Saturday, August 14, 2010

BAUAW NEWSLETTER - SATURDAY, AUGUST 14, 2010

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Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:
A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS
B. VIDEOS
C. SPECIAL APPEALS AND ONGOING CAMPAIGNS
D. ARTICLES IN FULL

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A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS

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From: Local 2 UNITE HERE!

UPHOLD THE HOTEL BOYCOTTS!
Join Local 2's All-Day Picketlines!

HILTON SIEGE
O'Farrell and Mason Streets
August 25 & 26, 2010
Wednesday/Thursday
7am to 7pm

SAVE THE DATE
for another siege action!

September 2, 2010
7am to 7pm
Venue to be announced

We always have a Labor Day action, but this year we will join another national coordinated hotel workers' protest on Thursday, September 2. The venue for this 12-hour siege will be announced soon. Please save the date and commit to a two-hour picket shift.

*************

SUPPORT WORKERS! JOIN OUR BOYCOTT TEAM!

UNITE HERE! is leading the fight to for hotel workers - many of them women of color and immigrants - in hotels across San Francisco and North America. UNITE HERE! represents more than 250,000 workers throughout the U.S. and Canada who work in the hospitality, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, laundry, and airport industries. We are at the forefront of the battle for workers rights, immigration reform and living wages.

In San Francisco, union contracts for thousands of hotel workers have expired. These workers are standing in solidarity to defend their standards against dozens ruthless hotel corporations. Additionally, non-union hotel workers are also engaged in an ongoing struggle at two hotels, the HEI Le Meridien and the Hyatt at Fisherman's Wharf.

Our ground-up model of organizing and our comprehensive corporate campaigns are largely worker and volunteer run. In this current economic crisis, it is more important than ever for committed local activists to get involved in the fight for workers rights.

We are seeking enthusiastic volunteer activists to help build the labor movement in San Francisco. Currently, the Local 2 Boycott Apprenticeship Program is offering non-paid internship opportunities.

DETAILS OF THE APPRENTICESHIP

Location: San Francisco

Education: No requirement

Additional Qualifications:
Passion for social justice, assertive personality and basic computer skills for research (Spreadsheets, Databases, Internet search tools).

Duties include:

30% - Coordinating and executing creative actions at strategic locations to help enforce worker called boycotts.

70% - Research and campaign related work.

Commitment:
4 - 10 Hours a week minimum, Ongoing program.

************

Let us learn together, and fight together. Join Local 2's awesome Boycott Team.

For volunteer opportunities, please contact:
Powell DeGange, pdegange@unitehere.org
415-864-8770 ext. 759

Sign the Hotel Boycott Pledge:
https://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=dE9US3YwVmZyZFpLcVFUOFozWk4tZEE6MA

Click here for details and figures showing why these corporations have no excuse not to provide hotel workers affordable quality health care:
https://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0BzaUbolMBN98NTZmZGU3MGUtM2NjMy00ZjgxLWFjYzgtYTcyOTRmZTA1NDgy&hl=en

WATCH A VIDEO OF THE BOYCOTT CAMPAIGN:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVOzfbb08_0

For a current list of boycotted hotels, please check our website
www.unitehere2.org

Join our Facebook Groups:
"Boycott HEI Le Meridien and Hyatt Fisherman's Wharf"
"UNITE HERE Local 2"

Check our Websites:
www.unitehere2.org
www.unitehere.org

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There are signs plastered all over the New York City subway system warning that, "Assaulting MTA New York City Transit subway personnel is a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison." What will Johannes Mehserle, an Oakland BART subway cop get for the murder of Oscar Grant? HE COULD EVEN GET PAROLLE! OR AS LITTLE AS FOUR YEARS! WE WANT THE MAXIMUM FOR MEHSERLE!

Longshore workers call for labor/community rally for:

Justice for Oscar Grant! Jail Killer Cops!

The next labor/community organizing meeting will be:

7 PM, Tuesday August 31, 2010
Longshore Hall - Henry Schmidt room
400 North Point St @ Mason
near Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco
Media/Publicity: Jack Heyman 510-531-4717, jackheyman@comcast.net

You are urged to attend!

A broad group of labor and community organizers met Tuesday, July 27 to help organize a mass demonstration demanding Justice for Oscar Grant! Jail Killer Cops! to take place Saturday, October 23 in Oakland. Committees were set up and organizing has begun involving people from the Bay Area and coordinated nation-wide. Bay Area United Against War Newsletter encourages everyone to become involved in organizing and building this very urgent event. We can't allow the police to have a license to murder the innocent and unarmed with a slap on the wrist. We demand the maximum for Johannes Mehserle!

Oscar Grant was murdered in cold blood!

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SAVE THE DATE: JUSTICE FOR OSCAR GRANT -- October 23, 2010
Media/Publicity: Jack Heyman 510-531-4717, jackheyman@comcast.net

ILWU Local 10 Motion on the Verdict in the Oscar Grant Case
Whereas, Oscar Grant's killer, BART police officer Johannes Mehserle received a verdict of involuntary manslaughter on July 8, 2010; and

Whereas, video tapes show clearly that Oscar Grant was lying face down on the Fruitvale BART platform, waiting to be handcuffed with another cop's boot on his neck posing no threat when he was shot in the back and killed in cold blood by Mehserle; and
Whereas, this is just another example in a racist justice system where police officers go free for killing young black men; and

Whereas, the Contra Costa Times reports that police are holding a rally in Walnut Creek on July 19, 2010 to show support for the killer cop so his sentence will only be a slap on the wrist; and

Whereas; the ILWU has always stood for social justice;

Therefore be it resolved that the labor movement organize a mass protest rally October 23, 2010 with participation from community groups, civil rights organizations, civil liberties organizations and all who stand for social justice demand jail for killer cops.

THAT LOCAL 10 DELEGATES TO THE BAY AREA LABOR COUNCILS ARE DIRECTED TO RAISE THE ABOVE MOTION AT THEIR NEXT MEETING

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Education 4 the People!
October 7 Day of Action in Defense of Public Education - California

http://defendcapubliceducation.wordpress.com/

MORE THAN 100 activists from across California gathered in Los Angeles April 24 to debate next steps for the fight against the devastating cutbacks facing public education.

The main achievements of the conference were to set a date and location for the next statewide mass action-October 7-and for the next anti-cuts conference, which will happen October 16 at San Francisco State University. The other key outcome was the first steps toward the formation of an ad hoc volunteer coordinating committee to plan for the fall conference.

These decisions were a crucial step toward deepening and broadening the movement. For example, the fall conference will be the key venue for uniting activists from all sectors of public education, and especially from those schools and campuses which saw action on March 4, but which have yet to plug into the broader movement.

This will be crucial for extending the scope and increasing the strength of our movement, as well as for helping us strategize and prepare for what is certain to be a tough year ahead. Similarly, the fall mass action will be crucial to re-igniting the movement following the summer months.

http://defendcapubliceducation.wordpress.com/

Organizing for the next Statewide Public Education Mobilization Conference at SFSU on OCT 16th
Posted on May 24, 2010 by ooofireballooo
Organizing for the next Statewide Public Education Mobilization Conference
@ San Francisco State University on October 16th

MORE THAN 100 activists from across California gathered in Los Angeles April 24 to debate next steps for the fight against the devastating cutbacks facing public education.

The main achievements of the conference were to set a date and location for the next statewide mass action-October 7-and for the next anti-cuts conference, which will happen October 16 at San Francisco State University. The other key outcome was the first steps toward the formation of an ad hoc volunteer coordinating committee to plan for the fall conference.

These decisions were a crucial step toward deepening and broadening the movement. For example, the fall conference will be the key venue for uniting activists from all sectors of public education, and especially from those schools and campuses which saw action on March 4, but which have yet to plug into the broader movement.

This will be crucial for extending the scope and increasing the strength of our movement, as well as for helping us strategize and prepare for what is certain to be a tough year ahead. Similarly, the fall mass action will be crucial to re-igniting the movement following the summer months.

Proposal: Form a conference organizing listserve immediately!

Please join the google group today.

* Group home page: http://groups.google.com/group/fallconferencesfsu

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NOVEMBER 2010 - CONVERGE ON FORT BENNING, GEORGIA
November 18-21, 2010: Close the SOA and take a stand for justice in the Americas.
www.soaw.org/take-action/november-vigil

The November Vigil to Close the School of the Americas at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia will be held from November 18-21, 2010. The annual vigil is always held close to the anniversary of the 1989 murders of Celina Ramos, her mother Elba and six Jesuit priests at a the University of Central America in El Salvador.

ORGANIZE YOUR COMMUNITY FOR THE 2010 VIGIL!

November 2010 will mark the 20th anniversary of the vigil that brings together religious communities, students, teachers, veterans, community organizers, musicians, puppetistas and many others. New layers of activists are joining the movement to close the SOA in large numbers, including numerous youth and students from multinational, working-class communities. The movement is strong thanks to the committed work of thousands of organizers and volunteers around the country. They raise funds, spread the word through posters and flyers, organize buses and other transportation to Georgia, and carry out all the work that is needed to make the November vigil a success. Together, we are strong!

VIGIL AND RALLY AT THE GATES, NONVIOLENT DIRECT ACTION, TEACH-IN, CONCERTS, WORKSHOPS AND A ANTI-MILITARIZATION ORGANIZERS CONFERENCE

There will be exciting additions to this year's vigil program. Besides the rally at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia with inspiring speakers and amazing musicians from across the Americas, the four day convergence will also include an educational teach-in at the Columbus Convention Center, several evening concerts, workshops and for the first time, the Latin America Solidarity Coalition will stage a one-day Anti-Militarization Organizers Conference on Thursday, November 18, 2010.

SHUT DOWN THE SOA AND RESIST U.S. MILITARIZATION IN THE AMERICAS

Our work has unfortunately not gotten any easier and U.S. militarization in Latin America is accelerating. The SOA graduate led military coup in Honduras, the continuing repression against the Honduran pro-democracy resistance and the expansion of U.S. military bases in Colombia and Panama are grim examples of the ongoing threats of a U.S. foreign policy that is relying on the military to exert control over the people and the resources in the Americas. Join the people who are struggling for justice in Honduras, Colombia and throughout the Americas as we organize to push back.

Spread the word - Tell a friend about the November Vigil:
http://www.SOAW.org/tellafriend

For more information, visit:
www.SOAW.org.

See you at the gates of Fort Benning in November 2010

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B. VIDEOS:

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Days After Tar Balls Hit New York Beach Massive Fish Kills Stretch From New Jersey to Massachusetts
http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/2010/08/12/days-tar-balls-york-beach-massive-fish-kills-stretch-nj-massachusets/

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WikiLeaks' Collateral Murder: U.S. Soldier Ethan McCord's Eyewitness Story
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kelmEZe8whI&feature=player_embedded

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On The Move: Mumia Abu-Jamal's Message to the United National Peace Conference
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9QAgr1wNZA&feature=player_embedded

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Videos: Hideous Conditions at Long Beach Harbor, MS
By Denise Rednour
August 7, 2010
http://deniselngbch.blogspot.com/2010/08/hideous-conditions-at-long-beach-harbor.html

August 7th, 2010 -- LONG BEACH MS - Very thick oil in and around the harbor at Long Beach, MS today. It's a very sad day indeed. The stench of dispersants and dead fish is in the air as well.

PLEASE, don't be fooled by mainstream media and politicians who are telling people it's over, it's safe to swim, and the seafood is harmless. All beaches in Mississippi remain open without cautions even. All waters are open to commercial and sport fishing of fin fish and shrimp. The only activity banned at the present is crab and oyster fishing.

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Video: George Carlin: "The American Dream"/"Workers Nightmare"
Because the Owners of This Country Own Everything - They Own You - They Don't Want Critical Thinking - They Want Obedient Workers
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acLW1vFO-2Q
http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=159216125164&ref=mf

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Citizens of New Orleans Respond to the BP Oil Spill
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCCX8kLm3Sc

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Economic Hitmen: John Perkins on Economic Imperialism
[He's wrong, though, about there being a benign form of capitalism. There's only one kind of capitalism -- this kind of capitalism -- and it's all bad...bw]
http://vodpod.com/watch/3772159-economic-hitmen-john-perkins-on-economic-imperialism

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Narrated - Oil Leaking From BP Gulf Oil Spill Sea Floor Strata
[After the cement fill...bw]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-VuOTmTbXQ&feature=player_embedded

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Lady Gaga Rallies Fans in Arizona: "If it wasn't for all you immigrants, this country wouldn't have s--t."
By Tanner Stransky
http://music-mix.ew.com/2010/08/02/lady-gaga-arizona-immigration-protest/

Lady Gaga is well known for stirring the pot while advocating for buzzy causes like gay rights, and now she's using her sizable cultural influence to stand up against SB 1070, the controversial Arizona immigration law. At her Monster Ball show in Phoenix on Saturday evening, the pop star encouraged her "little monsters" to not sit idle in regards to the law: "We have to be active. We have to actively protest," she told her audience. Since the news of SB 1070 came down, several heavyweights in the music biz have boycotted the state, but Gaga said she won't do the same.

"I will not cancel my show. I will hold you, and we will hold each other, and we will protest this state," Gaga told her audience. "I got a phone call from a couple really big rock-n-rollers, big pop stars, big rappers, and they said: 'We'd like you to boycott Arizona. We'd like you to boycott playing Arizona because of SB 1070.' And I said: 'You really think that us dumb f-ing pop stars are going to collapse the economy of Arizona?'" And that's when she urged fans to protest. "The nature of the Monster Ball is to actively protest prejudice and injustice and that bullshit that is put on our society!" See her whole impassioned speech here:
http://music-mix.ew.com/2010/08/02/lady-gaga-arizona-immigration-protest/

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Missing Gulf Coast Oil Appears To Be Welling Up Under Barrier Island Beaches (VIDEO)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/03/missing-gulf-coast-oil-ap_n_669243.html

Last week, BP managed to finally cap the Deepwater Horizon oil volcano and the media suddenly found itself in the grips of a baffling problem with object permanence. Where did all the oil go, they wondered. Had it disappeared? Was it eaten by microbes? Did it get Raptured up to Oil Heaven? It was a mystery, wrapped in a miracle! At least it was until Mother Jones reporter Mac McClelland took about a minute to send some text messages to colleagues in the field, inquiring after the oil's whereabouts. They answered back: Where is the oil? How does all over the place grab you?

Over at The Upshot, Brett Michael Dykes highlights this report from WVUE in New Orleans, which confirms that the oil did not, in fact, fortuitously disappear into thin air:

According to WVUE correspondent John Snell, local officials dispatched a dive team to a barrier island off of southeastern Louisiana's Plaquemines parish to scan the sea floor for oil. The team, however, could barely see the sea floor, due to the current murky state of the area waters. But when the divers returned to shore, they made a rather remarkable discovery: tiny holes that burrowing Hermit crabs had dug into the ground effectively became oil-drilling holes. When the divers placed pressure on the ground near the holes, oil came oozing up.

So, basically, questioning where the oil has gone is the exact same thing as looking at the shoes attached to the ends of your legs and wondering if your feet have disappeared.

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Video Shows Michigan Oil Spill
By ROBERT MACKEY
July 29, 2010, 1:57 pm
http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/29/youtube-video-of-michigan-oil-spill/?ref=us

As my colleague Emma Graves Fitzsimmons reports from Michigan, the Environmental Protection Agency now estimates that more than one million gallons of oil may have spilled from a pipeline into the Kalamazoo River this week, which is far more than the pipeline's owner, Enbridge Energy Partners, initially estimated.

In a statement posted online, the E.P.A. explained that the government has taken charge of the clean-up effort and is working to keep the oil from reaching Lake Michigan.

On Monday, when a 30-inch pipeline burst in Marshall, Mich., releasing hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude oil into Talmadge Creek, a waterway that feeds the Kalamazoo River, local residents started posting video of the damage on YouTube. As the site's own CitizenTube blog noted, a user calling herself Picture Takin Diva posted these aerial images of the creek, with the comment, "It's not the Gulf, but it's pretty bad!"

Another user, Corrive 9, who uploaded the video at the top of this post on Tuesday, also conducted some interviews with people who live near the river. Looking at the oily water, this man said, "It smells like a mechanic's shop, for one thing, but it's just a shame because this river was just becoming cleaner and now this. We fish this, catch a lot of small-mouth bass out here, great big ones."

A third YouTube user, who goes by 420 Stardust Glitter, uploaded these silent images of the oil water with a note saying, "The oil is so thick it's starting to look gummy and the smell of the toxins are unbearable."

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BP Oil Spill Grand Isle Town Hall Meeting Part 3
http://videos.wittysparks.com/id/699180664

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Sometimes there are things so beautiful it takes your breath away and confirms the best and most basic good in the nature of humanity...bw
Stand By Me | Playing For Change | Song Around the World
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Us-TVg40ExM&feature=player_embedded

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Pete Seeger Live - New Protest Song About BP Oil Spill in Gulf Coast on Banjo w James Maddock Guitar
Published on Friday, July 30, 2010 by YouTube
http://www.commondreams.org/video/2010/07/30-2

On July 23th 2010 Pete Seeger performed live at a Gulf Coast Oil Spill fundraiser at The City Winery in New York City. There, he unveiled to the public his new protest song about the BP oil spill entitled "God's Counting on Me, God's Counting on You." Backing up Pete's singing and banjo picking is the singer/songwriter James Maddock on acoustic guitar. All proceeds of this concert went to the Gulf Restoration Project. The show was produced and hosted by Richard Barone. The video was edited and mixed by Matthew Billy.

Lyrics:

When we look and we can see things are not what they should be
God's counting on me, God's counting on you
When we look and see things that should not be
God's counting on me, God's counting on you
Hopin' we'll all pull through, Hoping we'll all pull through,
Hopin' we'll all pull through
Me and you.

It's time to turn things around, trickle up not trickle down
God's counting on me, God's counting on you
It's time to turn things around, trickle up not trickle down
God's counting on me, God's counting on you
Hopin' we'll all pull through, Hoping we'll all pull through,
Hopin' we'll all pull through
Me and you.

And when drill, baby, drill turns to spill, baby, spill
God's counting on me, God's counting on you
Yes when drill, baby, drill turns to spill, baby, spill
God's counting on me, God's counting on you
Hopin' we'll all pull through, Hoping we'll all pull through,
Hopin' we'll all pull through
Me and you.

Don't give up don't give in, workin' together we all can win
God's counting on me, God's counting on you
Don't give up don't give in, workin' together we all can win
God's counting on me, God's counting on you
Hopin' we'll all pull through, Hoping we'll all pull through,
Hopin' we'll all pull through
Me and you.

There's big problems to be solved, let's get everyone involved
God's counting on me, God's counting on you
There's big problems to be solved, let's get everyone involved
God's counting on me, God's counting on you
Hopin' we'll all pull through, Hoping we'll all pull through,
Hopin' we'll all pull through
Me and you.

When we sing with younger folks, we can never give up hope
God's counting on me, God's counting on you
When we sing with younger folks, we can never give up hope
God's counting on me, God's counting on you
Hopin' we'll all pull through, Hoping we'll all pull through,
Hopin' we'll all pull through
Me and you.

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Underwater Lakes Of Oil From BP Spill Will Continue To Cover Gulf Beaches With Toxic Layer Of Invisible Oil For Months
Posted by Alexander Higgins - July 28, 2010 at 10:59 pm - Permalink
http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/2010/07/28/underwater-lakes-of-oil-from-bp-spill-will-continue-to-cover-gulf-beaches-with-toxic-layer-of-invisible-oil-for-months/

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Feds think public can't HANDLE THE TRUTH about toxic dispersants says EPA Sr. Analyst
July 28, 2010
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eN4MJFeEYuE&feature=player_embedded

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Breathing Toxic Oil Vapors??? video
http://www.rumormillnews.com/cgi-bin/forum.cgi?read=179134

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C. SPECIAL APPEALS AND ONGOING CAMPAIGNS

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Ohio may execute an innocent man unless you take action.
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/save-kevin-keith

Kevin Keith is scheduled to be executed on September 15th, despite a wide range of new evidence that suggests he is innocent. Kevin, who has been on Ohio's death row for 16 years, was convicted on the basis of faulty eyewitness identification.

Thirteen years after he was convicted, Kevin discovered that one of the State's supposed "witnesses" -- a hospital nurse who was critical to corroborating the legitimacy of the surviving victim's eyewitness identification -- does not actually exist. He has an alibi affirmed by four people and new evidence has emerged implicating another suspect.

