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NY State Trooper Threatens Driver Recording Stop: ‘I’ll Find a Way for the DA’s Office to Arrest You’

December 27, 2014 in Blogs

By Tom Boggioni, Raw Story

After a traffic stop, irritated cop says he'll 'find a way to arrest' man for recording him.

A New York State Trooper, annoyed that a motorist was recording their interactions, threatened to “find a way to arrest” him during a recent traffic stop.

In the video recorded by John Houghtaling, the trooper — identified as Officer Rosenblatt — walks up to the car and immediately holds his hand up to block the view of his face from the camera.

“Put the phone down,” The trooper tells Houghtaling, who asks the officer “why?” adding, “Am I not allowed to record, officer?”

After asking the trooper for his badge number, Houghtaling asks, “Am I being detained?”

The officer claims he stopped the car for a traffic violation and requests Houghtailing’s license and registration, before once again complaining about being filmed and threatening Houghtaling.

“How about if I see you post this on Youtube, I’ll find a way for the D.A.s office to arrest you,” asks the trooper.

“Is it illegal to record police officers?”  Houghtaling replies.

“When I tell you to put the phone down and you disregard what I’m telling you, yes, it is,” said Rosenblatt.

“So am I being detained for recording?”

“Put the phone down.”

“Is it illegal to record officers,” Houghtaling asks.

“Give me your license and registration,” the trooper replies.

When asked why he has been pulled over, the trooper explains “your exhaust is extremely loud, that’s why you’re being stopped.”

The officer then becomes belligerent, sarcastically saying, “Have you got an answer for that?’ before again insisting Houghtaling stop filming with his phone.

The troopers then asks, “What is your issue with always videotaping?” to which Houghtaling replies, “Am I legally obligated to answer that?”

“You’re obligated because I asked, you, that’s why” an angry Rosenblatt replies before stalking off.

Watch the video below, uploaded to YouTube by John Houghtaling:


…read more


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Pioneering Doctor Working to Reverse Alzheimers Offers 36 Ways Help Avoid the Disease

December 27, 2014 in Blogs

By Martha Ture, Daily Kos

A recently published paper says that sticky brain plaques cause the disease. Here's how to circumvent them.

Alzheimer's Disease (AD) affects more than 5 million Americans; worldwide, it affects more than 30 million people. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, after heart disease, cancers, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke and accidents.

In a recently published paper, Dale Bredesen at the Buck Institute showed that 9 of 10 patients participating in a program showed reversal of cognitive impairment associated with Alzheimer’s disease.  Six of the 10 study participants had had to leave work, or were struggling at their jobs, due to AD; after going through the program, all were able to return to work or to continue working at better performance levels.  

This is the first time time that anyone has shown it possible to reverse memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s – so much so that 6 of the 10 patients who had left work or were struggling due to memory impairment were able to return to work or to keep working with improved performance.  

To quote from the Abstract:

The first 10 patients who have utilized this program include patients with memory loss associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD), amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), or subjective cognitive impairment (SCI). Nine of the 10 displayed subjective or objective improvement in cognition beginning within 3-6 months, with the one failure being a patient with very late stage AD. Six of the patients had had to discontinue working or were struggling with their jobs at the time of presentation, and all were able to return to work or continue working with improved performance. Improvements have been sustained, and at this time the longest patient follow-up is two and one-half years from initial treatment, with sustained and marked improvement. These results suggest that a larger, more extensive trial of this therapeutic program is warranted. The results also suggest that, at least early in the course, cognitive decline may be driven in large part by metabolic processes.

Dr. Bredesen’s study upends the current hypothesis of the origins of AD.  The current view …read more


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Ukraine Wants to Join NATO and Fight Russia: U.S. Must Say No and Make Alliance an Issue of Security, Not Charity

December 26, 2014 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

The Ukrainian parliament has repealed the law barring participation in NATO. As a sovereign state Kiev is entitled to ask to join the transatlantic alliance. The U.S. has an equal right, even duty, to answer no.

Throughout most of its young life Ukraine has looked both east and west. People wanted to take advantage of the bountiful economic opportunities in Europe and America while preserving commercial and cultural relations with Russia. The majority wanted to join the European Union but not NATO.

President Viktor Yushchenko, the disastrous 2005 election winner backed by the U.S., unsuccessfully pushed his country to join the Western military alliance. In 2010 his successor won approval of legislation promoting “nonalignment” and mandating “nonparticipation of Ukraine in the military-political alliances.” But after months of conflict and a revolution in government this week Ukraine’s Rada repealed that law. “Finally, we corrected a mistake,” said President Petro Poroshenko. “Ukraine’s nonaligned status is out.”

The vote is not the same as an application to join NATO and Ukrainian officials admit that their country will not soon satisfy alliance requirements. However, Poroshenko favors membership, as do a majority of Ukrainians. An application undoubtedly will be forthcoming if Kiev believes it will be approved.

