State Dept. planning to spend $115 million to 'upgrade' $700 million U.S. Embassy in Baghdad --Troops have withdrawn from Iraq, but U.S. money hasn't 27 Jun 2012 The State Department is planning to spend up to $115 million to upgrade the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad, already its biggest and most expensive in the world, according to pre-solicitation notices published this month. Remember, it has been 3 1/2 years since American diplomats moved into the 104-acre, $700 million facility. According to a June 14 pre-solicitation, the estimated construction cost is put at between $60 million and $80 million and is expected to take two years to complete... The United States has spent about $100 million on the Police College facility, having built living quarters, a dining facility, an office building, a new gymnasium and a helicopter landing site. On June 17, the grand opening of the $15 million Al-Nahrain Center for Strategic Studies "with funding from the U.S. embassy," was announced in an embassy news release. [But we can't get single-payer healthcare, a teacher hired or a bridge fixed. This is bullsh*t. Start reading.]
Fukushima No. 4 reactor is tilting and at least two walls of building are bulging outward --The latest findings could add to concerns over the state of the No. 4 reactor building, which houses on its upper floors a cooling pool filled with more than 1,000 spent nuclear fuel rods. [Right, so let's keep talking about ex-car thief and arsonist Darrell Issa repackaging Bush's 'Fast and Furious' for the NRA.] 26 Jun 2012 A heavily damaged reactor building at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant has a slight [?!?] tilt, but the tilt does not pose a risk to the integrity of the building [!?!], according to the plant's operator. The Tokyo Electric Power Co., or Tepco, said in a report Monday to Japanese nuclear regulators that at least two of the walls of the No. 4 reactor building are bulging outward at various points and that the building is tilting. The biggest bulge measured about 1.8 inches about a third of the way up the building, the report said.
Seismologists warn Japan against nuclear restart 26 Jun 2012 Two prominent seismologists said on Tuesday that Japan is ignoring the safety lessons of last year's Fukushima crisis and warned against restarting two reactors next month. Japan has approved the restart of the two reactors at the Kansai Electric Power Ohi nuclear plant, northwest of Tokyo, despite mass public opposition. They will be the first to come back on line after all reactors were shut following meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power's Daiichi Fukushima plant. Seismic modeling by Japan's nuclear regulator did not properly take into account active fault lines near the Ohi plant, Katsuhiko Ishibashi, a seismologist at Kobe University, told reporters.
U.S. expanding military aid, intelligence in Africa 25 Jun 2012 The U.S. is carefully expanding efforts to provide intelligence, training and at times small numbers of forces to African nations to help counter terrorist activities in the region, the top American military commander for Africa said Monday. Speaking to a conference that included representatives from African nations, Gen. Carter Ham, head of U.S. Africa Command, said coordinated moves by several AfricaCIA-based terrorist groups to share their training, funding and bomb-making materials are worrisome and pose a threat to the U.S. and the region. [The US *is* the threat to the region!]
Biden, in leaked memo, told Obama war plan flawed 25 Jun 2012 As President Barack Obama considered adding as many as 40,000 U.S. forces to a backsliding war in Afghanistan in 2009, Vice President Joe Biden warned him that the military rationale for doing so was flawed, a new book about Obama's expansion of the conflict says. The book, "Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan," also says that in planning the drawdown of troops two years later, the White House intentionally sidelined the CIA. Obama purposely did not read a grim CIA assessment of Afghanistan that found little measurable benefit from the 30,000 "surge" forces Obama eventually approved, the book quotes a U.S. official as saying.
Afghans flee shelling from Pakistan 26 Jun 2012 Thousands of Afghan villagers were forced out of their homes due to artillery and rocket attacks from Pakistan. A barrage of cross-border artillery and rocket attacks from Pakistan have forced thousands of Afghan villagers to flee their homes, witnesses and officials in Afghanistan said Tuesday. The shelling was reported in eastern Kunar province after Pakistan accused Afghanistan of giving safe haven to militants who infiltrated the border to kill 13 Pakistani soldiers.
Militants kill 13 Pakistan troops, behead 7 25 Jun 2012 Militants crossed into Pakistan from Afghanistan and killed 13 Pakistani troops, beheading seven of them, the Pakistani military charged Monday. Outraged, Pakistan's new prime minister said he would protest to the Afghan president. Pakistan has complained that militants use parts of Afghanistan for sanctuary to stage attacks inside Pakistan. That claim helps Islamabad counter frequent U.S. and NATO complaints that militants behind much of the violence in Afghanistan come from Pakistan.
Judge denies Afghanistan man’s bid to challenge detention at US air base 26 Jun 2012 A federal judge has turned down an Afghan man’s plea to challenge his confinement at a U.S. air base in Afghanistan. U.S. District Judge James S. Gwin ruled Tuesday he lacks jurisdiction to hear the case. Zia-ur-Rahman says in court papers he’s been detained at Bagram Airfield since 2008, when the U.S. military captured him during a raid on his home. Zia-ur-Rahman sought to challenge what he called his "illegal arrest and detention" in U.S. courts.
Egyptian court suspends military arrest powers 26 Jun 2012 An Egyptian court has suspended a government decision allowing military police to arrest civilians, judicial sources say. The administrative court took the decision after reviewing an appeal filed by rights groups against the controversial decree passed on 13 June. The Cairo court has also delayed its rulings in two controversial cases, media reports say. One concerns the dissolution of parliament, held off till 7 July.
