Former Police Officer Killed By U.S. Marshals

UPPER DARBY, Pa.,  (UPI) —  A former part-time police officer wanted in a shooting was gunned down by federal marshals at a Philadelphia-area motel Tuesday.

Anthony Galla, 31, was tracked to the Summit Motor Inn in Upper Darby at about 6 p.m., WCAU-TV reported. Hours earlier, at 1 a.m., he allegedly fired shots at a former girlfriend’s home in Mount Carmel in central Pennsylvania, hitting her new boyfriend in the foot.

Upper Darby Police Chief Michael Chitwood said marshals went to the motel with a warrant, the Philadelphia Daily News reported. When they arrived, a man standing outside ran into Galla’s room yelling the police were there, Chitwood said.

Chitwood said Galla opened fire, prompting marshals to shoot back, killing him.

The man who was outside, identified as Galla’s brother, and Galla’s current girlfriend were arrested.

Investigators say Galla had served in the military and as a part-time officer for several police departments in central Pennsylvania.

Excessive Soda As Hard On Teeth As Meth Or Crack

ORELAND, Pa. (UPI) — Drinking large quantities of carbonated soda can be as damaging to teeth as methamphetamine or crack cocaine, U.S. scientists say.

A case study published in General Dentistry found the consumption of illegal drugs and abusive intake of soda could cause similar damage to the mouth through the process of tooth erosion.

Lead author Mohamed A. Bassiouny said tooth erosion occurs when acid wears away tooth enamel — the glossy, protective outside layer.  With compromised enamel, teeth are more susceptible to developing cavities, as well as becoming sensitive, cracked and discolored, Bassiouny said.

The case study compared the damage in three individuals’ mouths — an admitted user of methamphetamine, a previous longtime user of cocaine and an excessive diet soda drinker. The individual who drank soda consumed 2 liters, or 2.1 quarts, of diet soda daily for three to five years, Bassiouny said.

Each participant admitted to having poor oral hygiene and not visiting a dentist on a regular basis.

The study found the same type and severity of damage from tooth erosion in each participant’s mouth.

“The striking similarities found in this study should be a wake-up call to consumers who think soda — even diet soda — is not harmful to their oral health,” Bassiouny said.

Newly Identified Butterfly May Be Last New Species In United States

WASHINGTON (UPI) — Entomologists say a newly identified butterfly in Texas may be the last truly distinctive butterfly species left to be discovered in the United States.

Although specimens of Vicroy’s Ministreak were deposited in the Smithsonian entomology collections a century ago, this species was unrecognized because it was confused with a common, similar-looking butterfly, the Gray Ministreak, they said.

Writing in the journal ZooKeys, Jeffrey Glassberg, president of the North American Butterfly Association, and Bob Robbins, the butterfly curator at the Smithsonian, say the new species can be differentiated from the more common Gary Ministreak by eye color — Vicroy has distinctive olive-green eyes while the Gray has dark brown or black eyes.

The two species differ slightly in wing patterns and have different but overlapping geographic distributions and habitat requirements.

Whether Vicroy’s Ministreak turns out to be the last truly distinctive butterfly to be discovered in the United States, the era of new U.S. butterfly species is ending, they said. The search for new butterfly species must move to tropical Central and South America, where hundreds of species await discovery.

Plants Frozen For Centuries Come Back To Life

EDMONTON, Alberta (UPI) — Plants that haven’t seen daylight since they were frozen more than 400 years ago during the “Little Ice Age” are sprouting new growth, Canadian scientists say.

The plant life has been coming back to life as glaciers in Canada’s high arctic region have been retreating at an accelerated rate since 2004, researchers at the University of Alberta reported.

The retreating glaciers have exposed land — and the frozen plant life — that had not seen light of day since a widespread climatic cooling lasting roughly from 1550 to 1850, a period dubbed the Little Ice Age.

The “back-from-the-dead” capability of the plants, known as bryophytes, could provide insights into to how ecosystems recover from the planet’s cyclic long periods of ice coverage, the researchers said.

The researchers said they were surprised by an emergence of the bryophytes buried under ice for so long.

“When we looked at them in detail and brought them to the lab, I could see some of the stems actually had new growth of green lateral branches, and that said to me that these guys are regenerating in the field, and that blew my mind,” study lead author Catherine La Farge told BBC News.

The retreating ice is uncovering an array of life including cyanobacteria and green terrestrial algae, she said, and many of the species being revealed are entirely new to science.

“It’s a whole world of what’s coming out from underneath the glaciers that really needs to be studied,” she said.

Walmart Pleads Guilty To Illegal Waste Dumping

SAN FRANCISCO (UPI) — U.S. retailer Walmart agreed to pay more than $81 million in penalties for violating laws regarding the disposal of hazardous materials, the EPA said.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Walmart pleaded guilty to multiple counts of violating the Clean Water Act. The suits state the company didn’t have programs to train employees on how to handle hazardous materials and pesticides. As a result, employees either disposed of hazardous waste in municipal trash bins or poured them into the local sewer system.

