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Member since: Wed Mar 16, 2005, 11:12 AM
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Ohio village threatens Iraq war vet with $150 fine and loss of his therapy ducks


Ohio village threatens Iraq war vet with $150 fine and loss of his therapy ducks
By Tom Boggioni
Sunday, July 20, 2014 22:46 EDT

An Iraq war veteran, living in West Lafayette, Ohio, is facing a $150 fine and the possibility that he must get rid of his 14 therapy ducks after running afoul of of a village ordinance banning the keeping of farm animals.

Darin Welker, 36, acquired the ducks after serving a year in Iraq, returning with a back injury and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), reports the Marion Star.

“I came back with a major back injury, and between the back injury and the PTSD that I also brought home, there were numerous problems,” Welker said.

The VA paid for a surgery on Welker’s back but did not approve the physical therapy recommended by his surgeon, nor did it provide mental therapy, Welker said.



The local newspaper's take on this story mention that the Coshocton City Council approved a change to a law last year that allows "one pot-bellied pig" per household inside city limits.

I think a letter to the Mayor is in order --> http://www.cityofcoshocton.com/
Posted by unhappycamper | Mon Jul 21, 2014, 06:22 AM (2 replies)

America's Troubled F-35: Five Ways to Replace It


America's Troubled F-35: Five Ways to Replace It
Robert Farley
July 20, 2014


If it could, however, what would follow? The following five options are not mutually exclusive, and any strategy for replacing the F-35 would need to borrow liberally from several.

Build more F-22s

The first choice seems obvious. Instead of moving ahead with the F-35, the United States could restart the F-22 line. We have enough experience with the Raptor to know that it will likely be an effective platform moving forward, and to update new models with additional capabilities.

unhappycamper comment: F-22s work reasonably well, but they cost over $410 million dollars EACH. Good luck with this option.


Go Unmanned

What about the killer robots? The biggest story in the last decade of aviation has been the expansion of drone technology and doctrine. The United States, followed by a few other countries, has radically expanded the use of drones beyond what anybody expected in 2000. Drones have fulfilled many traditional airpower roles, including reconnaissance, close air support, interdiction, and long range strike.

unhappycamper comment: Drones aren't worth a shit in a dogfight.


Updated Legacy Fleet

The United States already has a huge fleet of advanced fighter aircraft, and an industry capable of churning out new airframes. Why not just update the older platforms? The Su-27 Flanker has often been portrayed as the primary threat to U.S. 5th generation fighters, but it is nothing more than an updated Cold War platform. Of course, the U.S. Navy (USN) and U.S. Air Force (USAF)have also followed this path to an extent; modern Vipers have little in common with the first F-16A production models.

unhappycamper comment: Any US made fighter jet now costs at least $100 million. Perhaps we should get out of the war bidness.


Waiting for Generation Six

Another way of cutting our losses would be to abandon the fifth generation fighter entirely (apart from existing Raptors and F-35s), and focus instead on the development of sixth generation fighters. Expectations for Gen Six fighters generally focus around stealth, supercruise, and networking capabilities, potentially with tailless configurations, the capacity for the installation of laser weaponry, and the possibility of unmanned operation.

unhappycamper comment: Another way of cutting our losses would to use diplomacy rather than weapons and repeal the AUMF.

Posted by unhappycamper | Sun Jul 20, 2014, 11:10 AM (4 replies)

Ohio scientist to test water before fracking


Ohio scientist to test water before fracking
By Lisa Song, InsideClimate News : July 18, 2014 : Updated: July 19, 2014 12:00am

As the shale gas boom was making its way into Ohio in 2012, University of Cincinnati scientist Amy Townsend-Small began testing private water wells in Carroll County, the epicenter of the Utica Shale.

Her project, which includes samples of more than 100 wells, is one of the few sustained efforts in the nation to evaluate drinking water quality before, during and after gas drilling.

Although it likely will be another year before Townsend-Small releases the results, her work offers a template for other communities worried about how drilling, fracking and producing unconventional natural gas might contaminate groundwater supplies.

Most residents test their water only after they suspect it has been polluted; few have the resources or foresight to conduct baseline testing prior to the drilling.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sun Jul 20, 2014, 10:11 AM (3 replies)

Israel: America’s Frankenstein Monster

Note to Mods: Please move if you think necessary.


Israel's harshest critics and most ardent defenders agree on one thing: The battle is really about America.

