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Ayman issues call for more attacks
Today's Headlines
Headline Comments [Views]
Page 3: Non-WoT
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1 00:00 Nimble Spemble [244] 
15 00:00 Mark E. [234] 
3 00:00 Anonymoose [237] 
4 00:00 Visitor [244] 
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Page 1: WoT Operations
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11 00:00 Angineth Glaviper9578 [279]
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Page 2: WoT Background
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2 00:00 xbalanke [239]
10 00:00 JosephMendiola [290]
1 00:00 2b [248]
2 00:00 Nimble Spemble [236]
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6 00:00 Inspector Clueso [308]
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2 00:00 Captain Kirk [252]
1 00:00 Hupomoger Clans9827 [249]
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3 00:00 Frank G [230]
2 00:00 Ebbuth Whomort9159 [247]
4 00:00 JosephMendiola [235]
8 00:00 JosephMendiola [269]
18 00:00 Frank G [230]
3 00:00 Desert Blondie [244]
4 00:00 ed [250]
1 00:00 Listen To Dogs [236]
2 00:00 Visitor [244]
3 00:00 lotp [240]
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Page 4: Opinion
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1 00:00 Listen To Dogs [245]
-Short Attention Span Theater-
SURVIVAL TEST
Posted by: BrerRabbit || 03/05/2006 10:12 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [234 views] Top|| File under:

#1  You're alive ... but badly injured or maimed for lfe. With a little effort.you,too.can be an extreme survivor. 11 out of 17 score
Posted by: ShepUK || 03/05/2006 13:19 Comments || Top||

#2  I need to stay away from animals and tornados. How come no earthquake questions?
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 03/05/2006 13:33 Comments || Top||

#3  15 out of 17. But then, I've already encountered a lot of these. Guess my life is a little more extreme than most. didn't think so before this test.
Posted by: Hupomoger Clans9827 || 03/05/2006 13:34 Comments || Top||

#4  I didn't think this test gave the best advice. It was like, "you are damned if you do. You are damned if you don't. Which should you do?"
Posted by: 2b || 03/05/2006 13:37 Comments || Top||

#5  You shouldn't stare down a dog (which I've done successfully many, many times) but I'm supposed to do precisely that with a freakin' shark? This test sucks.
Posted by: Raj || 03/05/2006 14:19 Comments || Top||

#6  same as Shep...perhaps we can be donors for each other?
Posted by: Frank G || 03/05/2006 17:04 Comments || Top||

#7  I picked "charge the dog and rip his neck out with your bare teeth" and I'm wrong?? worked for me in real life, dammit
Posted by: Frank G || 03/05/2006 17:28 Comments || Top||

#8  I call BS on this test. I "missed" the aggressive dog question (have both winged pebbles towards the mutt and stared it down and never got bitten. Works with a coyote, too, BTW).

Gouging a shark in the eye or staring it down? Has the guy who came up with this ever seen a shark in the wild, or just at Sea World? C'mon....you can get a good hit in the snout a hell of a lot easier and it's effective.

Posted by: Desert Blondie || 03/05/2006 18:00 Comments || Top||

#9  Sorry, DB, but I'd be more inclined to accept your opinion if your name were Pago Pago Blondie or Kaua'i Blondie....
Posted by: Greatle Gleling5741 || 03/05/2006 18:05 Comments || Top||

#10  Hey, GG, got the c-cards (basic & advanced), got the rescue diver certification from NAUI, signed the legal waiver and did the shark dive.

Trust me on the shark punching. ;)

(The "Desert" part refers to my hometown of Phoenix....lots of divers and boaters there. You'd be surprised.)



Posted by: Desert Blondie || 03/05/2006 18:46 Comments || Top||

#11  I agree, this is not realistic, you're bigger and meaner than almost all dogs, attack him, 99 out of 100 will run away. The other one you shoot with your gun (You do carry a gun, don't you)

I once started to rescue a lady menaced by a growling dog, before I could get there she had dropped what she was carrying (Mail) and crouched in a fighting stance facing the dog, he left, and shortly thereafter I saw her come out of her house going to work, wearing a cop uniform.

