Daily Archives: November 11, 2008

Georgia congressman warns of Obama dictatorship

AP | Nov 10, 2008

By BEN EVANS

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Republican congressman from Georgia said Monday he fears that President-elect Obama will establish a Gestapo-like security force to impose a Marxist dictatorship.

“It may sound a bit crazy and off base, but the thing is, he’s the one who proposed this national security force,” Rep. Paul Broun said of Obama in an interview Monday with The Associated Press. “I’m just trying to bring attention to the fact that we may — may not, I hope not — but we may have a problem with that type of philosophy of radical socialism or Marxism.”

Broun cited a July speech by Obama that has circulated on the Internet in which the then-Democratic presidential candidate called for a civilian force to take some of the national security burden off the military.

“That’s exactly what Hitler did in Nazi Germany and it’s exactly what the Soviet Union did,” Broun said. “When he’s proposing to have a national security force that’s answering to him, that is as strong as the U.S. military, he’s showing me signs of being Marxist.”

Obama’s comments about a national security force came during a speech in Colorado in which he called for expanding the nation’s foreign service.

“We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set,” Obama said in July. “We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.”

The Obama transition team declined to comment on Broun’s remarks. But spokesman Tommy Vietor said Obama was referring in the speech to a proposal for a civilian reserve corps that could handle postwar reconstruction efforts such as rebuilding infrastructure — an idea endorsed by the Bush administration.

Broun said he believes Obama would move to ban gun ownership if he does build a national security force.

Obama has said he respects the Second Amendment right to bear arms and favors “common sense” gun laws. Gun rights advocates interpret that as meaning he’ll at least enact curbs on ownership of assault weapons and concealed weapons. As an Illinois state lawmaker, Obama supported a ban on semiautomatic weapons and tighter restrictions on firearms generally.

“We can’t be lulled into complacency,” Broun said. “You have to remember that Adolf Hitler was elected in a democratic Germany. I’m not comparing him to Adolf Hitler. What I’m saying is there is the potential of going down that road.”

Palin hopes God will ‘show her the door’ to the White House

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“I’m like, OK, God, if there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray, I’m like, don’t let me miss the open door. Show me where the open door is.”

Guardian | Nov 11, 2008

Barack Obama hasn’t even been inaugurated as president and Sarah Palin is already weighing up her chances of running against him in four years time.

In what Fox News is billing as Palin’s first post-election interview, the Alaska governor says she hopes God will “show her the way” to the White House if the opportunity presents itself in 2012.

“I’m like, OK, God, if there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray, I’m like, don’t let me miss the open door. Show me where the open door is.

“Even if it’s cracked up a little bit, maybe I’ll plough right on through that and maybe prematurely plough through it, but don’t let me miss an open door,” she tells the Fox interviewer Greta Van Susteren.

Susteren spent two days with Palin at her home and office, and last night Fox broadcast the first part of a wide-ranging interview with the Republican senator.

During the interview Palin defends herself against criticisms that she had an appalling knowledge of world geography and spent an excessive amount of money on clothes. She lays the blame on the media for not correcting the “garbage” written about her and on the anonymous Republican aides who leaked false information about her.

According to Palin – wearing a pink jacket bought from one of her favourite Alaska stores – she did not want or ask for the $150,000 (£96,000) worth of clothes the Republican party gave her for the duration of the campaign.

“I would have been happy to have worn my own clothes from day one,” she says, adding that the clothes she wore for the campaign had been returned to the party.

She also denies accusations that she did not know Africa was a continent rather than a country.

“Never, ever did I talk about, well, gee, is it (Africa) a country or is it a continent,” says Palin.

Although it was the not very liberal Fox News which made the Africa claim, Palin pinned much of the blame for the damaging allegations against her on the liberal commentators she refers to as “those bloggers in their parents’ basement just talkin’ garbage”.

There’s little self-criticism or soul-searching from Palin. Even when she admits going off message, she says she does not regret it because it did not harm the campaign.

“If I went off script once in a while, I can’t for the life of me remember any one time where it would have harmed the ticket,” she says.

Abortion, feminism, how much she “loves and honours” the Republican presidential candidate, John McCain, and how her appeal lies in the fact she’s “a mom, someone who loves this country so much” are also covered in last night’s interview. The second part goes out tonight.

And, if any further evidence were needed that Palin is keen to capitalise on her new-found fame, there are a series of interviews with other broadcasters lined up for the rest of the week and she will take part in a press conference at the Republican Governors Association in Florida on Thursday.

Love her or hate her, she’s clearly not going to just slip back quietly into the Alaskan wilderness.

China offers military bootcamp to 4 million internet addicts

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A young Chinese internet addict receives electric shock treatment in his room at the Beijing Military Region Central Hospital, the country’s first government-approved facility geared toward curing Internet addicts.

Chinese hospitals will open special units to treat internet addiction after surveys revealed that over four million teenagers spend more than six hours a day online.

Addicts get counseling, military discipline, hypnosis and mild electro-shock therapy to help them reform.

Telegraph | Nov 11, 2008

By Malcolm Moore in Shanghai

China is likely to become the first country in the world to officially recognise internet addiction as a clinical disease as it battles with the increasing number of people who spend most of their time in chatrooms, blogging or playing online games.

The ministry of health should adopt a new definition of internet addiction next year, which lists symptoms of the addiction including irritation, difficulty in concentration or sleeping, mental or physical distress and a yearning to get back online.

Addicts are classified as users who spend at least six hours online a day.

