Daily Archives: March 11, 2010

Chief exorcist: Devil operates at the highest levels of the Vatican

The evil influence of Satan was evident in the highest ranks of the Catholic hierarchy.

The Devil is lurking in the very heart of the Roman Catholic Church, the Vatican’s chief exorcist claimed on Wednesday.

The evil influence of Satan was evident in the highest ranks of the Catholic hierarchy, with “cardinals who do not believe in Jesus and bishops who are linked to the demon,” Father Amorth said.

Telegraph | Mar 11, 2010

By Nick Squires in Rome

Father Gabriele Amorth said people who are possessed by Satan vomit shards of glass and pieces of iron.

He added that the assault on Pope Benedict XVI on Christmas Eve by a mentally unstable woman and the sex abuse scandals which have engulfed the Church in the US, Ireland, Germany and other countries, were proof that the Anti-Christ was waging a war against the Holy See.

“The Devil resides in the Vatican and you can see the consequences,” said Father Amorth, 85, who has been the Holy See’s chief exorcist for 25 years.

“He can remain hidden, or speak in different languages, or even appear to be sympathetic. At times he makes fun of me. But I’m a man who is happy in his work.”

While there was “resistance and mistrust” towards the concept of exorcism among some Catholics, Pope Benedict XVI has no such doubts, Father Amorth said. “His Holiness believes wholeheartedly in the practice of exorcism. He has encouraged and praised our work,” he added.

The evil influence of Satan was evident in the highest ranks of the Catholic hierarchy, with “cardinals who do not believe in Jesus and bishops who are linked to the demon,” Father Amorth said.

In a rare insight into the world of exorcism, the Italian priest told La Repubblica newspaper that the 1973 film The Exorcist gave a “substantially exact” impression of what it was like to be possessed by the Devil.

People possessed by evil sometimes had to be physically restrained by half a dozen people while they were exorcised. They would scream, utter blasphemies and spit out sharp objects, he said.

“From their mouths, anything can come out – pieces of iron as long as a finger, but also rose petals,” said Father Amorth, who claims to have performed 70,000 exorcisms. “When the possessed dribble and slobber, and need cleaning up, I do that too. Seeing people vomit doesn’t bother me. The exorcist has one principal duty – to free human beings from the fear of the Devil.”

The attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II by a Turkish gunman in 1981 and recent revelations of “violence and paedophilia” committed by Catholic priests against children in their care was also the work of the Devil, said Father Amorth, who has written a book about his vocation, Memoirs of an Exorcist, which was published recently.

Father Amorth, who is the president of the Association of Exorcists and fought as a partisan during the war, has previously claimed that both Hitler and Stalin were possessed by the Devil.

In an interview with Vatican Radio in 2006, he said: “Of course the Devil exists and he can not only possess a single person but also groups and entire populations.

“I am convinced that the Nazis were all possessed. All you have to do is think about what Hitler and Stalin did.”

He also condemned the Harry Potter books, saying they were dangerous because they dabbled in the occult and failed to draw a clear distinction between “the Satanic art” of black magic and benevolent white magic.

Climate science: Let’s follow the money

Toronto Sun | Mar 11, 2010

by Lorrie Goldstein

One of the favourite tactics of global warmists is to set up “straw man” arguments and knock them down.

For example, they’ll say the growing number of people skeptical about claims of imminent, catastrophic, man-made global warming — including many scientists — are insanely claiming all climate science is a hoax.

That might be a valid point if that’s what most critics were saying. But it’s not.

Rather, they’re arguing that since it’s only human to “follow the money” and the big money, to say nothing of scientific prestige in the climate change field, at least pre-Climategate, was in predicting imminent, worst-case, catastrophic, man-made global warming, that might have skewed the science somewhat over time.

How do we know it’s human nature to follow the money? From the warmists.

Take Greenpeace’s widely quoted 2007 report that ExxonMobil spent almost

$23 million between 1998 and 2006 funding skeptics who questioned man-made global warming, part of, they say, the oil giant’s campaign to sow confusion with the public.