Israel: America’s Frankenstein Monster
Salon.com / By Andrew O'Hehir
July 19, 2014

With Israeli tanks rolling into the Gaza Strip and Hamas fighters firing dozens of rockets into Israel every day, the two sides in the endless Middle East standoff appear to be replaying scenes from a recurring nightmare, with real-world tragic effects. I don’t mean to suggest that the conflict is in any sense symmetrical. As we have already seen, the worst price for this latest round of violence will be paid by the civilian population of Gaza, almost 2 million people fenced into a slice of arid seacoast with roughly the same land area as the city of Detroit. But for those of us in the West, and especially in the United States, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict plays out in public discourse, over and over again, as a drama of rhetoric and propaganda, accusation and counter-accusation.

Both in the real conflict on the ground and the ideological conflict for hearts and minds, both sides feel misunderstood and unfairly stigmatized – and if you’re willing or able to take the long view, they both have a point. Along with every other American journalist, I received emails this week from Arab-American groups complaining about the pro-Israeli bias of the mainstream media, and from Jewish activists eager to elucidate President Obama’s “pro-Muslim agenda” and his long-term campaign to undermine Israel. Within the American left, which for generations has been closely allied with the Jewish intellectual tradition, this ideological combat can often be intensely personal and painful. I’ve managed to stay out of the angry debates between friends and acquaintances in my Facebook feed – about whether Rachel Maddow is an Israeli shill, or whether American progressives are hypocrites for weeping over Gaza but ignoring the death toll in Iraq, Syria and Egypt – and I don’t even want to know what kinds of insults people are hurling at each other on Twitter.

What do we talk about when we talk about Israel? Perhaps this is an index of our bottomless narcissism, but the not-so-secret subtext of both pro-Israel and anti-Israel arguments is that they’re really debates about America and its role in the world. Israel is of course closely tied to the U.S. in military, economic, cultural and psychological terms, and in all likelihood would not exist if not for six-plus decades of staunch American support. Although it’s a distinctive society in many ways, Israel is also a familiar kind of place – a Westernized consumer democracy of yoga classes, designer cocktails and gay pride parades – in a way no Islamic Middle Eastern country even approaches. Israel can be read as an American proxy state, a wayward bastard child or (in the paranoid view) as a sinister force behind American politics, pulling the superpower’s strings. However you understand this “special relationship,” the genetic kinship is unmistakable.

Everything about the politics of the Israel-Palestine debate – which are mostly the politics of guilt, victimhood and mutual, purposeful incomprehension – is distorted and exacerbated by the gravitational effect of America. As I said earlier, both sides have valid points to make about the nature of that distortion. But I don’t mean to retreat to some journalistic posture of false equivalency and despair: Everybody has done bad things, and it’s just dreadful. Can we get back to watching HBO? That only fuels the hapless status quo, as captured so memorably in Mitt Romney’s phrase about kicking the can down the road, in which the U.S. appears subservient to the Israeli right wing while continuing to advocate for a two-state solution that will never happen. I have no solution to that dilemma, but it’s useful to understand that pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian forces are responding to the same phenomenon – Israel’s inextricable relationship with the United States – and interpreting it in different ways.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sun Jul 20, 2014, 09:12 AM (0 replies)

Japan should honorably resign as host of 2020 Summer Olympics


Japan should honorably resign as host of 2020 Summer Olympics
By carol wolman, MD
OpEdNews Op Eds 7/19/2014 at 11:19:20

July 16, 2014: http://enenews.com/japan-doctor-tokyo-longer-be-inhabited-everyone-living-victim-fukushima-disaster-began-notice-childrens-blood-test-results-around-mid-2013-time-running-short-physicians-save-c


In September 2013, the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) met in Buenos Aires to elect a host city for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe assured the IOC that "the situation (at Fukushima Daiichi) is under control", and convinced them to hold the Games in Tokyo .

Abe was lying. Unforunately, the site is nowhere near "under control."Fukushima Daiichi, the nuclear reactor complex damaged by the earthquake/tsunami of March 2011, continues to spew forth radioactivity today. The groundwater, which connects with the Tokyo aquifer, picks up unacceptable levels of radiation from the molten reactor cores. There are radioactive hot spots all over northern Japan, including Tokyo. http://enenews.com/officials-radioactive-substances-released-from-fukushima-plant-areas-far-away-being-contaminated-govt-tracking-plumes-using-emergency-prediction-system-large-amount-of-radioactive-substa

The practice field for athletes is only 20 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi. If the 2020 Olympics do take place in Tokyo, Japan will be exposing the world's finest young athletes to potentially harmful soil and water. http://rt.com/news/173048-tepco-disclose-fukushima-contamination-agriculture/ TEPCO failed to disclose crops over 20KM from Fukushima were contaminated.

