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California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom calls for legalizing pot Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom called for the legalization of marijuana on Saturday.
“It’s time to decriminalize, tax and regulate marijuana,” he told delegates at the California Democratic Party convention. “It’s time we own up to the fact that our drug laws have done far more harm than good. The war on drugs is an abject failure.”
Newsom, who is known to have an eye on higher office, poked fun at the fact that he is the state’s acting governor because Gov. Jerry Brown is in China on a trade mission. (Los Angeles Times)
'Obamacare' to the rescue (Op-Ed) A woman who felt President Obama had let the middle class down has changed her mind. I want to apologize to President Obama. But first, some background.
I found out three weeks ago I have cancer. I'm 49 years old, have been married for almost 20 years and have two kids. My husband has his own small computer business, and I run a small nonprofit in the San Fernando Valley. I am also an artist. Money is tight, and we don't spend it frivolously. We're just ordinary, middle-class people, making an honest living, raising great kids and participating in our community, the kids' schools and church.
We're good people, and we work hard. But we haven't been able to afford health insurance for more than two years. And now I have third-stage breast cancer and am facing months of expensive treatment. (Los Angeles Times)
50 arrested at Occupy San Diego camp About 50 people were arrested Friday morning as San Diego police in riot gear moved to clear the civic plaza behind City Hall of both the Occupy San Diego protesters and their tents and other property.
As the sweep began about 2 a.m., an officer using a bullhorn warned protesters "to disperse immediately or you will be arrested." The protesters presence in the plaza been declared "an illegal gathering," he said.
Police had repeatedly warned the protesters that while they could stay, their tents, tarps, chairs, tables and other property had to be removed. But when the sweep began, protesters were told to move and their belongings were confiscated. (Los Angeles Times)
WikiLeaks releasing documents on Guantanamo Thousands of pages outline the U.S. prison operation at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, with details on the self-proclaimed Sept. 11 mastermind and others. The White House condemns the leak. - Most of those remaining at the Guantanamo Bay military prison are considered "high-risk" detainees who if released would pose grave threats to the U.S. and its allies, as did a third of those set free earlier, according to thousands of pages of classified documents being made public by WikiLeaks.
Release of the more than 700 separate documents dealing with the prison, opened under the George W. Bush administration to house detainees in the war on terrorism, drew a sharp rebuke Sunday evening from the White House, which said the documents were obtained illegally.
"We strongly condemn the leaking of this sensitive information," the White House said.
The materials were obtained and released by WikiLeaks as part of its ongoing publication of classified documents dealing with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as secret State Department cables and other material. (Los Angeles Times)
Iodine tablets: how iodine protects the thyroid from radiation The International Atomic Energy Agency said over the weekend that Japan had "distributed 230,000 units of stable iodine to evacuation centres" near the Fukushima Daiichi and Fukushima Daini nuclear power plants.
Damage to those plants from Friday's earthquake and tsunami has increased the risk that people in the area could be exposed to radiation.
If that happens, here's why taking iodine tablets might help... (Los Angeles Times)
9.0 Japan earthquake shifted Earth on its axis Scientists in Pasadena say data from the temblor will show how Earth is deformed during massive earthquakes at sites where one plate is sliding under the other, including the U.S. Pacific Northwest. - Friday's earthquake off the eastern coast of Japan was upgraded to a magnitude 9.0 by the Japan Meteorological Agency, the Kyodo News agency reported Sunday.
The agency's scientists probably had access to new data, said U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Susan Hough. "If they've upgraded, I expect USGS might follow suit," she said, adding that it was not unusual for magnitudes to move up or down by 0.1, because large earthquakes can be tricky to measure.
"It's not surgical precision," she said.
Other details are emerging. The quake probably shifted the position of Earth's axis about 6.5 inches, said Richard Gross, a geophysicist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge, in an e-mail.
The temblor also should have caused Earth to rotate somewhat faster, shortening the length of the day by about 1.8 microseconds, he said.
