Contact Me By Email

Atlanta, GA Weather from Weather Underground

Saturday, July 17, 2010

For BP, Rising Pressure in Oil Well Seen as a Positive Sign -

For BP, Rising Pressure in Oil Well Seen as a Positive Sign - "As the Gulf of Mexico entered a third day free of fresh oil from BP’s blown-out well, a company official said Saturday that there were still no signs of damage in the 13,000-foot-deep hole.

“We’re very encouraged at this point,” said Kent Wells, a senior vice president of BP. He said that a test to assess the condition of the well was continuing, and that any decision to end it would be made by Thad W. Allen, the retired Coast Guard admiral who commands the spill response.

“The longer the test goes, the more confidence we have in it,” Mr. Wells said. “But we don’t want to jump ahead of the process we’ve laid out. Admiral Allen is the ultimate decision maker.”"   More...

Friday, July 16, 2010

New York Officers Accused of Lying About Searches -

New York Officers Accused of Lying About Searches -

A New York City police sergeant lied to cover up several unlawful stops and seizures in Manhattan and forced subordinates to falsify paperwork to justify the stops, authorities said Thursday in announcing the indictment of two officers.

In the indictment, prosecutors portrayed the sergeant, William Eiseman, 41, as a renegade who routinely stopped people for no justifiable reason, searched their cars and then arrested them when he recovered drugs or weapons.

Sergeant Eiseman, a 13-year veteran of the force, and a junior officer accused of lying in court in one of the cases, Michael Carsey, 29, were charged with perjury, offering a false instrument for filing and official misconduct. They pleaded not guilty and were released without bail, The Associated Press reported.

Lawyers for the officers could not be reached for comment on Thursday night.

In the indictment, prosecutors described a number of instances dating to 2007 in which they said Sergeant Eiseman made unlawful stops and covered them up. In one, they said, he unlawfully searched a van and obtained a search warrant for the driver’s home, where the police found drugs and a gun. In court testimony, Sergeant Eiseman and Officer Carsey said that they approached the van after smelling marijuana smoke and that they were later told by the driver that he had drugs and weapons in his apartment. In fact, prosecutors said, they learned of the drugs only when they found pictures on the man’s phone.

The case against the driver was eventually dismissed. More...
This is the type of police behavior that discredits all police officers in the mind of particularly minorities. It is wonderful however to know that we live in a country which prosecute and convicts police for this kind of misconduct. This fact is heartwarming. The illegally seized evidence could not be used against the original defendants because it was the fruit of the poisonous tree.

John H. Armwood

BP Says Oil Flow Has Stopped as Cap Is Tested -

BP Says Oil Flow Has Stopped as Cap Is Tested - "Oil stopped flowing around 2:25 p.m. when the last of several valves was closed on a cap at the top of the well, said Kent Wells, a senior vice president for BP.

The announcement came after a series of failed attempts to cap or contain the runaway well that tested the nation’s patience. Mr. Wells emphasized that pressure tests were being conducted to determine the status of the well, which is now sealed like a soda bottle. BP and the government could decide to allow the oil to flow again and try to collect all of it; they could allow the oil to flow and, if tests show the well can withstand the pressure from the cap, close the well during hurricanes; or they could leave the well closed permanently.

The last option seems unlikely, but whatever the decision, the cap is an interim measure until a relief well can plug the leak for good.

“I am very pleased that there’s no oil going into the Gulf of Mexico,” Mr. Wells said, “but we just started the test and I don’t want to create a false sense of excitement.”" More...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Haitians Press On Amid Slow Pace Of Quake Recovery : NPR

Haitians Press On Amid Slow Pace Of Quake Recovery : NPR

In the six months since Haiti's devastating earthquake killed more than 200,000 people, Port-au-Prince's Petionville Club has been home to more than 5,000 quake survivors. They live in difficult conditions in makeshift tents on the grounds of the country club.
Kids run and play on dirt paths, women gather water from potable stations set up by aid agencies, and hammers pound away as residents continually repair tattered tarps and wobbly scrap-wood frames.
The makeshift dwellings are taking a beating
now that the rainy season is in full force. Many people have set up small businesses, like barbershops and beauty salons, while others sell
anything from used shoes and phones to rum, candy and cigarettes.
More than 1.5 million people still live in more than 1,000 encampments that sprouted up after the Jan. 12 quake. Americans have donated more than $1.3 billion for Haiti, and thousands of charities are helping the recovery effort.
But plans to move survivors into more suitable housing seem months, or even years, away. More...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

George Steinbrenner, Yankees’ Owner, Dies at 80 - Obituary (Obit) -

George Steinbrenner, Yankees’ Owner, Dies at 80 - Obituary (Obit) - "George Steinbrenner, who bought a declining Yankees team in 1973, promised to stay out of its daily affairs and then, in an often tumultuous reign, placed his formidable stamp on 7 World Series championship teams, 11 pennant winners and a sporting world powerhouse valued at perhaps $1.6 billion, died Tuesday morning. He was 80 and lived in Tampa, Fla.