Walmart Senior Vice President Phyllis Harris said the retail giant has policies in place to address the issue.

“The program was built around training, policies and procedures on how to safely handle consumer products that become hazardous waste, and we continue to run the same program in every store and club that was deployed years ago,” she said in a statement.

The guilty plea was entered in a federal court in San Francisco. The penalties settle allegations filed by the EPA.

Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division Ignacia Moreno said the public was at risk because of Walmart’s violations.

“By improperly handling hazardous waste, pesticides and other materials in violation of federal laws, Walmart put the public and the environment at risk and gained an unfair economic advantage over other companies,” she said in a statement.

Bachmann To Retire, Welfare For The Dead, Majority Of Americans Want Gun Talk Dropped, Rand Welcomes The Freaky People, Larry King’s New Show On RT, And More: Wednesday Morning News Roundup 5-29-2013

Here is a collection of some of the stories that Personal Liberty staffers will be keeping an eye on throughout the day. Click the links for the full stories.

  • Veteran Democratic strategist James Carville said Wednesday that Republicans throughout the Nation would be “relieved” Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has decided to retire.

 

  • According to a new report from the Massachusetts State auditor, more than 1,000 dead people recently received welfare benefits in State.

 

  • The latest Reason-Rupe national poll finds just 33 percent of Americans feel the “Senate should debate and vote on gun control legislation again,” while 62 percent want the Senate to “move on to other issues.”

 

  • Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on completed his tour of the early Presidential primary States. His message: Republicans must accept newcomers to their Party if they want to win back the White House.

 

  • Iconic American newsman Larry King will host a new political talk show on RT beginning next month. King’s show will feature interviews with leading establishment figures as well as with activists who are not afraid to go against the grain.

 

  • More Saudi abuse of migrant workers on film: A passport official in Jeddah was taped Sunday beating an African worker who had accompanied his Saudi domestic employer to the passport office. “These images are shocking, but unfortunately they offer just one small example of the mistreatment suffered by migrant workers in Saudi Arabia,” said Saudi human rights worker Walid Abou Al Khair.

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook. And follow our improved Twitter feed.

–Staff writer Ben Bullard contributed to this report.

Fed’s Full On Assault On Currency Alternatives Goes Global

Since the virtual currency Bitcoin began receiving widespread attention in the media as a viable alternative to cash, Federal agencies have been keeping a close watch on the startup and on firms with which it does business. The recent Federal attack on Liberty Reserve, another online currency, could provide clues to what government officials have in mind for Bitcoin and all future currency alternatives enabled by technology.

Liberty Reserve is an online money transfer system based in Costa Rica. On Tuesday, the Justice Department charged the company with money laundering and used the Patriot Act to lock it out of the American financial system in what Federal officials say could be the largest global prosecution of this type in history.

Arthur Bodovsky, 39-year-old Ukrainian native who moved to Costa Rica to start the business, was arrested along with five alleged co-conspirators who Federal prosecutors argue designed and operated Liberty Reserve as “a financial hub of the cyber-crime world, facilitating a broad range of online criminal activity, including credit card fraud, identity theft, investment fraud, computer hacking, child pornography, and narcotics trafficking.”

“Overall, from 2006 to May 2013, Liberty Reserve processed an estimated 55 million separate financial transactions and is believed to have laundered more than $6 billion in criminal proceeds,” the government’s indictment reads.

Officials go on to claim that Liberty Reserve “deliberately attracted and maintained a customer base of criminals by making financial activity on Liberty Reserve anonymous and untraceable.”

Police in 17 different countries were involved in the takedown.

The government has built its case around the fact that Liberty Reserve allowed its customers to anonymously convert money into virtual currency and transfer it from account to account with a 1 percent transaction fee. Justice and the Treasury officials say this allows criminals to hide the sources of their money.

“The global enforcement action we announce today is an important step towards reining in the ‘Wild West’ of illicit Internet banking,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. “As crime goes increasingly global, the long arm of the law has to get even longer, and in this case, it encircled the earth.”

More than 1 million people (200,000 in the United States) were users of the service, according to officials.

U.S. Government Continues To Silently Endorse Saudi Diplomats’ Virtual Enslavement Of Domestic Workers In Virginia

About a month ago, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) began investigating the escape of two Filipino women from a mansion in a Washington, D.C., suburb occupied by a Saudi Arabian diplomatic contingent.

The women had apparently been held in a condition of domestic servitude approximating slavery — something common back in theocratic, male-dominated Saudi Arabia.

