No Agenda Episode 382

By Adam Curry. Posted Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 1:17 PM.

Cover Art

By Adam Curry. Posted Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 1:18 PM.

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Art By: Nick the Rat

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Credits

By Adam Curry. Posted Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 1:18 PM.

Apathy Syndrome

Executive Producers: Dame Astrid

Associate Executive Producers: Kethylee Simunich, Sir Scott Hankel, Chris Eisbach, Brad Dougherty, Tom Trobaugh, Devon Ostendorf, Gil Freund, Harvey Lee, Jasen Brooks

214 Valentine Donations: Sir Scott Hankel, Chris Eisbach, Brad Dougherty

Become a member of the 382 Club, support the show here

Art By: Nick the Rat

ShowNotes Archive of links and Assets (clips etc) 382.nashownotes.com

Fanscribed Transcription: 382.readnoagenda.com (Pitch in!)

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

The No Agenda News Network- noagendanewsnetwork.com

Leviathan

World's longest power cable planned to reap gas riches - Cyprus Mail

CYPRUS could become an "energy bridge" between the European and Asian continents by 2016, if a project looking to set up a submarine power cable linking Israel, Cyprus and Greece is deemed viable.

If realised, the EuroAsia Interconnector project would constitute the world's longest underwater power cable and would connect Israel with mainland Greece, passing through Cyprus and Crete. The cost of the project is estimated at around €1.5 billion

Similar projects have been set up between Norway and the Netherlands, mainland Italy and Sardinia and mainland Spain and Mallorca, with much success.

The project's costs - which include building electricity plants in Cyprus, Crete and Peloponnesus - would be borne entirely by the Cypriot company DEI-Quantum Energy and its partners; the Greek state-controlled power utility (DEI) and different institutions in Israel.

The cable, which will have a capacity to transmit some 2,000 megawatts, is estimated to be around 540 nautical miles long, and would be placed at a depth of roughly 2,000 metres.

Cyprus may get a natural gas terminal - Cyprus Property News

NOBLE Energy is considering the option of building a terminal in Cyprus to provide natural gas for the domestic market and for exports, Vice President Noble Energy Terry Gerhart has said, noting that the estimation for 5 to 8 trillion cubic feet natural gas in Cyprus' block 12 is a very large accumulation of gas.

Speaking earlier today following a meeting with President Christofias, Gerhart said that they had a very good meeting with the President. "We updated him on our progress with the well", he said and added: "As everyone is aware we drilled a successful well and made an announcement at the end of the year. Somewhere between 5 and 8 trillion cubic feet of gas were found and we look forward to progressing it and bringing it to reality for the Cypriot market".

He also said that "it is going to take quite a bit of time to analyze all of the data that we have. We are in the process of doing that now. We have brought with us our experts from Houston who updated the Presidential advisors and the Ministers on the progress we have made today".

Video: Secretary Clinton with Cypriot FM Kozakou-Marcoullis - Still4Hill

Offshore Israel LNG Infrastructure Contract Goes to Italian Firm

Remarks With Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi di Sant'Agata

Nabucco pipeline project nearly dead

Europe's flagship project to bolster its energy security by building a major gas pipeline to the Caspian that skirts Russia is near collapse, analysts say, with a newly confident Turkey playing a key role.

Recent developments, including decisions by Ankara, have undercut the viability of the Nabucco pipeline, a project to ship more than 30 billion cubic meters of gas per year from the Caspian and beyond to Europe.

Repeated disputes between Russia and Ukraine over transit tariffs that led to supply cuts pushed the EU in 2009 to launch its Southern Gas Corridor initiative, of which Nabucco is the biggest project, to reduce its dependence on Russian gas supplies.

EU's Planned Nabucco Gas Pipeline To Be Displaced By Russian Project | Green Prophet

How dead is Nabucco, exactly?