No court has heard the full array of new evidence pointing to Kevin's innocence. Take action today to stop Ohio from executing a man who very well may be innocent.

Sincerely,

Stefanie Faucher
Associate Director

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Please sign the petition to release Bradley Manning

http://www.petitiononline.com/manning1/petition.html (Click to sign here)

To: US Department of Defense; US Department of Justice
We, the Undersigned, call for justice for US Army PFC Bradley Manning, incarcerated without charge (as of 18 June 2010) at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.

Media accounts state that Mr. Manning was arrested in late May for leaking the video of US Apache helicopter pilots killing innocent people and seriously wounding two children in Baghdad, including those who arrived to help the wounded, as well as potentially other material. The video was released by WikiLeaks under the name "Collateral Murder".

If these allegations are untrue, we call upon the US Department of Defense to release Mr. Manning immediately.

If these allegations ARE true, we ALSO call upon the US Department of Defense to release Mr. Manning immediately.

Simultaneously, we express our support for Mr. Manning in any case, and our admiration for his courage if he is, in fact, the person who disclosed the video. Like in the cases of Daniel Ellsberg, W. Mark Felt, Frank Serpico and countless other whistleblowers before, government demands for secrecy must yield to public knowledge and justice when government crime and corruption are being kept hidden.

Justice for Bradley Manning!

Sincerely,

The Undersigned:
http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?manning1

--
Zaineb Alani
http://www.thewordsthatcomeout.blogspot.com
http://www.tigresssmiles.blogspot.com
"Yesterday I lost a country. / I was in a hurry, / and didn't notice when it fell from me / like a broken branch from a forgetful tree. / Please, if anyone passes by / and stumbles across it, / perhaps in a suitcase / open to the sky, / or engraved on a rock / like a gaping wound, / ... / If anyone stumbles across it, / return it to me please. / Please return it, sir. / Please return it, madam. / It is my country . . . / I was in a hurry / when I lost it yesterday." -Dunya Mikhail, Iraqi poet

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http://couragetoresist.org/donate

Dear Gio,

Thanks again for supporting military war resisters. We do this work because it is a tangible contribution to a future without empire and war. With your help, we've won a number of victories recently--you might have read about "Hip Hop" stop-loss soldier Marc Hall, or single mom, and Afghanistan deployment resister, Alexis Hutchinson in the news.

Now, intel analyst Bradley Manning is in the headlines and facing decades in prison for leaking a video of a massacre in Baghdad. If Pfc. Manning is the source of the video, then he did what he had to do to expose a war crime. Regardless, he's wrongly imprisoned and we are doing everything we can to support him. Keep an eye out for action alerts in the coming days on how to support Bradley!

If you have not yet had a chance to make a donation recently, I'm asking that you please consider doing so now so that together we can step up to support Bradley Manning and all GI war objectors!

http://couragetoresist.org/donate

Jeff Paterson,
Project Director, Courage to Resist

p.s. Our new August print newsletter is now available:
http://www.couragetoresist.org/aug10-newsltr.pdf

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Please forward widely...

Lynne Stewart Sentenced to Ten Years in Prison
By Jeff Mackler
(Jeff Mackler is the West Coast Director of the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee.)

The full force of the U.S. criminal "justice" system came down on innocent political prisoner, 30-year veteran human rights attorney and radical political activist Lynne Stewart today, July 15, 2010.

In an obviously pre-prepared one hour and twenty minute technical tour de force designed to give legitimacy to a reactionary ruling Federal District Court John Koeltl, who in 2005 sentenced Stewart to 28 months in prison following her frame-up trial and jury conviction on four counts of "conspiracy to aid and abet terrorism," re-sentenced Stewart to 120 months or ten years. Koeltl recommended that Stewart serve her sentence in Danbury, Connecticut's minimum security prison. A final decision will be made by the Bureau of Prisons.

Stewart will remain in Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Center for 60 days to prepare an appeal.

The jam-packed New York Federal District Court chamber observers where Koeltl held forth let our a gasp of pain and anguish as Lynne's family and friends were stunned - tears flowing down the stricken and somber faces of many. A magnificent Stewart, ever the political fighter and organizer was able to say to her supporters that she felt badly because she had "let them down," a reference to the massive outpouring of solidarity and defiance that was the prime characteristic of Lynne's long fight for freedom.

Judge Koeltl was ordered to revisit his relatively short sentence when it was overturned by a two-judge majority of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Judges Robert D. Sack and Guido Calabresi ruled that Koeltl's sentence was flawed because he had declined to determine whether Stewart committed perjury when she testified at her trial that she believed that she was effectively operating under a "bubble" protecting her from prosecution when she issued a press release on behalf of her also framed-up client, the blind Sheik Omar Abdel Rachman. Rachman was falsely charged with conspiracy to damage New York state buildings.

Dissenting Judge John M. Walker, who called Stewart's sentence, "breathtakingly low" in view of Stewart's "extraordinarily severe criminal conduct" deemed the Second Circuit's majority opinion "substantively unreasonable." Walker essentially sought to impose or demand a 30-year sentence.

The three-judge panel on Dec. 20, 2009 followed its initial ruling with even tougher language demanding that Koeltl revisit his treatment of the "terrorism enhancement" aspects of the law. A cowardly Koeltl, who didn't need this argument to dramatically increase Stewart's sentence, asserted that he had already taken it under consideration in his original deliberations.

Government prosecutors, who in 2005 sought a 30-year sentence, had submitted a 155-page memorandum arguing in support of a 15-30 year sentence. Their arguments demonstrated how twisted logic coupled with vindictive and lying government officials routinely turn the victim into the criminal.

Stewart's attorneys countered with a detailed brief recounting the facts of the case and demonstrating that Stewart's actions in defense of her client were well within the realm of past practice and accepted procedures. They argued that Koeltl properly exercised his discretion in determining that, while the terrorism enhancement provisions of the "law" had to be taken into consideration, the 30-year-prison term associated with it was "dramatically unreasonable," "overstated the seriousness" of Stewart's conduct" and had already been factored into Koeltl's decision.

Stewart's attorneys also argued convincingly in their brief that the Special Administrative Measure (SAM) that Stewart was convicted of violating by releasing a statement from her client to the media was well within the established practice of Stewart's experienced and mentoring co-counsels- former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark and past American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee president Abdeen Jabarra. Both had issued similar statements to the media with no government reprisal. Clark was an observer in Koeltl's courtroom. When he testified in support of Lynne during her trial one overzealous prosecutor suggested that he too be subject to the conspiracy charges. The more discreet team of government lawyers quietly dropped the matter.

At worst, in such matters, government officials refuse defense attorneys client visiting rights until an agreement on a contested interpretation of a SAM is reached. This was the case with Stewart and her visiting rights were eventually restored with no punishment or further action. Indeed, when the matter was brought to then Attorney General Janet Reno, the government declined to prosecute or otherwise take any action against Stewart.

But Koeltl, who had essentially accepted this view in his original sentence, reversed himself entirely and proceeded in his erudite-sounding new rendition of the law to repeatedly charge Stewart with multiple acts of perjury regarding her statements on the SAM during her trial.

Koeltl took the occasion to lecture Stewart regarding the first words she uttered in front of a bevy of media outlets when she joyfully alighted from the courthouse following the judge's original 28-month sentence. Said Stewart at that time, "I can do 28 months standing on my head." A few moments earlier Stewart, with nothing but a plastic bag containing a toothbrush, toothpaste and her various medications, had stood before Koeltl, who had been asked by the government to sentence her to a 30-year term, effectively a death sentence for Lynne, aged 70, a diabetic and recovering breast cancer victim in less than excellent health.

Koeltl dutifully followed the lead of the Second Circuit judges, who feigned outrage that Stewart could possibly appear joyful that her life was spared despite 28 months in prison. Koeltl insisted that Stewart's remark was essentially contemptuous of his sentence and insufficient to convince Stewart of the seriousness of her "crime." Lynne's defense was that while she fully understood that 28 months behind bars, separating from her "family, friends and comrades," as she proudly stated, was a harsh penalty, she was nevertheless "relieved" that she would not die in prison. Koeltl needed a legal brick to throw at Lynne's head and ignored her humanity, honesty and deep feeling of relief when she expressed it to a crowd of two thousand friends, supporters and a good portion of the nation's media.

The same Judge Koeltl who stated in 2005, when he rendered the 28-month jail term, that Lynne was "a credit to her profession and to the nation," clearly heard the voice of institutionalized hate and cruelty and responded in according with its unstated code. "Show no mercy! Thou shall not dissent without grave punishment" in capitalist America.

Lynne was convicted in the post-911 generated climate of political hysteria. Bush appointee, Attorney General John Ashcroft, decided to make an example of her aimed at warning future attorneys that the mere act of defending anyone whom the government charged with "conspiracy to aid and abet terrorism," could trigger terrible consequences.

On July 15 Judge Koeltl made the decision of his career. Known for his meticulous preparation in such matters, and already having enraged the powers that be with his "light" sentence of Stewart, he bent full tilt to the reactionary political pressures exerted on him by the court hierarchy. He had the option to stand tall and reaffirm his original decision. The "law" allowed him to do so. He could have permitted Lynne to leave prison in less than two years, recover her health, and lead a productive life. His massively extended sentence, unless overturned, will likely lead to Lynne's demise behind bars - a brilliant and dedicated fighter sacrificed on the alter of an intolerant class-biased system of repression and war.

Courage is a rare quality in the capitalist judiciary. For every defiant decision made, usually driven by a change in the political climate and pressed forward by the rise of mass social protest movements, there are thousands and more of political appointees that affirm the status quo, including its punishment of all who struggle to challenge capitalist prerogatives and power.

Lynne Stewart stands tall among the latter. We can only hope that the winds of change that are stirring the consciousness of millions today in the context of an American capitalism in economic and moral crisis keeps the movement for her freedom alive and well. The fight is not over! What we do now remains critical. Lynne's expected appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court cannot be written off as absurd and hopeless. What we do collectively to free her and all political prisoners and to fight for freedom and justice on every front counts for everything!

Write to Lynne at:

Lynne Stewart 53504-054
MCC-NY 2-S
150 Park Row
New York, NY 10007

For further information call Lynne's husband, Ralph Poynter, leader of the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee
718-789-0558 or 917-853-9759

Send contributions payable to:

Lynne Stewart Organization
1070 Dean Street
Brooklyn, New York, 11216

---

Listen to Lynne Stewart event, that took place July 8, 2010 at Judson Memorial Church
Excerpts include: Mumia Abu Jamal, Ralph Poynter, Ramsey Clark, Juanita
Young, Fred Hampton Jr., Raging Grannies, Ralph Schoenman
http://www.takingaimradio.com/shows/audio.html

And check out this article (link) too!
http://www.baltimorechronicle.com/2010/062210Lendman.shtml

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Requesting Your Support
By Dahr Jamail
July 12th, 2010
Dear Readers:

This morning we hired a flight out to the well site where the Deepwater Horizon sank. This environmental crime scene is now littered with boats and relief wells flailing to stop the flow of oil that has been gushing into the Gulf of Mexico for almost 3 months. Tomorrow, we are hiring a boat to take us to some of the most devastated coastline, which is still smeared in oil, causing harm to uncountable ecosystems and wildlife.

I have been on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana for two weeks now, and together with my partner, Erika Blumenfeld, we have brought you stories and photographs that document and archive the human and environmental impact of the historic and horrific disaster that is the BP oil catastrophe.

In our story, Fending For Themselves, we wrote about the growing crisis of the Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe being displaced by the encroaching oil, and showed you images of their dying marshlands.

We produced an original photo essay for Truthout, Mitigating Annihilation, which clearly depicts the futility of the booming efforts, and the resulting destruction of the local and migratory bird rookeries, along with South Louisiana's fragile and endangered coastline.

Our most recent post, Hell Has Come To South Louisiana, articulates the desperate situation of the shrimpers and fisher-folk whose livelihood that spans generations is threatened by extinction.

The complexity and breadth of this continued crisis is beyond what we could have imagined, and our questions have led us to dynamic and impassioned interviews with environmental philosophers, activists, scientists, sociologists, riverkeepers, bayoukeepers, indigenous tribes, and fisher people.

As a freelance team, we could not have produced this important work without your generous support. We are deeply grateful to those who were able to contribute to our efforts thus far.

Our work here is just beginning, and with so much of our investigation requiring that we be out in the field, I am humbly appealing for your continued support to help us extend our reporting, so that we may continue to bring you the unfolding events of this devastating issue that clearly effects us all.

Please support our work in the Gulf Coast by making a donation. There are several ways you can donate:

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation, International Media Project (IMP) is providing fiscal sponsorship to Dahr Jamail.

Checks for tax-deductible donations should be made out to "International Media Project." please write"Dahr Jamail" in the memo line and mail to:

International Media Project/Dahr Jamail
1714 Franklin St.
#100-251
Oakland, CA 94612

Online, you can use Paypal to donate HERE.

Donations can also be mailed to:

Dahr Jamail
P.O. Box 970
Marfa, TX 79843

Direct links to our pieces produced thus far:

Living on a dying delta
http://dahrjamailiraq.com/living-on-a-dying-delta

Fending For Themselves
http://dahrjamailiraq.com/fending-for-themselves

No Free Press for BP Oil Disaster
http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=52082

Mitigating Annihilation
http://www.truth-out.org/mitigating-annihilation61145

Hell Has Come to South Louisiana
http://dahrjamailiraq.com/hell-has-come-to-south-louisiana

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HE WAS MURDERED!
HE WAS MURDERED!
HE WAS MURDERED!
HE WAS MURDERED!

RIP Oscar!

DEMAND JUSTICE FOR OSCAR GRANT
Victory for movement, but justice still needs to be won

Calling on all supporters of justice for Oscar Grant and opponents of racist police brutality:

The jury verdict is not justice for Oscar Grant - it is up to the new movement to use its power to win real justice. THIS IS THE TIME TO ACT.

DEMAND:

The maximum sentence for killer cop Johannes Mehserle.

Jail Officers Pirone and Domenici, the two police who were accomplices to murder.

Disarm and disband the BART Police.

Provide massive funding to Oakland for education and jobs for Oakland's black, Latina/o, Asian, and poor and working-class white youth.

Stop police/ICE racial profiling of Latina/o, black, Asian, and other minority youth with and without papers.

Furthermore, we call on Oakland Mayor Dellums and other governmental authorities in Oakland to declare that this verdict does not render justice to Oscar Grant and to act on the demands of the movement.

If you haven't already done so yet, join the JUSTICE FOR OSCAR GRANT ACTION PAGE on Facebook at: http://www.causes.com/causes/188135

BAMN STATEMENT:

Oscar Grant Verdict Is Victory for the Movement,
But Justice for Oscar Grant Still Needs to Be Won

Today's [THURSDAY, JULY 8, 2010] conviction of Johannes Mehserle is a victory for the movement. Despite all the foot-dragging and machinations of the police, the justice system, the government, and the politicians, the movement secured the first conviction of a California police officer for the killing of a black man. This victory is important and provides some greater protection for black and Latina/o youth. However, this verdict does NOT constitute justice for Oscar Grant.

Tens of millions of people around the world saw the videotape and know that Oscar Grant was murdered in cold blood by Johannes Mehserle. And yet, because of the failure of the prosecutor's office to fight the change in venue, and because of the pro-police bias of the judge, the jury was deprived of even being able to consider convicting Mehserle of first-degree murder. The Los Angeles county jury which heard that case did not include a single black juror.

BAMN salutes the new civil rights movement for this victory. However, achieving justice for Oscar Grant requires that the movement continue to build and grow in determination, drawing in millions more black, Latina/o and other youth.

BAMN also salutes Wanda Johnson, Oscar Grant's mother, for refusing to accept a civil settlement and for fighting to achieve justice for her son. We pledge to Wanda Johnson, Oscar's daughter Tatiana, her mother, and all family and friends that we will not rest until we achieve justice for Oscar.

We call on the movement to maintain the fight for justice for Oscar Grant by raising and fighting to win the following demands:

The maximum sentence for killer cop Johannes Mehserle.

Jail Officers Pirone and Domenici, the two police who were accomplices to murder.

Disarm and disband the BART Police.

Provide massive funding to Oakland for education and jobs for Oakland's black, Latina/o, Asian, and poor and working-class white youth.

Stop police/ICE racial profiling of Latina/o, black, Asian, and other minority youth with and without papers.

Furthermore, we call on Oakland Mayor Dellums and other governmental authorities in Oakland to declare that this verdict does not render justice to Oscar Grant and to act on the demands of the movement.

Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN)

(510) 502-9072 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (510) 502-9072 end_of_the_skype_highlighting letters@bamn.com BAMN.com
--
Ronald Cruz
BAMN Organizer, www.BAMN.com
& Civil Rights Attorney

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SOME GOOD NEWS FOR TROY ANTHONY DAVIS - INNOCENT MAN ON DEATH ROW:
http://www.troyanthonydavis.org/call-to-action.html

Georgia: Witnesses in Murder Case Recant
By SHAILA DEWAN
June 23, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/24/us/24brfs-WITNESSESINM_BRF.html?ref=us

In an unusual hearing ordered by the Supreme Court that began in Savannah on Wednesday, several witnesses said they had concocted testimony that Troy Anthony Davis killed a police officer, Mark MacPhail, in 1989. Last August, the Supreme Court ordered a federal district court to determine if new evidence "clearly establishes" Mr. Davis's innocence, its first order in an "actual innocence" petition from a state prisoner in nearly 50 years, according to Justice Antonin Scalia, who dissented. Seven of the witnesses who testified against Mr. Davis at his trial have recanted, and some have implicated the chief informer in the case. Mr. Davis's execution has been stayed three times.

For more info: www.iamtroy.com | www.justicefortroy.org | troy@aiusa.org Savannah Branch NAACP: 912-233-4161

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Mumia Abu-Jamal - Legal Update
June 9, 2010
Robert R. Bryan, Lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal
Law Offices of Robert R. Bryan
2088 Union Street, Suite 4
San Francisco, California 94123-4117
www.MumiaLegalDefense.org

Dear All:

There are significant developments on various fronts in the coordinated legal campaign to save & free Mumia Abu-Jamal. The complex court proceedings are moving forward at a fast pace. Mumia's life is on the line.

Court Developments: We are engaged in pivotal litigation in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Philadelphia. At stake is whether Mumia will be executed or granted a new jury trial on the question of the death penalty. Two years ago we won on that issue, with the federal court finding that the trial judge misled the jury thereby rendering the proceedings constitutionally unfair. Then in January 2010 the U.S. Supreme Court vacated that ruling based upon its decision in another case, & ordered that the case be again reviewed by the Court of Appeals.

The prosecution continues its obsession to kill my client, regardless of the truth as to what happened at the time of the 1981 police shooting. Its opening brief was filed April 26. Our initial brief will be submitted on July 28. At issue is the death penalty.

In separate litigation, we are awaiting a decision in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on prosecutorial abuses, having completed all briefing in April. The focus is on ballistics.

Petition for President Barack Obama: It is crucial for people to sign the petition for President Barack Obama, Mumia Abu-Jamal & the Global Abolition of the Death Penalty, which was initially in 10 languages (Swahili & Turkish have since been added). This is the only petition approved by Mumia & me, & is a vital part of the legal effort to save his life. Please sign the petition & circulate its link:

www.MumiaLegalDefense.org

Nearly 22,000 people from around the globe have signed. These include: Bishop Desmond Tutu, South Africa (Nobel Peace Prize); Günter Grass, Germany (Nobel Prize in Literature); Danielle Mitterrand, Paris (former First Lady of France); Fatima Bhutto, Pakistan (writer); Colin Firth (Academy Award Best-Actor nominee), Noam Chomsky, MIT (philosopher & author); Ed Asner (actor); Mike Farrell (actor); & Michael Radford (director of the Oscar winning film Il Postino); Robert Meeropol (son of Julius & Ethel Rosenberg, executed in 1953); Fatima Bhutto, Pakistan (writer); Noam Chomsky, MIT (philosopher & author); Ed Asner (actor); Mike Farrell (actor); Michael Radford (director of the Oscar winning film Il Postino); members of the European Parliament; members of the German Bundestag; European Association of Lawyers for Democracy & World Human Rights; Reporters Without Borders, Paris.

