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Mon, 29 May 2023
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Obama campaign staffer dies after collapsing at Chicago HQ

© Unknown
Washington, July 13, 2012 (Reuters) - A 29-year-old staffer working for President Barack Obama's re-election died on Friday after collapsing at the Obama campaign headquarters in Chicago, campaign officials said.

There was no immediate word on the cause of death.

Alex Okrent had worked with the Obama team since 2004. The president, who was campaigning in Virginia ahead of the November 6 election, called Okrent's family to express his condolences and also spoke with other campaign staffers in a conference call.


Researcher Questions a Second Psychologist's Suspect Data

Lawrence Sanna departed University of Michigan amid questions over his work from 'data detective' Uri Simonsohn.

Uri Simonsohn, the researcher who flagged up questionable data in studies by social psychologist Dirk Smeesters, has revealed the name of a second social psychologist whose data he believes to be suspiciously perfect.

That researcher is Lawrence Sanna, whose former employer, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, tells Simonsohn that he resigned his professorship there at the end of May. The reasons for Sanna's resignation are not known, but it followed questions from Simonsohn and a review by Sanna's previous institution, the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill (UNC). According to the editor of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Sanna has also asked that three of his papers be retracted from the journal.

In both Smeesters' and Sanna's work, odd statistical patterns in the data raised concerns with Simonsohn, at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. But the similarity between the cases ends there. Smeesters' resignation was announced on 25 June by his institution, Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands, which undertook a review and concluded that two of his papers should be retracted. Sanna's resignation, by contrast, remains mysterious: UNC did not release the results of its review, and the University of Michigan will not explain why Sanna resigned.


Homeland Security Given Emergency Internet Control in Obama's New Executive Order

Department of Homeland Security
© Department of Homeland Security
A new executive order addresses how the country deals with the Internet during natural disasters and security emergencies, but it also puts a lot of power in the government's hands.

President Barack Obama signed an executive order last week that could give the U.S. government control over the Internet.

With the wordy title "Assignment of National Security and Emergency Preparedness Communications Functions," this order was designed to empower certain governmental agencies with control over telecommunications and the Web during natural disasters and security emergencies.

Take 2

'The Last War Crime' Debuts At Cannes While Censored In US

"In spite of strong evidence identifying Dick Cheney as the mastermind behind this torture regime - the subject remains taboo, both in the 'news' business and in Hollywood - that is until Hollywood executives watched trailers for the anti-war documentary."

During this summer of Occupy and subsequent police brutality, the subject of torture is hotly denounced by protesters and conveniently ignored by candidates. Like that ostrich diving head first into the sand of political expediency - Americans want to focus on the alleged debt crisis or gay marriage - anything that absolves us from the messy subject of tortures committed in our names by the Bush/Cheney administration and which continue under Obama to the present day. The entire Bradley Manning debacle speaks volumes to this accusation.

In spite of strong evidence identifying Dick Cheney as the mastermind behind this torture regime - the subject remains taboo, both in the 'news' business and in Hollywood - that is until Hollywood executives watched trailers for the anti-war documentary - The Last War Crime.

Written, produced and directed by a new talent known only as 'The Pen,' this film documents the torture protocol ordained by the Bush-Cheney administration. Since it first circulated a trailer on the web; it has been heavily censored and cyber attacked. You Tube has removed it at intermittent intervals and MTV (which is owned by Viacom) has refused to sell air time for a commercial.


Mortgage Refinancing Denied to Millions of Americans

© CNBC.com
Mortgage rates hit new lows and applications to refinance fell for the third straight week. It defies logic, unless of course you operate in today's tight mortgage market.

It's not just about the rate anymore. Negative equity, strict underwriting and big bank backlogs are keeping many borrowers from taking advantage of these incredibly low mortgage rates.

"If history is any lesson, the only thing that can really extend refi activity in a low rate environment is a loosening of underwriting standards to bring more borrowers into the market. And that is not likely to happen anytime soon," said Guy Cecala of Inside Mortgage Finance.


Native Americans Hail Rare Bison as Sign from Spirits

White Baby Bison
© CantonRep.com
Is this the fourth?
Here's one bison that won't end up as a burger. An extremely rare white calf was born last month, not on a range where they're known to roam, but on Peter Fay's farm in Goshen, Connecticut. Some Native Americans are hailing the birth as a powerful message from the spirits and are traveling to the farm for naming ceremonies at the end of July.