Turkish officials won't say outright that the Nabucco pipeline is dead. Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız recently stated that Turkey's efforts on the project would continue, and some analysts point out that the rival South Stream project that Turkey now appears to favor doesn't directly conflict with Nabucco's route.

A few alternate pipelines that follow Nabucco's route through southeastern Europe have been proposed, including the Interconnector Turkey-Greece-Italy (ITGI) and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). Less ambitious in their territorial reach and cheaper, they might succeed where Nabucco seems to have failed.

Noble Energy seeks strategic partner for Leviathan - Globes

Israel Gas Explorers Rise as Discoveries Make LNG Plant Viable - Bloomberg

Noble Energy Inc. (NBL), a partner of Delek Drilling and Avner, said Dec. 28 a field off the coast of Cyprus may hold as much as 8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Noble operates the well with a 70 percent working interest, while Delek and Avner Oil each hold 15 percent.

"The more the gas discoveries, the higher the chances for the viability of the construction of a liquified-natural gas plant for the area that will enable exports," Richard Gussow, a Tel Aviv-based analyst at Deutsche Bank AG in Tel Aviv said by phone. The size of the find "improves the chances for finding further discoveries for all the gas companies."

Ratio Oil Exploration 1992 LP (RATIL) surged the most since Nov. 13, gaining 5.9 percent to 0.344 shekel. Isramco Negev 2 LP (ISRAL) rose 2.8 percent, the most since Dec. 5, to 0.483 shekel.

Arab Gas Pipeline Project-Third Stage (Aleppo-Kalas Section)

Objectives:

The project aims at strengthening the role played by the Syrian grid in the project to

link the natural gas pipelines of Turkey and the Mashreq Arab countries. This will be

accomplished by completing the remaining part of the project, namely the Syria -- Turkey

interconnector. The project will allow the Syrian Government to meet its demand for

natural gas by importing it from Iran, via Turkey. The project will also enable the Egyptian

Government to export its natural gas to Turkey, via Jordan and Syria.

Description:

The project, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2010, includes extending a

62 km natural gas pipeline, with a diameter of 36 in., from the Syrian city of Aleppo to the

Turkish city of Kalas near the Syria - Turkey border, along with the installation of a gas

metering station, a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system, a standby

generator, a UPS system and distribution panels to ensure continuity of electric service to

the SCADA system. The project also includes the execution of all necessary civil works

and the provision of required consultancy services, in addition to compensation of farmers

whose lands will be confiscated.

LNG - Advantages and Disadvantages - Interesting energy facts

One thing that LNG is definitely superior to pipeline gas is its quality. This is because LNG is purer, has more methane as well as other energy content, and also because of its chemical structure since it has more stable composition than pipeline gas. It has to be also said that this superior quality of LNG has its price in higher costs in not only terms of energy but also in total amounts of greenhouse gas emissions.

Ships that are transporting LNG can be even longer than 300 meters. When being full, minimum water depth must be 12 meters for normal sail.

Of all the LNG advantages its shipping costs look to be the most favorable cost component in the overall LNG supply chain without which LNG supply would totally lack competitiveness. LNG is unlikely to cause significantly bigger shipping costs, even if more ships are needed to meet greater demand, unless stricter safety rules or some security rules for handling LNG carriers are introduced. The only real challenge to LNG ships is the fact that there are too little skilled crew available. With this on mind if LNG becomes more important energy source ships will need more maintenance and more crew which could result in more employment opportunities to many EU workers, especially in South Europe.

As you can see LNG has certain disadvantages that prevent its current usability, most notably high costs and large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions but on the other hand LNG still offers solid alternative to consider, and diversity is something that is always welcomed in energy world, especially now when both energy demand as well as energy prices are constantly going up.

Egypt's Gas Export Pipeline Hit by 10th Explosion This Year - Bloomberg

Egypt's North Sinai gas pipeline, which transports gas to Israel and Jordan, was attacked for the 10th time this year, Egyptian Natural Gas Co. Chairman Magdi Tawfik said.

