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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 12315 times)
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« Reply #8160 on: Mar 14th, 2013, 09:59am »

Daily Mail

Florida residents baffled by military mystery as they thought the spotted an Army aircraft but now believe they saw a UFO

By Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 00:58 EST, 14 March 2013
UPDATED: 00:58 EST, 14 March 2013

Residents of a Florida city now believe that they have spotted unidentified flying objects because the ruled out all other options.

The people of Ocala, Florida claim to have seen a military style aircraft flying over the city, but Navy officials have denied any knowledge of their planes being used in the area at the time of the supposed sightings.

Local station WKPMG reported that the concerned residents described a true spectacle and not simply one rounded disk of an airplane.



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They allege that the unidentified eyewitnesses saw a mystery aircraft that was flanked by an uncertain number of helicopters flying around it.

The last spotting of the supposed space craft came early Monday morning between 2am and 3am.

A logical conclusion- especially because the scene that the witnesses saw was apparently similar to that of military aircrafts- was that a military test of sorts or envoy was sent over the area.

Given Florida's high number of military bases, the situation is far from implausible.


more after the jump:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2293086/Florida-residents-baffled-military-mystery-thought-spotted-Army-aircraft-believe-saw-UFO.html

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« Reply #8161 on: Mar 14th, 2013, 10:07am »

The Hill

White House tour move backfires on Obama

By Amie Parnes
03/13/13 08:22 PM ET

The White House is playing defense over the decision to cancel tours at President Obama’s residence, the latest stumble for Obama in the messaging war with Republicans over the sequester.

White House press secretary Jay Carney fielded a series of pointed questions Wednesday about why the tours had to be canceled. Emboldened House Republicans also challenged Obama on the issue at a private meeting on Capitol Hill.

With Obama’s poll numbers dipping to near 50 percent, Republicans have seized on the issue, criticizing the president for canceling the tours as a stunt to hurt Congress, where lawmakers have long arranged White House tours for their constituents.

Since the decision was announced last week, Obama and administration officials have said the decision was made by the Secret Service — which spends roughly $74,000 a week to allow for the tours — in order to avoid furloughs and other cutbacks necessitated by the sequester’s automatic spending cuts.

But that explanation backfired, observers say.

“Using the tours to send a message seemed like a surefire winner,” said Tobe Berkovitz, a professor of communications at Boston University who specializes in political communication and advertising. “I think the White House was expecting everyone to go ‘Oh, this is so horrible!’ but this time it didn’t play, perhaps because it was too overt.”

Sensing a problem with the canceling of the tours, Obama backed off, saying in an interview Wednesday that the decision wasn’t made by him and that the White House is looking into setting up tours for school groups.

“What I’m asking them is, are there ways, for example, for us to accommodate school groups who may have traveled here with some bake sales,” Obama said. “Can we make sure that kids, potentially, can still come to tour?”

The canceled tours prompted a pointed question to Obama from House Administration Committee Chairwoman Candice Miller (R-Mich.) during the president’s meeting with House Republicans on Wednesday. Miller asked why Obama put an end to the tours instead of just cancelling the congressional Christmas party or the congressional picnic.

When Obama said the decision was prompted by the Secret Service, some lawmakers groaned in disbelief.

“Now, now, let’s be respectful,” Obama replied.

Carney at Wednesday’s press briefing sought to place responsibility for the decision on the White House, not the Secret Service.

“We had to cancel the tours, it’s our job to cancel the tours,” Carney explained. “[The Secret Service] cannot cancel them … this is not a tour of the Secret Service building. It’s a tour of the White House and the grounds, and we run the tours and the invitations and that process.”

But Carney also blamed Republicans for forcing the sequester to take effect in the first place.

“Let’s go back to the fact that none of this was necessary,” he said. “These choices are all bad. … I think we’re now seeing that there are unhappy results of sequester. It may be a home run in some folks’ eyes, a victory for the Tea Party for some. But it’s bad for America. It’s bad for those who will lose their jobs and those who suffer from diminished economic growth.”

Reporters at the White House briefing returned to the topic when they questioned Carney about how much it would cost Obama to travel to Illinois later in the week.

