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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sunday Morning News and Views, Part II

A high school cheerleader died early Saturday, hours after collapsing on the sideline during a football game between rival Los Angeles schools. The student was briefly revived after passing out yesterday. Officials say she was rushed to a hospital where she died about three hours later. She apparently suffered a cardiac arrest.

Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has picked up a special honor for a body of work that includes this year's Oscar-nominated "Biutiful," the haunting tale of a cancer-stricken father. The director acclaimed for movies such as "Babel" and "Amores Perros" received a Golden Eye award for career achievement Saturday night from the Zurich Film Festival. It is the first time the festival has given one of its top awards to a Mexican director. Inarritu's movies have been nominated for 10 Oscars and feature his well-known style of interweaving several simultaneous plot lines. The festival in Switzerland's biggest city ends Sunday after drawing an estimated 45,000 visitors.

Two scientists who unlocked mysteries linked to obesity or a professor who figured out how to make stem cells without human embryos are among potential candidates for the 2011 Nobel Prize in medicine. Canadian-born Douglas Coleman and American Jeffrey Friedman have won several prizes seen as precursors to the 10 million kronor ($1.5 million) Nobel for discovering a hormone that regulates food intake and body weight. Leading Nobel guesser Karin Bojs, of the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, said Sunday that Japan's Shinya Yamanaka could be a contender for discovering that stem cells can be made from skin cells. The medicine announcement Monday will be followed in the coming days by announcements for prizes in chemistry, physics, literature, peace and economics.

90% of large sea life are gone forever, over fished out of existence or falling to changing water temperatures and pollution. Of far greater danger for man, yet unseen, is that 50% of surface microscopic life that generates more than half of the earth's Oxygen, are gone forever. Japanese, Russian and other nations fleets of trawlers rape the sea bottom leaving nothing behind, yet tossing or leaving to die over 98% of what their nets drag up.

Has the presidential race upstaged any chance of governance, or at least the chance of quality media reporting of governance, by Congress, state governments, local governments or related institutions? The media is fixated on the Republican race for president and has been for at least two years prior to the general election, which is still 13 months away..over a year.When did the fundraising and media continuous election cycle take over our ability to govern and will the American people demand that those they elect spend their time governing and not raising money and campaigning from Day One?

Nevada is preparing for our Cinderella moment. While Iowa and New Hampshire hog the spotlight, Nevada is quietly forcing candidates to rack up frequent flier miles and set up shop in the state months before next year's primary contests. National Republicans and Democrats are planning conferences in Las Vegas and both events will bookend a GOP debate on Oct. 18. It's the only remaining candidate forum scheduled west of Iowa before the first primary. Nevada's third-in-the-nation presidential nomination contest is scheduled for Feb. 18. But it may be sooner if other states try to jump to the front of the line. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Texas Rep. Ron Paul and Georgia businessman Herman Cain have been working Nevada for months. The other candidates are expected to follow.

This isn't 2008 when it comes to Ron Paul and the current Republican presidential race. This time around, the Texas congressman is having such a big impact on the campaign that some Republican operatives are convinced that he will play spoiler in some important states. They say he can grab attention from his rivals for months to come and help determine the nominee. His libertarian leanings are energizing a small but growing group of passionate conservatives. Paul is relying on unconventional but successful fundraising techniques and a more sophisticated campaign than his two previous attempts at the presidency. There's also the fiery message he's been preaching for decades - one that's finally resonating with Americans concerned about the nation's debt.

Israel has welcomed a proposal by international mediators to resume long-stalled talks with the Palestinians but says it has some concerns abut the plan. Senior Cabinet ministers on Sunday discussed the proposal.The plan by the Quartet of Mideast mediators calls for the resumption of talks and a deal within a year. It was put forth after the Palestinians last month asked the United Nations to recognize their state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office says Israel "welcomes the Quartet's call for direct negotiations between the parties without preconditions" but said it has unspecified
"concerns" about the proposal. The Quartet includes the U.S., European Union, United Nations and Russia.

Syrian dissidents meeting in Turkey have formally announced the creation of a council designed to overthrow President Bashar Assad's regime. A group of Syrian opposition activists had announced the creation of the Syrian National Council last month. The structure and aims of this council were announced Sunday at a news conference in Istanbul. Opposition figure Burhan Ghalioun read out the founding statement of the council, which was signed by major Syrian opposition figures.He said the aims of the council were to present a united opposition front and overthrow Assad's regime. He rejected any foreign interference in Syria and urged the international community to recognize the legitimacy of the group.