Unidentified attackers planted two explosive devices beneath the pipeline near the city of El Arish even as it was being repaired following a similar attack last month, Egypt's Oil Ministry said in a faxed statement today. There were no casualties, the ministry said.

Gas was not flowing in the pipeline at the time of today's attack and the company is still assessing the damage, Tawfik said by telephone in Cairo today.

Greece

Factbox: Greek austerity and reform measures | Reuters

PRIVATIZATIONS

- Cumulative privatization receipts since June 2011 should be at least 4.5 billion euros by end-2012, 7.5 billion by end-2013, 12.2 billion by end-2014 and 15 billion by end-2015. An initial privatization target of 50 billion euros should be achieved "over the medium term."

Greece names privatisation agency chief | Reuters

Iran

As War Looms Iran Hits Kill Switch, Cuts off access to Millions!

To counter any such operations, Iran has hit their internet kill switch today which has left their millions of citizens without access to Gmail, Yahoo and other email services as well as Facebook and other social networking sites.

The cut also coincides with protests scheduled Saturday to mark anniversary of the 1979 Iranian revolution. Unconfirmed reports suggest that that intelligence operatives will try to take advantage of the situation to incite unrest. The U.S. and their western allies are accused of using social networking tools to aggravate protests in Eqypt, Libya, and Syria and other nations that have partaken in the Arab Spring revolution.

No roses allowed to be sold

Celebrity Arms Dealer$

Brad Pitt's Illegal Gun Cache: Is He Really in Serious Trouble? - E! Online

Jolie, showing directorial debut, says Afghanistan is next - FRANCE 24

Angelina Jolie says it was only natural that her directorial debut should tackle some of the toughest issues facing humanity and after wartime Bosnia, Afghanistan is likely to be her next subject.

At the Berlin film festival to present her unflinching drama about rape as a weapon of war, "In the Land of Blood and Honey", the Hollywood icon-cum-humanitarian told AFP her turn behind the camera was aimed at using cinema as a force for reconciliation.

"I've written a lot of journals while travelling over 10 years in the conflicts around the world and being frustrated by the lack of intervention," said the 36-year-old Oscar-winning actress.

"So I went to the region and started to really look at the Bosnian war, but I couldn't really understand or figure it out, and I felt this is my generation this happened to so I should know this. So I gave myself some education."

Jolie, who backs a range of causes as a UN goodwill ambassador, said her research inspired her to start writing a screenplay and her partner Brad Pitt encouraged her to show a rough draft to people from all sides of the brutal 1992-1995 war.

Ministry of Turth

Bradley Manning Nominated For Nobel Peace Prize - [VIDEO]

Qualified Nominators

. Members of national assemblies and governments of states;

2. Members of international courts;

3. University rectors; professors of social sciences, history, philosophy, law and theology; directors of peace research institutes and foreign policy institutes;

4. Persons who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize;

5. Board members of organizations who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize;

6. Active and former members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee; (proposals by members of the Committee to be submitted no later than at the first meeting of the Committee after February 1) and

7. Former advisers appointed by the Norwegian Nobel Institute.

The Nobel Peace Prize may also be awarded to institutions and associations.

Gitmo Nation

BBC News - AA to launch sat-nav tech tracked insurance policy

The AA is set to launch a new insurance policy which uses sat-nav technology to track driver performance.

The firm said the system would allow its better drivers to receive cheaper premiums.

It follows similar efforts by smaller insurers. Larger rival Direct Line has told the BBC it is also piloting its own "black box" scheme.

Critics of the technology said that data should not be used as a reliable measure of a driver's ability.

The system involves the installation of a small black box into the driver's car which records how they drive.

TomTom tech to set driver insurance premiums | News | PC Pro

Gallery

By Stewart Mitchell

Posted on 8 Feb 2012 at 14:16

TomTom has signed a deal with an insurance company to use its satnav technology to measure driving ability to set premiums.