The White House spokesman responded by saying that Obama travels around the country “appropriately” and that he “has to travel around the world.”

“It’s his job,” Carney said.

Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons said while the cancellation of the tours is a “headache” for the White House, it could still win the blame game over the sequester as more cuts are felt.

“People will start to pay attention when they’re in a longer TSA line or if they’re sitting on a tarmac at the airport,” Simmons said. “That’s what will matter.”

So far, polls suggest the administration is not winning the fight.

Nearly two weeks after the sequester was triggered, only a small slice of Americans disapprove of the spending cuts, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll out Wednesday. And nearly three quarters of those surveyed said they haven’t felt the across-the-board cuts.

The poll shows that 47 percent hold Republicans responsible and 33 percent point the finger at Obama.

Some observers blame Obama’s loss of support on a communications failure by the administration, which they said employed scare tactics to push Republicans closer to a deal. In at least one case, the administration later had to pull back.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan had to issue an apology for misspeaking when he claimed that some schools were handing out “pink slips” due to the spending cuts.

“Language is really, really important and I want to apologize for not being as clear as I should have been last week,” Duncan later explained to reporters. “When I said ‘pink slips,’ that was probably the wrong word. I should have used ‘job eliminations,’ ‘positions eliminated,’ ” he said. “We had a little drama. Got it. Lessons learned on all sides. Got it.”

The bottom line, Berkovitz said, is that the public “hasn’t bought that the sequester is this huge asteroid slamming into the economics of this country.

“It seemed like a surefire ploy that wasn’t so surefire,” he said.


http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/288055-tour-move-backfires-on-obama

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« Reply #8162 on: Mar 14th, 2013, 10:09am »

Wired

That’s No Train! Air Force Eyes Subway for Nuclear Missiles

By Robert Beckhusen
03.14.13
6:30 AM

The Air Force wants to upgrade its aging nuclear missiles and the hundreds of underground silos that hold them. One idea it’s exploring: the construction of a sprawling network of underground subway tunnels to shuttle the missiles around like a mobile doomsday train. As one does.

As first reported by Inside Defense, the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center will award several study contracts next month worth up to $3 million each to research the idea. A broad agency announcement from the Air Force describes the hair-raising concept, intended to keep the weapons secure through 2075, as a system of tunnels where nuclear missiles are shuttled around on rails or some undefined “trackless” system.

The advantage of the world’s deadliest subway: During an atomic holocaust, mobile missiles are harder for an adversary to target than a static silo. Missiles could be positioned at launch holes placed at “regular intervals” along the length of the tunnels.

“The tunnel concept mode operates similar to a subway system but with only a single transporter/launcher and missile dedicated to a given tunnel,” stated the notice. “The tunnel is long enough to improve survivability but leaving enough room to permit adequate ‘rattle space’ in the event of an enemy attack.”

The Air Force hasn’t given specifics on where the tunnels could be built, or how long they’d need to be. But they’ll probably have to be jumbo-sized to “minimize impact from attack during all phases of missions/operations,” the notice stated. The Air Force requires that all research proposals address ways to “minimize likelihood” that unauthorized persons could sneak in, while keeping the system working safely and not sacrificing the doomsday train’s ability to “conduct world-wide operations.”

The project would likely be gigantic, expensive and take decades to build — all things that cut against cut against these relatively lean times at the Pentagon. But the U.S.’ silo-launched nuclear arsenal of 420 Minuteman III ballistic missiles are some of the oldest weapons still in service with the military, and they’re only getting older. (Not to mention the upkeep the military has to perform on the other two legs of the nuclear triad, submarine-launched Trident II missiles and the air-dropped B61 nuclear weapon.)

The Air Force has spent billions upgrading the Minuteman’s guidance systems, rocket motors and power systems to keep them serviceable through 2030. In a March 5 posture statement (.pdf) to the House Armed Services Committee, U.S. Strategic Command chief General Robert Kehler said the Minuteman IIIs are “sustainable through 2030 and potentially beyond with additional modernization investment.” But to sustain the missiles until 2075, the service has to come up with new ideas.