European Parliament; Rosa Luxemburg Conference; World Congress Against the Death Penalty; Geneva Human Rights Film Festival: We began the year with a major address to the annual Rosa Luxemburg Conference in Berlin, Germany, sponsored by the newspaper junge Welt. The large auditorium was filled with a standing-room audience. Mumia joined me by telephone. We announced the launching of the online petition, Mumia Abu-Jamal & the Global Abolition of the Death Penalty.

A large audience on the concluding night of the World Congress Against the Death Penalty in Geneva, Switzerland, February 25, heard Mumia by telephone. He spoke as a symbolic representative of the over 20,000 men, women & children on death rows around the world. The call came as a surprise, since we thought it had been canceled. Mumia's comments from inside his death-row cell brought to reality the horror of daily life in which death is a common denominator. During an earlier panel discussion I spoke of racism in capital cases around the globe with the case of Mumia as a prime example. A day before the Congress on February 23, I talked at the Geneva Human Rights Film Festival on the power of films in fighting the death penalty & saving Mumia.

On March 2 in the European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium, members Søren Søndergaard (Denmark) & Sabine Lösing (Germany) announced the beginning of a campaign to save Mumia & end executions. They were joined by Sabine Kebir, the noted German author & PEN member, Nicole Bryan, & me. We discussed the online petition which helps not only Mumia, but all the condemned around the globe.

Donations for Mumia's Legal Defense & Online Petition: The complex litigation & investigation that is being pursued on behalf of Mumia is enormously expensive. We are in both the federal & state courts on the issue of the death penalty, prosecutorial wrongdoing, etc. Mumia's life is on the line.

How to Help: For information on how to help, both through donations & signing the Obama petition, please go to Mumia's legal defense website: www.MumiaLegalDefense.org .

Conclusion: Mumia remains on death row under a death judgment. He is in greater danger than at any time since his arrest 28 years ago. The prosecution is pursuing his execution. I win cases, & will not let them kill my client. He must be free.

Yours very truly,

Robert
---------
Robert R. Bryan
Law Offices of Robert R. Bryan
2088 Union Street, Suite 4
San Francisco, California 94123-4117

Lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal
www.MumiaLegalDefense.org

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Lynne Stewart and the Guantanamo Lawyers: Same Fact Patterns, Same Opponent, Different Endings?
Lynne Stewart will be re-sentenced sometime in July, in NYC.
By Ralph Poynter
(Ralph Poynter is the Life partner of Lynne Stewart. He is presently dedicated 24/7 to her defense, as well as other causes.)
Ralph.Poynter@yahoo.com

In the Spring of 2002, Lynne Stewart was arrested by the FBI, at her home in Brooklyn, for materially aiding terrorism by virtue of making a public press release to Reuters on behalf of her client, Sheik Abdel Omar Rahman of Egypt. This was done after she had signed a Special Administrative Measure issued by the Bureau of Prisons not permitting her to communicate with the media, on his behalf.

In 2006, a number of attorneys appointed and working pro bono for detainees at Guantanamo were discovered to be acting in a manner that disobeyed a Federal Judge's protective court order. The adversary in both cases was the United States Department of Justice. The results in each case were very different.

In March of 2010, a right wing group "Keep America Safe" led by Lynne Cheney, hoping to dilute Guantanamo representation and impugn the reputations and careers of the volunteer lawyers, launched a campaign. Initially they attacked the right of the detainees to be represented at all. This was met with a massive denouncement by Press, other media, Civil rights organizations ,and rightly so, as being a threat to the Constitution and particularly the Sixth Amendment right to counsel.

A second attack on the Gitmo lawyers was made in the Wall Street Journal of March 16. This has been totally ignored in the media and by civil and human rights groups. This latter revelation about the violations, by these lawyers, of the Judge's protective orders and was revealed via litigation and the Freedom of Information Act. These pro bono lawyers serving clients assigned to them at Gitmo used privileged attorney client mail to send banned materials. They carried in news report of US failures in Afghanistan and Iraq . One lawyer drew a map of the prison. Another delivered lists to his client of all the suspects held there. They placed on the internet a facsimile of the badges worn by the Guards. Some lawyers "provided news outlets with 'interviews' of their clients using questions provided in advance by the news organizations." When a partner at one of the large Wall Street law firms sent in multiple copies of an Amnesty International brochure, which her client was to distribute to other prisoners, she was relieved from her representation and barred by the Military Commander from visiting her client.

This case is significant to interpret not because of the right wing line to punish these lawyers and manipulate their corporate clients to stop patronizing such "wayward" firms. Instead it is significant because, Lynne Stewart, a left wing progressive lawyer who had dedicated her thirty year career to defending the poor, the despised, the political prisoner and those ensnared by reason of race, gender, ethnicity, religion , who was dealt with by the same Department of Justice, in such a draconian fashion, confirms our deepest suspicions that she was targeted for prosecution and punishment because of who she is and who she represented so ably and not because of any misdeed.

Let me be very clear, I am not saying that the Gitmo lawyers acted in any "criminal" manner. The great tradition of the defense bar is to be able to make crucial decisions for and with the client without interference by the adversary Government.

I believe that they were acting as zealous attorneys trying to establish rapport and trust with their clients. That said, the moment the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice tried to remove Julia Tarver Mason from her client, the playing field tilted. Ms Tarver Mason was not led out of her home in handcuffs to the full glare of publicity. There was no press conference. The Attorney General did not go on the David Letterman show to gloat about the latest strike in the War on Terror, the purge of the Gitmo lawyer...NO.

Instead an "armada" of corporate lawyers went to Court against the Government. They, in the terms of the litigation trade, papered the US District Courthouse in Washington D.C. They brought to bear the full force of their Money and Power-- derived from the corporate world--and in 2006 "settled" the case with the government, restoring their clients to Guantanamo without any punishment at all, not to say any Indictment. Lynne Stewart, without corporate connections and coming from a working class background, was tried and convicted for issuing, on behalf of her client, a public press release to Reuters. There was no injury, no harm, no attacks, no deaths.

Yet that same Department of Justice that dealt so favorably and capitulated to the Gitmo corporate lawyers, wants to sentence Lynne Stewart to thirty (30) YEARS in prison. It is the equivalent of asking for a death sentence since she is 70 years old.

This vast disparity in treatment between Lynne and the Gitmo lawyers reveals the deep contradictions of the system ---those who derive power from rich and potent corporations, those whose day to day work maintains and increases that power--are treated differently. Is it because the Corporate Power is intertwined with Government Power???

Lynne Stewart deserves Justice... equal justice under law. Her present sentence of 28 months incarceration (she is in Federal Prison) should at least be maintained, if not made equal to the punishment that was meted out to the Gitmo lawyers. The thirty year sentence, assiduously pursued by DOJ under both Bush and Obama, is an obscenity and an affront to fundamental fairness. They wanted to make her career and dedication to individual clients, a warning, to the defense bar that the Government can arrest any lawyer on any pretext. The sharp contrasts between the cases of Lynne and the Gitmo lawyers just confirm that she is getting a raw deal--one that should be protested actively, visibly and with the full force of our righteous resistance.

Write to Lynne:

Lynne Stewart 53504-054
MCC-NY
150 Park Row
New York, New York 10007

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Bernadette McAliskey Quote on Zionists:

"The root cause of conflict in the Middle East is the very nature of the state of Israel. It is a facist state. It is a international bully, which exists not to protect the rights of the Jewish people but to perpetuate a belief of Zionist supremacy. It debases the victims of the holocaust by its own strategy for extermination of Palestine and Palestinians and has become the image and likeness of its own worst enemy, the Third Reich.

"Anyone challenging their position, their crazed self-image is entitled, in the fascist construction of their thinking, to be wiped out. Every humanitarian becomes a terrorist? How long is the reality of the danger Israel poses to world peace going to be denied by the Western powers who created this monster?"

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POEM ON WHAT ISRAEL DOES NOT ALLOW INTO GAZA - FROM THE IRISH TIMES / CARDOMAN AS A BIOLOGICAL WARFARE WEAPON

[ The poem does not mention that the popular herb cardamom is banned from importation into Gaza. Israel probably fears that cardamom can be used as a biological weapon. Rockets with cardamom filled projectiles landing in Israel could cause Israeli soldiers 'guarding' the border to succumb to pangs of hunger, leave their posts to go get something eat, and leave Israel defenseless. - Howard Keylor]

Richard Tillinghast is an American poet who lives in Co Tipperary. He is the author of eight books of poetry, the latest of which is Selected Poems (Dedalus Press, 2010 ), as well as several works of non-fiction

*

No tinned meat is allowed, no tomato paste,
no clothing, no shoes, no notebooks.
These will be stored in our warehouses at Kerem Shalom
until further notice.
Bananas, apples, and persimmons are allowed into Gaza,
peaches and dates, and now macaroni
(after the American Senator's visit).
These are vital for daily sustenance.

But no apricots, no plums, no grapes, no avocados, no jam.
These are luxuries and are not allowed.
Paper for textbooks is not allowed.
The terrorists could use it to print seditious material.
And why do you need textbooks
now that your schools are rubble?
No steel is allowed, no building supplies, no plastic pipe.
These the terrorists could use to launch rockets
against us.

Pumpkins and carrots you may have, but no delicacies,
no cherries, no pomegranates, no watermelon, no onions,
no chocolate.

We have a list of three dozen items that are allowed,
but we are not obliged to disclose its contents.
This is the decision arrived at
by Colonel Levi, Colonel Rosenzweig, and Colonel Segal.

Our motto:
'No prosperity, no development, no humanitarian crisis.'
You may fish in the Mediterranean,
but only as far as three km from shore.
Beyond that and we open fire.
It is a great pity the waters are polluted
twenty million gallons of raw sewage dumped into the sea every day
is the figure given.

Our rockets struck the sewage treatments plants,
and at this point spare parts to repair them are not allowed.
As long as Hamas threatens us,
no cement is allowed, no glass, no medical equipment.
We are watching you from our pilotless drones
as you cook your sparse meals over open fires
and bed down
in the ruins of houses destroyed by tank shells.

And if your children can't sleep,
missing the ones who were killed in our incursion,
or cry out in the night, or wet their beds
in your makeshift refugee tents,
or scream, feeling pain in their amputated limbs -
that's the price you pay for harbouring terrorists.

God gave us this land.
A land without a people for a people without a land.
--
Greta Berlin, Co-Founder
+357 99 18 72 75
witnessgaza.com
www.freegaza.org
http://www.flickr.com/photos/freegaza

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Please sign the petition to stop the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal and
and forward it to all your lists.

"Mumia Abu-Jamal and The Global Abolition of the Death Penalty"

http://www.petitiononline.com/Mumialaw/petition.html

(A Life In the Balance - The Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, at 34, Amnesty Int'l, 2000; www. Amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR51/001/2000.)

[Note: This petition is approved by Mumia Abu-Jamal and his lead attorney, Robert R. Bryan, San Francisco (E-mail: MumiaLegalDefense@gmail.com; Website: www.MumiaLegalDefense.org).]

Committee To Save Mumia Abu-Jamal
P.O. Box 2012
New York, NY 10159-2012

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Donations for Mumia's Legal Defense in the U.S. Our legal effort is the front line of the battle for Mumia's freedom and life. His legal defense needs help. The costs are substantial for our litigation in the U.S. Supreme Court and at the state level. To help, please make your checks payable to the National Lawyers Guild Foundation indicate "Mumia" on the bottom left). All donations are tax deductible under the Internal Revenue Code, section 501c)3), and should be mailed to:

It is outrageous and a violation of human rights that Mumia remains in prison and on death row. His life hangs in the balance. My career has been marked by successfully representing people facing death in murder cases. I will not rest until we win Mumia's case. Justice requires no less.

With best wishes,

Robert R. Bryan
Lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal

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Short Video About Al-Awda's Work
The following link is to a short video which provides an overview of Al-Awda's work since the founding of our organization in 2000. This video was first shown on Saturday May 23, 2009 at the fundraising banquet of the 7th Annual Int'l Al-Awda Convention in Anaheim California. It was produced from footage collected over the past nine years.
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTiAkbB5uC0&eurl
Support Al-Awda, a Great Organization and Cause!

Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, depends on your financial support to carry out its work.

To submit your tax-deductible donation to support our work, go to
http://www.al-awda.org/donate.html and follow the simple instructions.

Thank you for your generosity!

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KEVIN COOPER IS INNOCENT!
FLASHPOINTS Interview with Innocent San Quentin Death Row Inmate
Kevin Cooper -- Aired Monday, May 18,2009
http://www.flashpoints.net/#GOOGLE_SEARCH_ENGINE
To learn more about Kevin Cooper go to:
savekevincooper.org
LINKS
San Francisco Chronicle article on the recent ruling:
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/05/13/BAM517J8T3.DTL
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling and dissent:
http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2009/05/11/05-99004o.pdf

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COURAGE TO RESIST!
Support the troops who refuse to fight!
http://www.couragetoresist.org/x/
Donate:
http://www.couragetoresist.org/x/content/view/21/57/

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D. ARTICLES IN FULL

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1) Unusual Alliance Protests Execution
By BOB DRIEHAUS
August 9, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/10/us/10deathrow.html?ref=us

2) Relief Well Nears Point of Intercept
By THE NEW YORK TIMES
August 9, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/10/us/10spill.html?ref=us

3) Out of Sight, Out of Mind (Even When It's Not Out of Sight)
By Dahr Jamail
August 8, 2010
http://dahrjamailiraq.com/out-of-sight-out-of-mind-even-when-it%E2%80%99s-not-out-of-sight#more-1946

4) New Jersey Halts Oyster Restoration Project
By RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA
August 9, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/10/nyregion/10oysters.html?ref=us

5) Teacher Jobs Saved by $12 Billion Cut to Food Stamps
posted by: Ann Bibby
August 11, 2010
http://www.care2.com/causes/education/blog/house-passes-edujobs-teaching-jobs-saved-at-the-expense-of-food-stamps/

6) In the Rearview Mirror, Oklahoma and Death Row
By DAN BARRY
August 10, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/11/us/11land.html?ref=us

7) Flight Attendant's Tale Resonates, and Evolves
By JAMES BARRON
August 10, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/11/nyregion/11attendant.html?ref=nyregion

8) California Unions Take Pay Protest to Movies
By DAVID STREITFELD
August 10, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/11/business/11furlough.html?ref=business

9) Thousands Crowd Housing Authority For Section 8 WAITING LIST
"Officials now estimate that a crowd of 30,000 turned out, three times what they had originally anticipated."
[Includes Video reports]
First Posted: 08-11-10 02:20 PM | Updated: 08-12-10 03:41 AM
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/11/thousands-wait-to-apply-f_n_678840.html

10) Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Moving From South Asia to U.S.
By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.
August 11, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/12/world/asia/12bug.html?ref=world

11) Global Youth Unemployment Reaches New High
By MATTHEW SALTMARSH
August 11, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/12/business/global/12youth.html?ref=world

12) BP to Pay Record Fine of $50 Million for Texas Accident
By STEVEN GREENHOUSE
August 12, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/13/business/13bp.html?ref=us

13) Farmers Lean to Truce on Animals' Close Quarters
By ERIK ECKHOLM
August 11, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/12/us/12farm.html?ref=us

14) 'The Other Guys' End Credits: Giving a Silly Comedy a Serious Message
(There's a VIDEO of the trailer at this site...bw)
By: Gary Susman
August 9, 2010
http://insidemovies.moviefone.com/2010/08/09/other-guys-end-credits-sequence-video/

15) Paralysis at the Fed
By PAUL KRUGMAN
August 12, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/13/opinion/13krugman.html?hp

16) Cleared, and Pondering the Value of 27 Years
By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr.
August 12, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/13/us/13exonerate.html?ref=us

17) Rare Sharing of Data Leads to Progress on Alzheimer's
By GINA KOLATA
August 12, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/13/health/research/13alzheimer.html?ref=us

18) Wrongly Convicted Man Gets $7.95 Million Settlement
By REBECCA CATHCART
August 12, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/13/us/13goldstein.html?ref=us

19) Louisiana: Relief Wells May Not Be Necessary
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
August 12, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/13/us/13brfs-RELIEFWELLSM_BRF.html?ref=us

20) Gulf of Mexico `Dead Zone' Grows as Spill Impact Is Studied
By Leslie Patton
Aug 11, 2010 9:05 PM PT Thu Aug 12
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-08-12/crude-marred-gulf-of-mexico-s-dead-zone-grows-as-spill-impact-is-studied.html

21) Fire and Imagination
By BOB HERBERT
August 13, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/14/opinion/14herbert.html?hp

22) Detroit Goes From Gloom to Economic Bright Spot
By BILL VLASIC
"The average production worker at G.M. earns $57 an hour in wages and benefits, compared to $51 at Toyota, according to a study by the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. Those costs should continue to fall as the companies hire new workers at lower pay grades agreed to by the U.A.W."
August 13, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/14/business/14auto.html?hp

23) WikiLeaks to Publish Remaining War Documents
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
August 14. 2010
Filed at 11:41 a.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010/08/14/world/asia/AP-Afghanistan-WikiLeaks.html?hp

24) Obama Signs Border Bill to Increase Surveillance
By JULIA PRESTON
August 13, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/14/us/politics/14immig.html?ref=world

25) Judges Divided Over Rising GPS Surveillance
By CHARLIE SAVAGE
August 13, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/14/us/14gps.html?ref=us

26) Relief Well to Be Completed in Gulf
By HENRY FOUNTAIN
August 13, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/14/us/14spill.html?ref=us

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1) Unusual Alliance Protests Execution
By BOB DRIEHAUS
August 9, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/10/us/10deathrow.html?ref=us

CINCINNATI - An unlikely array of Republicans and Democrats, attorneys general and federal and state judges and prosecutors has lined up to fight the execution of a death row inmate many believe to be innocent.

Dozens of former officials have joined death penalty opponents to appeal to Gov. Ted Strickland of Ohio, a Democrat, to spare the life of the inmate, Kevin Keith. They say emerging evidence of investigative errors, inadequate defense and the existence of another suspect merit a pardon or at least a new trial.

The diverse group, including some who generally support the death penalty, is scheduled to appear at a news conference at the Statehouse in Columbus on Tuesday, ahead of a clemency hearing on Wednesday.

Mr. Keith, 46, was convicted of murdering two women and a 4-year-old girl and wounding a man and two children in February 1994. Prosecutors said he sprayed gunfire through an apartment in Bucyrus, Ohio, to retaliate against a relative of some of the victims who cooperated with a drug raid.

Mr. Keith is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on Sept. 15. But many believe he did not commit the crime.

"I am gravely concerned that the State of Ohio may be on the verge of executing an innocent person," Jim Petro, a former Ohio attorney general and a Republican who described himself as a death penalty supporter, wrote in a letter to Mr. Strickland.

Herbert R. Brown, a member of the Ohio Public Defender Commission and a former Ohio Supreme Court justice, wrote to the governor, "There is a mass of exculpatory evidence, suppressed evidence, faulty eyewitness identification and forensic reports that support legitimate claims of innocence."

Those officials were joined by 31 former judges and prosecutors from around the country; the Innocence Network and its 61 affiliates, including the Ohio Innocence Project; and 100 religious leaders and organizations - a level of support that very few cases reach, said Richard C. Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington.

Defense lawyers say another man told a confidential informant in a separate drug investigation that he had been hired for $15,000 to "cripple" the informant whose relatives were victims of the Bucyrus shooting. That other man was also identified as the Bucyrus gunman by his co-defendant in the drug case, said Rachel Troutman, Mr. Keith's lawyer.

Lawyers say that a critical piece of evidence in Mr. Keith's case was fabricated. A police officer testified that a nurse who treated the lone adult survivor had called the police station and said the survivor identified his attacker as "Kevin." But the original defense team did not call the nurse to testify, and a 2007 investigation found no nurse with the name given by the officer. A nurse with the same first name but a different surname who treated the victim stated in a 2007 affidavit that she did not hear or relay the name of the gunman.

Mr. Keith's defenders also say that the photo lineup in which he was identified by the only adult witness was prejudiced because his photo was larger than the others, the photos were presented by police officers who knew Mr. Keith was a suspect, and the photos were displayed simultaneously rather than sequentially. The state now recognizes those practices as likely to produce false identifications and proscribes them in a law passed with bipartisan support this year.

State Senator David Goodman, a Republican who sponsored the bill, has also called for clemency.