So, Greenpeace’s argument goes, these skeptics’ views were influenced by money.

Okay. Let’s say that’s true. And, since ExxonMobil is only one company, albeit the biggest and baddest on this issue according to the warmists, let’s say Greenpeace’s research into ExxonMobil uncovered only 1/100th of the total funding the fossil fuel industry and others paid to skeptics. Let’s say it was

$2.3 billion. That would certainly be a lot of money.

But as Joanne Nova, an Australian climate blogger (www.joannenova.com.au) and author of The Skeptics Handbook recently noted, it pales beside the $79 billion the U.S. government alone has spent on climate research and technology since 1989. (Nova rejects the science of anthropogenic global warming, which doesn’t change her point.)

Given that kind of public mega-money invested in climate science and technology in just one country, it makes you wonder about some things.

For example, about why the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) still apparently doesn’t have the resources to double-check facts, so that it doesn’t end up doing stupid stuff such as predicting Himalayan glaciers will disappear by 2035, or getting the amount of land below sea level in the Netherlands wrong by a factor of over 100%. (The list of IPCC errors grows almost daily.)

Nigel Calder, former editor of New Scientist magazine, explained the heady effect all this public cash, starting decades ago, had on scientists in the U.K., a hot-bed of climate hysteria, in the British documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle.

“If I wanted to do research on, shall we say, the squirrels of Sussex … I would write my grant application saying ‘I want to investigate the nut-gathering behaviour of squirrels, with special reference to the effects of global warming,’ and that way, I get my money,” Calder noted. “If I forgot to mention global warming, I might not get the money.”

Exactly. No hoax, just a telling observation of the human tendency of climate scientists, like everyone else, to follow the money. Perhaps to the conclusion that when the political flavour of the month (or decade) is to find evidence of imminent, catastrophic, man-made, global warming, scientific studies over time may tend to overstate conclusions, understate uncertainties and focus excessively on worst-case scenarios.

Which, as we’re now learning, appears, in many cases, to have happened.

Review of U.N. panel’s report on climate change won’t reexamine errors

washingtonpost.com | Mar 11, 2010

By David A. Fahrenthold

An outside review of a U.N. panel — promised after flaws were uncovered in the panel’s most recent report on climate change — will not recheck that report’s conclusions and will instead focus on improving procedures for the future, officials said Wednesday.

U.N. officials defended their decision, saying that there is still no reason to doubt the most important conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In a landmark report in 2007, the panel found “unequivocal” evidence that the climate was warming.

“Let me be clear: The threat posed by climate change is real,” Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said during a news conference at U.N. headquarters in New York. “Nothing that has been alleged or revealed in the media recently alters the fundamental scientific consensus on climate change, nor does it diminish the unique importance of the IPCC work.”

But in Washington, Republican lawmakers said it is a mistake for the review not to delve more deeply into the U.N. panel’s workings to see whether it had committed other errors beyond those already known.

“This is only half the battle,” Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), one of Congress’s most determined opponents of legislation to cap greenhouse gases, said in a statement. “A legitimate inquiry must look back and examine the science in the assessment reports, and not just the mistakes that have been uncovered thus far.”

Also Wednesday, University of Colorado Professor Roger Pielke Jr., a past critic of the U.N. panel, said that a reexamination of the earlier report might restore some credibility to climate science.

“There’s some closure needed on these issues that have been basically battled out in the media,” Pielke said.

In recent months, scientists have questioned several items in the report. In one case, the panel said incorrectly that Himalayan glaciers were expected to melt by 2035. Critics also said the panel relied improperly on data from advocacy groups, not peer-reviewed science.

On Wednesday, U.N. officials said the outside review of the panel will be overseen by the InterAcademy Council, an association of national academies of science from around the world.

Robbert Dijkgraaf, a Dutch professor who will serve as co-leader of the review, said the flaws identified in the 2007 report could be used as “case studies.” But, he said, the review’s focus will be on the future — on examining the panel’s leadership, methods of sourcing and conflict-of-interest policies — in preparation for its next report, due in 2013.