Diplomatic immunity reigned supreme in the ensuing investigation, and very little new information has been — or likely ever will be — revealed about that case. The two women, who had been working 14 hours a day, seven days a week without pay and living among the Saudi military attaché after their passports allegedly had been taken from them, ended up in protective custody after escaping. A Saudi embassy spokesman in the United States clammed up when pressed about what was going on in the house.

Now, another alleged foreign national has come forward with a similar human trafficking story, relating how she was essentially kidnapped into domestic slavery at another Virginia home occupied by Saudi diplomats in the Washington suburbs.

NBC 4 in Washington interviewed the woman, speaking under the assumed name of Sheila, by phone. A Kenyan, she had arrived legally in the United States by way of Saudi Arabia on a work visa. Until she established a tentative Facebook communication with an area man, after briefly interacting with him on an Internet page for Kenyans living in the area, she had no contact with the outside world. She wasn’t allowed to go outside. With her passport illegally confiscated and the clock ticking on her work visa, she said, where would she go?

Her escape happened after she agreed to make a break for it with the help of the Facebook associate, whom NBC 4 dubbed “Marikio.”

The rescue ended up being a harrowing one — particularly, Marikio said, because he knew if he called 911, he risked a chance that Sheila’s boss could convince police to arrest him instead, because he was in the country illegally.

Still, Sheila — wearing a head scarf and a veil — ran from of the lobby of Skyline Towers on Seminary Road and jumped into his car. It was the first time the two had met.

Marikio said Sheila was gaunt and in obvious pain. She told him she was hemorrhaging from an untreated medical condition. He told her to go back inside and get her passport, and he’d take her to a hospital.

“She was sick, and she was shaking, and the police asked her, ‘Do you want an ambulance?'” Marikio recalled. “She said yes and the ambulance came.”

But, Marikio said, when she went back for her passport, she was held by the family she worked for.

“She went back, the guy was holding her. He was still holding hostage. She was screaming with her cell phone. … I say, ‘Go out!'”

Said Sheila, “I was afraid, because maybe they could have killed me. Because they have taken all my documents. They have taken my passport.”

Police officers ordered the boss to return the passport, and he did. Sheila then received medical treatment.

These diplomats are people whom both current and previous Presidential Administrations continue to embrace, with nary a comment on their subversion of Constitutional freedoms, both in spirit and in fact, as guests in the United States. While immune from criminal prosecution, Saudi diplomats/kidnappers could, in theory, reasonably expect some form of faceless public excoriation from American leaders of the sort that would bring shame on their behavior while in this country. But instead, Americans get to hear about it on the local TV news, and from conservative websites like TheBlaze, with no national exposure for the culture of domestic islamofascism being perpetrated with the silent approval of the American government.

Handicapped Texas Man Shocked To Death With Taser On Suspicion Of Drugs That Apparently Weren’t There

A 350-pound asthmatic man was sleeping on the couch at his Fort Worth, Texas, home on May 16 when the cops showed up with a warrant to search his house. They were looking for cocaine.

Jarmaine Darden had asthma severe enough that he wasn’t able to sleep lying down. He had to sleep sitting up. From Monday’s CBS DFW report, it appears Darden’s relatives were at his home when the cops showed up and let in the cops.

That didn’t stop the “zero-tolerance” officers from immediately treating the situation like a standoff with a dangerous criminal. According to the victim’s mother:

They physically pulled him off the couch because, like I said, he was asleep. They pulled him off the couch and they tried to put him on his stomach. He can’t breathe on his stomach. He don’t even lie on the bed on his stomach.

He had his hands behind his back the whole time. But me and about five other people were hollering the whole time, ‘He cannot breathe like that. Please handcuff him on his side.’

Instead, Darden’s brother said, the cops warned the victim that unless he hit the floor on his stomach so they could cuff him, he’d get hit with the Taser. He didn’t — he couldn’t — and then they used the Taser on him. Darden immediately started having trouble breathing. They used the Taser on him again. In total, cops used the Taser on Darden three times. Then, he stopped breathing. Shortly after the 4 p.m. “raid” was over, an ambulance came and took Darden to the hospital; compression CPR was administered on the way. But Darden never revived. His relatives, including his two teenage sons, are in shock.

“He wasn’t resisting. He was actually trying to lay on his side, so they could handcuff him on his side, because that pressure on his lungs will cut off his air and he’ll stop breathing,” said Darden’s mother, who was at the scene. She told WFAA that she and other relatives kept pleading with the cops, “He can’t breathe like that — he’s not fighting you.”

Darden had one drug conviction on his record and, as part of his probation, took — and passed — frequent random drug tests.

In their incident report, police noted that Darden resisted arrest. Five others in the house were arrested, but there’s no mention of any drugs being found. And the only thing police are saying to the media is that they were “met with resistance” at the home.