Small-Town Cops Pile Up on Useless Military Gear 26 Jun 2012 Small police departments across America are collecting battlefield-grade arsenals thanks to a program that allows them to get their hands on military surplus equipment, such as amphibious tanks and night-vision goggles at virtually no cost - except for shipment and maintenance. Over the last five years, the top 10 beneficiaries of this "Department of Defense Excess Property Program" included small agencies such as the Fairmount Police Department. It serves 7,000 people in northern Georgia and received 17,145 items from the military. The cops in Issaquah, Washington, a town of 30,000 people, acquired more than 37,000 pieces of gear.
CDC considers having U.S. Army scientists check on bioterror labs 26 Jun 2012 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering having U.S. Army scientists or another outside agency inspect its bioterror labs in the wake of a USA TODAY report this month. USA TODAY reported that the agency's $214 million Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory in Atlanta has had repeated problems with airflow systems designed to prevent the release of infectious agents. The lab, also called Building 18, has a secure, high-containment block where experiments can be done on anthrax, monkeypox, dangerous strains of flu and other agents that have the potential to be used as bioterror weapons [by USociopaths].
Black caucus to stage walkout during Holder contempt vote in House 27 Jun 2012 Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) plan to stage a walkout during Thursday’s vote on whether to place Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. The CBC is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. on Thursday to discuss the details of the walkout and is planning to circulate a letter to House Democrats requesting that they join them on the Capitol steps for a press conference during the contempt vote. The move comes less than 24 hours before the House plans to vote for the first time in history to hold a sitting attorney general in contempt of Congress for not complying with a congressional subpoena. Holder is the first black attorney general in U.S. history.
Rand Paul Trying to Add 'Personhood' Amendment to Flood Insurance Bill [LOL!] 27 Jun 2012 Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) moved this week to hold a noncontroversial flood insurance bill hostage until the Senate agrees that life begins at fertilization. The bill, which would financially boost the National Flood Insurance Program on the cusp of hurricane season, had been expected to pass easily in the Senate. But since Paul on Monday offered an unrelated "fetal personhood" amendment, which would give legal protections to fetuses from the moment of fertilization, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is threatening to halt progress on the legislation. "I'm told last night that one of our Republican senators wants to offer an amendment - listen to this one - wants to offer an amendment on when life begins," Reid said on the Senate floor Tuesday. "I am not going to put up with that on flood insurance. I can be condemned by outside sources; my friends can say, 'Let them have a vote on it.' There will not be a vote on that on flood insurance..."
Washington Post declines to retract Bain report 27 Jun 2012 The Washington Post will not retract its story on Bain Capital LLC's practice of outsourcing U.S. jobs, Politico reported Wednesday. The Post reported June 21 that Bain - the financial services, private equity and venture capital company co-founded by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney - had invested in several firms that sent jobs overseas to countries where workers were paid lower wages than their U.S. counterparts. Citing filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the newspaper said Bain owned companies that pioneered moving work to call centers and factories overseas during the time Romney actively participated in running the company.
Romney to seek Washington Post retraction on Bain Capital outsourcing 27 Jun 2012 Mitt Romney campaign representatives will meet with The Washington Post today to seek a formal retraction of its June 21 report that Bain Capital invested in firms that specialized in outsourcing American jobs, POLITICO has learned. The representatives will meet with executive editor Marcus Brauchli and other senior Post staff at 2 p.m. today at the Post's offices in Washington.
Romney's Bain Capital invested in companies that moved jobs overseas 21 Jun 2012 Mitt Romney’s financial company, Bain Capital, invested in a series of firms that specialized in relocating jobs done by American workers to new facilities in low-wage countries like China and India. During the nearly 15 years that Romney was actively involved in running Bain, a private equity firm that he founded, it owned companies that were pioneers in the practice of shipping work from the United States to overseas call centers and factories making computer components, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Jan Brewer: Arizona to enforce 'show me your papers' policy ASAP 26 Jun 2012 Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said that police agencies can immediately begin enforcing the controversial "show me your papers" provision of the state's landmark immigration law -- the section that was upheld by the U.S Supreme Court. "We will move forward instructing law enforcement to begin practicing what the United States Supreme Court has upheld," Brewer said at a news conference Monday.
Lesbian couple shot in Texas, one killed; police seek motive 26 Jun 2012 An 18-year-old south Texas woman is in serious but stable condition Tuesday, and her 19-year-old girlfriend dead, after an unknown attacker shot them both at close range last weekend at a park in the Gulf Coast town of Portland. Investigators hope Mary Christine Chapa, 18, can help them find a suspect and explain the motive behind the Saturday shooting about eight miles north of Corpus Christi. Mollie Judith Olgin, 19, died from a gunshot wound to the neck, and her death has been ruled a homicide, San Patricio County Justice of the Peace Karen Diaz told the Los Angeles Times.
Colorado Springs: Tuesday temperature hits all-time record of 101 26 Jun 2012 After five days of record-smashing temperatures, Colorado Springs saw an all-time high Tuesday of 101 [globally-warmed] degrees. The previous all-time record of 100 degrees has been seen only six times: twice during 2012: June 23, 1954 and 2012; June 24, 1954 and 2012; July 13, 1954; and finally July 24, 2003. According to the National Weather Service, Tuesday's high was recorded at 3:09 p.m., and it's not going to cool off any time soon.
Wildfires worsen in Colorado, 32,000 flee homes 27 Jun 2012 A wildfire raging near some of Colorado's most popular tourist sites grew suddenly more ferocious on Tuesday, forcing 32,000 people from their homes, prompting evacuations from the U.S. Air Force Academy and swallowing numerous houses at the edge of Colorado Springs. From the vantage point of a command post about 10 miles from the path of advancing flames, the entire community of Mountain Shadows, a northwest subdivision, appeared to be enveloped in an orange glow after dark. "This is a fire of epic proportions," Colorado Springs Fire Chief Rich Brown said as ash drifted down on the city, sirens wailed and the thick smell of smoke permeated the air.