Free Internet Press

Uncensored News For Real People This is a mirror site for our daily newsletter. You may visit our real site through the individual story links, or by visiting .

Monday, August 04, 2008

Free Internet Press Newsletter - Tuesday August 5 2008 - (813)

Tuesday August 5 2008 edition
Free Internet Press is operated on your donations.
Donate Today

In U.S., Higher Prices Outpace June Spending By Consumers
2008-08-04 20:25:48

Consumer spending increased in June, but those gains were outpaced by rising prices, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Monday.

The increase in spending was $57.1 billion, or 0.6 percent, from May, but prices rose 0.8 percent in the month. It was the highest inflation level in the monthly report since September 2005.

The decrease in consumer spending after accounting for inflation reversed the trend in May, when stimulus checks from the federal government helped produce a real increase in spending.

“This is a kind of ‘Honey, inflation ate my rebate check’ story,” said Jared Bernstein, senior economist at the Economist Policy Institute.

Read The Full Story

Hot Spot In California's Ventura County Reaches 800 Degrees Fahrenheit
2008-08-04 20:25:25
A patch of land in Ventura County where the ground heated up to more than 800 degrees Friday continues to puzzle firefighters and geologists.

"It's a thermal anomaly," said Ron Oatman, spokesman for the Ventura County Fire Department.

The firefighters and geologists who surveyed the two-acre plot north of Fillmore are uncertain what's causing the heat, but they have some theories.

The area is considered an active landslide that in the last 60 years has moved and trapped hydrocarbons, found in petroleum products, natural gas and coal, some several hundred feet deep, said Oatman. After it dried out, the earth began to crack and oxygen crept in, causing "some sort of combustion," he said.

Smoke rose through five cracks in the ground on Friday. From a distance, it looked like "a small, smoldering camp fire," said Oatman.
Read The Full Story

Commentary: Voting Rights Destruction: Lack Of Transparency
2008-08-04 20:24:54
Intellpuke: This commentary was written by Heidi Stevenson and appeared on's website edition for Monday, August 4, 2008. According to Truthout: Ms. Stevenson provides information about medically induced disease and disability, along with incisive article on major issues in the modern world, so members of the public an protect themselves. Her commentary follows:

It is not enough to have the right to vote. The people also need to know that their votes are counted in an open and fair manner. Without that transparency, there is no way to be sure that an election was fair or that one's vote mattered. The result of that lack is a people who have no faith in their government, who cannot trust that members of the legislature or any administration position truly respond to them. There can be no assumption that the government is supported by its citizens.

Such a state must rule by force, as it does not rule by the suffrage of the people - even if the people actually did vote for their leaders. Without the ability to see and document that all votes are counted, there is no reason for the people to believe that their leaders are who they selected.

That is where the United States is heading. The following tale, which just happened in California's Monterey County during the June 3 primary election, is a case in point. Jim March, a member of the Board of Directors of Black Box Voting, wrote of this incident, "The collapse of transparency was deliberate and systematic, and violated state laws, the certification rules promoted by the California Secretary of State's office and democratic principles in general."

Read The Full Story

Commentary: Is The King Of Pork Dead?
2008-08-04 20:24:21
Intellpuke: This commentary was written by Winslow T. Wheeler and appeared on's website edition for Sunday, August 3, 2008. Mr. Wheeler spent three decades working for four U.S. senators from both political parties and the Government Accountability Office. He now directs the Straus Military Reform Project at the Center for Defense Information in Washington. Mr. Wheeler's commentary follows:

When a member of Congress is indicted, the usual practice of the pols in Washington is to tread lightly, declare the accused innocent until convicted and studiously ignore what is really going on.

Such is the case with the newly indicted Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska). Everyone is playing their appointed role.

His smirk thoroughly suppressed, the Senate's Democratic Whip, Richard Durbin of Illinois, declared the mood among his Democratic colleagues "somber," and said, "we should just let the courts do their work." Indeed, doing so will almost certainly inch the Senate's Democratic caucus toward its goal of 60 members and, thus, the ability to steamroll any bills it wants over the shriveled Republican minority.

