Excerpts of Key News Articles in Major Media
Below are highly revealing excerpts of key news articles from the major media suggesting major cover-ups and corruption.
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to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
New Trove Opened in Kennedy Killing
2008-02-19, New York Times
The Kennedy assassination ... re-entered the spotlight ... Monday, after the Dallas district attorney unveiled the contents of a safe that had been secret for more than 40 years. Inside were clothing worn by Lee Harvey Oswald; a small, tooled leather holster belonging to his killer, Jack Ruby; and piles of typed, old, crackling documents. Perhaps the most intriguing item was what purports to be a transcript of a conversation Ruby had with Oswald at Ruby’s Dallas nightclub, the Carousel, in which they plot to kill Kennedy to satisfy organized crime bosses. The trove of material connected to the assassination was collected by the former district attorney, Henry M. Wade, who prosecuted Ruby and continued in office until 1987. Mr. Wade died in 2001. The documents have not been examined by outside experts. Once the material is cataloged and images scanned into computers, it will be donated to a museum and made available to the public. Although his predecessors had chosen to keep the material in a safe on the 10th floor of the Dallas County Courthouse for decades, [Craig Watkins, who became district attorney last year,] said he saw no reason to do so. “We decided that this information is too important to keep secret,” he said. In addition to the transcript, he displayed two sets of brass knuckles that belonged to Ruby, and a letter from the Federal Bureau of Investigation to the Dallas police chief, contending that Ruby’s sister said her family had somehow obtained a police report on the preparations for Kennedy’s visit to Dallas.
Note: For lots of revealing information on the JFK and other assassinations, click here.
Cancer and the bacterial connection
2008-02-18, Los Angeles Times
Today, some scientists think [that] germs can teach our bodies how to fight back against tumors. Dr. John Timmerman, a cancer immunotherapy expert at UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center, says this revolution has produced "the most exciting sets of compounds in cancer immunology." New studies are revealing that certain cancers may be reduced by exposure to disease-causing bacteria and viruses. The studies also imply that our cleaner, infection-free lifestyles may be contributing to the rise in certain cancers over the last 50 years, scientists say, because they make the immune system weaker or less mature. Germs cause disease but may also fortify the body, a notion summed up in a 2006 report by a team of Canadian researchers as "whatever does not kill me makes me stronger." In the 1980s, dermatologists began noticing that patients with severe acne, which is caused by another type of bacterium, have reduced rates of skin cancer, lymphoma and leukemia. According to a paper by Dr. Mohammad Namazi at the Shiraz University of Medical Sciences in Iran, studies showed that these bacteria, when injected into animals, appear to stimulate the immune system and shrink tumors. In reports published in the last two years, Harvey Checkoway, a University of Washington epidemiologist, has found that female cotton workers in Shanghai have a 40% to 60% lower risk of lung, breast, and pancreas cancer than other factory workers. Other recent studies by Giuseppe Mastrangelo at the University of Padua in Italy found that dairy farmers exposed to high levels of manure dust are up to five times less likely to develop lung cancer than their colleagues who work in open fields.
Note: For exciting reports of promising new approaches to curing cancer, click here.
U.S. expanding the law - domestic and foreign - to benefit corporations
2008-02-17, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
As a U.S. taxpayer, you may be contributing to fewer cheap drugs on international shelves. Public dollars support the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the trade agency with authority to pressure foreign governments to change their domestic intellectual property laws. As such, the agency actively presses for laws that would keep generic drugs out of markets worldwide. Congress is considering legislation to create a separate executive branch office dedicated to using government resources for lobbying other countries to change their laws, sometimes exclusively to benefit certain U.S. companies. That's a bad idea for patients here and abroad, because it would give the U.S. government more power in an area where it should instead have less. The trade agency's interpretation of what other countries' domestic laws need to cover expands beyond the broadest definitions within U.S. law. To give one example, data gathered during clinical trials of new drugs are not protected by copyright, patent or trademark in the United States. The Food and Drug Administration restricts use of test results finding that a brand-name drug is safe when considering the safety of identical generic drugs. The trade representative is using its authority to press for comparable rules restricting the approval process for generic drugs in other countries. It doesn't take much sleuthing to follow the money back to the U.S. pharmaceutical manufacturers on the trade agency's advisory panel, who can maintain monopolist profits while a generic drug is blocked from the market in Guatemala, Malaysia or any of the dozen other countries that the trade agency is pressuring to adopt U.S.-style restrictions on generic drug approval.
