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Monday, August 25, 2008

Free Internet Press Newsletter - Monday August 25 2008 - (813)

Monday August 25 2008 edition
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Thousands Of California Children Risk Losing Health Insurance
2008-08-24 15:46:20
Increased premiums for low-income families are expected to put the program out of reach for many. A new Medi-Cal policy is also expected to cut enrollees, further weakening the health care system.

California's promising strides toward extending medical coverage to all its children, a longtime goal of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and one advocates believed was in reach by decade's end, has stalled - and thousands of kids are in danger of losing insurance.

The trend is likely to further destabilize California's already shaky health care system. Studies have found that children without insurance are less likely to go to the doctor for routine visits that allow early diagnoses and treatment for diabetes, obesity and other increasingly common ailments.

Uninsured children are more likely to end up in the hospital or in the state's clogged emergency rooms, where much of the cost of their care is passed along to insured people through higher premiums. Uninsured children tend to perform worse in school and miss more classes than those with coverage, several studies have found.

Between 2001 and 2005, the number of Californians younger than 19 who were uninsured at any given time decreased 25% to about 763,000, according to the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

Most of the drop came through aggressive enrollment efforts in state and private health care programs and despite the erosion of employer-based insurance, which was leaving more adults without coverage.

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Poll: Support For Obama, McCain Holding Steady
2008-08-24 15:45:54
Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain are locked in a highly competitive race for the White House,  with voters giving McCain a clear edge as a potential commander in chief but Obama a sizable advantage on economic issues, the subject of greatest concern to voters, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. 

Heading into two critical weeks of the campaign - the four-day Democratic National Convention is set to open here on Monday, followed by the Republican National Convention in the Twin Cities next week - Obama maintains a narrow, six-point edge over McCain among registered voters. Among those most likely to vote, 49 percent back Obama and 45 percent back McCain.

The poll was completed just before Obama announced the selection of Sen. Joseph R. Biden, Jr., of Delaware, as his vice presidential running mate.

The results show little movement from the last Post-ABC survey, conducted in mid-July, before Obama embarked on a highly publicized trip overseas and prior to a series of fierce exchanges between the campaigns. Other recent national polls also show only limited changes in the overall race heading into the conventions, although several of those surveys indicate an even-tighter race.

Relative stability in the race stems in part from both sides' legions of committed supporters. About three-quarters of supporters on both sides said they will "definitely" vote for their current choice. Still, about three in 10 registered voters, and nearly as many likely voters, are "movable" - those who are less solidly behind their pick or who have yet to decide. The number of swing voters this year is substantially higher than it was at this time in 2004, highlighting the importance of the next two weeks as the candidates strive to define themselves and their opponents.

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Taliban Win Over Locals In Kabul
2008-08-24 00:18:04
While clashes in remote Helmand province in Afghanistan dominate the headlines, another battle is being waged by the insurgent's on Kabul's doorstep. There, the Taliban are winning support by building a parallel administration, which is more effective, more popular and more brutal than the government's.

Ismatullah stood at the crossroads in the dusty Afghan town of Maidan Shah, squinted in the blinding noon sun and stroked his long, grey beard. "What the governor said in our meeting was very good," he said diplomatically. "He quoted the Koran very correctly. But I am not sure how much power he has. Now I am going home - and the Taliban control my district, not him."

The tribal elder lives only a few miles from Maidan Shah, in a part of Afghanistan which, until a few months ago, was considered under the authority of President Hamid Karzai's central government. Maidan Shah is a typical Afghan town - a scruffy huddle of mechanics' workshops, stalls selling out-of-date Iranian jam, the charred frames of two fuel trucks burnt out in a recent insurgent attack, and a clutch of battered barrows from which destitute farmers in rags sell bruised apples and tiny brown pomegranates. A dozen men lie on the flat floor of the single restaurant amid clouds of flies, sip smeared glasses of tea and stare hard at strangers.

Follow the main road back towards the Afghan capital and in 15 minutes you will be at the narrow pass in the ring of craggy, dusty hills around the city known for centuries as "the Gates of Kabul". If there is a front line between the insurgents and the government, it is here, just a dozen miles south of the capital. There is no clear front line, of course - which is part of the problem.

