen before, the first step to solving any problem is to raise awareness. The success of the film industry depends on it.

Read more here:Watch the Visual Effects speech cutoff Hear the backstage post-interview after the speech cutoffAn open letter to Ang Lee from a VFX artist Variety article about plans to protest the OscarsAn explanation of VFX subsidies and what needs to be fixedRhythm & Hues website (which ironically isn't loading for me)Reddit thread about the incidentAn Anonymous offering to crash the Oscars site. I don't approve but still say, go Internet!

(22) VFX Solidarity International

TRIPwire

Federal Register | Information Collection Request: Technical Resource for Incident Prevention (TRIPwire) User Registration

Link to Article

Thu, 28 Feb 2013 03:43

60 Day Notice And Request For Comments; New Information Collection Request: 1670 New.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), National Protection and Programs Directorate, (NPPD), Protective Security Coordination Division (PSCD), Office for Bombing Prevention (OBP) will submit the following Information Collection Request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and clearance in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-13, 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35).

Comments are encouraged and will be accepted until April 29, 2013. This process is conducted in accordance with 5 CFR 1320.1.

Written comments and questions about this Information Collection Request should be forwarded to Department of Homeland Security (Attn: NPPD/PSCD/OBP) 245 Murray Lane SW., Mail Stop 0612, Arlington, VA 20598-0612. Emailed requests should go to William.Cooper@hq.dhs.gov. Written comments should reach the contact person listed no later than April 29, 2013. Comments must be identified by ''DHS-2012-0022''and may be submitted by one of the following methods:

Instructions: All submissions received must include the words ''Department of Homeland Security'' and the docket number for this action. Comments received will be posted without alteration at http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.

OMB is particularly interested in comments that:

1. Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;

2. Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

3. Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; or

4. Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submissions of responses.

The Technical Resource for Incident Prevention (TRIPwire) is OBP's online, collaborative, information-sharing network for bomb squad, law enforcement, and other emergency services personnel to learn about current terrorist improvised explosive device (IED) tactics, techniques, and procedures, including design and emplacement considerations. TRIPwire was established as an IED information-sharing resource under Homeland Security Presidential Directive 19 (HSPD-19), which calls for a unified national policy for the prevention and detection of, protection against, and response to terrorist use of explosives in the United States. Users from Federal, state, local, and tribal government entities, as well as business and for-profit industries can register through the TRIPwire Secure Portal. The TRIPwire portal contains sensitive information related to terrorist use of explosives and therefore user information is needed to verify eligibility and access to the system. TRIPwire applicants must provide their full name, assignment, citizenship, job title, employer name, professional address and contact information, as well as an Employment Verification Contact and their contact information. The system does not store sensitive personally identifiable information (PII) such as social security numbers. The collection of PII by TRIPwire to establish user accounts occurs in accordance with the DHS Privacy Impact Assessment PIA-015, ''DHS Web Portals,'' DHS/ALL-004'--General Information Technology Access Account Records System (GITAARS) September 29, 2009, 74 FR 49882, and DHS/ALL-002'--Department of Homeland Security Mailing and Other Lists System November 25, 2008, 73 FR 71659. The TRIPwire User Registration is a voluntary registration designed to measure users' suitability to access the secure environment.

The information collected during the TRIPwire user registration process is reviewed electronically by the project team to vet the user's ''need to know,'' which determines their eligibility for and access to TRIPwire. Memberships are re-verified annually based on the information users provide upon registration or communication with the TRIPwire help desk analysts. The information collected is for internal TRIPwire and OBP use only.

Agency: Department of Homeland Security, National Protection and Programs Directorate, Office of Infrastructure Protection, Protective Security Coordination Division, Office for Bombing Prevention.

Title: Technical Resource for Incident Prevention (TRIPwire) User Registration.

OMB Number: 1670-NEW.

Frequency: Once.

Affected Public: Federal, state, local, and tribal government entities, and business or other for-profit.

Number of Respondents: 3,500 respondents (estimate).

Estimated Time per Respondent: 10 minutes.

Total Burden Hours: 583 burden hours.

Total Burden Cost (capital/startup):$0.

Total Recordkeeping Burden:$0.

Total Burden Cost (operating/maintaining):$11,803.19.

Dated: February 13, 2013.

Michael Butcher,

Acting Chief Information Officer, National Protection and Programs Directorate, Department of Homeland Security.

[FR Doc. 2013-04476 Filed 2-26-13; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE P

White House Policy for Countering Improvised Explosive Devices

Link to Article

Source: White House.gov Press Office Feed

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 15:04

February 26, 2013 2:23 PM EST

Policy Statement for Countering Improvised Explosive Devices AnnouncedWith today's publication of the policy statement on Countering Improvised Explosive Devices, the Obama Administration both recognizes the progress we have made, and rededicates ourselves to the next phase in our efforts to implement measures to discover, prevent, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate IED attacks and their consequences.

Countering IEDs PDF

Pope and Change

Good Jesuit, Bad Jesuit: Marxism, Liberation Theology And The Lack Of Liberty

Link to Article

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 16:03

Chavez has attacked the bishops for voicing concern about the amendments,calling them variously "Pharisees," "hypocrites" and supporters of tyrants.

At the same time, the president -- who is himself a Catholic -- has used classic liberation theology language to describe Jesus Christ as a revolutionary and a socialist. Venezuela's Catholic bishops, in a recent statement, voiced concern about the potential for further violence and appealed for calm. But they also defended peaceful demonstrations, rejecting claims that protests are part of a conspiracy to destabilize the state. Archbishop Roberto Luckert, vice president of the Venezuelan Bishops' Conference, has accused Chavez of "picking a fight with everyone." Another top church leader,Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino of Caracas, said in a television interview that thechanges would leave no room for any ideas other than socialism, and would put anend to "freedom of conscience, freedom of opinion, freedom of expression[and] economic freedom."

Savino said the bishops were not taking a partisan position, but "have the duty to speak out with the light of the Gospel and of the church's social teaching about what is happening in the country."Catholic leaders beyond Venezuela's borders also have waded in. Peruvian Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani called the Venezuelan leader arrogant and disrespectful, and in a significant development last week, the leaders of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Latin America (CELAM) sent a letter expressing solidarity with the Venezuelan bishops, in the face of attacks by "certain sectors." CELAM represents 22 episcopal conferences across Latin America and the Caribbean. A spent force?Inspired in part by Marxist analysis, liberation theology promoted the idea thatthe church should help the oppressed by challenging political power. It spreadin the 1960s in Latin America -- home to almost half of the world's one billion-plus Catholics -- with outbreaks in the Philippines, Africa and elsewhere.

A leading opponent in the Catholic hierarchy was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XV. As head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the 1980s, Ratzinger issued documents critical of liberation theology, which he called "a singular heresy."The late Pope John Paul II challenged the view of Christ as a revolutionary,"subversive" figure, telling Latin American bishops during a visit to Mexicoearly in his papacy that that notion "does not tally with the church's teachings."

Critics like conservative Venezuelan theologian Felipe Aquino say those who promote liberation theology have the mistaken view that they are the only ones who defend the oppressed. "The church in its more than 2,000 years has always helped those in need, but it never needed to grab onto strange ideologies for this," he wrote earlier this year. Few would argue that liberation theology is heading for extinction. Signs of life include the fact that many Catholic priests support Chavez; leftist Catholic Ecuadorian president and Chavez ally Rafael Correa is a proponent; and a prominent liberation theologian bishop is running for the presidency in Paraguay, in defiance of the Vatican.But Fr. Robert Sirico, president of the Acton Institute for the Study ofReligion and Liberty in Grand Rapids, Mich., says liberation theology in LatinAmerica has been weakened by factors including the globalization of markets andthe rise of a different breed of church leaders. "Many of the more recent appointments have been men of sound theological formation, men who have seen the divisiveness of liberation theology, and men who have less of a tendency to seepolitics as a cure for what ails their continent,"

he said on Tuesday.Sirico said, however, that in rural areas in particular "the legitimate and necessary call to defend the needs and rights of the poor ... is easily converted into a screed against the opening of markets and free trade.""Chavez is using this kind of rhetoric to construct his socialist utopia but is being confronted by a brave and prudent hierarchy of men who appear to have a clear grasp of the need to limit power -- the state -- while increasing authority -- the church, society, tradition -- in society," he said. "This appears to drive Chavez nuts." As for liberation theology more broadly,Sirico contended that following the collapse of the Soviet Union, many of thosemore firmly committed to the ideology changed tactics and rhetoric, focusing onissues like radical environmentalism and conflicts between indigenous people and"colonizers."

Fr. Pedro Trigo,S.J of the Catholic University Andres Bello in Caracas is author of a book on liberation theology and a board member of a Jesuit-run center aimed at "transforming Venezuela from its roots into a more fair and humane society" Trigo said Tuesday that whatever one may think of liberation theology, it is not dead. He noted that in the book he has written on the subject he compiles material from more than 80 books and 200 articles. "So if we talk about it, it still exists." "What we must do is reformulate the concepts to adapt them to the times we live in, because times have changed from the time when the theology was originated across Latin America, in the early 1960s," he said.Even so, Trigo criticized Chavez' proposed constitutional changes, saying the president was setting the agenda rather than change starting from the ground, as it should in "a true democratic culture." "Chavez has gotten us to dance to his tune. He proposes the topic of discussion and we discuss about this. This is no way to have a real democracy." Trigo said the situation has become so politicized that the referendum has become a vote on Chavez -- who is seen either as a savior or a demonized figure -- rather than on the proposed changes. Evangelicals too the proposed constitutional changes also worry many Protestant Christians in Venezuela.Evangelical Alliance of Venezuela head Rev. Samuel Olson said Tuesday that the organization, which is part of the World Evangelical Alliance, put out a statement at the weekend that gives "an idea of the concerns of a sizeable part of the evangelical world.""Far from creating the unity of the people, [the planned amendments] have deepened the division in the people and family in Venezuela," the statement said. "God has blessed man granting him inalienable and non-negotiable rights," it said. "The right to be informed, the right to freedom of speech and to voice one's ideas, as well as the guarantee of due process -- which are all already in the current constitution -- should be strengthened, instead of being weakened."Olson said liberation theology has gone onto the "back burner" and doesnot have a strong voice in Venezuela.

"Our president has referred to it several times, and there have been a few public events where it has been one of the main themes - but it is "home" to a relatively few who actually know about it," he said.Link to original Crosswalk article (here)

D.C. cardinal: New pope must be master of social media - Washington Times

Link to Article

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 16:02

While not revealing his choice for the 267th occupant of the Chair of Saint Peter, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, said that whoever is chosen as the next pope must be conversant in social media as well as the gospel to lead today's global Catholic Church.

The cardinal, who was set to depart for Rome Sunday evening, said the next pontiff ''has to be able to get the message out using these modern means of communication,'' and he twice referred social media platforms such as Twitter. Although present at the conclave that elected Pope John Paul II in 1978, the next conclave, which will gather after Pope Benedict XVI retires on the evening of February 28, will be Cardinal Wuerl's first as a voting member.

The archbishop discounted rumors '-- reported in Italy's La Repubblica newspaper and elsewhere last week '-- that information contained in a ''secret Vatican report'' about suspected financial and moral improprieties inside the Vatican added pressure to Benedict's surprise decision to resign.

''I am unaware of any of this,'' Cardinal Wuerl told The Washington Times in an interview following his homily at the Cathedral of Saint Matthew the Apostle.

''We also recognize there seems to be great imagination in the minds of those who are keeping us informed,'' the archbishop said.

Cardinal Wuerl emphasized the need for the next pope to represent the Church's message in a multi-platform world.

''Pope Benedict was already opening the doors to that,'' Cardinal Wuerl said, ''and I think of the number of cardinals, [including] European cardinals, who are engaged in [the] Web, have blogs and websites and Twitter. That's no longer an American prerogative.''

Father James Martin, a Jesuit and an editor-at-large for America Magazine, said the next pope must be ''someone who's holy, can effectively preach the gospel and can do so in a variety of cultures. Those attributes far outstrip anything else.''

But understanding and using technology, Mr. Martin said, is ''extremely important. Jesus used any and all media to communicate'' with people, and a pope must preach ''with an understanding of how people hear'' the message.

''If Jesus could talk about the birds of the air,'' Mr. Martin said, ''I can tweet.''

Cardinal Wuerl told the Friday service that news of Benedict XVI's retirement '-- the first abdication of a pontiff in nearly 600 years '-- ''came to all of us as a great surprise, and in some ways as a shock.'' On later reflection, he said, ''the Holy Father's action speaks to us of his greatness, and his ability to recognize the needs of the church and his own capabilities.''

The frail, 85-year-old German pope blamed his failing health in the face of the giant burdens of overseeing a global organization as the main reason he was stepping down.

''Strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me,'' Benedict said in a statement released by the Vatican.

Asked if there were any particular concerns he was taking to Rome, Cardinal Wuerl expressed a desire to see that the church keep its message relevant to a new and fast-moving generation.

''Probably the most important aspect of my ministry, and I would project that into the ministry of the Holy Father, is bringing the gospel into the next generation,'' he said. ''We deal with so many young people today who are so busy, frenetically busy, that they don't have the time to reflect on the rest of their existence, the spiritual part of their existence.''

(C) Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio: Profile of a Candidate for Pope

Link to Article

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 16:02

Who is Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio?:Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born on December 17, 1936, in Argentina.

Background and Early Life of Jorge Mario Bergoglio:Jorge Mario Bergoglio is a member of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and was ordained in 1936. After just four years as priest he became head of all the Jesuits in Argentina. After studying in Germany, Bergoglio became bishop of Buenos Aires in 1992 and archbishop in 1998. In general he has avoided taking on high-ranking posts in various organizations.

Current Status of Jorge Mario Bergoglio:Jorge Mario Bergoglio is archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Theology of Jorge Mario Bergoglio:Jorge Mario Bergoglio is generally conservative in his theology and is believed to be close to Communion & Liberation, a doctrinally conservative movement that grew in power and numbers under the guidance of John Paul II.

Assessment of Jorge Mario Bergoglio:Jorge Mario Bergoglio is a strong supporter of helping the poor. When he was made cardinal in 2001, he discouraged people from spending the money to fly to Rome to celebrate with him and advised that they instead donate the funds to help alleviate poverty at home. He lives in a simple apartment and cooks his own meals.

Bergoglio does not, however, spend a great deal of time preaching about social justice. He instead preaches about the importance of spirituality and assumes that a correct understanding of God will naturally lead people to care more about the poor.

Probably the strongest factor working against Bergoglio is the fact that he is a Jesuit. He would be the first Jesuit pope if elected, but there continues to be strong anti-Jesuit feelings within the Catholic church, and even some Jesuits oppose the idea of one of their own rising to the office of pope.

Cardinal Keith O'Brien was friends with sex predator Jimmy Savile - Daily Record

Link to Article

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 16:01

26 Feb 2013 00:01THE shamed TV star helped the clergyman raise money for charity years before his sex crimes came out.

Savil and O'Brien with two youngsters at a charity event at Edinburgh's St Mary's CathedralIain Sharp

O'BRIEN was a friend of paedophile Jimmy Savile '' decades before the disgraced DJ's crimes were known.

But he demanded Savile be stripped of his papal knighthood '' bestowed in 1990 '' after his offences came to light.

O'Brien's spokesman said at the time: ''We would absolutely endorse and support that move.

''It seems to be an appropriate response and echoes exactly what every other institution and organisation who had an association with Jimmy Savile are doing.''

The pair met when O'Brien was priest at St Patrick's Church in Kilsyth, Lanarkshire, in 1971.

Savile was a regular visitor because his mother Agnes was friends with O'Brien's colleague, Fr Denis O'Connell.

One man from Kilsyth, who was a schoolboy at the time, said: ''Savile was here often over a period covering the mid-1970s. We were amazed to see him at first because he was always on TV. When we saw him about the town, he was always with Fr O'Connell or Fr O'Brien.

''They went out of their way to court publicity, because they were raising money for charity.

''We would see the flash Roller parked outside the school because it was right next to the priests' house and we'd know Savile was in town.

''Over the next few days, you would see him out and about in the town, normally with the priests.

''They were always on a fundraising exercise. It was always assumed that Savile stayed with the priests overnight. I'd say over three to four years, you would see Savile twice a year. It got to the stage that it was no longer a surprise.

''As I got older, there were stories that Savile had stopped coming to Kilsyth because he had been interfering with young girls. It was the talk of the place for a while.

''We were always told that Savile came to Kilsyth because his mother was friends with Fr O'Connell.''

Agnes became convinced that her son had been saved from a life-threatening illness when aged two, because she had prayed to the Venerable Margaret Sinclair.

Sinclair was a Scots nun who died aged 25 in 1925 from tuberculosis after taking the religious name Sister Mary Francis of the Five Wounds and helping the poor in London.

Savile's mother saw a photo of the Edinburgh-born nun while praying in Leeds Cathedral. Fr O'Connell was a leading light in the campaign to have Sinclair canonised.

Pope will have security, immunity by remaining in the Vatican | Reuters

Link to Article

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 18:07

1 of 2. Pope Benedict XVI poses with Italian cardinal Angelo Bagnasco (4th L) and bishops from the Liguria region during a meeting at the Vatican February 15, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Osservatore Romano

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY | Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:59pm EST

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict's decision to live in the Vatican after he resigns will provide him with security and privacy. It will also offer legal protection from any attempt to prosecute him in connection with sexual abuse cases around the world, Church sources and legal experts say.

"His continued presence in the Vatican is necessary, otherwise he might be defenseless. He wouldn't have his immunity, his prerogatives, his security, if he is anywhere else," said one Vatican official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"It is absolutely necessary" that he stays in the Vatican, said the source, adding that Benedict should have a "dignified existence" in his remaining years.

Vatican sources said officials had three main considerations in deciding that Benedict should live in a convent in the Vatican after he resigns on February 28.

Vatican police, who already know the pope and his habits, will be able to guarantee his privacy and security and not have to entrust it to a foreign police force, which would be necessary if he moved to another country.

