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  1. Guess who Obama's considering for Souter slot! Regulatory czar nominee favors gun grab, animal rights, 'Fairness Doctrine' for Net Posted: May 02, 2009 1:00 am Eastern WorldNetDaily Cass Sunstein WASHINGTON – The announced retirement of Supreme Court Justice David Souter could result in Barack Obama's nomination of a man who has been an outspoken proponent of tough restriction on gun sales and ownership, a ban on hunting, animal rights and what has been characterized as a "Fairness Doctrine" for the Internet. Cass Sunstein, a law professor friend of the president and his current nominee to be regulatory czar, is on a list of eight possible names, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to replace Souter in an article in Atlantic Monthly. It's time to put up or shut up, America. Literally. Get the book that shows how to fight the assault on your freedom of speech! "Among those who might make the list of replacements: incoming solicitor general Elena Kagan, formerly the dean of the Harvard Law School, Cass Sunstein, a brilliant constitutional law prof who now works at Obama's Office of Management and Budget, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, appellate judge Diane Wood, and Leah Ward Sears, the chief justice of Georgia's Supreme Court," reports Marc Ambinder. "A dark horse might be Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the Eastern District of New York. Less known but equally potent candidates would be Stanford's Pam Karlan, an intellectually brilliant liberal, and Johnnie Rawlinson, an appeals court judge and the first African American woman appointed to that circuit. Of all these candidates, Wood and Karlan are probably the brightest lights, and Wood would be most palatable to conservatives. Cato's Ilya Shapiro, a former Wood student, said that she'd offer a "seriousness of purpose and no ideological ax to grind, this making her the best nominee for supporters of constitutionalism." (Story continues below) WND reported earlier this week on Sunstein's advocacy for a "Fairness Doctrine" for the Internet that would require opposing opinions be linked and his suggestion that angry e-mails should be prevented from being sent by technology that would require a 24-hour cooling off period. The revelations about Cass Sunstein, Obama's friend from the University of Chicago Law School and nominee to head the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, come in a new book by Brad O'Leary, "Shut Up, America! The End of Free Speech." OIRA will oversee regulation throughout the U.S. government. Sunstein also has argued in his prolific literary works that the Internet is anti-democratic because of the way users can filter out information of their own choosing. "A system of limitless individual choices, with respect to communications, is not necessarily in the interest of citizenship and self-government," he wrote. "Democratic efforts to reduce the resulting problems ought not be rejected in freedom's name." Sunstein first proposed the notion of imposing mandatory "electronic sidewalks" for the Net. These "sidewalks" would display links to opposing viewpoints. Adam Thierer, senior fellow and director of the Center for Digital Media Freedom at the Progress and Freedom Center, has characterized the proposal as "The Fairness Doctrine for the Internet." "Apparently in Sunstein's world, people have many rights, but one of them, it seems, is not the right to be left alone or seek out the opinions one desires," Thierer wrote. Later, Sunstein rethought his proposal, explaining that it would be "too difficult to regulate [the Internet] in a way that would respond to those concerns." He also acknowledged that it was "almost certainly unconstitutional." Sign the petition to block federal government attacks on freedom of speech and freedom of the press! Perhaps Sunstein's most novel idea regarding the Internet was his proposal, in his book "Nudge," written with Richard Thaler, for a "Civility Check" for e-mails and other online communications. "The modern world suffers from insufficient civility," they wrote. "Every hour of every day, people send angry e-mails they soon regret, cursing people they barely know (or even worse, their friends and loved ones). A few of us have learned a simple rule: don't send an angry e-mail in the heat of the moment. File it, and wait a day before you send it. (In fact, the next day you may have calmed down so much that you forget even to look at it. So much the better.) But many people either haven't learned the rule or don’t always follow it. Technology could easily help. In fact, we have no doubt that technologically savvy types could design a helpful program by next month." That's where the "Civility Check" comes in. "We propose a Civility Check that can accurately tell whether the e-mail you're about to send is angry and caution you, 'warning: this appears to be an uncivil e-mail. do you really and truly want to send it?'" they wrote. "(Software already exists to detect foul language. What we are proposing is more subtle, because it is easy to send a really awful e-mail message that does not contain any four-letter words.) A stronger version, which people could choose or which might be the default, would say, 'warning: this appears to be an uncivil e-mail. this will not be sent unless you ask to resend in 24 hours.' With the stronger version, you might be able to bypass the delay with some work (by inputting, say, your Social Security number and your grandfather’s birth date, or maybe by solving some irritating math problem!)." Sunstein's nomination to the powerful new position will require Senate approval. He is almost certain to face other questions about his well-documented controversial views: * In a 2007 speech at Harvard he called for banning hunting in the U.S. * In his book "Radicals in Robes," he wrote: "[A]lmost all gun control legislation is constitutionally fine. And if the Court is right, then fundamentalism does not justify the view that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms." * In his 2004 book, "Animal Rights," he wrote: "Animals should be permitted to bring suit, with human beings as their representatives …" * In "Animal Rights: A Very Short Primer," he wrote "[T]here should be extensive regulation of the use of animals in entertainment, in scientific experiments, and in agriculture." The American Conservative Union is offering an opportunity for Americans to sound off on Sunstein's agenda. The organization has created a website called Stop Sunstein through which readers can submit petition signatures to members of the U.S. Senate. "As one of America's leading constitutional scholars, Cass Sunstein has distinguished himself in a range of fields, including administrative law and policy, environmental law, and behavioral economics," said Obama at his nomination of his regulatory czar. "He is uniquely qualified to lead my administration's regulatory reform agenda at this crucial stage in our history. Cass is not only a valued adviser, he is a dear friend and I am proud to have him on my team." O'Leary disagrees. "It's hard to imagine President Obama nominating a more dangerous candidate for regulatory czar than Cass Sunstein," he says. "Not only is Sunstein an animal-rights radical, but he also seems to have a serious problem with our First Amendment rights. Sunstein has advocated everything from regulating the content of personal e-mail communications, to forcing nonprofit groups to publish information on their websites that is counter to their beliefs and mission. Of course, none of this should be surprising from a man who has said that 'limitless individual choices, with respect to communications, is not necessarily in the interest of citizenship and self-government.' If it were up to Obama and Sunstein, everything we read online – right down to our personal e-mail communications – would have to be inspected and approved by the federal government." http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=...mp;pageId=96775