In the U.K., it is the south of Afghanistan, where British troops are fighting, that has received most attention. Yet last week's battle in which 10 French soldiers died took place only an hour's drive from Kabul. It is in places like Maidan Shah, not remote provincial Helmand, that the struggle for Afghanistan will be won or lost. "The war in the south is basically a tough, bitterly fought stalemate," admitted one senior NATO officer last week. "It is around Kabul that the Taliban must now be stopped."

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Al-Qaeda Masters Terror On The Cheap, Avoiding Financial Dragnet
2008-08-24 00:17:43
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, al-Qaeda has increasingly turned to local cells that run extremely low-cost operations and generate cash through criminal scams, bypassing the global financial dragnet set up by the United States and Europe.

Although al-Qaeda spent an estimated $500,000 to plan and execute the Sept. 11 attacks, many of the group's bombings and assaults since then in Europe, North Africa and Southeast Asia have cost one-tenth as much, or less.

The cheap plots are evidence that the U.S. government and its allies fundamentally miscalculated in assuming they could defeat the network by hunting for wealthy financiers and freezing bank accounts, according to many U.S. and European counterterrorism officials.

In an ongoing trial here of eight men accused of planning to blow up airliners bound for the United States two years ago, jurors have been told how the accused shopped at drugstores for ingredients to build bombs that would have cost $15 apiece to assemble.

Similarly, the cell responsible for the July 7, 2005, transit bombings in London needed only about $15,000 to finance the entire conspiracy, including the cost of airfare to Pakistan to consult with al-Qaeda supervisors, according to official British government probes.

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Floridians Have Had Enough Of Fay
2008-08-24 00:17:10
Fay just won't quit. The tropical storm system that set a record with four landfalls in Florida chugged westward across the Gulf Coast on Saturday, and cities from Pensacola, Florida, to New Orleans prepared for inches of rain.

Showing that a slow-moving tropical storm can be as deadly and damaging as a hurricane, the storm killed at least 11 people in Florida and one in Georgia, said emergency officials.

Thousands of homes and businesses were inundated with floodwaters last week as the storm worked its way north from its landfall in the Florida Keys and zigzagged across the peninsula.

Fay's center made its fourth landfall around 1 a.m. Saturday about 15 miles north-northeast of Apalachicola, according to the Ntional Hurricane Center.Although the landfall was mostly uneventful in that area, bands of heavy rain and high winds in the eastern half of the storm pelted inland areas.

Rains and strong wind gusts blitzed Tallahassee, the state capital, for more than 24 hours, knocking down trees and power lines and cutting electricity to more than 12,000 customers, said city officials.

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Voting Machines Can Never Be Trusted Says GOP Computer Security Expert
2008-08-24 15:46:08
Intellpuke: Following is an interview with cyber-security expert Stephen Spoonamore, an avowed life-long Republican. This interview was posted at the website on August 13, 2008, but initially took place in October 2006. Since Americans will be soon be electing a new president, every vote should not only be counted, but counted correctly and honestly. For those reasons, and an abiding affection for democracy, I didn't want this interview to fall through the cracks.

If a Democrat said what cyber-security expert Stephen Spoonamore is saying, he would be dismissed as a partisan conspiracy theorist.

In an interview from October, 2006, that has only now seen the light of day, Stephen Spoonamore, one of the world's leading experts in cyber crime and a self-described "life-long Republican" destroys Diebold's already non-existent credibility.

Spoonamore lays it out for anyone to see and understand. If you care about America and it's survival as a democratic republic, you'll watch this interview.

The interviews are on YouTube and are being carried by a new site created by Velvet Revolution, 

Read below the fold for details and background.

There is a civil suit pending in Ohio, King Lincoln Bronzeville v. Blackwell. We covered a July 17 press conference about this case. The issues in this case are complex, but in a nutshell, some Ohio voters filed a lawsuit about the 2004 election. These voters want to get the deposition of Mike Connell, a Republican IT expert who set up Ohio's computers for the 2004 election while simultaneously running the IT network for the Bush/Cheney 2004 campaign.

Connell's allegiance is clear; he is the co-owner of Connell Donatelli Inc., the company that was the registrant, administrator, and tech organizer of the website for the so-called Swiftboat Veterans for Truth. Connell has also been called "a high-tech Forrest Gump" who was "'at the scene of every crime' for numerous questionable elections since 2000."

The plaintiffs are working with an expert witness, Stephen Spoonamore. Spoonamore, according to Arnebeck, "works for credit card companies chasing data thieves, identity thieves around the globe, and also consults with government agencies including the Secret Service, the Pentagon, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in criminal matters. [He's] really one of the top, and in fact the top private cop in the world on the subject of data security."