"I see a big problem if he would go anywhere else. I'm thinking in terms of his personal security, his safety. We don't have a secret service that can devote huge resources (like they do) to ex-presidents," the official said.

Another consideration was that if the pope did move permanently to another country, living in seclusion in a monastery in his native Germany, for example, the location might become a place of pilgrimage.

POTENTIAL EXPOSURE

This could be complicated for the Church, particularly in the unlikely event that the next pope makes decisions that may displease conservatives, who could then go to Benedict's place of residence to pay tribute to him.

"That would be very problematic," another Vatican official said.

The final key consideration is the pope's potential exposure to legal claims over the Catholic Church's sexual abuse scandals.

In 2010, for example, Benedict was named as a defendant in a law suit alleging that he failed to take action as a cardinal in 1995 when he was allegedly told about a priest who had abused boys at a U.S. school for the deaf decades earlier. The lawyers withdrew the case last year and the Vatican said it was a major victory that proved the pope could not be held liable for the actions of abusive priests.

Benedict is currently not named specifically in any other case. The Vatican does not expect any more but is not ruling out the possibility.

"(If he lived anywhere else) then we might have those crazies who are filing lawsuits, or some magistrate might arrest him like other (former) heads of state have been for alleged acts while he was head of state," one source said.

Another official said: "While this was not the main consideration, it certainly is a corollary, a natural result."

After he resigns, Benedict will no longer be the sovereign monarch of the State of Vatican City, which is surrounded by Rome, but will retain Vatican citizenship and residency.

LATERAN PACTS

That would continue to provide him immunity under the provisions of the Lateran Pacts while he is in the Vatican and even if he makes jaunts into Italy as a Vatican citizen.

The 1929 Lateran Pacts between Italy and the Holy See, which established Vatican City as a sovereign state, said Vatican City would be "invariably and in every event considered as neutral and inviolable territory".

There have been repeated calls for Benedict's arrest over sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

When Benedict went to Britain in 2010, British author and atheist campaigner Richard Dawkins asked authorities to arrest the pope to face questions over the Church's child abuse scandal.

Dawkins and the late British-American journalist Christopher Hitchens commissioned lawyers to explore ways of taking legal action against the pope. Their efforts came to nothing because the pope was a head of state and so enjoyed diplomatic immunity.

In 2011, victims of sexual abuse by the clergy asked the International Criminal Court to investigate the pope and three Vatican officials over sexual abuse.

The New York-based rights group Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and another group, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), filed a complaint with the ICC alleging that Vatican officials committed crimes against humanity because they tolerated and enabled sex crimes.

The ICC has not taken up the case but has never said why. It generally does not comment on why it does not take up cases.

NOT LIKE A CEO

The Vatican has consistently said that a pope cannot be held accountable for cases of abuse committed by others because priests are employees of individual dioceses around the world and not direct employees of the Vatican. It says the head of the church cannot be compared to the CEO of a company.

Victims groups have said Benedict, particularly in his previous job at the head of the Vatican's doctrinal department, turned a blind eye to the overall policies of local Churches, which moved abusers from parish to parish instead of defrocking them and handing them over to authorities.

The Vatican has denied this. The pope has apologized for abuse in the Church, has met with abuse victims on many of his trips, and ordered a major investigation into abuse in Ireland.

But groups representing some of the victims say the Pope will leave office with a stain on his legacy because he was in positions of power in the Vatican for more than three decades, first as a cardinal and then as pope, and should have done more.

The scandals began years before the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected pope in 2005 but the issue has overshadowed his papacy from the beginning, as more and more cases came to light in dioceses across the world.

As recently as last month, the former archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahony, was stripped by his successor of all public and administrative duties after a thousands of pages of files detailing abuse in the 1980s were made public.

Mahony, who was archbishop of Los Angeles from 1985 until 2011, has apologized for "mistakes" he made as archbishop, saying he had not been equipped to deal with the problem of sexual misconduct involving children. The pope was not named in that case.

In 2007, the Los Angeles archdiocese, which serves 4 million Catholics, reached a $660 million civil settlement with more than 500 victims of child molestation, the biggest agreement of its kind in the United States.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the pope "gave the fight against sexual abuse a new impulse, ensuring that new rules were put in place to prevent future abuse and to listen to victims. That was a great merit of his papacy and for that we will be grateful".

(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Additional reporting by Robin Pomeroy; Edited by Simon Robinson and Giles Elgood)

Link thisShare thisDigg thisEmailReprints

$hadow Puppet Theatre

Obama Puts Pesticide Pusher in Charge of Agricultural Trade Relations

Link to Article

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 13:32

For Immediate Release, March 28, 2010

Contact: Tierra Curry, Center for Biological Diversity, (928) 522-3681

Obama Puts Pesticide Pusher in Charge of Agricultural Trade Relations

WASHINGTON'-- Sidestepping a stalled Senate confirmation vote, yesterday President Obama recess-appointed Islam Siddiqui to be chief agricultural negotiator in the office of the U.S. trade representative. Dr. Siddiqui's nomination was held up in the Senate and was opposed by the Center for Biological Diversity and more than 80 other environmental, small-farm, and consumer groups. More than 90,000 concerned citizens contacted the White House and Senate to oppose the nomination. Siddiqui is a former pesticide lobbyist and is currently vice president of science and regulatory affairs at CropLife America, a biotech and pesticide trade group that lobbies to weaken environmental laws.

''Dr. Siddiqui's confirmation is a step backward,'' said Tierra Curry, a scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. ''His appointment ensures the perpetuation of pesticide- and fossil-fuel-intensive policies, which undermine global food security and imperil public health and wildlife.''

As undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Siddiqui oversaw the development of the first national organic labeling standards, which allowed sewage sludge-fertilized, genetically modified, and irradiated food to be labeled as organic before public outcry forced more stringent standards. Siddiqui has derided the European Union's ban on hormone-treated beef and has vowed to pressure the European Union to accept more genetically modified crops.

CropLife America, formerly known as the National Agricultural Chemicals Association, lobbies to weaken the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act, claiming that pesticides are not pollutants because of their intended beneficial effect and that pesticides positively impact endangered species. The group has lobbied to allow pesticides to be tested on children and to allow the continued use of persistent organic pollutants and ozone-depleting chemicals. It also launched a petition asking Michelle Obama to use pesticides in the organic White House garden and fought county initiatives in California banning genetically modified foods.

CropLife America : Crop Protection Association

Crop Protection Companies : Association Members | CropLife America

Syria

The 'consultants' and advisors' are in

CW to be expected, by AQ, maybe in EU?

US, EU may start training and equipping Syrian rebels

Link to Article

Source: WTF RLY REPORT

Thu, 28 Feb 2013 01:58

RT.com

The US will increase aid to the Syrian opposition, the White House has announced. Europe may follow suit by increasing aid to the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The decision is expected after a key conference on Syria in Rome.

''We will continue to provide assistance to the Syrian people, to the Syrian opposition, we will continue to increase our assistance in the effort to bring about a post-Assad Syria,'' White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement.

''We are constantly reviewing the nature of the assistance we provide to both the Syrian people, in form of humanitarian assistance, and to the Syrian opposition in the form of non-lethal assistance,'' he said.

So far the US has no plans to provide the Syrian insurgency with body armor, vehicles or military training, Reuters reported citing sources familiar with the matter.

Washington is however changing its policy on the conflict, and will send ''medical supplies and food'' directly to the rebels, sources said.

Read more

Syria says uncovered stockpiles of US, European weapons - Israel News, Ynetnews

Syrian newspaper Al-Watan reported that the Syrian army has uncovered stockpiles of weapons north of Homs which include US-made M-47 anti-tank missiles and European-made munitions.

-

A formal military source says this could prove that the US is lying by denying it is arming the rebels and that the weapons originate in Israel. (Roi Kais)

EUROLand

Grillo snubs deal with Italian Left

Link to Article

Source: BBC News - Home

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 17:01

27 February 2013Last updated at10:57 ETItalian comedian-turned-politician Beppe Grillo, whose Five-Star Movement (M5S) defied expectations to come third in last weekend's elections, has ruled out a coalition with the centre-left.

Pier Luigi Bersani's Democratic Party (PD) won a majority in the Chamber of Deputies but fell short in the Senate.

Mr Grillo told the BBC he expected fresh elections within a year.

The inconclusive polls have left Italy in political deadlock and pushed up borrowing costs for the government.

'Stalker'On his blog, Mr Grillo called Mr Bersani a "dead man talking" and a political stalker.

He told the BBC he believed the two main blocs on the centre-left and centre-right would come to an agreement, and that his Five-Star Movement would be in opposition.

The M5S would decide on a case-by-case basis whether to support specific legislation, Mr Grillo said, adding that he should be thanked for giving angry people hope.

Meanwhile, a Germany opposition leader has made waves by describing Mr Grillo and the former Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, as "clowns".

The Social Democratic Party's candidate for chancellor, Peer Steinbrueck, did not name them but said he was "appalled that a pair of clowns [had] won" the Italian elections.

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano cancelled a dinner with Mr Steinbrueck after learning of his remarks, made at a political meeting in Potsdam, outside Berlin.

Mr Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) came second in the election for the Chamber of Deputies, and first in the Senate.

Eurozone crisis live: Deadlock deepens in Italy as Grillo rejects centre-left.

Link to Article

Source: bertb news feed

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 16:57

Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the eurozone financial crisis following the dramatic Italian election results, and other key events in the world economy.

It never really went away, but there's no doubt that the eurozone crisis is now getting everyone's full attention again.

The deadlock in Italy following the weekend's election is a very nasty shock to those who thought the worst was somehow over for Europe.

With a majority of voters rejecting the reform plans favoured by the EU, we might be looking at months of drama:

Photograph: GuardianAs our front page story today declares:

Three years of German-led austerity and budget cuts aimed at saving the euro and retooling the European economy was left facing one of its biggest challenges as Italian voters' rejection of spending cuts and tax rises opened up a stark new fissure in European politics.

The governing stalemate in Rome and the vote in the general election '' by a factor of three to two '' against the austerity policies pursued by Italy's humiliated caretaker prime minister, Mario Monti, meant that the spending cuts and tax rises dictated by the eurozone would grind to a halt, risking a re-eruption of the euro crisis after six months of relative stability.

That was yesterday. Now, Italy's first challenge is to sell up to '­Â6.5bn of long-term government bonds this morning.

Investors are certain to demand a higher rate of return, with Italy's future so uncertain. How much higher (and how many bond traders take part), will show how nervous the markets are today.

And the big question remains - who will govern Italy?

Last night Pier Luigi Bersani threw down a challenge to Beppe Grillo and his Five Star Movement (M5S) -- you've won influence, now use it.

As John Hooper reported from Rome:

At a press conference in Rome, a weary-looking Bersani said it was time for the upstart movement to do something more than just demand the removal of Italy's mainstream politicians.

"Up to now, they have been saying: 'All go home.' But now they're here, too. So either they go home as well, or they say what they want to do for their country and their children."

Such an alliance would scupper the Grand Coalition favoured by Silvio Berlusconi. Your move, Beppe.

We'll be watching all the latest political and financial developments through the day....

EU Doesn't Like Its Forecasts, So It Removes Them From Its Site

Link to Article

Source: Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis

Mon, 25 Feb 2013 05:16

With thanks to Yogi Berra, making predictions is hard, especially about the future. And with constantly revised forecasts for the EU, the European Commission decides the safe safe thing to do is Eliminate Forecasts for 2015.

Via Google Translate from El Economista ...

This morning you could see the data for 2012, 2103, 2014 and 2015, but now can only see the figures from 2011 to 2014 and there is no trace of the catastrophic 2015 numbers (see the screenshots attached below).

Although there is no official communication in one way or another, hypothetically could be a real blunder produced after being released by mistake, or any type of computer failure, a former forecasts for 2012 under the 2015 column.'s say, that would have mistakenly announced as 2015 forecast estimates released earlier this year to last year.

Forecasts of Discord

Those European Commission forecasts envisage a general improvement in economic scenario for 2014. However, estimates for 2015, this morning hidden behind an interactive graphic , pointed for a few hours, before being erased-a brutal relapse. In fact, Germany would grow 2% in 2014 to only 0.8% in 2015, would UK from 1.9% to 0.3%, France 1.2% and Spain 0.2% from 0.8% to -1.4%.

Sooner or LaterEl Economista has some interesting snapshots of the removed estimates. To be completely fair, the original posting may have been a simple mistake.

Regardless, I suggest the EU forecast for 2014 is too optimistic.

Will the EU 2014 estimates be revised lower as well? If not soon, then expect revisions later, with France leading the way lower.

Mike "Mish" Shedlockhttp://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com

Resignation of government fails to stop Bulgaria protests. (Euronews video)

Link to Article

Source: WT news feed

Sun, 24 Feb 2013 23:45

Thousands of protesters are out on the streets of Sofia, showing that discontent in Bulgaria has not been satisfied with the resignation of the prime minister and his government on February 20.

People are still angry about extortionate energy bills and poverty '' blaming what they call the 'energy mafia' and all politicians.

''In the government there should be people who really care about Bulgaria, they should care about the country instead of thinking that the common people should manage by themselves,'' said one of the protesters.

Another protester added: ''We are now the poorest country in Europe. Why? Just because all these years we have been robbed and no money has been given to the Bulgarian people '' and the little money that was given was taken from them.''

Ahead of the demonstrations, Bulgaria's president Rosen Plevneliev met with protesters gathered in front of the Ministry of Economy and made this appeal:

''I invite you, as soon as next week, together with other civil organizations and labour unions, to work together for what is important for the country.

''Thank you for the demands that were handed to me. I wish you good luck. Let's prove that we believe in the democratic values and the future of Bulgaria. We will work together. The Presidency is open!'' Plevneliev told the crowd.

In what is the EU's poorest country, many accuse politicians of corruption and want the chief prosecutor to investigate all those believed to have stolen since the fall of communism in 1989.

More about:Bulgaria, Bulgarian politics, ProtestCopyright (C) 2013 euronews

JavaScript is required in order to view this article's accompanying video

Meer Nederlanders voelen zich Europeaan

Link to Article

Mon, 25 Feb 2013 14:56

Meer Nederlanders zijn zich vorig jaar Europeaan gaan voelen. In het begin van 2012 zei 61 procent van de Nederlanders zich Europees te voelen, aan het einde van het jaar steeg dit naar 67 procent.Meer hieroverCrisis nog niet op toppunt

2011-12-22 15:03:35.0

We zien onze financile toekomst zonnig in

2011-10-17 16:50:23.0

Dat meldt NU.nl. Maandag publiceerde de Europese Commissie uitkomsten van het periodiek onderzoek Eurobarometer. Jongeren voelen zich minder Europees dan ouderen boven de 55 jaar.

Burger EUOp de vraag 'voelt u zich burger van de Europese Unie' antwoordde 72 procent van de 55- plussers, de generatie die de oprichting van de EU heeft meegemaakt, bevestigend. Onder de jongeren was dit 63 procent.

Hogere klasseMensen die zelf aangeven tot de hogere klasse te behoren, voelen zich meer Europees dan Nederlanders die zeggen tot de arbeidersklasse te horen: 80 tegenover ruim 50 procent.

Volgende artikel

Ikea haalt 'gehaktballen' uit de winkel

Meer

14:57

Kim De Gelder: 'ik had geen keuze'

13:43

Itali kijkt vol spanning naar Lombardije

12:58

PSV beboet Lens na ruzie in De Kuip

14:54

'Puntenaftrek voor Feyenoord en PSV na opstootje tussen spelers'

13:49

Vandaag weten we het zeker: is nationalisatie SNS Reaal terecht?

12:06

Dotteren niet heilig bij ernstige hartproblemen

13:32

Ikea haalt 'gehaktballen' uit de winkel

11:15

Gepensioneerden werken lekker door

10:23

Iets meer groene stroom opgewekt

Drone Nation

Robert Gibbs Admits He was Told to Act as if Drone Program did not Exist

Link to Article

Source: Crooks and Liars

Sun, 24 Feb 2013 22:31

In the midst of a fairly damning conversation about the media and their ego-driven obsession with 'access' as demonstrated by the Tiger Woods nontroversy, UP with Chris Hayes got an amazing admission from former Press Secretary Robert Gibbs: when he stepped into the role, he was told to not even acknowledge the existence of a drone program.

''When I went through the process of becoming press secretary, one of the first things they told me was, 'You're not even to acknowledge the drone program. You're not even to discuss that it exists,'' said Gibbs, now an MSNBC contributor. That policy of secrecy, Gibbs said, made it difficult to deal with reporters asking about the program. Describing one such notable exchange in 2009 with Major Garrett, then of Fox News, Gibbs said, ''I would get a question like that and literally I couldn't tell you what Major asked, because once I figured out it was about the drone program, I realize I'm not supposed to talk about it.''

Gibbs added: ''Here's what's inherently crazy about that proposition: you're being asked a question based on reporting of a program that exists. So you're the official government spokesperson acting as if the entire program'...pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.''

The Obama administration has vastly stepped up the use of drones and targeted killings of suspected terrorists in countries like Pakistan and Yemen over the past four years, even targeting American citizens, a policy that has come under intense criticism from civil liberties advocates. For most of the president's first term the administration steadfastly refused to acknowledge the program's existence.

Now let's be clear: the drone program did not begin with the Obama administration, nor did the official secrecy about them. But it is this denial of a program we all knew existed that actually makes things less safe for Americans and antagonizes even more into terrorist acts in retaliation.

Ana Marie Cox reels from this information, although I'm not sure why she should be so shocked. Center for American Progress President Neera Tandem acknowledges that while there was probably a reasonable justification for keeping the program classified, it does make the administration look hypocritical after posturing itself as a more transparent and more willing to live up to the ideals of America than the Bush administration. Certainly, we've seen that cynicism permeate the liberal blogosphere.

Follow the Pipes

Resignation of government fails to stop Bulgaria protests. (Euronews video)

Link to Article

Source: WT news feed

Sun, 24 Feb 2013 23:45

Thousands of protesters are out on the streets of Sofia, showing that discontent in Bulgaria has not been satisfied with the resignation of the prime minister and his government on February 20.