Sharks, I stay out of the ocean, no problem.

Tornados, I watch to see which way they're going (Seen Many) and none have come my way yet.

Air crashes, follow the stewardess instructions. Pray if you're so inclined, me I watch everything going on, might need to know later.
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 03/05/2006 18:52 Comments || Top||

#12  "She's got that oceanfront property in Arizona..."
Posted by: Phil || 03/05/2006 19:07 Comments || Top||

#13  if she's blonde, she's been around sharks
Posted by: Frank G || 03/05/2006 19:33 Comments || Top||

#14  Shark vs DB

My money is on DB. »:-)
Posted by: RD || 03/05/2006 20:11 Comments || Top||

#15  "I picked "charge the dog and rip his neck out with your bare teeth" and I'm wrong?? worked for me in real life, dammit"

Me too. 4.5 inch automatic knife helped too.
Posted by: Mark E. || 03/05/2006 20:53 Comments || Top||


Africa Subsaharan
Decisive ANC win in S Africa poll
South Africa's governing African National Congress has won a comfortable victory in local government elections. The ANC received 66% of the vote and controls five of the six major urban centres, according to final results. The opposition Democratic Alliance secured almost 15% of the vote and the Inkatha Freedom Party 7%. Turnout in Wednesday's polls was 48%. The national result achieved by the ANC is slightly down on the 70% it reached in the 2004 general election.
Posted by: Steve White || 03/05/2006 01:25 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [244 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Still less than Saddam got. Or the CPSU for that matter.
Posted by: Jackal || 03/05/2006 8:52 Comments || Top||

#2  A nation unbalanced with a single majority party passing a two-thirds majority is courting disaster, whether it be SA or the US. This speaks less of either the majority party, or the minority party, than it does to the wisdom of the people, comfortable with such an imbalance.

It does not matter if the great issue of the day is "creamy" or "crunchy", what matters is the disagreement. If the minority is utterly worthless, then people should create a new minority, founded on something more acceptable to the nation as a whole.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/05/2006 10:09 Comments || Top||

#3  California, Massachusetts, Vermont and Maryland do it all the time.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 03/05/2006 11:11 Comments || Top||

#4  What is unseen is the fact that the minority in SA see it "unbalanced" and impossible as well, and have all but given up on the process and are leaving the country. A sort of "white flight" has been ongoing there for several years now. Another fact that is unseen are the rampant party cross-overs. As soon as an opposition party member (non-ANC) gains any momentum or popularity at all or becomes the slightest threat to the ANC, he is wooed (or threatened) over by ANC comrades and switches parties. The ANC continues to have great success as the champion of the majority poor. Farm and land buy-outs and transfers similar to the seizures in Zimbabwe are becoming major issues again as Black Economic Empowerment or BEE gains further momentum. Last month the ANC introduced legislation that would end foreign purchasing of second homes, land and property. Nice little "decomcracy" there I'd say. If nothing changes, I suspect we'll be reading similar ANC polling success stories in 2050.
Posted by: Visitor || 03/05/2006 11:26 Comments || Top||


Zimbabwe running out of wheat
Zimbabwe has only two weeks of wheat supply left, while citizens are faced with soaring bread prices, Zimbabwe's main milling organisation has said. The cost of bread has risen by 30%, pushing Zimbabwe's inflation rate to more than 600%.

The government is reported to have put its security forces on alert in case the discontent leads to protests. David Govere, deputy chairman of the Millers Association, told AFP news agency the scarcity of wheat has meant a reduction in supplies to bakeries. "Due to depleted stocks, GMB [state-run food distributor Grain Marketing Board] is now giving us 400 tons of wheat a week, down from 600 tons," he is quoted as saying.

Shortages of wheat could force bakers to import flour from South Africa, which could lead to more price rises. A loaf of bread in Zimbabwe currently costs $66,000 Zimbabwean (66 US cents), having risen 30% in just one week.
That's 100,000 Bob-Bucks for a US dollar. Yesterday.
Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says the situation is becoming unbearable. "It's terrible right now because of shortages," Arthur Mutambara, leader of one of two factions of the MDC. "Fuel is not available, commodities are unaffordable, unemployment 80%, inflation above 600%.
It's been that way for a couple years. How much longer are you going to bear the unbearable?
"It's a travesty of justice that the country has been so run down by Robert Mugabe's regime."

