We have previously discussed how the United States lags behind many countries in the speed and availability of high-speed Internet. As noted earlier, this is due primarily to the powerful lobby in Washington and members who do their bidding in Congress to allow certain companies to control and profit off of such access. The U.S. cable industry and its lobbyists however have been careful to stay out of the public eye to protect their income and the members that they use in Congress. Now, however, the industry has made a rare play in the open. The industry is moving to block plans in Chattanooga, Tennessee and Wilson, North Carolina to offer high-speed internet services to their citizens. Lawyers and lobbyists for USTelecom, which represents cable giants Comcast, Time Warner and others, have mobilized to stop this trend where municipalities have responded to the demand of their citizens for such access. In the world of Washington lobbying, the slowest in this field has continued to win the race. While slow in service, our telecom companies are fast in making friends in Congress.
There is a chilling international report out of this week on the origins of the 2014 Ebola outbreak. Researchers from the United States and Africa were able to trace the origins of the outbreak to a funeral in Guinea. The report expanded the data on Ebola by 400 percent. However, the standard listing of authors on the study have a chilling notation, a “‡” designation for “Deceased.” Five team members died in the effort to trace this Ebola stain and the release of the report honors their extraordinary sacrifice.
The National Report has released another highly disturbing story out of Louisiana there Paul Horner, 15, allegedly was given 25 years to life for “swatting” — calling in a face police report on an online gaming opponent. The problem is that the story is entirely untrue. There is nothing funny of course about the article like an Onion publication. National Report, which we have previously discussed, is a fake new site in which grown adults do nothing but try to trick blogs and news sites into republishing false stories. That is it. Just a juvenile “gotcha” site that is the equivalent to journalistic graffiti. Now, once again, here is my question: why do advertisers support this site and why hasn’t someone sued these people? The latest fake story shows the picture of a person crying in a courtroom surrounding by officers. The editors list the photo as an Associated Press photo and the website appears to have removed its prior disclaimer that the stories are false.
The website of Attorney Delbert Joe Modlin, 63, proclaims in big bold letters that “Joe Modlin Protects the Elderly.” Indeed, the Sacramento attorney describes his lifelong passion for “Elder Law” and “championing the elderly and ensuring they are not taken advantage of.” It was somewhat incongruous therefore when Modlin was last week with financial elder abuse as well as grand theft and securities fraud. Making it all the more bizarre was the allegation that he bilked a 90-year-old man of his savings to invest in what he claimed was a new type of litter box that he had invented.
An Austrian SWAT team learned the perils of working in the dark this week (as did an innocent family) when the police decided to leave off hall lights in an apartment building so not to alert the suspect. The problem is that, with the lights off, they could not make out the door numbers and raided the wrong unit.
Submitted by Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
The bloody horror that befell Northwestern Iraq and in Syria at the hands of ISIS is likely to force a geopolitical reassessment as to alliances and policies. There have been many calling for us to change our role in the Syrian civil war as well as demanding changes in the leadership of Iraq itself. One fact is certain the threat posed by ISIS is real, growing and it seems ironic that even other jihadi groups can no longer accept the actions of this terrorist organization. European governments worry of the distinct possibility a terrorist, failed state will emerge having shores on the Mediterranean.
Such a change might be beginning now and will ultimately find common causes between the West and the PKK, or Kurdistan Workers Party. While the German Government has historically used legal and diplomatic maneuvers to suppress the PKK, it now is poised to arm the Kurds in Northern Iraq in response to ISIS and very well could be ultimately supporting the PKK, at least unofficially.
Submitted by Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
Photographer Amos Chapple brings us a fascinating look into Meghalaya, India, known as the wettest place on Earth. The area receives 467 inches of precipitation per year and under these conditions residents have over centuries adopted several means to cope. In particular is the issue of bridges.
Ordinary bridges constructed of lumber suffer rot under such an environment and are impractical. It was discovered that Rubber Trees possessed a root system that was not only trainable, but could be woven together to form structurally sound bridges.