People are still angry about extortionate energy bills and poverty '' blaming what they call the 'energy mafia' and all politicians.

''In the government there should be people who really care about Bulgaria, they should care about the country instead of thinking that the common people should manage by themselves,'' said one of the protesters.

Another protester added: ''We are now the poorest country in Europe. Why? Just because all these years we have been robbed and no money has been given to the Bulgarian people '' and the little money that was given was taken from them.''

Ahead of the demonstrations, Bulgaria's president Rosen Plevneliev met with protesters gathered in front of the Ministry of Economy and made this appeal:

''I invite you, as soon as next week, together with other civil organizations and labour unions, to work together for what is important for the country.

''Thank you for the demands that were handed to me. I wish you good luck. Let's prove that we believe in the democratic values and the future of Bulgaria. We will work together. The Presidency is open!'' Plevneliev told the crowd.

In what is the EU's poorest country, many accuse politicians of corruption and want the chief prosecutor to investigate all those believed to have stolen since the fall of communism in 1989.

More about:Bulgaria, Bulgarian politics, ProtestCopyright (C) 2013 euronews

JavaScript is required in order to view this article's accompanying video

Bulgaria Signs South Stream, Gas Supply Accords With Russia - Bloomberg

Bulgaria signed an investment agreement with OAO Gazprom (GAZP), Russia's gas export monopoly, to build the South Stream pipeline, which will ship natural gas across the Black Sea and Bulgaria to Europe.

Bulgaria also signed a new long-term gas-supply contract, which involves a 20 percent price cut from Jan. 1, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov told reporters in Sofia today.

Gazprom kept the link between oil and gas prices in the contract and will ship 2.9 billion cubic meters of the fuel a year, the Moscow-based company said in a statement today. Bulgaria has an 80 percent take-or-pay obligation, Energy and Economy Minister Delyan Dobreb said at the news conference.

"We've agreed on very preferential prices for Bulgaria," Gazprom Chief Executive Officer Alexey Miller told reporters. "With South Stream, Bulgaria becomes the biggest transit country for Russian gas in Europe."

The Bulgarian section of the pipeline, which will run through Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia and northern Italy with offshoots potentially to Greece, Croatia, Montenegro and Macedonia, will be 540 kilometers (335 miles) long and will cost 3.3 billion euros ($4.2 billion), according to the government.

Gazprom will lend to the Bulgarian Energy Holding, which groups state utilities, an undisclosed amount of funds needed to cover its participation in the South Stream Bulgaria AD joint venture that will build the Bulgarian section of the pipeline, according to the agreement. The funds will be repaid by the venture's dividends. The joint pipeline company will have a planned rate of return of 8 percent.

Ukraine to cut Russian gas import almost twofold in 2013 '-- RT Business

Link to Article

Source: BadChad's ThoughtPile

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 14:54

Published time: February 26, 2013 21:07

Ukraine is going to cut gas supplies from Russia despite earlier agreements between the two countries. In 2013 Kiev plans to buy 18 to 20 bln cubic meters despite existing contracts stating it should buy twice as much.

The decision was announced Tuesday by the Deputy Chairman of the Ukraine's Naftogaz, Vadim Chuprun, who stressed that the country ''has enough reserves not to feel the shortage of Russian gas'' in the near future.

''We have warned Gazprom that we are going to buy less this year,'' the RIA news agency quotes Chuprun as saying.

Under the 2009 contract, Ukraine's national energy company is expected to buy 52 billion cubic meters of gas annually, with the possibility to reduce the volume by 20 per cent to 42 billion cubic meters. However, Gazprom said, last year Naftogaz imported only 24.9 billion cubic meters '' which is only 60 percent of what is stipulated in the contract.

In January, Gazprom reportedly sent Naftogaz a US$7-billion-bill for failing to meet the import requirements set in the 2009 contract. However, Ukraine has refused to pay the bill, as the country's President Viktor Yanukovich stated last Friday.

Kiev's current stance is backed in Brussels. The EU has recently promised to help diversify gas supplies in the country. Chuprun says Ukraine plans to sign deals on reverse gas supplies from Slovakia and Hungary in 2013 meaning around 7bn cubic meters of Russian gas will first go through the territory of Ukraine and then return to the country.

''Apparently, Ukraine needs more Russian gas than they buy now. Otherwise there wouldn't be talks with the EU,'' the Rossiyskaya Gazeta daily quotes the Ukrainian energy expert Valery Koval, who believes those projects are mainly aimed at forcing Russia to make concessions at talks over the gas price.

Federal Register | Pangea LNG (North America) Holdings, LLC; Application for Long-Term Authorization To Export Liquefied Natural Gas Produced From Domestic Natural Gas Resources to Non-Free Trade Agreement Countries for a 25-Year Period

Link to Article

Thu, 28 Feb 2013 04:14

The Office of Fossil Energy (FE) of the Department of Energy (DOE) gives notice of receipt of an application (Application) filed on December 19, 2012, by Pangea LNG (North America) Holdings, LLC (Pangea), requesting long-term, multi-contract authorization to export domestically produced liquefied natural gas (LNG) in an amount up to the equivalent of 398.5 billion cubic feet (Bcf) per year (Bcf/y) of natural gas (equal to 1.09 Bcf/day of natural gas), the equivalent of 8 million metric tons per annum (mtpa), from its proposed South Texas LNG Export Project (ST LNG Project) located at the Port of Corpus Christi in Ingleside, Texas. Pangea requests this authorization for a 25-year term commencing on the earlier of the date of first export or seven years from the date the requested authorization is granted. The LNG would be exported to any country (1) with which the United States does not have a free trade agreement (FTA) requiring national treatment for trade in natural gas, (2) that has developed or in the future develops the capacity to import LNG via ocean-going carrier, and (3) with which trade is not prohibited by U.S. law or policy. Pangea is requesting this authorization to export LNG both on its own behalf and as agent for other parties who hold title to the LNG at the point of export. The Application was filed under section 3 of the Natural Gas Act (NGA). Protests, motions to intervene, notices of intervention, and written comments are invited.

Protests, motions to intervene or notices of intervention, as applicable, requests for additional procedures, and written comments are to be filed using procedures detailed in the Public Comment Procedures section no later than 4:30 p.m., eastern time, April 29, 2013.

Electronic Filing by email: fergas@hq.doe.gov.

Regular Mail:U.S. Department of Energy (FE-34),Office of Natural Gas Regulatory Activities,Office of Fossil Energy,P.O. Box 44375,Washington, DC 20026-4375.

Hand Delivery or Private Delivery Services (e.g.,FedEx, UPS, etc.):U.S. Department of Energy (FE-34),Office of Natural Gas Regulatory Activities,Office of Fossil Energy,Forrestal Building, Room 3E-042,1000 Independence Avenue SW.,Washington, DC 20585.

Larine Moore or Marc Talbert,U.S. Department of Energy (FE-34),Office of Natural Gas Regulatory Activities,Office of Fossil Energy,Forrestal Building, Room 3E-042,1000 Independence Avenue SW.,Washington, DC 20585,(202) 586-9478; (202) 586-7991.

Edward Myers,U.S. Department of Energy,Office of the Assistant General Counsel forElectricity and Fossil Energy,Forrestal Building, Room 6B-256,1000 Independence Avenue SW.,Washington, DC 20585,(202) 586-3397.

Pangea is a Delaware limited liability company with its principal place of business in The Woodlands, Texas. Pangea is a wholly owned subsidiary of Pangea LNG B.V. (Pangea LNG), a Netherlands-based company that is developing floating LNG liquefaction and storage solutions around the globe. Pangea LNG's ordinary shares are owned by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., Ltd. (DSME) (70%), D&H Solutions AS (20%), and NextDecade International Co¦peratief U.A. (NextDecade International) (10%).

DSME is a South Korea-based company whose major shareholders consist of Korea Development Bank (31.27%) and Korea Asset Management Corporation (19.11%), with the remaining shares being widely-held (with no individual entities holding five (5) percent or more of DSME's shares). [1] D&H Solutions AS is a Norwegian-based joint venture company that is owned by Hemla II AS (50%) and DSME (50%). NextDecade International is a Netherlands-based cooperative and has six (6) individual investors from the United States, Spain, and The Netherlands.

Pangea states that consistent with an executed Letter of Intent, it is working with Statoil North America, Inc. on the development of the ST LNG Project. Statoil North America, Inc. is a subsidiary of Statoil ASA (Statoil), a Norwegian upstream oil and gas company listed on the Oslo and New York stock exchanges. Pangea states that headquartered in Stavanger, Norway, Statoil is an international energy company with 40 years of offshore oil and gas production experience on the Norwegian Continental Shelf and currently has operations in 36 countries. Pangea states that Statoil's LNG activities include being the operator of the Snühvit, and LNG export facility in Norway; exercising its capacity holder rights with respect to the Cove Point import and regasification terminal (in the U.S.); and producing, transporting and marketing LNG worldwide. Pangea states that Statoil has been active in the U.S. oil and gas industry for 25 years. Pangea states that over the past decade, Statoil has increased its North American business substantially through upstream positions in the Gulf of Mexico, acreages in the Marcellus shale gas play, the Eagle Ford shale gas play, the Bakken shale oil play and oil sands acreages in Alberta, Canada. Pangea further states that it and Statoil are in active negotiations with respect to Statoil procuring up to a 50% equity stake in the ST LNG Project and utilizing up to 50% of the liquefaction and export capacity of the ST LNG Project. [2]

In the instant Application, Pangea seeks long-term, multi-contract authorization to export domestically produced LNG in an amount up to the equivalent of 398.5 billion cubic feet (Bcf) per year (Bcf/y) of natural gas (equal to 1.09 Bcf/day of natural gas), the equivalent of 8 million metric tons per annum (mtpa), for a period of 25 years beginning on the earlier of the date of first export or seven years from the date the authorization is granted by DOE/FE. Pangea seeks to export this LNG to any nation with which the United States does not have an FTA requiring national treatment for trade in natural gas or LNG with which trade is not prohibited by United States law or policy. Pangea is seeking this export authorization in conjunction with its proposal to construct, own, and operate the ST LNG Project. [3] Pangea states that the ST LNG Project will consist of both land-based and floating components and will include natural gas treatment, compression, liquefaction and storage facilities, as well as ancillary facilities required to receive and liquefy natural gas, and to store and deliver LNG. Pangea states that the ST LNG Project will be capable of processing an average of approximately 398.5 Bcf/y, approximately 1.09 Bcf/d, of pipeline-quality natural gas. Pangea states that such gas will be delivered to the ST LNG Project through an approximately 27-mile-long pipeline, South Texas Pipeline, to be developed by a Pangea affiliate. Pangea intends to interconnect the ST LNG Project with nine interstate and intrastate pipeline systems [4] via the South Texas Pipeline, thereby allowing natural gas to be supplied through displacement or direct access from a wide variety of supply sources.

Pangea states that the ST LNG Project has been proposed, in part, due to the markedly improved outlook for domestic natural gas reserves and production. Pangea states that improved drilling techniques and extraction technologies have contributed to the rapid growth in new supplies from unconventional gas-bearing formations across the U.S. and have been utilized to enhance production in some conventional fields. Pangea states that such developments have completely changed the complexion of the U.S. natural gas industry and radically expanded the resource base.

Pangea states that LNG exports via the ST LNG Project represents a market-driven path toward deploying the country's vast energy reserves in a manner that will meaningfully contribute to the public interest through a variety of benefits, including: (1) More jobs [5] and personal income, greater tax revenues, and increased economic activity; (2) Improved U.S. balance of payments (by between $3.7 billion and $6 billion annually) through the exportation of natural gas and the displacement of imports of other petroleum liquids; (3) Enhanced national security, as a result of the U.S.'s larger role in international energy markets, assistance provided to our allies, and reduced U.S. dependency on foreign oil and natural gas production; [6] (4) Better opportunities to market U.S. products and services abroad, as a result of new competitively priced gas supplies introduced into world markets leading to improved economies among the U.S.'s trading partners; (5) Increased economic trade and closer ties with foreign trading partners and hemispheric allies, while displacing environmentally damaging fuels in those countries; (6) Increased production capacity able to better adjust to varying domestic demand scenarios; and (7) Dampened volatility in domestic natural gas prices.

Pangea submits that these benefits, and others discussed in this Application, demonstrate that Pangea's export proposal is not inconsistent with the public interest. Pangea states that this stance is now buttressed by the independent NERA Report, which key findings related to the macroeconomic impacts of LNG exports are overwhelmingly positive.

Further discussion of the public interest and analysis of the impact of LNG exports is included in the Application and Appendix A of the Application.

Pangea states that it will request NGA Section 3 authorization from FERC so that it may site, construct, and operate the ST LNG Project. Pangea states that it intends to commence the FERC's mandatory pre-filing process in Spring 2013 and then file its final application to obtain Section 3 authorization in the Fall 2013. Pangea states that its affiliate developing the ST Pipeline will file an application for NGA Section 7(c) authorization to construct, own, and operate the South Texas Pipeline.

Pangea states that the potential environmental impacts of the ST LNG Project will be reviewed by FERC under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Pangea further states that consistent with the NEPA scheme applicable to applications for authorizations under NGA Section 3 delineated by Congress in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, [7] it expects that FERC shall act as the lead agency, with DOE/FE acting as a cooperating agency, in connection with the ST LNG Project.

The Application will be reviewed pursuant to section 3 of the NGA, as amended, and the authority contained in DOE Delegation Order No. 00-002.00L (April 29, 2011) and DOE Redelegation Order No. 00-002.04E (April 29, 2011). In reviewing this LNG export Application, DOE will consider any issues required by law or policy. To the extent determined to be relevant or appropriate, these issues will include the impact of LNG exports associated with this Application, and the cumulative impact of any other application(s) previously approved, on domestic need for the gas proposed for export, adequacy of domestic natural gas supply, U.S. energy security, and any other issues, including the impact on the U.S. economy (GDP), consumers, and industry, job creation, U.S. balance of trade, international considerations, and whether the arrangement is consistent with DOE's policy of promoting competition in the marketplace by allowing commercial parties to freely negotiate their own trade arrangements. Parties that may oppose this Application should comment in their responses on these issues, as well as any other issues deemed relevant to the Application.

NEPA requires DOE to give appropriate consideration to the environmental effects of its proposed decisions. No final decision will be issued in this proceeding until DOE has met its environmental responsibilities.

Due to the complexity of the issues raised by the Applicants, interested persons will be provided 60 days from the date of publication of this Notice in which to submit comments, protests, motions to intervene, notices of intervention, or motions for additional procedures.

In response to this notice, any person may file a protest, comments, or a motion to intervene or notice of intervention, as applicable. Any person wishing to become a party to the proceeding must file a motion to intervene or notice of intervention, as applicable. The filing of comments or a protest with respect to the Application will not serve to make the commenter or protestant a party to the proceeding, although protests and comments received from persons who are not parties will be considered in determining the appropriate action to be taken on the Application. All protests, comments, motions to intervene or notices of intervention must meet the requirements specified by the regulations in 10 CFR part 590.

Filings may be submitted using one of the following methods: (1) EMailing the filing to fergas@hq.doe.gov with FE Docket No. 12-184-LNG in the title line; (2) mailing an original and three paper copies of the filing to the Office Natural Gas Regulatory Activities at the address listed in ADDRESSES. The filing must include a reference to FE Docket No. 12-184-LNG; or (3) hand delivering an original and three paper copies of the filing to the Office of Natural Gas Regulatory Activities at the address listed in ADDRESSES. The filing must include a reference to FE Docket No. 12-184-LNG.

A decisional record on the Application will be developed through responses to this notice by parties, including the parties' written comments and replies thereto. Additional procedures will be used as necessary to achieve a complete understanding of the facts and issues. A party seeking intervention may request that additional procedures be provided, such as additional written comments, an oral presentation, a conference, or trial-type hearing. Any request to file additional written comments should explain why they are necessary. Any request for an oral presentation should identify the substantial question of fact, law, or policy at issue, show that it is material and relevant to a decision in the proceeding, and demonstrate why an oral presentation is needed. Any request for a conference should demonstrate why the conference would materially advance the proceeding. Any request for a trial-type hearing must show that there are factual issues genuinely in dispute that are relevant and material to a decision and that a trial-type hearing is necessary for a full and true disclosure of the facts.

If an additional procedure is scheduled, notice will be provided to all parties. If no party requests additional procedures, a final Opinion and Order may be issued based on the official record, including the Application and responses filed by parties pursuant to this notice, in accordance with 10 CFR 590.316.

The Application filed by Pangea is available for inspection and copying in the Office of Natural Gas Regulatory Activities docket room, Room 3E-042, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585. The docket room is open between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The Application and any filed protests, motions to intervene or notice of interventions, and comments will also be available electronically by going to the following DOE/FE Web address: http://www.fe.doe.gov/programs/gasregulation/index.html.

Issued in Washington, DC, on February 21, 2013.

John A. Anderson,

Manager, Natural Gas Regulatory Activities,Office of Oil and Gas Global Security and Supply,Office of Fossil Energy.

[FR Doc. 2013-04540 Filed 2-26-13; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6450-01-P

Pangea LNG B.V.

Link to Article

Thu, 28 Feb 2013 14:21

Latest NewsLevant LNG signs Breakthrough Floating LNG Agreement with Gazprom Marketing and Trading Switzerland AG

February 26, 2013 | admin

SEOUL, South Korea ''Levant LNG, a subsidiary of Pangea LNG...

US Department of Energy Grants Pangea LNG Project Permission to Export LNG

February 04, 2013 | admin

THE WOODLANDS, Texas '' The U.S. Department of Energy has...

Pangea LNG Submits Non-FTA Export Application to DOE for South Texas LNG Project

December 20, 2012 | admin

THE WOODLANDS, Texas '' Pangea LNG B.V. announced today that...