Unsurprisingly, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the move “counterproductive” and one that “only escalates confrontation.” Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said a formal application “would turn Ukraine into a potential military adversary for Russia.”

The U.S. should warn Kiev not to look to NATO for the solution to its Russia problem.”

NATO officials responded to the Rada’s action with bland generalities. An alliance spokesman said “we respect the decision,” adding that “Our door is open and Ukraine will become a member of NATO if it so requests and fulfills the standards and adheres to the necessary principles.” Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told a group of visiting Ukrainian journalists that “Ukraine is a very valued partner of NATO.” State Department spokesman Marie Harf said: “Countries that are willing to contribute to security in the Euro-Atlantic space are welcome to apply for membership.” However, no one actually issued an invitation.

In fact, joining could be counterproductive for Kiev. No doubt some Ukrainians imagine that NATO would protect them from Vladimir Putin, recovering lands lost to Russian-backed separatists and regaining Crimea from Moscow. In theory the world’s most powerful military alliance could do so. But if the consequence was a full-blown war, …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Now Let's End the Embargo on Cuba

December 26, 2014 in Economics

By Ian Vásquez

Ian Vásquez

When President Obama announced that the United States would normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba and loosen its trade embargo on the country, he became the first sitting president to acknowledge the obvious failure of this decades-long policy. The sanctions have done nothing to improve human rights, promote democracy, spur economic reform, or dislodge the Castro dictatorship.

A new approach could hardly do worse and will probably do better at increasing the freedoms of Cubans. Yet critics claim that Obama has rewarded and bestowed legitimacy on an intransigent regime, and worse, has thrown it a lifeline at a time when Venezuela’s growing economic crisis makes it an increasingly unreliable source of patronage.

If so, it is a criticism of U.S. policy toward any number of countries around the world — from China and Russia to Egypt and Vietnam — whose unsavory regimes violate human rights but with whom the United States maintains diplomatic and trade relations. Are we really to believe that everyone would be better off with U.S. embargoes on much of the world?

The more sophisticated critics point out that unlike in China, Cuba’s communist government has undertaken no meaningful economic reforms and thus does not merit trade relations, which can only strengthen the Castros. Yet the lack of economic reforms in Cuba is precisely why we should not expect that eliminating the embargo will lead to booming trade.

Castro’s willingness to re-engage with the United States represents a significant change.”

Until and unless Cuba changes the backward economic policies that have impoverished it, commercial opportunities will be limited. The fear among some conservatives that allowing trade with Cuba will somehow save communism from its inherent flaws betrays a surprising faith in that system. Lifting the embargo will instead clarify that the Castros’ repressive policies, not U.S. policies, are the source of Cuban misery.

It is true that any increased economic engagement with the United States would increase the regime’s revenues. But again, short of meaningful reform, those revenues will be limited. More economic engagement would likely also create constituencies in favor of further reform, and the greater opportunities for getting rich, even within the government system, would be corrosive of Cuban socialism.

Restoring Americans’ rights to travel to the island has the most potential to increase Cubans’ freedoms. A full lifting of the travel sanctions would put hundreds of thousands and perhaps up to a million Americans per year …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Does Religion Step In Where Science Fails?

December 25, 2014 in Blogs

By Sara Scribner, Salon

Science is about learning, and religion about coping with life, says editor of new Norton Anthology of religion.

Jack Miles is the religious writer of our time. An agnostic who dared to write the book “God: A Biography,” which won the Pulitzer Prize, he has just completed another daunting work as the editor of the first Norton Anthology of World Religions. The result of nine years of research, it is an elegant and enormous collection — 4,448 pages of carefully selected texts from the world’s six most prominent religions.


In his introductory essay, which has been adapted in The Atlantic’s December issue as“Why God Will Not Die,” Miles presents human mortality, scientific ambiguities and the eventual end of the human race as strong arguments for spiritual seeking and religious pluralism. This is not someone who shies away from uncertainty: he reasons with microscopic precision, teasing fragments of answers from some of life’s most slippery questions. From his home in Orange County, California, where he is a religious studies and English professor at the University of California, Irvine, Miles contemplates religion in the 21st century after years of studying the ancients.

Now that the book is finished, what were some surprises for you walking away from this project? What are some things you think you might carry with you for the rest of your life?

There is, of course, a sense of greater variety than one knew about. My favorite definition of education is “discovering what you didn’t know you didn’t know,” and though I began this project knowing a good deal about religion, at the end of it I had discovered quite a bit of what I didn’t know I didn’t know. I would say, for me, the greatest sense of discovery came in the Daoist anthology. The handling of Chinese religion gave me a good deal of difficulty because those were the religious traditions I thought I knew the least about and, among the Chinese religious traditions it was Daoism that was the greatest mystery to me. I had a general impression that though the “Dao De Jing” and the …read more


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The Surprising Relationship Between Sex and Pizza: 4 Things We Learned About Sex This Week

December 25, 2014 in Blogs

By Katie Halper, AlterNet

From car sex to food aphrodisiacs, human sexuality is strange and interesting.