“He was an incredible and charitable man,” the family said in a statement.

“He was a visionary and a giant in the world of sports. He took a great but struggling franchise and turned it into a champion again.”

Steinbrenner’s death came nine months after the Yankees won their first World Series title since 2000, clinching their six-game victory over the Philadelphia Phillies at his new Yankee Stadium.

Steinbrenner had been in failing health for the past several years and had rarely appeared in public. He attended the opening game at the new stadium in April 2009, sitting in his suite with his wife, Joan. When he was introduced and received an ovation, his shoulders shook and he cried." More...

Diabetes Drug Maker Hid Test Data on Risks, Files Indicate -

Diabetes Drug Maker Hid Test Data on Risks, Files Indicate -

In the fall of 1999, the drug giant SmithKline Beecham secretly began a study to find out if its diabetes medicine, Avandia, was safer for the heart than a competing pill, Actos, made by Takeda.

Avandia’s success was crucial to SmithKline, whose labs were otherwise all but barren of new products. But the study’s results, completed that same year, were disastrous. Not only was Avandia no better than Actos, but the study also provided clear signs that it was riskier to the heart.

But instead of publishing the results, the company spent the next 11 years trying to cover them up, according to documents recently obtained by The New York Times. The company did not post the results on its Web site or submit them to federal drug regulators, as is required in most cases by law. More...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Racism still rears ugly head in soccer - BV on Sports

Racism still rears ugly head in soccer - BV on Sports

Beyond Spain's spectacular win in the FIFA World Cup final was a less talked about issue. Racism. It's an ugly thorn in the beautiful game.

As well as fans at European games, coaches and officials have become infamous for heckling black players. They've been seen to chant "monkey" at them, throw bananas onto the field, spit, and hold up insulting signs like the one held by fans intended for French player, Thierry Henry, that read, "Peanuts and bananas are the pay for your infamy.

Some players, like Italian player Marc Zoro, originally from Cameroon, have become so fed up with taunts that they have walked off the field in the middle of play.

Racism still rears ugly head in soccer

But the racism isn't exclusive to just the fans. Luis Aragones, coach of the Spanish national team, was overheard saying to one of his players about Thierry Henry, arguably the best player in the world: "Show that black piece of sh*t that you're better than he is." Aragones was fined $5000, but continues to coach.
Thierry took it upon himself, with Nike's sponsorship, and with other players of color to create ads criticizing the blatant racism, holding a sign in a Nike commercial that says: "We are still abused for the color of our skin." More...
We have got to push for stronger sanctions against people like the coach of the Spanish national team, Luis Aragones. At a minimum participants who engage in such anti-social behavior should be fined and suspended from competitive play. We have to stand up and stamp out racism wherever we see it. If we tolerate this type of ignorance some people will continue to exhibit it.  They must be made to pay a price for their behavior.

John H. Armwood

BBC News - Afghanistan: civilian casualties 'on the rise'

BBC News - Afghanistan: civilian casualties 'on the rise': "More than 1,000 Afghan civilians were killed in armed violence and security incidents in the first six months of 2010, a new Afghan study says.

Afghanistan Rights Monitor says 1,074 civilians were killed between January and June - a slight increase compared with the same period in 2009.

However, the number of people killed in Nato air strikes in the same period has halved, the report says." More...

Over 4 Years, Nearly 52,000 Police Stops in a Few Brooklyn Blocks -

Over 4 Years, Nearly 52,000 Police Stops in a Few Brooklyn Blocks -

When night falls, police officers blanket some eight odd blocks of Brownsville, Brooklyn. Squad cars with flashing lights cruise along the main avenues: Livonia to Powell to Sutter to Rockaway. And again.

On the inner streets, dozens of officers, many fresh out of the police academy, walk in pairs or linger on corners. Others, deeper within the urban grid, navigate a maze of public housing complexes, patrolling the stairwells and hallways.

This small army of officers, night after night, spends much of its energy pursuing the controversial Police Department tactic known as “Stop, Question, Frisk,” and it does so at a rate unmatched anywhere else in the city.

The officers stop people they think might be carrying guns; they stop and question people who merely enter the public housing project buildings without a key; they ask for identification from, and run warrant checks on, young people halted for riding bicycles on the sidewalk.