Pangea LNG B.V. is an investment company and a developer of LNG floating liquefaction '' designed to accelerate and support the monetization of gas reserves and stranded gas reserves. Owned by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME), NextDecade International and D&H Solutions AS, Pangea LNG B.V. will connect gas suppliers to the world's most important LNG demand markets with a focus on reserves of 2 '' 20 TCF.

The Pangea companies believe that one size does not fit all. That is why we are developing solutions that can be duplicated and geared towards more specific gas qualities and environments. By designing for a tighter range of parameters, we are able to eliminate unnecessary capital costs. Our modular design concept can be fully utilized on a vessel, be efficiently divided between land-based and floating, or even be totally land-based.

Pangea LNG embraces a holistic approach, encompassing the entire value chain from the upstream to the final off-taker to monetize gas into LNG. Owners of the hydrocarbon as well as the off-taker of LNG are invited to participate in the value-creation and position their risk and reward profile accordingly. This holistic approach helps mitigate risk positions for small and medium sized gas owners through the sharing of a larger portion of the value chain, and helps NOC's and final off-takers secure access to technology and operations together with a long-term supply of LNG.

Pangea LNG's consortium offers vast LNG industry experience and has invested in FLNG technology, FEED studies, and complex financial models and solutions. In addition, Pangea LNG is well positioned with the off-takers of LNG throughout the world. One of our strengths is our ability to safely and economically fast track the entire development process resulting in earlier revenue streams. For every month a project comes on-line early, that is a month of revenue that otherwise will not be realized until 20 years from then, the increase in NPV value for gas owners and tax revenue for NOC's can be astounding.

Pangea LNG B.V. is organized regionally with initial interests in:

' Eastern Mediterranean '' Levant LNG Holdings Corporation' North America '' Pangea LNG (North America) Holdings, LLC' East Africa '' Pangea LNG B.V.

Pangea LNG is positioned to become the preeminent Floating Liquefaction developer worldwide.

Azerbaijan: Baku's Terminology Commission Ditching Russian-Origin First Names | PRI's The World

For our Geo Quiz, we've got our eyes on a former Soviet republic.

This now-independent nation is in the Caucasus region. It was part of the Soviet Union until 1991.

Russia still looms large on its northern border. But the country is looking to diminish Russia's cultural influence.

One tool it's using is its "terminology commission." It's designed to regulate language, including what names parents can give their newborns.

So Dmitry and Olga, for example, are out...but Leyla and Pasha are in.

Can you name this former Soviet republic which also borders Georgia, Armenia, and the Caspian Sea?

Words Matter

Kerry Confuses Poor Kyrgyzstan with Rich Kazakhstan by Naming it Kyrzakhstan - Gestetner Updates | Gestetner Updates

In an embarrassing slip of the tongue, Mr Kerry last week praised US diplomats working to secure "democratic institutions" in the Central Asian country, which does not exist. The newly minted diplomat was referring to Kyrgyzstan, a poor, landlocked nation of 5.5 million, which he appeared to confuse with its resource-rich neighbour to the north, Kazakhstan.

The State Department kindly omitted the error in the official transcript of Wednesday's speech, which Mr Kerry delivered on the eve of his first foreign trip as secretary of state. Mr Kerry's flub was all the more awkward, because Kyrgyzstan is a key ally in the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan and a major recipient of US aid, which totalled $41 million (£27 million) in 2011.

Oscars crap

Sick

Certainly

Amazing

Awesome

amazing - definition of amazing by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.

Link to Article

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 15:17

amazing[ƒèmeƒ»zƒ»Ñ]adjcausing wonder or astonishment amazing featsamazingly adv

ThesaurusLegend: Synonyms Related Words Antonyms

amazingadjectiveastonishing, striking, surprising, brilliant, stunning, impressive, overwhelming, staggering, sensational(informal), bewildering, breathtaking, astounding, eye-opening, wondrous(archaic or literary), mind-boggling, jaw-dropping, stupefying, gee-whizz (slang), startlingIt's amazing what we can remember with a little prompting.Want to thank TFD for its existence? Tell a friend about us, add a link to this page, add the site to iGoogle, or visit the webmaster's page for free fun content.

Furlough - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Definition of FURLOUGH

: a leave of absence from duty granted especially to a soldier; also : a document authorizing such a leave of absence

See furlough defined for English-language learners >>

See furlough defined for kids >>

Examples of FURLOUGH

Each employee will have a one-day furlough every month.

Origin of FURLOUGH

Dutch verlof, literally, permission, from Middle Dutch, from ver- for- + lof permission; akin to Middle High German loube permission -- more at for-, leave

First Known Use: 1625

Obama Nation

Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us

Link to Article

Mon, 25 Feb 2013 15:24

1. Routine Care, Unforgettable BillsWhen Sean Recchi, a 42-year-old from Lancaster, Ohio, was told last March that he had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, his wife Stephanie knew she had to get him to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Stephanie's father had been treated there 10 years earlier, and she and her family credited the doctors and nurses at MD Anderson with extending his life by at least eight years.

Because Stephanie and her husband had recently started their own small technology business, they were unable to buy comprehensive health insurance. For $469 a month, or about 20% of their income, they had been able to get only a policy that covered just $2,000 per day of any hospital costs. ''We don't take that kind of discount insurance,'' said the woman at MD Anderson when Stephanie called to make an appointment for Sean.

Stephanie was then told by a billing clerk that the estimated cost of Sean's visit '-- just to be examined for six days so a treatment plan could be devised '-- would be $48,900, due in advance. Stephanie got her mother to write her a check. ''You do anything you can in a situation like that,'' she says. The Recchis flew to Houston, leaving Stephanie's mother to care for their two teenage children.

About a week later, Stephanie had to ask her mother for $35,000 more so Sean could begin the treatment the doctors had decided was urgent. His condition had worsened rapidly since he had arrived in Houston. He was ''sweating and shaking with chills and pains,'' Stephanie recalls. ''He had a large mass in his chest that was '... growing. He was panicked.''

Nonetheless, Sean was held for about 90 minutes in a reception area, she says, because the hospital could not confirm that the check had cleared. Sean was allowed to see the doctor only after he advanced MD Anderson $7,500 from his credit card. The hospital says there was nothing unusual about how Sean was kept waiting. According to MD Anderson communications manager Julie Penne, ''Asking for advance payment for services is a common, if unfortunate, situation that confronts hospitals all over the United States.''

Claudia Susana for TIMESean RecchiDiagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma at age 42. Total cost, in advance, for Sean's treatment plan and initial doses of chemotherapy: $83,900. Charges for blood and lab tests amounted to more than $15,000; with Medicare, they would have cost a few hundred dollars

The total cost, in advance, for Sean to get his treatment plan and initial doses of chemotherapy was $83,900.

Why?

The first of the 344 lines printed out across eight pages of his hospital bill '-- filled with indecipherable numerical codes and acronyms '-- seemed innocuous. But it set the tone for all that followed. It read, ''1 ACETAMINOPHE TABS 325 MG.'' The charge was only $1.50, but it was for a generic version of a Tylenol pill. You can buy 100 of them on Amazon for $1.49 even without a hospital's purchasing power.

(In-Depth Video: The Exorbitant Prices of Health Care)

Dozens of midpriced items were embedded with similarly aggressive markups, like $283.00 for a ''CHEST, PA AND LAT 71020.'' That's a simple chest X-ray, for which MD Anderson is routinely paid $20.44 when it treats a patient on Medicare, the government health care program for the elderly.

Every time a nurse drew blood, a ''ROUTINE VENIPUNCTURE'' charge of $36.00 appeared, accompanied by charges of $23 to $78 for each of a dozen or more lab analyses performed on the blood sample. In all, the charges for blood and other lab tests done on Recchi amounted to more than $15,000. Had Recchi been old enough for Medicare, MD Anderson would have been paid a few hundred dollars for all those tests. By law, Medicare's payments approximate a hospital's cost of providing a service, including overhead, equipment and salaries.

On the second page of the bill, the markups got bolder. Recchi was charged $13,702 for ''1 RITUXIMAB INJ 660 MG.'' That's an injection of 660 mg of a cancer wonder drug called Rituxan. The average price paid by all hospitals for this dose is about $4,000, but MD Anderson probably gets a volume discount that would make its cost $3,000 to $3,500. That means the nonprofit cancer center's paid-in-advance markup on Recchi's lifesaving shot would be about 400%.

When I asked MD Anderson to comment on the charges on Recchi's bill, the cancer center released a written statement that said in part, ''The issues related to health care finance are complex for patients, health care providers, payers and government entities alike '... MD Anderson's clinical billing and collection practices are similar to those of other major hospitals and academic medical centers.''

The hospital's hard-nosed approach pays off. Although it is officially a nonprofit unit of the University of Texas, MD Anderson has revenue that exceeds the cost of the world-class care it provides by so much that its operating profit for the fiscal year 2010, the most recent annual report it filed with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, was $531 million. That's a profit margin of 26% on revenue of $2.05 billion, an astounding result for such a service-intensive enterprise.1

The president of MD Anderson is paid like someone running a prosperous business. Ronald DePinho's total compensation last year was $1,845,000. That does not count outside earnings derived from a much publicized waiver he received from the university that, according to the Houston Chronicle, allows him to maintain unspecified ''financial ties with his three principal pharmaceutical companies.''

DePinho's salary is nearly triple the $674,350 paid to William Powers Jr., the president of the entire University of Texas system, of which MD Anderson is a part. This pay structure is emblematic of American medical economics and is reflected on campuses across the U.S., where the president of a hospital or hospital system associated with a university '-- whether it's Texas, Stanford, Duke or Yale '-- is invariably paid much more than the person in charge of the university.

I got the idea for this article when I was visiting Rice University last year. As I was leaving the campus, which is just outside the central business district of Houston, I noticed a group of glass skyscrapers about a mile away lighting up the evening sky. The scene looked like Dubai. I was looking at the Texas Medical Center, a nearly 1,300-acre, 280-building complex of hospitals and related medical facilities, of which MD Anderson is the lead brand name. Medicine had obviously become a huge business. In fact, of Houston's top 10 employers, five are hospitals, including MD Anderson with 19,000 employees; three, led by ExxonMobil with 14,000 employees, are energy companies. How did that happen, I wondered. Where's all that money coming from? And where is it going? I have spent the past seven months trying to find out by analyzing a variety of bills from hospitals like MD Anderson, doctors, drug companies and every other player in the American health care ecosystem.

When you look behind the bills that Sean Recchi and other patients receive, you see nothing rational '-- no rhyme or reason '-- about the costs they faced in a marketplace they enter through no choice of their own. The only constant is the sticker shock for the patients who are asked to pay.

(iReport:Tell Us Your Health Care Story)

Photograph by Nick Veasey for TIMEGauze Pads: $77Charge for each of four boxes of sterile gauze pads, as itemized in a $348,000 bill following a patient's diagnosis of lung cancer

Yet those who work in the health care industry and those who argue over health care policy seem inured to the shock. When we debate health care policy, we seem to jump right to the issue of who should pay the bills, blowing past what should be the first question: Why exactly are the bills so high?

What are the reasons, good or bad, that cancer means a half-million- or million-dollar tab? Why should a trip to the emergency room for chest pains that turn out to be indigestion bring a bill that can exceed the cost of a semester of college? What makes a single dose of even the most wonderful wonder drug cost thousands of dollars? Why does simple lab work done during a few days in a hospital cost more than a car? And what is so different about the medical ecosystem that causes technology advances to drive bills up instead of down?

Recchi's bill and six others examined line by line for this article offer a closeup window into what happens when powerless buyers '-- whether they are people like Recchi or big health-insurance companies '-- meet sellers in what is the ultimate seller's market.

The result is a uniquely American gold rush for those who provide everything from wonder drugs to canes to high-tech implants to CT scans to hospital bill-coding and collection services. In hundreds of small and midsize cities across the country '-- from Stamford, Conn., to Marlton, N.J., to Oklahoma City '-- the American health care market has transformed tax-exempt ''nonprofit'' hospitals into the towns' most profitable businesses and largest employers, often presided over by the regions' most richly compensated executives. And in our largest cities, the system offers lavish paychecks even to midlevel hospital managers, like the 14 administrators at New York City's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center who are paid over $500,000 a year, including six who make over $1 million.

Taken as a whole, these powerful institutions and the bills they churn out dominate the nation's economy and put demands on taxpayers to a degree unequaled anywhere else on earth. In the U.S., people spend almost 20% of the gross domestic product on health care, compared with about half that in most developed countries. Yet in every measurable way, the results our health care system produces are no better and often worse than the outcomes in those countries.

According to one of a series of exhaustive studies done by the McKinsey & Co. consulting firm, we spend more on health care than the next 10 biggest spenders combined: Japan, Germany, France, China, the U.K., Italy, Canada, Brazil, Spain and Australia. We may be shocked at the $60 billion price tag for cleaning up after Hurricane Sandy. We spent almost that much last week on health care. We spend more every year on artificial knees and hips than what Hollywood collects at the box office. We spend two or three times that much on durable medical devices like canes and wheelchairs, in part because a heavily lobbied Congress forces Medicare to pay 25% to 75% more for this equipment than it would cost at Walmart.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that 10 of the 20 occupations that will grow the fastest in the U.S. by 2020 are related to health care. America's largest city may be commonly thought of as the world's financial-services capital, but of New York's 18 largest private employers, eight are hospitals and four are banks. Employing all those people in the cause of curing the sick is, of course, not anything to be ashamed of. But the drag on our overall economy that comes with taxpayers, employers and consumers spending so much more than is spent in any other country for the same product is unsustainable. Health care is eating away at our economy and our treasury.

The health care industry seems to have the will and the means to keep it that way. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the pharmaceutical and health-care-product industries, combined with organizations representing doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, health services and HMOs, have spent $5.36 billion since 1998 on lobbying in Washington. That dwarfs the $1.53 billion spent by the defense and aerospace industries and the $1.3 billion spent by oil and gas interests over the same period. That's right: the health-care-industrial complex spends more than three times what the military-industrial complex spends in Washington.

When you crunch data compiled by McKinsey and other researchers, the big picture looks like this: We're likely to spend $2.8 trillion this year on health care. That $2.8 trillion is likely to be $750 billion, or 27%, more than we would spend if we spent the same per capita as other developed countries, even after adjusting for the relatively high per capita income in the U.S. vs. those other countries. Of the total $2.8 trillion that will be spent on health care, about $800 billion will be paid by the federal government through the Medicare insurance program for the disabled and those 65 and older and the Medicaid program, which provides care for the poor. That $800 billion, which keeps rising far faster than inflation and the gross domestic product, is what's driving the federal deficit. The other $2 trillion will be paid mostly by private health-insurance companies and individuals who have no insurance or who will pay some portion of the bills covered by their insurance. This is what's increasingly burdening businesses that pay for their employees' health insurance and forcing individuals to pay so much in out-of-pocket expenses.

1. Here and elsewhere I define operating profit as the hospital's excess of revenue over expenses, plus the amount it lists on its tax return for depreciation of assets'--because depreciation is an accounting expense, not a cash expense. John Gunn, chief operating officer of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, calls this the ''fairest way'' of judging a hospital's financial performance

SOUND OFF: Are Medical Bills Too High? Tell Us Why

Cyber War$

New Anti-Piracy System To Hit U.S. Internet Users on Monday

Link to Article

Source: Conscious Life News

Mon, 25 Feb 2013 03:28

Posted by Alcyone_Featured_, TechnologySunday, February 24th, 2013Starting Monday, most U.S. Internet users will be subject to a new copyright enforcement system that could force them to complete educational programs, and even slow their Internet speeds to a crawl.

A source with direct knowledge of the Copyright Alert System (CAS), who asked to not to be named, has told the Daily Dot that the five participating Internet service providers (ISPs) will start the controversial anti-piracy program Monday.

The ISPs '-- industry giants AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon '-- will launch their versions of the CAS on different days throughout the week. Comcast is expected to be the first, on Monday.

Read the full article

Federal Register | Developing a Framework To Improve Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity

Link to Article

Tue, 26 Feb 2013 17:01

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is conducting a comprehensive review to develop a framework to reduce cyber risks to critical infrastructure1 (the ''Cybersecurity Framework'' or ''Framework''). The Framework will consist of standards, methodologies, procedures, and processes that align policy, business, and technological approaches to address cyber risks.

1For the purposes of this RFI the term ''critical infrastructure'' has the meaning given the term in 42 U.S.C. 5195c(e), ''systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination of those matters.''

This RFI requests information to help identify, refine, and guide the many interrelated considerations, challenges, and efforts needed to develop the Framework. In developing the Cybersecurity Framework, NIST will consult with the Secretary of Homeland Security, the National Security Agency, Sector-Specific Agencies and other interested agencies including the Office of Management and Budget, owners and operators of critical infrastructure, and other stakeholders including other relevant agencies, independent regulatory agencies, State, local, territorial and tribal governments. The Framework will be developed through an open public review and comment process that will include workshops and other opportunities to provide input.

Comments must be received by 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on Monday, April 8, 2013.

Written comments may be submitted by mail to Diane Honeycutt, National Institute of Standards and Technology, 100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8930, Gaithersburg, MD 20899. Submissions may be in any of the following formats: HTML, ASCII, Word, RTF, or PDF. Online submissions in electronic form may be sent to cyberframework@nist.gov. Please submit comments only and include your name, company name (if any), and cite ''Developing a Framework to Improve Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity'' in all correspondence. All comments received by the deadline will be posted at http://csrc.nist.gov without change or redaction, so commenters should not include information they do not wish to be posted (e.g., personal or confidential business information).

For questions about this RFI contact: Adam Sedgewick, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230, telephone (202) 482-0788, email Adam.Sedgewick@nist.gov. Please direct media inquiries to NIST's Office of Public Affairs at (301) 975-NIST.

The national and economic security of the United States depends on the reliable functioning of critical infrastructure, which has become increasingly dependent on information technology. Recent trends demonstrate the need for improved capabilities for defending against malicious cyber activity. Such activity is increasing and its consequences can range from theft through disruption to destruction. Steps must be taken to enhance existing efforts to increase the protection and resilience of this infrastructure, while maintaining a cyber environment that encourages efficiency, innovation, and economic prosperity, while protecting privacy and civil liberties.