This week, we answer several fascinating questions: how long do car-based sexual interactions last on average? Why should you consider rolling around in pumpkin pie and/or cheese pizza? Why do people watch condom-free porn? Enjoy, and be sure to share these discoveries with your loved ones over the holidays.

1. Friends don’t let friends sex and drive. Or maybe they do, but they probably shouldn’t. It turns out lots of young people are have sex in cars, and the results can be a little dangerous. Looking at 195 men and 511 women, researchers from the University of South Dakota found that 33 percent of men and nine percent of women had sex while driving, and nine percent of men and 29 percent of women had sex as a passenger. According to the study, the sexual activity lasted 1-10 minutes for 42.7 percent of the respondents. Approximately 49% traveled at 100-130 km per hour during sex. The most common side effects were speeding (37.8 percent), drifting into another lane (36 percent) and letting go of the steering wheel (10.8 percent). Ah ha! “Letting go of the steering wheel.” So, that’s what the kids are calling it these days. Though fewer that two percent of those DWS (driving while sexing) had an accident.

2. The sexy smell of cheese pizza and Good and Plenty. If you want to turn on a man, you may want to put your face in a pumpkin pie or rub some pizza grease behind your ears. Alan Hirsch, director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, reveals some interesting findings about smell in his book The Real Science Of Sex Appeal, which will be published in January. Dr. Hirsch looked at how 46 different scents affected penile blood flow in 31 men and found that lavender and pumpkin pie (individually, not combined) increased it by 40%. Cheese pizza increased it by 5%. So maybe you should wear lavender oil instead of pizza grease. 

Hirsh also surveyed 30 women and found …read more


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The Bloody 'Bad Old Days': How the Specter of 1970s New York Is Used to Quash Dissent

December 25, 2014 in Blogs

By Evan McMurry, AlterNet

With the murder of two NYPD officers, 1970s rhetoric made a comeback.

The horrific ambush-style murder of two NYPD officers last Saturday stunned a New York already wearied by the Eric Garner grand jury decision. It also broke the right’s law-and-order contingent out of what had been a very uncomfortable corner. The shooting death of Michael Brown and subsequent failure to indict the police officer responsible had left the public divided. One side believed Brown was shot for the sole crime of appearing menacing to a white authority figure, while the other side was convinced Brown was a thug whose antagonism left an armed defender no choice but to gun him down.

The Garner case offered no such split. For at least a few days after the Staten Island grand jury decision, a rare bipartisan consensus emerged in the public sphere. Some on the right tried to deflect with tertiary statements about cigarette taxes, but these were half-hearted attempts. No one could locate any justification in the traditional reserves of law-and-order rhetoric for Garner's death. It was as pure a case of police brutality as had been submitted, and it left those who normally defend such tactics exposed.

“I suspect we would rather the film of Eric Garner's killing not exist,” Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote in the Atlantic this week, describing the uncertainties of the Brown case as a release valve for talking points. “Then we might comfort ourselves with the kind of vague unknowables that dogged the killing of Michael Brown. (‘Did he have his hands up? Was he surrendering? Was he charging?’) Garner, choked to death and repeating ‘I can't breathe,’ trapped us.”

“But now,” Coates continued, “through a merciless act of lethal violence, an escape route has been revealed.”

The horrific execution of the two NYPD officers also licensed the discourse’s return to the societal need for hardline tactics. In a series of savage tweets, fiery press conferences and bitter interviews, the city’s law-and-order contingent seized the opportunity to shift the focus away from the devastating—and racially specific—consequences of police tactics and onto their alleged …read more


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'Some Sort of Hell': How One of the Wealthiest Cities in America Treats Its Homeless

December 25, 2014 in Blogs

By Evelyn Nieves, AlterNet

The city refuses to provide affordable housing, yet won't tolerate people living outdoors.

SAN JOSE, Calif.—When San Jose dismantled the “Jungle,” the nation’s largest homeless encampment, many of its residents with nowhere to go scattered. They found hiding places in the scores of small, less visible encampments within the city, where more than 5,000 people sleep unsheltered on a given night.

But one group of about three dozen evictees gathered what they could salvage in backpacks and trash bags, and crossed a bridge to a spot about a mile away. They found a clean patch of grass near Coyote Creek, the same creek that the Jungle abutted. There, they pitched tents donated by some concerned citizens, assigned themselves chores and hoped for the best.  