Zimbabwe's leading millers - National Foods, Blue Ribbon and Victoria Foods - have shut production at most of their mills because of the wheat shortage, according to AFP.

International aid agencies say about 4.3m out of Zimbabwe's 13m people will require food aid until the next harvest in May. Economists say the rate of inflation could reach 1,000% by April.
Betcha Bob is still well fed.
Posted by: Steve White || 03/05/2006 01:15 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [285 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Any economists out there who could give us a reasonable comparison to the runaway inflation in postwar Germany? (WW1)

At first glance this sounds very similar.
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 03/05/2006 9:42 Comments || Top||

#2  Bob is amazing - transforming an economy that produced a food surplus to one where people are starving in just a few years.
Posted by: DMFD || 03/05/2006 10:32 Comments || Top||

#3  From the middle of 1922 until the middle of 1923, prices increased by over 100 times. Measured by the price of food, prices were 135 times higher at the end of the period than they were at the beginning. Measured by how many marks it took to buy a dollar, prices were 222 times higher. Yet even this horrid inflation was mild compared to what happened from July to November of 1923, when prices increased by somewhere between a million and a billion times their previous level.

Those quarterly rates for 3Q23 are somewhere between 125% and 410% per week. So Bob isn't #1 yet, but he's getting there.

Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 03/05/2006 10:55 Comments || Top||

#4  It's not as Weimar yet. At one point $1 = 1 trillion marks (e.g. bread = 200 billion marks). People being paid hourly and wives rushing from the factory to stores with wheelbarrows of money was not a myth. From noon to 5pm, most of the value was lost and prices would be increased hourly.

BTW, German hyperinflation was kicked off by the illegal French and Belgian occupation of the Ruhr to force reparation payments.
Posted by: ed || 03/05/2006 11:28 Comments || Top||

#5  It's not as bad as Weimar yet.
Posted by: ed || 03/05/2006 11:30 Comments || Top||

#6  It's time to beat the plowshs back into swords in Zimbobland.
Posted by: Spoter Unatle4689 || 03/05/2006 17:30 Comments || Top||

#7  So when you run out of wheat cause you ruined all the farms you respond by robbing the mines and yelling to the world that you are out of wheat?

Who cares!
Posted by: 3dc || 03/05/2006 22:25 Comments || Top||


Caribbean-Latin America
Venezuelan middle class flees Chávez rule of hate
Will the last one out please turn off the lights?
Venezuela's once-thriving middle class is packing its bags and fleeing the country, afraid for the future as the socialist president, Hugo Chávez, calls on the slum-dwelling masses to rise up and seize wealth from those better off than themselves. Growing numbers of professionals, business owners and shopkeepers are fed up with the climate of hostility that the Left-wing president has encouraged in his effort to boost his populist credentials.

María Carolina García was blowing up helium balloons in her party-decorations shop in Caracas one day when two customers asked her how much they cost. "When I told them the price, which was just a few dollars, they started yelling at me that it was far too much," Mrs García recalled. "You're a thief! You're all thieves! You just came to this country to steal from the poor," the men shouted before marching out of the shop.

Mrs García, 46, a mother of two whose parents emigrated to Venezuela to escape the Spanish civil war and made a new life as jewellers, was upset. But it was nothing new. "Ever since Hugo Chávez was elected [in 1998] he has been fomenting hatred for those who have, among those who have not. 'Rich is bad.' That's his message. So the people who follow him have decided it's not just the world's superpower they hate, it's people like me too."
Continued on Page 49
Posted by: Steve White || 03/05/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [258 views] Top|| File under:

#1  'Rich is bad.' That's his message.