  2. Does State think Texas is a foreign country? posted at 8:46 am on April 30, 2009 by Ed Morrissey Send to a Friend | Share on Facebook | printer-friendly Last weekend, the blog Stormin’s Morning Java noticed an odd claim on the State Department website. In a list that intended to brag about how much Hillary Clinton had traveled as the new Secretary of State to foreign countries, Foggy Bottom included a trip to Texas: I figured that this was simply a clerical error, albeit a rather stupid one by a clerk who didn’t realize that Texas wasn’t a foreign country. Unfortunately, it turns out that State has apparently decided to give full diplomatic recognition to the Republic of Texas, helping Governor Rick Perry by mooting a need to secede first. In their press release celebrating 100 days of the Obama administration, State continues to include travel to Texas as one of their major accomplishments: OVERALL DEPARTMENT POLICY ACCOMPLISHMENTS, REGULATORY INITIATIVES, AND INTERAGENCY EFFORTS In the first 100 Days of the Obama Administration, Secretary Clinton and the State Department have made significant progress in advancing America’s national security goals and promoting America’s values around the world. Secretary Clinton is already the most traveled Secretary of State in a new Administration. The Secretary’s trips have included her inaugural trip to Asia, the Middle East and Europe, Mexico and across the border to Texas, the Hague in the Netherlands, Europe with President Obama, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago with President Obama, and to Iraq and Kuwait. The work undertaken on these trips, the many bilateral and trilateral meetings hosted by Secretary Clinton, and the tireless efforts of others throughout the State Department have contributed to early and significant progress on the following priorities: Afghanistan/Pakistan policy, the Middle East, Iraq, Asia, Russia, North Korea, the Western Hemisphere, the climate crisis, engaging in public diplomacy, and other core issues. Wow. Has Hillary visited Maryland and Virginia, too? If she visits Utah, will she bow to the Governor, or just curtsey? Let’s also recall the “significant progress” State has made in the above areas: * Afghanistan - Completely failed to get more combat troops from NATO. * Pakistan - Say, isn’t that the Taliban just outside the capital in Islamabad? * Middle East - Netanyahu won’t budge until Obama does something about Iran … which conveniently got left off the list. * Russia - Gave a mistranslated reset button to Sergei Lavrov, who then told Hillary and Obama that they wouldn’t lift a finger to stop Iran from going nuclear. Oh, and the US retreated from missile defense in Europe. Smart power. * North Korea — North Korea? The country that just defied Obama, launched a long-range missile, and kicked out all the UN inspectors and declared a restart on all nuclear programs? That North Korea? It that’s “significant progress,” then I hate to see what a setback looks like. * Engaging in public diplomacy - Yes, like telling the Europeans that she doesn’t understand multiparty democracy, that our system is better, and Europeans didn’t have democracy before the US. Oh, and let’s not forget getting the names of her EU counterparts wrong. Thank goodness all that happened in public! * “Other core issues” — Well, they did get an iPod to the Queen, and bowed to Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah. Given all of that, I’m wondering when Texas plans to break off diplomatic relations. http://hotair.com/archives/2009/04/30/does...oreign-country/
  3. Alderman Fioretti red hot over felony hot dog stand opening on West Side Call off the dogs. Or rather, the Felony Franks. Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) is more than a weenie bit mad over the name and logo of a new hot dog stand that will be opening in his ward in a few weeks. Fioretti said he fully supports Felony Franks’ mission of providing ex-convicts with jobs, but he thinks the moniker and paintings outside the West Side eatery of googly-eyed hot dogs behind bars are in bad taste. “This, no matter what anybody says, is not that cute of an idea. It’s a great concept for ex-offenders, but it’s a poor theme for a restaurant,” Fioretti said, emphasizing that the business’ slogans, “Food so good, it’s criminal” and “Home of the misdemeanor wiener” only glamorize criminal behavior. Owner Jim Andrews should be extra sensitive given the crime in the neighborhood, including the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Ruben Ivy outside Crane High School last year, Fioretti said. “This is distracting from what I consider the real challenges of ex-offenders when they are released from prison,” the alderman said. Andrews, however, refuses to roll over. The restaurant’s name will only ease the stigma and curb recidivism, a goal the alderman supports, he said. “I’m not afraid to use the name felony to turn a negative into a positive. When they get out of jail, why don’t you just tattoo a a ‘felony’ sign on their foreheads, that’s what society does. I want to take that tattoo away. Give them a chance,” said Andrews, of Oak Park. Andrews says he has already received 50 to 60 applications from potential employees at his restaurant, 229 S. Western. Although he will not discriminate which felons can be hired, Andrews said he will not employ convicted pedophiles at that location since Crane is only a block away. He hopes to open roughly three dozen more Felony Franks in the city and surrounding areas. That may be an uphill battle. Fioretti is so red hot and has received so many complaints, he said he will not grant Andrews a permit to place a Felony Franks sign above the sidewalk near the restaurant. “Then I’m going to open without a sign,” Andrews, 63, said. “Shame on him [Fioretti]. Hooters has a sign. Bare Assets has a sign. . . . Why can’t Felony Franks have a sign?” Along with Felony Franks and Misdemeanor Wieners, the restaurant’s menu includes such staples as Cell Mate Dog, Custody Dog, Chain Gang Chili Dog, Burglar Beef, Bail Bond BBQ beef, Lawbreaker Meatball Sandwich, Mobster Mozzarella Sticks and Prison Jalapeno Poppers. “Come and eat by us,” Andrews said, working in another catch phrase. “The only thing you’ll be convicted of is having good food.” http://www.suntimes.com/news/24-7/15...042409.article :beer2:
  4. Which kind of gun owner are you? Submitted by cbaus on Fri, 04/24/2009 - 00:10. * Gun Rights Groups * Sports and Hunting By Steven Loos Having spent a fair amount of my impressionable years shooting alongside my WW2 veteran grandfather, I was fortunate to have been taught early on the great responsibility that owning a firearm brings. As far back as I can recall I have always understood owning a firearm had a deeper meaning. Later in life, and much to my surprise, I would come to understand that not all owners share this belief. During Ohioans' struggle to pass common-sense concealed carry legislation, I had the good fortune to join in the fight as a volunteer. While continuing the good work of defending the Second Amendment alongside incredibly dedicated activists, I have interacted with many firearm owners. Gun owners come from all walks of life. We may be politician, police officer or plumber. Statistically we are the most law-abiding segment of society. Interestingly, among the gun owning public, I've encountered three distinct kinds of gun owners. Although there are variations in each subset, what follows is in my opinion the general categories that most gun owners fall into: * The Casual Gun Owner * The Belligerent Gun Owner * The Dedicated Defender of Gun Rights First, let's examine the Casual Gun Owner. Perhaps a majority of the estimated 80 million plus American gun owners fall into this group. Akin to the previously spotlighted apathetic gun owner, the Casual Gun Owner looks upon the