Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Media Articles in Major Media
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What does a NDE look and feel like? There are thousands upon thousands of descriptions, all of which show striking similarities between different people's experiences -- the white light, a tunnel, a life review and sense of peace -- so there does seem to exist a unifying thread throughout. Caroline Myss, a best-selling author and a speaker on spirituality and health, focuses on the first explanation. "A near-death experience is a phenomenon in which a person's physical body ceases to have any signs of life, and the soul detaches from the body and begins what could be called the journey into the afterlife. ... A long tunnel of light begins to appear. ... What's so phenomenal is that the descriptions [people] give, no matter what culture, no matter what background, match the ancient descriptions ... from various cultures. So if these experiences were in fact made up or hallucinatory, somebody did a very good job of getting that information out to multiple cultures at the same time." Dr. Jeffrey Long runs the Near Death Experience Research Foundation. He defines the physical conditions of someone having a NDE as "unconscious ... or actually clinically dead, with absent heartbeat and no spontaneous respiration. ... And yet when they shouldn't have any conscious remembering at this time, they do. ... While no two NDEs are the same, if you study large numbers of NDEs you see that very consistent pattern of elements."
In 2008, voters approved a $10 billion bond to begin construction of a bullet train from Los Angeles to San Francisco that would make that trip in less than three hours. So who knew that by 2011 the general consensus would be that the project is an ill-conceived, mismanaged boondoggle? Former Amtrak spokesman and Reason Foundation writer Joseph Vranich knew. In 2008, before the state Senate Transportation and Housing Committee, he called the project "science fiction." He said the train won't travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco in less than three hours because that exceeds the speed of all existing high-speed rail. But on French railway schedules, a TGV (Train Ŕ Grande Vitesse) takes two hours, 38 minutes to go from Paris to Avignon. That's 430 miles. The route for the L.A.-to-San Francisco line is 432. So what's going on here? It's simple. Vranich makes stuff up. The Reason Foundation is funded by Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell Oil, the American Petroleum Institute, Delta Airlines, the National Air Transportation Association and, of course, the Koch Family Foundation. They know what will happen once Americans, furious about gas prices and the way airlines treat them, experience electrically powered 200-mph trains.
Note: For lots more evidence that progress in the transportation sector is stymied by big money interests, click here.
ABC’s Bob Woodruff probed the mysteries of near death experiences – including his own – in a special “Primetime Nightline.” ABC15 spoke with Woodruff. He told us so many people he interviewed for the story had an out-of-body experience, similar to his own when his group was hit by an IED 5 years ago while covering the war in Iraq. He told us when he woke up 36 days later he remembered seeing his body floating below him. Woodruff says others he spoke with describe experiences like his, but the thing he found interesting was, all of them say they weren’t scared. “Everyone said it was comfort, there was a lack of fear, and certainly no pain. All of them share that, no matter who they are that’s gone through this and it’s very, very interesting.” Woodruff also spoke with several doctors and scientists, who don’t necessarily reject these out-of-body experiences, but they’re just looking for answers. ABC15 wanted to know, how the people he interviewed felt about coming back to this world. Woodruff says, “Almost everybody said not only that they thought about staying, but generally wanted to stay. I, in some ways, was fine with staying.”
Special Note: If the above link fails, see this webpage.
The Air Force has suspended a training course for nuclear missile launch officers that used Bible passages and religious imagery to teach them about the ethics of war. The course had apparently been taught by chaplains at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California for more than 20 years, but officials pulled the plug after an article from the liberal Web site Truthout.org appeared online last week. The group obtained a PowerPoint presentation used in the course that referenced religious figures including Abraham, John the Baptist and Saint Augustine. The presentation also said that there are “many examples of believers engaged in wars in the Old Testament” and “no pacifistic sentiment in mainstream Jewish history.” The reversal marks a victory for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a watchdog group that provided the documents to Truthout and that has waged a series of battles, legal and otherwise, to preserve the separation of church and state in the services. Mikey Weinstein, president and founder of the foundation, said his group was approached late last month by about 30 officers, most of them Protestant or Roman Catholic, who said they objected to the presentation. He said he saw the PowerPoint and was astonished by documents that appeared to be using a religious justification for missile launches.
Note: Why was this important news only reported in a blog and not on the front page of the newspaper?