The fact that the victim, a white man, was asked to identify a black assailant also increased the chance of an inaccurate identification, according to a panel of 13 eyewitness and memory experts from universities throughout the country. The panel was assembled by Scott D. Gronlund, a University of Oklahoma psychology professor, on behalf of Mr. Keith.

Some of the five people who offered an alibi for Mr. Keith were never brought to testify, defense lawyers said.

Clifford Murphy, an assistant prosecutor in Crawford County, where the crime was committed, declined to comment.

Mr. Keith has lost state and federal appeals, including an effort to bring his case before the United States Supreme Court. His clemency request comes as Mr. Strickland is locked in a campaign for re-election against John Kasich, a former Republican congressman.

Amanda Wurst, Mr. Strickland's spokeswoman, said that the governor and his staff always rigorously reviewed clemency requests and that he had made no decision in the case. "The governor has already said that he finds some of the circumstances in Mr. Keith's case troubling," Ms. Wurst said.

She said the re-election campaign would play no part in his decision. "This is an issue of life and death, and that takes precedent over political considerations."

Mr. Dieter said governors often faced political pressure to deny clemency, especially during a campaign, though few ever acknowledged its influence.

Mr. Strickland, whose administration has overseen more executions over the last two years than any state but Texas, may have the political leeway to grant clemency if he believes it is warranted, Mr. Dieter said.

"I guess if the governor had to prove his commitment to the death penalty, it's been done," he said, "and Governor Strickland knows that the death penalty is not infallible."

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2) Relief Well Nears Point of Intercept
By THE NEW YORK TIMES
August 9, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/10/us/10spill.html?ref=us

The official in charge of the federal response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico said Monday that a relief well being drilled was within 30 to 40 feet of intercepting the well that poured millions of barrels of oil in the gulf.

Although a "static kill," or "top kill," cemented the runaway well last week, the relief well is considered a more reliably permanent solution.

"They're closing in on the last, I'd say, 30 or 40 feet at this point," Thad W. Allen, the retired Coast Guard admiral who heads the response effort, told reporters Monday. "But it's very, very slow because they have to be very exact."

The drilling of the relief well began on May 2 and has reached nearly 18,000 feet. Officials for BP have emphasized that intercepting the Macondo well on the first try will be difficult. After a spill off the coast of Australia last August, crews needed five attempts to hit their target.

Also on Monday, BP and the Justice Department announced that they had finished negotiations to set up a $20 billion fund for victims of the spill, and that BP had made a $3 billion initial deposit.

"Establishing this trust and making the initial deposit ahead of schedule further demonstrates our commitment to making it right in the Gulf Coast," Bob Dudley, chief executive of BP's Gulf Coast Restoration Organization, said in a statement.

Kenneth R. Feinberg is the independent administrator, appointed by President Obama in June, who will run the fund to pay spill-related claims.

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3) Out of Sight, Out of Mind (Even When It's Not Out of Sight)
By Dahr Jamail
August 8, 2010
http://dahrjamailiraq.com/out-of-sight-out-of-mind-even-when-it%E2%80%99s-not-out-of-sight#more-1946

Since BP announced that CEO Tony Hayward would receive a multi-million dollar golden parachute and be replaced by Bob Dudley, we have witnessed an incredibly broad, and powerful, propaganda campaign. A campaign that peaked this week with the U.S. government, clearly acting in BP's best interests, itself announcing, via outlets willing to allow themselves to be used to transfer the propaganda, like the New York Times, this message: "The government is expected to announce on Wednesday that three-quarters of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon leak has already evaporated, dispersed, been captured or otherwise eliminated-and that much of the rest is so diluted that it does not seem to pose much additional risk of harm."

The Times was accommodating enough to lead the story with a nice photo of a fishing boat motoring across clean water with several birds in the foreground.

This message was disseminated far and wide, via other mainstream media outlets like the AP and Reuters, effectively announcing to the masses that despite the Gulf of Mexico suffering the largest marine oil disaster in U.S. history, most of the oil was simply "gone."

Thus, it's only what is on the surface that counts. If you can't see it, there is not a problem.

This kind of government cover-up is nothing new, of course.

"It is well known that after the Chernobyl accident, the Soviet government immediately did everything possible to conceal the fact of the accident and its consequences for the population and the environment: it issued 'top secret' instructions to classify all data on the accident, especially as regards the health of the affected population," journalist Alla Yaroshinskaya has written.

In 1990 Yaroshinskaya came across documents about the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe that revealed a massive state cover-up operation, coupled with a calculated policy of disinformation where the then Soviet Union's state and party leadership knowingly played down the extent of the contamination and offered a sanitized version to the public, both in and out of Russia. To date, studies continue to show ongoing human and environmental damage from that disaster.

When the disaster at Chernobyl occurred, it was only after radiation levels triggered alarms at the Forsmark Nuclear Power Plant in Sweden that the Soviet Union admitted an accident had even occurred. Even then, government authorities immediately began to attempt to conceal the scale of the disaster.

Sound familiar?

In late April, after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sank into the depths and the Macondo well began gushing oil, BP and the complicit Coast Guard announced no oil was being released. The Gulf Restoration Network flew out to the scene and saw massive amounts of oil and sounded the alarm, which forced BP and the U.S. government to admit there was, indeed, oil. Such has the trend of BP/U.S. Government lying, countered by (sometimes) forced accountability, then to more lying, been set.

These most recent, and most blatant of the BP/U.S. Government propaganda gems are easily undermined by countless facts. Reality and truth always, given time, find a way to surface...just like BP's dispersed oil.

Two captains of so-called "vessels of opportunity" helping with the cleanup recently told Times-Picayune reporter Bob Marshall that they saw more oil at South Pass on Tuesday than they have during the entire crisis.

"I don't know where everyone else is looking, but if they think there's no more oil out there, they should take a ride with me," charter captain Mike Frenette said.

Another captain, Don Sutton, saw floating tar balls for 15 miles from South Pass to Southwest Pass. "And that wasn't all we saw. There were patches of oil in that chocolate mousse stuff, slicks and patches of grass with oil on them,'" he said.

Yesterday I spoke with Clint Guidry, a Louisiana fisherman who is on the Board of Directors of the Louisiana Shrimp Association and the Shrimp Harvester Representative on the Louisiana Shrimp Task Force created by Executive Order of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.

"Right now, there is more oil in Barataria Bay than there has been since this whole thing started on April 20," Guidry told me.

BP oil is now turning up under the shells of post-larval blue crabs all across the northern Gulf of Mexico. Nearly all the crab larvae collected to date by researchers, from Grand Isle, Louisiana all the way over to Pensacola, Florida, have oil under their shells. Further analysis is showing that the crabs likely also contain BP's Corexit dispersant.

On August 5th it was reported that a pair of fishermen in Mississippi "made an alarming discovery that has many wondering what's happening below the surface" of the Gulf of Mexico. They found several full-sized crabs filled with oil.

In Hancock County, Mississippi, Brian Adam, the EMA director, reported, "We're still seeing tar balls everyday, and I'm not talking just a few tar balls. We're seeing a good amount everyday on the beaches."

According to Adam, a rock jetty near Waveland became covered in one thousand pounds of tar balls in only three days time. Keith Ladner, owner of Gulf Shores Sea Products and a longtime supplier of seafood, said this of some full-sized crabs he found near the mouth of Bay St. Louis: "You could tell it was real slick and dark in color so I grabbed it, and opened the back of the crab, and you could see in the 'dead man' or the lungs of the crabs...you could see the black."

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report from Wednesday claims that 33 percent of BP's oil in the Gulf has been either burned, skimmed, dispersed, or directly recovered by cleanup operations. NOAA goes on to claim that another 25 percent has evaporated into the atmosphere or dissolved in the water, and another 16 percent has been naturally dispersed. Of the remaining 26 percent, NOAA claims that amount is either washed ashore, been collected from beaches, is buried along the coasts, or is still on or just below the surface.

University of South Florida chemical oceanographer David Hollander says these estimates are "ludicrous." Of the NOAA report, Hollander says, "It's almost comical."

Other scientists also immediately expressed their doubts of the validity of the NOAA report, while toxicologists expect to be busy tracking the effects of BP's toxic dispersants "for years."

Giant plumes of BP's sub-surface dispersed oil are floating around the Gulf of Mexico, as confirmed recently by researchers from the University of South Florida.

It was also recently revealed that the worst dead zone in 25 years has been recorded in Gulf of Mexico waters. Of course it's likely a given that this is due to BP's liberal use of dispersants.

"To judge from most media coverage, the beaches are open, the fishing restrictions being lifted and the Gulf resorts open for business in a healthy, safe environment," environmental activist Jerry Cope wrote recently, "We, along with Pierre LeBlanc, spent the last few weeks along the Gulf coast from Louisiana to Florida, and the reality is distinctly different. The coastal communities of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida have been inundated by the oil and toxic dispersant Corexit 9500, and the entire region is contaminated. The once pristine white beaches that have been subject to intense cleaning operations now contain the oil/dispersant contamination to an unknown depth. The economic impacts potentially exceed even the devastation of a major hurricane like Katrina, the adverse impacts on health and welfare of human populations are increasing every minute of every day and the long-term effects are potentially life threatening."

Cope continued:

"In May, Mother Nature Network blogger Karl Burkart received a tip from an anonymous fisherman-turned-BP contractor in the form of a distressed text message, describing a near-apocalyptic sight near the location of the sunken Deepwater Horizon-fish, dolphins, rays, squid, whales, and thousands of birds-"as far as the eye can see," dead and dying. According to his statement, which was later confirmed by another report from an individual working in the Gulf, whale carcasses were being shipped to a highly guarded location where they were processed for disposal."

"Local fisherman in Alabama report sighting tremendous numbers of dolphins, sharks, and fish moving in towards shore as the initial waves of oil and dispersant approached in June. Many third and fourth generation fishermen declared emphatically that they had never seen or heard of any similar event in the past. Scores of animals were fleeing the leading edge of toxic dispersant mixed with oil. Those not either caught in the toxic mixture and killed out at sea, or fortunate enough to be out in safe water beyond the Source, died as the water closed in, and they were left no safe harbor. The numbers of birds, fish, turtles, and mammals killed by the use of Corexit will never be known as the evidence strongly suggests that BP worked with the Coast Guard, the Department of Homeland Security, the FAA, private security contractors, and local law enforcement, all of which cooperated to conceal the operations disposing of the animals from the media and the public."

Cope added, "The Gulf of Mexico from the Source into the shore is a giant kill zone."

Earlier this week, marine biologist, toxicologist and Exxon Valdez survivor Dr. Riki Ott took a flight over southern Louisiana. Here's some of what she wrote about it:

"Bay Jimmy on the northeast side of Barataria Bay was full of oil. So was Bay Baptiste, Lake Grande Ecaille, and Billet Bay. Sitting next to me was Mike Roberts, a shrimper with Louisiana Bayoukeepers, who has grown up in this area. His voice crackled over the headset as I strained to hold the window. "I've fished in all these waters-everywhere you can see. It's all oiled. This is the worst I've seen. This is a heart-break..."

"We followed thick streamers of black oil and ribbons of rainbow sheen from Bay Baptiste and Bay Jimmy south across Barataria Bay through Four Bayou Pass and into the Gulf of Mexico. The ocean's smooth surface glinted like molten lead in the late afternoon sun. Oil. As far as we could see: Oil."

"When we landed after our 2-hour flight, our pilot told us that she sometimes has to wipe an oily reddish film off the leading edges of her plane's wings after flying over the Gulf. Hurricane Creekkeeper John Wathem documented similar oily films on planes he chartered for Gulf over-flights. Bonnie doesn't wear gloves when she wipes her plane. She showed me her hands-red rash, blisters, and peeling palms."

"If peeling palms are an indication of the oil-solvent stew, the reddish film on Bonnie's plane and others means that the stew is not only in the Gulf, it is in the rain clouds above the Gulf. And in the middle of hurricane season, this means the oil-solvent mix could rain down anywhere across the Gulf."

Dean Blanchard, one of the most important seafood purchasers in Louisiana, recently attended a Town Hall Meeting with a BP representative in Grand Isle, Louisiana.

In the meeting, Blanchard stands up and addresses the BP representative at length.

"Ya'll didn't give me enough money to pay my bills. I can show you. For the electric bill and everything. What I've collected from BP, so far since this started, is less than what I paid out in bills. And I've cut my things down to rock bottom. But how do you expect a man to live on less than ten percent of what I was projected to make? I don't believe there's anybody in this country who could pay their bills with just ten percent of their check. We borrowed money preparing for shrimping season and this happened at the worst possible time."

Blanchard added, "I ain't got no job, and no money, and Mr. Hayward gets $18 million and a new job. That's hard to take. Let me tell you. Very, very hard to take."

I should point out that from my first days in Louisiana, I've been hearing from fishermen working on BP's clean-up operations that BP is using night flights to drop dispersant on oiled bays. I've seen video taken by fishermen of a white-foamy substance in the marsh the morning after these flights took place.

Blanchard went on to say that he felt that BP did not want to clean up the oil, that it was more cost effective for them to leave it in the water than to clean it up, and then mocked the preposterous government claim that most of the oil is gone because you cannot see it from the air.

The BP rep, Jason, clearly nervous, later responds by saying,

"We are doing over-flights, our task forces are looking for oil each day. We have a communications room where they are able to call in sightings of oil, from the boats, from the task forces. There is...I understand the anger and I understand the frustration. A couple of things that Dean said I have to take exception to. We do want to clean up this oil. I can understand frustration. I can understand seeing certain people getting certain amounts of money and some of the things that people see. But someone is going to have to explain to me why BP would not want to clean up this oil."

Blanchard had clearly heard enough of BP's propaganda. To the representatives' request to have someone explain to him why BP would not want to clean up the oil, Blanchard angrily obliged:

"Because it's more cost effective for ya'll to come at night and sink the son-of-a-bitch! When the oil's coming around, they call ya'll, they tell ya'll where the oil's at, and the first thing ya'll do is tell them to go the other way, ya'll send the planes, and ya'll fucking sink it! [Spray dispersants from the air] That's what ya'll are doing, come on man!"

He sits back down angrily.

"Let's quit playing over here and tell the truth. Ya'll are sinking the oil, Jason! You know ya'll are sinking it. You know what ya'll are doing. Ya'll are sending all the boats, you're putting them all in a group at night, we all hear the planes, and the next morning there's nothing but white bubbles! What do you think, we're stupid? We're not stupid! Ya'll are putting the oil on the bottom of my fishing grounds! Ya'll not only messing me up now, ya'll are messing me up for the rest of my life! I ain't gonna live long enough to buy anymore shrimp!"

The lives of Gulf coast fishermen and residents are being destroyed. Scientists, environmentalists, and toxicologists are describing the Gulf of Mexico as a growing dead zone, a kill zone, and an energy sacrifice zone. As you read this, oil is everywhere around southeastern Louisiana, and continually washing ashore in Alabama and Mississippi.

Meanwhile, Doug Suttles, BP's chief operating officer, announced Friday that the company may not give up on its claims on the Macondo well. "There's lots of oil and gas here," he said, "We're going to have to think about what to do with that at some point."

Of this, Louisiana's St. Bernard Parish President Craig Taffaro said it's no secret that BP wants to drill again. In fact, he said, it has been part of his conversations with BP since the oil crisis began.

Let us be clear about who, and what, we are dealing with here.

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4) New Jersey Halts Oyster Restoration Project
By RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA
August 9, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/10/nyregion/10oysters.html?ref=us

KEYPORT, N.J. - A decade of efforts to restore marine life to the polluted Raritan Bay suffered a serious setback on Monday when, under orders from the state, an environmental group pulled up the oysters it had cultivated there.

But after years of wrangling with the State Department of Environmental Protection, the group, NY/NJ Baykeeper, said it was not surrendering, just beating a tactical retreat. The state agency wants the project to stop completely, but Baykeeper insists it still has the right to seed new oysters in a small patch of Keyport Harbor, in Raritan Bay.

Oysters, which can act as natural water filters but also absorb toxins from their habitat, present something of a Catch-22: scientists say that growing them could play a major role in returning the bay to health, but state regulators, obliged to prevent dangerous seafood from reaching consumers, say the water is too polluted to allow it.

Bob Martin, the state environmental protection commissioner, said he gave the order for Baykeeper to remove its oysters reluctantly, because "we think their research is good research."

But Mr. Martin was under pressure from the United States Food and Drug Administration, which told the state to improve its monitoring of shellfish harvesting or risk a federal order to shut down the industry.

The federal agency demands that if oysters are being grown in Keyport Harbor, the state should send patrol boats to the harbor to monitor the project. Mr. Martin said his department had already "stretched as far as we possibly can" just to patrol areas where harvesting was allowed.

"We don't want those contaminated oysters getting into the food supply," he said. "And we've got a $790 million shellfish industry in this state to protect."

Meredith Comi, who runs the oyster project for Baykeeper, said such fears were unwarranted because Baykeeper's oysters were encased in an artificial reef - a metal frame with a hard plastic mesh, anchored in the sand deep under water. The group placed another reef in the Navesink River, in Monmouth County.

"It's totally unrealistic to think anybody could poach those oysters and eat them," Ms. Comi said. "We use a boat and a crane to lift those structures."

Baykeeper is trying to find a new home for its oysters, she said, rather than destroying them.

She also said there were "millions upon million of clams living in that bay, in waters that are also off-limits, and they're much easier to poach because they don't attach to anything, but the state isn't worried about policing that."

Asked about the clams, Lawrence Ragonese, a spokesman for the environmental department, said, "Just because there are naturally occurring shellfish growing here doesn't mean you can purposely grow more of them."

Raritan Bay once offered oysters in such abundance that for the Lenape Indians and early white settlers, finding dinner was as simple as a quick wade in the shallows. But overharvesting, combined with pollution, long ago killed off the oysters.

Biologists call oysters a keystone species - without them, much of the species' ecosystem collapses. In addition to making the water cleaner and clearer, oysters latch onto objects and one another, forming natural reefs that provide habitat for other animals and plants, and combat erosion.

Over the last decade, Baykeeper has tried several times to cultivate oysters in small areas of Raritan Bay and adjoining waters, with permission - sometimes grudging - from the state. The group found that in the right circumstances, the oysters did, indeed, survive and grow.

When New Jersey officials first told Baykeeper months ago to remove the oysters, the group said the order was invalid and promised a drawn-out fight through administrative hearings and appeals, and possibly the courts. But Christopher Len, a lawyer for the group, said Baykeeper recently realized it had a problem.

"Our permit from D.E.P. said if the oysters reached market size, D.E.P. could order their removal," he said. "These meet their definition of market size, so we have to remove them."

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5) Teacher Jobs Saved by $12 Billion Cut to Food Stamps
posted by: Ann Bibby
August 11, 2010
http://www.care2.com/causes/education/blog/house-passes-edujobs-teaching-jobs-saved-at-the-expense-of-food-stamps/

The House reconvened to vote on the Edujobs bill yesterday, which resulted in the bill passing today. The bill now makes its way to the White House, where President Obama awaits the its arrival. Although the spending appropriation aimed at putting laid off teachers back in the classroom was scaled back, the bill itself carries a $26 billion price tag -- $10 billion going to the states for teachers, and the other $16 billion aimed at stop-gapping a Medicaid shortfall that would have meant disaster for the cash-strapped states.

Not Everyone Pleased
Though school districts, teachers and the White House are pleased with this rare effort of semi-cooperation, Republicans and conservative Democrats still believe the money is ill spent.

Food Stamps Cut
Particularly hard to swallow is the fact that $12 billion needed to be cut from the Food Stamp program in order to fund Edujobs. This is unsettling news considering a recent report showed food insecurity -- the number of people for whom their next meal is uncertain -- is on the rise in the United States. Given current unemployment numbers and the sky high number of people applying for assistance, programs like Food Stamps are part of the fabric holding the economy together.

Taking money from food stamps definitely has a robbing Peter to pay Paul feel and has some members of Congress angry.

"At a time when we have seen the demand for food assistance skyrocket, we have chosen to pilfer $12 billion from the food stamp program," said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn.

President Reaffirms Commitment to Education
But at today's press conference, the President reminded the public that teachers play a vital role in delivering education to the nation's children, and it was imperative the bill be passed.

"We can't stand by and do nothing while pink slips are given to the men and women who educate our children," he said.