firearm as simply a tool or object they own, not unlike a motorcycle or a set of golf clubs. While this person may own one or several firearms, they might own a firearm for self defense or for hunting. To this person, the gun is a mere inanimate possession which they may hide the existence of from disapproving friends. To the Casual Gun Owner their firearm has no deeper meaning or significance. He will support bans on modern semi-auto rifles or tightening regulations of handguns because it doesn't effect his sport. He may even join the NRA, and figure that's doing his part. However the moment owning a firearm becomes a burden or an inconvenience, the Casual Gun Owner will obediently turn them in. The powers-that-be need only demand them to do so. Next up to bat is the Belligerent Gun Owner. These are the hot heads of the gun ownership demographic, who are more than happy to criticize others for not doing enough, while proclaiming at the top of their lungs their steadfast dedication and support to the cause of Second Amendment rights. They indeed talk the talk. Typically the Belligerent Gun Owner spends his time complaining about the status quo, they are quick to attack the NRA or call others making progress "incrementalists", using the term like a dirty word. These folks often suffer from the "I got mine" mentality (i.e. "I've bought all the guns I need or want so I'm not worried about future anti-gun laws passing.") The Belligerent Gun Owner lavishes in pontificating on Internet forums, yet cannot be bothered to show up to hold a banner at a rally, write a letter to lawmakers or man a table at the gun shows. One can often find Belligerent Gun Owner at the range telling others how it's done. On the rare occasion the Belligerent Gun Owner does get off of his couch and puts his foot in the door, he typically burns bridges with law-makers with his bombastic nature, shedding a bad light on all gun ownership. This individual can and does cause the most damage in the struggle to protect our ever disappearing liberties. He is the anti-gunners' poster boy. Finally, we have arrived at the Dedicated Defender of Gun Rights. He may be a high-powered shooter at Camp Perry. She may be a concealed handgun license-holder. They may be sportsmen. What shooting activity they participate in is of no particular importance. The Dedicated Defender of Gun Rights works diligently with the knowledge the Second Amendment is constantly under attack. Having the understanding that our rights were chipped away over the decades, the Defender takes heart in the knowledge that she may not obtain the ultimate goal of total repeal of the unconstitutional infringements in one fell swoop. Yet he believes if we continue working, keep persisting, eventually gun rights will be restored to their rightful, tantamount position. The Dedicated Defender of Gun Rights is who we have to thank for carrying the banner. They live the life and understand the deeper meaning of firearms ownership. Not only do firearms hold a pivotal place in American history, a tangible cultural significance, but greater still is their understanding that the Second Amendment is the lynch pin of our American liberties. As any true believer worth his salt knows, the Second Amendment doesn't say anything about hunting. I'm happy for you if you are a sportsman, but that just isn't what it's about. The Dedicated Defender of Gun Rights will join grassroots groups, write letters to law-makers and attend legislative hearings. She will politely speak up when uninformed acquaintances regurgitate the anti-gun sound bites from the late-night news shows. He will not feel content in sending his yearly dues to the NRA, but he will work to be an informed voter, and he will donate his time to train new shooters. What sets this person apart from the Casual Gun Owner is a passion to defend our rights for the next generation. Take a moment to reflect. If you're reading this article and visiting this website, I assume you are an informed Dedicated Defender of Gun Rights. If you fall into the other camps or know someone that does, please look inside and ask yourself, what do you believe? During these uncertain times, when the barbarians are at the gates, I ask: Which kind of gun owner are you? http://www.buckeyefirearms.org/node/6641
  5. Many Contra Costa crooks won't be prosecuted Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer Misdemeanors such as assaults, thefts and burglaries will no longer be prosecuted in Contra Costa County because of budget cuts, the county's top prosecutor said Tuesday. District Attorney Robert Kochly also said that beginning May 4, his office will no longer prosecute felony drug cases involving smaller amounts of narcotics. That means anyone caught with less than a gram of methamphetamine or cocaine, less than 0.5 grams of heroin and fewer than five pills of ecstasy, OxyContin or Vicodin won't be charged. People who are suspected of misdemeanor drug crimes, break minor traffic laws, shoplift, trespass or commit misdemeanor vandalism will also be in the clear. Those crimes won't be prosecuted, either. "We had to make very, very difficult choices, and we had to try to prioritize things. There are no good choices to be made here," said Kochly, a 35-year veteran prosecutor. "It's trying to choose the lesser of certain evils in deciding what we can and cannot do." Barry Grove, a deputy district attorney who is president of the Contra Costa County District Attorneys Association, said, "There's no question that these kinds of crimes are going to drastically affect the quality of life for all the citizens of Contra Costa County." The decision not to go after any perpetrators of certain offenses, Grove said, amounts to "holding up a sign and advertising to the criminal element to come to Contra Costa County, because we're no longer going to prosecute you." Don't even bother submitting the cases, Kochly said Monday in a memo to the Contra Costa County Police Chiefs Association. "If they are submitted, they will be screened out by category by support staff and returned to your department without review by a deputy district attorney," he wrote. Kochly wrote that he had long taken pride in saying that his office could do "more with less." "Unfortunately, we have now reached a point where we cannot maintain the status quo," he said. "We will definitely be doing 'less with less' as a prosecution agency." The changes are needed to help eliminate a $1.9 million budget deficit in the district attorney's office for this fiscal year. By month's end, six deputy district attorneys will be laid off, and 11 more will have to be let go by the end of the year, Kochly said. The county Board of Supervisors originally proposed cutting the office's budget by $4.1 million. But after Kochly argued that such a reduction would hurt his ability to prosecute petty thefts, the board used sales-tax revenue to close the gap. Supervisor John Gioia, who represents Richmond, said the list of crimes that Kochly says he won't prosecute is far longer now than what he told the board during its budget deliberations. "I don't think it's a good idea for the chief prosecutor in the county to inform the public at large what cases they're not going to prosecute," Gioia said. The district attorney's decision was upsetting news to Janet Kelleghan, an employee at Donna's Gifts in Concord, which has been victimized by thieves in the past. "If they know they're not going to be prosecuted, there's going to be a lot more shoplifting," Kelleghan said. "I'd ask them to reconsider," she said of the district attorney's office. Kochly said prosecutors will still consider charging suspects with certain misdemeanors, including domestic violence, driving under the influence, firearms offenses, vehicular manslaughter, sex crimes and assault with a deadly weapon. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...ed=rss.bayarea ?: Will this go nation wide as we go broke, because of OBAMANATION.