Imitating the speeder who tells the police officer he didn't see the sign limiting his Corvette to 25 miles per hour in a school zone, Senator Stevens told the press, "I have never knowingly submitted a false disclosure form required by law as a U.S. senator."

Read The Full Story

Housing Lenders Fear Larger Wave Of Loan Defaults
2008-08-04 07:05:48

The first wave of Americans to default on their home mortgages appears to be cresting, but a second, far larger one is quickly building.

Homeowners with good credit are falling behind on their payments in growing numbers, even as the problems with mortgages made to people with weak, or subprime, credit are showing their first, tentative signs of leveling off after two years of spiraling defaults.

The percentage of mortgages in arrears in the category of loans one rung above subprime, so-called alternative-A mortgages, quadrupled to 12 percent in April from a year earlier. Delinquencies among prime loans, which account for most of the $12 trillion market, doubled to 2.7 percent in that time.

The mortgage troubles have been exacerbated by an economy that is still struggling. Reports last week showed another drop in home prices, slower-than-expected economic growth and a huge loss at General Motors. On Friday, the Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate in July climbed to a four-year high.

While it is difficult to draw precise parallels among various segments of the mortgage market, the arc of the crisis in subprime loans suggests that the problems in the broader market may not peak for another year or two, said  analysts.

Read The Full Story

Hurricane Watch Issued For Texas, Louisiana
2008-08-04 07:05:18
Emergency teams were activated as residents along the Gulf of Mexico prepared to get hit with another round of tropical weather for the second time in less than a month.

Tropical Storm Edouard gained speed as it moved west Monday and was expected to strengthen to a near-hurricane before making landfall somewhere in Texas or southwest Louisiana.

A tropical storm warning was in effect from the mouth of the Mississippi River westward to Cameron, Louisiana. A hurricane watch was in effect from west of Intracoastal City, Louisiana, to Port O'Connor, Texas.

Edouard had maximum sustained winds near 50 mph with higher gusts at 2 a.m. EDT Monday. The storm's center was located about 75 miles south-southwest of the mouth of Mississippi River and 325 miles east-southeast of Galveston, Texas.

It was moving west at 9 mph and was expected to strengthen before making landfall Tuesday morning. Forecasters said the warm waters of the Gulf provided the right conditions for the storm to intensify and approach hurricane strength with winds of 75 mph or more.

Read The Full Story

Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, Literary Giant Who Defied Soviets, Dies At 89
2008-08-04 07:04:20
Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, whose stubborn, lonely and combative literary struggles gained the force of prophecy as he revealed the heavy afflictions of Soviet Communism in some of the most powerful works of the 20th century, died late on Sunday at the age of 89 in Moscow.

His son Yermolai said the cause was a heart ailment.

Mr. Solzhenitsyn outlived by nearly 17 years the Soviet state and system he had battled through years of imprisonment, ostracism and exile.

Mr. Solzhenitsyn had been an obscure, middle-aged, unpublished high school science teacher in a provincial Russian town when he burst onto the literary stage in 1962 with “A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.” The book, a mold-breaking novel about a prison camp inmate, was a sensation. Suddenly he was being compared to giants of Russian literature like Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky and Chekhov.

Over the next five decades, Mr. Solzhenitsyn’s fame spread throughout the world as he drew upon his experiences of totalitarian duress to write evocative novels like “The First Circle” and “The Cancer Ward” and historical works like “The Gulag Archipelago.”

“Gulag” was a monumental account of the Soviet labor camp system, a chain of prisons that by Mr. Solzhenitsyn’s calculation some 60 million people had entered during the 20th century. The book led to his expulsion from his native land. George F. Kennan, the American diplomat, described it as “the greatest and most powerful single indictment of a political regime ever to be leveled in modern times.”

Read The Full Story

Attack In China Kills 16 Policemen
2008-08-04 07:03:39
Two assailants crashed a dump truck into a paramilitary police station in the restive Xinjiang region Monday and tossed out two grenades, killing 16 policemen and wounding 16 others in an apparent terrorist attack, the official New China  News Agency reported.