There's a logical trap here, if "Rich is Bad" where's the incentive to advance?
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 03/05/2006 9:46 Comments || Top||

#2  I see that Mr. Chavez also subscribes to the Bob Mugabe school of economic development.
Posted by: DMFD || 03/05/2006 10:33 Comments || Top||

#3  Socialism works. No wonder Hugo is a favorite of the antiglobo left/marxists in disguise, he's doing what they wish they could.
Posted by: anonymous5089 || 03/05/2006 11:32 Comments || Top||

#4  My thought exactly, DMFD. Hugo and the masses aspire to a paradise like Zimbabwe's. They deserve the natural selection they're going to get.
Posted by: Darrell || 03/05/2006 13:17 Comments || Top||

#5  ..Wondering how long before Hugo starts 'redistributing'the middle class' assets..

Mike
Posted by: Mike Kozlowski || 03/05/2006 13:47 Comments || Top||

#6  He's already started. Companies that his administration deems 'inactive' or 'under employed' are being seized and forced to provide jobs that are not profitable and/or that are given to unskilled workers.
Posted by: lotp || 03/05/2006 13:48 Comments || Top||

#7  Thanks lotp. We should all be happy to see 'affirmative action' finally catching on in Venezuela.
Posted by: Besoeker || 03/05/2006 13:53 Comments || Top||

#8  a well-aimed .50 caliber bullet vs all this heartache, family and social upheaval? Ask the Venezuelans 30 yrs from now what we should've done?
Posted by: Frank G || 03/05/2006 17:22 Comments || Top||

#9  They'll all be loyal Yugo voters in 30 years. 70 might be a better choice, life expectancy, medical advances and what not.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 03/05/2006 17:23 Comments || Top||

#10  And now this dumbass wants to give all the angry illiterate hicks guns. This is just one guy talking here, but I think that is a mistake.
Posted by: Slens Shaitch6011 || 03/05/2006 18:44 Comments || Top||

#11  That's pretty damn sad when someone thinks Colombia is more stable than Venezuela.
Posted by: Desert Blondie || 03/05/2006 18:47 Comments || Top||

#12 
Howard Dean runnin' Venezuela??
Posted by: macofromoc || 03/05/2006 20:46 Comments || Top||


China-Japan-Koreas
Purse-snatching death penalty introduced in China
A province in China has introduced the death penalty for purse-snatching. Economic good times in China have been followed by worsening crime. Southern Guangdong province, neighbouring Hong Kong, has been particularly affected, with tens of thousands of people convicted of robbery every year. Officials there have announced that purse-snatching is now punishable by death. Even those whose life is spared will still face a mandatory three years in jail.

Amnesty International says it is a knee-jerk response that will not reduce crime. China officially executes about 10,000 people every year, more than the rest of the world combined.
Posted by: Fred || 03/05/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [244 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "Chang, half the Politburo needs new kidneys!"

"The Pickpockets, Purse-cutters and Highwaymen workers' collective will do its fraternal Socialist duty! In accordance with the principles of Marxist-Leninist proletarianism, there will be a democratic centralist relignment of organs."
Posted by: Rory B. Bellows || 03/05/2006 2:20 Comments || Top||

#2  What happened to from each according to his means, to each according to his needs? Other than cutting out the government bureaucrat?
Posted by: Glomort Claviger7613 || 03/05/2006 9:23 Comments || Top||

#3  Something that is rarely highlighted in history is whether or not draconian legal systems worked. That is, the death penalty for all sorts of offenses, great and small.

It is not clear, one way or another, because usually when such penalties are enacted, the society has so many other problems that confuse the issue, that nobody knows for sure.

However, I suspect, as is the case with widespread abortion, that it does reduce the crime rate significantly. First of all, it eliminates recitivism and career criminals. Second, it is like a plague that targets the rest of the criminal class. However, like a lethal disease, this signals its own demise.

That is, normal, law-abiding people do not wish to live under such constant threat for punishment for petty offenses, unless their very lives are at an even worse constant threat from the criminals. So as soon as the one threat is diminished, they wish to reduce the other threat.