The satnav specialist said it has teamed up with Motaquote on Fair Pay Insurance - a product that the companies claim rewards 'good' drivers with lower premiums, using technology to monitor driver behaviour.

"Our entry into the insurance market with our proven fleet management technology puts us at the forefront of a move that could help to revolutionise the motor insurance industry," said Thomas Schmidt, managing director of TomTom Business Solutions.

"We offer a navigation, traffic information and telematics which opens up great opportunities for insurance companies to promote greener, safer driving and create a ground breaking portfolio of new insurance products."

Companies can tell your performance and your performance will have a direct impact on the premium you pay

According to the companies, the service would provide users with cheaper quotes, but prices could be pushed up if driver logs show recklessness or dangerous driving.

The "Firm"

Al Qaeda merger raises new concerns -- CNN Security Clearance - CNN.com Blogs

News that Harakat Al-Shabaab - long associated with al Qaeda but never formally welcomed into the family - has gotten the blessingp from al Qaeda's leader seems to be a merger that was a long time coming. But the announcement does raise concerns that that the Somali terror group could help them in plotting to attack on U.S. soil.

In a message released Thursday the leader of Al-Shabaab, Mukhtar Abu al-Zubeir, pledged his allegiance to the terrorist network. His 14-minute pledge was followed by al Qaeda's leader, Ayman al Zawahiri, offering his "glad tidings" as a welcome to the larger organization, according to the SITE monitoring service.

One U.S. official, who would not be named because of the sensitivity of the intelligence information, said that "Zawahiri's announcement just formalizes what everyone already knew: Al-Shabaab is an affiliate of al Qaeda. This doesn't change the fact that al Qaeda's core is still suffering and trying to remain relevant."

Intelligence sources tell CNN the announcement was expected "weeks ago."

American $pring

King says UAW prepping for nationwide protests | The Detroit News | detroitnews.com

King said the UAW would begin training its members and other activists this spring to take part in peaceful, but potentially illegal, protests across America to stop what he called the rollback of workers' rights and civil rights.

"It will take direct action. It will take us being willing to face arrest. It will take us being willing to be part of marches and demonstrations," King told a crowd of some 500 union members gathered to mark the anniversary of the end of the 1937 strike against General Motors Co. that led to the UAW's first national contract. "They are attacking democracy in America. They are attacking the labor movement."

Techno Experts

2TTH

Whitney Houston

Jeffrey Zaslow dies at 53; Wall Street Journal reporter, author - latimes.com

Zaslow followed with two more bestsellers: "Highest Duty," co-written with Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, the pilot hailed as a hero after calmly landing his disabled passenger jet in New York's Hudson River and saving 155 lives; and "The Girls From Ames," a chronicle of the friendship shared by 11 women from rural Iowa. Both were published in 2009.

Zaslow's death was announced on the website of Detroit's Fox 2 News, where his wife, Sherry Margolis, is an anchor. Zaslow was driving on a snow-covered highway in northern Michigan when he lost control and was hit by a truck.

"I'm interested in people's deepest, sharpest emotions," the author said in 2010 in the Patriot Ledger of Quincy, Mass. "That's what I like writing about. Life's transitions are very emotional."

Born in Philadelphia on Oct. 6, 1958, Zaslow was a 1980 graduate of Carnegie Mellon, where he studied creative writing. He began his career as a feature writer for the Orlando Sentinel, leaving in 1983 to join the Wall Street Journal as a columnist.

One of his most memorable Journal pieces concerned a Chicago Sun-Times contest to select a successor to advice columnist Ann Landers. Zaslow decided that the best way to research the story was to enter the competition. Out of 12,000 applicants, he was chosen to share the column with Diane Crowley, daughter of the original Ann Landers.

He wrote the advice column for 14 years, until he returned to the Journal in 2001. He also wrote "Gabby" (2011), a book about Gabrielle Giffords, the former Arizona congresswoman who survived an assassin's bullet to the head.