  6. BULLDOG

    Swine pandemic

    Homeland Security Flu Pandemic Morbidity / Mortality Pandemic years are associated with many more cases of influenza and a higher case fatality rate than that seen in seasonal flu outbreaks. It is common to encounter clinical attack rate ranges for seasonal flu of 5% to 15% in the literature. For pandemic flu, clinical attack rates are reported in the range of 25% to 50%. During a typical year in the United States, 30,000 to 50,000 persons die as a result of influenza viral infection. Frequently cited numbers are 20,000 deaths each year, and 37,000 annual deaths. About 5-10% of hospitalizations for influenza lead to fatal outcome in adults. In normal years, although most influenza infection is in children, the serious morbidity and mortality is almost entirely among elderly people with underlying chronic disease. During influenza epidemics from 1979–80 through 2000–01, the estimated overall number of influenza-associated hospitalizations in the United States ranged from approximately 54,000 to 430,000/epidemic. An average of approximately 226,000 influenza-related excess hospitalizations occurred per year, with 63% of all hospitalizations occurring among persons aged > 65 years. Influenza-related deaths can result from pneumonia and from exacerbations of cardiopulmonary conditions and other chronic diseases. Deaths of older adults account for > 90% of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza. In one study of influenza epidemics, approximately 19,000 influenza-associated pulmonary and circulatory deaths per influenza season occurred during 1976–1990, compared with approximately 36,000 deaths during 1990--1999. Estimated rates of influenza-associated pulmonary and circulatory deaths/100,000 persons were 0.4--0.6 among persons aged 0–49 years, 7.5 among persons aged 50--64 years, and 98.3 among persons aged > 65 years. http://www.globalsecurity.org/security/ops...emic-deaths.htm
  7. BULLDOG

    Swine pandemic

    Mexico fights swine flu with 'pandemic potential' TO EARLY TO PANIC! http://health.yahoo.com/news/ap/med_swine_flu.html The World Health Organization's director-general, Margaret Chan, said the outbreak of the never-before-seen virus is a very serious situation and has "pandemic potential." But she said it is still too early to tell if it would become a pandemic.
  8. BULLDOG

    Swine pandemic

    The Sky is Falling: An Analysis of the Swine Flu Affair of 1976 In 1976, due to an outbreak of influenza at Fort Dix, New Jersey, the United States set a precedent in immunology by attempting to vaccinate the entire population of the country against the possibility of a swine-type Influenza A epidemic. While a great many people were successfully immunized in a very short period of time, the National Influenza Immunization Program (NIIP) quickly became recognized as a failure, one reason being that the feared epidemic never surfaced at all. But this massive undertaking deserves more analysis than just a simple repudiation. For example, all evidence linked to the pathology, microbiology, and historical cycle of influenza and the outbreak at Fort Dix suggests that the reactions of the scientists and other personnel involved in the NIIP were correct. However, one must also acknowledge the many complications and misjudgments that plagued the program after its initiation, from biological difficulties, logistical problems, to tensions with the media. The swine flu is a historical event that needs to be evaluated, regarding both its successes and its failures, so that lessons can be learned for future immunization programs. While influenza, or the "flu", is not commonly recognized as an extremely lethal disease, the pathology of influenza, and especially of the kind found at Fort Dix, does suggest that an immunization program was a reasonable course to take in 1976. In the public's mind, influenza is often not seen as a specific disease, using interchangeable names for it like "flu", "gripe", and "virus". (Silverstein: 1) However, influenza is very different from an everyday low fever or "stomach flu". It is a respiratory infection, connected with a fever, coughing, and muscle aches, which often lasts a few days in duration. While the disease itself is usually harmless, it can lead to exposure of the lungs to viral or bacterial pneumonia, which can prove fatal, especially for the very young, elderly, or infirm. (Silverstein: 13) There are three types of influenza, depending on their activity: type A, which is usually the cause of outbreaks; type B, which is linked to sporadic cases, and type C, which rarely causes disease reactions. (Silverstein: 54) The virus which causes influenza enters the host through the respiratory tract, and binds itself to epithelial cells. The virus causes the cell to engulf it by endocytosis, and then fuses to the wall of the endocytic vesicle, injecting the contents of the virus into the cytosol of the cell. The RNA of the virus enter the nucleus of the cell, and spur the creation of new copies of the genes. These genes, as well as new viral proteins that are created in the cell, leave the cell as fresh viruses, budding off the plasma membrane of the cell. While Scientists still do not know a great deal about the communicability of influenza, they do know that it can be spread by human-to-human contact, and has some airborne stability. (Silverstein: 59) Specifically, the characteristics of the influenza at Fort Dix was extremely discouraging. First of all, it was very similar to the 1918 swine influenza A pandemic, which turned out to be one of the most lethal outbreaks of disease in recorded history, and one victim had already died. Also, while usually this disease is caused by exposure to pigs, it was obvious that this was the first time since the earlier pandemic that it was being spread by people. (Silverstein: 23) While influenza is usually not deadly in itself, the scientists in 1976 were right to assume that the virus was a serious threat. The biological similarity between the influenza at Fort Dix and the swine flu of 1918 was one of the biggest factors in determining the course of action to be taken at that point. The influenza virus is globular in shape, and is approximately 100 nanometers in diameter. The sheath of the virus is made up of a lipid bilayer, taken from the plasma membrane of the original host. Within the central core of this bilayer are located about 3000 matrix proteins (which differ depending on the type of the influenza), and 8 RNA genes. The surface membrane is spiked with protein molecules of two kinds: about 500 hemagglutinin ("H") and 100 neuraminidase ("N") molecules. Hemagglutinin molecules appear as pointed spikes, which are used to bind the virus to a cell and inject contents into it. Neuraminidase appear as blunt spikes, and possesses specialized enzymes which cause the infected cell to release the new viruses. (Silverstein: 50-52 and <u>Flu</u>) <p> The influenza virus is relatively unique in its ability to change its H and N molecules, called antigenic shift. For example, the swine flu of 1918 was named H1N1, while a later strain of influenza which was found to have changed its hemagglutinin molecules was named H2N1, and an even later influenza was found to have changed both its surface molecules (double antigenic shift), and was named H2N2. Scientists believe that these changes are due to the recombination of influenza viruses from different sources, such as if an influenza from a swine was mixed with an influenza from a person, which could create an new strain that has swine-type hemagglutinin and human-type neuraminidase. (Silverstein: 55-56) Spot mutations on the viral RNA, or missence mutations, also occur and are thought to cause slight changes in the make-up of the influenza virus, or antigenic drift. (<u>Flu</u>) It has been observed that an antigenic shift usually occurs after a number of years, after the population has built up immunities to the old strain. It is common for a major outbreak to occur after a shift, and even more likely after a double shift, because the antibodies in the population are useless against these new forms of disease. Missence mutations usually cause smaller epidemics, since the change in the virus is not so great. It has also been found that older strains of influenza are likely to return to a population once the antibodies against them have mostly died out. (Silverstein: 55, 62 and Flu) What was particularly alarming about the influenza at Fort Dix was that not only was it a double antigenic shift, but it was a shift back to H1N1, the cause of the 1918 pandemic. (Silverstein: 55) The biological make-up of the swine flu was evidence enough to take precautions against a major outbreak.