Al Gore’s climate groups unite as he sees ‘massive’ opposition

Two groups aimed at fighting global warming are uniting as their founder, former vice president Al Gore, sees massive opposition.

USA Today | Mar 8, 2010

By Richard Drew

“There has been a very large, organized campaign to try to convince people that it (global warming) is not real, to try to convince people that they shouldn’t worry about it,” Gore said during an interview on the Norwegian talk show Skavlan to promote his newest book Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis.  Gore said:

In my country, the oil and coal companies spent $500 million last year just on television advertising just on these questions. There are now five anti-climate lobbyists on Capitol Hill in Washington for every member of the House and Senate. So it’s been a very massive, organized campaign.

To bolster their muscle, two groups that Gore founded in 2006  announced Friday that they are merging.

The union of the Washington-based Alliance for Climate Protection and the Nashville-based Climate Project will create, they said, “one of the largest non-profit educational and advocacy organizations in the world.”

The unified group, which will carry the Alliance’s name, will have branches in eight countries, more than 200 staffers in 30 U.S. offices and 3,000 volunteers in 55 countries.

Some of its funding comes from Gore, who won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his warning about climate change. It gets 100% of the proceeds of both his new book — which uses recycled paper — as well as his 2006 best seller, An Inconvenient Truth.

San Francisco federal judge could change future of ‘mad scientist’ food products

Case in front of San Francisco federal judge could change future of ‘mad scientist’ food products on our dinner plates.

Judge in California Could Halt Planting of Genetically Modified Sugar Beets

Salem-News.com | Mar 5, 2010

by Tim King

(SAN FRANCISCO) – A case involving genetically modified (GM) food will be in front of a federal judge Friday in San Francisco.

Researchers say the future of generations of Americans hangs in the balance, as the judge could order a halt to the planting or harvesting of any GM “Roundup Ready” sugar beets in the U.S.

This would strike a blow to growers in the Red River Valley, where more sugar beets are grown than any other region. Most of these growers have already been using Roundup Ready seed varieties for two years.

Scientists say that is no type of positive proof. GM foods are put through a complicated unnatural process. Our reporter April Scott took this on just a few days ago in her article, While We Were Sleeping… GM Food and the Brink of No Return[1]

“The process behind genetically modified food involves a careful re-configuration of genes combining e-coli bacteria, soil bacteria and the cauliflower mosaic virus that causes tumors in plants. They add an antibiotic and then artificially force it into plant cells with a gene invasion technique. All this is so farmers can douse nearly unlimited amounts of Roundup Herbicide on the crops and the plants won’t die.”

The Organic & Non-GMO Report published an article in January, stating that scientists are finding many negative impacts of Roundup Ready GM crops.

They say the USDA doesn’t want to publicize studies showing negative impacts.

They spoke to Robert Kremer, a microbiologist with the US Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service and an adjunct professor in the Division of Plant Sciences at the University of Missouri.

He is co-author of one of five papers published in the October 2009 issue of The European Journal of Agronomy that found negative impacts of Roundup herbicide, which is used extensively with Roundup Ready genetically modified crops.

Kremer has been studying the impacts of glyphosate, the primary ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, since 1997.

The Organic & Non-GMO Report interviewed Mr. Kremer about his research and the reluctance of the USDA to publicize the findings of the five papers.

Full Story and Interview

Flight attendants union wants combat training

A passenger gets a preflight pat-down at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, where the alleged Christmas Day bomber’s flight originated. (Ed Oudenaarden / AFP/Getty Images / December 28, 2009)

The labor group is pushing for new rules to strengthen in-cabin security, including hand-to-hand combat instruction, personal radios and standardized size limits for carry-on luggage.

latimes.com | Mar 6, 2010

By Hugo Martín

The federal government has made clear its strategy for cracking down on potential terrorist attacks in airplanes: more sophisticated scanners and increased scrutiny of passengers at crowded airports.

But now the nation’s flight attendants say the government needs to ratchet up security measures inside airplanes.