Not all Teachers Called Back
However, some school districts have indicated they will not rehire teachers. Instead, they will save the money to prevent layoffs certain to come next spring if the recession continues to hammer their states' coffers.

Aid Arriving Soon
Regardless, Sec. of Education Arne Duncan has said that his department is working to ensure states can apply for funding quickly and hopes to have aid distributed within a few weeks. Some school districts have already begun recalling teachers.

Your Thoughts
Certainly the President is correct about the importance of education, but the bill's critics make good points, too. What should our priorities be? Where should Congress be cutting the budget instead?

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6) In the Rearview Mirror, Oklahoma and Death Row
By DAN BARRY
August 10, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/11/us/11land.html?ref=us

MONTGOMERY, Ala.

You can never come back, ever. If you plead guilty to that long-ago murder in Oklahoma City, you will be released from prison, where you have spent most of the last 27 years on death row. But once free, you will be banished from Oklahoma. O.K.?

O.K., said James Fisher, trading his black-and-white-striped prison top for a blue-and-white-striped dress shirt. Then, without shackles or escort, he stepped into the late afternoon of a state that once wanted him dead and now just wanted him gone.

First, though, Mr. Fisher's lawyers and supporters thought that the end to his Hitchcockian case, a study in the cost of appalling legal representation, warranted at least dinner. So they took him to Earl's Rib Palace for the celebratory opposite of a last meal.

With brown eyes wide behind large glasses and incarceration-gray hair cut close to the scalp, the ex-inmate dined on ribs, coleslaw, fried okra, and root beer. While he ate, a gospel singer from Georgia introduced herself, sang out a song of redemption, and handed him a $100 bill.

When dinner was over, he ordered a coffee, to go.

A trip to WalMart for the incidentals needed on the outside was aborted when word came that the district attorney expected Mr. Fisher to be already gone. His lawyers promised an early start the next day, and he went to sleep in a hotel at the city's edge.

In the morning, his latest defense lawyer, Perry Hudson, gave him a farewell gift, a portable MP3 player. Mr. Fisher had wanted a Walkman, a hot item back when he was last free, but Mr. Hudson explained that this was better.

Then Mr. Fisher got into the passenger seat of a small red rental car that soon blended into the southward flow of Interstate 35. As the radio played hip-hop, the exhausted, exhilarated man gazed through the car window at a different country from the one he remembered.

"It looked like the society outside had become cleaner, shinier," he said.

What Mr. Fisher, 46, remembered included this: abandoned as a small child, fobbed off to relatives, returned to an abusive father and dumped at 13 on the doorstep of the New York State child-welfare system, which cut him loose at 16. In and out of the Navy in seven months, he bobbed through the drugs and street life of the South, until he found a bus ticket to Tulsa and drifted, finally, into Oklahoma City.

There, on Dec. 12, 1982, a white man named Terry Neal was stabbed to death in his apartment with the broken neck of a wine bottle. A juvenile known to solicit on the streets was charged with the murder, but that changed when he named Mr. Fisher as the assailant. He said that Mr. Neal had picked the two of them up for sex, but that things had gone wrong.

Mr. Fisher, who is African-American, was arrested in upstate New York and returned to Oklahoma, where he pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder. He faced execution if convicted, a prospect that, records show, his well-respected lawyer did little to avoid.

The lawyer, E. Melvin Porter, a civil rights advocate and the first African-American elected to the Oklahoma State Senate, later said that at the time he considered homosexuals to be "among the worst people in the world," and Mr. Fisher to be a "very hostile client."

Mr. Porter was shockingly ill-prepared for trial - "unwilling or unable to reveal evident holes in the state's case," a federal appellate court later noted, yet "remarkably successful in undermining his own client's testimony." He exhibited "actual doubt and hostility" about his client's defense, the court said, and failed to present a closing argument, even though the state's case "was hardly overwhelming."

When the time came at sentencing to plead for mercy, the court said, Mr. Porter uttered just nine words. Four were judicial pleasantries; the remaining five formed a lame objection to the prosecution's closing argument.

With that, James Fisher, 20, was sentenced to death.

Years passed and appeals were denied. He lived in the cave-like setting of the death-row unit, spending 23 hours a day in his cell, and was frequently relegated to one of the special disciplinary isolation cells. As his various emotional problems went largely untreated, he grew increasingly self-destructive, according to a comprehensive psychological assessment.

He became a notoriously difficult inmate, often disciplined for refusing to remove his hands from the cell-door slot through which his food trays were passed. With these hand gestures, Mr. Fisher shouted his frustration.

Finally, after 19 years, the federal Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit overturned Mr. Fisher's conviction on the grounds of "ineffective assistance of counsel." In 2005 he was tried again, only to relive his courtroom betrayal.

This time his lawyer was Johnny Albert, also well-regarded, who later admitted that at the time of the trial, he was drinking heavily, abusing cocaine and neglecting cases. The two men fought so much that Mr. Albert once physically threatened Mr. Fisher, who then refused to attend his own trial.

According to court records, Mr. Albert all but ignored the many boxes of defense material concerning Mr. Fisher's case. The various other examples of his inept counsel included the failure to sufficiently challenge in the testimony of the state's central witness, the juvenile, now a man with a violent criminal record.

Mr. Fisher was convicted and sentenced to death, again. And, again, his conviction was overturned on grounds of ineffective counsel - faster this time, and by the Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma.

His new lawyer, Mr. Hudson, succeeded in finally gaining Mr. Fisher's trust, but it was not easy. As the prospect of a third trial drew nearer, Mr. Fisher instructed his lawyer to seek a plea deal.

Last month the two sides ended the 28-year-old case. In addition to pleading guilty to first-degree murder, Mr. Fisher agreed to complete a comprehensive re-entry program in Montgomery, Ala., overseen by the Equal Justice Initiative, which helps indigent defendants and inmates who have been mistreated by the legal system. This nonprofit organization had long been familiar with Mr. Fisher's case.

One other thing: Mr. Fisher also agreed to get the hell out of Oklahoma forever.

The small red car, driven by Sophia Bernhardt, a lawyer for the Equal Justice Initiative, continued south on the interstate. Packed inside were several goodbye gifts, including a set of inexpensive luggage from Janet Davis, a lawyer with the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System, who had worked for Mr. Fisher's freedom for many years.

"He has certainly done his time," she said later. "He deserves to be free in the world."

Just short of the Texas border, Mr. Fisher and Ms. Bernhardt, who, at 31, was 5 when Mr. Fisher was first sentenced to death, stopped to eat at a Braum's Ice Cream store, where two men stared and talked loudly about his release. They drove on. And when they finally left Oklahoma, Mr. Fisher had this thought: "The past is over with."

At Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Ms. Bernhardt, who had to rush off to another case, entrusted Mr. Fisher and the car to her colleague Stanley Washington. The two men bought some takeout at a diner, spent the night at a budget hotel and, at 6:45 the next morning began the 16-hour drive to Montgomery.

Early in the ride, Mr. Washington rolled down the car windows to allow the hot Texas air to rush in. "Here's freedom blowing on you," he said, and he knew what he was talking about.

Mr. Washington, 60, was once sentenced to life without parole for various nonviolent drug-related crimes; he served 14 years in the Alabama prison system before being released in January 2009. Now, gently, he began to suggest ways for Mr. Fisher to make the best of what was before him: small goals; a day at a time; it will be all right.

They stopped for food at gas stations along the way. Mr. Fisher savored the various brands of root beer. He talked about the pet he had on death row, a mouse called Jasper. He noticed how lush the landscape became once they hit Louisiana, and how there were so many cars on the road at night, all of them so sleek, and forming uniform lines that said America never sleeps.

Mr. Fisher vented for a while about his banishment from Oklahoma. He asked Mr. Washington why they would do that, but seemed satisfied by Mr. Washington's answer of: Who cares?

It was 10:30 at night by the time the small red car pulled up to the Montgomery apartment where Mr. Fisher would start again. Home, Mr. Washington said, to which his passenger said something along the lines of, O.K.

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7) Flight Attendant's Tale Resonates, and Evolves
By JAMES BARRON
August 10, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/11/nyregion/11attendant.html?ref=nyregion

So who was that man who slid down the inflatable chute, beer in hand? Was he a folk hero, a real-life Howard Beale who found a way to channel his workaday frustrations? Or was he wrong to have his say on the intercom and then turn an expensive piece of airline equipment into a personal ejection device, probably in violation of federal regulations?

Steven Slater, 38, the JetBlue flight attendant who was the first person off a just-landed plane at Kennedy International Airport on Monday after a dispute with a passenger, has his fans. By midday Tuesday, when he remained in custody after a judge had set bail at $2,500, more than 30,000 Facebook users had indicated that they "liked" a page apparently set up as a tribute.

More than 30 had rallied around a "Steven Slater defense fund," and on eBay an artist was selling a portrait of Mr. Slater with the promise that the money, minus eBay's fees and taxes, would be donated to Mr. Slater. A "Steven Slater for president" group on Facebook had four members, the same number as one headed "Steven Slater is the best flight attendant ever."

Some fans had designed pro-Slater T-shirts. "Free Steven Slater," one read, while another said, "Take this job and slide it."

Around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Mr. Slater was released on bail amid a crowd of journalists who had gathered outside the jail barge in the South Bronx where he had been held. He appeared to be in good spirits, though dazed by the cameras' lights. When asked what he thought of the support expressed for him by the public, Mr. Slater said, "Greatly appreciated." He declined to comment on his time in custody, and made his way to a minivan.

Earlier Tuesday, at Mr. Slater's arraignment on felony charges of reckless endangerment and criminal mischief, his court-appointed lawyer took issue with elements of the story that had taken hold in the public imagination.

The lawyer, Howard Turman of the Legal Aid Society, said Mr. Slater had intervened with a passenger before the flight left Pittsburgh for New York. The woman had been squabbling with another passenger over access to the overhead luggage bins.

"The woman initially at Pittsburgh slammed the overhead into his head," Mr. Turman said of Mr. Slater.

A passenger, Gregory J. Kanczes, said he had noticed a large, fresh-looking gash on Mr. Slater's forehead when he boarded the plane.

"It wasn't bandaged," Mr. Kanczes said in a telephone interview. "He should have had a bandage."

That version of events differed from the account that the authorities had given on Monday, when they said Mr. Slater's main dispute with the passenger had come at the end of the flight as she stood too soon to retrieve her luggage. On Tuesday, law enforcement officials declined to identify the passenger or say if she had been interviewed. JetBlue said it would not release the passenger's name because of privacy rules.

Les Dorr Jr., a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said the agency was investigating the episode. Mr. Dorr would not say what the inquiry encompassed or whether the agency was looking into the passenger's behavior.

Standing to retrieve luggage before an aircraft has been parked at the gate is not a violation of federal regulations. But failing to follow a flight attendant's instructions - to sit back down, for example - is a violation, Mr. Dorr said.

For their part, Mr. Slater's fans said they did not have to fly a mile in his shoes to know what must have gone through his head.

"I've actually gone AWOL like that before," Guzo Conforti, a bartender in the East Village, said in an interview.

Mr. Conforti said it happened when he was working at a bar in Toronto. After the manager had just laid off 20 of the bar's 30 employees, 50 people attending a convention tumbled in, shouting drink orders. The one who set off Mr. Conforti had already had one too many. Mr. Conforti said no more whiskey. The man cursed him out.

"I didn't want to punch him, because I would get charged," Mr. Conforti said, "so I did something worse: I spat in his face."

And then, Mr. Conforti said, he quit.

Others, some of whom posted comments on the City Room blog of The New York Times, said they had kept their don't-get-me-started moments bottled up until they finally quit.

One talked about grabbing the microphone for the public-address system in a big-box chain store just after closing and denouncing the manager before leaving for the last time. A nurse said that on her last day on the job, she used the voice-mail system to send a message - "Goodbye to You," by the Veronicas - to all 5,000 people in the federal agency she worked for.

And then there were those who found ways to get even. A man who said he had worked as the assistant night manager in a grocery store told about quitting after being promised a raise that never came through. The same thing had happened to his boss at the same time.

"We proceeded to order full-pallet quantities for random products and hundreds of random items," the man said. "We did this over a period of about three weeks, putting in orders every several days."

"I'm sure we cost them more than the lack of promised pay," he added.

Another man said his brother's co-workers at a New Jersey service station took a Saturday off, leaving his brother alone at the pumps.

"After putting in more nozzles than he could hope to keep track of," the man said, "he lost it, and simply walked away from the station and the job. As far as I know, those cars are still there, with the hoses attached and the drivers waiting for the attendant to collect the money. And that was 44 years ago."

Kristina Alejandro, who works in the registration area of the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary at 310 East 14th Street, said she identified with the outburst on the plane.

Ms. Alejandro said her job in a crowded waiting room was like a flight attendant's, because she had to deal with irritated patients while the doctors, like the pilots, got the accolades.

"Patients are like, 'Thank you, doctor, you've been so great,' " she said, "but they never thank us."

Alan Hilfer, the chief psychologist at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, said Mr. Slater had "lived out a bunch of people's fantasies."

"There were lots of ways he could have dealt with it," Dr. Hilfer said, "but he did something that was larger than life. I don't agree with it. I don't think this is something people should think about doing. I don't think it was safe. I think he had options he didn't explore, but he was pushed in his own mind to the brink."

Reporting was contributed by C. J. Hughes, Mick Meenan, Christine Negroni, Andy Newman and M. Amedeo Tumolillo.

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8) California Unions Take Pay Protest to Movies
By DAVID STREITFELD
August 10, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/11/business/11furlough.html?ref=business

SAN FRANCISCO - State workers across the country have long complained about budget-cutting by way of furloughs and pay cuts. Now California's state employee unions are taking the fight to the wellspring of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's popularity: the big screen.

The workers, scheduled by the governor to be on unpaid leave on Friday, say they will demonstrate outside theaters across the state showing the new action thriller "The Expendables," which features a rare cameo by the actor turned governor, who is likely to become an actor again when his term expires early next year.

"While state workers are being asked to do their job with less money, he is restoring his movie star status," said Jim Zamora, a spokesman for Service Employees International Union Local 1000. "It's another slap in the face."

Mr. Schwarzenegger and about 150,000 state workers are at loggerheads: he wants them to continue taking furloughs to help close the state's huge budget gap, while they are declining the honor of making such a sacrifice.

The service workers, the Association of California State Supervisors, the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association and other unions are suing to stop the furloughs. The cuts amount to a 15 percent reduction in pay.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Steven A. Brick said Monday that the unions had raised "serious questions" about the governor's ability to order the unpaid vacations. Pending a resolution of the court case, Judge Brick canceled the furloughs.

Lawyers for the governor appealed the decision on Tuesday.

Whatever the outcome, state workers are trying to raise a little havoc with "The Expendables." The title alone is a gift from Hollywood, allowing the unions to post such declarations on their Web sites as, "Tell Arnold We're Not Expendable."

A demonstration on Aug. 3 during the premiere of "The Expendables" at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood forced Mr. Schwarzenegger to skip the red carpet and enter the building from the back, the service workers said.

The governor's spokesman, Aaron McLear, said Mr. Schwarzenegger often enters buildings from the back as a security measure. Mr. McLear said he had not heard of any demonstrations against the movie, but said that the state workers "are certainly free to do whatever they want."

From the evidence of its trailer, the Sylvester Stallone comeback vehicle employs every action movie cliché ("A job no one wanted is becoming a mission no one expected") and every aging action movie hero this side of Steven Seagal (Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li and Jason Statham, and Mr. Stallone himself).

The movie is expected to be a big commercial hit, not because of the governor. His role is uncredited.

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9) Thousands Crowd Housing Authority For Section 8 WAITING LIST
"Officials now estimate that a crowd of 30,000 turned out, three times what they had originally anticipated."
[Includes Video reports]
First Posted: 08-11-10 02:20 PM | Updated: 08-12-10 03:41 AM
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/11/thousands-wait-to-apply-f_n_678840.html

UPDATE (11:24 PM Eastern): Officials now estimate that a crowd of 30,000 turned out, three times what they had originally anticipated. Some in attendance may have been accompanying actual applicants even if they were not applying themselves. 13,000 applications were handed out.

The large numbers indicate a huge demand, but there is literally no supply. The housing agency director "stressed that none of her agency's 455 housing aid vouchers is available at the moment."

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Concern is rising that a similar scene could occur Thursday when the housing authority of this small city begins accepting the completed applications. Wednesday's event was only to hand out the paperwork. The housing authority will begin accepting applications at 9 a.m."

ORIGINAL STORY:

More than a thousand people gathered Wednesday outside a metro-Atlanta shopping mall in hopes of being placed on a waiting list for federal housing assistance.

Fights broke out, children were reportedly trampled, and police had to stop the crowd from storming a nightclub being used by the East Point Housing Authority in East Point, Ga, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Story continues below

Television station 11Alive reports that the line for Section 8 housing vouchers formed two days ago and grew into the hundreds Tuesday night. People even slept outside the nightclub despite repeated assertions from the housing officials that the line was unnecessary and everyone would receive an application.

By Wednesday morning, the crowd had grown so large that East Point police began patrolling the area in riot gear and first responders were tending to people who were overheating in the sun.

People became frustrated when officials, feeling overwhelmed, did not open the doors at 9 a.m. as they had planned, reports CBS Atlanta. Those waiting in line were told by officials to move from one location to another before riot gear-clad police and housing officials handed out applications.

"I find this amazing," Ed Schultz said on "The Ed Show" Wednesday night. "One can only imagine watching this videotape ... how many other cities have it like this across America. And I think we have to ask ourselves the moral question, aren't we better than this?"

East Point's approximately 200 public housing units are full, according to 11Alive, and more than 400 Section 8 vouchers are already in use. It is unlikely that many of those waiting for the applications would ever receive the housing funds.

"A lot of these folks will never get off that waitlist, and the executive director of the housing authority acknowledged that today," NBC reporter Ron Mott told Schultz. "Dozens upon dozens of people passing out from the heat, standing in the heat just to apply for public housing. ... I've got to tell you, the first thought that I had when we pulled up on the scene here was whether we were in America."

According to the most recent data, the unemployment rate in Fulton County where East Point is located is 10.8 percent. The national average is 9.5 percent.

WATCH: The "Ed Show" report:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/11/thousands-wait-to-apply-f_n_678840.html

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10) Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Moving From South Asia to U.S.
By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.
August 11, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/12/world/asia/12bug.html?ref=world

A dangerous new mutation that makes some bacteria resistant to almost all antibiotics has become increasingly common in India and Pakistan and is being found in patients in Britain and the United States who got medical care in those countries, according to new studies.

Experts in antibiotic resistance called the gene mutation, named NDM-1, "worrying" and "ominous," and they said they feared it would spread globally.

But they also put it in perspective: there are numerous strains of antibiotic-resistant germs, and although they have killed many patients in hospitals and nursing homes, none have yet lived up to the "superbug" and "flesh-eating bacteria" hyperbole that greets the discovery of each new one.

"They're all bad," said Dr. Martin J. Blaser, chairman of medicine at New York University Langone Medical Center. "Is NDM-1 more worrisome than MRSA? It's too early to judge."

(MRSA, or methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, is a hard-to-treat bacterium that used to cause problems only in hospitals but is now found in gyms, prisons and nurseries, and is occasionally picked up by healthy people through cuts and scrapes.)

Bacteria with the NDM-1 gene are resistant even to the antibiotics called carbapenems, used as a last resort when common antibiotics have failed. The mutation has been found in E. coli and in Klebsiella pneumoniae, a frequent culprit in respiratory and urinary infections.

"I would not like to be working at a hospital where this was introduced," said Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University. "It could take months before you got rid of it, and treating individual patients with it could be very difficult."

A study tracking the spread of the mutation from India and Pakistan to Britain was published online on Tuesday in the journal Lancet.

In June, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted the first three cases of NDM-1 resistance in this country and advised doctors to watch for it in patients who had received medical care in South Asia. The initials stand for New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase.

"Medical tourism" to India for many surgeries - cosmetic, dental and even organ transplants - is becoming more common as experienced surgeons and first-class hospitals offer care at a fraction of Western prices. Tourists and people visiting family are also sometimes hospitalized. The Lancet researchers found dozens of samples of bacteria with the NDM-1 resistance gene in two Indian cities they surveyed, which they said "suggests a serious problem."