Under Executive Order 13636[2] (''Executive Order''), the Secretary of Commerce is tasked to direct the Director of NIST to develop a framework for reducing cyber risks to critical infrastructure (the ''Cybersecurity Framework'' or ''Framework''). The Framework will consist of standards, methodologies, procedures and processes that align policy, business, and technological approaches to address cyber risks. The Department of Homeland Security, in coordination with sector-specific agencies, will then establish a voluntary program to support the adoption of the Cybersecurity Framework by owners and operators of critical infrastructure and any other interested entities.

Given the diversity of sectors in critical infrastructure, the Framework development process is designed to initially identify cross-sector security standards and guidelines that are immediately applicable or likely to be applicable to critical infrastructure, to increase visibility and adoption of those standards and guidelines, and to find potential gaps (i.e., where standards/guidelines are nonexistent or where existing standards/guidelines are inadequate) that need to be addressed through collaboration with industry and industry-led standards bodies. The Framework will incorporate voluntary consensus standards and industry best practices to the fullest extent possible and will be consistent with voluntary international consensus-based standards when such international standards will advance the objectives of the Executive Order. The Framework would be designed to be compatible with existing regulatory authorities and regulations.

The Cybersecurity Framework will provide a prioritized, flexible, repeatable, performance-based, and cost-effective approach, including information security measures and controls to help owners and operators of critical infrastructure and other interested entities to identify, assess, and manage cybersecurity-related risk while protecting business confidentiality, individual privacy and civil liberties. To enable technical innovation and account for organizational differences, the Cybersecurity Framework will not prescribe particular technological solutions or specifications. It will include guidance for measuring the performance of an entity in implementing the Cybersecurity Framework and will include methodologies to identify and mitigate impacts of the Framework and associated information security measures and controls on business confidentiality and to protect individual privacy and civil liberties.

As a non-regulatory Federal agency, NIST will develop the Framework in a manner that is consistent with its mission to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness through the development of standards and guidelines in consultation with stakeholders in both government and industry. While the focus will be on the Nation's critical infrastructure, the Framework will be developed in a manner to promote wide adoption of practices to increase cybersecurity across all sectors and industry types. In its first year, the emphasis will be on finding commonality within and across the affected sectors. It will seek to provide owners and operators the ability to implement security practices in the most effective manner while allowing organizations to express requirements to multiple authorities and regulators. Issues relating to harmonization of existing relevant standards and integration with existing frameworks will also be considered in this initial stage.

In accordance with the Executive Order, the Secretary of Commerce has directed the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (the Director) to coordinate the development of a Framework to reduce the cyber risks to critical infrastructure. The Cybersecurity Framework will incorporate existing consensus-based standards to the fullest extent possible, consistent with requirements of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995, [3] and guidance provided by Office of Management and Budget Circular A-119, ''Federal Participation in the Development and Use of Voluntary Consensus Standards and in Conformity Assessment Activities.'' [4] Principles articulated in the Executive Office of the President memorandum M-12-08 ''Principles for Federal Engagement in Standards Activities to Address National Priorities'' [5] will be followed. The Framework should also be consistent with, and support the broad policy goals of, the Administration's 2010 ''National Security Strategy,'' 2011 ''Cyberspace Policy Review,'' ''International Strategy for Cyberspace'' of May 2010 and HSPD-7 ''Critical Infrastructure Identification, Prioritization, and Protection.''

The goals of the Framework development process will be: (i) To identify existing cybersecurity standards, guidelines, frameworks, and best practices that are applicable to increase the security of critical infrastructure sectors and other interested entities; (ii) to specify high-priority gaps for which new or revised standards are needed; and (iii) to collaboratively develop action plans by which these gaps can be addressed. It is contemplated that the development process will have requisite stages to allow for continuing engagement with the owners and operators of critical infrastructure, and other industry, academic, and government stakeholders.

In December 2011, the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report titled ''CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROTECTION: Cybersecurity Guidance Is Available, but More Can Be Done to Promote Its Use.'' [6] In its report, GAO found similarities in cybersecurity guidance across sectors, and recommended promoting existing guidance to assist individual entities within a sector in ''identifying the guidance that is most applicable and effective in improving their security posture.'' [7]

NIST believes the diversity of business and mission needs notwithstanding, there are core cybersecurity practices that can be identified and that will be applicable to a diversity of sectors and a spectrum of quickly evolving threats. Identifying such core practices will be a focus of the Framework development process.

In order to be effective in protecting the information and information systems that are a part of the U.S. critical infrastructure, NIST believes the Framework should have a number of general properties or characteristics. The Framework should include flexible, extensible, scalable, and technology-independent standards, guidelines, and best practices, that provide:

A consultative process to assess the cybersecurity-related risks to organizational missions and business functions;A menu of management, operational, and technical security controls, including policies and processes, available to address a range of threats and protect privacy and civil liberties;A consultative process to identify the security controls that would adequately address risks [8] that have been assessed and to protect data and information being processed, stored, and transmitted by organizational information systems;Metrics, methods, and procedures that can be used to assess and monitor, on an ongoing or continuous basis, the effectiveness of security controls that are selected and deployed in organizational information systems and environments in which those systems operate and available processes that can be used to facilitate continuous improvement in such controls; [9]A comprehensive risk management approach that provides the ability to assess, respond to, and monitor information security-related risks and provide senior leaders/executives with the kinds of necessary information sets that help them to make ongoing risk-based decisions;A menu of privacy controls necessary to protect privacy and civil liberties.Within eight months, the Executive Order requires NIST to publish for additional comment a draft Framework that clearly outlines areas of focus and provides preliminary lists of standards, guidelines and best practices that fall within that outline. The draft will also include initial conclusions for additional public comment. The draft Framework will build on NIST's ongoing work with cybersecurity standards and guidelines for the Smart Grid, Identity Management, Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) implementation, the Electricity Subsector Cybersecurity Capability Maturity Model, and related projects.

NIST intends to engage with critical infrastructure stakeholders, through a voluntary consensus-based process, to develop the standards, guidelines and best practices that will comprise the Framework. This will include interactive workshops with industry and academia, along with other forms of outreach. NIST believes that the Framework cannot be static, but must be a living document that allows for ongoing consultation in order to address constantly evolving risks to critical infrastructure cybersecurity. A voluntary consensus standards-based approach will facilitate the ability of critical infrastructure owners and operators to manage such risks, and to implement alternate solutions from the bottom up with interoperability, scalability, and reliability as key attributes.

A standards-based Framework will also help provide some of the measures necessary to understand the effectiveness of critical infrastructure protection, and track changes over time. DHS and Sector Specific Agencies will provide input in this area based on their engagement with sector stakeholders. This standards-based approach is necessary in order to be able to provide and analyze data from different sources that can directly support risk-based decision-making. A Framework without sufficient standards and associated conformity assessment programs could impede future innovation in security efforts for critical infrastructure by potentially creating a false sense of security.

The use of widely-accepted standards is also necessary to enable economies of scale and scope to help create competitive markets in which competition is driven by market need and products that meet that market need through combinations of price, quality, performance, and value to consumers. Market competition then promotes faster diffusion of these technologies and realization of many benefits throughout these sectors.

It is anticipated that the Framework will: (i) Include consideration of sustainable approaches for assessing conformity to identified standards and guidelines; (ii) assist in the selection and development of an optimal conformity assessment approach; and (iii) facilitate the implementation of selected approach(es) that could cover technology varying in scope from individual devices or components to large-scale organizational operations. The decisions on the type, independence and technical rigor of these conformity assessment approaches should be risk-based. The need for confidence in conformity must be balanced with cost to the public and private sectors, including their international operations and legal obligations. Successful conformity assessment programs provide the needed level of confidence, are efficient and have a sustainable and scalable business case.

This RFI is looking for current adoption rates and related information for particular standards, guidelines, best practices, and frameworks to determine applicability throughout the critical infrastructure sectors. The RFI asks for stakeholders to submit ideas, based on their experience and mission/business needs, to assist in prioritizing the work of the Framework, as well as highlighting relevant performance needs of their respective sectors.

For the purposes of this notice and the Framework, the term ''standards'' and the phrase ''standards setting'' are used in a generic manner to include both standards development and conformity assessment development. In addition to critical infrastructure owners and operators, NIST invites Federal agencies, state, local, territorial and tribal governments, standard-setting organizations, [10] other members of industry, consumers, solution providers, and other stakeholders to respond.

The following questions cover the major areas about which NIST seeks comment. The questions are not intended to limit the topics that may be addressed. Responses may include any topic believed to have implications for the development of the Framework regardless of whether the topic is included in this document.

While the Framework will be focused on critical infrastructure, given the broad diversity of sectors that may include parts of critical infrastructure, the evolving nature of the classification of critical infrastructure based on risk, and the intention to involve a broad set of stakeholders in development of the Framework, the RFI will generally use the broader term ''organizations'' when seeking information.

Comments containing references, studies, research, and other empirical data that are not widely published should include copies of the referenced materials. Do not include in comments or otherwise submit proprietary or confidential information, as all comments received by the deadline will be made available publically at http://csrc.nist.gov/.

Current Risk Management PracticesNIST solicits information about how organizations assess risk; how cybersecurity factors into that risk assessment; the current usage of existing cybersecurity frameworks, standards, and guidelines; and other management practices related to cybersecurity. In addition, NIST is interested in understanding whether particular frameworks, standards, guidelines, and/or best practices are mandated by legal or regulatory requirements and the challenges organizations perceive in meeting such requirements. This will assist in NIST's goal of developing a Framework that includes and identifies common practices across sectors.

1. What do organizations see as the greatest challenges in improving cybersecurity practices across critical infrastructure?

2. What do organizations see as the greatest challenges in developing a cross-sector standards-based Framework for critical infrastructure?

3. Describe your organization's policies and procedures governing risk generally and cybersecurity risk specifically. How does senior management communicate and oversee these policies and procedures?

4. Where do organizations locate their cybersecurity risk management program/office?

5. How do organizations define and assess risk generally and cybersecurity risk specifically?

6. To what extent is cybersecurity risk incorporated into organizations' overarching enterprise risk management?

7. What standards, guidelines, best practices, and tools are organizations using to understand, measure, and manage risk at the management, operational, and technical levels?

8. What are the current regulatory and regulatory reporting requirements in the United States (e.g. local, state, national, and other) for organizations relating to cybersecurity?

9. What organizational critical assets are interdependent upon other critical physical and information infrastructures, including telecommunications, energy, financial services, water, and transportation sectors?

10. What performance goals do organizations adopt to ensure their ability to provide essential services while managing cybersecurity risk?

11. If your organization is required to report to more than one regulatory body, what information does your organization report and what has been your organization's reporting experience?

12. What role(s) do or should national/international standards and organizations that develop national/international standards play in critical infrastructure cybersecurity conformity assessment?

Use of Frameworks, Standards, Guidelines, and Best PracticesAs set forth in the Executive Order, the Framework will consist of standards, guidelines, and/or best practices that promote the protection of information and information systems supporting organizational missions and business functions.

NIST seeks comments on the applicability of existing publications to address cybersecurity needs, including, but not limited to the documents developed by: international standards organizations; U.S. Government Agencies and organizations; State regulators or Public Utility Commissions; Industry and industry associations; other Governments, and non-profits and other non-government organizations.

NIST is seeking information on the current usage of these existing approaches throughout industry, the robustness and applicability of these frameworks and standards, and what would encourage their increased usage. Please provide information related to the following:

1. What additional approaches already exist?

2. Which of these approaches apply across sectors?

3. Which organizations use these approaches?

4. What, if any, are the limitations of using such approaches?

5. What, if any, modifications could make these approaches more useful?

6. How do these approaches take into account sector-specific needs?

7. When using an existing framework, should there be a related sector-specific standards development process or voluntary program?

8. What can the role of sector-specific agencies and related sector coordinating councils be in developing and promoting the use of these approaches?

9. What other outreach efforts would be helpful?

Specific Industry PracticesIn addition to the approaches above, NIST is interested in identifying core practices that are broadly applicable across sectors and throughout industry.

NIST is interested in information on the adoption of the following practices as they pertain to critical infrastructure components:

Separation of business from operational systems;Use of encryption and key management;Identification and authorization of users accessing systems;Asset identification and management;Monitoring and incident detection tools and capabilities;Incident handling policies and procedures;Mission/system resiliency practices;Security engineering practices;Privacy and civil liberties protection.1. Are these practices widely used throughout critical infrastructure and industry?

2. How do these practices relate to existing international standards and practices?

3. Which of these practices do commenters see as being the most critical for the secure operation of critical infrastructure?

4. Are some of these practices not applicable for business or mission needs within particular sectors?

5. Which of these practices pose the most significant implementation challenge?

6. How are standards or guidelines utilized by organizations in the implementation of these practices?

7. Do organizations have a methodology in place for the proper allocation of business resources to invest in, create, and maintain IT standards?

8. Do organizations have a formal escalation process to address cybersecurity risks that suddenly increase in severity?

9. What risks to privacy and civil liberties do commenters perceive in the application of these practices?

10. What are the international implications of this Framework on your global business or in policymaking in other countries?

11. How should any risks to privacy and civil liberties be managed?

12. In addition to the practices noted above, are there other core practices that should be considered for inclusion in the Framework?

Dated: February 21, 2013.

Patrick Gallagher,

Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology.

[FR Doc. 2013-04413 Filed 2-25-13; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3510-13-P

Malware on oil rig computers raises security fears - Houston Chronicle

Link to Article

Mon, 25 Feb 2013 19:30

By Zain Shauk

February 23, 2013

Malicious software unintentionally downloaded by offshore oil workers has incapacitated computer networks on some rigs and platforms, exposing gaps in security that could pose serious risks to people and the environment, cybersecurity professionals told the Houston Chronicle.

To continue reading this story, you will need to be a digital subscriber to HoustonChronicle.com.

War on Ammo

From Oregon - Insurance Bill SB758

John/Adam-

I've been reading through SB758, the firearm liability bill, and have come up with a

few interesting observations if you plan to discuss this. Here is a quick analysis:

-Requires showing proof of insurance at any time, even at home (another warrantless

search)

-Requires liability policy to cover each named and registered firearm

-Requires liability policy for ammunition as well, includes mandatory check before

"transfers" e.g. to a friend at the shooting range

-Requires insurance carriers to cover willful acts by policy holders.

-Firearm owner must maintain policy and is personally liable for 1 year after

firearm is lost or stolen.

I checked with my insurance guy and he doubts the company will even write a policy

that cover this, and if they were forced to, it would be outrageously expensive.

Basically this seems to be an attempt to make firearm ownership prohibitively

expensive.

FNW

@freedomnw

http://www.leg.state.or.us/13reg/measpdf/sb0700.dir/sb0758.intro.pdf

More "Inspections" - SECTION 3.(1)(b) - Page 1, Lines 21-24

Maintain insurance coverage for 1-year after having a weapon stolen - SECTION

3.(2)(b)(B) - Page 2, Lines 20-21

Requires coverage for ammunition as well - SECTION 4. - Page 2, Lines 28 - Page 3,

Line 13

Personally liable for weapon for 1-year after weapon is stolen - SECTION 5.(1) -

Page 3, Lines 14-16

Requires insurance companies to cover homicides committed by the policy holder -

SECTION 7.(1)(b) - Page 3, Lines 33-36

Requires registration of each firearm - SECTION 7.(1)© - Page 3, Lines 37-39

War on Horses

A Hint of Horse Meat Has a Nat

Link to Article

Thu, 28 Feb 2013 13:17

LONDON - Seeking literary echoes of current predicaments, Britons can generally rely on Shakespeare. But one line in the national memory has proved curiously inappropriate.

"A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse," cries Richard III, facing defeat at the Battle of Bosworth Field, in 1485. Yet horses seem to be the last thing Britons want these days, at least in food that is labeled as something else altogether.

For weeks, the land has been seized with a spreading, Europe-wide scandal over discoveries of equine DNA in processed meals sold under household brands packaged as exclusively bovine - spaghetti Bolognese, lasagna and burgers among them. Television documentaries have investigated the phenomenon. Headlines have trumpeted it. Bloggers have blogged. Tweeters have tweeted.

But no one seems able to fully answer the question of why shoppers and diners in Britain are so much more worried about a hint of horse meat than European neighbors in France, the Netherlands and elsewhere who eat their steeds with equanimity.

Soul-searching Britons have invoked factors ranging from an age-old taboo on consuming animals seen as pets, companions or heroes of sport and war, to a sense of one more betrayal in a catalog of broken public trust.

"This is not a horse meat scandal," said the Rev. Alexander Lucie-Smith, a priest writing in The Catholic Herald. "It is a labeling scandal" that has prompted the question, "Can we trust anything we read on a label?"

Part of the answer lies in recent memory of mad cow and foot-and-mouth disease that shook confidence in the nation's herds. An academic study even traces the equine aversion to the eighth century, when Pope Gregory III sought to press newly Christianized Anglo-Saxons to abandon their horse-eating, pagan ways.

War on Cash

CASH GRAB: Inactive bank accounts to be seized | News.com.au

Link to Article

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 17:52

The government will from May 31 be able to transfer all money from accounts that have not been used for three years into their own revenues. Picture: Luzio GrossiSource: news.com.au

HOUSEHOLDS face losing up to $109 million from their family savings as the Federal government moves to seize cash from inactive bank accounts.

After legislation was rushed through parliament, the government will from May 31 be able to transfer all money from accounts that have not been used for three years into their own revenues.

This will mean that accounts with anything from $1 upwards that have not had any deposit or withdrawals in the past three years will be transferred to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission.

The law is forecast to raise $109 million this year as inactive accounts for three years or more are raided by Treasury.OPINION: Just another boost for the coffers

The money can be reclaimed from ASIC but the process can take months.

Experts warn this will have a negative impact on people that may have put money away in a special account for their children's education or decided to put an inheritance in a separate account for a rainy day.

The previous legislation allowed for bank accounts to remain inactive for up to 7 years before the money was transferred to ASIC.