Darden’s death marks the fifth time someone’s died after being shocked with a Taser by Fort Worth police since 2001. The department settled with the family of one victim (a man who died after being shocked for an astonishing 49 seconds in 2009), paying out $2 million in an agreement that saw the offending officer keep his job without reprimand. The department admitted to no wrongdoing, despite the fact the death was ruled a homicide.

Simple, Not Easy

I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before. I call it “the politics of ease.” It’s the liberal tendency to blame every hitch in society’s collective gallop on someone or something other than the actual offender. Guns cause crime. Freedom causes terrorism. Wealthy people cause poverty. Your SUV causes bad weather. Junk food causes Michael Moore’s waistline. And criticizing those who hold the aforementioned nonsense to be true is racist.

With the accumulated wisdom of the human tribe available to anyone with even a spark of curiosity, it’s hard to imagine that anyone beyond the creepiest of the tinfoil-behatted basement dwellers actually still believes the above nonsense. Yet such addled creatures walk among us in numbers large enough to populate an entire “Occupy” riot with enough left over to fill to the local sex offender registries with the sort of people you wouldn’t allow within miles of your children.

Following the Newtown, Conn., massacre, liberals — goaded by their Democrat shepherds — decried gun ownership, the AR-15 rifle and even the National Rifle Association for their purportedly central role in the horror and demanded draconian prophylactic infringements on the Bill of Rights. Oddly, the millions of legal gun owners nationwide were uninvolved in Newtown, the AR-15 in my gun safe had nothing to do with it, and there were no Wayne LaPierre sightings in the Newtown area that terrible day, but no matter. Passing useless laws (like the ones Connecticut already had), restricting law-abiding Americans’ rights and blaming unrelated third parties is counterproductive or worse; but it is dramatically easier.  After all, blaming guns for the violence that has turned cities like Chicago and Detroit into gladiator arenas is unlikely to cost the Democratic Party machines the support of the gladiators. That’s dishonest, and dishonesty is easy.

As the civilized world reeled in horror at the savage brutality of the islamofascist murder of British soldier Lee Rigby, our leftward-leaning friends raced out to reassure us that Muslims present no danger.  Even as the Woolwich murder shook our collective sense of security, the blessed socialist paradise of Sweden was rocked by anti-integration riots perpetrated not by xenophobic red-State types (they don’t have those in Sweden) nor even racist Republicans, but Muslim immigrants. President Barack Obama, who bizarrely declared to the United Nations in the wake of the Benghazi, Libya, massacre that “the future does not belong to those who insult the prophet of Islam,” delivered a speech late last week that condemned terror without acknowledging the religious identity proudly crowed by both the Woolwich butchers and the Stockholm savages. Not only did Obama take pains to avoid insulting “the prophet of Islam” (presuming the prophet of Islam gives a whit about Obama’s mewling), but he went in the opposite direction. “But this war, like all wars, must end… the core of al-Qaida… is on a path to defeat.” I’m guessing the war to which he referred is the war on global terrorism, which will end only after the last terrorist’s passage is booked to the afterlife. And if al-Qaida’s core is on the path to defeat, that path must be as long as the Quran, and it must detour from Benghazi to Boston and all points in between. Following the Boston Marathon attacks, the Democratic Party’s hate machine offered naked wishes that the perpetrators would be “white Americans.”

I’m not suggesting Islam and terrorism share a direct causal relationship. I am noting liberals tend to worry more about hurting the delicate feelings of Tawhal, Dariq and Hassan than they do about reporting the identity and motivation of those who seek to murder Tom, Dick and Harry. We live in a nation that not only tolerates the blatant religious hatred proclaimed by islamofascists like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Nation of Islam, but offers those hatemongers Constitutional protections. Moreover, the President of the United States is almost as worried about slighting Muhammad’s minions as he is about straightening out his putting stroke. That’s ignorance, and ignorance is easy.

The list of similar hypocrisies goes on. Liberals show an odd preoccupation with despising rich people — at least, rich people who don’t host fundraisers for Obama. To the left, wealth is a zero-sum concept. If, say, George Soros has billions of dollars, then someone in Compton, Calif., must be living in squalor. Soros does have billions of dollars, and there’s no shortage of Comptonian squalor. But the latter has nothing to do with the former. And villainizing the former isn’t going to move the latter to Bel Air.  here’s nothing wrong with envying those who are better off, as long as that envy inspires you to improve your surroundings and not degrade theirs. That’s greed, and greed is easy.

I recently ran across an ABC News report about a 9-year-old girl named Hannah Robertson. Hannah interrupted the annual McDonald’s shareholders’ meeting to “confront” CEO Don Thompson and accuse him of everything except driving past playgrounds and offering Happy Meals to little kids. The story did everything but favorably compare little Hannah to Joan of Arc. Yet the report omits a central fact: McDonald’s didn’t invade Hannah’s home; Hannah invaded McDonald’s. Moreover, McDonald’s doesn’t force-feed anyone. There’s no doubt that obesity is a health issue in today’s America. Our diets are, to put a fine point on it, as crappy as our fitness regimes. But we’re the couch potatoes who eat Big Macs while watching the Oprah Winfrey Network. Blaming our flabby midsections on the Chicken McNuggets and large fries we ate for lunch misses the fact that we ate the McNuggets; the McNuggets didn’t eat us. That’s denial, and denial is easy.