GOP X Factor

Top Republican at CPAC: Jeb Bush could emerge as nominee at a brokered convention - Mail Online - Toby Harnden's blog

Al Cardenas, head of the American Conservative Union, has said that Republican turmoil might lead to a brokered convention in which Jeb Bush, former Florida governor, would emerge as a "possible alternative" party nominee.

Mr Cardenas, who is running this year's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), a gathering in Washington of some 10,000 conservatives, told MailOnline that it was not certain that one of the four current Republican candidates would emerge victorious.

$hadow Puppet Theatre

Navy names USS Gabrielle Giffords - The Hill's DEFCON Hill

Jeffrey Zaslow dies at 53; Wall Street Journal reporter, author - latimes.com

Zaslow followed with two more bestsellers: "Highest Duty," co-written with Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, the pilot hailed as a hero after calmly landing his disabled passenger jet in New York's Hudson River and saving 155 lives; and "The Girls From Ames," a chronicle of the friendship shared by 11 women from rural Iowa. Both were published in 2009.

"I'm interested in people's deepest, sharpest emotions," the author said in 2010 in the Patriot Ledger of Quincy, Mass. "That's what I like writing about. Life's transitions are very emotional."

Born in Philadelphia on Oct. 6, 1958, Zaslow was a 1980 graduate of Carnegie Mellon, where he studied creative writing. He began his career as a feature writer for the Orlando Sentinel, leaving in 1983 to join the Wall Street Journal as a columnist.

One of his most memorable Journal pieces concerned a Chicago Sun-Times contest to select a successor to advice columnist Ann Landers. Zaslow decided that the best way to research the story was to enter the competition. Out of 12,000 applicants, he was chosen to share the column with Diane Crowley, daughter of the original Ann Landers.

He wrote the advice column for 14 years, until he returned to the Journal in 2001. He also wrote "Gabby" (2011), a book about Gabrielle Giffords, the former Arizona congresswoman who survived an assassin's bullet to the head.

Syria

Aleppo

Explosions kill 17 in Syrian city of Aleppo: report - World news - Mideast/N. Africa - msnbc.com

Two explosions outside security bases in Aleppo killed 17 soldiers and civilians on Friday, Syrian television said, in the worst violence in Syria's commercial hub in an 11-month-old revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.

Only on msnbc.com

Drones roam skies of US cities

China to ban names that signal 'orphan' status

Romney wins straw poll of GOP conservatives

Sexy apps for Valentine's Day

How to de-spam everything in your life

Chaos continues in Syria as violence rages

Bodies of 2 girls, grandmother found in Quebec home

State television showed blood, bodies and shattered concrete strewn across a street outside one of the apparent targets of the blasts, a military security building in the northern city.

Arab Gas Pipeline Project-Third Stage (Aleppo-Kalas Section)

Objectives:

The project aims at strengthening the role played by the Syrian grid in the project to

link the natural gas pipelines of Turkey and the Mashreq Arab countries. This will be

accomplished by completing the remaining part of the project, namely the Syria -- Turkey

interconnector. The project will allow the Syrian Government to meet its demand for

natural gas by importing it from Iran, via Turkey. The project will also enable the Egyptian

Government to export its natural gas to Turkey, via Jordan and Syria.

Description:

The project, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2010, includes extending a

62 km natural gas pipeline, with a diameter of 36 in., from the Syrian city of Aleppo to the

Turkish city of Kalas near the Syria - Turkey border, along with the installation of a gas

metering station, a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system, a standby

generator, a UPS system and distribution panels to ensure continuity of electric service to

the SCADA system. The project also includes the execution of all necessary civil works

and the provision of required consultancy services, in addition to compensation of farmers

whose lands will be confiscated.

Syria says suicide bombers kill 28 in Aleppo - World - Video - 3 News

Hacked Syrian E-mails Advise Pres. Assad That 'American Psyche Is Easily Manipulated' -- www.forbes.com -- Readability

"American Psyche Can Easily Be Manipulated" Hackers Releases Syrian Govt E-Mails - [VIDEO]

Arab $pring

EUROLand

Shut Up Slave!