Do you have a bank account you haven't used for three years? If so, contact us at stephen.mcmahcon@news.com.auAustralian Bankers Association chief executive Steven Munchenberg said there is no benefit for consumers from the changes.

"It is very hard to see why this needed to be rushed through but there have been suggestions it was done more for the government's own financial circumstances rather than customers needs," he said.

Mr Munchenberg warned that unaware customers face having accounts frozen and could face months of delays trying to reclaim their won money from ASIC.

This cash grab comes as economists warn the government is on track to hand down a $15 billion budget deficit in May as company tax receipts collapse.

Before Christmas, Treasurer Wayne Swan junked the government's previously "rock solid" promise to produce a surplus in 2012-13.

The government had also been committed to surpluses in future financial years, too.

But despite the introduction of some tough cost-cutting measures, the latest research from global bank UBS forecasts the May budget will show a $12 billion black hole in revenues and cost overruns of about $3 billion. The biggest pain is coming from the expected $8 billion fall in taxes from the corporate sector.

MIC

Military helicopters light up Raleigh sky

Link to Article

Thu, 28 Feb 2013 12:43

WRAL Mobile: Military helicopters light up Raleigh skyMilitary helicopters light up Raleigh sky

Feb 27, 2013 11:10 p.m.

Raleigh, N.C. -- Strange figures lighting up the north Raleigh sky Wednesday evening were helicopters involved in a military training exercise, according to a spokeswoman for Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

The odd lights in the area of Six Forks Road and Interstate 540 prompted numerous calls to the WRAL newsroom, as well as to Raleigh 911 dispatchers.

The low-flying aircraft aren't a threat to the public, an airport spokeswoman said.

Viewers also reported seeing the helicopters in the Four Oaks area of Johnston County.

Web Editor: Bridget Whelan

Menu

Chuck Hagel confirmed as US defence secretary - Americas

Link to Article

Source: BadChad's ThoughtPile

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 05:30

The US Senate has voted to confirm Chuck Hagel to be the next US defence secretary.

The vote on Tuesday was 58-41, with four Republicans joining Democrats in backing President Barack Obama's nominee.

The vote ended a contentious fight over the president's choice for his second-term national security team.

Hagel will succeed Defence Secretary Leon Panetta, who is stepping down after four years as CIA director and Pentagon chief.

The vote came just hours after Republicans dropped their delay and allowed the nomination to move forward.

The Senate voted 71-27 on Tuesday to end debate and move forward, almost two weeks after Republicans launched a filibuster to block Hagel's nomination.

It was the first time such a procedural tactic had been used to delay consideration of a nominee for secretary of defence.

Many Republicans have fiercely opposed Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska who angered party leaders when he criticised former President George W Bush's handling of the Iraq war.

Some have also raised questions about whether Hagel is sufficiently supportive of Israel or tough enough on Iran.

But Democrats stood together for Hagel, a twice-wounded Vietnam combat veteran.

190

Mockingbird

William Colby - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Church Committee investigations

Further details of Operation Mockingbird were revealed as a result of the Frank Church investigations (Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities) in 1975. According to the Congress report published in 1976:

"The CIA currently maintains a network of several hundred foreign individuals around the world who provide intelligence for the CIA and at times attempt to influence opinion through the use of covert propaganda. These individuals provide the CIA with direct access to a large number of newspapers and periodicals, scores of press services and news agencies, radio and television stations, commercial book publishers, and other foreign media outlets."

Church argued that misinforming the world cost American taxpayers an estimated $265 million a year.[22]

In February 1976, George H. W. Bush, the recently appointed Director of the CIA, announced a new policy: "Effective immediately, the CIA will not enter into any paid or contract relationship with any full-time or part-time news correspondent accredited by any U.S. news service, newspaper, periodical, radio or television network or station." However, he added that the CIA would continue to "welcome" the voluntary, unpaid cooperation of journalists.[23]

In February 1976, George H. W. Bush, the recently appointed Director of the CIA, announced a new policy: "Effective immediately, the CIA will not enter into any paid or contract relationship with any full-time or part-time news correspondent accredited by any U.S. news service, newspaper, periodical, radio or television network or station." However, he added that the CIA would continue to "welcome" the voluntary, unpaid cooperation of journalists.[23]

Armageddon

Austerity USA Begins March 1st: Bipartisan Project to Impoverish the American People

Link to Article

Source: Global Research

Mon, 25 Feb 2013 05:17

U.S. politicians have cried wolf over austerity long enough for the public to ignore them. A perfect time, then, for politicians to actually unleash the wolves. Barring an unlikely last minute deal, here's a short list of some of the massive, national bi-partisan-created austerity cuts, according to the New York Times:

-600,000 food stamp recipients will be cut from the program

''Once these cuts take effect thousands of teachers and educators will be laid off and tens of thousands of parents will have to scramble to find child care for their kids. ''

-12 billion in Medicare cuts (more to come after 2013)

-Millions receiving unemployment will see their checks cut by 11% (an average of 132 a month)

-Federal funds to state governments will be cut, creating even more deficits for states and municipalities, and thus more localized cuts (the states have already made austerity cuts of $337 billion!)And this is just for 2013. The current plan for the austerity ''sequester'' cuts is $100 billion of federal cuts every year for ten years, equaling massive cuts to jobs, Medicare, education, and completely destroying federally funded social programs.

''In private, Capitol Hill staff members and members of Congress have admitted that there are no viable plans on the horizon to delay or offset the cuts.''

The finger pointing in Washington, D.C. has already reached a crescendo, with the perverted logic being that, if both parties are to blame, it's really no one's fault. In reality Democrats and Republicans created these ''sequester'' cuts, and they can just as easily undo them with a snap of the finger.

Obama has predictably blamed the Republicans for this mess, even though he personally began this process by creating the ''deficit reduction commission'' that helped shape the cuts (keep in mind there is zero debt crisis that calls for such drastic measures).

Obama could also just as easily appeal to the American public '--over the heads of congressmen '-- to demand that the cuts be shelved forever. Instead, he's proposing a ''grand bargain'' deal that he knows the Republicans won't go for.

-$130 billion in ''savings'' [cuts] to Social Security, by implementing a ''superlative CPI.''

-$35 billion in ''savings'' [cuts] to the retirement of federal employees.

- $400 billion in health care ''savings'' [cuts], much of it Medicare cuts.

Obama cynically fails to mention the words Social Security or Medicare in the above plan, choosing instead to write in code (''superlative Consumer Price Index''). Obama's plan to avoid the March 1st cuts still assumes that $500 billion in cuts will be implemented over the next ten years, as opposed to $1trillion.

But his plan is just a distraction. Obama knows his plan has no chance of being passed by March 1st. He's falsely portraying his plan as the only alternative to the March 1st cuts, even though a far better idea '-- the one preferred by a vast majority of Americans '-- is to simply to shelve the sequester cuts forever. To not put forth this option makes Obama complicit in the cuts.

Many pundits have speculated that Congress will allow the cuts to go into effect for three weeks, since March 27th marks a fiscal deadline that will pressure Congress to maneuver anew. This might trigger a new round of haggling over a new ''grand bargain'' that again targets ''entitlement programs'' and re-packages the massive cuts into a prettier box. The party that does the most effective finger pointing after the March 1st cuts will be in the best position to dictate matters post-March 27th, so say the pundits.Whatever the actual result, the Democrats and Republicans share similar enough visions that massive cuts to cherished social programs appear to be inevitable. Much of the made-for-TV bickering is pure political posturing, meant to fool the working people most affected by these cuts into believing it's ''the other party'' that's responsible.

Politicians have been able to get away with this disgusting behavior because there are very few independent voices telling the truth about what's happening. Many labor and progressive groups are consciously lying about the dynamic, placing blame squarely on the Republicans, thus allowing the Democrats not to be held accountable for their pandering to the corporate elite's demand to use austerity to attack the social safety net. In reality both parties are jointly attacking working and poor people via austerity, on a city, state, and national level.

If Labor and community groups united in a demand of 'No Cuts, Tax the Rich' and organized massive mobilizations, there would be a very different public debate happening right now. It's not too late for these groups to tear themselves from the jaws of their attackers.

1099 Debt scam

ITM Adam,

I'm a long time listener and unfortunate boner. Stuck in the beautiful

island paradise of Kauai. Don't let the tropical facade full you. This

place is a fucked up rock full of ignorance, corruption, and ice and oxi

addicts. I know you guys don't really read email from boners such as

myself, but unforgettably the cost of living is so damned high over here.

Added to that, I have a fairly new human resources, that's extremely

expensive to care for. I've been working intently on trying to save up

enough cash to get our asses out of here and migrate to some place thats a

little more affordable. I do believe in the value for value and plan on

anteing up as soon as I have two nickles to rub together.

All that being said; I don't recall you guys ever disguising the IRS scam

with these 1099-c forms. Its on the rise lately with economic crash that's

still in full swing. What they are doing is calling all debt that's altered

or forgiven by a creditor an "additional income" and taxing the shitizens

on it. Example... If you go through a debt consolidation program, owing say

20k, and settle up with your creditors for anything less than $600 less

than the original debt. That forgiven debt is income. So if you 20k debt is

settled for 15k. That $5000 you were forgiven now shows on your taxes as

an additional 5k worth of income, and as such you owe taxes on it. I'm not

sure how a forgiveness of debt could be considered any form of income,

seeing as how its not fucking income of any sort.

I found out about this by being hit with an audit this year and though I

would spread the word. The slaves need to be made aware of this scam. I

figured the best way to get this out there was rant a bit to you guys in

hope you might bring some more awareness about it.

Hopefully this makes it through your spam filter and the 1099-c gets

mentioned at some point in the shows future,

Aloha mofo,

Bill the Boner

A bill to establish the American Infrastructure Investment Fund and other activities to facilitate investments in infrastructure projects that significantly enhance the economic competitiveness of the United States by improving economic output, productivi

Link to Article

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 13:37

GovTrack's Bill SummaryWe don't have a summary available yet.

Library of Congress SummaryThe summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.

No summary available.

House Republican Conference SummaryThe summary below was written by the House Republican Conference, which is the caucus of Republicans in the House of Representatives.

No summary available.

House Democratic Caucus SummaryThe House Democratic Caucus does not provide summaries of bills.

So, yes, we display the House Republican Conference's summaries when available even if we do not have a Democratic summary available. That's because we feel it is better to give you as much information as possible, even if we cannot provide every viewpoint.

We'll be looking for a source of summaries from the other side in the meanwhile.

Vaccine$

Federal Register | TRICARE: Smoking Cessation Program

Link to Article

Thu, 28 Feb 2013 04:07

Effective Date: This final rule is effective March 29, 2013.

Ms. Ginnean Quisenberry, Population Health, Medical Management, and Patient Centered Medical Home Division, Office of the Chief Medical Officer, TRICARE Management Activity, telephone (703) 681-6717.

A. Purpose of the Final RuleThe purpose of this final rule is to implement the provisions of the Duncan Hunter NDAA for FY 2009 (Pub. L. 110-417) that establishes a smoking cessation program under the TRICARE program. Establishment of the TRICARE smoking cessation program attempts to reduce the number of TRICARE beneficiaries who are nicotine dependent, thereby improving the health of the TRICARE beneficiary population and reducing Department of Defense costs, in particular those related to the adverse effects of smoking. The legal authority for the Final Rule is Section 713 of the Duncan Hunter NDAA FY09 (Pub. L. 110-417).

B. Summary of the Major Provisions of the Final RuleSection 713 of the Duncan Hunter NDAA for FY 2009 stipulates the following key features for inclusion in the TRICARE smoking cessation program:

1. The availability, at no cost to the beneficiary, of pharmaceuticals used for smoking cessation, with a limitation on the availability of such pharmaceuticals to the national mail-order pharmacy program under the TRICARE program if appropriate.

Smoking cessation medications will be covered by TRICARE through the Mail Order Pharmacy program, as well as at Military Treatment Facilities at no cost, including no co-pay. The type of smoking cessation medications available, which may include over-the-counter medications, will be determined by the TRICARE Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee based on clinical and cost effectiveness considerations.

2. Counseling.

In person smoking cessation counseling from a TRICARE authorized provider as detailed in the TRICARE Policy Manual for is a covered TRICARE benefit for those beneficiaries that are not eligible for Medicare.

3. Access to a toll-free quit line that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Beneficiaries will have access to a toll-free smoking cessation quit line that will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

4. Access to print and Internet web-based tobacco cessation material.

TRICARE will provide access to both print and web-based tobacco cessation materials for any beneficiary who is interested in quitting using tobacco products.

5. Chain of command involvement by officers in the chain of command of participants in the program who are on active duty.

All of those in the chain of command are expected to provide their support to the program and to any member who wishes to quit smoking. There is no intent for any reporting requirements to the chain of command related to any member's participation.

C. Costs and Benefits of this Regulatory ActionThe cost for these changes is estimated to be 24 million dollars for a one year period. The benefits are that TRICARE will be in compliance with its statutory provisions and health of beneficiaries who quit smoking will be improved.

The Duncan Hunter NDAA for FY 2009 (Pub. L. 110-417) provides authority for establishment of a smoking cessation program under the TRICARE program. Prior to enactment of Section 713 of the Duncan Hunter NDAA FY09 (Pub. L. 110-417), all supplies and services related to ''stop smoking'' programs were excluded from TRICARE coverage per the regulation, 32 CFR 199.4(g)(65).

Smoking is the number one cause of preventable illness and disease in the United States and yet, the prevalence of smoking among TRICARE beneficiaries exceeds that of the general population. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adverse health effects from smoking account for an estimated 443,000 deaths in the United States each year.

Smoking causes respiratory diseases such as emphysema, bronchitis, and chronic airway obstruction. It also causes several types of cancers including, but not limited to, esophageal, oral cavity, uterine, and lung cancer. In fact, the CDC estimates that 90 percent of lung cancer deaths in men and 80 percent in women are caused by smoking.

Smoking also puts individuals at increased risk for several other types of diseases and adverse health outcomes such as coronary artery disease, chronic obstructive lung diseases, peripheral vascular disease, heart attack, and stroke. In addition, it increases the risk of infertility, preterm delivery, stillbirth, low birth weight, and sudden infant death syndrome.

Smoking and its related adverse effects pose a significant challenge for many TRICARE beneficiaries. Establishment of the TRICARE smoking cessation program attempts to reduce the number of TRICARE beneficiaries who are nicotine dependent, thereby improving the health of the TRICARE beneficiary population and reducing Department of Defense costs, in particular those related to the adverse effects of smoking. For further information on TRICARE and the benefits provided under the TRICARE program, please visit www.tricare.mil.

III. Section 713 of the Duncan Hunter NDAA for FY 2009 Back to TopThis final rule implements Section 713 of the Duncan Hunter NDAA for FY 2009. Section 713 stipulates the following key features for inclusion in the TRICARE smoking cessation program:

(1) The availability, at no cost to the beneficiary, of pharmaceuticals used for smoking cessation, with a limitation on the availability of such pharmaceuticals to the national mail-order pharmacy program under the TRICARE program if appropriate.

(2) Counseling.

(3) Access to a toll-free quit line that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

(4) Access to print and Internet web-based tobacco cessation material.

(5) Chain of command involvement by officers in the chain of command of participants in the program who are on active duty.

Additionally, Section 713 of NDAA FY 2009 stated the TRICARE smoking cessation program shall not be made available to Medicare-eligible beneficiaries. The statutory language further stated that refunds of copayments paid by Medicare-eligible beneficiaries are available during fiscal year 2009, subject to the specific availability of appropriations for this purpose. However, this authority was not extended beyond FY 2009; consequently, no action is required by TRICARE regarding this provision.

This final rule establishes a smoking cessation program under the TRICARE program. The TRICARE smoking cessation program will be available to all TRICARE beneficiaries who reside in one of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia who are not eligible for Medicare benefits authorized under Title XVIII of the Social Security Act. In general, the TRICARE smoking cessation program will not be available to TRICARE beneficiaries who reside overseas except that under authority of 32 CFR 199.17, active duty service members and active duty dependents residing overseas including the U.S. territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands who are enrolled in TRICARE Prime at a military treatment facility may have access to those services that the ASD(HA) has determined may be reasonably provided overseas.

It is the intent of the Department to provide access to smoking cessation pharmaceuticals and web based smoking cessation materials overseas where feasible. However, beneficiaries residing in certain areas overseas may not have easy access to the mail services, equipment or technology needed to receive these smoking cessation benefits and in those areas there is no requirement to make them available. For example, there is no intent by the Department to make the web based services available in areas where there are no web based carriers to provide such a service. Additionally, the laws and our treaties with various countries restrict the mailing of pharmaceuticals into the country. If such laws or treaties do not allow the delivery of the pharmaceuticals through the TRICARE Mail Order Pharmacy (TMOP), it is not the intent of the Secretary to provide the pharmaceutical benefit in those areas through this mechanism.

At this time, it is not the intent of the Department to provide access to the toll free quit line overseas due to the technological barriers and cost involved in providing this service. In addition, it is not the intent of the Department at this time to make face-to-face smoking cessation counseling available overseas through the local economy. However, in accordance with 32 CFR 199.17 should the ASD(HA) determine that it is technologically, economically, or otherwise feasible to provide additional benefits or it becomes impractical to continue the benefits and services overseas, the ASD(HA) may use this authority to add or modify any benefit or service. Notice of the use of this authority shall be published in the Federal Register.

There will be no requirement for an eligible beneficiary to be diagnosed with a smoking related illness in order to access benefits under the TRICARE smoking cessation program. Benefits under this program will include, at no cost to the beneficiary, pharmaceuticals used for smoking cessation available through the TRICARE mail-order pharmacy program and at Military Treatment Facilities. The program will include smoking cessation counseling; access to a toll-free quit line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; and access to printed and Internet web-based tobacco cessation material. Like other pharmaceuticals, smoking cessation pharmaceuticals may also be available at no cost to the beneficiary at an MTF; however, smoking cessation pharmaceuticals are not a covered benefit under the TRICARE Retail Pharmacy program.