Also worrying was that the gene was found on plasmids - bits of mobile DNA that can jump easily from one bacteria strain to another. And it is found in gram-negative bacteria, for which not many new antibiotics are being developed. (MRSA, by contrast, is a gram-positive bacteria, and there are more drug candidates in the works.)

Dr. Alexander J. Kallen, an expert in antibiotic resistance at the C.D.C., called it "one of a number of very serious bugs we're tracking."

But he noted that a decade ago, New York City hospitals were the epicenter of infections with other bacteria resistant to carbapenem antibiotics. Those bacteria, which had a different mutation, were troubling, but did not explode into a public health emergency.

Drug-resistant bacteria like those with the NDM-1 mutation are usually a bigger threat in hospitals, where many patients are on broad-spectrum antibiotics that wipe out the normal bacteria that can hold antibiotic-resistant ones in check.

Also, hospital patients generally have weaker immune systems and more wounds to infect, and are examined with more scopes and catheters that can let bacteria in.

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11) Global Youth Unemployment Reaches New High
By MATTHEW SALTMARSH
August 11, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/12/business/global/12youth.html?ref=world

PARIS - Youth unemployment across the world has climbed to a new high and is likely to climb further this year, a United Nations agency said Thursday, while warning of a "lost generation" as more young people give up the search for work.

The agency, the International Labor Organization, said in a report that of some 620 million young people ages 15 to 24 in the work force, about 81 million were unemployed at the end of 2009 - the highest level in two decades of record-keeping by the organization, which is based in Geneva.

The youth unemployment rate increased to 13 percent in 2009 from 11.9 percent in the last assessment in 2007.

"There's never been an increase of this magnitude - both in terms of the rate and the level - since we've been tracking the data," said Steven Kapsos, an economist with the organization. The agency forecast that the global youth unemployment rate would continue to increase through 2010, to 13.1 percent, as the effects of the economic downturn continue. It should then decline to 12.7 percent in 2011.

The agency's 2010 report found that unemployment has hit young people harder than adults during the financial crisis, from which most economies are only just emerging, and that recovery of the job market for young men and women will lag behind that of adults. The impact of the crisis also has been felt in shorter hours and reduced wages for those who maintain salaried employment.

In some especially strained European countries, including Spain and Britain, many young people have become discouraged and given up the job hunt, it said. The trend will have "significant consequences for young people," as more and more join the ranks of the already unemployed, it said. That has the potential to create a " 'lost generation' comprised of young people who have dropped out of the labor market, having lost all hope of being able to work for a decent living."

The report said that young people in developing economies are more vulnerable to precarious employment and poverty.

About 152 million young people, or a quarter of all the young workers in the world, are employed but remain in extreme poverty in households surviving on less than $1.25 a person a day in 2008, the report said.

"The number of young people stuck in working poverty grows, and the cycle of working poverty persists," the agency's director-general, Juan Somavia, said.

Young women still have more difficulty than young men in finding work, the report added. The female youth unemployment rate in 2009 stood at 13.2 percent, compared with the male rate of 12.9 percent. The gap of 0.3 percentage point was the same as in 2007.

The report studied the German, British, Spanish and Estonian labor markets and found that Germany had been most successful in bringing down long-term youth unemployment. In Spain and Britain, increases in unemployment were particularly pronounced for those with lower education levels.

Data from Eurostat, the European Union's statistical agency, show Spain had a jobless rate of 40.5 percent in May for people under 25. That was the highest level among the 27 members of the European Union, far greater than the 9.4 percent in Germany in May and 19.7 percent in Britain in March.

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12) BP to Pay Record Fine of $50 Million for Texas Accident
By STEVEN GREENHOUSE
August 12, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/13/business/13bp.html?ref=us

BP has agreed to pay a record $50 million in fines to the federal government for safety violations found by regulators last year at its troubled refinery in Texas City, Tex.

The company, which has had persistent safety problems at the refinery, is continuing to contest an additional $30 million in penalties, a Labor Department official said Thursday.

The department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration had proposed the latest fines after BP failed to correct problems at Texas City under a previous settlement with the safety agency following a 2005 explosion that killed 15 workers and injured more than 170 people.

The fine tops the previous record for an OSHA penalty - $21 million paid by BP in connection with the 2005 incident. But it is small compared to the billions of dollars in penalties that BP will have to pay in connection with its three-month oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

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13) Farmers Lean to Truce on Animals' Close Quarters
By ERIK ECKHOLM
August 11, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/12/us/12farm.html?ref=us

WEST MANSFIELD, Ohio - Concessions by farmers in this state to sharply restrict the close confinement of hens, hogs and veal calves are the latest sign that so-called factory farming - a staple of modern agriculture that is seen by critics as inhumane and a threat to the environment and health - is on the verge of significant change.

A recent agreement between farmers and animal rights activists here is a rare compromise in the bitter and growing debate over large-scale, intensive methods of producing eggs and meat, and may well push farmers in other states to give ground, experts say. The rising consumer preference for more "natural" and local products and concerns about pollution and antibiotic use in giant livestock operations are also driving change.

The surprise truce in Ohio follows stronger limits imposed by California voters in 2008; there, extreme caging methods will be banned altogether by 2015. In another sign of the growing clout of the animal welfare movement, a law passed in California this year will also ban imports from other states of eggs produced in crowded cages. Similar limits were approved last year in Michigan and less sweeping restrictions have been adopted in Florida, Arizona and other states.

Hoping to avoid a divisive November referendum that some farmers feared they would lose, Gov. Ted Strickland of Ohio urged farm leaders to negotiate with opponents, led by the Humane Society of the United States. After secret negotiations, the sides agreed to bar new construction of egg farms that pack birds in cages, and to phase out the tight caging of pregnant sows within 15 years and of veal calves by 2017.

Farmers in Ohio have accepted the agreement with chagrin, saying they sense that they must bend with the political and cultural winds. Tim Weaver, whose grandparents started selling eggs in the early 20th century, is proud of his state-of-the art facilities, where four million birds produce more than three million eggs a day. In just one typical barn here at his Heartland Quality Egg Farm, 268,000 small white hens live in cages about the size of an open newspaper, six or seven to a cage.

Mr. Weaver said that after his initial shock at the agreement, he has accepted it as necessary. He will not be immediately affected since it allows existing egg farms to continue but bars new ones with similar cages. He defends his methods, saying, "My own belief is that I'm doing the right thing."

Egg production is at the center of the debate because more than 90 percent of the country's eggs are now produced in the stacked rows of cages that critics call inhumane.

Ohio is the country's second-largest egg producer, after Iowa. In the modern version of an egg barn, hordes of hens live with computer-controlled air circulation, lighting and feeding, their droppings whisked away by conveyor belt for recycling as fertilizer. As the hens jostle one other, their eggs roll onto a belt to be washed, graded and packed without ever being touched by human hands.

Mr. Weaver insists that his chickens are content and less prone to disease than those in barnyard flocks, saying, "If our chickens aren't healthy and happy, they won't be as productive."

Keeping chickens in cages is cruel and unnecessary, counter advocates like Wayne Pacelle, chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States, which has played a central role in the state-by-state battles. "Animals that are built to move should be allowed to move," he said in an interview, and for chickens that means space for dust-bathing, perching and nesting.

The assertion that animals must be "happy" to be productive is not accurate, Mr. Pacelle added, pointing to abnormal behaviors like head waving or bar-biting and to a loss of bone density in confined animals.

In the mid-20th century, developments in animal nutrition and farm technologies as well as economic competition spurred the emergence of large-scale farms, often driving out small farmers who could not afford the large capital investments or survive the lower prices.

Now, the United Egg Producers, a national trade group, says that egg prices would rise by 25 percent if all eggs were produced by uncaged hens, putting stress on consumers and school lunch programs. Animal proponents say that better noncage methods could be developed and that price is not the ultimate issue anyway.

The American Veal Association, under pressure from consumers, agreed in 2007 to phase out the close confinement of calves by 2017. The requirement in the California law and the Ohio agreement to phase out the use of "gestation crates" on hog farms will have much wider effects.

The family of Irv Bell, 64, has been growing hogs in Zanesville, Ohio, since the 19th century. Where males and females were once put into a pen to mate, sows are now inseminated artificially and most are kept through their pregnancy in a 2-by-7-foot crate, in which they can lie down but not turn.

"I work with the hogs every day, and I don't think there is anything wrong with gestation crates," he said. "But I have to be aware of things on the horizon, the bigger things at work."

Formally, the new Ohio agreement only makes recommendations to a state livestock standards board, and getting opponents to recognize the authority of that board was an important achievement, said Keith Stimpert, a senior vice president of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. "We all know change is coming," Mr. Stimpert said, adding that farmers would also respond to demands by consumers and restaurants for free-range products.

"But is this how we're going to deal with these issues, on a state-by-state basis?" he asked. That timetables and rules differ among states is going to cause economic harm, he said.

The Humane Society of the United States, for its part, is already picking new targets. The advocates have the most leverage, Mr. Pacelle said, in the states that permit referendums. He said that the issues were likely to be pressed in Washington and Oregon. Winning concessions may be harder, he acknowledged, in states without referendums, including Iowa and the South.

Meanwhile, a new dispute over chicken cages is already brewing in California. The breakthrough 2008 law said that animals could be confined only in ways that allowed them "to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs and turn around freely." Egg producers and even some animal advocates say this may permit housing hens in larger "enriched cages," with perches and nesting spots.

Mr. Pacelle asserts that no form of caging can meet a chicken's needs for "running, flying and wing flapping" and that denying these impulses can cause a rise in stress hormones.

"There's going to be a legal wrangle over this," Mr. Pacelle predicted.

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14) 'The Other Guys' End Credits: Giving a Silly Comedy a Serious Message
(There's a VIDEO of the trailer at this site...bw)
By: Gary Susman
August 9, 2010
http://insidemovies.moviefone.com/2010/08/09/other-guys-end-credits-sequence-video/

You wouldn't expect a goofy Will Ferrell comedy to be the place where you'd get a mini-seminar on the financial chicanery that's fattened Wall Streeters' and CEOs' bonus checks in recent years while impoverishing the rest of us. But that's what viewers of 'The Other Guys,' which opened at No. 1 at the box office this past weekend, got if they stayed through to the end.

The movie may be a silly farce about New York cops who stumble upon a Bernie Madoff-like Ponzi scheme that threatens to defraud billions from city workers. But buried in the comedy is a serious point about what really constitutes grand theft these days, a point illustrated over the closing credits by a PowerPoint-like presentation full of jazzy infographics and serious statistics outlining just how much Wall Street and corporate leaders have enriched themselves at the expense of American workers and taxpayers. (All this while agit-pop rockers Rage Against the Machine cover Bob Dylan's anti-corporate anthem 'Maggie's Farm' on the soundtrack.) Even for moviegoers who are connoisseurs of end-credit sequences, this one stands out as unique.

It's a fascinating sequence, both from a design perspective and from the unlikely prospect of seeing a major corporation (in this case, Sony) release a mass-entertainment movie that also wants to educate moviegoers about the legalized wealth-grab that's benefiting major corporations. Moviefone spoke to the artists who designed the sequence to learn how it came to be, where its facts came from, and whether or not such serious info-nuggets can have any real impact when embedded in a splashy Hollywood comedy.

'The Other Guys' is a parody of old-school buddy-cop movies like the 'Lethal Weapon' films, but director/co-writer Adam McKay wanted to give it a realistically grandiose and relevant villain, which is the reason he turned to Wall Street. "All those old movies had drug-smuggling story lines -- if you did that now, it would be quaint," McKay told Entertainment Weekly earlier this summer. "Who gives a s--- about guys selling drugs at this point? Crime has taken on massive proportions: destroying the Gulf of Mexico, stealing $80 billion. Stealing a billion dollars is nothing now -- that's almost adorable."

So McKay approached Picture Mill, the design firm whose creative director, William Lebeda, has done the credit sequences for all of McKay's movies. Lebeda tells Moviefone that he and his team brainstormed half a dozen ideas and brought them to McKay, "and this is the one that really stuck."

"There was not a lot of finger-pointing in the movie. He felt this was his opportunity to point the finger," Lebeda says. "It brought reality to the comedy," adds David Midgen, who produced the sequence.

The figures cited in the sequence, for example, note the following:

- that the TARP (Troubled Assets Relief Program) bailout cost every person in America enough to take a trip around the world
- that after the bailout, some $1.2 billion in taxpayer money went to pay the bonuses of just 73 AIG execs, while Goldman Sachs got a huge tax break that saw its tax rate drop from 34 percent to 1 percent
- that the average CEO earned about eight times the salary of his average employee a century ago, but earns more than 300 times his average employee's wages now
- that the typical American 401(k) retirement account has lost nearly half its value over the last five years
- that New York cops may earn a maximum pension of about $48,000, while the average retiring CEO reaps benefits of about $83.6 million.

"We knew the issues we wanted to talk about," Lebeda says. "We did a little bit of research. To get specific numbers, we hired a copywriter, Mark Tapio Kines. He found all the numbers through different online sources." The sources were official government documents, adds art director Grant Nellessen. "Sony had to vet everything to confirm we weren't making up facts," he says. "It wasn't just our opinion."

As for the presentation of those dry numbers, Lebeda says, "We wanted to do it in as colorful, fun way as possible, with cool transitions in between." Which was tricky, says Nellessen, because "we had to hope the names [of all the people who worked on the movie] would fit in with all the animation we had put together."

Lebeda says the result has been well-received, judging by the critics' reviews (almost all of which have mentioned the end credits sequence) and the audience response from test screenings. "Our anecdotal evidence is that it's been pretty popular," he says.

Still, it's unusual to see such heavy information presented in such a light film. "It's a spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down," Nellessen says. "Adam really had something on his mind, and he thought this was a fun way to get a pointed message in there."

But how effective as an educational tool is this unexpected sequence likely to be? "People really do get the message," says Lebeda. "When you show somebody visually the relationship of how much each person's share is to the whole TARP bailout -- that it's enough for every American to take a trip around the world -- that's a great way visually to get the message to sink in. The absurdity of the statistics does connect to the movie." Adds Midgen, "People have heard of some of these things but they didn't know the numbers. It was all abstract."

It's also unusual for a major corporation like a Hollywood studio to finance such an anti-corporate message. (The last significant example I could think of was 'Fight Club' 11 years ago.) "Yes, it is a little ironic," says Lebeda, who adds that some suits at Sony were nervous about the segment. "It's not often that we get to put so much content into what we do," Lebeda adds. "Adam was terrific, very supportive. We're grateful to him for giving us that opportunity to take the ball and run with it."

"We're not trying to be too inflammatory," Nellesen says. Well, "maybe a little inflammatory."

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15) Paralysis at the Fed
By PAUL KRUGMAN
August 12, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/13/opinion/13krugman.html?hp

Ten years ago, one of America's leading economists delivered a stinging critique of the Bank of Japan, Japan's equivalent of the Federal Reserve, titled "Japanese Monetary Policy: A Case of Self-Induced Paralysis?" With only a few changes in wording, the critique applies to the Fed today.

At the time, the Bank of Japan faced a situation broadly similar to that facing the Fed now. The economy was deeply depressed and showed few signs of improvement, and one might have expected the bank to take forceful action. But short-term interest rates - the usual tool of monetary policy - were near zero and could go no lower. And the Bank of Japan used that fact as an excuse to do no more.

That was malfeasance, declared the eminent U.S. economist: "Far from being powerless, the Bank of Japan could achieve a great deal if it were willing to abandon its excessive caution and its defensive response to criticism." He rebuked officials hiding "behind minor institutional or technical difficulties in order to avoid taking action."

Who was that tough-talking economist? Ben Bernanke, now the chairman of the Federal Reserve. So why is the Bernanke Fed being just as passive now as the Bank of Japan was a decade ago?

Now, America's current economic troubles aren't exactly identical to those of Japan in 1999-2000: Japan was experiencing outright deflation, while we aren't - yet. But inflation is well below the Fed's target of around 2 percent, and it is continuing to slide. And Americans face a level of unemployment, and sheer human misery, far worse than anything Japan went through.

Yet the Fed is doing almost nothing to confront these troubles.

What could the Fed be doing? Back when, Mr. Bernanke suggested, among other things, that the Bank of Japan could get traction by buying large quantities of "nonstandard" assets - that is, assets other than the short-term government debt central banks normally hold. The Fed actually put that idea into practice during the most acute phase of the financial crisis, acquiring, in particular, large amounts of mortgage-backed securities. However, it stopped those purchases in March.

Since then, the economic news has grown steadily worse. And earlier this week, the Fed changed course - but barely. It now says that it will reinvest the proceeds from maturing securities in long-term government bonds. That's a trivial change, basically the least the Fed could get away with without facing a firestorm of criticism - and far short of the major asset-purchase program the Fed should be undertaking.

Back in 2000, Mr. Bernanke also suggested that the Bank of Japan could move expectations by making announcements about its future policies. In particular, he argued that it could make private-sector borrowing more attractive by announcing that it would keep interest rates low until deflation had given way to 3 percent or 4 percent inflation - an idea originally suggested by yours truly. Since we are, if anything, in worse shape now than Japan was in 2000, an inflation target of at least 3 percent would very much be in America's interest. But as chairman of the Fed, Mr. Bernanke has explicitly rejected any such move.

What's going on here? Has Mr. Bernanke been intellectually assimilated by the Fed Borg? I prefer to believe that he's being political, unwilling to engage in open confrontation with other Fed officials - especially those regional Fed presidents who fear inflation, even with deflation the clear and present danger, and are evidently unmoved by the plight of the unemployed.

And in fairness to Mr. Bernanke, discord among senior officials also makes it difficult for policy to change expectations: it would be hard to credibly commit to higher inflation if this commitment were constantly being undercut by speeches out of the Richmond or Dallas Feds. In fact, I'd argue that loose talk by some Fed officials is already having a negative economic impact. But while Mr. Bernanke doesn't have the authority to stop that loose talk, he could make it clear that it doesn't represent overall Fed policy.

Last, but not least, policy is suffering from an act of neglect by President Obama, who waited until his 16th month in office before offering a full slate of nominees to fill vacancies on the Federal Reserve Board. If he had filled those slots quickly - his nominees still aren't in place - the Fed might be less passive.

But whatever the reasons, the fact is that the Fed - which is required by statute to promote "maximum employment" - isn't doing its job. Instead, like the rest of Washington, it's inventing reasons to dither in the face of mass unemployment. And while the Fed sits there in its self-inflicted paralysis, millions of Americans are losing their jobs, their homes and their hopes for the future.

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16) Cleared, and Pondering the Value of 27 Years
By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr.
August 12, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/13/us/13exonerate.html?ref=us

HOUSTON - Since a judge let him out of prison for a rape that prosecutors now say he did not commit, Michael A. Green has had trouble sleeping.

Late at night, he walks the neat, quiet sidewalks in the neighborhood where he is staying with an aunt, chain-smoking cigarettes, his mind spinning furiously with questions about why he was convicted 27 years ago and how to spend what is left of his life.

He also ponders, he says, whether to take a $2.2 million compensation payment from the State of Texas or file a civil lawsuit in the hope of exposing the truth about the investigation that led to his incarceration. To receive the compensation, he must waive the right to sue.

"What I really need to do is to make them pay for what they done to me," he says. "Two-point-two million dollars is nothing when it comes to 27 years of my life, which I spent with mental torture and physical abuse."

Mr. Green, 45, was set free by a state judge two weeks ago after DNA tests on the rape victim's clothing proved that he could not have been responsible for the crime. His exoneration was the work of a new unit in the Harris County district attorney's office dedicated to reviewing claims of innocence.

The story of Mr. Green's nightmarish imprisonment - and how a prosecutor, Alicia O'Neill, eventually unearthed biological evidence that led to the real culprits - throws a harsh spotlight on an uncomfortable reality in American justice: the identification of a suspect in a lineup or in an array of photos is not always reliable.

More than three-quarters of the 258 people exonerated by DNA tests in the last decade were convicted on the strength of eyewitness identifications, according to the Innocence Project, the Manhattan-based organization dedicated to freeing innocent prisoners.

In Texas, the problem is even more acute: identifications by eyewitnesses played a pivotal role in 80 percent of the 40 people who have been exonerated with DNA evidence.

Some states, among them North Carolina and Ohio, have passed legislation changing the way lineups are conducted to reduce the possibility of an error, but similar bills in dozens of other states, including Texas, have failed in the face of stiff opposition from prosecutors and law enforcement agencies, defense lawyers say.