The Assn. of Flight Attendants has been lobbying Congress for the last month or so to adopt its strategy for stronger counter-terrorism measures. The group hopes that lawmakers will include money to put some of their ideas into action under an upcoming funding bill for the Federal Aviation Administration.

The group, which represents more than 55,000 attendants at 20 airlines, wants to implement a four-point plan:

* Institute mandatory hand-to-hand combat training for all crew members.

* Equip flight attendants with portable communications devices so they can speak to the pilots during emergencies.

* Standardize the size of carry-on luggage so that flight attendants can look for suspicious passengers instead of struggling with oversized bags.

* Shut down onboard wireless Internet during high-threat periods to prevent terrorists from communicating with collaborators on the ground.

“For better or for worse, once the cabin doors close, the flight attendants are the last line of defense,” said Corey Caldwell, a spokeswoman for the association.

She pointed out that combat training for flight attendants is now voluntary, with employees who take it attending the lessons on their own time.

A portable communications system would have allowed flight attendants to talk with the pilots during the attempted attack on a Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas Day, she added. On that flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, a Nigerian national allegedly tried to ignite an explosive hidden in his underwear.

The nation’s airlines have not agreed on a maximum size for carry-on luggage because the overhead bins vary in size according to airplane model. The group suggests the standard size be no bigger than 22 inches by 9 inches by 14 inches — the same limit already in place at American, Continental and Delta airlines. Virgin America, Southwest and Hawaiian airlines allow bigger carry-on bags.

“By having uniform standards, everybody would be on the same page,” she said.

As for shutting down the onboard Internet, she said the Transportation Security Administration would determine when the airlines are at a high risk for a terrorist attack.

Caldwell said the association has not come up with a price tag for the changes and is not seeking raises for flight attendants as part of the deal.

“We are not taking on more responsibility,” she said. “We just want more tools to make the plane safer.”

Reading possible terrorists’ clues

When it comes to airport security, an Israeli company has proposed an intriguing technology designed to read the minds of would-be terrorists.

WeCu Technologies (as in “we see you”) claims it has devised a method to identify airline passengers with bad intentions by reading the reactions of passengers to certain “stimuli.”

In the system being tested in Israel, projectors at airport terminals would flash different images associated with a certain terrorist group or symbols that only a would-be terrorist would recognize.

The assumption is that people cannot hide their reactions to certain images, just as anyone might react to a photo of a close relative suddenly appearing on a wall. The technology would use hidden cameras aimed at the passing face to capture and analyze even the most subtle reactions. Even an averted glance or a slight increase in heart rate could signal a passenger’s intentions.

If the cameras pick up suspicious looks or movement, the passenger can be pulled aside for further screening.

“One by one you can screen out from the flow of people those with specific malicious intent,” WeCu Chief Executive Ehud Given told the Associated Press.

Looking beyond the on-time rates

Because of a steep drop in passenger demand, most airlines are running fewer flights, and as a result are getting in and out of airports on time.

Statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation show that the nation’s airlines have the best overall on-time arrival rate since 2003.

But that doesn’t make a difference to FlyersRights. org, an airline consumer rights group that issues an annual airline report card based on different statistics.

In a report card issued last month, the group handed out nearly three times as many F’s as A’s.

According to the FlyersRights report card, JetBlue, Comair and Delta airlines were among 11 carriers that received the worst marks for on-time performance, while Alaska and Hawaiian were among four that earned A’s.

One set of grades was based on the frequency of flights being delayed more than three hours. The group graded each airline based on delays per total flights. So, JetBlue got an F for having one flight delayed for every 2,776 flights, while Alaska earned an A for one three-hour-plus delay for every 137,322 flights.

New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport won the dubious distinction of having the most flights — 195 flights — delayed more than three hours.

An airline’s on-time performance has taken on new importance since federal regulators adopted penalties last year for airlines that leave passengers stranded on the tarmac too long.

Under new federal regulations that take effect next month, airlines must give passengers the option to disembark if a flight is stuck on the tarmac for more than three hours. Airlines that fail to comply could be fined up to $27,500 per passenger. That could amount to $5.5 million for a jet carrying 200 people.