It's fraudulent for academics to give their names to medical articles ghostwritten by pharmaceutical industry writers, say two Canadian law professors who call for potential legal sanctions. Studies suggest that industry-driven drug trials and industry-sponsored publications are more likely to downplay a drug's harms and exaggerate a drug's virtues, said Trudo Lemmens, a law professor at the University of Toronto. The integrity of medical research is also harmed by ghostwritten articles, he said. Ghostwriting is part of marketing that can distort the evidence on a drug, Lemmens said. Industry authors are concealed to insert marketing messages and academic experts are recruited as "guest" authors to lend credibility despite not fulfilling criteria for authorship, such as participating in the design of the study, gathering data, analyzing the results and writing up of the findings. Lemmens and his colleague Prof. Simon Stern argue that legal remedies are needed for medical ghostwriting since medical journals, academic institutions and professional disciplinary bodies haven't succeeded in enforcing sanctions against the practice. Ghostwritten publications are used in court to support a manufacturer's arguments about a drug's safety and effectiveness, and academic experts who appear as witnesses for pharmaceutical and medical device companies also boost their credibility with the publications on their CV, Lemmens said.
For a parent, it was unthinkable and terrifying -- a simple split lip that suddenly erupted into a disfiguring, life-threatening infection in a sweet-faced 5-year-old boy. But while Jake Finkbonner's mother and father spent days fearing their son would die, Jake at one point found himself experiencing something he said was beautiful. "I was in heaven and I spoke to God," the boy, now 11, said. Doctors determined that Jake had been infected with a rare, flesh-eating bacteria -- necrotizing fasciitis -- that had entered the cut on Jake's face and spread like wildfire, literally eating away at his face. Jake said that, at one point, his body felt so light that he could almost "lift off." It was then, he said, that he had a vision. "I was able to look down at the hospital. I saw my family. And then I went back to the house where I saw my family," he said. "The only thing is, I didn't see myself." Jake said he spoke to God, who sat in a high chair and was very tall. "He wasn't the size of a normal person," he said. He said he was enjoying himself so much that he asked God if he could stay, "but he said that my family needed me ... and he sent me back down." Jake said that these days, he sometimes finds himself thinking about heaven before he goes to bed. He has advice for others facing life-threatening illnesses. "Don't be scared at all," he said. "Either way, it will be a good way. If you go to heaven, you'll be in a better place -- if you live, you'll be back with your family."
Water out of air? A Texas man has invented a machine that does just that. The drought doesn't worry [inventor Terry LeBleu] because he has invented and patented a new machine. It's called the "Drought Master" and makes drinkable water out of air. "It pulls the air through it, pulls out the moisture, and exhausts the air," LeBleu says. Depending on humidity, the machine can make between five to seven gallons of pure water in one day. All you have to do is plug it in, and one gallon costs only 4 cents in electrical charges. An independent lab took samples of LeBleu's water and found it had no bacteria and is free of metals. Lab techs say it's similar to distilled water. Willie Nelson owns 50 of these machines, including an indoor version. Even Texas Governor Rick Perry owns one. But LeBleu wants his invention to benefit local farmers and ranchers. The machine is quieter than a refrigerator, and you only have to wash the filter every few years. Building one takes only two hours. The oldest model made is still up and running. It's been functioning for a decade.
Note: For a more detailed article, click here.
Fuel efficiency of automobiles in the United States will increase dramatically under an agreement reached by the federal government, auto manufacturers and the state of California that was announced by President Obama on [July 29]. The agreement requires that cars and light-duty trucks achieve an average fuel economy of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, up from the requirement of 35.5 miles per gallon that is mandated by 2016. The new requirement will ... reduce oil consumption by 2.2 million barrels per day by 2025. Currently, the United States imports 9.1 million barrels of oil per day. Thirteen auto manufacturers, which account for 90 percent of vehicles sold in the United States, agreed to the standard. They are Ford, GM, Chrysler, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar/Land Rover, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota and Volvo. The fuel economy standard is an average for a fleet of cars, which means that the actual miles per gallon for some vehicles will be lower because fleets also include electric cars and other vehicles that will far exceed the standard. The average vehicle at a dealership is likely to be closer to 40 miles per gallon, though that is double the average today.
Note: Some people believe the market drives innovation in gas mileage. As this article clearly shows, this is not the case. For a revealing article showing how car manufacturers have avoided better gas mileage, click here.
