Thursday, April 5, 2007

Doggie Food Recall

By ANDREW BRIDGES, Associated Press Writer Thu Apr 5, 3:16 PM ET
WASHINGTON - The recall of pet foods and treats contaminated with an industrial chemical expanded Thursday to include dog biscuits made by an Alabama company and sold by Wal-Mart under the Ol'Roy brand.

Food and Drug Administration' name=c1> SEARCHNews News Photos Images Web' name=c3> Food and Drug Administration said the manufacturer, Sunshine Mills Inc., is recalling dog biscuits made with imported Chinese wheat gluten. Testing has revealed the wheat gluten, a protein source, was contaminated with melamine, used to make plastics and other industrial products.
Also Thursday, Menu Foods, a major manufacturer of brand- and private-label wet pet foods expanded its original recall to include a broader range of dates and varieties. Menu Foods was the first of at least six companies to recall the now more than 100 brands of pet foods and treats made with the contaminated ingredient.
The recall now covers "cuts and gravy"-style products made between Nov. 8 and March 6, Menu Foods said. Previously, it only applied to products made beginning Dec. 3. In addition, Menu Foods said it was expanding the recall to include more varieties, but no new brands.
The FDA knows of no other pet product companies planning recalls, agency officials told reporters.
"Other than that, I think, you know, the public should feel secure in purchasing pet foods that are not subject to the recall," Stephen Sundlof, director of the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine, told reporters.
Sunshine, of Red Bay, Ala., sells pet foods and treats under its own brands as well as private labels sold by grocery, mass merchant and dollar stores, according to its Web site. The recall included some of the products made for sale under five private labels, including Ol'Roy biscuits, sold by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and Stater Bros. large biscuits, sold by Stater Bros. Markets. It also covered a portion of Sunshine's own Nurture, Lassie and Pet Life dog biscuit brands.
Previously, Menu Foods had recalled some wet-style dog foods it made for sale under the Stater Bros. and Ol'Roy brands as well.
Sunshine said there have been no reports of dog illnesses or deaths in connection with the recalled dog biscuits, which contain one percent or less wheat gluten by weight.
The FDA continues to focus on melamine as the suspected contaminant of the pet products, though Sundlof said it could be a marker for the presence of another, yet-unknown substance. Melamine previously was not believed to be toxic.
The recall is one of the largest pet food recalls in history, Sundlof said. The FDA has received more than 12,000 complaints but has confirmed only about 15 pet deaths. Anecdotal reports suggest the tally is in the hundreds or low thousands.
Sunshine Mills said it would post a complete list of the recalled dog biscuits on its Web site,
The FDA last week blocked wheat gluten imports from the Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. in the eastern city of Xuzhou, saying they contained melamine. A Las Vegas importer, ChemNutra Inc., recalled this week all wheat gluten it had purchased from the supplier and in turn distributed to pet food manufacturers.
Xuzhou Anying has said it is investigating the claims.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Keith Richards Snorting Of Dad Was A Joke

Keith RichardsRolling Stones rocker Keith Richards insists he never snorted his father's ashes - his recent comments were made in "jest". Richards can't believe people took him seriously after he told British music magazine NME he once snorted his dad Bert's ashes mixed with cocaine.

He said, "He was cremated and I couldn't resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow. My dad wouldn't have cared.

"It went down pretty well, and I'm still alive."

However, Richard's manager Jane Rose tells MTV that the hellraiser's comments were "said in jest. Can't believe anyone took (it) seriously."

Stupid Student Senator

Student Senate director steals, burns Voice newspapers

Posted on: Mar 30, 2007 - 02:57 PM

Writen by: Jennie Oemig, Keighla Schmidt, Beth Dickman and Sarah Packingham

Last week, thousands of issues of the Student Voice went missing from the racks in academic buildings across the UW-River Falls campus.

Tory Schaaf, who is a member of Theta Chi fraternity and the newly-elected shared governance director of Student Senate, admitted to stealing the newspapers from campus and using them for kindling to keep a bonfire going during a party.

Fellow Theta Chi member and Student Senate Ethics Chair Jason Schultz was also identified as an accomplice to the theft of the papers.

One party-goer, Stephanie McPherson, said the missing issues of the Student Voice that had disappeared provided warmth for all those outside the Theta Chi fraternity house.

She said the papers made pretty good kindling for the bonfire.

Schaaf said he took the copies of the Voice, and though the original intention was not to use them to start the bonfire, they were thrown into the flames at some point during the night.

Schaaf claimed to be unaware there was a limit to the number of copies of the student newspaper he could take.

Theta Chi President Ryan Stovern confirmed Schaaf’s role in the theft of the newspapers prior to his admittance of guilt.

“Tory did take the copies,” he said.

In last week’s issue, Schaaf’s name appeared in the police blotter of the Student Voice. On March 19, he was cited $1014 for absolute sobriety and prohibited blood-alcohol content. His blood-alcohol level was .11.

Though he did not admit to his intent for stealing the papers, Stovern said he had an ulterior motive.

“He was upset about [the police report] and didn’t want people to see his name in the paper,” Stovern said.

Student Senate Vice President Derek Brandt said that the matter would be “handled internally” when questioned about Shaaf’s confession.