Then, if the law refuses to liberalize, which it usually doesn't, then the normal citizens try to subvert, corrupt and ignore it. Again, for their own protection.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/05/2006 10:24 Comments || Top||

#4  Remember China's "Strike Hard" campaign a few years ago? They were executing people for offenses like stealing gasoline, shoplifting, drunk and disorderly. This has been going on for a long time.
Posted by: Slens Shaitch6011 || 03/05/2006 19:03 Comments || Top||


Man dies from bird flu in China
Posted by: Fred || 03/05/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [237 views] Top|| File under:


Chinese Sweep Targets Activists Before Meeting
China has launched a tough crackdown on political activity ahead of this month's session of the national parliament, with at least two dozen participants in a nationwide hunger strike against government abuses confirmed missing or detained in the past two weeks, according to friends and relatives.

Hundreds of petitioners who had traveled to Beijing with grievances against local officials have also been forced to leave the capital in recent days, several of them said in interviews, and others have been blocked from entering the city.

The Communist Party routinely tightens security before the annual meeting of the rubber-stamp National People's Congress, but it appears to be taking special precautions ahead of this year's session, which begins Sunday, in response to rising social unrest in the countryside and an increasingly assertive campaign by civil rights activists in several cities.

The crackdown began in mid-February after a prominent Beijing lawyer, Gao Zhisheng, staged a two-day hunger strike to draw attention to the beating of a fellow human rights activist, Yang Maodong, by thugs who appeared to have been hired by police. Gao said he stopped eating to protest the government's growing use of "Mafia tactics" to suppress efforts by citizens to protect their legal rights.
Continued on Page 49
Posted by: lotp || 03/05/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [250 views] Top|| File under:


Airbus set to open assembly line in China
Posted by: lotp || 03/05/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [235 views] Top|| File under:


Down Under
Australia wins Iraqi wheat deal
Australia says it has won a contract to supply wheat to Iraq, despite claims that its state wheat board paid bribes to Saddam Hussein's regime. Australian Trade Minister Mark Vaile told wheat farmers they could sell 350,000 tonnes to Iraq.

Only last month Iraq suspended grain deals with Australia amid allegations that its wheat board, the AWB, paid up to $222m in kickbacks to Iraq. Iraq has been Australia's second biggest wheat export market.

Mr Vaile, who visited Iraq last week to lobby against the ban, told a farmers' rally in New South Wales they would have continued access to the Iraqi market. "Overnight the Iraqi ministers have confirmed with us that they are prepared to buy 350,000 tonnes of your grain in the short term," he said. The deal is worth about A$70m (US$52m; £30m).

It is thought the trade will not be conducted through the AWB - normally the monopoly exporter - and that the board will waive its veto over other grain companies taking part in the deal.

The AWB is alleged to have paid kickbacks under the discredited UN-run oil-for-food programme for Iraq. It is under investigation examining whether AWB executives knowingly paid bogus transport fees to a phantom trucking firm. The money allegedly went directly to the Iraqi government in order to secure lucrative wheat deals. An Australian judge is expected to report later this month.
Posted by: Steve White || 03/05/2006 01:28 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [237 views] Top|| File under:

#1  You Aussies might consider selling wheat to Nigeria in exchange for oil.
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 03/05/2006 9:55 Comments || Top||

#2  Nah. Kickbacks aren't good enough.
Posted by: Hupomoger Clans9827 || 03/05/2006 13:49 Comments || Top||

#3  Well, at least under a Howard government there will be a few differences. That is, wheat will be purchased, delivered and provided to the Iraqi people. For them to actually eat, and all.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/05/2006 17:04 Comments || Top||


Home Front: Culture Wars
Fire Destroys Home of Civil War Hero
LEEDS, Maine -- A wind-whipped fire destroyed a farmhouse in which Civil War general and Howard University founder Oliver Otis Howard once lived.

The house was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived Friday morning. Firefighters said it took about five hours to douse the flames that also destroyed a barn and started a 10-acre brush fire.

Howard, an abolitionist, was born and raised in the 18th-century house before he attended and taught at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He commanded Union troops during the Civil War and went on to found Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Owner David Fortin said the fire started while he was using a space heater in an adjoining woodshed. He and a handyman working on plumbing escaped without injury.