<p> The influenza virus' shifts created a cycle of virility of the disease, one that also pointed to the possibilities of a major outbreak in 1976. Owing to its constant adaptation and re-emergence, there is much reason why influenza is called "The last great plague", since it is basically impossible to come up with a lasting solution to it. (Silverstein: 9) While influenza has been recorded since the 15th century, the number of years between major world outbreaks (or pandemics) has decreased in the last century, due to increased and faster intercontinental travel, which accelerates the build-up of immunity to a given influenza strain. (Silverstein: 11) It has been hypothesized that the cycle has now stratified into 11-year periods between major antigenic shift pandemics. Within these periods occur smaller epidemics (centralized outbreaks), linked to an antigenic drift. (Silverstein: 18-19) It is also suggested that the strains recycle themselves in about 50 years, long enough so that most of the original immunities have died out in a population. (Silverstein: 55) This model appears to function well, since there were exactly 11 years between the pandemics of 1946, 1957, and 1968, as well as the fact that the 1957 disease was similar to the 1889 disease, and the 1968 disease was similar to that of 1900. (Silverstein: 57) Using this model, the next year for a major pandemic would be fairly close to 1976, and the next strain up for recycling would likely be the swine flu of 1918. Looking at the pathological, microbiological, as well as historical evidence surrounding the Fort Dix outbreak, it is not difficult to see why those in charge in 1976 decided that action had to be taken. It is also important to note, however, how they decided what action this was going to be. There are a few possibilities of drugs that can be taken to fight influenza. Examples of these are Amantadine, which blocks the shift of pH in the infected cell which triggers the release of the RNA into the cytosol; Zanamivir, which blocks the neuraminidase and inhibits the release of the viruses (though this drug was not even around in 1976); and antibiotics, which do not affect the flu, but can help against secondary bacterial infections. There are very few drugs that can be taken, however, because it is difficult to find a drug which affects the processes of the virus which does not also hurt the cell (Flu) Vaccines, which trigger the body's production of antibodies without actually causing the disease, are usually more productive then drugs. While antibodies created against the core proteins of the influenza virus do not create an ineffective immunity, the antibodies created against hemagglutinin are extremely potent, and block the penetration of cells by the virus. Also, neuraminidase antibodies help to lessen the release of viruses from cells and the disease's spread. (Silverstein: 52-54) Because of these reasons, the scientists in 1976 chose to create a vaccine against the swine flu. Another question surrounding the action to be taken involved whether to stockpile the vaccine after manufacturing it for the country, or immediately moving to immunization. It was decided to go ahead with immunization, because they had a good amount of time until the next flu season to organize the project, the threat of swine flu seemed real, and if they waited until influenza hit they would not have time to start the vaccinations before the disease set in. (Silverstein: 29-31) Another, though more personal reason for the decision to immunize was that it gave the scientists, like those at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) who were heading up the project, an opportunity to demonstrate to the public the value of immunizations. (Silverstein: 38) To truly understand the National Influenza Immunization program, it is necessary to look at the operation itself. The preparation of the vaccine was similar to previous vaccine productions, except it was to a much larger scale - about 200 million doses. (Silverstein: 105) To create the vaccine, the scientists inject the appropriate strain of influenza (and possibly another strain to increase growth) into embryonated eggs, which create a culture for the viruses. The multiplied viruses are separated from the yolk and rendered noninfectious by formaldehyde. The potency of this vaccine is measured in the amount which the vaccine, using its hemagglutinin, clumps together blood cells (agglutination), and is recorded in terms of chick cell agglutination (CCA). Since the vaccine can be somewhat toxic, causing sore arms and fevers, it is important to find the right balance of efficacy (immune response) and safety for the vaccine, by either reducing the virus amount or using split-virus vaccine, which is made up of further purified viruses. (Silverstein: 61) After massive field tests, it was decided that 200 CCA units was very effective for most of the population (85% had at least 40 "units" of hemagglutinin antibody, the accepted amount), and caused few side effects. (Silverstein: 82) Once the appropriate vaccine was determined, four manufacturers went into production of the substance, and the vaccination procedures were organized. The high-risk groups for the disease (elderly and infirm) would be vaccinated first, in nursing homes and health departments. Then the rest of the population would be reached through the schools, factories, medical centers, and shopping centers. (Silverstein: 108) To speed up the process, jet guns would be used for the injections instead of syringes. (Silverstein: 80) Not only this, but an informed consent authorization would be required for all participants, so that the vaccination of every person, as well as track outbreaks of the flu, could be monitored. (Silverstein: 78) Despite all the planning, NIIP began three months late, and only vaccinated 24% of the population before the program was terminated. (Silverstein: 113) And while the feared swine flu pandemic failed to surface, this was just one example of the many complications which surrounded the program. One major difficulty in the immunization program involved the fact that the biological results of the vaccine did not always go as planned. For example, while the organizers expected two doses of vaccine from each egg that was used for incubation, the eggs only yielded one dose, drastically setting back the timetable for production. (Silverstein: 79) Also, while the vaccine produced the desired hemagglutinin antibody, the neuraminidase antibody was not created. This was probably due to the inactivation of this protein in the virus in treatment or production. While this antibody was not as necessary as that of hemagglutinin, it was still important in stopping the spread of the disease. (Silverstein: 84) Not only this, but the field trials demonstrated that, while the vaccine worked well for adults, it did not work well in these doses for young adults and children. (Silverstein: 83) This problem was not fully resolved until the vaccinations had already begun, when it was decided that children ages 3-18 should get two doses of split virus vaccine, four weeks apart. Unfortunately, there were only 4 million doses of split-virus left for 57 million children. (Silverstein: 112) To make matters worse, while the swine flu influenza never surfaced, the original influenza of the time, Victoria, did appear this season. This disease could not be confronted, however, since all the vaccine for this strain had been mixed with the new vaccine, and by this point the president had called a moratorium of all influenza vaccinations. It was only after the moratorium was lifted for the mixed swine and Victoria vaccine that the original influenza could be combated. (Silverstein: 126) It was obvious that one can not always count on Nature to be as effective apartner as one would hope. A major biological complication to the immunization campaign was its connection to Guillain-Barréacute; Syndrome (GBS). For the most part, the vaccination went more smoothly than even expected, with less than the predicted side effects and deaths. (Silverstein: 116) However, it was discovered that the vaccinations could be a factor in an increased number of cases of GBS. GBS is a rare paralytic disease, similar to polio, which causes an onset of polyneuritis, or tingling and weakness of the extremities and then some extent of paralysis. While most recover in the following months, there is a 5% fatality