Down the road, data from the quake will provide an unusually precise view of how Earth is deformed during massive earthquakes at sites where one plate is sliding under another, including the U.S. Pacific Northwest, scientists said. (Los Angeles Times)
It's a bird! It's a spy! It's both Backed by the Pentagon's research arm, Monrovia firm AeroVironment has developed the Nano Hummingbird, an experimental miniature drone that could one day do reconnaissance by landing on a window ledge.
A pocket-size drone dubbed the Nano Hummingbird for the way it flaps its tiny robotic wings has been developed for the Pentagon by a Monrovia company as a mini-spy plane capable of maneuvering on the battlefield and in urban areas.
The battery-powered drone was built by AeroVironment Inc. for the Pentagon's research arm as part of a series of experiments in nanotechnology. The little flying machine is built to look like a bird for potential use in spy missions. (Los Angeles Times)
Obama Adds To Iran Sanctions The penalties were aimed at entities tied to Iran's nuclear and missile program, including one bank, five front companies, 22 energy and insurance concerns, and two individuals and four groups tied to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. The move was important primarily for its symbolic significance: It was intended to signal other countries that the United States would build vigorously on the UN sanctions, and wanted other countries to do the same. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, announcing the sanctions at the White House, said that to be effective "we need to have in place a concerted international approach. This is not something the United States can do alone." (Los Angeles Times)
Obama to propose strict new regulation of financial industry President Obama is expected to unveil a plan that would give the government new powers to seize key companies whose failure jeopardizes the financial system. The plan would give the government new powers to seize key companies whose failure jeopardizes the financial system, as well as creation of a watchdog agency to look out for consumers' interests (Los Angeles Times)
Obama preserves renditions as counter-terrorism tool The role of the CIA's controversial prisoner-transfer program may expand, intelligence experts say. - Under executive orders issued by Obama recently, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as renditions, secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the United States. (Los Angeles Times)
Terrorist watch list at airports tops 1 million names The terrorist watch list was created after 9/11 to alert airport personnel to potential threats to national security. Now, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, the list has grown to over one million names.
"America's new million-record watch list is a perfect symbol for what's wrong with the administration's approach to security," said Barry Steinhardt, who heads the ACLU's technology and liberty program. "Putting a million names on a watch list is a guarantee that the list will do more harm than good by interfering with the travel of innocent people and wasting huge amounts of our limited security resources on bureaucratic wheel-spinning," (Los Angeles Times)
Obama denies wavering on Iraq Amid questions, Obama restates commitment to 16-month Iraq exit - Barack Obama struggled Thursday to explain his plan to end the war in Iraq, calling a rare do-over news conference to insist that he was not softening his campaign pledge to withdraw all combat troops within 16 months of becoming president. (Los Angeles Times)
Democrats are darlings of Wall St: Some fear donations will soften attitudes on financial regulation Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, who are running for president as economic populists, are benefiting handsomely from Wall Street donations, easily surpassing Republican John McCain in campaign contributions from the troubled financial services sector.
It is part of a broader fundraising shift toward Democrats, compared to past campaigns when Republicans were the favorites of Wall Street.
Some Democrats worry that the influx of money will make their candidates less willing to call for increased regulation of financial markets, which have been in turmoil after a wave of foreclosures on sub-prime mortgages.
These concerned Democrats argue that their candidates, and presumptive Republican nominee McCain, should be willing to push for financial institutions to accept more government regulation -- in exchange for likely future bailouts, such as the recent deal the Federal Reserve orchestrated for JPMorgan Chase & Co. to take over Bear Stearns Cos. (Los Angeles Times)
Lobe of TB patient's lung to be removed: The operation will enhance the antibiotics he is being given, eliminate a place for harmful bacteria to grow, his surgeons say. Denver surgeons said Thursday that they will remove a tennis-ball-sized section of lung from Atlanta lawyer Andrew Speaker, the air traveler who set off a worldwide scare when it was revealed that he carries an extremely drug-resistant form of tuberculosis.
Removing the damaged lung tissue that contains most of the bacteria responsible for Speaker's TB will allow antibiotics to be more effective and eliminate a breeding ground for the bacteria, surgeons said.