"It's a tragic loss. It's a real shame," said owner David Fortin. "It's a piece of history that can never be replaced."
General O.O. Howard was known as "The Christian General", because he did not drink whiskey. Quite an illustrious career.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/05/2006 11:58 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [252 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Savages more than likely. He lied to em, and made money from writin books about em. They don't like that sorta thang.
Posted by: Conagher || 03/05/2006 12:54 Comments || Top||

#2  Man them Maine Generals promoted themselves near as good as McCain.
Posted by: 6 || 03/05/2006 13:18 Comments || Top||


Missouri House resolution recognizes a 'Christian God'
Some religious leaders on Friday blasted a proposed Missouri House resolution that supports prayer in schools and recognizes a "Christian God," saying legislators are pushing Christianity as a state religion.

"It's an atrocity," said the Rev. Timothy L. Carson, senior minister at Webster Groves Christian Church. "Thomas Jefferson would be rolling in his grave. It's indicative of a movement within one segment of activist Christianity that wants to dominate the rest with their views."

Some lawmakers blamed the backlash on a misunderstanding of the purpose of such resolutions.

The proposed resolution states that "voluntary prayer in public schools, religious displays on public property, and the recognition of a Christian God are not a coalition of church and state."

It was recently approved by the House Rules Committee along party lines - five Republicans backed it, three Democrats did not - and could come for a vote before the full House next week. It would also have to pass in the Senate.

The resolution, sponsored by Rep. David Sater, R-Cassville, and co-sponsored by Rep. Barney Joe Fisher, R-Richards, is not a bill and therefore cannot become a law.

Rep. John P. Burnett, D-Kansas City, a House Rules Committee member who voted against passing the resolution to the full House, dismissed it as "a political statement about Christianity."

Sater and Fisher could not be reached for comment. Rep. Shannon Cooper, R-Clinton, chairman of the House Rules Committee, also could not be reached.

The proposed resolution states that the country's forefathers "recognized a Christian God and used the principles afforded to us by Him as the founding principles of our nation. ... As elected officials we should protect the majority's right to express their religious beliefs while showing respect for those who object."

Conservative evangelical leaders were upbeat about it.

"The foundations of this country started with Christianity, and this just goes back and acknowledges where we started," said the Rev. David Clippard, executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention.

The Rev. Mark Friz, senior pastor at St. Paul's Evangelical Church in St. Louis, said he was "100 percent behind this resolution."

But other Christian leaders were furious.

The Rev. David M. Greenhaw, president of Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, said he found the resolution "offensive as a Christian. I don't want the state defining my Christianity."

Some non-Christians also reacted strongly. Batya Abramson-Goldstein, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, said the fact that the resolution made it out of a committee was significant.

"It's not that this is one individual's opinion," she said. "Other legislators have voted on this already, so it takes on a legitimacy that makes it more than a resolution. It's painful for faith communities outside the Christian community."

House Speaker Pro Tem Carl Bearden, R-St. Charles, believes the backlash against the resolution is unmerited. He and other lawmakers say much of the uproar is due to a misunderstanding of resolutions. They are largely symbolic, typically having no force of law. They serve as a kind of opinion poll that lawmakers hope will be noted, but officials say privately that the measures are often ignored.

Bearden said that just because a resolution is filed, it doesn't necessarily represent the views of the entire Legislature. While the resolution on religion has cleared the House Rules Committee, there's no guarantee it will go further, he said.

In fact, dozens of resolutions filed in the past two years have died or been withdrawn. At least two of those were similar to this year's religious resolution. One would have supported the motto "In God We Trust" for use in public buildings.
Mullahs, Priests and other Shaman just cannot resist trying to get into politics.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/05/2006 11:28 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [244 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Somebody should suggest to the University of Missouri that they add a course on constitutional law.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 03/05/2006 16:51 Comments || Top||


Science & Technology
Gulf War Veteran Gets Placebos Instead Of Real Medicine
A Gulf War veteran undergoing medical treatment said he was given placebos -- or sugar pills -- instead of real medicine.

Like thousands of other soldiers, Army veteran Mike Woods said he developed bizarre symptoms after serving in the first Gulf War -- blackouts, chest pain and numbness in the extremities.