rate (mostly due to secondary respiratory disease or pneumonia), and 10% remain paralyzed to some extent. GBS is thought to result from an immunopathological reaction to an foreign agent in the body. (Silverstein: 117 and Laitin) While it was difficult to know for certain if the vaccines were causing GBS, since there were few prior statistics of GBS incidences to compare it with, there was enough evidence to suggest that this was the case. Preliminary calculations estimated that while there were 0.7 cases of GBS per million of non-vaccines at this time, there were 8.3 cases per million in vaccines. Not only this, but those non-vaccines which developed GBS were much more likely to have been sick prior to the syndrome than those who were vaccines, suggesting that the vaccine contained the trigger effect that usually would not have been present in healthy individuals. (Laitin ) While the vaccination program did not create an epidemic of GBS, this was enough to shut down the already flailing NIIP, which ended on December 16, 1976. (Silverstein: 119) This date was not the end of the troubles between the NIIP and the GBS, however, since the 500 cases of the syndrome and 25 deaths cost the government (who had agreed to take liability of the program) millions of dollars, not to mention a serious blow to its image. (Silverstein: 127 and Laitlin). If the scientific complications of the NIIP were not enough, the media only helped to make the situation worse. First of all, while the program received broad support at its inception, the press was quick to criticize the program once no new incidents of swine flu appeared in the months after the Fort Dix affair, and emphasized the criticisms of people such as Albert Sabin, known for his polio vaccinations, who originally supported the project, but later pushed for a stockpiling of the vaccination. (Silverstein: 85-6) The press did more than just discourage the immunization plan, for they also helped to push the program forward. In August, when the NIIP appeared likely to never get off the ground, an outbreak of a particularly lethal strain of pneumonia occurred at the Pennsylvania State Convention of the American Legion, killing 29 of 182 cases. While it was later discovered that the disease, called Legionnaire's Disease, was caused by a relatively unknown bacteria, and was in no way connected to swine flu, the press had already played its part. Immediately, despite no evidence to support the claim, the connection was made in the media between the Legionnaires' Disease and swine flu. This was enough public agitation to push necessary legislation through congress, allowing the NIIP to go forward. While the press had helped to save the immunization program, it had done so using extravagant claims, and it might have proved useful if the NIIP had not survived at all. (Silverstein: 98-99, 106) Another example of sensationalism in the media occurred when a few days after the beginning of the immunization program three elderly people died at a vaccination station. Once again, while there was no evidence that the deaths were related to the vaccine, the press quickly exaggerated the story, creating an imagined "body-count" of vaccine victims. The hysteria that followed caused nine states to close down their immunization programs until the CDC announced decisively that the deaths were in no way connected to the vaccination. (Silverstein: 110-111) Judging from these incidents, it is not surprising that the press acted little differently when the actual connection between GBS and the vaccine was discovered. While the press can be slighted for its sensationalist portrayals of the immunization program, the leaders of the program should also be held responsible, for not creating a better relationship with the media, and not using this source as a way to educate the public about the program and influenza. What made all of these difficulties more troublesome at the time was the inability of the program to adapt to new situations and obstacles. When the outbreak was announced, the responsibility of facing the threat quickly moved up the political hierarchy, until President Gerald Ford himself announced the instigation of the NIIP. By this time, however, the threat of the pandemic had been exaggerated, in part to serve political purposes. (Silverstein: 42-43) While the prestige of the presidency helped gather momentum for the project, it also complicated matters, since because the President had taken control of the undertaking, no one beneath him could take initiative and re-organize the plans to face unexpected obstacles. (Silverstein: 47) Another problem with the logistics of the NIIP was that its planning was so overwhelmingly optimistic about the success of all the different facets of this immense endeavor that only in the best-case scenario would all go as planned. If the organizers had instead planned for the worst, they very well might have been able to deal with the many difficulties that occurred in a more suitable manner. (Silverstein: 138) Not only this, there was no re-evaluation of the program at different stages of its progress. For example, once the decision had been made to go ahead with both the manufacturing of the vaccine and the immunization, there was no reconsideration of stockpiling the vaccine, even when the disease failed to appear in the months after the manufacturing. (Silverstein: 142) Because of these organizational difficulties, the NIIP was unable to adapt to challenges the occurred, and there were many such challenges. Aside from those already listed, the NIIP and the government also had to face the refusal of the of the American Insurance Association to insure the manufacturers of the influenza vaccine, since it was afraid of mass quantities of invalid lawsuits regarding the immunization. This dilemma threatened to kill the NIIP, and it took many months for Congress to accept liability for the vaccinations, having to pass special legislation to allow individuals to fail claims against the government. (Silverstein: 96-7, 106) Other predicaments which plagued the immunization program included the discovery that one of the manufacturers had made millions of the wrong kind of influenza vaccine, legal complications which stalled the organization of advertising for the campaign, and arguments over the form and content of the consent forms for the vaccination. (Silverstein: 79, 108-109) Because of the inadequacies of the logistics of the NIIP, these complications often set the entire program back weeks or months, and threatened the integrity of the undertaking altogether.<p> This is not to say that the immunization program did not have its positive points. First of all, it would be ridiculous to renounce the NIIP because the swine flu never occurred. The program was a preventative action, in order to protect the population if the disease <i>did</i> occur, and things would have been a lot worse if swine flu had erupted and the government had done nothing to prepare for it. (Silverstein: 134) Also, despite the mistakes of those in charge of the project, and the negative publicity it received from the press, the NIIP was successful in vaccinating a large amount of the population in a very short time. This is proof that the people had made their own decisions about the benefits and risks of the program, and that the local health officials had adequately taken control of the program in their areas. (Silverstein: 115) And because of this vast undertaking, there is no question that the people had become more knowledgeable of immunization, for as one Senator explained, "We have raised the public's awareness of the need to prevent disease from happening." (Silverstein: 124) Also, for the most part, the surveillance system of the vaccinations was largely successful, in that it competently kept track of every individual vaccinated, carefully watched for outbreaks of the swine flu, and was able to monitor adverse side effects to the immunization. (Laitlin) In fact, because the syndrome's increase was so slight, the connection between GBS and the influenza vaccinations probably would never have been noticed if not for the scrutiny of the surveillance system. (Silverstein: 121) Because of the information that this system gathered, as well as the increased scientific and public interest in influenza at the time, the NIIP has undoubtedly helped to further knowledge of the influenza disease, as well as contribute to the fields of microbiology and epidemiology in general. (Laitlin) With such a massive undertaking as the National Influenza Immunization Campaign of 1976, it is normal to try to identify heroes and villains among those who were involved in the endeavor. However, it is not possible to do so. The immunization campaign had its strong points and its weak points, and the people who organized the project made both good decisions and mistakes. The scientists and the politicians who evaluated the Fort Dix were right to take the most cautious reaction they could, because all of the pathological, microbiological, and historical evidence they had at the time strongly suggested that a dangerous pandemic could occur. But while many of the unforeseen difficulties which arose to complicate the NIIP can not be blamed on the organizers of the immunization campaign, they should be held responsible for not creating a more adaptable program that could deal with these occurrences. The NIIP must be evaluated for its drawbacks and its successes, so that people will not just see this as an unfortunate historical event, but can use it to help further immunization and disease-fighting programs in the future. http://www.haverford.edu/biology/edwards/d...warnervirus.htm