One night, 20 officers surrounded a man outside the Brownsville Houses after he would not let an officer smell the contents of his orange juice container. More...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Experienced Marijuana Consumers Exhibit Virtually No Change In Cognitive Task Performance After Smoking, Study Says

Experienced Marijuana Consumers Exhibit Virtually No Change In Cognitive Task Performance After Smoking, Study Says: "New York, NY-(ENEWSPF)-July 9, 2010. Experienced marijuana consumers exhibit nominal changes in cognitive performance after inhaling cannabis, according to clinical trial data published online this week in the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior.

Investigators at Columbia University in New York and the San Francisco Brain Research Institute assessed acute marijuana-related effects on cognitive functioning in 24 volunteers who reported consuming the drug at least 24 times per week.

Researchers determined that participants' overall performance accuracy on episodic memory and working memory tasks 'was not significantly altered by marijuana.'" More...
Very interesting, I am sure these findings will make a lot of pot smokers happy.

John H. Armwood

BP’s Plan to Cap Oil Well Remains on Target -

BP’s Plan to Cap Oil Well Remains on Target - "NEW ORLEANS — BP reported progress Sunday in the effort to install a new cap that could contain all of the oil spewing from its out-of-control well in the Gulf of Mexico, and said a flotilla of skimmers was helping to collect the additional oil that is leaking while the procedure was underway. More...

Kent Wells, a BP senior vice president in charge of the effort, said a remaining stub of riser pipe had been removed overnight, leaving a flange at the top of the well that the new cap will be bolted to.

“We’re pleased with our progress,” Mr. Wells said at a briefing Sunday morning in Houston. But he said the work was not expected to be finished until Wednesday at the earliest."

Teaching Machine Sticks to Script in South Korea -

Teaching Machine Sticks to Script in South Korea - "SEOUL, South Korea — Carefully trained by a government-run lab, she is the latest and perhaps most innovative recruit in South Korea’s obsessive drive to teach its children the global language of English. More...
I am glad that my more than two years in South Korea teaching occurred before robots started taking native speakers jobs.

John H. Armwood

Over the years, this country has imported thousands of Americans, Canadians, South Africans and others to supplement local teachers of English. But the program has strained the government’s budget, and it is increasingly difficult to get native English speakers to live on islands and other remote areas.

Enter Engkey, a teacher with exacting standards and a silken voice. She is just a little penguin-shaped robot, but both symbolically and practically, she stands for progress, achievement and national pride. What she does not stand for, however, is bad pronunciation.

“Not good this time!” Engkey admonished a sixth grader as he stooped awkwardly over her. “You need to focus more on your accent. Let’s try again.”

Engkey, a contraction of English jockey (as in disc jockey), is the great hope of Choi Mun-taek, a team leader at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology’s Center for Intelligent Robotics. “In three to five years, Engkey will mature enough to replace native speakers,” he"

Oscar Grant shooting: officer found guilty of involuntary manslaughter | World news | The Guardian

Oscar Grant shooting: officer found guilty of involuntary manslaughter | World news | The Guardian

Video Of The Shooting

Oscar Grant family, Oakland
Oscar Grant's family, above. John Burris, the family's lawyer, called it a 'compromise verdict'. Photograph: Mike Nelson/EPA

A white police officer who shot dead a black man in a controversial case in Oakland, California, has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

The family of Oscar Grant, the victim, expressed their disappointment with the outcome. They had been hoping for a murder verdict.

Grant, 22, was shot in the back by policeman Johannes Mehserle, 28, while lying on the platform in a railway station on 1 January 2009. Mehserle claimed he had thought he had his Taser in his hand rather than his gun.

The shooting, which was shown on YouTube, led to a riot in Oakland, and there were fears of further trouble if Mehserle had been found not guilty. Police were yesterday deployed in riot gear in case of any outbreaks of violence.

The case has become a cause celebre in the US, with its echoes of the treatment of Rodney King, a black man whose severe beating by police in LA in 1991 was captured on video. The subsequent acquittals of four LAPD officers sparked the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

The verdict means the jury thought Mehserle had been criminally negligent but had not intended to kill Grant.

Mehserle, who is to be sentenced next month, could face anything from five to 14 years in jail.

John Burris, a lawyer representing the family, described it as a "compromise verdict".

"The system is rarely fair when a police officer shoots an African-American male," Burris said. "No true justice has been given."

The trial was held in Los Angeles because of the tension in the Oakland and neighbouring San Francisco over the shooting.

Some things in America seem like they never will change. There is a video of a cold blooded murder of an African American by a white police officer and an all white jury refuses to convict the officer of murder.