Woods looked to the Veterans Administration for help. He said his VA doctor prescribed him a drug called Obecalp. "She told me there was this new drug out that would really help me with all of my physical conditions, and my pain. She really wanted me to try it," said Woods.
Name of the doctor?
But when the pill provided no relief, Woods did some research and learned that Obecalp isn't a medicine at all, but a sugar pill. He was shocked to learn the word "obecalp" is placebo spelled backward.
How could he be shocked? It is exactly 'placebo' spelled backwards.
The American Medical Association said placebos should only be used as part of a clinical trial and doctors must be extremely thorough in obtaining informed consent from patients that they may not be getting a real drug.

"Nobody ever said, 'You might be part of a study? You might get a placebo?'" asked reporter Alison Burns. "No. Never. I never signed up for a study in my life, much less with the VA," said Woods.

Woods recently shared his ordeal with members of Congress investigating complaints about how the government is caring for patients with Gulf War Syndrome. "The first step to fixing any problem is to recognize the problem is real," said Woods. "It is absolutely ridiculous that they're giving Gulf War veterans a sugar pill to cure pain. It's like giving a cancer patient a sugar pill to cure cancer," said veterans' advocate Steve Robinson.

"To me, it's so wrong. It's immoral," said Dr. Damian Alagia, Medical Society of Washington, D.C.

Algia agrees that prescribing placebo to patients who haven't provided their consent is unethical. Although, he said research shows placebos are often effective in making a patient think he's getting better. "Thirty-five percent of the time placebo will work," he said.

But it did not work for Woods --who said getting Obecalp is one more way the government is letting him down after he served his country. "That's how they treat Gulf War illnesses -- give you a placebo and send you down the road and hope that your mind will cure itself," said Woods.

It might not just be a problem for veterans. Eyewitness News found a number of reports about doctors who admitted giving unwitting patients sugar pills to make patients think they're getting real treatment.

No one from the VA could explain why Woods got a placebo prescription. They said, as a rule, VA doctors are not supposed to use placebos as medical treatment.
No one could, eh? Name of the VA spokesman?

I call bullshit. First of all, we docs, and the hospitals we work in, don't stock placebos. Really. You can't get one outside of a clinical trial unless you've been bogarting them somehow. It's not like I can write an order: "Placebo, 1 really big one, red with a white stripe, qid and prn". It doesn't happen.

Second, the VA would never condone this. The fall-out, if such a thing were to be true, would be considerable. Most VA administrators I've encountered are very political and also very chicken when it comes to attracting the wrong kind of attention to themselves. When they get VA spokescritters on the record on this one, maybe I'll begin to believe it.

Oh by the way, Mr. Woods, got any of those pills left? I'd like to run an analysis ...
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/05/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [249 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Nice to have a bit of clarity from a military perspective, thanks Anonymous.

To contribute - I've been working as a (civilian) psychiatric nurse for coming 20 years, often with PTSD sufferers (Vietnem Vets and Gulf 91), and in that time have never witnessed a single placebo prescribed or administered.

That's not to say that that placebo effects don't occur, just in a different context. That is, often patients respond to the medication before they've had the chance to be absorbed or to work. However this has hardly anything to do with orchestrated deception.

For those interested in PTSD and the current effects on US soldiers in Iraq (and the very responsible interventions undertaken by the US Military for PTSD and Battle Stress), check out "Scientific American Mind" Magazine, Feb/March 2006.

PS. No letter bombs please. Last time I contributed like this I got some surprize emails, but being legitimate, check out the links first.
Posted by: Incredulous || 03/05/2006 2:55 Comments || Top||

#2  I suppose I should add the link.

Unfortunately one needs to subscribe to read the entire article, but the summary is regarding the innovative approach undertaken by the US Army in addressing Battle Stress issues.

http://sciammind.com/article.cfm?&articleID=00067306-43AE-13D9-810183414B7F0000
Posted by: Incredulous || 03/05/2006 3:22 Comments || Top||

#3  I believe the perspective is courtesy of Dr. Steve White, M.D., A.o.S.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 03/05/2006 8:53 Comments || Top||

#4  But, but it could be true! Just because it stinks to high heaven doesn't mean that there's no perfume on this planet. It's a very truthy piece.
Posted by: 6 || 03/05/2006 9:40 Comments || Top||

#5  Even if a doc could proscribe placebos, the word wouldn't appear on the presciption or the pills. It would defeat the purpose.

