FBI Pays Environmentalist $100,000 after Wrongful Arrest

The FBI will issue a rare "letter of regret" and pay environmentalist Josh Connole $100,000 after mistakenly arresting him for domestic terrorism. Agents followed Connole for several days in 2003, after arson-vandalism attacks at four Southern California car dealerships in which gas-guzzlers were spray-painted. His suspicious activities included living communally with fellow vegans, installing solar panels, protesting the Iraq war, and driving an electric car.

via Solar Living Institute

Bush Shows Some Leadership

I think most Americans can support Bush’s posturing with China, as described below.

Source: China rebuffs Bush | The San Diego Union-Tribune

It has been an article of faith among American policy-makers for two decades now that China’s astonishing economic liberalization must eventually erode Bejing’s one-party dictatorship. Lamentably, there is little sign of such erosion yet, as President Bush’s visit to China this week demonstrated.

Bush set the stage appropriately for focusing on human rights and a less autocratic China. He met with Tibet’s spiritual and political leader in exile, the Dalai Lama, in Washington. In Japan last week before traveling on to Beijing, Bush called on China’s leadership to meet "the legitimate demands of its citizens for freedom and openness." After his arrival in China’s capital, Bush attended religious services Sunday morning in one of Beijing’s few state-approved Protestant churches – a pointed reminder of China’s many offenses against religious freedom.

Is Sexual Activity Healthy?

Source: Is Sex Necessary? – Forbes.com

The best that modern science can say for sexual abstinence is that it’s harmless when practiced in moderation. Having regular and enthusiastic sex, by contrast, confers a host of measurable physiological advantages, be you male or female.

In one of the most credible studies correlating overall health with sexual frequency, Queens University in Belfast tracked the mortality of about 1,000 middle-aged men over the course of a decade. The study was designed to compare persons of comparable circumstances, age and health. Its findings, published in 1997 in the British Medical Journal, were that men who reported the highest frequency of orgasm enjoyed a death rate half that of the laggards. Other studies (some rigorous, some less so) purport to show that having sex even a few times a week has an associative or causal relationship with the following:

– Improved sense of smell
– Reduced risk of heart disease
– Weight loss, overall fitness
– Reduced depression
– Pain-relief
– Less-frequent colds and flu- Better bladder control
– Better teeth
– A happier prostate?

via: The Doc Searls Weblog

Teflon in Your Microwave Popcorn?

Dr. Mercola uncovers another bummer.

Link: Isn’t That Teflon in Your Microwave Popcorn?

Not only does perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) — the dangerous chemical used to make Teflon — taint the paper plates you use to cook and eat meals, but the paper bags that contain the microwave popcorn you eat for a snack.

If this fact doesn’t surprise you, but here’s something that may: Those "innocent" bags of microwave popcorn could account for at least 20 percent of the PFOA found in the bloodstream of the average American.

Even worse, microwave popcorn bags contain the highest amount of fluorotelometers, substances that can leech into the popcorn oil in concentrations hundreds of times greater than the amount of PFOA sliding off your Teflon cookware and onto your food when it’s heated above 175 degrees Celsius for the first time.

Source: Environmental Science and Technology November 16, 2005

The Music Industry and their Attorneys

Greed knows no bounds. But the story seems to end well.

Source: The Big Picture: Fogerty’s Fabled Fantasy Fight Fixed.

John Fogerty was the signer/songwriter/guitarist for Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR). Creedence was one of the biggest bands in the late 1960s and early ’70s — over the course of less than 4 years, they racked up 8 Gold albums and 10 Top Ten singles.

Somehow, Fogerty lost the rights to his own music — the details are abit murky, but they ended up in the hands of CCR’s label, Fantasy Records owner Saul Zaentz.

How bizarre is this: When Fogerty left Creedence and started recording solo, Zaentz sued him, claiming the songwriter had plagiarized himself.

Fogerty is back in the news because Fantasy records was recently purchased by Concord Music Group, which is owned  in part by TV producer Norman Lear. The  new owners and Fogerty buried the hatchet, and he released "The Long Road Home: The Ultimate John Fogerty-Creedence Collection."

Goldman Sachs to Encourage Solutions to Environmental Issues

Link: Goldman to Encourage Solutions to Environmental Issues – New York Times.

The Goldman Sachs Group investment banking firm has announced a policy that details how its 24,000 employees – be they bankers, analysts or purchasing agents – should promote activities that protect forests and guard against climate change.

Goldman, which counts paper companies, refiners and car companies among its clients, stopped short of saying it would reject clients with questionable environmental practices. Instead, it said it would "encourage" clients in "environmentally sensitive" areas to use "appropriate safeguards."

It committed itself to investing $1 billion in projects that generate energy from sources other than oil and gas. And it strongly endorsed stringent federal regulation.

Goldman said it would establish a Center for Environmental Markets to study how the free-market system can solve environmental problems. Henry M. Paulson Jr., Goldman’s chairman, said the center – which will cost $5 million to set up and will be operating within six months – would help shape public policy.

"We don’t have a lot more time to deal with climate change," said Mr. Paulson, an outspoken environmentalist who is also chairman of the Nature Conservancy. "We need the right balance between regulation and market-based approaches."

Goldman is not the first financial services firm to adopt an environmental policy. In response to a 2003 campaign led by the Rainforest Action Network, more than 30 commercial banks signed the Equator Principles, which call for them to assess environmental risk before financing a project.

This year, J. P. Morgan Chase set out strict environmental dos and don’ts for each part of its business. And Merrill Lynch now includes environmental issues in the due-diligence checklist its bankers use before underwriting stock issues.

But environmental advocates say that the Goldman policy keeps going where others leave off.

"They are spending intellectual capital and energy on finding market-based solutions to environmental problems," said Michelle Chan-Fishel, program manager for green investments at Friends of the Earth.

Jonathan Lash, president of the World Resources Institute, was more blunt. "Goldman has given us things to measure them by," he said.

via Anita Sharpe

…wrassling a tarbaby in the Middle East

Jim Kunstler says that until our nation faces our addiction to oil, we can’t leave the Middle East. And, as long as we’re there, we will be targeted by terrorists. Catch 22!

Source: Jim Kunstler : Stay or Go?

     Maybe we ought to ask: what happens to the oil supply of the Crusader West when none of its representatives maintains a garrison in the Middle East? I use the term Crusader not to be cute, but to remind you how Europe and America are viewed by many people of the Middle East. They don’t like us. They have a longstanding beef with us. Some of them would like to punish us.

     America is leading the current crusade because we are the society most desperately addicted to oil, and the Middle East is where two-thirds of the world’s remaining oil lies. The one thing that we apparently cannot bring ourselves to talk about is our addiction itself. The commuters whizzing around the edge cities and metroplexes of this land probably got a big charge out of Congressman Murtha’s anti-war blast taking over drive-time radio on Friday. I wonder if they thought about how it might affect their commuting.

     This whole spectacle — both the inept war itself and our debate about it here at home — is particularly shameful for the official opposition, my party, the Democrats, because we could be talking about the so-called elephant-in-the-room, namely how we live in America and the tragic choices we’ve made, and the things we might do to change that — but the party leadership is too brain-dead or craven to do that. As long as we don’t, we’re going to be wrassling a tarbaby in the Middle East.