Note: For more reports on the power of the pharmaceutical industry to influence government policy, click here.
Fraud Crackdown Comes With a Loophole
2008-02-13, ABC News/Associated Press
A Bush administration plan to crack down on contract fraud has a multibillion-dollar loophole: The proposal to force companies to report abuse of taxpayer money will not apply to work overseas, including projects to secure and rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan. For decades, contractors have been asked to report internal fraud or overpayment on government-funded projects. Compliance has been voluntary, and over the past 15 years the number of company-reported fraud cases has declined steadily. Now, the Justice Department wants to force companies to notify the government if they find evidence of contract abuse of more than $5 million. Failure to comply could make a company ineligible for future government work. The proposal, now in the final approval stages, specifically exempts "contracts to be performed outside the United States," according to a notice published last month in the Federal Register. Critics including the watchdog group Taxpayers Against Fraud said the overseas exemption raises suspicions. "I hate to sound cynical, but what lobbyist working for a contractor in Iraq wanted this get-out-of-jail card?" asked Patrick Burns, spokesman for the government watchdog group. "I'm not saying that's the way it went - I'm just suggesting that's the most logical line to draw. I think somebody's got some explaining to do." After the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. poured billions of dollars into projects [in] those nations. With the money came the fraud. At least $14 million has been lost in bribes alone over the past five years in Iraq and Afghanistan. An estimated $350 billion is spent on government contracts annually, according to the White House Office of Federal Procurement Policy.
Note: For many additional reports from reliable sources on war profiteering, click here.
New UFO Sighting Reported In Stephenville Texas
The truth may be out there, but, when it comes to UFO stories, it is sure hard to find. Conjecture breeds conspiracy theories. Any official denial can be labeled a cover-up. In the end, it often boils down to a he-said-she-said scenario. Such is the case in Stephenville, Texas, a small, rural community thrust into the spotlight after several unexplained disturbances in January. Though that spotlight has now faded, the town remains altered. Some members of the community want to move on; others cannot let go. And some, if you believe them, say that UFOs are still there. According to Angelia Joiner, the reporter who wrote the original UFO stories, there was another UFO sighting on Saturday. "If the military is testing a secret military device, why do they keep doing it here?" she asked me. "If it's not a secret why do they keep scaring the bejesus out of people?" Adding a further wrinkle to this story, Joiner was fired from The Empire-Tribune a week ago. She claims she had been told to back off the story and thinks the town's "upper crust" was "embarrassed" by all the attention. The Empire-Tribune has avoided comment, which of course only fans the flames of the conspiracy theories. For its part, the military has done itself no favors, first denying that it had any aircraft in the area, then flip-flopping a few days later -- after more witnesses came forward. A spokesperson blamed internal miscommunication for the mix-up. Others, including CNN's Larry King, have asked whether it wasn't a cover-up. But who can we believe? The truth remains unidentified.
Note: As revealed in this commentary, the courageous reporter, Angelia Joiner, who gave the Stephenville UFO story legs and led to more sales of her newspaper than ever before, has now been fired. To read highly revealing information about this bizarre twist, click here and here.
Science of the orgasm
2008-02-11, Los Angeles Times
As they seek to document and demystify one of life's great thrills, scientists have run across some real head-scratchers. How, for example, can they explain the fact that some men and women who are paralyzed and numb below the waist are able to have orgasms? How to explain the "orgasmic auras" that can descend at the onset of epileptic seizures -- sensations so pleasurable they prompt some patients to refuse antiseizure medication? And how on Earth to explain the case of the amputee who felt his orgasms centered in that missing foot? No one -- no sexologist, no neuroscientist -- really knows. For a subject with so many armchair experts, the human orgasm is remarkably mysterious. But today, a few scientists are making real progress -- in part because they're changing their focus. To uncover the orgasm's secrets, researchers are looking ... to the place behind the scenes where the true magic happens. They're examining the central nervous system: the network of electrical impulses that zip to and fro through the brain and spinal cord. In an orgasm orchestra, the genitalia may be the instruments, but the central nervous system is the conductor. Armed with new lab tools and fearless volunteers, scientists are getting first-ever glimpses of how the brain lights up (and, in places, shuts down) when the orgasmic fireworks go off. They're tracing nerves and finding new pathways for pleasure that help explain how people with shattered spinal cords can defy sexual expectations.