The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register (76 FR 58199) dated September 20, 2011, for a 60-day public comment period. We received sixteen comments from different respondents on the proposed rule.

All but one of the public comments was positive and supported the provisions of the proposed rule. Fifteen of the respondents approved of the new coverage of smoking cessation medications with no copay, however there were two comments questioning the limitation of availability to the Mail Order Pharmacy Program. There was concern that TRICARE had not explained the reasoning for this decision and some were concerned that this limitation would be a barrier to those seeking treatment. We appreciate the comments and acknowledge the concern. However, we do not believe that limiting availability of smoking cessation pharmaceuticals to the mail order pharmacy will be a barrier to seeking care by the majority of beneficiaries. Mail order is a more cost effective venue than retail pharmacy and this limitation is a way of controlling the cost of providing these pharmaceuticals at no cost to the beneficiary. We believe that providing these pharmaceuticals at no cost has a greater influence on a beneficiary's decision to seek care than the fact that the care is limited to a specific venue. We believe this to be a prudent, fair, and reasonable approach to providing the pharmaceutical component of the benefit.

Additionally, one respondent, representing the National Community Pharmacists Association felt that since some retail pharmacists provide smoking cessation counseling, it would be more convenient for beneficiaries to be able to get their medications at the retail pharmacy where they might possibly be going for smoking cessation counseling, so that both activities could occur in one location. We appreciate the respondent's comment and the suggestion that would seemingly offer greater convenience to TRICARE beneficiaries; however, consistent with Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), pharmacists are not recognized as authorized TRICARE independent providers. Although TRICARE currently recognizes pharmacies as providers for purposes of the pharmacy benefits program under 32 CFR 199.21, which includes providing immunizations to our beneficiaries, the individual pharmacist is not recognized as an independent provider. Therefore, pharmacist counseling services are not currently a covered benefit under TRICARE and pharmacists cannot be reimbursed for this service. Therefore, beneficiaries who obtain smoking cessation products in a retail pharmacy may not receive counseling from the pharmacist as a covered benefit. In addition, as mentioned above, providing these products in the retail venue would significantly increase the cost of this program. The respondents were also concerned that if medications for smoking cessation are mailed to a patient's home, they will not have the opportunity to ask questions of a pharmacist before taking them. Unlike the majority of retail pharmacies, the mail order pharmacy program provides access to pharmacists 24/7 via a toll free number. Consistent with most pharmacy services, the mail order program provides complete written information including instructions for use, side effects, adverse effects, doses, warnings, and telephone numbers for questions.

Five respondents expressed concern that these new benefits were only available CONUS and not OCONUS. One respondent suggested a change to the language that deals with OCONUS availability. The commentor would prefer that it say that TRICARE is required to make the smoking cessation program available overseas unless the ASD(HA) determines it is not possible to provide the program in specific overseas locations or situations, instead of stating that the benefits are not available overseas unless the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs [ASD(HA)] determines they can be reasonably provided. We appreciate the respondent's comments and acknowledge the respondent's suggestion, however during the implementation of this benefit the ability to provide the benefit overseas was extensively explored. The Department found significant barriers and elected not to implement at this time. The language gives the Assistant Secretary the ability to expand the benefit as technology and other innovations make the delivery of these benefits feasible. Additionally the current federal regulations relating to the implementation of TRICARE overseas states that the program is not implemented overseas without affirmative action by the Department, thus the language used is consistent with our current regulatory framework.

One person commented that the smoking cessation program should include provisions to assist with tobacco cessation as well. We appreciate the comment; however, the language in section 713 of the NDAA 2009 limits us to providing a smoking cessation program with one exception. That exception allows the Department to provide printed and Internet web-based tobacco cessation materials.

One respondent was concerned that the language in the summary statement that says that there is a ''limitation on the availability of such pharmaceuticals to the mail-order pharmacy'' will cause the beneficiaries to believe that they cannot get these medications at the MTF pharmacies. We appreciate the respondent's comment and concern, and would like to assure the respondent that this was unintentional. To correct this and assure clarity, the language in Section III, the Summary, concerning the availability of smoking cessation pharmaceuticals has been revised to include a reference to the availability of pharmaceuticals at the MTFs. The language in the regulation itself reflects the correct availability of these pharmaceutical agents.

The statement in the proposed rule that says, ''the Secretary of Defense shall provide for involvement by officers in the chain of command of participants in the program who are on active duty'' caused concern for one responder. This commentor took this statement to mean that those active duty members who took advantage of the program would have to report on their progress to their supervisor, which they felt would be very intimidating for those trying to quit, especially if they were having difficulties. We appreciate the comment, and want to clarify that the intent is not to have supervising officers be directly involved in individual active duty service members quit attempts, but to have them provide their support to the program. That is, it is the intent of the Department for all parts of the chain of command to support any member who wishes to quit smoking. There is no intent for any reporting requirements by a member to his or her command or for any member within the chain of command to report to their superiors relating to any member's participation in a smoking cessation program.

There were several comments related to the number of quit attempts available to participants in the program. One respondent did not think that a beneficiary should get more than three attempts total. The commenter was opposed to having three possible attempts per year and felt it would be a waste of TRICARE resources to continue to pay for additional attempts for someone who was not successful within a year of trying. We acknowledge the respondent's comments and appreciate the concerns. TRICARE is dedicated to the appropriate and judicious use of taxpayers' money and the decision to allow more than three quit attempts in total was the result of extensive research concerning smoking cessation. This research revealed that, on average, it takes smokers seven attempts to quit. Allowing more than three total attempts will give TRICARE beneficiaries who want to quit smoking the best opportunity to do so. This will result in a healthier beneficiary population; and as this population becomes healthier and more individuals choose to quit, TRICARE health care costs associated with treating diseases that are either caused by or exacerbated by smoking will be reduced.

Another respondent had the opposite view, believing that since ''tobacco dependence is a chronic disease that often requires repeated intervention and multiple attempts to quit'', patients should not be limited in their attempts and should have access to tobacco cessation services throughout the year. We acknowledge and respect this respondent's point of view; however, believe it would be fiscally irresponsible not to impose a limit on quit attempts. Furthermore, while our research revealed that the average person requires multiple attempts at quitting before they are successful, our research did not support a conclusion that allowing unlimited quit attempts results in improved success rates.

This respondent also requested that the DoD Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee, when deciding which specific smoking cessation medications TRICARE will cover, will choose to include all FDA-approved tobacco cessation medications. We appreciate this respondent's comment and suggestion. The Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee has a mandate to review and recommend drugs based on their clinical and cost effectiveness. After this formal process, these recommendations will then go to the TMA Director, who will make the final decision. At this point, we do not know which of the smoking cessation medications will, or will not be on the formulary.

Another comment requested that TRICARE providers be made aware of the available cessation benefits and be trained in smoking cessation counseling. We appreciate the respondent's comments and suggestions and want to assure this respondent that once the final rule is published and this becomes a TRICARE benefit, information concerning it will be well publicized. This publicity will include information for TRICARE providers and our beneficiaries. Information concerning this new benefit will also be available on the TRICARE Web site (www.TRICARE.mil), which is accessible to beneficiaries, providers and the general public. In addition, the Managed Care Support Contractors are required to disseminate information to providers affected by implementation of new TRICARE benefits.

Another comment recommended an expansion of the TRICARE smoking cessation program to include a reduction of tobacco advertising in military literature and increasing the cost of tobacco products on military bases. We appreciate this respondent's comment and suggestions; however, the authority to take the actions suggested is beyond the scope of the requirements of the law that TRICARE was tasked to implement.

Unrelated to the Proposed Rule on Smoking Cessation, one comment was received from a retiree who was upset that he might be forced to pay more for TRICARE Prime as a part of DoD cutbacks. We appreciate this respondent's comments; however, we cannot address these here as they are outside the scope of the law that implements the TRICARE smoking cessation benefits.

Executive Order 12866, ''Regulatory Planning and Review'' and Executive Order 13563, ''Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review''Section 801 of title 5, United States Code, and Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 require certain regulatory assessments and procedures for any major rule or significant regulatory action, defined as one that would result in an annual effect of $100 million or more on the national economy or which would have other substantial impacts. This final rule is not a significant regulatory action.

96, ''Regulatory Flexibility Act'' (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601)96, ''Regulatory Flexibility Act'' (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601), requires that each Federal agency prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis when the agency issues a regulation which would have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. This final rule will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. Therefore, this final rule is not subject to the requirements of the RFA.

96, ''Paperwork Reduction Act'' (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35)This rule does not contain a ''collection of information'' requirement, and will not impose additional information collection requirements on the public under 96, ''Paperwork Reduction Act'' (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35).

Public Law 104-4, Section 202, ''Unfunded Mandates Reform Act''Section 202 of Public Law 104-4, ''Unfunded Mandates Reform Act,'' requires that an analysis be performed to determine whether any federal mandate may result in the expenditure by State, local and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100 million in any one year. This final rule does not contain a Federal mandate that may result in the expenditure by State, local and tribal governments, in aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more in any one year, and thus this final rule is not subject to this requirement.

Executive Order 13132, ''Federalism''Executive Order 13132, ''Federalism,'' requires that an impact analysis be performed to determine whether the rule has federalism implications that would have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. This final rule does not have federalism implications, as set forth in Executive Order 13132.

Accordingly, 32 CFR Part 199 is amended as follows:

begin regulatory text

1.The authority citation for Part 199 continues to read as follows:

Authority:5 U.S.C. 301; 10 U.S.C. Chapter 55.

2.Section 199.4 is amended by:

a. Revising paragraph (d)(3)(vi) introductory text.

b. Adding new paragraph (d)(3)(vi)(C).

c. Adding new paragraph (e)(30).

d. Revising paragraph (g)(39).

e. Removing and reserving paragraph (g)(65).

The revisions and additions read as follows:

¤ 199.4 Basic program benefits.* * * * *

(d) * * *

(3) * * *

(vi) Drugs and medicines. Drugs and medicines that by United States law require a prescription are also referred to as ''legend drugs.'' Legend drugs are covered when prescribed by a physician or other authorized individual professional provider acting within the scope of the provider's license and ordered or prescribed in connection with an otherwise covered condition or treatment, and not otherwise excluded by TRICARE. This includes Rh immune globulin.

* * * * *

(C) Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs (drugs that by United States law do not require a prescription), in general, are not covered. However, insulin is covered for a known diabetic even in states that do not require a prescription for its purchase. In addition, OTC drugs used for smoking cessation are covered when all requirements under the TRICARE smoking cessation program are met as provided in paragraph (e)(30) of this section.

* * * * *

(e) * * *

(30) Smoking cessation program. The TRICARE smoking cessation program is a behavioral modification program to assist eligible beneficiaries who desire to quit smoking. The program consists of a pharmaceutical benefit; smoking cessation counseling; access to a toll-free quit line for non-medical assistance; and, access to print and internet web-based tobacco cessation materials.

(i) Availability. The TRICARE smoking cessation program is available to all TRICARE beneficiaries who reside in one of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia who are not eligible for Medicare benefits authorized under Title XVIII of the Social Security Act. In addition, pursuant to ¤ 199.17, if authorized by the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs), the TRICARE smoking cessation program may be implemented in whole or in part in areas outside the 50 states and the District of Columbia for active duty members and their dependents who are enrolled in TRICARE Prime (overseas Prime beneficiaries). In such cases, the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) may also authorize modifications to the TRICARE smoking cessation program rules and procedures as may be appropriate to the overseas area involved. Notice of the use of this authority, not otherwise mentioned in this paragraph (e)(30), shall be published in the Federal Register.

(ii) Benefits. There is no requirement for an eligible beneficiary to be diagnosed with a smoking related illness to access benefits under this program. The specific benefits available under the TRICARE smoking cessation program are:

(A) Pharmaceutical agents. Products available under this program are identified through the DoD Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee, consistent with the DoD Uniform Formulary in ¤ 199.21. Smoking cessation pharmaceutical agents, including FDA-approved over-the-counter (OTC) pharmaceutical agents, are available through the TRICARE Mail Order Pharmacy (TMOP) or the MTF at no cost to the beneficiary. Smoking cessation pharmaceuticals through the TRICARE program will not be available at any retail pharmacies. A prescription from a TRICARE-authorized provider is required to obtain any pharmaceutical agent used for smoking cessation, including OTC agents. For overseas Prime beneficiaries, pharmaceutical agents may be provided either in the MTF or through the TMOP where such facility or service is available.

(B) Face-to-face smoking cessation counseling. Both individual and group smoking cessation counseling are covered. The number and mix of face-to-face counseling sessions covered under this program shall be determined by the Director, TMA; however, shall not exceed the limits established in paragraph (e)(30)(iii) of this section. A TRICARE-authorized provider listed in ¤ 199.6 must render all counseling sessions.

(C) Toll-free quit line. Access to a non-medical toll-free quit line 7 days a week, 24 hours a day will be available. The quit line will be staffed with smoking cessation counselors trained to assess a beneficiary's readiness to quit, identify barriers to quitting, and provide specific suggested actions and motivational counseling to enhance the chances of a successful quit attempt. When appropriate, quit line counselors will refer beneficiaries to a TRICARE-authorized provider for medical intervention. The quit line may, at the discretion of the Director, TMA, include the opportunity for the beneficiary to request individual follow-up contact initiated by quit line personnel; however, the beneficiary is not required to participate in the quit line initiated follow-up. Printed educational materials on the effects of tobacco use will be provided to the beneficiary upon request. This benefit may be made available to overseas Prime beneficiaries should the ASD(HA) exercise his authority to do so and provide appropriate notice in the Federal Register.

(D) Web-based resources. Downloadable educational materials on the effects of tobacco use will be available through the internet or other electronic media. This service may be made available to overseas Prime beneficiaries in all locations where web based resources are available. There shall be no requirement to create web based resources in any geographic area in order to make this service available.

(iii) Limitations of smoking cessation program. Eligible beneficiaries are entitled to two quit attempts per year (consecutive 12 month period). A third quit attempt may be covered per year with physician justification and pre-authorization. A quit attempt is defined as up to eighteen face-to-face counseling sessions over a 120 consecutive day period and/or 120 days of pharmacologic intervention for the purpose of smoking cessation. Counseling and pharmacological treatment periods that overlap by at least 60-days are considered a single quit attempt.

* * * * *

(g) * * *

(39) Counseling. Educational, vocational, and nutritional counseling and counseling for socioeconomic purposes, stress management, and/or lifestyle modification purposes, except that the following are not excluded:

(i) Services provided by a certified marriage and family therapist, pastoral or mental health counselor in the treatment of a mental disorder as specifically provided in paragraph (c)(3)(ix) of this section and in ¤ 199.6.

(ii) Diabetes self-management training (DSMT) as specifically provided in paragraph (d)(3)(ix) of this section.

(iii) Smoking cessation counseling and education as specifically provided in paragraph (e)(30) of this section.

(iv) Services provided by alcoholism rehabilitation counselors only when rendered in a CHAMPUS-authorized treatment setting and only when the cost of those services is included in the facility's CHAMPUS-determined allowable cost rate.

* * * * *

(65) [Reserved]

* * * * *

3.Section 199.21 is amended by:

a. Revising paragraph (a)(2);

b. Revising paragraph (h)(2)(i);

c. Adding a new paragraph (h)(2)(iii); and

d. Adding a new (i)(2)(v)(D).

The additions and revisions read as follows:

¤ 199.21 Pharmacy benefits program.(a) * * *

(2) Pharmacy benefits program. (i) Applicability. The pharmacy benefits program, which includes the uniform formulary and its associated tiered co-payment structure, is applicable to all of the uniformed services. Geographically, except as specifically provided in paragraph (a)(2)(ii) of this section, this program is applicable to all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. In addition, if authorized by the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) (ASD(HA)), the TRICARE pharmacy benefits program may be implemented in areas outside the 50 states and the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. In such case, the ASD (HA) may also authorize modifications to the pharmacy benefits program rules and procedures as may be appropriate to the area involved.

(ii) Applicability exception. The pharmaceutical benefit under the TRICARE smoking cessation program under ¤ 199.4(e)(30) is available to TRICARE beneficiaries who are not entitled to Medicare benefits authorized under Title XVIII of the Social Security Act. Except as noted in ¤ 199.4(e)(30), the smoking cessation program, including the pharmaceutical benefit, is not applicable or available to beneficiaries who reside overseas, including the U. S. territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, except that under the authority of ¤ 199.17 active duty service members and active duty dependents enrolled in TRICARE Prime residing overseas, including the U. S. territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, shall have access to smoking cessation pharmaceuticals through either an MTF or the TMOP program where available.

* * * * *

(h) * * *

(2) Availability of formulary pharmaceutical agents. (i) General. Subject to paragraphs (h)(2)(ii) and (h)(2)(iii) of this section, formulary pharmaceutical agents are available under the Pharmacy Benefits Program from all points of service identified in paragraph (h)(1) of this section.

* * * * *

(iii) Pharmaceutical agents prescribed for smoking cessation are not available for coverage when obtained through a retail pharmacy. This includes network and non-network retail pharmacies.

* * * * *

(i) * * *

(2) * * *

(v) * * *

(D) $0.00 co-payment for smoking cessation pharmaceutical agents covered under the smoking cessation program.

* * * * *

end regulatory text

Dated: February 1, 2013.

Patricia L. Toppings,

OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.

[FR Doc. 2013-03417 Filed 2-26-13; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 5001-06-P

Science!

50 Sexy Scientists - Business Insider

sexyscience.curry.com

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 13:40

It's hard to make microbes, telescopes, and math calculations appear sexy. But we found 50 scientists who pull it off fabulously. These aren't your typical lab coat-wearing, messy-haired brainiacs '-- with the exception that they're all pretty brain-y.

Some of the people who made our list are rising stars. Others are already well-established in their field. All of them are making a difference (or on their way to) by improving our lives through research and new discoveries.

We thought this was important, to highlight the brains along with the beauty. But, they're not bad to look at, either.

VIDEO

VIDEO-HBO: Documentaries: Watch Mea Maxima Culpa videos including trailers, previews & clips on HBO.com.