In 1983, Mr. Green was a high school dropout who slept late every day, played video games at an arcade in the afternoons and stole cars at night to make money. "Life was one big party," he recalled.

He was walking home on April 18, 1983, the night a white woman was abducted and raped in his neighborhood by four black men in a stolen Camaro. He was one of several young men stopped by the police, but the victim could not identify him.

A week later, however, he was arrested after stealing a car and smashing it up. Detectives showed the victim Mr. Green's mug shot, along with several other photos, and she said he might be one of her attackers. Later the same day, she picked him out of a lineup of five men.

He heard her scream from behind the mirrored glass when it was his turn to step forward in the lineup. He began cursing and yelling at the police.

"I got so mad, because I recognized it was a setup," he said. "Then one of the police said: 'I don't know what you are mad about. I didn't rape her. You did.' "

Mr. Green spit in the officer's face, the first of many defiant acts.

A few days later, he turned down an offer from a prosecutor to plead guilty and serve five years for the rape, Mr. Green said. He recalls the trial as a surreal experience. It was the victim's word against his. On the stand, she pointed him out again. He told the jury that he was innocent, but they did not believe him.

At 18 years old, he was sentenced to 75 years.

In prison, he fought nearly every day with other inmates at the Ferguson Unit, in Midway, where he earned the nickname "Two-Gun" for his boxing skills. He was filled with rage, he said, and fought often with the guards, too, earning vicious reprisals. In 1985, he was placed in a segregated unit for unruly and dangerous prisoners, mostly gang members. "I was considered one of the bad boys," he said.

In 1986, a white inmate tried to stab him, but wounded a guard instead. Mr. Green said the attacker, who belonged to a white supremacist gang, had wanted to kill him because he had allegedly raped a white woman.

Confined alone in a cell for all but two hours a day, he would ruminate endlessly about his trial, he said. "I lay back and thought over and over and over again, why did they find me guilty?" he said. In the late 1980s, he began to request books from the law library, looking for a way to overturn the conviction.

But he lost every appeal, and a public defender told him in 1988 that his case was hopeless, given the vehemence of the victim's testimony. He saw no glimmer of hope until 2001, when Texas passed a statute granting inmates the right to request DNA tests on old evidence under certain conditions.

He wrote the motion himself on a typewriter in his cell and sent it to the trial judge in July 2005. The judge assigned a public defender to handle the request, but the motion languished for three years in a backlog of requests before the Harris County district attorney's office.

Then in 2008, Patricia Lykos, a former judge and police officer, was elected district attorney, and one of her first acts was to reverse the office's longstanding reluctance to admit mistakes. She assigned two assistant district attorneys and an investigator to do nothing but comb through about 185 cases involving requests for DNA tests as well as about 75 other innocence claims. So far, the unit's work has led to the release of three men, including Mr. Green.

Ms. Lykos has been pushing for a new regional crime lab to help expedite the cases. Not only were innocent men imprisoned, she said, but the victims were denied justice and the actual culprits remained free to commit other crimes. "Whenever you have an innocent person convicted, you have a triple tragedy," she said.

Ms. O'Neill immediately zeroed in on Mr. Green's tale as one of the few in the stack of cases in which DNA testing could make a difference. "It was just a perfect case to see what the science had to say," Ms. O'Neill said.

The trouble was that the county clerk said the records showed the evidence in the case had been destroyed, a standard practice for old investigations in which there are no pending appeals. But Ms. O'Neill kept searching, and it turned out one box of evidence had been preserved by mistake, and inside were the victim's jeans. There were 32 semen stains on the denim.

It took a year and a half for a state crime laboratory to untangle the DNA markers on the jeans, but when it was done, Ms. O'Neill and her colleague, Baldwin Chin, had hit pay dirt. Two of the profiles found on the pants matched those of men who had been arrested for other crimes - Michael A. Smith, who was in prison, and David Elder, who was on parole. What is more, none of the three profiles matched Mr. Green's genetic code.

Under questioning, Mr. Elder named two other people involved in the rape, writing the names on the back of a business card. One of the men, Lawrence Mosley, was serving time in Amarillo for another crime, and he confirmed that the fourth person was Timothy Washington. None of the four will be charged in the rape because the statute of limitations has expired, prosecutors said.

But the new evidence was enough to persuade a judge to release Mr. Green on $500 bond while the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals considers a final ruling on his innocence.

"It's what you go to law school for," Ms. O'Neill said of the moment Mr. Green walked out of jail.

Mr. Green, in the meantime, said the experience of freedom had "been a trip." Just stepping in a grocery store or shopping for clothing at a mall overwhelms his senses, he said.

But the best years of his life are lost forever, he says. He wonders what happened to his girlfriend, whom he lost contact with after being sent to prison. He breaks down when talking about his mother's death in 2006 and how he missed the funeral.

Then he pulls himself together. He has been offered a job as a paralegal with the Innocence Project of Texas, he says, and will dedicate his time to "getting more innocent dudes out."

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17) Rare Sharing of Data Leads to Progress on Alzheimer's
By GINA KOLATA
August 12, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/13/health/research/13alzheimer.html?ref=us

In 2003, a group of scientists and executives from the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, the drug and medical-imaging industries, universities and nonprofit groups joined in a project that experts say had no precedent: a collaborative effort to find the biological markers that show the progression of Alzheimer's disease in the human brain.

Now, the effort is bearing fruit with a wealth of recent scientific papers on the early diagnosis of Alzheimer's using methods like PET scans and tests of spinal fluid. More than 100 studies are under way to test drugs that might slow or stop the disease.

And the collaboration is already serving as a model for similar efforts against Parkinson's disease. A $40 million project to look for biomarkers for Parkinson's, sponsored by the Michael J. Fox Foundation, plans to enroll 600 study subjects in the United States and Europe.

The work on Alzheimer's "is the precedent," said Holly Barkhymer, a spokeswoman for the foundation. "We're really excited."

The key to the Alzheimer's project was an agreement as ambitious as its goal: not just to raise money, not just to do research on a vast scale, but also to share all the data, making every single finding public immediately, available to anyone with a computer anywhere in the world.

No one would own the data. No one could submit patent applications, though private companies would ultimately profit from any drugs or imaging tests developed as a result of the effort.

"It was unbelievable," said Dr. John Q. Trojanowski, an Alzheimer's researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. "It's not science the way most of us have practiced it in our careers. But we all realized that we would never get biomarkers unless all of us parked our egos and intellectual-property noses outside the door and agreed that all of our data would be public immediately."

Biomarkers are not necessarily definitive. It remains to be seen how many people who have them actually get the disease. But that is part of the research project.

The idea for the collaboration, known as ADNI, for Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, emerged about 10 years ago during a casual conversation in a car.

Neil S. Buckholtz, chief of the Dementias of Aging Branch at the National Institute on Aging, was in Indianapolis, and Dr. William Potter, a neuroscientist at Eli Lilly and his longtime friend, was driving him to the airport.

Dr. Potter had recently left the National Institutes of Health and he had been thinking about how to speed the glacial progress of Alzheimer's drug research.

"We wanted to get out of what I called 19th-century drug development - give a drug and hope it does something," Dr. Potter recalled in an interview on Thursday. "What was needed was to find some way of seeing what was happening in the brain as Alzheimer's progressed and asking if experimental drugs could alter that progression."

Scientists were looking for biomarkers, but they were not getting very far.

"The problem in the field was that you had many different scientists in many different universities doing their own research with their own patients and with their own methods," said Dr. Michael W. Weiner of the San Francisco Department of Veterans Affairs, who directs ADNI. "Different people using different methods on different subjects in different places were getting different results, which is not surprising. What was needed was to get everyone together and to get a common data set."

But that would require a huge effort. No company could do it alone, and neither could individual researchers. The project would require 800 subjects, some with normal memories, some with memory impairment, some with Alzheimer's, who would be tested for possible biomarkers and followed for years to see whether these markers signaled the disease's progression.

Suddenly, in the car as he drove Dr. Buckholtz to the airport, "everything just jelled," Dr. Potter said, adding, "Maybe this was important enough to get people to work together and coordinate in a way that hadn't been possible before."

The idea, Dr. Buckholtz said, was that the government's National Institutes of Health "could serve as an honest broker between the pharmaceutical industry and academia."

Soon, Dr. Richard J. Hodes, the director of the National Institute on Aging, was on the phone with Dr. Steven M. Paul, a former scientific director at the National Institute of Mental Health who had recently left to head central-nervous-system research at Eli Lilly. Dr. Paul offered to ask other drug companies to raise money.

It turned out to be relatively easy to get companies to agree, Dr. Paul said. It had become clear that the problem of finding good diagnostic tools was huge and complex. "We were better off working together than individually," he said.

A critical aspect of the project was the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, which was set up by Congress to raise private funds on behalf of the institutes. Dr. Paul was on its board.

In the end, the National Institute on Aging agreed to pay $41 million, other institutes contributed $2.4 million, and 20 companies and two nonprofit groups contributed an additional $27 million to get the project going and sustain it for the first six years. Late last year, the institute contributed an additional $24 million and the foundation was working on a renewal of the project for another five years that would involve federal and private contributions of the same magnitude as the initial ones.

At first, the collaboration struck many scientists as worrisome - they would be giving up ownership of data, and anyone could use it, publish papers, maybe even misinterpret it and publish information that was wrong.

But Alzheimer's researchers and drug companies realized they had little choice.

"Companies were caught in a prisoner's dilemma," said Dr. Jason Karlawish, an Alzheimer's researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. "They all wanted to move the field forward, but no one wanted to take the risks of doing it."

Many people look askance at collaborations with drug companies, and often that attitude is justified, Dr. Karlawish said.

But not in this case. To those who are skeptical, he says, "My answer to them is 'get over it.' "

He went on: "This one makes sense. The development of reliable and valid measures of Alzheimer's disease requires such large science with such limited returns on the investment that it was in no one company's interest to pursue it."

Companies as well as academic researchers are using the data. There have been more than 3,200 downloads of the entire massive data set and almost a million downloads of the data sets containing images from brain scans.

And Dr. Buckholtz says he is pleasantly surprised by the way things are turning out.

"We weren't sure, frankly, how it would work out having data available to everyone," he said. "But we felt that the good that could come out of it was overwhelming. And that's what's happened."

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18) Wrongly Convicted Man Gets $7.95 Million Settlement
By REBECCA CATHCART
August 12, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/13/us/13goldstein.html?ref=us

LOS ANGELES - A man who spent 24 years imprisoned for a murder he did not commit will receive $7.95 million from the City of Long Beach after he sued the police there for withholding evidence in his 1980 trial.

The settlement, made public Thursday, is the largest pretrial settlement ever in California for a wrongful conviction and one of the largest in the country, said Barry Litt, a lawyer for the man, Thomas Lee Goldstein.

In 2004, Mr. Goldstein was freed from prison after the Los Angeles district attorney dismissed all charges against him in the 1979 killing of a Long Beach drug dealer. The move was based on new evidence that the police had coached the only witness in the case by pointing Mr. Goldstein out in a photo spread as a suspect who had failed a polygraph test.

Lawyers also presented evidence that the police had offered Eddy Fink, a heroin addict and police informant, leniency in a grand theft conviction if he testified against Mr. Goldstein.

At the trial, Mr. Fink told the jury that Mr. Goldstein had confessed to the killing when the two men briefly shared a jail cell. Mr. Fink, who has since died, lied in court when asked if he had made any deal with the police before testifying, Mr. Litt said.

But Monte Machit, the Long Beach deputy attorney who defended the city in the case, said the police had not provided Mr. Fink "with any benefit in exchange for the information he offered."

"We don't believe there was any wrongdoing" by city officials, Mr. Machit said. "This is a lot of money, but in light of the potential verdict," which could have been $24 million to $30 million and lawyers' fees, he said, "we thought it better to get it resolved."

Mr. Goldstein, 61, said the settlement was the end of a 30-year-long "painful chapter" in his life.

He said he would spend his coming years trying to "rebuild my life, prepare for retirement and help others who have not been as fortunate as I am today."

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19) Louisiana: Relief Wells May Not Be Necessary
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
August 12, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/13/us/13brfs-RELIEFWELLSM_BRF.html?ref=us

In the strongest indication yet that BP's runaway oil well in the Gulf of Mexico might be plugged for good, officials said Thursday that they were conducting tests to determine whether further work to seal the well was needed. A decision was expected Friday on whether crews needed to continue drilling relief wells for a procedure called a bottom kill, in which mud and cement would be pumped from deep underground to seal the well permanently. Adm. Thad W. Allen, the retired Coast Guard officer who is directing the federal spill response, said an earlier effort to plug the well temporarily might have created a permanent seal. But Admiral Allen said it was more likely that drilling would continue on the two relief wells, which have been said to be the most reliable means of sealing the well permanently.

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20) Gulf of Mexico `Dead Zone' Grows as Spill Impact Is Studied
By Leslie Patton
Aug 11, 2010 9:05 PM PT Thu Aug 12
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-08-12/crude-marred-gulf-of-mexico-s-dead-zone-grows-as-spill-impact-is-studied.html

The western Gulf of Mexico, including the dead zone, will have a shrimp harvest of about 45.2 million pounds this year, 20 percent below the historical average, according to the Southeast Fisheries Science Center in Galveston.

Aug. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Martin Preston, a marine chemist at the University of Liverpool, talks about the environmental impact of the BP Plc oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He speaks from Edinburgh with Mark Barton on Bloomberg Television's "Countdown." (Source: Bloomberg)

The Gulf of Mexico faces a renewed and enlarged threat to marine life: a low-oxygen "dead zone" about the size of Massachusetts, caused by chemical runoff into the Mississippi River that flows into the sea.

The dead zone, which occurs in Gulf waters in summer and is unrelated to BP Plc's oil spill, covers an area twice as large as last year, according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration study released this week. The low-oxygen area this year is the fifth-largest since measurements began in 1985.

Aside from the dead zone, where shrimp and other sea life can't survive, and the BP spill that dumped an estimated 4.1 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf, there's a looming threat of hurricanes. Meteorologists at the U.S. National Hurricane Center say a warming of the Atlantic indicates the storm season could be one of the most active on record.

"You start adding these things up, and there's a question of what the cumulative effect is and how much additional stress the ecosystem can take," Kevin Craig, a professor at Florida State University's Coastal and Marine Laboratory who's studied oxygen depletion for a decade, said in a telephone interview.

The Atlantic may have 15 or more named storms between now and the end of hurricane season in November, according to researchers at Colorado State University.

Move or Die

This year's dead zone is bigger because of more nitrogen- and phosphate-rich sewage, fertilizer and other agricultural runoffs flowing from the Mississippi River, Nancy Rabalais, head of the NOAA research team that produced the dead-zone study and director of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, said in a telephone interview. Larger farms that require more fertilizer resulted in higher concentrations of nitrates in the river, she said.

Dead zones, or areas of hypoxic water defined as having 2 milligrams or less of oxygen per liter, form when bacteria use up oxygen to break down fertilizer- and nitrate-fed algae. Many types of marine life can't survive in hypoxic areas, and must migrate away from the zones or perish. That means fishermen have to trawl farther and spend more on fuel, Rabalais said.

This year's dead zone, which stretches from the Mississippi River Delta west toward Galveston, Texas, measured 7,722 square miles (20,000 square kilometers) as of July 31, the NOAA study said. The estimate is likely too low, according to Robert Diaz, a professor of marine science at The College of William & Mary in Gloucester Point, Virginia.

Spill's Possible Impact

Tropical storm Bonnie blew through the region last month, before measurements began, stirring up and re-oxygenating the water, Diaz said in a telephone interview. "The hypoxia can reform in a matter of just a few weeks," he said.

The oil dumped into the water by the BP spill from April 20 to July 15 could create dead zones by spawning an explosion of bacteria that feed on crude, Rabalais and Diaz said. The spill "may cause a local oxygen drawdown" as bacteria decompose the oil, Diaz said.

Scientists haven't tied this year's confirmed dead zone to effects from the oil spill, Rabalais said.

Hypoxia, first documented off the Louisiana coast in 1972, can result in a 10 to 15 percent loss for shrimp fisheries, according to a study conducted by Martin Smith, an associate professor of environmental economics at Duke University. Louisiana's fishing industry is the second-largest in the U.S., behind Alaska's.

Fishing Industry Hurt

"Shrimping is very, very slow right now," Terrie Looney, a coastal and marine agent for the Texas Sea Grant College Program, said in a telephone interview.

The season opened July 15 in Texas, and shrimpers have netted 25 percent of what they normally would, Looney said.

"When you have dead water, you have dead zones," said Kyle Kimball, a third-generation fisherman in Nederland, Texas. "Fish have to move out of that water because there's no oxygen."

Kimball, who usually skippers his 60-foot shrimp boat from Vermilion Bay in Louisiana down the Texas coast, said his catch is 60 to 70 percent below normal this year. After finding much of his usual fishing areas dead and being chased from Louisiana waters closed off because of the oil spill, he said he had to travel more than 100 miles to Freeport, Texas, to net shrimp.

The western Gulf of Mexico, including the dead zone, will have a shrimp harvest of about 45.2 million pounds this year, 20 percent below the historical average, according to the Southeast Fisheries Science Center in Galveston.

Populations Reduced

"Most of the time the fish and shrimp are smart enough to realize the oxygen is going down and flee," Diaz said. Even so, the food supply for the creatures is diminished by hypoxia, he said, reducing fish, shrimp and crab populations.

The damage to wildlife from the oil spill and low-oxygen zones could be compounded by hurricanes, said Craig, the Florida State University scientist. Tropical storms could flush animals out of their marsh habitats and damage oyster beds, he said.

While the Gulf can recover from hurricanes and low oxygen, the effects of the oil spill remain a long-term concern, Craig said.

"How it's going to influence hypoxia or wildlife or fisheries is an unknown," he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Leslie Patton in Chicago at lpatton5@bloomberg.net.

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21) Fire and Imagination
By BOB HERBERT
August 13, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/14/opinion/14herbert.html?hp

The Obama administration seems to be feeling sorry for itself. Robert Gibbs, the president's press secretary, is perturbed that Mr. Obama is not getting more hosannas from liberals.

Spare me. The country is a mess. The economy is horrendous, and millions of American families are running out of ammunition in their fight against destitution. Steadily increasing numbers of middle-class families, who never thought they'd be seeking charity, have been showing up at food pantries.

The war in Afghanistan, with its dreadful human toll and debilitating drain on the nation's financial resources, is proceeding as poorly as ever. As The Times reported on Friday, an ambitious operation that was supposed to showcase the progress of the Afghan Army turned into a tragic, humiliating debacle.

And while schools are hemorrhaging resources because of budget meltdowns, and teachers are losing jobs, and libraries are finding it more and more difficult to remain open, American youngsters are falling further behind their peers in other developed countries in their graduation rates from colleges and universities.

This would be a good time for the Obama crowd to put aside its concern about the absence of giddiness among liberals and re-examine what it might do to improve what is fast becoming a depressing state of affairs.

It's not just liberals who are gloomy. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll this week found that nearly 6 in 10 Americans believe the country is on the wrong track and a majority disapproves of President Obama's handling of the economy. Nearly two-thirds expect the economy to get worse still.

Mr. Obama's problem - and the nation's - is that in the midst of the terrible economic turmoil that the country was in when he took office, he did not make full employment, meaning job creation in both the short and the long term, the nation's absolute highest priority.

Besides responding to the nation's greatest need, job creation would have been the one issue most likely to bolster Mr. Obama's efforts to bring people of different political persuasions together. In the early months of 2009, with job losses soaring past a half-million a month and the country desperate for bold, creative leadership, the president had an opportunity to rally the nation behind an enormous "rebuild America" effort.

Such an effort, properly conceived, would have put millions to work overhauling the nation's infrastructure, rebuilding our ports and transportation facilities to 21st-century standards, establishing a Manhattan Project-like quest for a brave new world of clean energy, and so on.

We were going to spend staggering amounts of money in any event. There was every reason to use those enormous amounts of public dollars to leverage private capital, as well, for investment in projects and research that the country desperately needs and that would provide enormous benefits for many decades. Think of the returns the nation reaped from its investments in the interstate highway system, the Land Grant colleges, rural electrification, the Erie and Panama canals, the transcontinental railroad, the technology that led to the Internet, the Apollo program, the G.I. bill.