Climate scientist they could not silence
2008-02-10, Times of London
The trap was sprung in February 2006. The White House ordered that Dr Jim Hansen was to be denied the oxygen of publicity forthwith. He was to be banned from appearing in newspapers and on TV and radio. He was effectively to disappear. It was the kind of treatment that might be reserved for terrorists, criminals or, in a totalitarian regime, for political dissidents. Hansen, however, was none of these things. The director of NASA’s renowned Goddard space science laboratories was a dry, rather self-effacing climate change scientist with a worldwide reputation for accurate and high-quality research. Hansen’s visit to London last week was partly inspired by the decision to approve construction of a new coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth in Kent. This, Hansen wants to warn us, is a recipe for global warming disaster. The recent warm winters that Britain has experienced are a clear sign that the climate is changing, he says. “We are fast approaching a series of tipping points. Changes such as the melting of the Arctic ice cap, the acidification of the oceans and the global rises in temperature could be approaching the point of becoming irreversible. In the face of such threats it is madness to propose a new generation of power plants based on burning coal, which is the dirtiest and most polluting of all the fossil fuels. We need a moratorium on the construction of coal-fired power plants and we must phase out the existing ones within two decades.”
Note: For lots more reliable information on global warming, click here.
Coral Castle: Mysterious Monument to Lost Love
2008-02-01, ABC News
Like the ancient wonders of Stonehenge or the Great Pyramids of Egypt, there is an incredible and mysterious creation right here in the United States. Coral Castle, in Homestead, Fla., just south of Miami, is an intricate rock garden made of enormous pieces of coral, many of them weighing several tons. But more amazingly, Coral Castle was built entirely by one man -- Latvian immigrant Ed Leedskalnin, who stood just 5 feet tall and weighed 100 pounds. To this day, no one knows how he did it. The castle is an extraordinary feat of engineering, and experts have puzzled over how Leedskalnin, who only had a fourth-grade education, constructed Coral Castle by himself. For example, how did this little man build a 9-ton coral gate constructed so precisely that you can push it open using one finger? There are many theories on how Leedskalnin accomplished this amazing feat. Some say he had help from extraterrestrials, others believe he discovered the secrets behind anti-gravity and levitation. Leedskalnin was a self-taught expert on magnetic currents, and one theory holds that he positioned the site to be perfectly aligned with Earth's poles to eliminate the forces of gravity, allowing him to move stones weighing several tons each. Even Albert Einstein couldn't figure it out.
Note: For a good video of this wonder, click here. For more information on this most intriguing phenomenon, click here. The unusual builder of this site claimed to know the secrets of the pyramids and even Einstein could not imagine how he did it.
Exxon Mobil Makes Monster Profit
2008-02-01, CBS News
Exxon Mobil Corp. [has] posted the largest annual profit [ever] by a U.S. company - $40.6 billion. Exxon Mobil also set a U.S. record for the biggest quarterly profit, posting net income of $11.7 billion for the final three months of 2007, besting its own mark of $10.71 billion in the fourth quarter of 2005. The previous record for annual profit was $39.5 billion, which Exxon Mobil reported for 2006. The eye-popping results weren't a surprise given record prices for a barrel of oil at the end of 2007. For much of the fourth quarter, they hovered around $90 a barrel, more than 50 percent higher than a year ago. Crude prices reached an all-time trading high of $100.09 on Jan. 3 but have fallen about 10 percent since. Also extraordinary was Exxon Mobil's revenue, which rose 30 percent in the fourth quarter to $116.6 billion from $90 billion a year ago. For the year, sales rose to $404.5 billion - the most ever for the Irving, Texas-based company - from the $377.64 billion it posted in 2006. Exxon Mobil produces about 3 percent of the world's oil.
Note: How strange that they don't even mention that high pump prices is what fed these huge profits? If they are making such "monster" profits, why do they make the public pay such high gasoline prices?