When an oversized semi hit a bridge in Washington, the bridge didn’t collapse because the GOP hates infrastructure spending. When Congressman Darrell Issa interrogated Attorney General Eric Holder, he wasn’t acting out of bigotry; he was expressing outrage over Holder’s arrogant mendacity. When the Internal Revenue Service deliberately targeted citizens over politics, the victims didn’t bring the harassment on themselves. Those may be easier explanations for the low-information set to swallow, but they’re not true.

It’s human nature to seek the simplest answers. Indeed, Occam’s razor, a scientifically fundamental axiom, holds that the simplest explanations are likely the correct ones. So perhaps we should forgive our liberal friends for their folly. But the explanations that they consider simple are nothing of the sort. In order to keep their herds in check, the left has conducted logical contortions worthy of Cirque Du Soleil. The idea that the guns in my gun safe are secretly biding their time for the right moment to shoot up a liquor store is sillier than blaming bad weather on a theory that has required multiple name changes in fewer than 40 years; yet both those inanities are taken as gospel by liberals from Haight-Ashbury to the Hamptons.

The solutions to most of the problems we face as a Nation are, in fact, quite simple. Blame criminals for crime. Blame terrorists for terrorism. Blame the culture of envy for the rise of poverty. Blame the responsible parties for the problems they create. That might not be easy, but it is simple.

–Ben Crystal

Why Isn’t McCain On His Way To Guantanamo?

Senator John McCain consorted with al-Qaida allies — and, hence, enemies of America — during his trip to Syria over the Memorial Day weekend.

In meeting with Gen. Salem Idris, the leader of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), McCain met with a man who has aligned himself with Arhar al Sham, a partner of Al-Nusra Front, which the U.S. has designated as a terrorist organization. Just last month al-Qaida in Iraq declared al-Nusra was its branch in Syria. Idris claims his group doesn’t work with Al-Nusra, but the two have fought side by side and shared arms in their battle to overthrow Bashar al-Assad. Together, the groups, along with the Forouq Brigades and the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front (a coalition of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist groups that have vowed to create an Islamic state in Syria), form the FSA. Even The New York Times has reported that the groups that make up the FSA share Islamist ideals.

Two weeks ago, the FSA produced a video and posted it to YouTube showing Abu Sakkar eating the heart of a dead Syrian soldier. Sakkar is commander of the Farouq Brigades. Human Rights Watch recently claimed that Shakkar shelled Shia Villages — populated with women and children — in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. An FSA-produced video last year showed one of its soldiers beheading a civilian. Amnesty International has documented a number of war crimes committed by FSA soldiers and commanders.

Prior to the NATO-inspired coup attempt on the Assad regime, Christians lived in peace in Syria. But the FSA has been killing Christians and burning churches.

The passage of the National Defense Authorization Act gave the President the discretion of deciding that if Americans collaborate with terrorists, they can be indefinitely detained without the right of habeas corpus. The question is: Why isn’t McCain on his way to Guantanamo Bay wearing an orange jumpsuit, handcuffs and shackles?

Is College Worth It? Further Highlights How Federal Money Damages Students, Universities, Society

It’s no secret that the value of a college education is — and has been for some time — on a downward slide, but that isn’t stopping thousands of young Americans from taking on mountains of student loan debt in order to earn a degree. In the new book Is College Worth It?, former Secretary of Education William Bennett and his co-author try to understand why higher education is becoming more of a burden than a boon for many Americans.

Bennett and his co-author, David Wilezol, write in a recent column for CNBC:

Many students are tempted to believe that college is no longer a value proposition for them. After all, costs have risen over 1,100% since 1978, far outpacing inflation.

Fifty percent of the class of 2011 was unemployed or dramatically underemployed. In another survey, only 16% of employers reported that new hires from four-year colleges were “very qualified” for the workforce. Academically, one study showed that only 45% of students showed any meaningful cognitive gains after three semesters. Regardless of what one considers the purpose of college to be, it is clear that costly dysfunction is plaguing the system.

With such dismal outcomes across the board, is college still worth it?

The authors contend that higher education may still be a good option for many students, but only if institutions work to fix “massive inefficiencies” in the education system.

First, the authors say, colleges must end the “academic arms race” by doing away with over-the-top amenities on campuses that provide little or no benefit to students’ education.