Witnesses said the two explosions boomed out about 8 a.m. in the heart of Kashgar, an oasis town on the route of the ancient Silk Road more than 2,000 miles west of Beijing and near the Chinese borders with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

The region's overwhelmingly Muslim ethnic Uighur population has long chafed under Han Chinese rule. According to Chinese security officials, Uighur extremists have plotted to carry out terrorist strikes during the Beijing Olympics, which start Friday.

Chinese authorities said they had arrested the assailants but did not specify whether they were Uighurs or explain their motives.

The grenade attack was the deadliest single strike against Chinese authorities in some time, although security officials say a spate of separatist bombings in the 1990s killed a number of people.

Read The Full Story

Scientists Question FBI Anthrax Investigation
2008-08-04 04:46:52

For nearly seven years, scientist Bruce E. Ivins and a small circle of fellow anthrax specialists at Fort Detrick's Army medical lab lived in a curious limbo: They served as occasional consultants for the FBI in the investigation of the deadly 2001 anthrax attacks, yet they were all potential suspects.

Over lunch in the bacteriology division, nervous scientists would share stories about their latest unpleasant encounters with the FBI and ponder whether they should hire criminal defense lawyers, according to one of Ivins' former supervisors. In tactics that the researchers considered heavy-handed and often threatening, they were interviewed and polygraphed as early as 2002, and reinterviewed numerous times. Their labs were searched, and their computers and equipment carted away.

The FBI eventually focused on Ivins, whom federal prosecutors were planning to indict when he committed suicide last week. In interviews Saturday, knowledgeable officials asserted that Ivins had the skills and access to equipment needed to turn anthrax bacteria into an ultra-fine powder that could be used as a lethal weapon. Court documents and tapes also reveal a therapist's deep concern that Ivins, 62, was homicidal and obsessed with the notion of revenge.

Yet, colleagues and friends of the vaccine specialist remained convinced that Ivins was innocent: They contended that he had neither the motive nor the means to create the fine, lethal powder that was sent by mail to news outlets and congressional offices in the late summer and fall of 2001. Mindful of previous FBI mistakes in fingering others in the case, many are deeply skeptical that the bureau has gotten it right this time.

"I really don't think he's the guy. I say to the FBI, 'Show me your evidence'," said Jeffrey J. Adamovicz, former director of the bacteriology division at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases, or USAMRIID, on the grounds of the sprawling Army fort in Frederick. "A lot of the tactics they used were designed to isolate him from his support. The FBI just continued to push his buttons."

Read The Full Story

Fed Up By Costs, Many Grow It Alone
2008-08-04 04:46:23
Just beneath an L train subway platform in Brooklyn, Tanika Gentry fingers the deep green leaves of a collard plant in the black soil of a community garden.

This is dinner.

Gentry, fed up with the spiking cost of food, recently decided to grow her own. Now she is reaping a harvest of collards, cabbages, tomatoes and pumpkins to feed her family.

"Once you have to choose between eating and fuel, there's nothing greater than going back to the beginning and making your own," said Gentry, 32, who home-schools her two daughters. "With the way things are going, it may be something a lot more people are realistically doing."

From Atlanta to Minneapolis to Seattle, people are reacting to the stagnant economy and the high cost of produce by planting their own fruits and vegetables, say garden store owners, bulk seed sellers and industry analysts.

Read The Full Story

Al-Qaeda Confirms Death Of Top Bomb Maker Masri
2008-08-04 04:45:50
Al-Qaeda confirmed on Sunday that Abu Khabab al-Masri, a chemical and biological weapons expert, was killed with three other militants in a suspected U.S. air strike in Pakistan's border region last week.

Masri, who carried a $5 million U.S. bounty on his head, had been earlier identified as the likely target of the attack on a house in a Pakistani tribal area bordering Afghanistan, according to Pakistani officials.

An al-Qaeda statement posted on Islamist websites said Masri, referred to as the "expert," had left behind him a generation of students who would avenge his killing.

The statement, signed by al-Qaeda's leader in Afghanistan, Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, named three other militants killed alongside Masri on July 28. It said some of their children also died.

Read The Full Story

A Virus Without Borders: HIV Victims Getting Younger
2008-08-04 20:25:37
Keren Dunaway was 5 when her parents used drawings to explain to her that they both had the HIV virus - and so did she.