9/11 Commission controversy
2008-01-30, NBC News
The 9/11 Commission suspected that critical information it used in its ... Report was the product of harsh interrogations of al-Qaida operatives - interrogations that many critics have labeled torture. Yet, commission staffers never questioned the agency about the interrogation techniques and in fact ordered a second round of interrogations specifically to ask additional questions of the same operatives. Much of what was reported about the planning and execution of the terror attacks on New York and Washington was derived from the interrogations of high-ranking al-Qaida operatives. Each had been subjected to "enhanced interrogation techniques." Some were even subjected to waterboarding. There was a separate, second round of interrogations in early 2004, done specifically to answer new questions from the Commission, [involving] more than 30 separate interrogation sessions. According to both current and former senior U.S. intelligence officials, the operatives cited by the Commission were subjected to the harshest of the CIA’s methods, the "enhanced interrogation techniques." The techniques included physical and mental abuse, exposure to extreme heat and cold, sleep deprivation and waterboarding. In addition, officials of both the 9/11 Commission and CIA confirm the Commission specifically asked the agency to push the operatives on a new round of interrogations months after their first interrogations. The Commission, in fact, supplied specific questions for the operatives to the agency. This new round took place in early 2004, when the agency was still engaged in the full range of harsh techniques.
Note: WantToKnow team member and renowned theologian David Ray Griffin's detailed exposure of the many lies put forth by the 9/11 Commission is available here. And for a succinct, eye-opening summary of many unanswered questions about the official account of 9/11, click here.
Ex-9/11 Panel Chief Denies Secret White House Ties
2008-01-30, ABC News
The former executive director of the 9/11 Commission denies explosive charges of undisclosed ties to the Bush White House or interference with the panel's report. The charges are ... contained in New York Times reporter Philip Shenon's [new] book, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation, [and are] confirmed by the book's publisher. [When] 9/11 Commission co-chairs [Thomas] Kean and Lee Hamilton hired former Condoleezza Rice aide Philip Zelikow to be executive director, Zelikow failed to tell them ... that he was "instrumental" in demoting Richard Clarke, the onetime White House counterterrorism czar. In his book, Shenon also says that while working for the panel, Zelikow appears to have had private conversations with former White House political director Karl Rove, despite a ban on such communication. Shenon reports that Zelikow later ordered his assistant to stop keeping a log of his calls. Zelikow told ABC News he was under no prohibition that barred his conversations with Rove, and did not recall asking his assistant to stop logging his calls. Shenon directed calls to his publisher, Twelve Books, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group. Cary Goldstein, a spokesman for Hachette, confirmed the [above] characterization of the book's contents, but said he could not confirm direct quotes. "It's not a surprise," Goldstein said when asked his reaction to the leak of the book's details before its Feb. 5 publication date. "I think people are really curious to see what the report had looked like if it hadn't been neutered in [the panel's] effort to be unanimous."
Note: Philip Zelikow co-authored a 1998 Foreign Affairs article, "Catastrophic Terrorism: Tackling the New Danger," which warned of a possible catastrophic attack on the World Trade Center and accurately predicted the governmental aftermath of 9/11. And a highly significant fact is that before he was selected as Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission, he authored the Bush administration's National Security Strategy of the United States of America for 2002. This document for the first time asserted a national policy of pre-emptive war (the "Bush Doctrine"), and paved the way for the war on Iraq.
FBI denies file exposing nuclear secrets theft
2008-01-20, Sunday Times (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
The FBI has been accused of covering up a key case file detailing evidence against corrupt government officials and their dealings with a network stealing nuclear secrets. The assertion follows allegations made in The Sunday Times two weeks ago by Sibel Edmonds, an FBI whistleblower, who worked on the agency’s investigation of the network. She says the FBI was investigating a Turkish- and Israeli-run network that paid high-ranking American officials to steal nuclear weapons secrets. These were then sold on the international black market to countries such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. One of the documents relating to the case was marked 203A-WF-210023. Last week, however, the FBI responded to a freedom of information request for a file of exactly the same number by claiming that it did not exist. But The Sunday Times has obtained a document signed by an FBI official showing the existence of the file. The freedom of information request ... was made ... by an American human rights group called the Liberty Coalition, acting on a tip-off it received from an anonymous correspondent. Edmonds [said] that members of the Turkish political and diplomatic community in the US had been actively acquiring nuclear secrets. They often acted as a conduit, she said, for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s spy agency, because they attracted less suspicion. She claimed corrupt government officials helped the network, and venues such as the American-Turkish Council in Washington were used as drop-off points. Edmonds is the subject of a number of state-secret gags preventing her from talking further about the investigation she witnessed. “[These gags were] invoked not to protect sensitive diplomatic relations but criminal activities involving US officials who were endangering US national security,” she said.