The subway of doom isn’t the Air Force’s only option for revamping its silos. Others include “super-hardened” silos, or ground-based “transporter erector launchers” — really large trucks that can haul nuclear missiles around the country, including on public roads and even off-road. The trucks have their downsides: who knows how well they can cross bridges; people would freak out if they encountered nuclear missiles on their morning commute; and they’re way more expensive than silos.

Last year, nuclear analyst and Danger Room pal Jeffrey Lewis estimated that building a fleet of 500 such mobile launchers would cost about $52 billion. “Apparently, building a 200,000 pound truck with rad-hard electronics and capable of withstanding nuclear blast effects is expensive,” he blogged. Lewis also noted that the mobile nuclear launchers were too expensive during the Cold War when, y’know, full-scale nuclear war was a big threat.

Hans Kristensen, a nuclear analyst at the Federation of American Scientists, thinks the Air Force is stuck with plain old static silos. “The nuclear subway ICBM is, I think, a pie in the sky and more included to have a review process entertain a range of options so it can land on the most sensible,” Kristensen tells Danger Room. “The costs associated with developing and operating such a system would be enormous and completely out of sync with the fiscal realities of this nation. Even a mobile system is probably unrealistic. I think the most likely, and probably only realistic option short of scrapping the land-based leg of the deterrent, is to simply extend the life of the existing Minuteman III ICBM.”

Then again, maybe the Air Force defies logic and builds the death tunnels that it says it wants. Tomorrow’s Armageddon could ride to work on rails.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2013/03/nuclear-subway/

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« Reply #8163 on: Mar 14th, 2013, 5:07pm »

The Ocala, Florida reports appear to be Special Ops-----


Mystery flights are special ops training exercise

By Carlos E. Medina
Correspondent
Published: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 5:03 p.m

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Military aircraft are seen parked outside the University Air Center on Wednesday in Gainesville.Matt Stamey/The Gainesville Sun

The good news is those military aircraft shaking up parts of Marion County the past few nights have been identified; the bad news is they will be around until at least Friday.
The aircraft, which have been buzzing the area since Saturday, are coming from the University Air Center at the Gainesville Regional Airport as part of a larger training exercise in South Florida conducted by the U.S. Special Operations Command, based at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, said Maj. Mike Burns, a public affairs spokesman for the command.
The flights out of Gainesville encompass between four to eight aircraft and are made up of Black Hawks and Chinooks, Burns said.
The Chinooks, a heavy-bodied helicopter, have distinctive tandem rotor blades. Black Hawks are smaller and are the military's go-to utility helicopter. Both have big engines and typically fly low in combat situations, which are what the exercises are simulating.

The Special Operations Command oversees special operations of the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines.
"There are no exercises in the Ocala area, but Ocala is directly in the transit route," said Burns, who would not specifically say why aircraft were taking off from Gainesville for exercises in the Miami area.

A press releases issued by Miami Dade County advises that the exercise includes the use of military helicopters and simulated gunfire. The training is meant to prepare participants for combat missions in urban areas and to prepare forces for upcoming overseas missions, according to the release.

A multitude of Marion County residents have reported being awakened or disturbed by the low-flying aircraft. Some have reported seeing fixed wing aircraft as part of the low flights, but Burns said any fixed wing aircraft as part of the operation are flying at between 30,000 feet and 40,000 feet
Bob Cook, who lives near Baseline Road and Fort King Street, said he was frightened when he saw the aircraft come over his home Saturday.

"I turned and ran. That's not right what they are doing," he said.
Cook said the aircraft were no more than 150 feet above the ground and whipped the tree tops with their propeller wash.
Burns did not say how low the aircraft were flying, but did say they were within Federal Aviation Administration compliance.