They write:

As a result of increased revenue campuses often are furnished with extravagant amenities like rock-climbing walls, hot tubs and apartment-style dorms. Boston University even has a “lazy river” inner-tube ride for students. These are nice creature comforts, but ones that are ultimately unessential to the mission of educating students. These, too, are designed to attract the wealthiest students.

Another important aspect of revitalizing the value of college is cutting back on the “superabundance of personnel who manage campus life and ideology but contribute little to student learning,” contend Bennett and Wilezol. They believe that colleges could vastly cut costs to students by doing away with employees whose sole purposes are fundraising, overseeing diversity programs or researching without teaching.

A recurring theme presented in Is College Worth It?: Because colleges have access to too many Federal dollars and are incentivized to chase those dollars, the very programs designed to make college more accessible for Americans have an inflationary result, driving up the price of college. Meanwhile, the value of a degree falls. That is to say, colleges are spending money to chase money and the students are left behind.

But the authors of Is College Worth It? are certainly not the first to point this out. Consider what Scripps University assistant economics professor Sean Flynn recently said about academia’s big spending addiction: “The scariest number I’ve seen is that in the Cal State system between 1970 and 2008… the number of faculty only went up 3 percent, but the number of administrators went up 237 percent. The entire educational system has had massive amounts of money thrown at it and most of it has gone to things that have not improved the actual educational outcomes.”

And in December 2010, writing for The Chronicle of Higher Education, Richard Vedder, the director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, penned an article entitled “The Great College-Degree Scam.” In his work, Vedder essentially concedes that the government push for higher education has saturated the job market and forced more graduate and post graduate degree holders to take jobs for which they are overqualified and/or underpaid.

“…[T]he push to increase the number of college graduates seems horribly misguided from a strict economic/vocational perspective. It is precisely that perspective that is emphasized by those, starting with President Obama, who insist that we need to have more college graduates,” Vedder writes.

He goes on to explain that degrees are becoming little more than screening tools for employers later in the piece, “…[C]redential inflation arises from a perceived need by individuals to demonstrate potential employment competence through a piece of paper, i.e. a college diploma. Employers are using education as a screening and signaling device, at a low cost directly to them (although not costless because of the taxes they pay to sustain much of this), but at a high cost to the prospective employees and to society as a whole.”

Many people employed in academia suffer a sort of cognitive dissonance that disallows them to see what harm could come from making campuses live up to ivory expectations and hiring massive administrative staffs to recruit students who may or may not belong in college, but have access to fistfuls of Federal money. But in Is College Worth It?, the authors, both of whom are members of the academic community, admonish that America’s institutions of higher learning will likely destroy academia with an addiction to Federal funds: “If traditional higher education wants to retain its prestige, its historical significance, and its students, it should re-establish a college education that serves the heart, the mind and the checkbook. If it doesn’t, the future of higher education may move on without it.”

Government Too Powerful…Duh, Potentially Lying Holder Shopped For Judges, Military 3D Guns, And A Transsexual Superhero For Children: Tuesday P.M. Edition Links 5-28-2013

Brush up on the day’s headlines with Personal Liberty’s P.M. Edition news links.

Majority Of Americans: Government Too Powerful

According to Gallup polling results, since 2005 at least half of all Americans have believed that the Nation’s government is far too powerful. Read More…

‘Judge Shopping’ AG Holder Spurned By Two Judges Before Third Granted Secret Subpoena Warrant

When U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder decided to unleash the hounds on FOX News reporter James Rosen, he had Ronald Machen, U.S. Attorney for Washington, D.C., go looking for a court order to obtain a warrant that would allow the Department of Justice to subpoena Rosen’s communications without the reporter or his employer ever knowing about it. Read More…

3-D Printing The Military/Industrial Complex

While the Federal government is doing everything it can to curtail civilians from using 3-D printing technology to manufacture firearms by doing things like shutting down Defense Distributed, a nonprofit company started by a University of Texas law student, which has successfully made and fired a 3-D gun, the military could soon move forward with the technology in big ways. Read More…

House Judiciary Committee Investigates Whether AG Holder Lied Under Oath

The U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee is investigating testimony Attorney General Eric gave May 15 concerning his Department’s role in the Associated Press secret surveillance scandal. Read More…

In New Children’s Show: Little Boy Dresses Like Little Girl, Saves World

The gender-bending main character of a new children’s show on the Hub network — co-owned by Hasbro and Discovery — is both a prepubescent boy who, at times, is magically transformed into a female superhero by placing a ring on his, err her, finger. Video…

Majority Of Americans: Government Too Powerful

According to Gallup polling results, since 2005 at least half of all Americans have believed that the Nation’s government is far too powerful.

As the recent gamut of government scandals continues to ride the headlines, the pooling agency reports that 54 percent of Americans believe that the Federal government has too much power. The number is only slightly higher than the result from the same poll last year, and is actually lower than the number of Americans worried about government power in 2010 and 2011.

