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Stormtrooper

US: Border agent shot man in back 3 times

Phoenix, Arizona - A Mexican man was climbing a ladder at an Arizona-Mexico border wall when a Border Patrol agent fatally shot him three times in the back, a sheriff's spokeswoman told The Associated Press on Monday.

Cochise County sheriff's investigators have no indication that Carlos La Madrid, 19, assaulted or tried to assault the agent when he was shot March 21, said agency spokeswoman Carol Capas.

La Madrid had fled police in the Arizona border city of Douglas in a truck and drove to the border with Mexico. He was climbing a ladder and trying to cross the border, and another man atop the wall began throwing rocks at the pursuing agent, Capas said.

Pistol

US: Sheriff: Fla. teen with gun charged after pistol-whipping mother, forcing her to buy her a car

Authorities in southwest Florida say a 17-year-old girl pointed a gun at her mother, pistol-whipped her and forced her to drive to a dealership to buy her a used car.

The sheriff's office in Lee County said Monday that the teen has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill, among other counts, and was being held at a juvenile detention centre. The Associated Press doesn't identify minors charged with juvenile crimes.

According to officials, the mother said she didn't want to press charges because her daughter had been accepted to several Ivy League schools.

Authorities said they decided to arrest the teenager after learning that the gun had been stolen last year. The teen was not charged in that crime.


Eye 1

Vanishing act by Japanese executive during nuclear crisis raises questions

Masataka Shimizu
© Associated Press
Masataka Shimizu

Tokyo - In normal times, Masataka Shimizu lives in The Tower, a luxury high rise in the same upscale Tokyo district as the U.S. Embassy. But he hasn't been there for more than two weeks, according to a uniformed doorman.

The Japanese public hasn't seen much of him recently either. Shimizu, the president of Tokyo Electric Power Co., or Tepco, the company that owns a haywire nuclear power plant just 150 miles from the capital, is the most invisible - and also most reviled - chief executive in Japan.

Amid rumors that Shimizu had fled the country, checked into hospital or even committed suicide, company officials said Monday that their boss suffered an unspecified "small illness" due to overwork after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake sent a tsunami crashing onto his company's Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power station.

Bizarro Earth

Latest helicopter footage of Fukushima

Workers are still battling to contain radiation leaks at a nuclear plant severely damaged by the disaster. Japan's nuclear agency says levels of radioactive iodine in the sea near the plant have risen to almost two thousand times the usual level.


Wine

North Dakota economy booms, population soars

Image
North Dakota, the state with the nation's lowest unemployment rate, capped a decade of economic prosperity with dramatic population growth in its biggest cities.

Fargo added nearly 15,000 residents to hit a record population of 105,549, the Census Bureau reported Wednesday. Its fast-growing neighbor of West Fargo added an additional 11,000 residents to reach a population of 25,830.

Fargo has seen steady growth over the decade - the housing boom missed it - to reach a size that surprised city officials.

"Above 100,000? Wow. That puts us into a different category of city. That's great," says Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker. The city is now home to about one of every six North Dakota residents.

Fargo's growth is especially striking considering North Dakota's population is only 672,591, the nation's third smallest. The state's total population grew 4.7% from 2000 to 2010, below the national average of 9.7%, but robust for a region that has suffered for decades from a depopulation of the Great Plains.

Arrow Down

Oregon: Mysterious wheat crop loss puzzles researchers

Wheat
© Oregon Business

Freak rainstorms fell. Fungi spread. Viruses attacked. Clouds of herbicides drifted. Not necessarily in that order or combination and what exactly happened remains unclear. But what is known is that last fall swaths of wheat on roughly 40,000 acres - worth about $15.4 million - in Umatilla, Morrow and Gilliam counties turned yellow and withered in a perfect storm of bad conditions.

Oregon State University plant pathologist Christopher Mundt got a call in October from OSU Gilliam County extension agent Jordan Maley. "I knew something was wrong when he called; I mean, he's a fourth-generation farmer," says Mundt. A crop disease specialist who will excitedly talk about the decades during which he purposefully stressed plants to infect them with all manner of afflictions, Mundt was a bit dumbfounded when Maley described the isolated 150-acre field in Eastern Oregon that had splotches of withered plants. The young wheat leaves were bursting out the sides of the plant instead of sprouting upward, curling up like an accordion. "I saw things I have never seen before," says Maley. "It's been very controversial. When it boils down to it, we really don't know what's going on."

The ravaged wheat in Gilliam County was not the only strange thing cropping up in Eastern Oregon wheat fields last fall. According to Maley, September saw two inches of rain in one day in Gilliam County, about 15% of the arid county's total annual precipitation. Rain fell throughout the region during a time when growers usually can count on weed-free fields to plant the soft white winter wheat for which the Northwest region is known, a crop that has seen a meteoric rise in value worldwide in the past year. With the unusual and early rain, weeds bloomed throughout the region.

Cowboy Hat

Joe Bageant, 'Redneck' Rebel and Popular Progressive Author, Dies at 64

Image
© Rich Cooley/Daily
Writer Joe Bageant sits inside his Winchester home by his laptop computer. His book, "Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War," examines problems with political rivalry within the United States today.
Progressives have lost one of their most talented writers in Joe Bageant, who assailed the corporate takeover of American democracy and the collapse of the middle class.

On Sunday March 27, progressives lost one of their most talented authors in Joe Bageant, who died at age 64 after a four month bout with cancer. The recipient of high praise from luminaries such as Studs Terkel and Howard Zinn, Bageant was one of AlterNet's most popular essayists for his work on the corporate takeover of American democracy, the destruction of the middle-class over the past four decades and the plight of Redneck America. Bageant grew up in Winchester, Va. and his work often dwelled on the misery and duldrums of rural blue collar life.

Dave Pollard, a colleague of Bageant's, summed up the author's unique approach and insight reviewing Deer Hunting with Jesus, Bageant's 2008 book, a revisit to his Virginia roots:

Comment: For more of Joe Bageant's articles, see this Sott link:

AMERICA: Y UR PEEPS B SO DUM? Ignorance and courage in the age of Lady Gaga


Eye 1

CNN: Fukushima will end very, very badly - No one knows how to stop it

Transcript Summary:

Unprecedented...
Frankly no one knows how to end situation...
Beyond ability of Japanese authorities to contain...
Best guess on how this ends?...
There is going to be a bigger breach than we have already seen in 2 and 3...
Workers will be evacuated...
We will see at least two core meltdowns and two spent fuel pool fires...
It will end very, very badly, that is what I actually think is going to happen...
This will take weeks, months to contain it in best case...


Heart - Black

Thousands of Gulf Oil Spill clean-up crew are dying

Notes from a Facebook buddy:

This young woman, Jennifer Rexford, BP-hired oil cleanup worker, is documenting her illness from the toxins in the gulf with her video camera. If you think it's just headaches or something like that, watch this. Severe neurological damage. Doctors and hospitals refuse to acknowledge this with anyone there who's sick. And there are apparently tens of thousands now.



Paul Doomm is mentioned twice in this video. He is a 22 year old who swam in and ate from the Gulf all summer, against his grandmother's advice. He has been hospitalized after seeing 94 doctors who don't know what to do for him. His blood had the highest amount of PAH's ever documented.

Evil Rays

Plutonium detected in soil at Fukushima nuke plant, suggesting damage to fuel rods

Tokyo,-- Plutonium has been detected in soil at five locations at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said in a statement on Monday.

According to Kyodo News Agency, the plutonium detection suggests "certain damage to fuel rods".

Plutonium, a key ingredient in nuclear weapons, is present in the fuel at the complex, which has been leaking radiation for over two weeks.