"Sometimes when people are not used to seeing or hearing those type of aircraft they seem a lot closer than they are," he said.
Some locals also reported seeing the aircraft flying without lights.
Burns said some of them do fly without lights because, "We are trying to simulate a combat experience as closely as possible."

http://www.ocala.com/article/20130313/ARTICLES/130319857?p=1&tc=pg
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« Reply #8164 on: Mar 15th, 2013, 11:21am »




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« Reply #8165 on: Mar 15th, 2013, 11:26am »

Defense News

New President Xi’s ‘China Dream’ Speeches Look to Future

Mar. 15, 2013 - 11:00AM
By Wendell Minnick

TAIPEI — Xi Jinping officially became China’s president and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) on Thursday, but since November he has been making speeches around China that the media have dubbed the “China Dream” speech.

Basically, the dream is to make China prosperous, powerful and proud. It is being compared by some Western observers, with some hype, to Martin Luther King’s 1963 “I have a dream” speech and John F. Kennedy’s 1961 pledge to put a man on the moon. Not everyone agrees.

“In one word, ‘no.’ It’s nothing like ‘I have a dream’ speech. Chinese leaders are far too technocratic for that,” said Gary Li, a senior analyst at London-based IHS Fairplay.

There is no question that the speech’s core idea, the “China dream,” has gone viral on the Chinese Internet, and media outlets have been promoting the speeches with enthusiasm. In particular, interest in the book by the same title, written by Senior Col. Liu Mingfu of the National Defense University, has caught the public’s imagination.

Liu’s book calls on China to outstrip America in military power. Economic power is not enough for China, he wrote; it must have a strong military to guard its economic success. He quotes the Roman adage: Si vis pacem, para bellum (if you want peace, prepare for war). The outspoken and hawkish Liu has been quoted as warning regional countries not to support the “global tiger” (the U.S.) or the “Asian wolf” (Japan).

However, there is little true comparison between Liu’s book and Xi’s speeches.

“These colonels frequently try to push their own hawkish agendas through publishing but they are not a reflection of the feeling at higher levels nor the CMC,” Li said. “If Liu’s books stir up too much nationalist rhetoric,” then the government will just revoke the publishers right to sell it to the public, which has been done in the past, he said.

Xi’s goals, as outlined in a Dec. 29 version of his dream speech, quoted by Xinhua News Agency, are to have a “well-off society” by the time the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) celebrates its 100th anniversary, “and by the time the People’s Republic celebrates its 100th anniversary, we will become a prosperous, strong, democratic, civilized and harmonious socialist modernized country on its way to the ultimate great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”

Xi’s speech was more focused on the theme of “national rejuvenation,” Li said, with more emphasis on economics and sustainable development as the way to achieve “xiao kang,” or personal prosperity.

“It was essentially a manifesto on how he seeks to rebuild the social contract between the CCP and the Chinese people. The promises made were far more immediate to the needs of the Chinese people, such as combating poverty and inequality in development. Xi hardly mentioned military power in his speeches to the nation so I really think that that angle has been overblown.”

In other “dream” speeches, Xi has called for China’s military to train under realistic combat conditions, but this is more “aimed at ending the heavily scripted exercises of the past and move the PLA [People’s Liberation Army] towards modern tactical training, which are more valuable,” Li said. Many have interpreted this as more evidence of Xi’s hawkishness.

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130315/DEFREG03/303150008/New-President-Xi-8217-s-8216-China-Dream-8217-Speeches-Look-Future?odyssey=tab

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« Reply #8166 on: Mar 15th, 2013, 11:31am »

Wired

The Plan to Bring the Iconic Passenger Pigeon Back From Extinction

By Kelly Servick
03.15.13
8:30 AM

Twelve birds lie belly-up in a wooden drawer at the Berkeley Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. Bloated with stuffing, their ruddy brown chests resemble a row of sweet potatoes. Slate-blue heads and thin white tails protrude in perfect alignment, except for one bird that cranes its neck to face its neighbor. A pea-sized bulge of white cotton sits where its eye should be. A slip of paper tied to its foot reads, “Ectopistes migratorius. Manitoba. 1884.” This is the passenger pigeon, once the most abundant bird in North America. When Europeans first landed on the continent, they encountered billions of the birds. By 1914 they were extinct.

That may be about to change. Today scientists are meeting in Washington, D.C. to discuss a plan to bring the passenger pigeon back from extinction. The technical challenges are immense, and the ethical questions are slippery. But as genetic technology races ahead, a scenario that’s hard to imagine is becoming harder to dismiss out of hand.