From Gallup:

Americans’ views of federal power have become a renewed focal point in recent weeks with allegations that the IRS used its power to selectively audit certain types of organizations, and news reports of Justice Department investigations into Associated Press and Fox News records and emails. It does not appear, however, that these news stories have dramatically altered Americans’ views of the federal government’s power. The 54% who now say the federal government has “too much power” is in the same general range as it has been since 2005.

Only 8% of Americans say the federal government has “too little” power, while 36% say the government has about the right amount of power.

As would be expected, there is a major gulf between Republicans’ and Democrats’ views on this issue. More than twice as many Republicans (76%) as Democrats (32%) say the government has too much power, with a majority of independents coming down on the same side as Republicans.

‘Judge Shopping’ AG Holder Spurned By Two Judges Before Third Granted Secret Subpoena Warrant

When U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder decided to unleash the hounds on FOX News reporter James Rosen, he had Ronald Machen, U.S. Attorney for Washington, D.C., go looking for a court order to obtain a warrant that would allow the Department of Justice to subpoena Rosen’s communications without the reporter or his employer ever knowing about it.

Machen was shot down by Judge John M. Facciola, who noted “[T]he subscriber therefore will never know, by being provided a copy of the warrant, for example, that the government secured a warrant and searched the contents of her email account.”

All the DOJ had to do to get the warrant approved was to let the subject — in this case, Rosen — know that a warrant to subpoena his communications records was being served. But then, that wouldn’t have been much of a secret, and the DOJ would have lost its ability to indefinitely monitor Rosen’s records without detection.

So the DOJ went judge shopping, according to an investigation by Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker. Even though two judges had ruled a secret subpoena wasn’t legal, Machen appealed and got Royce C. Lamberth, chief judge in Federal District Court for Washington, D.C., to reverse those decisions.

Incidentally, Lamberth apologized last week for not making records of the Court’s communication with the DOJ public for a full 18 months — an apology that, of course, came only after the Rosen scandal had broken.

At any rate, how can the DOJ, which answers to President Barack Obama, claim it knew of nothing out of the ordinary in the Rosen case? It had to go to extraordinary measures to get the legal permission it needed to monitor a reporter without his knowledge and without a window of time to limit the reach of the secret investigation.

3-D Printing The Military/Industrial Complex

While the Federal government is doing everything it can to curtail civilians from using 3-D printing technology to manufacture firearms by doing things like shutting down Defense Distributed, a nonprofit company started by a University of Texas law student, which has successfully made and fired a 3-D gun, the military could soon move forward with the technology in big ways.

Lt. Cmdr. Michael Llenza writes in a recent commentary for Armed Forces Journal that Navy ships should use 3-D printing to become floating munitions factories.

He writes:

As Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Neil Gershenfeld puts it, the revolutionary aspect of 3-D printing is that it allows us to make things into data and data back into things. For the Navy, the technology promises to shift inventory from the physical world to the digital one. Instead of actual parts, a ship might carry 3-D printers and bags of various powdered ingredients, and simply download the design files needed to print items as necessary.

Certainly, today’s ships and subs are not going to make everything they need on board, although it is tempting to imagine better uses for freed-up storage spaces. Today’s printers are generally limited to printing parts made of just one material, and variance is a big issue. But the development of multiple-material devices is well underway, and the technology is racing ahead. Perhaps closer at hand is a distributed global production network in which sailors and Marines send an email with a digital scan or design for a part they need and have it created at the nearest certified printer. Thinking bigger, the fleet might convert some Military Sealift Command ships into floating factories that can take print-on-demand orders from the battlegroup.

The things that might be ordered go far beyond mere parts. Several university labs and at least one defense contractor have turned out UAVs comprised entirely of printed parts, excepting the motor and electronics.

While there is still a great deal of research and development to be done, it looks as though 3-D printing will become a big part of America’s military/industrial complex. The question of whether the ability to produce weapons will be used by the government to keep 3-D printing out of civilian hands remains unanswered.

Speaking Loudly, Clearly May Help Others Concentrate

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, England (UPI) — British researchers say people can help others focus or concentrate by speaking more loudly or more clearly.

Lead author Alex Thiele, professor of Visual Neuroscience at Newcastle University in England, said by changing the way neurons respond to external stimuli people could improve their perceptual abilities.

While these changes could affect the strength of a neuronal response, they could also affect the fidelity of that response, Thiele said.

“When you communicate with others, you can make yourself better heard by speaking louder or by speaking more clearly. Neurons appear to do similar things when we’re paying attention. They send their message more intensely to their partners, which compares to speaking louder. But more importantly, they also increase the fidelity of their message, which compares to speaking more clearly,” Thiele said in a statement.

“Our earlier work has shown that attention is able to affect the intensity of responses — in effect the loudness — by means of the brain chemical acetylcholine. Now we have shown that the fidelity of the response is altered by a different brain chemical system.”

