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East Coast Pirate

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Member since: Tue May 15, 2012, 02:33 PM
Number of posts: 775

Journal Archives

Middle East Coronavirus Called 'Threat To The Entire World'

If you've been following the news out of China about the latest bird flu and its threats to humans, may we direct your attention toward the Middle East for a minute?

A virus that many people had been calling a SARS-like virus because of the severe respiratory condition it has triggered in quite a few people has an official name: Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, or MERS-CoV. The World Health Organization has now grudgingly accepted it,despite the group's preference not to put a place in the name of a virus.

Why's that? Well, the place name could lead to "unnecessary geographical discrimination that could be based on coincidental detection rather than on the true area of emergence of a virus," WHO says.

That said, we know that WHO wasn't fond of the provisional "SARS-like" designation for virus either.

Posted by East Coast Pirate | Wed May 29, 2013, 05:38 PM (5 replies)

Syrian Turmoil Threatens ‘Fragile’ Middle East Borders


“We’re looking at the possible beginnings of some real kaleidoscopic change in which states disintegrate, break apart, new entities are formed,” said Chas Freeman, a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia. “No one knows where this is leading. This is the larger game in Syria.”

Steven Heydemann, a senior adviser at the U.S. Institute of Peace, a nonpartisan policy group funded by Congress, has examined the impact if the Middle East map drawn by European powers during World War I begins to break apart. Syria “sits at the intersection of every major strategic axis in the Arab East,” he said in a working paper.

The Middle East’s entrenched ethnic, political and religious rivalries weren’t a major consideration when a well-heeled British diplomat, Sir Mark Sykes, and his French counterpart, Francois Georges-Picot, secretly redrew the region’s borders in an agreement concluded on May 16, 1916.

With the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the two Europeans divided Greater Syria into modern-day Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq , along with part of Turkey, based on colonial convenience. Israel and Jordan were later carved out of British Palestine.

“There was nothing inherent or natural about” the Sykes-Picot agreement, said Daniel Serwer, a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, “It’s a very fragile state structure.”

Posted by East Coast Pirate | Tue May 28, 2013, 06:55 AM (0 replies)

Warren uses liberal clout selectively in new role

WASHINGTON — The fervor has hardly abated around Massachusetts’ celebrity senator, Elizabeth Warren, a fact made crystal clear one recent afternoon when a man stormed her after she delivered a fiery speech on Social Security benefits and breathlessly exclaimed, “I can’t believe I’m with you.”

But Warren’s own view of her role on Capitol Hill, and her strategy for winning influence, is much tamer and more incremental than her fans, or her enemies, might suspect.

She is certainly fanning her celebrity in the liberal activist community to further her agenda. But nearly five months into her tenure, she is using her voice for pinpoint strikes, rather than declarations of war —“looking for the place that I might be able to move the needle, even a little,” she said in an interview.

It’s a calibrated strategy that involves keeping quiet on many issues while using clout within her core sphere of admirers for bursts of attention on select causes. Warren, still a rookie with little official power in the tradition-bound Senate, has avoided using her megaphone on many of the hot topics in Washington —immigration, the IRS scandal, the war on terror — instead focusing on financial regulation, middle-class debt burden, and home-state issues such as the fishing industry.

Posted by East Coast Pirate | Mon May 27, 2013, 11:50 AM (3 replies)

Syria fighting rages, more chemical attacks reported

Source: Reuters

BEIRUT - Heavy fighting raged around the strategic Syrian border town of Qusair and the capital Damascus on Monday and further reports surfaced of chemical weapons attacks by President Bashar al-Assad's forces on rebel areas.

The Syrian military pounded eastern suburbs of Damascus with air strikes and artillery and loud explosions echoed around al-Nabak, 80 km (50 miles) north of the capital, where fighting has cut the highway running north to the central city of Homs, the pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights group said.

Syrian government offensives in recent weeks are widely seen as a campaign to strengthen Assad's negotiating position before a proposed international peace conference sponsored by the United States and Russia.

Opposition activists said Syrian troops backed by Lebanese Hezbollah fighters were pressing a sustained assault on Qusair, a town long used by insurgents as a way station for arms and other supplies from Lebanon.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/27/us-syria-crisis-idUSBRE94Q07D20130527
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Mon May 27, 2013, 11:38 AM (15 replies)

Breeding the Nutrition Out of Our Food

WE like the idea that food can be the answer to our ills, that if we eat nutritious foods we won’t need medicine or supplements. We have valued this notion for a long, long time. The Greek physician Hippocrates proclaimed nearly 2,500 years ago: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Today, medical experts concur. If we heap our plates with fresh fruits and vegetables, they tell us, we will come closer to optimum health.

This health directive needs to be revised. If we want to get maximum health benefits from fruits and vegetables, we must choose the right varieties. Studies published within the past 15 years show that much of our produce is relatively low in phytonutrients, which are the compounds with the potential to reduce the risk of four of our modern scourges: cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and dementia. The loss of these beneficial nutrients did not begin 50 or 100 years ago, as many assume. Unwittingly, we have been stripping phytonutrients from our diet since we stopped foraging for wild plants some 10,000 years ago and became farmers.