About 1,500 passenger pigeons inhabit museum collections. They are all that’s left of a species once perceived as a limitless resource. The birds were shipped in boxcars by the tons, sold as meat for 31 cents per dozen, and plucked for mattress feathers. But in a mere 25 years, the population shrank from billions to thousands as commercial hunters decimated nesting flocks. Martha, the last living bird, took her place under museum glass in 1914.

Ben Novak doesn’t believe the story should end there. The 26-year-old genetics student is convinced that new technology can bring the passenger pigeon back to life. “This whole idea that extinction is forever is just nonsense,” he says. Novak spent the last five years working to decipher the bird’s genes, and now he has put his graduate studies on hold to pursue a goal he’d once described in a junior high school fair presentation: de-extinction.

Novak is not alone in his mission. An organization called Revive and Restore is enlisting the support of preeminent scientists—and even the National Geographic Society, which is hosting the TEDx meeting on the topic today, to investigate putting the passenger pigeon back in the sky. The group has chosen Novak to spearhead the project.

When the bird from the Berkeley drawer flew over Manitoba in 1884, it didn’t travel alone. Passenger pigeons were named for their passage up and down eastern North America in flocks several hundred million strong. To sustain long, strenuous flights, the birds devoured forests and left destruction in their wake. Ornithologist J.M. Wheaton described one flock as a rolling cylinder filled with leaves and grass. “The noise was deafening and the sight confusing to the mind,” he wrote in 1882. It was easy to tell where the pigeons had roosted: The trees were crippled, their branches cracked off and picked clean of nuts and acorns. For miles, the ground was coated with a layer of feces more than an inch thick.

But the same flocking behavior also led to the bird’s demise. Their nesting sites in the northeastern U.S. were densely packed—as many as 100 nests per tree, each containing a single egg. Pigeon hatchlings were a smorgasbord for predators. Each helpless lump of fat, as heavy as its parents but lacking their aerial skill, would wallow in the nest for a day, then flutter to the ground.

Even before Europeans arrived, hunters shot nests with arrows or knocked them down with poles. But in the mid 19th century, the railroad and the telegraph turned the pigeon into a national commodity. Professional trackers followed the flocks and descended on nest sites. Their tactics were brutal and effective: Firing into the trees brought down thousands of birds in one afternoon. Setting a match to the combustible birch bark forced terrified chicks to fling themselves from their nests. By the late 1850s, flocks were shrinking. By 1889, the population was in the thousands.

Novak remembers learning about the pigeon in school. “I just fell in love with the story of it,” he said. “This absolutely bigger-than-life story of the most abundant bird on the planet going extinct so quickly.” But he wasn’t convinced that animals like the passenger pigeon were gone forever. “I thought that was too absolute.”

As a student at Montana State University Novak studied ecology and evolution with the hope of bringing back extinct animals, but his focus soon shifted toward more modest population studies. “You’re kind of steered away from the science fiction when you go to school,” he says. When he started graduate school at the Ancient DNA Center of McMaster University in Ontario, Novak hoped to analyze genes from the bird that had captivated him as a kid. All he needed were samples from a museum specimen.

more after the jump:
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/03/passenger-pigeon-de-extinction/all/

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« Reply #8167 on: Mar 15th, 2013, 11:32am »








Published on Mar 15, 2013


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« Reply #8168 on: Mar 15th, 2013, 11:57am »

The Hill


Obama revives green energy sales pitch

By Zack Colman
03/15/13 06:00 AM ET

President Obama will revive his green energy sales pitch Friday with a proposal to divert offshore oil-and-gas revenues to fund research into alternative fuel and vehicle technologies.

The president will highlight the plan during a visit to a clean-energy research lab in Chicago, arguing the investment is vital to reduce dependence on foreign oil and spur high-tech jobs for the United States.

But the proposal, which requires congressional action and would be funded over a 10-year period, faces a tough slog on Capitol Hill.