Note: For an important commentary by Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg on this Sunday Times story, click here. For other excellent media articles on the courageous Ms. Edmonds, click here.
'Eco-Patent Commons' hopes to improve environmental innovation
2008-01-14, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
IBM Corp., Nokia, Sony and Pitney Bowes are expected to announce Monday that they have put 31 inventions into an "Eco-Patent Commons" designed to make these Earth-friendly manufacturing and waste-reduction processes more widely available. "This is an open source effort along the lines of the Creative Commons," said IBM assistant general counsel David Kappos, who is responsible for the company's intellectual property. The open source movement, symbolized by the free Linux operating system, believes that innovation occurs more quickly when new ideas and processes are open to the public for anyone to troubleshoot and improve. The Eco-Patent Commons adopts this activist tactic in certain fields - like waste reduction - where the participating firms have decided that the societal benefit of having every willing manufacturer adopt these cleaner processes outweighs any potential advantage they might gain by keeping the idea close to the vest. One of the newly freed eco-patents is an IBM invention for using a specially folded piece of corrugated cardboard to cushion electronic components against shock during shipping - replacing the Styrofoam products that can easily become an environmental headache. Likewise, Nokia is giving away a patent designed to help safely dispose of mobile phones by reusing their components in other gadgets such as digital cameras. Kappos said the Eco-Patent Commons would be run by an independent, nonprofit group, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and expressed hope that other companies would follow the lead and add real clout to what is more a symbolic than substantive effort to make global business a little greener.
Wall Street paying record bonuses
2008-01-08, New York Daily News/Bloomberg News
Wall Street's five biggest firms are paying a record $39 billion in bonuses for 2007. It was a year when three of the firms suffered their worst quarterly losses in history and shareholders lost over $80 billion. Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns together awarded $65.6 billion in compensation and benefits last year to their 186,000 employees. That means year-end bonuses, at 60% of the total, exceeded the $36 billion distributed in 2006 when the industry reported all-time high profits. The firms have said they are eliminating at least 6,200 jobs amid mounting losses from the subprime mortgage mess. The payouts come as the economy slows, with unemployment rising, retail sales declining and new home foreclosures surging to a record. The industry's bonuses are larger than the gross domestic products of Sri Lanka, Lebanon or Bulgaria, and the average bonus of $219,198 is more than four times higher than the median U.S. household income in 2006, according to Census Bureau data. Shareholders in the securities industry endured their worst year since 2002, as Merrill and Bear Stearns slumped more than 40% and the CEOs at both firms gave up their jobs. Morgan Stanley fell 21% and Lehman dropped 16%. Only Goldman rose, gaining 7.9%.
Note: For lots more on escalating income inequality, click here.
For sale: West’s deadly nuclear secrets
2008-01-06, Sunday Times (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
A whistleblower has made a series of extraordinary claims about how corrupt government officials allowed Pakistan and other states to steal nuclear weapons secrets. Sibel Edmonds, a 37-year-old former Turkish-language translator for the FBI, listened into hundreds of sensitive intercepted conversations while based at the agency’s Washington field office. Edmonds described how foreign intelligence agents had enlisted the support of US officials to acquire a network of moles in sensitive military and nuclear institutions. Among the hours of covert tape recordings, she says she heard evidence that one well-known senior official in the US State Department was being paid by Turkish agents in Washington who were selling the information on to black market buyers, including Pakistan. The name of the official – who has held a series of top government posts – is known to The Sunday Times. He strongly denies the claims. However, Edmonds said: “He was aiding foreign operatives against US interests by passing them highly classified information, not only from the State Department but also from the Pentagon, in exchange for money, position and political objectives.” She claims that the FBI was also gathering evidence against senior Pentagon officials – including household names – who were aiding foreign agents. “If you made public all the information that the FBI have on this case, you will see very high-level people going through criminal trials,” she said. Her story shows just how much the West was infiltrated by foreign states seeking nuclear secrets. It illustrates how western government officials turned a blind eye to, or were even helping, countries such as Pakistan acquire bomb technology.
Note: Although not naming the high-level individuals it acknowledges were identified by Edmonds, this important exposé in the London Sunday Times should be read in its entirety for the many other details of her allegations that it reveals. For an excellent commentary on these new revelations, click here. For many revealing articles on the ongoing efforts by longtime whistleblower Sibel Edmonds to tell her story, click here.