It was the om heard ’round the world. Yesterday in 108 cities—from London to Los Angeles, Hong Kong to Houston, Barcelona to Birmingham, and more—“MedMob” groups participated in large-scale displays of meditation. Playing off of the flash mob concept, in which strangers organize online, arrange to meet at a specific time and place, and then perform an unexpected public act, MedMob members delight in presenting meditation in a surprising, inclusive way, says Shambhala Sun. MedMob’s goals: 1. To create an environment for people from all walks of life to come together in meditation. 2. To expose the world to meditation through public display of meditation. 3. To come together as a global community to send positive intentions out into the world. 4. To show that leading by example is the best way to lead. Simple acts can stimulate major paradigm shifts in thinking. The MedMob movement, which began in Austin early this year, is for everyone, reports David Telfer McConaghay for elephant journal. Telfer assures us that passers-by do not need to believe in “hippy-dippy feel-goodery” to participate in meditation, whether in a group or alone. “The goal is not to attain some state of illusory bliss, then wander around all day in a disconnected daze with a silly grin,” he writes. “The goal (if meditation can be said to have a goal) is to allow the naturally arising chaos and distractions of the mind to settle and fade so that we can act and make choices with greater intention and clarity.”
As the government struggled to reach an agreement on raising the debt ceiling, the U.S. Treasury's cash balance fell to $74 billion this week. That's less than the $76 billion that Apple now has in cash. To be fair, comparing Apple's cash reserves with the Treasury's is not exactly apples to apples. Apple's billions are essentially the funds in its bank accounts, while the federal number represents the amount of money the government has left before it hits the legal debt limit — a figure that can be changed by Congress. At about $362 billion, Apple is the second-largest company in the world by market value (behind Exxon Mobil Corp. at $395 billion) — big by any standard, but still far smaller than the U.S. government, which will spend close to $3.8 trillion this year, 10 times what Apple is worth. Still, Apple's reasons for keeping such a giant cash stockpile may well be related to worries about the stability of the U.S. government's finances. "One of the reasons U.S. companies have amassed so much cash is that it provides them financial flexibility in times of heightened uncertainty," said Laurie Simon Hodrick, a professor of business economics at Columbia University's business school. "It might seem ironic, but as the risk of a government default grows, bringing with it the specter of higher interest rates, the incentives for firms to finance with internally generated cash grows as well."
The number of people leaving the Roman Catholic Church in Germany jumped by nearly 50 percent in 2010 as an abuse scandal widened. Some 181,000 people quit their memberships last year, up from 124,000 in 2009, official numbers released by Germany's Roman Catholic Church showed. Deaths and people turning away from the church heavily outnumbered baptisms, which reached a record low, putting one of the world's wealthiest and most influential Catholic Churches further in decline. Over the past twenty years, the number of members of Germany's Roman Catholic Church has fallen from 28.3 million to 24.6 million or 30.2 percent of the country's population in 2010, the data showed. The numbers are easily tracked because members pay a church tax unless they formally leave the congregation -- the same reason the declining membership has led to increasing budget shortfalls for the church. Germans are not required to say why they want to strike their church membership, but many have blamed the reports of sexual and physical abuse of hundreds of children by clergy that surfaced last year. The diocese that recorded the highest member loss last year was Munich and Freising -- the pope's former diocese, which had been hard-hit by the abuse scandal -- where 21,600 people alone left the church.
With the nation’s attention diverted by the drama over the debt ceiling, Republicans in the House of Representatives are loading up an appropriations bill with 39 ways — and counting — to significantly curtail environmental regulation. One would prevent the Bureau of Land Management from designating new wilderness areas for preservation. Another would severely restrict the Department of Interior’s ability to police mountaintop-removal mining. And then there is the call to allow new uranium prospecting near Grand Canyon National Park. In fact, one measure — to forbid the Fish and Wildlife Service to list any new plants or animals as endangered — was so extreme that 37 Republicans broke ranks Wednesday and voted to strip it from the bill. Although inserting policy changes into appropriations bills is a common strategy when government is divided as it is now, no one can remember such an aggressive use of the tactic against natural resources. “The new Republican majority seems intent on restoring the robber-baron era where there were no controls on pollution from power plants, oil refineries and factories,” said Representative Henry A. Waxman, a California Democrat, excoriating the proposal on the floor.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on government corruption, click here.
Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has reported a 77% jump in second-quarter profit, thanks to higher energy prices. Shell's profit for the three months to June came in at $8bn (Ł4.9bn) on a current cost of supplies basis, up from $4.5bn in the same period last year. Earlier this week, rival BP announced second-quarter profits of $5.3bn. Larger US rival Exxon Mobil said that net profit rose 41% to $10.7bn for the three months to June from the same period last year. The price of oil is much higher now than it was a year ago, in part inflated by political unrest in oil-producing countries such as Libya. Twelve months ago, US light sweet crude oil was trading at about $78 a barrel. It is currently trading at about $97 a barrel, having topped $110 at the end of April.
Note: Why aren't any of the major media questioning the practice of oil companies making huge profits from gas price increases, profits which come directly from the pockets of consumers? Shouldn't they all be responsible for at least part of the burden?
The extraordinary access that Cabinet ministers granted Rupert Murdoch and his children was revealed for the first time yesterday, with more than two dozen private meetings between the family and senior members of the Government in the 15 months since David Cameron entered Downing Street. In total, Cabinet ministers have had private meetings with Murdoch executives more than 60 times and, if social events such as receptions at party conferences are included, the figure is at least 107. On two occasions, James Murdoch and former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks were given confidential defence briefings on Afghanistan and Britain's strategic defence review by the Defence Secretary, Liam Fox. A further briefing was held with Ms Brooks, Rupert Murdoch and the Sunday Times editor John Witherow. The Chancellor, George Osborne, has had 16 separate meetings since May 2010 with News International editors and executives, including two with the Murdochs within just a month of taking office. He also invited Elisabeth Murdoch as a guest to his 40th birthday party last month. The Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, dined with Rupert Murdoch within days of the Government coming to power and, after being given quasi-judicial oversight for the Murdochs' Ł8bn attempted takeover of BSkyB, had two meetings with James Murdoch in which they discussed the takeover.
Ending a six-year legal battle, the Army Corps of Engineers has agreed to pay nearly $1 million to a former top contracting official who charged that she was demoted after she objected to a $7 billion no-bid contract granted to a Halliburton subsidiary to repair oil fields in Iraq. In a settlement agreement signed this month and made final by a federal judge this week, the Army Corps of Engineers agreed to pay the former official, Bunnatine H. Greenhouse, $970,000 to cover lost wages, legal fees and compensatory damages, including for harm to her reputation and her mental health. The payment for damages is unusually large for a lawsuit by a federal employee. In early 2003, the Army, in secret and without competitive bidding, put KBR, then a subsidiary of Halliburton, in charge of restoring Iraqi oil production, in a contract potentially worth $7 billion over five years. Ms. Greenhouse, a career civil servant who was the chief contracts monitor at the Army Corps of Engineers at the time, objected that the contract was based on repair plans and cost estimates that KBR itself had been hired by the corps to prepare, and that the emergency conditions did not justify a multiyear no-bid contract. After internal clashes and threats of demotion, she went public with her concerns in 2004. Ms. Greenhouse was demoted from the Senior Executive Service and given a poor performance rating, prompting her to bring the lawsuit. As part of the settlement, Ms. Greenhouse, 67, formally retired this week with full benefits.
Note: The press has reported little on this most important case. For a much better description of all that went on and the intense corruption revealed, click here.
Scientists say they have bred a dog that glows under ultraviolet light when an antibiotic is added to its food. Scientists started cloning glow-in-the-dark puppies two years ago by inserting genes from other species that produce fluorescent proteins, such as jellyfish and coral. In the journal Genesis, researchers from Seoul National University report that they produced a dog that expresses the green fluorescent protein gene when it eats food containing a doxycycline antibiotic. When the drug is no longer added to the food, the glow-in-the-dark effect fades away. The technique could be used to help find cures for human diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported. The genetically modified female beagle, named Tegon, was born in 2009. Other methods can produce dogs that glow, but "the uncontrollable expression often results in unwanted outcomes," they said.
Note: Though this may have some beneficial applications, why doesn't the article raise any of the serious ethical considerations?