The 7,000 residents of Fort Bragg Have one less weight on their shoulders today after a murder suspect was tracked and killed after a month-long manhunt. The massive operation came to a close when authorities shot and killed Aaron Bassler, a fugitive accused in the deaths of two area officials.
Outbreaks of listeria and other serious illnesses linked to tainted food are becoming more common, partly because much of what we eat takes a long and winding road from farm to fork. A cantaloupe grown on a Colorado field may make four or five stops before it reaches the dinner table. There's the packing house where it is cleaned and packaged, then the distributor who contracts with retailers to sell the melons in large quantities. A processor may cut or bag the fruit. The retail distribution center is where the melons are sent out to various stores. Finally it's stacked on display at the grocery store. Imported fruits and vegetables, which make up almost two-thirds of the produce consumed in the United States, have an even longer journey.

Sunday Morning News and Views, Part I

The first Monday in October means the start of a new US Supreme Court calendar.

A governor's seat is up for grabs on Tuesday. Republican Bill Maloney of West Virginia is gunning for the governor's job. He wants to take it away from incumbent Democrat Earl Ray Tomblin, who ascended in 2010 when Joe Manchin went to the Senate. The special election is set for Tuesday, October 4.

A protest in New York dubbed "Occupy Wall Street" appears to be settling in for the long term. Anywhere from hundreds to thousands of supporters are showing up for marches through lower Manhattan each day. Another major demonstration is set for mid-week, as union members join protestors.  Similar or sympathy "occupations" are starting to show up across the country.

This past week, Bank of America announced plans to charge most of its debit card users five dollars a month if they use the card to make purchases. The decision by Bank of America -- and OTHER banks that have imposed SIMILAR fees of late -- is meant to offset losses due to new banking regualtions. The consumer protection regulations were set up because customers found their fees building to the point of threatening their ability to stay ahead on bills. Banks, which also report record profits and high pay to their CEO's, say that new fees are needed to make up for the loss and pay for the services they provide consumers.

Detroit was decimated by major declines in the US Auto Industry. union busting through the moving of manufaturing to right to work states and its own, some say  reputation for crime and poverty. Detroit is also known for the the nation's highest rate of citizen involvement in community gardening, but it is home to a growing number of people who are making a living in some form of urban agricultural production. Of the 1,300-plus garden or farm sites within Detroit city limits, 40 are profit-focused market gardens.

There is a rich history of cowboys on the Hawaiian islands going back to the 18th century. Some maintain there were cowboys in Hawaii before Texas and Wyoming. The tradition lives on today in the Kauai All-Girls Rodeo Association. The girls range in age from 13 to 60-something and many are descendants of the original Hawaiian cowboys.

Friday's drone strike in Yemen eliminated two Americans who have played a key role in the development of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan were, above all else, the group's bridge to the West. The group is largely made up of Yemenis and Saudis who have hardly stepped foot out of the Middle East. That made Awlaki and Khan unique. Issues of whether we should kill Americans without due process and if we should revoke the citizenship of known terrorist have come to the forefront. The pro side is easy to argument, however there is anorther side. Do you trust the government to be right or not to abuse its privledge if it is allowed to assasinate Americans overseas or on our home turf?

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has ended peace with the Taliban in Pakistan, saying they aren't serious about negotiations. The assasination of the top Afghan negoatior wth the Taliban was the straw that broke the camel's back. Part of the problem is that what we call the Taliban are actually a strongly divided group of Isamic Fundimentalilst, with factions feeling differently about the future of not only Afghanistan but Pakestan and much of the rest of the Middle East.

The Syrian government is continuing its brutal crackdown against protesters. For much of the past week, there have also been clashes between security forces and armed militants in the central town of Rastan and elsewhere. Most of those resisting the government with arms are thought to be defectors from the Syrian army.

Texas governor and presidential candidate Rick Perry witnessed his support decline in at least one national poll. This past week, Perry engaged in a flurry of fundraising -- ahead of Friday's closing of the books for the third quarter. On Friday and Saturday, Perry made a swing through the early voting state of New Hampshire. Perry appeared at a variety of events, in a state where he is trailing former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney by a wide margin.

It seems like only yesterday that reporters were clamoring for Texas Governor Rick Perry to answer the question of whether or not he would run for president. Now the focus is on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. But if the answer doesn't change, what do reporters get out of asking?  Polls show that mainstream Republicans and indepenants are not pleased with the right leaning current crop of candidates. In addionion the big money has yet to bank of a Republican Candiate and more likely to come out for a moderate...this money includes Wall Street.

Google and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem have partnered to launch a new website that allows people the ability to view the Dead Sea Scrolls in detail. On line researchers can now see the "document" in detail, and reference translations and other support documentation from the origional scrolls. It is the first time that the entire scrolls have been available other than in photographs or in person.

The Glee Club at historically black Morehouse College in Atlanta is celebrating its centenary this year with a concert at Carnegie Hall tonight. The Glee Club has achieved an international reputation for musical excellence and boasts alumni such as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Writer and producer Ken Burns' new documentary series premiers tonight on PBC (locally on Channel 10). "Prohibition" is a three-part series exploring the story behind the 18th Amendment and the culture it spawned.