Instead, they got marching orders. After weathering the hardest rains to fall in these parts in a decade, the campers found 72-hour eviction notices on their tents. Once again, a little more than a week after their forced flight from the Jungle, they had no idea where they might live.

“This is some sort of hell,” said Raul, 57 (who didn’t want his last name used), a life-long resident of San Jose who had lived in the Jungle for nearly eight years. He had nothing left of the home he had created, just a knapsack, his chihuahua Pepe, and a new pup tent. He was so depressed, he could barely lift his head.

To an outside observer, the eviction was predictable. The state’s threat to sue Santa Clara County over the pollution in Coyote Creek caused by camping spurred the closing of the Jungle, a winding, 68-acre shantytown under an overpass with upwards of 300 people. With the state’s environmental agencies—and the public—watching, San Jose could not allow another Jungle to spring up.

But the city could offer no viable alternative to the people it was expelling for the second time in a week. San Jose, the self-described capital of Silicon Valley, the largest wealth generator in the United States, lacked the resources.

The Jungle had become a symbol of the growing divide between the nation’s rich and poor. …read more


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'Tis the Season for Politics to Make Us Worse

December 25, 2014 in Economics

By Trevor Burrus

Trevor Burrus

Politics makes us worse — and at no time more so than around the holidays.

“If I have to listen to my crazy Tea Party uncle say one more thing about Michael Brown and Ferguson, I’m going to flip over the dinner table and retreat to my childhood room to look at old issues of Seventeen.”

“What are these liberal universities doing to our son?!? I’m not sure we should let him go back there.”

“When did you get so angry at the world, Mom and Dad? Is there something that isn’t Obama’s fault?!?”

Welcome to an American holiday tradition. Apple pie now comes with a side of political yelling, especially after a few glasses of eggnog.

The problem, of course, is that “they” don’t get it. How could they? Mom and Dad’s brains might as well be directly hooked to Fox News like the humans in the Matrix. The children’s “progressive” universities are as hermetically sealed off from reality as North Korea. And don’t even get me started on Uncle Tim, whose rural worldview is a strange mixture of a fear of black helicopters and a demand for increased farm subsidies.

Minimal government has virtues beyond lower debt, less crowded prisons, and less militarized police. It might even save your family.”

How can you be expected to live in the same state, let alone country, with people who vote for fascism while you are voting for freedom? When they live in a fake world created by a self-serving news media and you live in reality? It’s probably best if we just double spike the eggnog and watch A Christmas Story for the third time.

But it’s not “their” fault; it’s politics’ fault — specifically, the politicization of more and more important and irreconcilable values. America is a deeply divided nation of clashing values partially because politics has made us this way. No matter what side of the political spectrum you’re on, it’s time to stop hating the players and start hating the game.

It was a nice, progressive, like-minded neighborhood until they moved in. With their “Jesus is the reason for the season” sign and their “Palin in 2016” bumper sticker, they stuck out like Bears fans at Lambeau Field. Then they started showing up at school board meetings and pushing for curriculum changes. Less environmentalism, more Founding Fathers. And others joined them, perhaps having been too scared to speak out before. Now there’s …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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I Got Slimed by Rush Limbaugh

December 24, 2014 in Blogs

By Sophia A. McClennen, Salon

Rush went after me when I suggested we were better off getting our civics lessons from Colbert's satire than Limbaugh's hate speech.

There seems little doubt that nuance, subtle thinking and critical insight are well beyond the grasp of Rush Limbaugh. So this piece is not directed at him. But the power of his arguments is real and the force they have in shaping public debate can’t be overlooked. So for that reason alone it seems worthwhile to debunk some of the arguments he made when he attacked the piece I wrote for Salon last week.

The core argument of my piece was that Stephen Colbert’s character from “The Colbert Report” had offered the U.S. public a refreshing alternative to the partisan spin of patriotism so often in play today. As I explained — referring to the research of Geoffrey Nunberg — in past decades, the right has dominated the discourse of what it means to care about this nation. And they have suggested that any questioning of the right is equal to treason. Colbert, I argued, exposed the fallacies of this view and reclaimed patriotism for his fans. A key part of the Colbert persona was his hyper-patriotism, and I pointed out that, as the character was put to rest, it was time to speculate on what this would mean for the future of left-leaning nationalism.

It is perfect irony that Limbaugh does, in fact, accuse me of attacking America. As he puts it, “I can’t escape these professors and these lies and all this crap that’s in the media about everything that’s so-called wrong with America.” This was his response to a piece that indicated that Colbert had encouraged a large fan base to enthusiastically pursue their own version of what it means to be patriotic — one that we might argue has as much, if not more, affinity with the founding principles of our nation than the version offered by the right.

In fact, Colbert’s character often schooled Limbaugh on his understanding of U.S. history.  In a bit from March 5, 2009, Colbert shows Limbaugh attacking Obama for …read more