Republicans would likely demand the administration expand offshore oil-and-gas drilling as a condition for their support. Doing so is a key component of the House Republican budget released Tuesday, which included increased federal revenues from more fossil fuel production.

But the president has no intention of doing that, White House officials said in a Thursday media call.

Obama will make his pitch for the research fund at the Chicago-area Argonne National Laboratory, a facility that has been at the forefront of alternative vehicle technology.

It follows on his announcement of a $2 billion “Energy Security Trust” in his State of the Union address last month.

White House officials framed the trust as a way to wean the U.S. off oil and to reduce carbon emissions.

They said the security trust is a major part of the president’s economic strategy of boosting high-tech manufacturing and innovation.

And they argued the fund would provide a pool of money for basic research traditionally underfunded by the private sector that could produce significant breakthroughs.

Obama also will likely champion the impact biofuel-, natural gas- and electricity-powered cars would have on curbing greenhouse gas emissions, aligning with recent comments on the need to combat climate change.

The security trust concept has attracted bipartisan congressional interest and the backing from military leaders who view alternative fuels as a way to buffer the military from costly oil price spikes, the officials said.

They added that the White House has reached out to Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the committee’s ranking member.

Murkowski has floated a similar plan, though it relies on expanded federal oil-and-gas production.

Still, White House officials said the security trust would not decrease oil-and-gas revenues that go toward the general Treasury.

The $2 billion would instead come from anticipated changes to the oil-and-gas permitting process and projected increases in offshore production from already scheduled leases, they said.

The officials declined to elaborate on the permitting tweaks. They said the changes would reduce administrative costs, and that the savings would go toward the security trust.


http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/288335-obama-to-pitch-alternative-fuel-research-fund-

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« Reply #8169 on: Mar 15th, 2013, 6:48pm »

Northwest Earthquake: Experts Say Get Ready

By: Lauren Gambino
Published: March 15, 2013

SALEM, Ore. -- More than 10,000 people could die when - not if - a monster earthquake and tsunami occur just off the Pacific Northwest coast, researchers told Oregon legislators Thursday.

Coastal towns would be inundated. Schools, buildings and bridges would collapse, and economic damage could hit $32 billion.

These findings were published in a chilling new report by the Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Commission, a group of more than 150 volunteer experts.

In 2011, the Legislature authorized the study of what would happen if a quake and tsunami such as the one that devastated Japan hit the Pacific Northwest.

The Cascadia Subduction Zone, just off the regional coastline, produced a mega-quake in the year 1700. Seismic experts say another monster quake and tsunami are overdue.

"This earthquake will hit us again," Kent Yu, an engineer and chairman of the commission, told lawmakers. "It's just a matter of how soon."
When it hits, the report says, there will be devastation and death from Northern California to British Columbia.

Many Oregon communities will be left without water, power, heat and telephone service. Gasoline supplies will be disrupted.

The 2011 Japan quake and tsunami were a wakeup call for the Pacific Northwest. Governments have been taking a closer look at whether the region is prepared for something similar and discovering it is not.

Oregon legislators requested the study so they could better inform themselves about what needs to be done to prepare and recover from such a giant natural disaster.

The report says that geologically, Oregon and Japan are mirror images. Despite the devastation in Japan, that country was more prepared than Oregon because it had spent billions on technology to reduce the damage, the report says.

Jay Wilson, the commission's vice chairman, visited Japan and said he was profoundly affected as he walked through villages ravaged by the tsunami.

"It was just as if these communities were ghost towns, and for the most part there was nothing left," said Wilson, who works for the Clackamas County emergency management department.

Wilson told legislators that there was a similar event 313 years ago in the Pacific Northwest, and "we're well within the window for it to happen again."

Experts representing a variety of state agencies, industries and organizations expanded on the report's findings and shared with lawmakers how they have begun planning.

Sue Graves, a safety coordinator for the Lincoln County School District, told lawmakers that high school students in her district take semester-long classes that teach CPR and other survival techniques in the wake of a giant earthquake. The class teaches students to "duck, cover and hold" when the ground starts shaking.

Maree Wacker, chief executive officer of the American Red Cross of Oregon, said it is important for residents to have their own contingency plans for natural disasters.