Now the 12-year-old is one of the most prominent AIDS activists in Latin America and a rarity in a region where few children are willing to break the silence and tell their classmates they have HIV for fear of rejection. She edits a children's magazine on the virus.

"The boys and girls who live with HIV are here and we are growing up with many goals," Keren said Sunday at the opening of an international AIDS conference where she shared the stage with Mexican President Felipe Calderon and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

"We want to be artists, teachers, doctors - even get married and have kids. ... But achieving these goals will only be possible when we receive the attention we need, when we are guaranteed the medicines that we need, when we are accepted in schools."

Taking several deep breaths to overcome stage jitters, Keren delivered what was clearly the star speech of the conference's inauguration: Audience members repeatedly interrupted her brief, but moving words with loud applause and whistles, and followed her discourse with a standing ovation that lasted well after she left the stage.

Read The Full Story

Morgan Freeman In Serious Condition After Car Crash
2008-08-04 20:25:15
Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman was in a hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, on Monday after being injured in a car accident near his home in Mississippi.

Regional Medical Center spokeswoman Kathy Stringer said Freeman, 71, is in serious condition. The hospital is about 90 miles north of the accident scene in rural Tallahatchie County in the Mississippi Delta.

Mississippi Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Ben Williams said Freeman was driving a 1997 Nissan Maxima belonging to Demaris Meyer, of Memphis, when the car left a rural highway and flipped several times shortly before midnight Sunday.

''There's no indication that either alcohol or drugs were involved,'' said Williams. He said both Freeman and Meyer were wearing seat belts. The woman's condition was not immediately available.

Freeman was airlifted to the hospital in Tennessee.

Read The Full Story

Commentary: Not All Veterans Salute McCain
2008-08-04 20:24:36
Intellpuke: This commentary was written by Dan Moffett, editorial writer for the Palm Beach Post in Florida. Mr. Moffett's commentary, which appeared in that newspaper's edition for Sunday, August 3, 2008, follows:

The growing ranks of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan will have a lot to say about who becomes president. And what they are saying isn't what you might expect.

In theory, John McCain, with his long record of service as a Navy pilot and prisoner of war story from Vietnam, should have the market cornered on the military vote.

Instead, he has drawn opposition from many veterans because of his voting record in the Senate. Sen. McCain has voted against bills that would have improved veterans' benefits, particularly health care, or measures to ease the strain on active-duty troops and their families.

The disapproval among vets for Sen. McCain has fed surprising support for Barack Obama, who has voted for many of the veterans' initiatives in the Senate that his opponent rejected.

Read The Full Story

Rescuers Reach Italian After 11 Die On K2
2008-08-04 20:23:46
Rescuers have reached an Italian mountaineer who refused to succumb to frostbite and exhaustion on K2 after 11 other climbers perished on the world's second-highest mountain, a Pakistani guide said on Monday.

"Marco (Confortola) is being accompanied by four rescuers and most probably, he'll be brought tonight to the Advance Base Camp (ABC) that is at an altitude of 6,000 meters," Sultan Alam, a Pakistani guide, told Reuters from K2 base camp.

Three Pakistani high-altitude porters and an American climber reached Confortola after racing up the mountain to bring him to the camp where food and medicine were waiting, he said.

Darkness had fallen and it was likely that the 37-year-old climber would spend another night on K2, before a helicopter could airlift him off the towering pyramid of rock and ice.

Confortola's feet were in "very bad" shape but he appeared to have saved his hands, Agostino Da Polenza, head of the Ev-K2-CNR mountaineering group in Italy, told Reuters after speaking to the lost climber by satellite phone.

Read The Full Story

Health 'Credit Report' Raise Privacy Concerns
2008-08-04 07:05:37

Health and life insurance companies have access to a powerful new tool for evaluating whether to cover individual consumers: a health "credit report" drawn from databases containing prescription drug records on more than 200 million Americans.

Collecting and analyzing personal health information in commercial databases is a fledgling industry, but one poised to take off as the nation enters the age of electronic medical records. While lawmakers debate how best to oversee the shift to computerized records, some insurers have already begun testing systems that tap into not only prescription drug information, but also data about patients held by clinical and pathological laboratories.