Siting the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo involves a huge risk. There are so many things that can still go wrong at Fukushima Daiichi over the next 6 years, that one wonders why the IOC was willing to go along with the obvious lies told by Abe-san. The answer is also obvious- the world economy and current political makeup depends on Japan's stability, as Japan has the third largest economy on the planet, and is the linchpin of US policy in the Far East. Moreover, the powers that be are heavily invested in nuclear power, and want it to appear safe. The Olympic decision is meant to reassure everyone that Japan is fine and nuclear power is not to be feared, so as to maintain the status quo. http://enenews.com/japan-correspondent-very-scary-officials-trying-brainwash-public-about-ongoing-fukushima-crisis-professor-wrapping-heads-around-fukushimas-legacy-human-impact-becoming-clear-very-big-serious-issue
Posted by unhappycamper | Sun Jul 20, 2014, 07:47 AM (1 replies)

Ignore the Smears: Germany’s Green Energy is 1/3 of its Power, Price Falling, Coal Down


Typical Solar Installation (in Germany)

Ignore the Smears: Germany’s Green Energy is 1/3 of its Power, Price Falling, Coal Down
By contributors | Jul. 20, 2014
By Roy L Hales

Germany’s renewable sector (RE) is flexing its muscles, with solar production up 28% and wind up 19% during the first half of 2014. As a result, the renewable sector accounted for 31% of the nation’s electricity. If this trend continues, this may be the third year in a row that Germany sets a record for energy exports. The increase in renewables has also been accompanied by a decrease in fossil fuel usage. Gas-fired power plant production is down 25%, compared to last year, and hard coal production fell 11%. Only lignite power usage rose. So what does solar energy mean to Germany’s utilities?

In the video Birthing a Solar Age, Jerry Rifkin points out that so much renewable energy was fed into the grid one day last month that the price of electricity fell below zero. He predicted there will be more days like this, and in the future Germany’s utilities will not want to sell electricity, as they lose too much money!

Max Hildebrandt, renewables expert at Germany Trade & Invest, points out that it is important to distinguish between the wholesale spot market price and the consumer market price, and to note that utilities in the EU have seen gradual unbundling into grid-side and generation and supply operations.

“Negative prices on the EPEX spot exchange are a relatively rare but not unusual phenomenon,” he said. “They occur only during short peak periods – usually around noon when solar radiation is highest – and not for entire days. They are merely a signal for the large-scale spot market participants and do not have an immediate effect on the more rigid prices in the consumer market.”
Posted by unhappycamper | Sun Jul 20, 2014, 06:52 AM (1 replies)

Mosul w/out Christians for First time in 1,900 Years as Radical Fundamentalists Threaten Minorities


Mosul w/out Christians for First time in 1,900 Years as Radical Fundamentalists Threaten Minorities
By Juan Cole | Jul. 20, 2014

For the first time in nearly 2000 years, there are virtually no Christians in the city of Mosul in northern Iraq. The community is reported to have fled en masse after the so-called “Islamic State” (IS) of radical fundamentalists warned them that they faced the choice of converting to Islam, paying a poll tax, fleeing the city, or… the sword. The incorrectly named “Islamic State,” which is a kind of criminal cartel, said that if they chose to depart, the Christians of Mosul would only be allowed to leave with the clothes on their backs, and their homes and property would be confiscated by IS. There were an estimated 3,000 Christians in Mosul, a city of about 2 million.

IS allegedly set fire to an ancient church in Mosul that goes back to the early centuries of Christianity, though some reports dispute this allegation.

Christianity may have spread to the Jews of Babylon in the time of St. Peter. Penny Young writes:

“It is thought that the Christian population of Iraq is one of the oldest in the world. In his book By the Waters of Babylon (1972) James Wellard hypothesizes that when St Peter referred to ‘the Church at Babylon’, he may have been referring to an actual Jewish Christian community in the region of the Mesopotamian city, similar to other Nazarene communities which were springing up all over the Roman Empire to the west. The word ‘church’ was figurative. The earliest dated church building to have been found in the world so far is at Dura Europos in Syria on the Euphrates close to today’s border with Iraq. The murals were painted between 232 and 256 ad, three quarters of a century before Constantine recog­nized Christianity.”
Posted by unhappycamper | Sun Jul 20, 2014, 06:48 AM (2 replies)

F-35 To Royal Air Tattoo: Wait Till Next Year


F-35 To Royal Air Tattoo: Wait Till Next Year
Angus Batey, Amy Svitak and Tony Osborne | Aviation Week & Space Technology
Jul 21, 2014

The absence of the F-35B from its highly anticipated international debut at two air shows in the U.K. was a public relations embarrassment for U.S. program leadership, prime contractor Lockheed Martin and, especially, engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney, whose F135 caused the fire that grounded the entire Joint Strike Fighter fleet.