"Oregonians as individuals are underprepared," she said.

http://www.wunderground.com/news/northwest-quake-threat-20130315
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« Reply #8170 on: Mar 16th, 2013, 09:12am »

Good morning Swamprat cheesy


Thanks for scaring the beegeebers out of me! grin


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« Reply #8171 on: Mar 16th, 2013, 09:14am »







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« Reply #8172 on: Mar 17th, 2013, 09:48am »

Reuters

Judge finds two Ohio teens guilty of raping girl


By Drew Singer

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio
Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:43am EDT

(Reuters) - Two high school football players from Ohio were found guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl at a party last summer while she was in a drunken stupor in a case that gained national exposure through social media.

Trent Mays, 17, and Ma'lik Richmond, 16, two members of Steubenville's "Big Red" football team, were found delinquent in the sexual assault of the girl in the early morning of August 12 when witnesses said she was too drunk to move or speak.

The defendants could be heard sobbing after Judge Tom Lipps announced the decision in the non-jury, juvenile court case. He began immediately taking arguments about a sentence in the case.

Mays and Richmond had denied the charge and said any sex that occurred was consensual.

Both apologized to the victim in short statements after Lipps found them delinquent of all charges against them.

They could be sentenced to a juvenile detention facility until they turn 21, and be required to register as sex offenders.

The case drew national attention to the town, 40 miles west of Pittsburgh, after a photo and video from the party that appeared to document the assault were posted online.

The non-jury trial neared its conclusion late on Saturday after four days of testimony capped by the accuser's tearful acknowledgment on the witness stand that she had little memory from the night of the alleged assaults.

Lipps said the evidence presented was profane and ugly at times and said that alcohol consumption showed a particular danger to "our teenage youth."

Mays and Richmond, were charged as juveniles with raping a girl by digital penetration while she was passed out from heavy drinking at a party.

In her testimony on Saturday, the accuser recounted drinking vodka mixed with slushy-iced beverages the night of the party, then finding herself sitting on a curb early the next day with her hands between her legs, vomiting into the street.

She testified that she otherwise had no recollection of what happened during the time span in between, when witnesses in the case have said she was too drunk to move or talk.

Under its policy of keeping the names of accusers in rape cases confidential, Reuters has not identified the girl.

Prosecutor Marianne Hemmeter argued that the things that made the accuser "an imperfect witness (also) made her, in every sense of the word, a perfect victim."

"She was substantially impaired, and they treated her like a toy," the prosecutor said.

Defense attorney Walter Madison countered by highlighting inconsistencies in the accounts of various witnesses, one of whom he accused of taking part in assaulting the girl, then cooperating with prosecutors under a grant of immunity.

(Writing by James B. Kelleher; editing by Steve Gorman, Xavier Briand and Bill Trott)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/17/us-usa-crime-ohio-idUSBRE92E0ZS20130317

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« Reply #8173 on: Mar 17th, 2013, 09:52am »

Seattle Times

Originally published Saturday, March 16, 2013 at 6:53 PM

Decade after Iraq war started, conflict has overtaken Mideast

Ten years after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq began, the nation and the region remain beset by violence and uncertainty.

By Nancy A. Youssef
McClatchy Newspapers

CAIRO — President George W. Bush kept it simple in his short TV address the evening of March 19, 2003: U.S. forces had begun their campaign to unseat Saddam Hussein, he said. The goals, he outlined in his first sentence, were straightforward: “to disarm Iraq, to free its people, and to defend the world from grave danger.” Some 522 words later he promised the result: “We will bring freedom to others and we will prevail.”

As he spoke, members of the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division and the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force were crossing from Kuwait, where they’d been preparing for weeks, into southern Iraq. In those sands, it was Thursday, March 20, the dawn of a new day.

Ten years later, the era that dawn ushered in looks anything but simple. After tens of thousands of deaths, not just of Americans, but also of Iraqis — many, if not most, at the hands of other Iraqis — that country remains in turmoil. U.S. troops are gone and a democratically elected government rules. But bombings and massacres continue, and the country remains mired in sectarian feuding between Sunni and Shiite Muslims.