Bill Moyers talks with Congressman Dennis Kucinich
2008-01-04, PBS Bill Moyers Journal
BILL MOYERS: There's a big Democratic debate Saturday night in New Hampshire. Are you in that ABC debate? DENNIS KUCINICH: No, I'm not. [Yet] when you look at all the polls on the Internet I'm winning a number of them. MOYERS: Yeah, that August 22nd debate on ABC - you beat everybody. Obama by 5,000 or 6,000 votes. Clinton by 9,000 votes. And yet the mainstream media paid no attention to it, right? KUCINICH: Right. And I think that what's noteworthy is ... we have two cultures here. One which is the emerging culture of information technology that's Internet-based. And the other one is the more conventional TV technology which is coming to a clash. And I think they reflect some political trends in this country that maybe aren't getting too much attention. But they are going to have an impact. MOYERS: What rationale did ABC give you for not including you in Saturday night's debate? KUCINICH: Whatever their criteria was, they have no right to make the decision for the people of New Hampshire prior to the election being held. They have no right. The airwaves belong to the public. They don't belong to ABC. BILL MOYERS: What's the most important thing that people would have heard about you and your message if you were in the debate in New Hampshire? DENNIS KUCINICH: Well, first of all, I would have said that I'm the only real Democrat on the stage, that I reflect the mainstream of Democratic voters with aspirations for a full employment economy, healthcare for all, education for all, a new environmental approach ... carbon free, nuclear free. Ending the U.S. role in the world as an aggressor. Holding the [present] administration accountable. You know, the president and vice president ought to be impeached. And they should be held accountable for war crimes because we attacked a nation that did not attack us. Now, these are things that need to be said.
Internet Access Is Only Prerequisite For College Classes
2007-12-31, Washington Post
Berkeley's on YouTube. American University's hoping to get on iTunes. George Mason professors have created an online research tool, a virtual filing cabinet for scholars. And with a few clicks on Yale's Web site, anyone can watch one of the school's most popular philosophy professors sitting cross-legged on his desk, talking about death. Studying on YouTube won't get you a college degree, but many universities are using technology to offer online classes and open up archives. Sure, some schools have been charging for distance-learning classes for a long time, but this is different: These classes are free. At a time when many top schools are expensive and difficult to get into, some say it's a return to the broader mission of higher education: to offer knowledge to everyone. And tens of millions are reaching for it. For schools, the courses can bring benefits, luring applicants, spreading the university's name, impressing donors, keeping alumni engaged. As the technology evolves, the classes are becoming far more engaging to a broader public. With better, faster technology such as video, what once was bare-bones and hard-core -- lecture notes aimed at grad students and colleagues -- is now more ambitious and far more accessible. Some professors try this on their own, on a small scale. Schools are feeling their way, experimenting with different technologies; some use Utah State University's eduCommons on the Web; some post to free sites such as YouTube and the Apple university site iTunes U. Other schools have plunged right in: MIT has 1,800 classes online, virtually the entire curriculum free and open to all. "The idea was to have a broad impact on education worldwide and make a statement at a time when many schools were launching for-profit distance-learning ventures," Steve Carson of MIT OpenCourseWare said, "trying to redefine the role of the institution in the digital age."
Exclusive Club Has One Rule: Just Give
2007-12-23, ABC News
Americans set a new record for generosity last year. We gave a total of nearly $300 billion. But few of us could match the generosity of Richard Semmler. Semmler is a 61-year-old math professor at Northern Virginia Community College. He's also a maintenance man, and a book editor. His hard work earns him more than $100,000 per year, but he lives very modestly. Even with three jobs, Semmler lives in a tiny apartment. He's not working so hard to get more -- he's working to give more. Semmler has donated nearly $1 million -- between 50 percent and 60 percent of his income each year -- to six charities, and his money helps to feed the homeless and build houses for families in need. Semmler's not just writing checks -- he's getting his hands dirty, building those homes with Habitat for Humanity, and handing out food in soup kitchens. "I prefer to live in a small apartment. I prefer to drive an old car," he said. "I get a lot of satisfaction out of that. I get a chance to see my dollars at work. For me, it's a personal satisfaction in seeing the house built, but more important, it's personal satisfaction in seeing a family that truly needs this," said Semmler. [He] belongs to a very exclusive club that anyone can join. It's called the Fifty Percent League. Members give away at least half their income to charity. Not all of the donors have big incomes. One woman earned just $16,000 dollars last year, and gave half of it away to help newly arrived immigrants. The group is made up of about 100 people and growing. Collectively, they have given away more than $1 billion over the past decade. Millionaire David Ludlow is a fifty-percenter, who funds an after-school program in Boston's inner city. "This has made me a truly happy man, being able to do this. It's been magnificent. It's totally turned my life around," Ludlow said.