The manual was drawn up by psychologists who studied 1,300 “problematic” internet users. One-tenth of surfers under 18, or four million people, are addicted, mainly to online gaming.

Meanwhile, a poll by InterActiveCorp, an online media company, showed that 42 per cent of Chinese youths “felt” addicted to the Web, compared to 18 per cent in the United States.

Tao Ran, an expert at Beijing’s Military General Hospital, which drew up the diagnosis, said special psychiatric units in Chinese hospitals would be designated to treat addicts.

“Eighty percent of addicts can be cured with treatment, which usually lasts about three months,” said Mr Tao, without describing what might be involved.

Mr Tao runs a “boot camp” in Daxing, a suburb of Beijing, one of several hundred across the country. During the therapy, Mr Tao, who built his career on treating heroin addicts, offers addicts counselling, military discipline, hypnosis and mild electro-shock therapy to help them reform.

The popularity of online gaming in Asia has led to the creation of enormous salons in which hundreds of users play games for several days in a row.

China’s government has already tried to limit this practice by forcing each user to register their full name and identification number and by building software into the games which kicks players off after five hours.

Gao Wenbin, a researcher with the psychology institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said Chinese youths were finding refuge online from the pressures of being only children. “Most children in China are the only ones in their families. They are told only to study hard, but no one really cares about their needs,” he said.

Odorprinting to be used for biometric identification in five years

New way to sniff out criminals

Findings show promise for odor typing.

Philadelphia Inquirer | Nov 10, 2008

Expect to see this one on CSI, if not in the hands of real law enforcement:

A crime scene investigator walks into an empty flat in Philadelphia or a cave in Pakistan’s tribal areas. A gizmo he’s carrying beeps or flashes, and – presto! – he’s sniffed out the suspect.

Literally.

To fingerprinting, voice recognition, DNA matching and iris scanning, you may soon add a new identification technology: odor typing.

Many animals recognize mates and relatives by their unique odor signatures. Insects can detect even faint smells from miles away.

“Think of a person or an animal as having an envelope of odors around it that they travel with,” says biologist Gary Beauchamp, director of Philadelphia’s Monell Chemical Senses Center, a hot spot for odor experts.

For their latest research, published 10 days ago in the online journal PLoS One, Beauchamp and colleagues trained mice to respond to the odor of a particular individual’s urine. (Mice are big on urine. Humans respond better to sweat, which carries odors in a similar fashion.)

Then the scientists tried to confuse the “sensor mice” by feeding the “donor mice” a diet so different that they didn’t smell the same. But the mice sniffed through it.

The next step is to confirm the finding in humans. Beauchamp thinks that a crude device for identifying people by their unique, genetically determined odor type could be five years away.

So what’s wrong with plain old fingerprints?

Not only does your odor stick around, but you needn’t have touched anything in order to trigger a match.

“Imagine going into a place and knowing who’s been there,” Beauchamp says.

Women to delay motherhood into their 40s and beyond through ovary storage

Women will soon be able to delay motherhood into their 40s and beyond by having one of their ovaries removed and stored, the doctor behind the world’s first whole ovary transplant has said.

“They do not want to commit to a relationship until they are sure it is the right one, they want to get the degree, save a little money and buy the nice flat. It is the modern way.”

Telegraph | Nov 11, 2008

By Rebecca Smith

Dr Sherman Silber, performed the transplant between two twins last year and the recipient, who cannot be named, is due to give birth in London today.

The operation is the first where the whole organ has been transplanted from one person to another.

Previously slivers of ovarian tissue have been removed and re-implanted and have successfully begun to produce eggs resulting in pregnancies and births.

The technique will offer hope to women undergoing treatment for cancer which can leave them infertile by allowing them to store an ovary before having cancer treatment and then re-implanting it once they have the all clear.

But the ‘overwhelming usage’ will be women who want to preserve their fertility for the future and it delay the menopause, Dr Silber said.

“We are in the midst of an infertility epidemic which has become an enormous public problem.

“The reason is that women have opportunities they didn’t have before, they do not want to commit to a relationship until they are sure it is the right one, they want to get the degree, save a little money and buy the nice flat.

“It is the modern way, not just in England or the USA, everywhere women are putting off child-bearing.”

He said women could have one ovary removed and frozen in their 20s for use in the future.

Dr Silber said: “They then have a young ovary that can be transplanted back at any time and extend fertility.”

Dr Silber carried out the ovarian transplant in St Louis, Missouri, last year. Previous attempts in India and China have failed.

The donor twin, who lives in Vancouver in Canada, donated her ovary to her sister, who lives in London with her husband, who had gone through an early menopause which had left her with severe osteoporosis, due to the lack of hormones made by the ovaries.

She wanted a long-term solution rather than use hormone replacement therapy and insisted on the ‘daring procedure’, Dr Silber said.

Just a few months after the surgery, she fell pregnant.

She will have to take immuno-surpressant drugs for the rest of her life although this is not thought to harm the developing baby as experience with 2,000 births from women who have had kidney transplants has demonstrated.

The twins are identical so the suppression drugs can be kept to a minimum and also the ovary is not rejected as readily as some other organs.

The case has proven the delicate technique works and in four non-identical twins will go through the surgery next year, Dr Silber said.

But the ‘critical pay-off’, he said, was the fact that women would now be able to preserve their fertility using this method. He said it was ‘so much nicer and more convenient’ than using an egg donor in order to conceive and ethically there is no problem.