Study Explores Electrical Stimulation to Aid Memory - NYTimes.com

Obama Pulls Combat Pay for U.S. Troops | The Shark Tank

The rules for Hostile Fire and Imminent Danger Pay have changed. Service members will now receive imminent danger pay only for days they actually spend in hazardous areas. This change went in effect on February 1, 2012.

A member of a uniformed service may be entitled to Hostile Fire and Imminent Danger pay at the rate of $225 for any month in which he/she was entitled to basic pay and in which he/she was:

Subject to hostile fire or explosion of hostile mines;

On duty in an area in which he was in imminent danger of being exposed to hostile fire or explosion of hostile mines and in which, during the period he was on duty in that area, other members of the uniformed services were subject to hostile fire or explosion of hostile mines;

Killed, injured, or wounded by hostile fire, explosion of a hostile mine, or any other hostile action; or

On duty in a foreign area in which he was subject to the threat of physical harm or imminent danger on the basis of civil insurrection, civil war, terrorism, or wartime conditions.

Drone Nation

Sen. Wyden seeks opinion used in al-Awlaki killing - FederalNewsRadio.com

In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Wyden said that in February 2011, James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, "indicated that he would have liked to be responsive to my request, but he told me that he did not have the authority to provide formal written opinions of the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel to Congress."

Wyden said the Justice Department provided him with some relevant information in May 2011, but that the department has not fully complied with his original request.

Dennis Blair, then director of national intelligence, told Congress in February 2010 that in carrying out counterterrorism operations, "If we think that direct action will involve killing an American, we get specific permission to do that."

Wyden wrote Holder that it is indefensible for the executive branch to claim that intelligence agencies have the authority to knowingly kill American citizens _ subject to limitations that have never been described publicly _ while at the same time refusing to provide Congress its legal opinions on this authority.

Gold

Warren Buffett: gold has no value - Telegraph

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett has dismissed gold as a valueless asset saying that it has no inherent value. In an article for Fortune magazine, Buffett said that gold investors were pinning their hopes on future demand.

He warned that gold was a self-inflating bubble, created by investors desperate for a viable alternative to property and shares.

The infamous investor warned that investors in gold would be left with egg on their face when the price eventually crashed.

"Bubbles blown large enough inevitably pop," he said. "And then the old proverb is confirmed once again: "What the wise man does in the beginning, the fool does in the end."

Buffett's attack comes as private bank Coutts predicts that the gold price will hit "new highs" by the end of 2012.

Red Book Predictions

Movie PR

Cool Obama

Sound leadership - WWW.THEDAILY.COM

Yesterday, President Obama posted a "campaign playlist" to Spotify: 28 tracks spanning, in the usual hopeful manner, a host of different genres, styles, and creeds.

So what can we glean about Obama's taste? Judging by the Al Green, he would probably make for a great wedding DJ. Country artists are here, too -- so is Ricky Martin.

Hip-hop, however, is absent. Sure, Obama may be the first president we've had to openly profess his love of Jay-Z, but that is a very different thing from banging "99 Problems" at 11 a.m. rallies for children eager to catch a glimpse of America's first black president.

Of course, only someone as certified cool as Obama, this playlist suggests, could play Electric Light Orchestra at a party and get away with it.

Magic Number$

LeRoy 20

High School In Leroy NY Twitching Syndrome Prediction : The Amazing Kreskin

The Amazing Kreskin is making a major prediction regarding this increasing infection of nervous tics, etc. that began at LeRoy High School in New York.

"I predict that these afflicted young people will, within 3 months, be completely healed, and it will be accomplished without massive doses of antibiotics, intense psychotherapy, shock therapy, or other extreme measures. The key that will cause the healing is a priceless factor....."

Vostok - Leviathan 2?