In this interview, "Spoon," as his friends call him, cuts through the lies and dissembling of Diebold and explains in language that anyone can understand how our elections have been stolen and how they are going to be stolen again. Even though this interview is almost two years old, the issues are still, unfortunately, germane to our elections.

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Commentary: Biden Pick Gives Obama What He Needs
2008-08-24 15:45:39
Intellpuke: This commentary was written by John Nichols and appeared in The Nation magazine's online edition for Friday, August 22, 2008. Mr. Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress. Nichols writes about politics forThe Nation magazine as its Washington correspondent. His commentary follows:

And the winner is: Joe Biden.

It did not take a newfangled text message, just an old-fashioned leak, to identify Barack Obama's running mate.

Word of the Biden selection spread late Friday night, barely twelve hours before the event in Springfield, Illinois, at which the presumptive Democratic nominee for president was set to introduce the presumptive Democratic nominee for vice president.

Ultimately, Obama went with the guy who suggested most pointedly during the race for the Democratic nomination that Obama was not quite experienced enough for the presidency.

It was Biden who suggested in an August, 2007, debate that, "I think (Obama) can be ready, but right now I don't believe he is. The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training."

Challenged on that statement, the senator said he stood by it.

Expect to see those comments featured in an ad for Republican John McCain. (At 1:22 a.m. EST, the Republican's campaign released a statement that to theeffect that, "There has been no harsher critic of Barack Obama's lack of experience than Joe Biden. Biden has denounced Barack Obama's poor foreign policy judgment and has strongly argued in his own words what Americans are quickly realizing - that Barack Obama is not ready to be President.")

But don't expect McCain's attempts to use Biden against Obama to do much damage.

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Editorial: What The Voters Know
2008-08-24 00:17:53
Intellpuke: This editorial appeared in the New York Times edition for Sunday, August 24, 2008.

It came as no surprise when the latest New York Times/CBS News poll showed voters focused overwhelmingly on economic issues. Jobs are disappearing. Incomes are falling. Home equity is evaporating. Prices are rising. Debt loads are crushing.

What is most striking is voters’ belief that neither candidate is paying enough attention to their distress. Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama have spoken at length about the economy. But voters have yet to hear what they believe are compelling answers.

In one key area - the causes and cures for declining wages - the voters are right: neither candidate has adequately addressed the issue. Both have to give fuller explanations of how they plan to run government without running the country ever deeper into the red.

For all that, the two men have revealed fundamentally different economic philosophies and policies.

Taxes are at the core of each candidate’s economic agenda. Mr. McCain’s proposed tax cuts are directed mostly at the wealthy; Mr. Obama’s are aimed at lower- and middle-income Americans and paired with tax increases for the wealthy. This page has long decried the high-end tax cuts of the Bush years. And Mr. McCain’s plan to continue them, while piling on more, will neither grow the economy nor raise revenue. The mega-deficits they would create would be a drag on any growth.

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Britain's National Trust Warns Of Losing Coastal Landmarks From Rising Sea Levels
2008-08-24 00:17:22

Some of Britain's most famous coastal landmarks will be radically changed or even lost because it is no longer possible to hold back rising seas and coastal erosion, according to the National Trust.

The castle of St. Michael's Mount off the coast of Cornwall, the white cliffs of Birling Gap in East Sussex, Studland beach in Dorset and the dunes of Formby, near Liverpool, are among the places which could alter dramatically. In one of the most extreme cases to be identified by the trust, the entire 18th-century fishing village of Porthdinllaen on the northwest coast of Wales could be left to crumble into the sea.

The report on the 10 coastal hotspots will be published this week to highlight the problems of climate change which threaten about 70 sites around the coastline owned by the trust.

Phil Dyke, the National Trust's coast and marine adviser, said the decision to stop protecting many coastal areas was driven by the rising cost of damage, because global warming is causing more sea-level rises and more intense storms which exacerbate erosion, and because protection measures often cause damage farther along the coast, for example, depriving nearby beaches of shingle and sand. On one site in Cornwall the trust estimated it would cost £6m to build defenses which would only last about 25 years.

The report highlights the difficult decisions which will have to be taken across Britain and around the world as landowners and governments decide how to cope with the impact of climate change on habitats and built infrastructure, particularly after a tradition of pitting engineers against natural change.

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