Traditionally, insurance companies have judged an applicant's risk by gathering medical records from physicians' offices. But the new tools offer the advantage of being "electronic, fast and cheap," said Mark Franzen, managing director of Milliman IntelliScript, which provides consumers' personal drug profiles to insurers.

The trend holds promise for improved health care and cost savings, but privacy and consumer advocates fear it is taking place largely outside the scrutiny of federal health regulators and lawmakers.

Ingenix, a Minnesota-based health information services company that had $1.3 billion in sales last year - and Wisconsin-based rival Milliman - say the drug profiles are an accurate, less expensive alternative to seeking physician records, which can take months and hundreds of dollars to obtain. They note that consumers authorize the data release and that the services can save insurance companies millions of dollars and benefit consumers anxious for a decision.

Read The Full Story

Editorial: Energy Follies
2008-08-04 07:04:34
Intellpuke: This editorial appeared in the New York Times edition for Monday, August 4, 2008.

It’s hard not to be exasperated and even a little frightened by the Senate’s selfishly partisan approach to the nation’s energy challenge in the days leading up to its August recess. Given one last shot at taking modest but meaningful steps to deal with tightening oil supplies and climate change, the Senate instead settled for a schoolyard blame game whose main purpose was to exploit public dismay over rising gasoline prices for short-term political gain.

Senate Republicans tried to leverage voters’ anguish by offering proposals that furthered their unexamined strategy to expand offshore drilling. The Democrats responded by pinning the blame for the surge in oil prices on financial speculators, and offering a bill to curb trading. The usual bogeymen appeared, with Republicans’ accusing environmentalists of locking up precious oil supplies and the Democrats’ blaming Wall Street.

These competing bills provided a dashing image of senators hard at work, but neither provided any hope of relief at the pump for beleaguered constituents. The oil industry already has access to fourth-fifths of the nation’s recoverable offshore resources, mostly off Alaska and in the Gulf of Mexico, and drilling the forbidden areas - protected by a longstanding Congressional moratorium that President Bush is trying to lift - would make only a marginal difference in prices 15 years down the road.

As to the speculators so reviled by the Democrats, most economists believe that they have little or nothing to do with oil prices.

Read The Full Story

Homes Of 2 California Researchers Are Firebombed
2008-08-04 07:03:58
The police and federal authorities are investigating firebombings at the homes of two researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

The attacks, which the university described as “antiscience violence,” occurred nearly simultaneously before dawn on Saturday, just days after the police in Santa Cruz discovered pamphlets in a coffee shop warning of attacks against “animal abusers everywhere.” The pamphlets included the names, addresses and other personal information of several researchers at the university, according to a news release put out on Friday by the university.

About 5:30 a.m. Saturday, two small bombs ignited outside the researchers’ homes. In one of the attacks, a vehicle was destroyed in a faculty member’s driveway. At the second residence, a two-story home near the university’s front gates, the fire forced the researcher, his wife and two children to flee the home from an upstairs window. The fires were quickly extinguished.

One minor injury was reported, according to The Santa Cruz Sentinel, which also said the police were viewing the attacks as acts of attempted homicide and domestic terrorism. The Santa Cruz Police Department would not comment on their investigation on Sunday.

Read The Full Story

Immigrants Facing Deportation By U.S. Hospitals
2008-08-04 04:47:17
High in the hills of Guatemala, shut inside the one-room house where he spends day and night on a twin bed beneath a seriously outdated calendar, Luis Alberto Jimenez has no idea of the legal battle that swirls around him in the lowlands of Florida.

Shooing away flies and beaming at the tiny, toothless elderly mother who is his sole caregiver, Jimenez, a knit cap pulled tightly on his head, remains cheerily oblivious that he has come to represent the collision of two deeply flawed American systems, immigration and health care.

Eight years ago, Jimenez, 35, an illegal immigrant working as a gardener in Stuart, Florida, suffered devastating injuries in a car crash with a drunken Floridian. A community hospital saved his life, twice, and, after failing to find a rehabilitation center willing to accept an uninsured patient, kept him as a ward for years at a cost of $1.5 million.