Thiele’s team revealed the quality of the response was altered by means of glutamate coupling to NMDA receptors — a molecular device that mediates communication between neurons. Carried out in a primate model, these studies for the first time isolated different attention mechanisms, Thiele said.

Adult Day Services For Dementia Patients Help Caregivers

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (UPI) — Family caregivers of the elderly with dementia are less stressed on days dementia patients receive adult day services, U.S. researchers say.

Steven Zarit, professor and head of human development and family studies at Pennsylvania State University, conducted eight daily telephone interviews on consecutive days with 173 family caregivers of individuals with dementia who use an ADS — a service that is designed to provide social and some health services to adults who need supervised care outside the home during the day.

On some of the interview days, the individuals with dementia attended an ADS program. On other days they were with the caregiver most or all of the time.

In the daily interviews, the researchers asked the caregivers about the stressors and positive events they had been exposed to, as well as their mood and health symptoms during the day.

The research team then used multi-level statistical models to analyze the results of the telephone interviews.

The study, published in The Gerontologist, found caregivers had lower exposure to care-related stressors and more positive experiences on days when their family members with dementia used ADS. On these days, caregivers also were exposed to more non-care stressors. Yet the overall effect of the use of adult day services on caregivers was lowered anger and reduced impact of non-care stressors on depressive symptoms, the study said.

U.S.: 10 People Drown Each Day

ATLANTA (UPI) — Every day, 10 people in the United States drown, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say.

From 2005-09, there were an average of 3,533 fatal unintentional U.S. non-boating related drownings annually, or about 10 deaths per day. An additional 347 people died each year from drowning in boating-related incidents.

For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for non-fatal submersion injuries, the CDC says.

More than 50 percent of drowning victims treated in emergency departments require hospitalization or transfer for further care. These non-fatal drowning injuries can cause severe brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities such as memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning such as a permanent vegetative state, the CDC says.

Nearly 80 percent of those who die from drowning are male. Children ages 1-4 have the highest drowning rates — most drownings occur in home swimming pools.

The main factors that affect drowning risk are lack of swimming ability, lack of barriers to prevent unsupervised water access, lack of close supervision while swimming, location, failure to wear life jackets, alcohol use and seizure disorders.

More Than 100 Studies Show Link Of Pesticides And Parkinson’s

PAVIA, Italy (UPI) — A meta-analysis of more than 100 studies shows pesticide, herbicide and solvent exposure is linked to a higher risk of Parkinson’s, researchers in Italy say.

Study author Dr. Emanuele Cereda of IRCCS University Hospital San Matteo Foundation in Pavia, Italy, and Dr. Gianni Pezzoli of the Parkinson Institute — ICP, Milan, Italy, reviewed 104 studies on exposure to weed, fungus, rodent, bug killers and solvents and the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Studies that evaluated the proximity of exposure, such as country living, work occupation and well water drinking were also included.

The research, published in the journal Neurology, found exposure to bug killers, weed killers and solvents increased the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by 33 percent to 80 percent.

In controlled studies, exposure to the weed killer paraquat or the fungicides maneb and mancozeb was associated with two times the risk of developing the disease, Cereda said.

“We didn’t study whether the type of exposure, such as whether the compound was inhaled or absorbed through the skin and the method of application, such as spraying or mixing, affected Parkinson’s risk,” Cereda said in a statement. “However, our study suggests that the risk increases in a dose response manner as the length of exposure to these chemicals increases.”

Colorado Reports Surge In Children Eating Pot-Laced Foods

AURORA, Colo. (UPI) — There has been a spike in young children treated for accidentally eating marijuana-laced food since the relaxation of Colorado marijuana laws, researchers say.

“We have seen an increase in unintentional ingestion of marijuana by children since the modification of drugs laws in Colorado,” lead author Dr. George Wang, clinical instructor in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Colorado and the University of Colorado School of Medicine, said in a statement. “We need to educate marijuana users, the community and medical professionals about the potential dangers.”

Wang and colleagues compared the number of young children treated at the Children’s Hospital Colorado emergency department for ingesting marijuana — via cookies, candies, brownies and beverages — before and after the modification of Colorado’s drug laws beginning in 2009. The researchers used data from Jan. 1, 2005, through Dec. 31, 2011.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, said the number of children treated for exposure to marijuana before Sept. 30, 2009, was zero. The number after Oct. 1, 2009, was 14 with eight directly from consuming marijuana food products.

Children who ingested the drug exhibited symptoms that included respiratory problems, extreme sleepiness, difficulty in walking and lethargy. Many underwent a battery of expensive tests to diagnose their problem because the history of exposure wasn’t given, or medical professionals were not familiar with marijuana causing these symptoms, Wang said.

Today’s marijuana is much stronger than in the past and these products can contain higher concentrations of the active ingredient THC, Wang said.