Most airline representatives are tight-lipped about how they plan to avoid the fines.

But at least one major U.S. airline has devised detailed plans for every airport to ensure that passengers are unloaded from the plane before the three-hour mark, according to an airline representative. He asked not to have himself or his airline identified because he was not authorized to speak on the subject.

In cases in which a delayed plane cannot pull back to the terminal because of congestion, he said, the passengers could be asked to climb out of the plane via a portable staircase onto the tarmac. This could be a nasty scene at Kennedy airport in the dead of winter, he said. “It’s going to be pretty ugly.”

Osteoporosis drugs could cause broken bones

  • New research suggests that Fosamax could contribute to broken bones.
  • In 2008, bisphosphonate sales exceeded $3.5 billion according to data from IMS Health.
  • In 2008, over 37 million prescriptions were written for the osteoporosis medication.
  • Fosamax is supposed to make bones stronger, but now there’s mounting evidence that taking Fosamax could cause spontaneous fractures.
  • Agency Says It Will Work With Outside Experts to Gather More Information

ABC | Mar 10, 2010

FDA to Investigate Possible Osteoporosis Drug-Femur Fracture Link After ABC News Report

By CHRISTINE ROMO, LARA SALAHI and DAN CHILDS

Spontaneous mid femur fracture courtesy of Jennifer P. Schneider, MD, PhD January 2006 Volume 61, Number 1 Geriatrics

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today that it will look into whether a link exists between the long-term use of certain osteoporosis drugs and a particular type of leg fracture after ABC News reports investigated the possible connection.
New research suggests that Fosamax could contribute to broken bones.

Common brand names of these medications, known as bisphosphonates, include Fosamax, Actonel, Boniva and Reclast.

“Recent news reports have raised the question about whether there is an increased risk of this type of fracture in patients with osteoporosis using these medications,” the FDA said today in its drug safety communication.

“At this point, the data that FDA has reviewed have not shown a clear connection between bisphosphonate use and a risk of atypical subtrochanteric femur fractures,” the statement said. “FDA is working closely with outside experts, including members of the recently convened American Society of Bone and Mineral Research Subtrochanteric Femoral Fracture Task Force, to gather additional information that may provide more insight into this issue.”

Fosamax is supposed to make bones stronger, but now there’s mounting evidence that for some women, taking Fosamax or its generic alendronate for more than five years could cause spontaneous fractures.

Related

Fosamax, Actonel, Osteoporosis and Toulouse Lautrec

Sales of the popular drug increased when doctors began prescribing it not only to women showing signs of osteoporosis, but also those who were osteopenic, and thus, at risk for the disease. Now some doctors worry that staying on the drug for more than five years can cause some women’s bones to become more brittle.

This is not the first time that many doctors have reported an opposite effect for many people taking the drug. Fosamax has already been linked to severe musculoskeletal pain, as well as to a serious bone-related jaw disease called osteonecrosis.

“In worldwide post-marketing experience with FOSAMAX/FOSAMAX Plus D, rare reports consistent with osteonecrosis of the jaw have been received. Many of these reports lack sufficient clinical details to make definitive assessments and/or are confounded, particularly since a generally accepted definition of ONJ in the general population is unknown,” Merck responded in a written response to the suggested link. “Rare cases of ONJ have also been reported in patients who do not have osteoporosis and who have not taken any bisphosphonate medicines.”

In 2008, the FDA reached out to the pharmaceutical company Merck about the reports of femur fractures. After 16 months, Merck added patients’ reports of femur fractures to the list of possible side effects reported by patients included in the drug’s package insert.

“It took Merck an entire year to respond,” ABC News senior health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser said. “Just six words: ‘low energy femoral shaft and subtrochanteric fractures.'”

The FDA has also never made an effort to inform the public or doctors across the country who prescribe bisphosphonates of the possible side effect, Besser said.

A causal relationship between Fosamax and these fractures has not been established, according to Merck.

In 2008, bisphosphonate sales exceeded $3.5 billion according to data from IMS Health. In 2008, over 37 million prescriptions were written for the osteoporosis medication