What happened next set the stage for a continuing legal battle with nationwide repercussions: Jimenez was deported - not by the federal government but by the hospital, Martin Memorial. After winning a state court order that would later be declared invalid, Martin Memorial leased an air ambulance for $30,000 and “forcibly returned him to his home country,” as one hospital administrator described it.

Since being hoisted in his wheelchair up a steep slope to his remote home, Jimenez, who sustained a severe traumatic brain injury, has received no medical care or medication - just Alka-Seltzer and prayer, his 72-year-old mother said. Over the last year, his condition has deteriorated with routine violent seizures, each characterized by a fall, protracted convulsions, a loud gurgling, vomiting of blood and, finally, a collapse into unconsciousness. 

“Every time, he loses a little more of himself,” his mother, Petrona Gervacio Gaspar, said in Kanjobal, the Indian dialect that she speaks with an otherworldly squeak.

Read The Full Story

U.S. Senate Passes Bill To Protect Great Lakes
2008-08-04 04:46:37
Efforts to protect the Great Lakes from those who may covet their vast quantities of water for an increasingly thirsty world took a major step forward Friday as the Senate passed legislation endorsing the Great Lakes Basin Compact.

The broad multi-state agreement would ban most diversion of Great Lakes water to any place outside the basin and would mandate conservation efforts inside it. Despite what some criticized as significant loopholes in the measure, House leaders said the bill would be a priority after the five-week congressional recess, and President Bush has said he would sign it.

"This is a little like Saudi Arabia announcing it's going to conserve oil," said Cameron Davis, president of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, an environmental organization that has pushed for the compact. "Because we are such a water-rich part of the globe, we've never had to conserve water. The fact we're doing it now not only shows it's important to us, but a signal to the rest of the world it has to start doing the right thing."

Davis and other environmentalists also warned that similarly bold action is needed to confront the long list of environmental woes that are degrading the lakes' waters.

The compact will help stanch the bleeding, and "now we have to triage the victim," said Davis. "We still have to fight a multi-front war to bring the Great Lakes back from a tipping point."

Read The Full Story

Stampede Kills 145 Hindu Worshippers In India
2008-08-04 04:46:03
At least 145 people, mostly women and children, were crushed to death under the feet of thousands of pilgrims in a stampede at a temple in northern India on Sunday, police said.

Hindu worshippers were snaking up a 4-km (2.5-mile) trail leading to the hilltop Nainadevi temple in Himachal Pradesh state, chanting and singing hymns, when the stampede occurred.

Police said the pilgrims might have panicked after heavy rains caused large stones from a retaining wall along the trail to fall.

The pilgrims started fleeing down the slope, breaking an iron railing and trampling falling women and children under their feet, said Daljit Singh Manhas, a senior police officer.

"We have confirmation now that 145 people have been killed," he told Reuters. "We found eight to 10 stones which had fallen off and probably scared the people, causing the stampede."

Read The Full Story

Commentary: Don't Fall For Mortgage Rip-Offs
2008-08-04 04:45:27
Intellpuke: This commentary was written by Washington Post Personal Finance columnist Michelle Singletary  and appeared in the Post edition for Sunday, August 3, 2008. Ms. Singletary's commentary follows:

A little-known provision in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act, recently signed into law by President Bush, is supposed to help home buyers understand how much debt they are taking on to purchase their home.

The law requires clear disclosure to ensure that borrowers know their maximum monthly payment - based on the maximum interest rate allowed under the terms of their loan.

The legislation requires that lenders disclose the information to borrowers no later than seven days before closing so borrowers can shop around if they are not satisfied with the terms.

This is a good but not great provision of the law.

Read The Full Story
Original materials on this site © Free Internet Press.

Any mirrored or quoted materials © their respective authors, publications, or outlets, as shown on their publication, indicated by the link in the news story.

Original Free Internet Press materials may be copied and/or republished without modification, provided a link to is given in the story, or proper credit is given.

Newsletter options may be changed in your preferences on

Please email there are any questions.

XML/RSS/RDF Newsfeed Syndication:


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home