"Andrew Speaker is an excellent candidate for surgery," Dr. Charles L. Daley of the National Jewish Medical and Research Center said in a statement released by the hospital. "The infected area of his lung is relatively small and well-contained. He is also young and otherwise healthy." - After Speaker turned himself in to health authorities, he was transferred to National Jewish because of the hospital's expertise in dealing with the rare disease, known as extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis, or XDR TB. (Los Angeles Times)
Railroading injustice The compromise legislation, which is racing toward the White House, authorizes the president to seize American citizens as enemy combatants, even if they have never left the United States (Los Angeles Times)
The Pentagon's Secret Scream "[For] most people, even if they plug their ears, [the device] will produce the equivalent of an instant migraine," says Woody Norris, chairman of American Technology Corp., the San Diego firm that produces the weapon. "It will knock [some people] on their knees." (Los Angeles Times)
FBI Chief Raises New Doubts Over Hijackers' Identities FBI Director Robert Mueller acknowledged Thursday that investigators may not know the true identities of some of the 19 suspected airplane hijackers from last week's suicide attacks.
Mueller said last week that he had "a fairly high level of confidence" that the FBI knew the real names of the hijackers, based on flight manifests and follow-up interviews. - Officials refused to say how many hijackers may have used false identities, but officials of the Saudi Arabian government said Thursday that six of the men that the United States has named as hijackers killed in the attacks appear to be living in the Middle East.
Investigators believe that some of the 19 suspected hijackers may have stolen the identities of law-abiding Middle Easterners, further complicating the probe. (Los Angeles Times)
ARIZONA 6 in Viper Militia Freed, 6 Others Held - Six Viper Militia members accused of conspiring against the government were released from jail after promising to stay away from explosives and firearms and to not break any laws (Los Angeles Times)
Smog Season Ends With 41 Stage 1 Alerts--a Low Total
Environment: Mild summer contributes to cleaner air. Numbers have dropped 47% since 1988. - Tying 1990 for the cleanest skies on record, Southern California's smog season ends today with 41 smog alerts--continuing a decade-long trend of slow, steady improvement in the nation's most polluted area.
Much of the decline in 1992 is a testimonial to the summer's mild weather, especially in June and early July. Many of the Stage 1 health alerts for ozone in the Los Angeles Basin were congregated during an unusual bout of summery conditions in late April. (Los Angeles Times)
Bush Secret Effort Helped Iraq Build Its War Machine Persian Gulf: Documents show that 9 months before Hussein's invasion of Kuwait the President approved $1 billion in aid. Objections from others were suppressed. - In the fall of 1989, at a time when Iraq's invasion of Kuwait was only nine months away and Saddam Hussein was desperate for money to buy arms, President Bush signed a top-secret National Security Decision directive ordering closer ties with Baghdad and opening the way for $1 billion in new aid, according to classified documents and interviews.
The $1-billion commitment, in the form of loan guarantees for the purchase of U.S. farm commodities, enabled Hussein to buy needed foodstuffs on credit and to spend his scarce reserves of hard currency on the massive arms buildup that brought war to the Persian Gulf. - Bush's involvement began in the early 1980s as part of the so-called "tilt" toward Iraq initiated by then-President Ronald Reagan to prop up Hussein in his war with Iran. Hussein's survival was seen as vital to U.S. efforts to contain the spread of Islamic fundamentalism and thwart Iran's bid for dominance in the Middle East.
Many in the American government, including Presidents Bush and Reagan, also hoped that U.S. aid would gradually cause Hussein to moderate his ways and even play a positive role in the Middle East peace process.
But classified records show that Bush's efforts on Hussein's behalf continued well beyond the end of the Iran-Iraq War and persisted in the face of increasingly widespread warnings from inside the American government that the overall policy had become misdirected.
Moreover, it appears that instead of merely keeping Hussein afloat as a counterweight to Iran, the U.S. aid program helped him become a dangerous military power in his own right, able to threaten the very U.S. interests that the program originally was designed to protect. (Los Angeles Times)
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