The disappointment and wisecracks circulating as a result will eventually subside, and the debut that wasn’t likely will be reduced to a footnote in the program’s storied history.

But the graver implications of a three-week full stand-down of test flights followed by a very restricted flight clearance are yet to be fully understood. Program Executive Officer U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan said on July 10, before the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at RAF Fairford, that about 50 test-flight opportunities had been missed as of that day; flights resumed six days later. While grounded, aircraft were updated with modifications slated for later in the test program, building extra margin that can be used for later flights, he said.

But the F-35’s return to the skies is very limited. Pilots are restricted to Mach 0.9, 18-deg. angle of attack, -1 to 3 gs and half a stick deflection for rolls. The overall impact on the program and its key milestones will depend on how long these limits are in place.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Jul 19, 2014, 06:47 AM (1 replies)

New militant group replacing ‘Islamic State’ jihadists in Mosul, says Iraqi city’s governor


New militant group replacing ‘Islamic State’ jihadists in Mosul, says Iraqi city’s governor
By Luke Harding, The Guardian
Friday, July 18, 2014 10:37 EDT

Isis fighters have partially withdrawn from Iraq’s second city, Mosul, where another militant group – closely linked to former members of Saddam Hussein’s regime – has taken over large areas, according to the city’s governor.

In an interview with the Guardian the governor, Atheel Nujaifi, who escaped from Mosul last month, said the Islamic State’s main “strike force” had withdrawn from the city to fight the Iraqi army further south in Tikrit, he said. A smaller number of local Isis supporters remained in Mosul’s western part, known as the right bank, he said.

Last month Isis staged a stunning advance, seizing Mosul and Tikrit, and raising the spectre of Iraq’s collapse. On Tuesday the Iraqi army was forced to retreat from Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s birthplace, 100 miles north of Baghdad, after its latest attempt to retake the city met heavy Isis resistance.

But according to Nujaifi, most of the eastern half of Mosul is now dominated by the Naqshbandi Army, a group led by high-ranking Saddam-era Ba’athists including Izzat al-Douri, the king of clubs in the US deck of “wanted Iraqi” playing cards. Naqshbandi militants had taken down Isis flags from “a lot of buildings” and replaced them with their own, he said. Other sources inside Mosul confirmed that Isis fighters began to withdraw from the city about a week ago.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Jul 19, 2014, 06:17 AM (0 replies)

US must address its responsibilities south of the border



Guatemalan illegal immigrants deported from the US wait to be processed on their return to Guatemala City this week.

US must address its responsibilities south of the border
Mary Lawlor
Thu, Jul 17, 2014, 01:00

Since October 2013, 52,000 undocumented children entered the United States from Central America and it is estimated that this will reach 90,000 by year end. While official statements describe this as an “urgent humanitarian crisis” the government’s less than humanitarian response has been to request more power from Congress to fast track the deportation of these unaccompanied minors, many of them girls under 13 and children as young as four or five, back to Central America, including Honduras and Guatemala.

Under the umbrella of the war on drugs, the United States has consistently supported some of the most repressive governments in the region and has at times colluded in human rights abuses. This unquestioning support has helped to create a highly polarised society where the majority of people live in poverty, caught between state indifference and the violence of the drug cartels which has effectively spiralled out of control.

On a recent mission to Guatemala to assess the situation for human rights defenders (HRDs), environmentalist Yuri Melini explained the history of the country. Guatemala never had a war of independence but a negotiated handover of power from Spain so that the 10 families who controlled every aspect of the country’s political and economic life remained in power – as they still do.

Ninety per cent of the country’s wealth is controlled by this powerful oligarchy and their influence extends to manipulating elections so that their candidate always wins. According to Melini, himself the survivor of an assassination attempt linked to his environmental work, with “virtually complete control of national media and close links to the military leadership their power is firmly entrenched.” A similar situation prevails in neighbouring Honduras, where a 2009 coup led to an upsurge in violence.
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Jul 18, 2014, 08:15 AM (1 replies)
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