The problem with the U.S. economy today, as it was during the Great Depression, is the absence of sufficient demand for goods and services. Consumers, struggling with sky-high unemployment and staggering debt loads, are tapped out. The economy cannot be made healthy again, and there is no chance of doing anything substantial about budget deficits, as long as so many millions of people are left with essentially no purchasing power. Jobs are the only real answer.

President Obama missed his opportunity early last year to rally the public behind a call for shared sacrifice and a great national mission to rebuild the United States in a way that would create employment for millions and establish a gleaming new industrial platform for the great advances of the 21st century.

It would have taken fire and imagination, but the public was poised to respond to bold leadership. If the Republicans had balked, and they would have, the president had the option of taking his case to the people, as Truman did in his great underdog campaign of 1948.

During the Depression, Franklin Roosevelt explained to the public the difference between wasteful spending and sound government investments. "You cannot borrow your way out of debt," he said, "but you can invest your way into a sounder future."

Now, with so much money already spent and Republicans expected to gain seats in the Congressional elections, the president finds himself with a much weaker hand, even if he were inclined to play it boldly.

What that will mean in the real world of ordinary Americans is that even if there is a fretful recovery from the Great Recession, millions will be left out of it. Hope has morphed into widespread gloom as widespread economic suffering becomes the new normal in America.

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22) Detroit Goes From Gloom to Economic Bright Spot
By BILL VLASIC
"The average production worker at G.M. earns $57 an hour in wages and benefits, compared to $51 at Toyota, according to a study by the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. Those costs should continue to fall as the companies hire new workers at lower pay grades agreed to by the U.A.W."
August 13, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/14/business/14auto.html?hp

DETROIT - After a dismal period of huge losses and deep cuts that culminated in the Obama administration's bailout of General Motors and Chrysler, the gloom over the American auto industry is starting to lift.

Jobs are growing. Factory workers are anticipating their first healthy profit-sharing checks in years. Sales are rebounding, with the Commerce Department reporting Friday that automobiles were a bright spot in July's mostly disappointing retail sales.

The nascent comeback is far from a finished product. Foreign competitors are leaner and stronger, accounting for more than half of all car sales in this country. The sputtering economic rebound is spooking investors and consumers alike, threatening to derail some of Detroit's gains. And talks next year on a new contract with the United Automobile Workers could revive old hostilities.

Still, the improving mood here reflects real changes in how Detroit is doing business - and a growing sense that the changes are turning the Big Three around, according to industry executives and analysts tracking the recovery.

Ford made more money in the first six months of this year than in the previous five years combined. G.M. is profitable and preparing for one of the biggest public stock offerings in American history. Even Chrysler, the automaker thought least likely to survive the recession, is hiring new workers.

Many of the excesses of the past - overproduction, bloated vehicle lineups, expensive rebates - are gone. All three carmakers have shed workers, plants and brands. And a new breed of top management - the three chief executives are outsiders to Detroit, as is the newly named G.M. chief executive - says it is determined to keep the Big Three lean, agile and focused on building better cars that earn a profit.

"What we've come out of this with," said Sergio Marchionne, who runs both Chrysler and its Italian owner Fiat, "are much more rational, more grounded players making moves for the long term."

The proof is emerging in dealer showrooms, where customers are buying more of Detroit's cars and paying higher prices. In July, G.M., Ford and Chrysler sold their vehicles at an average price of $30,400 - $1,350 more than a year ago and higher than an overall industry gain of $1,100, according to the auto research Web site Edmunds.com.

With fewer factories churning out products, inventories are smaller and sales incentives like rebates and low-interest financing are gradually declining. "They were nibbling at these issues before, a little bit here and a little bit there," said Jeremy Anwyl, Edmund's chief executive. "It's just different now that they are in fighting shape."

Detroit has vowed to change before, slimming down when sales slumped or pouring resources into vehicle quality to catch up to foreign competitors. Those efforts stalled or failed. But many auto analysts say the current makeover has a more permanent feel, largely because of the presence of the outsiders at the top and the lessons learned from the near-death experience of last year's bankruptcies at G.M. and Chrysler.

Ford's chief executive, Alan R. Mulally, broke the mold four years ago when he came from Boeing and set out to streamline Ford's bureaucracy and integrate its worldwide operations. At G.M., Edward E. Whitacre Jr., a former AT&T chief, has replaced dozens of top officials with outsiders and younger executives, and driven the company to make decisions faster. Those efforts are likely to be accelerated under Daniel F. Akerson, who was named on Thursday to succeed Mr. Whitacre as chief executive in September.

And at Chrysler, Mr. Marchionne, an Italian raised in Canada who is both a lawyer and an accountant, is systematically upgrading the carmaker's aged product lineup and revamping its plants in Fiat's image.

"Fundamentally this thing has been reshaped, resized and rethought," Mr. Marchionne said of Detroit. The biggest difference, he said, is that the Big Three have finally broken the habit of reflexively raising incentives to increase sales volumes.

"We're not trying to kill each other for this month's market share," he said. "Those days are over. We're not offering $7,000 checks to try to sell a car."

Wave after wave of plant closings and worker buyouts in recent years has brought Detroit's production more in line with the demand for its vehicles. Since 2000, the number of Big Three assembly plants in North America has dropped to 40, from 66, according to the consulting firm Oliver Wyman. In turn, overall capacity has shrunk to about eight million vehicles a year, from 13.7 million.

That still may be too much. After several years of sales topping 16 million vehicles, the industry nosedived to 10.4 million last year - the lowest since 1982. At current levels, sales are projected to edge up to about 12 million this year, with Detroit's share running at 46 percent.

"They carved out a lot of capacity, but I'm not sure it was enough," said Peter Morici, an economist at the University of Maryland. "There's still an excess."

Even under the most hopeful assumptions, a resuscitated United States auto industry in the end would account for less than 3.5 percent of the country's economic output, economists estimate, compared to 4.6 percent in the late 1970s. But the Obama administration, which argues that the comeback is long-term and sustainable, contends that the Big Three have downsized enough to be profitable with fewer sales.

"They were just barely making money or breaking even in a market of 16 to 17 million a year," said Brian Deese, a member of President Obama's auto task force. "The companies are positioned now to move forward in an environment of 11 to 12 million in sales."

Some Republicans and other critics of the administration are less bullish, and suggest it is too early to know if the restructuring will stick or how much credit the federal assistance is due. That debate will likely play out in the November midterm elections, but in the meantime some of the raw numbers are falling Detroit's way.

The bankruptcies at G.M. and Chrysler slashed debt, jobs and labor costs, and revised union contracts have brought manufacturing expenses more in line with factories in this country operated by Toyota and other foreign automakers.

The average production worker at G.M. earns $57 an hour in wages and benefits, compared to $51 at Toyota, according to a study by the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Those costs should continue to fall as the companies hire new workers at lower pay grades agreed to by the U.A.W.

"What's come out of this crisis is a realization that the interests of both sides are aligned," Harley Shaiken, a labor professor at the University of California, Berkeley, said of workers and management.

That alignment could be tested next year when the Detroit companies negotiate a new contract with the U.A.W. The union's president, Bob King, has vowed to get back some of the concessions made in the bankruptcies.

For now, though, the industry is adding jobs for the first time in a decade. More than 330,000 jobs were lost by the American automakers and their suppliers in 2008, White House officials said, while 55,000 jobs have been added since Chrysler and G.M. emerged from bankruptcy in the summer of 2009.

Chrysler, which cut more than half its work force since 2005, has added 3,100 jobs this year, including white-collar jobs at its headquarters in suburban Detroit. The company is recruiting again on college campuses and bringing in entry-level engineers and managers.

One of the first new hires was James Kim, an electrical engineer who recently graduated from the University of Michigan. Mr. Kim also had job offers from Verizon and other companies.

"I saw an opportunity to get into a company that was rebuilding itself from the ground up," said Mr. Kim. "It's almost like going to a start-up business."

Another new white-collar worker, Davida Redmond, joined Chrysler after taking a buyout from Caterpillar. "I felt like the worst was over in Detroit," she said. "The storm is behind us."

But for the recovery to last, some economists say, several things need to happen, including continued improvements in quality, a relentless focus on cutting costs - and some luck on the economy's overall strength.

"Their recovery is not sustainable yet," said Mr. Morici, the economist. "They need to reduce their costs more if they're going to be competitive in the long term with the Japanese, the Koreans and ultimately the Chinese."

Top management says it is well aware of the rough patches ahead. "We still have important work to do," said Mr. Akerson, the incoming G.M. boss.

Even so, optimism is building in the offices and plants and engineering labs of the Detroit companies, employees say. And promising new electrified vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt and small cars like the Ford Fiesta are slowly changing consumer perceptions that the Big Three are behind the times.

"It wasn't long ago that people had just written them off," said Mr. Shaiken, the labor professor. "But they live to fight another day."

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23) WikiLeaks to Publish Remaining War Documents
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
August 14. 2010
Filed at 11:41 a.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010/08/14/world/asia/AP-Afghanistan-WikiLeaks.html?hp

STOCKHOLM (AP) -- WikiLeaks will publish its remaining 15,000 Afghan war documents within a month, despite warnings from the U.S. government, the organization's founder said Saturday.

The Pentagon has said that secret information will be even more damaging to security and risk more lives than WikiLeaks' initial release of some 76,000 war documents.

''This organization will not be threatened by the Pentagon or any other group,'' Julian Assange told reporters in Stockholm. ''We proceed cautiously and safely with this material.''

In an interview with The Associated Press, he said that if U.S. defense officials want to be seen as promoting democracy then they ''must protect what the United States' founders considered to be their central value, which is freedom of the press.''

''For the Pentagon to be making threatening demands for censorship of a press organization is a cause for concern, not just for the press but for the Pentagon itself,'' the Australian added.

He said WikiLeaks was about halfway though a ''line-by-line review'' of the 15,000 documents and that ''innocent parties who are under reasonable threat'' would be redacted from the material.

''It should be approximately two weeks before that process is complete,'' Assange told AP. ''There will then be a journalistic review, so you're talking two weeks to a month.''

Wikileaks would be working with media partners in releasing the remaining documents, he said, but declined to name them.

The first files in WikiLeaks' ''Afghan War Diary'' laid bare classified military documents covering the war in Afghanistan from 2004 to 2010. The release angered U.S. officials, energized critics of the NATO-led campaign, and drew the attention of the Taliban, which has promised to use the material to track down people it considers traitors.

That has aroused the concern of several human rights group operating in Afghanistan and the Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders, which has accused WikiLeaks of recklessness. Jean-Francois Julliard, the group's secretary-general, said Thursday that WikiLeaks showed ''incredible irresponsibility'' when posting the documents online.

WikiLeaks describes itself as a public service organization for whistleblowers, journalists and activists.

''There are no easy choices for our organization,'' Assange said. ''We have a duty to the people most directly affected by this material, the people of Afghanistan and the course of this war which is killing hundreds every week. We have a duty to the broader historical record and its accuracy and its integrity. And we have a duty to our sources to try and protect them where we can.''

Assange told the AP that while no country has taken steps to shut down WikiLeaks, some have been gathering intelligence on the organization.

''There has been extensive surveillance in Australia, there has been surveillance in the United Kingdom, there has been the detainment of one of our volunteers who entered the United States a week and a half ago. But he was released after four hours,'' Assange said. He didn't give details of that incident.

In addition to speaking at a seminar, Assange was in Sweden to investigate claims that the website was not covered by laws protecting anonymous sources in the Scandinavian country.

Assange confirmed that WikiLeaks passes information through Belgium and Sweden to take advantage of press freedom laws there. But some experts say the site doesn't have the publishing certificate needed for full protection in Sweden.

Assange said two Swedish publications had offered their publication certificates to WikiLeaks, ''but we will soon be registering our own this week.''

He declined to disclose what other countries house WikiLeaks' technical infrastructure.

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24) Obama Signs Border Bill to Increase Surveillance
By JULIA PRESTON
August 13, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/14/us/politics/14immig.html?ref=world

President Obama signed into law a $600 million bill on Friday to pay for 1,500 new border agents, additional unmanned surveillance drones and new Border Patrol stations along the southwest border.

The measure sailed through Congress in little more than a week with broad bipartisan support, demonstrating the pressure on politicians to look strong on border enforcement. Introduced on Aug. 5, the bill was approved the same day by the Senate by unanimous consent, and passed again by the Senate on Thursday in a special session during the Congressional recess. The House had passed the bill in a special session on Tuesday.

Mr. Obama requested the funds in June, after he announced he would send 1,200 National Guard troops to support agents along the border.

The administration has been under pressure to strengthen border enforcement since Arizona adopted a tough law in April to crack down on illegal immigration, saying the federal government was failing to do its job. After the administration sued Arizona, a federal court stayed important parts of that law.

The two senators from Arizona, John McCain and Jon Kyl, both Republicans who have criticized the administration's border measures as weak, surprised Democrats by signing on as sponsors of the spending bill.

Under a proposal by Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, the new resources will be paid for by steep increases on visa fees for high-tech workers brought to the United States by Indian companies who bring in thousands of temporary employees each year.

Some Republicans still said they wanted more resources for the border. "Right now, it seems more like an effort to receive positive press than to genuinely improve the critical border situation," said Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama.

Immigrant advocates said they were disappointed that the only major immigration legislation this year included no measures to grant legal status to illegal immigrants already in this country.

Senator McCain, campaigning in Arizona, also clarified his position on another immigration controversy, telling The Associated Press that he did not favor a change to the Constitution to revoke the right to citizenship for American-born children of illegal immigrants.

Asked if he would support changing the 14th Amendment, Mr. McCain said: "No. I mean, first of all we'd have to have hearings, we'd have to find out what the argument would be, but I certainly don't at this time."

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25) Judges Divided Over Rising GPS Surveillance
By CHARLIE SAVAGE
August 13, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/14/us/14gps.html?ref=us

WASHINGTON - The growing use by the police of new technologies that make surveillance far easier and cheaper to conduct is raising difficult questions about the scope of constitutional privacy rights, leading to sharp disagreements among judges.

A federal appeals court, for example, issued a ruling last week that contradicts precedents from three other appeals courts over whether the police must obtain a warrant before secretly attaching a Global Positioning System device beneath a car. The issue is whether the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable searches covers a device that records a suspect's movements for weeks or months without any need for an officer to trail him.

The GPS tracking dispute coincides with a burst of other technological tools that expand police monitoring abilities - including automated license-plate readers in squad cars, speed cameras mounted on streetlight poles, and even the widely discussed prospect of linking face-recognition computer programs to the proliferating number of surveillance cameras.

Some legal scholars say the escalating use of such high-tech techniques for enhancing traditional police activities is eroding the pragmatic considerations that used to limit how far a law-enforcement official could intrude on people's privacy without court oversight. They have called for a fundamental rethinking of how to apply Fourth Amendment privacy rights in the 21st century.

"Often what we have to do with the march of technology is realize that the difference in quantity and speed can actually amount to significantly more invasive practices, " said Paul Ohm, a University of Colorado law professor and former federal computer-crimes prosecutor. "It's like you keep turning the volume knob and it becomes something different, not the same thing just a little louder."

Last week, such calls seemed to be answered by an ideologically diverse panel on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. It overturned a drug trafficking conviction because the evidence against the defendant included tracking data from a GPS receiver that the police hid under his sport utility vehicle without a warrant. The device essentially recorded his whereabouts 24 hours a day for four weeks.

Traditionally, courts have held that the Fourth Amendment does not cover the trailing of a suspect because people have no expectation of privacy for actions exposed to public view.

But the appeals court argued that people expect their overall movements to be private because different strangers see only isolated moments and a police department's surveillance resources are limited. GPS technology, by allowing police departments to inexpensively track someone's comings and goings, changes that equation, it said.

"Prolonged surveillance reveals types of information not revealed by short-term surveillance, such as what a person does repeatedly, what he does not do, and what he does ensemble," wrote Judge Douglas Ginsburg.

"A person who knows all of another's travels can deduce whether he is a weekly churchgoer, a heavy drinker, a regular at the gym, an unfaithful husband, an outpatient receiving medical treatment, an associate of particular individual or political groups - and not just one such fact about a person, but all such facts."

Supreme Court review of the decision seems likely. It contradicted decisions in three similar GPS-related cases by appellate panels in Chicago, St. Louis and San Francisco.

In 2007, for example, Judge Richard Posner argued that "following a car on a public street" is "unequivocally not a search within the meaning" of the Fourth Amendment. While acknowledging that "technological progress poses a threat to privacy by enabling an extent of surveillance that in earlier times would have been prohibitively expensive," he concluded that using a GPS device to investigate a suspect crossed no constitutional line.

The Fourth Amendment "cannot sensibly be read to mean that police shall be no more efficient in the 21st century than they were in the 18th," he wrote. "There is a tradeoff between security and privacy, and often it favors security."

Judge Posner also cited a 1983 Supreme Court ruling upholding the use of a hidden radio transmitter that helped police trail a suspect. But other judges have argued that the limited power of that device make it different from the prolonged, automated tracking that GPS devices enable.

On Thursday, five judges on the San Francisco appeals court dissented from a decision not to re-hear a ruling upholding the warrantless use of GPS trackers. Chief Judge Alex Kozinski characterized the tactic as "creepy and un-American" and contended that its capabilities handed "the government the power to track the movements of every one of us, every day of our lives."

There is no central repository of how many police forces use the devices, which cost several hundred dollars. But there has been a recent spate of cases about them. Several state supreme courts - including those in Massachusetts, New York, Oregon and Washington - have ruled that their state constitutions require police to obtain a warrant to use them.

Related questions have arisen over businesses' customer records, which courts generally allow police to obtain without a warrant. The appeals court in Philadelphia is considering whether the Fourth Amendment protects location data for cellphones.

The few Fourth Amendment cases involving contemporary technologies to reach the Supreme Court so far have generally stuck to the principle that privacy rights cover only actions no one else could normally see or hear. In 2001, for example, the court ruled that without a warrant, police cannot point a thermal imaging device at a home in search of heat associated with marijuana growing.

Privacy advocates say the volume of public information about people that is increasingly collectable has called into question that approach. Stephen Leckar, who represented the defendant in the GPS case before the District of Columbia appeals court, argued that judicial oversight is needed over the mass collection of information like a suspect's movements, in order to maintain checks and balances.

But Orin Kerr, a George Washington University professor and former federal computer-crimes prosecutor, criticized the ruling. He argued that the police need clear rules, and said it would sow confusion to require warrants for collecting large amounts of information about suspects' action in public because investigators cannot know ahead of time how much they will eventually compile - or how much is too much.

"Police will never know whether they have violated the Fourth Amendment until some judge tells them," Mr. Kerr said.

In other privacy contexts, courts have recognized that aggregating information can make a legal difference. For example, the Supreme Court has interpreted a privacy exception in the Freedom of Information Act as covering "rap sheets" compiling people's criminal records - even though each offense was separately listed in public documents scattered through decades of courthouse files.

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26) Relief Well to Be Completed in Gulf
By HENRY FOUNTAIN
August 13, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/14/us/14spill.html?ref=us

HOUSTON - Although tests of BP's blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico appear to show that it is fully sealed, the government said Friday that work on a relief well would continue to complete the job of permanently plugging the gusher.

"The relief well will be finished," Thad W. Allen, the retired Coast Guard admiral who leads the spill response, said at a press briefing in Schriever, La. But he said BP and government scientists were still studying the test results to determine the precise procedures to be followed in completing the relief well.

Admiral Allen said the tests showed that there was no "communication" in the well between the reservoir of oil and the surface. But he stopped short of declaring victory in the more than three-month effort to stem the leak.

He said that some oil - perhaps 1,000 barrels, according to BP estimates - was still trapped in the well.

BP and government scientists decided to conduct the test to determine the effectiveness of the so-called static kill, in which heavy mud had been pumped into the damaged well, followed by cement. BP engineers knew that the cement had plugged the well's metal casing pipe; the question was whether cement had also plugged the space between the pipe and the well bore, known as the annulus.

Admiral Allen said the tests appeared to show that there was cement in the annulus. But he said there was no way of knowing how thick the cement was.

One concern with the relief well, he added, is that if it is used to pump more mud into the blown-out well, the increased pressure could affect seals at the top of the well.

"Everybody is in agreement we need to proceed with the relief well," he said. "The question is how to do it."

He said once that question was answered, drilling of the relief well would resume. It would be expected to intercept the blown well about four days later.

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