The calf, which looked "like a ghost" when it was born, shocked Fay, as did the ensuing excitement. Huge crowds are now expected to visit his farm, and the field is being guarded around the clock to protect the pale wonder.

The Lakota Sioux believe that Whope, the goddess of peace, once appeared in the form of a white buffalo calf, and the belief is that the goddess will return once four such calves are born, bringing in 'a new age', which some reckon could be the end of the world.

"We currently have the only three white buffalo in the world, at least to my knowledge," said Thomas Dodson at the National Buffalo Museum in Jamestown, N.D. Is this the fourth one in the story above?

According to the Hopi culture, the time of prophecy is upon us, the time of the ending of the Fourth World and the beginning of moving into the Fifth Sun or Fifth World. All cultures around our beautiful planet have an ancient knowing of this time and of the great shifts ahead.


Court orders credit card company to un-block WikiLeaks payments

© Unknown
Whistleblower website WikiLeaks achieved its first major legal victory in a pushback against the U.S.-led financial blockade that's crippled the publication and sapped more than 95 percent of its resources since 2010.

In a ruling by the Reykjavík District Court in Iceland, credit card processing company Valitor, partner of both Visa and MasterCard, is required to un-block future payments to WikiLeaks within the next two weeks or face $6,000 in fines every additional day it delays.

The case was brought by WikiLeaks payment partner Datacell, which was cut off by Valitor after WikiLeaks began publishing hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic cables in 2010. The court ultimately decided that Valitor had violated contract law by cutting off Datacell, which it justified by claiming that its clients are not allowed to accept payments on behalf of others.

"This is a significant victory against Washington's attempt to silence WikiLeaks," site founder Julian Assange said in prepared text. "We will not be silenced. Economic censorship is censorship. It is wrong. When it's done outside of the rule of law its doubly wrong. One by one those involved in the attempted censorship of WikiLeaks will find themselves on the wrong side of history."


Aaron Schaffhausen Calls Ex-Wife and Says "You Can Come Home Now Because I Killed the Kids"

© Unknown
Aaron Schaffhausen has been charged with murdering his three daughters (Amara, 11, Sophie, 8, and Cecilia, 5) after reportedly stabbing all three to death. He faces three counts of intentional homicide.

Jessica Schaffhausen and Aaron Schaffhausen divorced in January. Aaron lived in Minot, North Dakota, while Jessica and the three children lived in River Falls, Wisconsin.

According to reports, Aaron drove to River Falls on Tuesday for a surprise visit. After his kids took him upstairs to see their toys, the recently fired dad allegedly killed them and then called Jessica, saying "You can [come] home now because I killed the kids."

Poilce say that Jessica got a text from Aaron on Tuesday, asking for an unplanned visit. She agreed, even though Aaron had allegedly made threats on her life in the past.

Bad Guys

15-Year-Old Girl Forced to Wear Electric Shock Collar For Punishment

Samuel and Diana Franklin were arrested this week on charges of child cruelty and false imprisonment after their adopted 15-year-old daughter told police that she was forced to live in a chicken coop and wear a remote-controlled shock collar (video below).

The unnamed 15-year-old, who was home schooled, was punished by spending up to six days at a time in the chicken coop behind the couple's house in Butler, Georgia, over the past two years.

Police also said that the girl was also forced to do manual labor and spend time in a 4-foot-wide outhouse.

A shock collar was found at the home when the parents were taken into custody on Tuesday. The girl said that a device was used to activate the collar and punish her with jolts of electricity.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation Agent Wayne Smith told KLTV: "I've never seen anything like this personally. If the allegations prove to be true, it's a very severe case."


Sightings App Lets Users Insert Images Of Jesus, Virgin Mary And Bigfoot Into Food Photos

Sightings App
© Betabrand
We'd never thought we'd write these words, but now there's an app that injects images of Jesus, Mary, or Bigfoot into any photo. Seriously.

The app, Sightings by Betabrand, is made by the same people behind pants line Cordarounds, which features items like slacks that lower the average wearer's crotch heat index. (Their words, not ours.)

In an e-mail to The Huffington Post, founder Chris Lindland explained why anyone would ever need the Sightings app.

"There's no better way to declare tastiness than to inject a divine apparition into your casserole or cup of coffee," he wrote.

Check out the app at work in the gallery here.