Putin Hails Antarctic Lake Discovery - ABC News

After more than two decades of drilling, the Russian researchers reached the lake on Sunday at a depth of 12,366 feet (3,769 meters) in a location about 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) east of the South Pole.

Reaching the surface of Lake Vostok, the largest of nearly 400 subglacial lakes in Antarctica, was a major discovery avidly anticipated by scientists around the world

Vostok Energy plans IPO on LSE to raise $150-200 mln | Business | RIA Novosti

Russian oil and gas company Vostok Energy plans to float a third of its shares on the London Stock Exchange in March or April to raise $150-200 million, a banking source said on Thursday.

The company had planned to hold the Initial Public Offering in October but postponed it due to unfavorable market conditions, the source added.

"The issuer must prepare its financial reports for first nine months of 2010 by spring. The company plans to offer investors 25-30 percent of shares at most," the source told RIA Novosti.

Deutsche Bank and Uralsib have been appointed lead managers.

Vostok Energy is a private Britain-registered company. Its founder and CEO is Alexander Kapelson, who owns a 22.1 percent stake of the firm.

Vostok Energy

Bank$ters

Mortgage Deal Props Up California House of Cards: Steven Greenhut - Bloomberg

The administration is pleased that California's attorney general is now on board with the president's multibillion-dollar bank settlement after securing tougher measures to benefit individual homeowners.

More good California-based news for President Barack Obama: Bank of America Corp. has become the first large mortgage provider in the Golden State to take part in a federally funded "Keep Your Home" program that would pay banks to reduce the balances that struggling California homeowners owe them.

Oakland attorney Tony West tapped by Obama | Politics Blog | an SFGate.com blog

Oakland attorney and former federal prosecutor Tony West, who was an early supporter of Barack Obama -- and who, as co-chairman of Obama's fundraising committee worked for him across the country during the presidential campaign -- has been tapped to be the new administration's assistant attorney general for the Civil Division in the Department of Justice.

As co-chairman of Obama's campaign, West was instrumental in helping the candidate raise an estimated $65 million in California and has been considered a rising star in both the legal and political circles of the nation's most populous state. He is an attorney in the San Francisco offices of Morrison & Foerster.

Barack Obama's $25 Billion Dollar Campaign Laundering Fund (Insider Related) - The Ulsterman Report

Vaccines$

Does EU/India free trade agreement spell the end of cheap drugs for poor countries? | Society | guardian.co.uk

Shyness, grieving soon to be classified as mental illness - BlackListedNews.com

Millions of healthy people - including shy or defiant children, grieving relatives and people with fetishes - may be wrongly labeled mentally ill by a new international diagnostic manual, specialists said on Thursday.

In a damning analysis of an upcoming revision of the influential Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), psychologists, psychiatrists and mental health experts said its new categories and "tick-box" diagnosis systems were at best "silly" and at worst "worrying and dangerous."

Some diagnoses - for conditions like "oppositional defiant disorder" and "apathy syndrome" - risk devaluing the seriousness of mental illness and medicalising behaviors most people would consider normal or just mildly eccentric, the experts said.

At the other end of the spectrum, the new DSM, due out next year, could give medical diagnoses for serial rapists and sex abusers - under labels like "paraphilic coercive disorder" - and may allow offenders to escape prison by providing what could be seen as an excuse for their behavior, they added.

The DSM is published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and has descriptions, symptoms and other criteria for diagnosing mental disorders. It is used internationally and is seen as the diagnostic "bible" for mental health medicine.

Viagra effective in treating rare kids' disease

Stanford researchers may have discovered a drug for a rare and often untreatable disease that leaves children with massive, and sometimes deadly, growths on their faces, necks and other parts of their bodies.

Here's the twist: The drug is Viagra.

In very early reports, sildenafil - best known under the brand name Viagra and sold as a treatment for erectile dysfunction - reduced the size of growths in three children with lymphatic malformation, a disease that causes spongy cysts to swell and clog up the lymphatic system.

VIDEO

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