These insights have been made possible by new technology that has allowed researchers to compare the phytonutrient content of wild plants with the produce in our supermarkets. The results are startling.

Wild dandelions, once a springtime treat for Native Americans, have seven times more phytonutrients than spinach, which we consider a “superfood.” A purple potato native to Peru has 28 times more cancer-fighting anthocyanins than common russet potatoes. One species of apple has a staggering 100 times more phytonutrients than the Golden Delicious displayed in our supermarkets.

Posted by East Coast Pirate | Mon May 27, 2013, 11:30 AM (5 replies)

Women Were Secretly Filmed at West Point, the Army Says

Source: New York Times

WASHINGTON — A sergeant first class on the staff of the United States Military Academy at West Point has been accused of videotaping female cadets without their consent, sometimes when they were undressed in the bathroom or the shower, according to Army officials.

The Army is contacting about a dozen women to alert them that their privacy may have been violated by the suspect, identified as Sgt. First Class Michael McClendon, and to offer support or counseling, officials said.

The allegations at West Point, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious military academy, come in the midst of growing outrage in Congress, at the Pentagon and from President Obama over reports of sexual harassment and assault in the armed services. They also come as the Army has begun integrating women into combat positions, bringing added demands for fair and equal treatment of those in uniform.

The revelations are especially startling at West Point, which has had problems with sexual assault but also has many progressive faculty members and prides itself on having an environment of discipline and respect. Women have been enrolled at the two-century-old institution, on a commanding bank of the Hudson River in upstate New York, for nearly 40 years.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/23/us/sergeant-accused-of-secretly-filming-female-cadets.html
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Sat May 25, 2013, 09:52 AM (2 replies)

DIA's art collection could face sell-off to satisfy Detroit's creditors


The once unthinkable is suddenly thinkable.

Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr is considering whether the multibillion-dollar collection at the Detroit Institute of Arts should be considered city assets that potentially could be sold to cover about $15 billion in debt.

How much is the art at the DIA worth? Nobody knows exactly, but several billion dollars might well be a low estimate.

Even the possibility has set off a sharp reaction. The DIA hired a bankruptcy lawyer to advise it, and philanthropist and DIA patron A. Alfred Taubman said this evening that “it would be a crime” to sell any of the DIA’s collection to satisfy city creditors.

“I’m sure Mr. Orr, once he thinks about it, will certainly not choose that as one of the assets,” Taubman said. “It’s not just an asset of Detroit. It’s an asset of the country.”
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Fri May 24, 2013, 07:06 AM (11 replies)

Senator Elizabeth Warren finds publisher, editor for her new book


WASHINGTON -- Senator Elizabeth Warren has found a publisher two months after the Massachusetts Democrat began shopping her book proposal.

Henry Holt and Company, one of the nation’s oldest publishers, announced it had obtained the rights to publish the book, which it characterized as telling both “Senator Warren’s improbable rise from a working class family in Oklahoma to the United States Senate,” as well as providing “a rousing call for protecting the middle class.”

The book will be published in the spring of 2014 and will be edited by John Sterling, who is editor at large for Macmillan, of which Henry Holt and Company is part.

Neither the publisher nor Warren’s office would reveal how much of an advance Warren was paid. A press release from the publisher noted that a portion of Warren’s net proceeds would be donated to OneFund Boston.
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Fri May 24, 2013, 06:50 AM (4 replies)

Women Say God Told Them To Walk Down Road Naked


CHARLOTTE, North Carolina —Drivers did double takes as a traffic jam began to form on Providence Road.

That’s because, in plain view, a family of four was strolling down the street —stark naked.

“Like freshly-born baby naked,” said Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Capt. Rod Farley, according to WCNC. “This was Adam and Eve stuff, not even a loincloth.”

Two women, described as being in their 20s and 40s, and two children, were eventually stopped by police.

They allegedly told officers, “the Lord told them to get naked and walk down the street.”
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Thu May 23, 2013, 08:17 AM (14 replies)

Firefighter Reportedly Fired After Caring For Disputed Salem Dog


SALEM, MO (KTVI) –A social media campaign to save a golden retriever that bit a child nearly a year ago now has the support of St. Louis Blues Hockey captain and his wife, David and Kelly Backes. The two have offered to take the dog named Phineas until a new home can be found for the pet. The Backes’ are active in animal protection campaigns.

A Salem, Missouri family is fighting in court to save their dog’s life. The animal nipped a neighbor girl nearly a year ago causing bruising. Now the Salem Mayor has deemed the dog vicious and recommended he be destroyed.

A Salem firefighter says he got involved in the campaign after seeing the dog in a kennel in the fire department basement. Austin Denton said Saturday he may lose his part time job at the fire department because he spoke out criticizing the conditions where the dog was confined.

“His cage was not being cleaned and he had no food at times,” Denton said.
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Thu May 23, 2013, 08:12 AM (6 replies)
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