Note: One of the wonderful people featured in this article, David Ludlow, is a major supporter of our work in the form of a large monthly donation (http://www.peerservice.org/donations#monthly). This is a powerful example of how one inspired individual can make a big difference in the world. Let us all do our best to use our money in support of personal and global transformation to the best of our ability. We invite you also to make a difference by donating to support our empowering work at http://www.peerservice.org/donations. For two inspiring media clips of David and this great organization, click here and here.
Hoover Planned Mass Jailing in 1950
2007-12-23, New York Times
A newly declassified document shows that J. Edgar Hoover, the longtime director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, had a plan to suspend habeas corpus and imprison some 12,000 Americans he suspected of disloyalty. Hoover sent his plan to the White House on July 7, 1950, 12 days after the Korean War began. It envisioned putting suspect Americans in military prisons. Hoover wanted President Harry S. Truman to proclaim the mass arrests necessary to “protect the country against treason, espionage and sabotage.” The F.B.I would “apprehend all individuals potentially dangerous” to national security, Hoover’s proposal said. The arrests would be carried out under “a master warrant attached to a list of names” provided by the bureau. The names were part of an index that Hoover had been compiling for years. “The index now contains approximately twelve thousand individuals, of which approximately ninety-seven per cent are citizens of the United States,” he wrote. “In order to make effective these apprehensions, the proclamation suspends the Writ of Habeas Corpus,” it said. Habeas corpus, the right to seek relief from illegal detention, has been a fundamental principle of law for seven centuries. Hoover’s plan called for “the permanent detention” of the roughly 12,000 suspects at military bases as well as in federal prisons. The prisoners eventually would have had a right to a hearing under the Hoover plan. The hearing board would have been a panel made up of one judge and two citizens. But the hearings “will not be bound by the rules of evidence,” his letter noted. The only modern precedent for Hoover’s plan was the Palmer Raids of 1920, named after the attorney general at the time. The raids, executed in large part by Hoover’s intelligence division, swept up thousands of people suspected of being communists and radicals.
Note: For understandable reasons, many are concerned at how the current administration has weakened habeas corpus in recent years. Any cititzen who is declared an enemy combatant is no longer protected.
Secret Santa's Legacy Lives On
2007-12-21, CBS News/Associated Press
Susan Dahl had spent four months homeless in Colorado and just been on a harrowing 10-hour bus trip through sleet and snow. Hungry and broke, all she wanted to do was get back to family in Minnesota. That's when a tall man in a red coat and red hat sat next to her at the downtown bus station, talked to her quietly and then slipped her $100 on that recent December afternoon. The man was doing the work of Larry Stewart, Kansas City's original Secret Santa who anonymously wandered city streets doling out $100 bills to anyone who looked like they needed it. Stewart died of cancer at age 58 earlier this year, but his legacy lives on. "He said 'Here's a $100 bill ... and this is in memory of Larry Stewart,'" said Dahl, 56. During about a quarter century, Stewart quietly gave out more than $1.3 million to people in laundromats, diners, bus stations, shelters and thrift stores, saying it was his way of giving back at Christmas for all the wealth and generosity he had received in his lifetime. For years, Stewart did not want his name known or want thanks or applause, but last December he acknowledged who he was and used his last few months while battling cancer to press his message of kindness toward others. He even trained some friends in the ways of Secret Santa. This Christmas, a friend who told Stewart in the hospital that he would carry on for him is out on the streets, handing out $100 bills, each one stamped with "Larry Stewart, Secret Santa." Between Kansas City and several other cities this Christmas, the new Secret Santa will give away $75,000 of his own money, mostly in $100 bills. "I didn't want to be a Secret Santa," said the man, a business consultant who lives in the Kansas City area. "I wanted to give Larry money. But last year, he said I had to hand it out myself. So I did, and I got hooked. Anyone can be a Secret Santa," he says. "You don't have to give away $100. You can give away kindness. Help someone."
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