Add in the lack of names, and, yeah, this doesn't just smell like bullshit, it is bullshit.
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 03/05/2006 10:13 Comments || Top||

#6  Special note for the editor, in re: VA administrators.

Right now, the left is beating the drum about the chief of a VA hospital human resources division in Albuquerque.

Some nurse at the hospital sent a letter to the editor of her local newspaper which called Bush a "poopy-pants", more or less. Big deal.

The chief of HR (Catbert) ordered the "information security" people at the hospital to confiscate her work computer to see if she had used it to write and send the letter. She hadn't.

Then, when she inquired as to why her computer had been snatched, he FOOLISHLY said that he HAD to investigate all suggestions of, and I quote, "sedition".

SEDITION?! What an idiot. Well, anyway, the left, especially the ACLU, is trying to make a 1st Amendment issue out of this deal, trying to imply that the hospital chief of human resources, some GS-13 NOBODY, was acting on orders from the administration.

Ergo, it is all Bush's fault, and he is having people investigated for criticizing him, etc., ad nauseum.

Now, this of course has little bearing on the use or misuse of placebos at some other VA hospital. However, it does point out that at least ONE VA administrator is an utter idiot.

(One last note: the nurse's union rep did everything in his power to exacerbate the situation, suggesting that Catbert had even called the FBI in to investigate the nurse, a charge Catbert denies.)
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/05/2006 10:42 Comments || Top||

#7  References: Google the nurse, Laura Berg, or Catbert, Mel Hooker.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/05/2006 10:44 Comments || Top||

#8  I'm sorry glad those last names weren't reversed.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 03/05/2006 10:59 Comments || Top||

#9  Well, anyway, the left, especially the ACLU, is trying to make a 1st Amendment issue out of this deal, trying to imply that the hospital chief of human resources, some GS-13 NOBODY, was acting on orders from the administration.

Don't you know? Not a sparrow falls that isn't the Bush administration's fault.
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 03/05/2006 11:44 Comments || Top||

#10  Story stinks to high heaven. No placebo is labelled as obecalp. Total bull. Not even when prescribed to get rid of 'chondriacs. There is a common label. That ain't it.
Posted by: Hupomoger Clans9827 || 03/05/2006 13:47 Comments || Top||

#11  Placebin---the new miracle drug.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 03/05/2006 17:01 Comments || Top||

#12  There may be a little clarity, here. Apparently, placebos are, or at least were given to two classes of ordinary patients. Known addicts, who have been trolling for narcotics; and the larger class of the grey area including demanding hypochodriacs, TEETH (Tried Everything Else, Try Homeopathy) patients, and DAJ (Dead Already, Jim) patients who are not in pain, but want a pill anyway.

Anecdotal mentions:

http://tinyurl.com/rug7o

Use of "Obecalp" at Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center alleged.

http://tinyurl.com/oj5bd

Nurse inquiring of the use of "Obecalp"
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/05/2006 17:18 Comments || Top||


Southeast Asia
Thousands protest against Thai PM
Posted by: Whomotch Ebbomolet2671 || 03/05/2006 14:18 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [308 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Corrupt to the bone... and I'm not talking about Toxin - I'm talking about all of the pols there.

Thank you George. You were one of a kind and it seems they broke the mold on ya.
Posted by: .com || 03/05/2006 22:02 Comments || Top||


Indonesian boy dies of bird flu
Posted by: Fred || 03/05/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [253 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "...loose the chickens of war!"
Posted by: Skidmark || 03/05/2006 0:12 Comments || Top||

#2  LOL!
Hey, wait that's not funny, that's sick.
Posted by: 6 || 03/05/2006 9:37 Comments || Top||

#3  Gawd ima sick too. LOL
Posted by: RD || 03/05/2006 20:13 Comments || Top||



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