A black Arkansas teen who graduated top of her class is suing her high school for racial discrimination after the principal decided to name a white student with a lower GPA as co-valedictorian. Kymberly Wimberly, 18, [said] she always dreamed about being at the top of her class at McGehee High School. "When I found out I was valedictorian, I was ecstatic," she said. That soon changed when Wimberly's mother, Molly Bratton, who works at the school as a media specialist, overheard school officials saying they wanted to avoid the "big mess" that would happen with Wimberly as valedictorian, the teen said. The lawsuit alleges there was a "pattern and practice of school administrators and personnel treating the African-American students less favorably than the Caucasian ones." "I told [the co-valedictorian] this isn't fair. This is an administrative decision," Wimberly said, saying she told the student: "We both know if the tables were turned, there wouldn't be a co-valedictorian." She said the other student agreed. Wimberly, who took Advanced Placement and honors courses, managed to maintain the top GPA, even though she gave birth to a daughter during her junior year. Her lawyer, John Walker, said discrimination is unfortunately still present in the school system. Wimberly said she will be attending the University of Arkansas beginning this fall and plans to major in biology.
By some measures, the United States is even more deeply in hock than Greece. Greece’s debt-to-GDP ratio is 143%. America’s is officially 97%. But the $14.3 trillion national debt, stacked up against a $14.7 trillion economy, doesn’t tell the whole story. [It] doesn’t count the black box of bailouts. We know how much the Federal Reserve doled out in emergency loans: $16.1 trillion between Dec. 1, 2007, and July 21, 2010. We know that because yesterday the Government Accountability Office completed its first-ever audit of the Fed, made possible largely through the persistence of Rep. Ron Paul (R.-Tex.) making that audit, however incomplete, the law. What we don’t know is how much of that has been paid back. “We have literally injected about $5.3 trillion,” said Dr. Paul earlier this month during his questioning of Fed chief Ben Bernanke, “and I don’t think we got very much for it. The national debt went up $5.1 trillion.” Bernanke did not challenge those figures. Even now, Americans are turning to their credit cards to pay for groceries and gas. According to First Data Corp., the volume of gasoline purchases put on credit cards jumped 39% over the last 12 months. You don’t want to be the average American in a default scenario, whenever it arrives. Ray Dalio, the head of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s biggest hedge fund, puts that day in “late 2012 or early 2013.”
Note: A careful Internet search reveals that no one in the major media except this Forbes blog even mentioned the astonishing results of the first ever audit of the Federal reserve - $16 trillion in secret loans. To understand how the media is controlled from reporting vitally important information like this, click here. For another revealing article showing what is happening from a historical perspective and its relationship to gold prices, click here. For an article detailing who received these trillions and links to the official GAO report, click here. For critical information on the financial system kept hidden from the public, click here.
Scientists are in danger of turning animals into monsters unless an ethical watchdog is appointed to prevent Frankenstein-like experiments, the Academy of Medical Sciences has warned. A new report into experiments which transplant human cells into animals for medical purposes said scientists may not be far from giving apes the ability to think and talk like humans. Concerns about the creation of talking apes should be taken seriously along with "what one might call the 'Frankenstein fear' that the medical research which creates 'humanised' animals is going to generate monsters", it was claimed. A regulatory body is needed to closely monitor any experiments that risk creating animals with human-like consciousness, spawning hybrid human-animal embryos, or giving animals any appearance or behavioural traits that too closely resemble humans, the report said. Scientists would, for example, be prevented from replacing a large number of an ape's brain [cells] with human cells – as has already been done in simpler animals like mice – until much more is known about the potential results.
Note: For more on this in another media article, click here.
The judicial screws are tightening on Rupert Murdoch's empire in America as the US justice department prepares to subpoena News Corporation in its investigation into whether the company broke anti-bribery and hacking laws on both sides of the Atlantic. The news that subpoenas are being drawn up, reported by News Corp's flagship newspaper the Wall Street Journal, comes a week after attorney general Eric Holder said he was launching a preliminary investigation into the media group as a result of the UK phone-hacking scandal. In addition, it has emerged that federal prosecutors have begun probing allegations that News Corp's advertising arm in the US hacked into a computer of a competitor as part of a campaign to crush its rival. News Corp also faces a possibly lengthy and costly federal probe into whether it broke anti-bribery laws as part of the illegal News of the World phone hacking in the UK. The company is potentially liable under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), which bans US-based companies from profiting from bribery and corruption in other countries. News Corp is a US-based firm, its headquarters on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan. FCPA experts have suggested that it could be brought under the auspices of the act because News of the World journalists bribed police officers in the UK in search of exclusive stories that in turn increased sales and generated profits.
Important Note: Explore our full index to key excerpts of revealing 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.