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August 27, 2009

California man keeps abducted girl in shed 18 years, fathers two children

Sheriff: Kidnap victim, children kept in backyard shed - CNN.com
(CNN) -- An 11-year-old California girl snatched from the street in front of her house in 1991 had two children with the man accused of taking her and lived in a secret backyard shed, authorities said Thursday. Officials search the property of Phillip Garrido, who police say kept an abducted girl in a shed for 18 years. The 18-year mystery of what happened to Jaycee Dugard ended this week when a sex offender admitted to corrections authorities that he abducted her. Jaycee was abducted from South Lake Tahoe in June 1991, said Fred Kollar, undersheriff of El Dorado County. The case began to unfold when the sex offender, Phillip Garrido, 58, was stopped and questioned by campus police at the University of California at Berkeley. With him were two children and a woman identified only as Alissa, who DNA tests later revealed was Dugard, now 29. The children were later determined to be Garrido's and Dugard's, Kollar said.
Garrido's blog, proving once again that Jesus needs an entrance exam for his fan club.

August 26, 2009

Drug Companies manipulate the placebo result to get their drugs to market

Overcoming Bias : Why Does Pharma Study Placebos? They research the factors in different countries that contribute to the placebo effect and then cherry-pick their testing environments.
. . . Potter discovered, however, that geographic location alone could determine whether a drug bested placebo or crossed the futility boundary. By the late ’90s, for example, the classic antianxiety drug diazepam (also known as Valium) was still beating placebo in France and Belgium. But when the drug was tested in the US, it was likely to fail. Conversely, Prozac performed better in America than it did in western Europe and South Africa. It was an unsettling prospect: FDA approval could hinge on where the company chose to conduct a trial. … AsPotter and his colleagues [also] discovered that ratings by trial observers varied significantly from one testing site to another. It was like finding out that the judges in a tight race each had a different idea about the placement of the finish line. … The placebo response is highly sensitive to cultural differences. Anthropologist Daniel Moerman found that Germans are high placebo reactors in trials of ulcer drugs but low in trials of drugs for hypertension—an undertreated condition in Germany, where many people pop pills for herzinsuffizienz, or low blood pressure. Moreover, a pill’s shape, size, branding, and price all influence its effects on the body. Soothing blue capsules make more effective tranquilizers than angry red ones, except among Italian men, for whom the color blue is associated with their national soccer team—Forza Azzurri!. . .

August 23, 2009

Poet Ravi Shankar arrested for no reason, cops called him "sand nigger"

Making A Joke Out Of Justice -- Courant.com
My ordeal began with a party at a Chelsea gallery for the arts journal that I edit. Brilliant performances led to a boisterous dinner and then it was out to my car for the drive home to Connecticut and my wife and daughter. Turning onto Sixth Avenue from 34th Street, I found myself assailed by flashing red and blue. An amplified voice commanded me to pull over. The officer approached, flashlight fixed in my face, and ordered me onto the sidewalk. "Is there a problem?" I asked. Three other cops surrounded me. I started to explain what I was doing in the city — a poet returning from a literary event. The lead cop shouted, "Just do what I say!" And so I obediently did the field-sobriety dance: touched nose with pinky and stood on one foot, tightrope-walked the crack in the sidewalk, blew into the Breathalyzer. The officer conferred with his partners, then approached with a grin, hand extended as if to shake mine. "Good news," he said, "you passed the Breathalyzer." Then, with perfect comic timing: "The bad news is, there's a warrant out for your arrest." The extended hand reached for my wrist, twisting it behind my back. Arrest? For what? The officers spun into motion. The back door of the police van slid open, a hand pushed my head down and shoved me in. The officer turned to his partner. "Always a good day when you can bag a sand nigger."

August 22, 2009

Summer doldrums become even more doldrum-tastic

I'm off to eat beef and see relatives. Not near a computron until Tuesday earliest. Good luck and God bless. I think Mojo's on a plane headed homeward, so there's hope for you all yet. -A-

August 20, 2009

Ridge - Bush Aides Pushed to Raise Threat Level

Ridge - Bush Aides Pushed to Raise Threat Level - NYTimes.com
WASHINGTON — Tom Ridge, the first secretary of homeland security, asserts in a new book that he was pressured by top advisers to President George W. Bush to raise the national threat level just before the 2004 election in what he suspected was an effort to influence the vote.