  9. BULLDOG

    Swine pandemic

    “Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself”: FDR’s First Inaugural Address
  10. BULLDOG

    Swine pandemic

    DR. MARC SIEGEL: The Most Powerful Virus Is Fear Not Flu With a new swine flu strain spreading among close to 1,000 people in Mexico and at least eight in the U.S., and with 61 reported deaths in Mexico, the most powerful virus pushing out its tentacles is not flu but fear. We are afraid of what we don’t know and what we don’t understand. We hear about an unseen killer and we worry that we will be next. The best antidote for this kind of fear is the facts. So let me take on the fear-laden terms. The first is pandemic. A pandemic means a new flu virus infecting people in several areas of the world at the same time. It can be mild, moderate, or severe. Everyone knows about the 1918 Blue Death that killed over 50 million people worldwide, but how many people realize that the last pandemic, in 1968, ameliorated by vaccines, antibiotics, and public health measures, killed only 32,000 in the U.S. and 700,000 worldwide, less than many yearly outbreaks. The current swine flu outbreak is not a pandemic, as the outbreak is confined mainly to Mexico, but if it does become one, it is far more likely to be the 1968 variety because of modern public health measures and because we have been exposed to several parts of this virus before and have an immune memory to it. Precautions like isolating sick people and use of the anti-virals Tamiflu and Relenza in order to decrease severity are wise precautions. Wise too is closing schools in Mexico to prevent spread (schoolchildren are notorious flu spreaders), provided that this measure doesn’t send the world the wrong message that a massive pandemic is in the offing. The second scare term is the pig itself. Pigs scare us. They are filthy noisy creatures. They are also loaded with flu viruses. This strain occurred because a bird virus mixed with at least one human virus and two pig viruses. Flus are changing all the time so a new strain isn’t really a surprise. We also need to be cautioned by the lessons of history. Back in 1976 an emerging swine flu virus appeared to be responsible for the death of a military recruit at Fort Dix (this later turned out to be erroneous), sparking a massive public hysteria fueled by Center for Disease Control press conferences. I was reminded of this Friday when the CDC again spread fear about an emerging swine flu. We need to remember that fear causes people to take less precautions, but fighting contagions requires more precautions. In 1976 Gerald Ford, trying for election, ordered 40 million vaccinations over a three to four month period of time, probably leading to almost 1,000 cases of ascending paralysis from the hastily made vaccine (Guillain Barre Syndrome) and driving most of the vaccine makers out of business. We certainly don’t need a repeat of this performance, in advance of any real worldwide threat. Thirdly, we are also afraid because this disease is emerging in Mexico, a foreign land to the south over which we have no control. But fear of an unknown land doesn’t automatically translate to an American health risk. We are wise to have our scientists and public health officials tracking the outbreak, but we are not wise to anticipate the worst. Like all flus, this one causes great fatigue, muscle aches, fevers, sore throat, nasal congestion, stomach upset, but is generally curable. The greatest risk is from secondary infections like pneumonia or ear infections, especially in the chronically ill. But in the U.S., if it spreads here, these problems are much more easily treated than in rural Mexico. We should be comforted by the time of the year. This is the end of the flu season, not the beginning. Flu viruses thrive in the low humidity of winter, not summer. It is very likely that this outbreak will die out automatically as the summer comes. It will remain necessary to track it because it could reappear in the fall, but it is very unlikely that it will erupt into a pandemic this summer. I am glad that this outbreak is a swine rather than a bird flu, not because pig viruses are intrinsically safer than bird viruses, but because the greater lesson to guide us here comes from the 1976 pig hysteria, rather than from the 1918 bird flu plague. Marc Siegel MD, an associate professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, is a FOX News Medical Contributor. He is the author of “Bird Flu; Everything You Need to Know About the Next Pandemic”, and “False Alarm; the Truth About the Epidemic of Fear.”
  11. Obama To Regulate Ammunition- And Other White House Brainstorming In his latest effort to be all things to all people, Barack Obama has developed a gun control program that will appease both the pro and anti gun sides. The news will be that you will still be able to own all the guns that you want. However, he will regulate possession of ammunition to only one bullet. You can choose any caliber you want as long as it is under .50 cal Browning Machine Gun. Taking pride on well thought out decisions, and after a marathon "Andy Griffith Show" viewing marathon with his full cabinet, Obama decided that the Barney Fife method of gun control is perfect for America. The bullet will be further regulated by a requirement that it be kept in your shirt pocket. If you don't have a shirt pocket, you can wear it on a chain around your neck. It is rumored that this chain carrying method was developed in deference for gang members, who can wear theirs on a gold chain. But, Obama warns them not to allow fellow gangsters to determine their "street rep" in their gang by the size of their bullet. http://secondamendmentfreedom.blogsp...and-other.html Other White House Ideas since tongue lashing of credit card CEO's, and car manufacturer and bank takeovers: 1. No more $12.00 beers at airports: Just like sudden credit card interest rate hikes, why should people go to a bar at an airport and be ambushed by price gouging on beer prices. 2. Regulation of sports: Basketball: In an effort to make Obama's favorite, basketball, more competitive, he will level the "slam dunk" playing field. The officials will be able to push a button that gives the rim a 220 volt electric charge to any player who hangs on to it while slam dunking. To further make the game more competitive, players who are especially good shots will face a similar electric shock that is activated by sensors in their Reeboks when they cross the key lines. This will force all their shot trys to be three pointers. Childrens Bowling: To increase all children's self esteem, children will bowl with two balls attached together by a bar like the weights weightlifters lift. The balls will both roll down the gutter together, and the bar will knock down all the pins. This will prepare children for the real world,and assure that every child has a strike every time they roll. This will further The self esteem goals of the NEA and further ingratiate them to his administration. Baseball. Anyone who runs too fast will have weights attached to their legs to compensate for their unfair advantages. Obama got this idea from new regulations he imposed on businesses taken over by him. Pitchers who throw too many strikes will have to pitch with a bag over their head. Anyone who steal bases will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law by Eric Holder. Of course, the perfect Obama ideal will be to share scores if any team gets too far ahead.