Link to Article

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 18:14

HBO: Documentaries | Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence In The House of God | HomeYour Javascript is Turned off. You need Javascript to be turned to view this site.

BrowsersPlease update your flash player...

Explores the first known public protest against clerical sex abuse in the U.S. by four courageous Deaf men.

VIDEO-BBC News - Negative interest rates idea floated by Bank's Paul Tucker

Link to Article

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 17:46

26 February 2013Last updated at11:05 ETPlease turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play.

Paul Tucker told MPs he had suggested negative interest rates in an attempt to boost the economy

Bank of England deputy governor Paul Tucker has said negative interest rates should be considered.

A negative interest rate would mean the central bank charges banks to hold their money and could encourage them to lend out more of their funds.

Speaking to MPs on the Treasury Committee, Mr Tucker said: "This would be an extraordinary thing to do and it needs to be thought through carefully."

He said it was one of a number of ideas that he had put up for consideration.

"I hope we will think about whether there are constraints to setting negative interest rates," Mr Tucker told MPs.

Any discussion of negative rates would have to take into account the likely detrimental impact on savers, who have already seen the income from their savings fall since the financial crisis.

With interest rates at a record low, there is little scope for central banks to use conventional means to stimulate the UK's weak economy, which has dipped in and out of recession since the 2008 financial crisis.

Continue reading the main story''Start QuoteSome of the proposals we heard today, such as moving to negative interest rates, are radical; others are not. They all warrant careful consideration''

End QuoteAndrew Tyrie MPChairman, Treasury Select CommitteeThe Bank has resorted to quantitative easing (QE), pumping billions into the economy.

Minutes of the last meeting of the Bank's policy setting committee showed that the governor, Sir Mervyn King, was outvoted in calling to expand QE from its current level of £375bn.

During that meeting other policy measures discussed included buying assets other than government bonds. It also considered reducing the Bank rate, which is currently 0.5%, and is the rate which directly influences mortgage and loan rates.

More QE?In addition, the committee looked at reducing the marginal rate of interest on bank reserves held at the Bank to encourage them to lend more. When negative interest rates were introduced in Denmark, it was this rate which was cut below zero.

The Bank of England minutes showed that the committee, "had noted drawbacks with each of these options in the past ; those drawbacks remained".

Continue reading the main storyAnalysisNegative interest rates? Sounds a bizarre notion and the Bank of England deputy governor Paul Tucker acknowledged it would be an "extraordinary" move.

But it is clearly in the Bank's thinking even if not adopted at this stage. The Danish central bank has already gone down this route. The theory is that commercial banks are depositing too much cash in the vaults of the Bank of England.

To encourage them to withdraw the money and lend it elsewhere they would not be paid interest and instead would be charged a fee (negative interest) for holding cash at the Bank of England.

There would not be negative interest on High Street deposits but banks would almost certainly react by cutting savings rates and raising current account charges. The big risk is that any gain in lending by banks would be matched by losses for savers and damage to banks' profits.

"The committee would nevertheless continue to examine all of the policies potentially available to it."

In his evidence to MPs, Mr Tucker also suggested "possible extensions" to the Funding for Lending scheme that he termed "quite significant, in terms of lending to non-banks and via non-banks".

In its first phase, the Bank's Funding for Lending scheme offers up to £60bn of cheap funds to banks and building societies if they then lend the money to individuals and businesses.

Mr Tucker also suggested that QE - whose merits have been much debated - may soon give a lift to the economy.

"The existing degree of monetary easing from QE is likely to gain more traction on spending than it had last autumn, given reduced tail risks from the international environment," he said, referring to the eurozone debt crisis and the US battles over the "fiscal cliff".

But he added: "I remain open to doing more QE, depending on the outlook for demand and inflation. Nobody on the committee thinks that QE has reached the end of the road and that it is not a useful instrument anymore.

"We stand prepared to do more, if we judge that necessary,"

Untested ideasChairman of the Treasury Select Committee, Andrew Tyrie said it had long been concerned about the shortage of lending to the SME sector that was inhibiting economic growth in the UK.

"The MPC is right to be looking at additional tools, or changes to existing tools, that could help," he said.

"Some of the proposals we heard today, such as moving to negative interest rates, are radical; others are not. They all warrant careful consideration," he said in a statement after the hearing.

In 2009, the Swedish central bank, the Riksbank, surprised many when it set a rate of -0.25%. The move below zero for the first time was seen as largely symbolic.

That was on the deposit rate, the rate put on money left by commercial banks at the central bank, which it normally earns interest on.

Banks were, in effect, being charged for keeping money at the central bank rather than lending it out to consumers and businesses to boost consumer spending and growth.

Denmark cut its deposit rate below zero in July last year, and in December, the Swiss bank Credit Suisse imposed negative rates on bank deposits to tame demand for the Swiss franc.

VIDEO-Kyrzahstan? John Kerry invents new country ahead of first foreign tour - YouTube

Link to Article

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 15:25

VIDEO-Everything Was "Amazing" at the Oscars - YouTube

Link to Article

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 15:15

VIDEO-Michelle Obama Oscars Appearance: First Lady Presents Best Picture To 'Argo'

Link to Article

Mon, 25 Feb 2013 19:41

That's all from the Oscars 2013 live blog here at HuffPost Entertainment! Hope you enjoyed the show. This is Christopher Rosen, signing off.

From backstage at the Oscars:

When did you feel a tipping point in your favor for this film?

Clooney: Michelle Obama.

Ben: When they gave us the trophies I was confident that we would win. I don't get too much into the Oscar-ology and the pontificating. It doesn't help me to read up on that stuff.

Backstage at the Oscars with Daniel Day-Lewis:

Was it uncomfortable wearing the beard?

What do you mean? No it's just a beard. Do you wear your hair? It was my very own beard.

From HuffPost Los Angeles correspondent Sasha Bronner:

"A bad word. That starts with F."

Here's Awards Daily blogger Sasha Stone just after "Argo" won Best Picture.

@ AwardsDaily : See, I told you Argo was Crash incarnate. Won the same amount of awards even.Here's Sasha Stone on "Argo" back in October:

Have you ever seen a movie where you walk out saying, ''That was just a great f--king movie''? That's Ben Affleck's Argo. Inexplicably, a film that draws its strength from humor and suspense, winds up being more moving the second time through. Perhaps because once you have been through the suspense part of it you get to know the characters better and therefore care about their outcomes more.

''It's a strange thing, because three years ago, before we decided to do a straight swap, I had actually been committed to play Margaret Thatcher, um...'' he joked. ''And Meryl was, was Steven's first choice for 'Lincoln.' And I'd like to see that version. And Steven didn't have to persuade me to play Lincoln, but I had to persuade him that, perhaps, if I was going to do it, that Lincoln shouldn't be a musical.''

More on Daniel Day-Lewis' Oscar speech here.

The 85th annual Oscars gave audiences plenty to talk about -- from host Seth MacFarlane's "rejected"-but-still-definitely-included "We Saw Your Boobs" number to William Shatner's comment that the Academy should have asked Amy Poehler and Tina Fey to host. (Are they really hosting next year? Don't play with our emotions that way.)

More here from HuffPost Women.

Need to make sense of the Oscars? We've got you covered. From the WHOA to the EEK to the OH NO!, we've rounded up the night's brightest highlights. Because nobody should be the odd man out at the water cooler.

Seth MacFarlane opened the night with a Tommy Lee Jones joke (remember Mr Grumpy Cat?). "The quest to make Tommy Lee Jones laugh starts now," quipped the host. So ...

Look at Oscar night in GIFs by clicking here.

The 85th annual Academy Awards took a moment Sunday evening to honor a number of late Hollywood greats. The memoriam nodded to an extraordinary group, including Nora Ephron and Richard Zanuck. However, one actor was noticeably absent from the list.

Andy Griffith wasn't mentioned in the Oscars' In Memoriam segment. More here.

From HuffPost Women:

We learned a few things: Seth MacFarlane likes boobs. Seth MacFarlane thinks eating disorders are funny. And Seth MacFarlane's one-liners would make the worst pick-up lines ever.

More here on Seth MacFarlane's Oscar night.

Pretty great. David Rothschild, who spearheaded our Oscars Prediction Dashboard weighs in:

This is a spectacular result '... The Oscars are always billed as ''unpredictable'' and that is especially true down the line for the more obscure categories '... 19 out of 24 correct is a testament to scientific predictions

More on the Oscars tie that occurred in the Best Sound Editing category:

Although it is rare, Oscars ties have happened before.

In 1932, Frederic March won the Best Actor award for "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" and tied with Wallace Beery for "The Champ" because Beery only beat him by one single vote, Slate notes. The rules allowed for a one vote difference to be called a tie back then, while today it must be the exact same.

Relive the most awkward moment of Jennifer Lawrence's life:

More on Michelle Obama's Oscar appearance:

"[These films] taught us that love can beat all odds," Obama said. "They reminded us that we can overcome any obstacle if we dig deep enough and fight hard enough and find the courage within ourselves."

The 2013 Oscars are over. "Life of PI" led with four wins, including Best Director for Ang Lee. "Argo" and "Les Miserables" had three wins. "Django Unchained" and "Lincoln" earned two.

Seth MacFarlane and Kristen Chenoweth sing a song about the losers at the Oscars. Surely this will go over well in the room.

"Argo," Ang Lee, Daniel Day-Lewis, Jennifer Lawrence, Christoph Waltz and Anne Hathaway were 2013 Oscar winners. Here's the full list.

Affleck, who was snubbed for Best Director, gives a long but thoughtful acceptance speech. More on the historic "Argo" Oscar win here:

The 2013 Academy Award for Best Picture was awarded to Hollywood's favorite film: "Argo." Oscar looked good in Ben Affleck's hand, especially as the star was notably snubbed in the Best Directing category.

He thanks Ben Affleck, who directed a "helluva film." He then introduces Affleck.

"Thank you very, very much." Affleck acknowledges Steven Spielberg and the other films.

Michelle Obama announces "Argo" as Best Picture.

Jack knows better than to mess with Michelle Obama.

VIDEO-The Microwave Miracle Of Cooking In Mugs : The Salt : NPR

Link to Article

Mon, 25 Feb 2013 23:16

Washington Post Food and Travel Editor Joe Yonan whips up some macaroni and cheese in an NPR mug.

Maggie Starbard/NPRLunchtime is around the corner, and your tummy is rumbling. If you've got a microwave, a mug and a few basic ingredients, you can cook up a meal right in the office.

Morning Edition's David Greene recently started microwaving scrambled eggs in a mug for those early mornings on hosting duties. It led him to wonder about the other possibilities of this culinary art.

So he turned to Washington Post Food and Travel Editor Joe Yonan for help expanding his mug menu. "The mug gauntlet was laid down in front of me, and so I picked it up and decided to do a mac and cheese," says Yonan, who writes the "Cooking for One" column.

When he joined Greene in the NPR offices to demonstrate his recipes (below) for mac and cheese and brownies, the steps were pretty straightforward: Put some things in a mug, nuke for a bit, add more things, stir, and finish nuking.

It doesn't get much easier than that, folks.

Morning Edition producer Rachel Ward preps the ingredients for a microwave creation.

Maggie Starbard/NPRBut whatever you decide to whip up, there's one thing you need to remember: Things get really hot in the microwave.

"They're not just getting heat from the surface that they're in contact with, like a pan would on the stove. They're heating from the inside out," Yonan explains. "All their molecules are all excited, and the whole thing is kind of exploding inside, so you have to be careful."

Also, don't cook anything with fish. Do that, and you might get kicked out of the building because the smell will seep into every corner.

Yonan says a lot of people think microwaving is a lesser form of cooking. There are plenty of people who just reheat things and make popcorn, "but the microwave is incredibly versatile, and I think people have realized that."

So go wild and experiment with whatever happens to be in the fridge today. Just don't steal somebody else's lunch.

Recipe: Mac And Cheese With Mushrooms In An Office Mug (based on a recipe on the Kitchn)

1/2 cup macaroni pasta

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons dried shiitake mushrooms, crumbled (optional)

Pinch of salt

3 tablespoons whole milk

1/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons roasted tomato salsa (or your favorite store-bought salsa)

1 teaspoon flour

Combine the pasta, water and salt in a large microwave-safe mug.

Set it on a paper towel and microwave on high in 2-minute intervals, stirring in between, until the pasta is just short of tender (al dente. This should take 4 to 8 minutes, depending on the wattage of your microwave. (The water will foam up and possibly spill slightly over the mug, but the pasta and mushrooms should stay put.) If the mug dries out before the pasta is cooked, add another 2 tablespoons of water before continuing to microwave until the pasta is al dente.

Stir in the milk, cheese, salsa and flour. Microwave on high in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until the cheese has melted and a creamy sauce has formed. Let cool slightly and eat.

For something more basic, leave out the mushrooms. You can also take it in the other direction and add all sorts of other ingredients, depending on what's in your office fridge: pesto, leftover meat, Sriracha, kimchi. From Washington Post Food and Travel editor Joe Yonan.

Recipe: Brownie In An Office Mug

This is Washington Post Food and Travel editor Joe Yonan's tarted-up take on the many microwave-brownie-in-a-mug recipes circulating on the Internet, and it results in a fudgy, deeply chocolate flavored confection that would be improved only by a little ice cream. To make something more stripped down, you can leave out the instant espresso, dried cherries, chocolate chips and almonds and still get an excellent, if less sophisticated, result.

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon almond butter (may substitute peanut butter or Nutella)

2 tablespoons whole milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)

1 tablespoon dried cherries (optional)

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon bittersweet chocolate chips or pieces of a chocolate bar (optional)

1 tablespoon slivered almonds (optional)

1 tablespoon slivered almonds

Combine the butter, almond butter, milk and vanilla in a large microwave-safe mug, and microwave on high until the butter melts, 30 to 60 seconds. Stir with a fork to break up the almond butter and thoroughly combine. Sprinkle in the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, instant espresso, cherries and salt, and stir to combine. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Microwave on high for about 1 minute, until the better has firmed up on top and the chocolate has melted. Sprinkle with almonds, let cool slightly, and eat.

Obama Wants To Increase Funds To Syrian Rebels But We Have To Cut Your Social Security

New Worldwide Movement To Destroy As Many Security Cameras As Possible!

Former Obama Spox Robert Gibbs: I Was Told Not To Acknowledge Existence Of Drone Program

Link to Article

Source: MRCTV - News & Politics

Sun, 24 Feb 2013 22:35

MRC TV is an online platform for people to share and view videos, articles and opinions on topics that are important to them -- from news to political issues and rip-roaring humor.

MRC TV is brought to you by the Media Research Center, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit research and education organization. The MRC is located at: 325 South Patrick Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. For information about the MRC, please visit www.MRC.org.

Copyright (C) 2013, Media Research Center. All Rights Reserved.

Lib Sequester Scare Tactics: No Meat, No Veggies, New Disease Outbreaks

Link to Article

Source: MRCTV - News & Politics

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 05:27

STEPHANIE MILLER (26 Feb 2013): Here's my major concerns about the sequestration okay number one stock up on meat now, it might not be available for long. The food safety and inspection service said it will be forced to furlough employees if cuts are enacted. Vegetarians you're not exempted. More than 2000 fewer types of food inspections would occur. A lot of risk of airborne food borne illnesses. Wouldn't that be fun I just had one a couple of weeks ago. It was awesome! Wow! Flatulence sound effect. Just a little flashback sorry.

Crowley Busts LaHood: Post-Sequester FAA Budget $500 Million More Than 2008 When Planes Ran Just Fine

Link to Article

Source: MRCTV - News & Politics

Sun, 24 Feb 2013 22:33

MRC TV is an online platform for people to share and view videos, articles and opinions on topics that are important to them -- from news to political issues and rip-roaring humor.

MRC TV is brought to you by the Media Research Center, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit research and education organization. The MRC is located at: 325 South Patrick Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. For information about the MRC, please visit www.MRC.org.

Copyright (C) 2013, Media Research Center. All Rights Reserved.

Bob Woodward: 'Very senior person' at White House said you'll 'regret' reporting on sequester [video]

Link to Article

Source: Twitchy åÈ US Politics

Thu, 28 Feb 2013 01:51

What difference, at this point, does it make whose idea the sequester was? For a while, the White House was succeeding in its effort to pin the scheduled budget cuts on House Republicans, but the GOP fought back, with several legislators changing their Twitter avatars to a highlighted passage from Bob Woodward's book, ''The Price of Politics,'' tracing the origin of the sequester to the White House.

The White House was ''not happy'' with that development, Woodward told Wolf Blitzer tonight, with a ''very senior person'' emailing that Woodward would ''regret doing this.''

Remember, it took being shut out of the president's golf match with Tiger Woods to give the press a clue that perhaps this wasn't the most transparent administration ever.

VIDEO-02-27-13 FIRE BALL over Texas & Louisiana turns out to be CHINESE ROCKET!!! - YouTube

Link to Article

Thu, 28 Feb 2013 14:17

Vatican Priests Blackmailed By Gay Prostitutes "Rumors Of Gay Orgies & Priests In Drag Just Gossip!"

Hyperbolic ABC: 'Massive Spending Cuts' to Cause Meat Shortages?

Link to Article

Source: MRCTV - News & Politics

Thu, 28 Feb 2013 01:41

The reporters of Good Morning America, who on Monday briefly questioned Barack Obama's hyperbolic talk about the sequester, have returned to hyperbolic warnings about meat shortages and children losing vaccines. Guest co-host Elizabeth Vargas on Wednesday hyped "the grim countdown to the massive spending cuts that will kick in on Friday."

Video cross-posted at NewsBusters.

MoveOn.Mika: 'Silly' To Discuss Obama Not Telling Truth Over Authorship Of Sequester

Link to Article

Source: MRCTV - News & Politics

Mon, 25 Feb 2013 14:59

On Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski says it's "silly" to discuss the fact that President Obama didn't tell the truth when during a presidential debate he claimed that he hadn't initially proposed the sequester, Congress had. Trying to end the uncomfortable discussion, at one point Mika declares "I'm moving on."

XML