Elsewhere, conflict rules — in some cases, coincidentally, with anniversaries that fall around this weekend:

• In Libya, French planes under NATO command opened the campaign to topple Moammar Gadhafi on March 19 two years ago. Today, a democratic government is in place, though it controls little in the face of Islamist militias whose unchecked presence frequently forces the national assembly to cancel sessions. Libyan weapons, taken from Gadhafi’s unguarded stores, were crucial to the advance of Islamist fighters in Mali.

• In Syria, the civil war marked its second year Friday, with most observers calling the conflict a stalemate and the death toll likely to have passed 70,000 — and rising every day. The Obama administration has called for the defeat of President Bashar Assad even as it denounces as a terrorist group the most effective anti-Assad rebel military faction: the Nusra Front, which is a branch of al-Qaida in Iraq, the same Islamist group that the U.S. fought in that country and that the current Iraqi government also is battling.

• Even the relatively peaceful January revolutions that ushered in what came to be known as the Arab Spring two years ago are unsettled. In Egypt, the world’s most populous Arab country, a religiously affiliated political party fights to establish its pre-eminence against a group of revolutionaries demanding a share of political power. Anti-government demonstrations have become so frequent that they hardly deserve news coverage, and the economy is in free fall.

Never has the region seen so much change in the nine decades since the end of World War I, when Western powers carved up the territories of the defeated Ottomans by drawing lines across a map.

The impact of the role of U.S. intervention in that turmoil — direct, in the cases of Iraq and Libya, and through rhetoric, in Syria and Egypt — remains an open question.

In Iraq, the people think their security situation is better since U.S. troops left the country at the end of 2011. A Gallup poll released this month found that 42 percent think that, despite the occasional car bomb, security has improved since U.S. troops withdrew. But they have doubts about their government. Only 11 percent said there was less corruption and only 9 percent said there was less unemployment.

Sunni versus Shiite

Sunnis, who’d enjoyed privileges under Saddam, were particularly negative about Iraq. For 69 percent of them, corruption has gotten worse, compared with 39 percent of Shiites, whom Saddam’s government had repressed, though they’re a majority in the country. In a clear reference to Iran, a Shiite-ruled theocracy, 39 percent of Sunnis said there’d been worse foreign intervention since U.S. troops had left. Only 27 percent of Shiites felt that way.

Iraq’s leaders openly express alarm at what’s going on in nearby Syria. That worry was particularly strong this month, after gunmen inside Iraq killed at least 50 Syrian civilians and soldiers who’d fled their country during a rebel offensive and were being escorted by Iraqi troops to another border crossing for repatriation. Days later, al-Qaida umbrella group Islamic State of Iraq took responsibility for the attack, which also had killed Iraqi troops, and Iraqi officials conceded that after a dozen years of training alongside U.S. troops and billions of dollars worth of U.S. equipment, they’d been unable to defend themselves. The attack was the most sophisticated they’d seen in years, Iraqi officials said.

“We need equipment. We need electronic surveillance. We need an air force,” Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said. “We need a border-control system. Definitely. We don’t have it. We have only the concrete blocks that the Americans left for us, lined up along the borders.”

No one knows how long the conflict in Syria will go on. President Obama first called for Assad to step down 19 months ago. U.S. officials no longer say Assad’s days are numbered, and the United Nations published a report last week that says neither side could claim the military upper hand, though rebel advances seem to outnumber those of the Syrian military.

The United States agreed this month to provide the anti-Assad opposition coalition with $60 million to help it get organized, and the European Union agreed to ease its arms embargo to allow some direct aid to the rebels, including armored personnel carriers.

But with Russia and China on Assad’s side and blocking a series of anti-Assad U.N. resolutions, there’s no legal basis for broader international intervention — and no consensus such intervention would end the bloodshed.

more after the jump:
http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2020577232_usiraq10yearsxml.html

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #8174 on: Mar 17th, 2013, 09:53am »

Be back in a bit, the Husband is throwing me off of my own computer so he doesn't have to go upstairs! The NERVE! grin

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