  12. Man shoots woman, foils carjacking, police say By Alexis Huicochea and Jamar Younger Arizona Daily Star A woman who tried to carjack a man at gunpoint outside a North Side Walgreens early Thursday was shot and wounded by the man, police said. The man called police around 12:30 a.m. to report he had just shot one of two women who tried to take his car as he waited in the pharmacy drive-through near East Grant and North Swan roads, said Sgt. Fabian Pacheco, a Tucson Police Department spokesman. Pacheco gave this account: The 26-year-old man, whose name was not released, had just left Tucson Medical Center and went to fill a prescription. When he drove back to the drugstore to check on his prescription, two women came up to his car. One was armed with a gun. The woman tried to shoot the man, but he pulled his own gun while she was trying to pull the trigger. Her gun didn't fire for an unknown reason. The man fired his gun twice. One shot grazed her head, and the other struck her in the shoulder. The woman fell to the ground, and the man took her gun away. He drove away and called police from a convenience store at East Pima Street and North Craycroft Road. The wounded woman, whose name was not released, was found at the Walgreens. She was taken to a hospital, where she remained Thursday night. The suspect is expected to recover and will face charges upon her release from the hospital. The other woman was found a short distance away. She will not face any charges, Pacheco said. http://www.azstarnet.com/metro/290103
  13. Man Dies After Being Shot 30 Times With Nail Gun A shocking X-ray shows how a man died with up to 30 nails fired into his skull by a high-powered nail gun. Sydney, Australia, homicide squad detectives have released the graphic image as they make a fresh appeal for information about Chen Liu's murder. The decomposed body of the 27-year-old, also known as Anthony Liu, was found dumped in the Georges River last November, wrapped in a domestic rug. He was bound with electrical wires and an extension cord and the carpet was neatly folded with each end tucked in and then bound with three strips of wire. Officers with Strike Force Renfree, formed to investigate the murder, have revealed they believe he was shot dead elsewhere and driven to the river in his own blue 2005 Range Rover Sport 4WD. Detective Inspector Mark Newham said yesterday that post-mortem examination results had showed Liu was shot repeatedly in the head up to 30 times with a high-powered nail gun. "Similar types of nail guns can fire nails up to 85mm long," Insp Newham said. Detectives said the nail gun used in the murder was a standard cordless, framing, gas-charged gun, widely available for sale and hire. Click here to read the full story and see the X-ray from News.com.au. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,517699,00.html
  14. BULLDOG

    Sniper of the skies

    U.S. Army Tests Flying Robot Sniper Wednesday, April 22, 2009 FC1 ADVERTISEMENT It could be the best Xbox 360 game ever, and a real kick in the ARSS. The U.S. Army is testing the Autonomous Rotorcraft Sniper System (ARSS) — a remote-controlled unmanned Vigilante robot helicopter equipped with a high-velocity sniper rifle. Its RND Edge semi-automatic gun is mounted on a self-stabilizing turret with built-in zoom camera, and fires 7 to 10 precisely aimed .338-caliber rounds per second. Back on the ground, a human directs it using a modified Xbox 360 controller, which plugs into a laptop so that the operator can see what the drone sees. "Having the ability to accurately engage single point man sized targets with an airborne UAV will give the ground based soldier the ability to have a high-point survivable sniper at their disposal when needed," stated the Army solicitation notice when the project was announced in 2005. The Space Dynamics Laboratory at Utah State University developed the Precision Weapons Platform guided turret and rifle system. • Click here for a synopsis on the Wired magazine Web site. • Click here for a profile of the Precision Weapons Platform at the Utah State University Web site. • Click here for FOXNews.com's Patents and Innovation Center. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,517481,00.html
  15. Two Steps Forward, One Step Back On Gun Rights by Doug Mataconis One of the many issues left unresolved by last year’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller was the question of whether or not the Court’s holding, and the Second Amendment in general, would apply to the states. Back in 1886, in the case Presser v. Illinois, the Supreme Court specifically held that the Second Amendment only limited the national government, and no subsequent case has applied the doctrine of incorporation to the Second Amendment. Until now that is. Yesterday, a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Second Amendment does in fact apply to the states: The Constitution’s protection of an individual right to have guns for personal use restricts the powers of state and local government as much as it does those of the federal government, the Ninth Circuit Court ruled Monday. The opinion by the three-judge panel can be found here. This is the first ruling by a federal appeals court to extend the Second Amendment to the state and local level. Several cases on the same issue are now awaiting a ruling by the Seventh Circuit Court. Ruling on an issue that is certain to reach the Supreme Court, the Circuit Court concluded “that the right to keep and bear arms” as a personal right has become a part of the Constitution as it applies to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause. That right, it said, “is ‘deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition.’ Colonial revolutionaries, the Founders, and a host of commentators and lawmakers living during the first one hundred years of the Republic all insisted on the fundamental nature of the right. It has long been regarded as the ‘true palladium of liberty.’ “Colonists relied on it to assert and to win their independence, and the victorious Union sought to prevent a recalcitrant South from abridging it less than a century later. The crucial role this deeply rooted right has played in our birth and history compels us to recognize that it is indeed fundamental, that it is necessary to the Anglo-American conception of ordered liberty that we have inherited. We are therefore persuaded that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Second Amendment and applies it against the states and local governments.” But, following the lead of the Supreme Court’s decision last June in District of Columbia v. Heller, finding a personal right in the Second Amendment for the first time, the Circuit Court concluded that the right as interpreted by the Justices is limited to “armed self-defense” in the home. Based on this, the Court upheld the law at issue in the case; a county ordinance that prohibited gun owners from bringing guns on county property or, more specifically as Chris Byrne notes, the county passed an ordinance prohibiting the Plaintiff’s in this case from holding a gun show at a county convention center. Given the holding in Heller, this result is as unsurprising as the Ninth Circuit’s decision on incorporation. Consider this excerpt from Justice Scalia’s majority opinion: Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. See, e.g., Sheldon, in 5 Blume 346; Rawle 123; Pomeroy 152–153; Abbott333. For example, the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues. See, e.g., State v. Chandler, 5 La. Ann., at 489–490; Nunn v. State, 1 Ga., at 251; see generally 2 Kent *340, n. 2; The American Students’ Blackstone 84, n. 11 (G. Chase ed. 1884). Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment , nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.26 We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. Miller said, as we have explained, that the sorts of weapons protected were those “in common use at the time.” 307 U. S., at 179. We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of “dangerous and unusual weapons.” See 4 Blackstone 148–149 (1769); 3 B. Wilson, Works of the Honourable James Wilson 79 (1804); J. Dunlap, The New-York Justice 8 (1815); C. Humphreys, A Compendium of the Common Law in Force in Kentucky 482 (1822); 1 W. Russell, A Treatise on Crimes and Indictable Misdemeanors 271–272 (1831); H. Stephen, Summary of the Criminal Law 48 (1840); E. Lewis, An Abridgment of the Criminal Law of the United States 64 (1847); F. Wharton, A Treatise on the Criminal Law of the United States 726 (1852). See also State v. Langford, 10 N. C. 381, 383–384 (1824); O’Neill v. State, 16Ala. 65, 67 (1849); English v. State, 35Tex. 473, 476 (1871); State v. Lanier, 71 N. C. 288, 289 (1874). While this is dicta that was not essential to the ruling in Heller, it was a clear signal from the Court to the Circuit and District Court’s that it’s decision was not intended to be, and should not be interpreted as, a blanket declaration that restrictions on gun ownership of all kinds were per se unconstitutional. In fact, Scalia was careful to say in his opinion that the basis for the Court’s ruling in Heller was based primarily on what it saw as a fundamental right of self defense in the home. Given that, the present makeup of the Court, and the likelihood that we’ll see at least one new Justice before this case is argued in Washington if it is appealed, it seems likely to me that the Supreme Court would agree with the Ninth Circuit on the incorporation issue, but that it would also agree that Alameda County’s restriction on guns on public property was a reasonable regulation under the Second Amendment. That said, though, this is an important decision for gun rights because it means that restrictive gun laws across the country — in places like New York, Chicago, and San Francisco — are now potentially subject to being struck down for the same reasons that the Court struck down the laws at issue in Heller. On the whole, that’s a big victory. http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2009/04/21...-on-gun-rights/
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