“It’s unfortunate in general that anyone, let alone a member of Student Senate would do that,” Student Senate Advisor Gregg Heinselman said. “It looks like his judgement was a little off.”

The Student Senate will hold a closed-session meeting in order to deal with this issue, if they find it necessary to pursue the matter further. At that time, Schultz will be asked to step down from his position as ethics chair until the matter is resolved, Heinselman said.

Fellow Theta Chi member Erik Wood said he knew Schaaf was “pissed” about the police report.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the copies were burned,” he said of the actions Schaaf may have taken once he was in possession of the newspapers.

Stovern said although the burning of the papers may have taken place at the Theta Chi residence, it was an individual action of Schaaf’s and was not correlated with any festivities of the fraternity.

Stovern was unclear about when the papers were put in the fire and said it may have happened after the festivities ended or at a different location.

Racks in academic buildings are also set up to hold copies of the New York Times, which are used for certain classes. Students enrolled in those classes are charged $5 for a semester-long subscription.

Schaaf said he didn’t take copies of the Times because he didn’t want to take papers for which students are charged and said he was unaware students, through segregated University fees, pay for the production of the Student Voice.

When first notified last Friday of the stolen newspapers, Public Safety officials said they needed more evidence before they could investigate the theft.

After receiving more information, they were able to take further action. Public Safety is still investigating the matter.

This is not the first time a member of the UWRF community has stolen large quantities of the Voice. In May 2003, Ashton Flinders and two accomplices stole 2,000 copies of the paper and held them ransom in Centennial Science Hall.

An e-mail was sent to the Student Voice staff listing demands and threatening to remove all copies of the paper from the racks the following week.

Flinders was prosecuted for the “prank.” He was put on non-academic probabtion for fall semester 2003 and forced to serve 10 hours of community service for the Student Voice.

Flinders was in direct violation of a UW System statute which stated the University is an “environment that is safe from violence and free of harassment, fraud, theft, disruption and intimidation.”

At press time, both Public Safety and the River Falls Police Department officers were planning to hold a meeting discussing further prosecution of Schaaf.

Possible charges could include theft and vandalism of University property, prosecution from the Student Voice, and since the burning occurred within city limits, the River Falls police can also charge Schaaf.

Run, Logan, Run!

Tue Apr 3, 4:28 PM ET

MADRID (AFP) - US filmmaker Joel Silver, who produced all of "The Matrix" films, said Tuesday he is planning a remake of the 1976 Oscar-winning science fiction classic "Logan's Run."

"I love the original material but I think that version is a bit silly," he told reporters in Barcelona where he was promoting his latest film "The Reaping" starring Academy Award-winner
Hilary Swank.

Based on a 1967 novel by the same name, "Logan's Run" chronicles a future society which imposes a mandatory death sentence for all those turning 30 in order to avoid overpopulation and the depletion of natural resources.

The film won an Academy Award for its visual effects and was nominated for two other

"The Matrix" trilogy featured pioneering visuals such as characters dodging bullets in slow-motion and levitation fighting which were imitated by other films.

The first film in the series won four
Academy Awards for technical achievement.

Death by Powerpoint!

Official: Powerpoint bad for brains
Menace of slideware
By John Oates → More by this author
Published Wednesday 4th April 2007 10:46 GMT
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Anyone who's been a victim of "death by Powerpoint" - that glazed and distant feeling that overwhelms you when some sales droid starts their presentation - will be reassured by Aussie researchers who've discovered biological reasons for the feeling.

Humans just don't like absorbing information verbally and visually at the same time - one or the other is fine but not both simultaneously.

Researchers at the University of New South Wales in Australia found the brain is limited in the amount of information it can absorb - and presenting the same information in visual and verbal form - like reading from a typical Powerpoint slide - overloads this part of memory and makes absorbing information more difficult.

Professor Sweller said: "The use of the PowerPoint presentation has been a disaster. It should be ditched.

"It is effective to speak to a diagram, because it presents information in a different form. But it is not effective to speak the same words that are written, because it is putting too much load on the mind and decreases your ability to understand what is being presented."

The theory of "cognitive load theory" suggest the memory can deal with two or three tasks for a period of a few seconds - any more than that and information starts to get lost.

There's more from the Sydney Morning Herald here, or there's an abstract of Sweller's work (pdf) here.

Professor John Sweller is not the first to question the overarching power of Powerpoint. Edward Tufte is a professor emeritus at Yale and an information and interface design expert. His 2003 book The Cognitive Style of Powerpoint: Pitching Out Corrupts Within makes similar claims. ®

Here comes Birth of a Nation

Will Vermont Secede from the Union?

By Ian Baldwin and Frank Bryan, The Washington Post. Posted April 3, 2007.

The winds of secession are blowing in the Green Mountain State.

Vermont was once an independent republic, and it can be one again. We think the time to make that happen is now. Over the past 50 years, the U.S. government has grown too big, too corrupt and too aggressive toward the world, toward its own citizens and toward local democratic institutions. It has abandoned the democratic vision of its founders and eroded Americans' fundamental freedoms.

Vermont did not join the Union to become part of an empire.

Some of us therefore seek permission to leave.

A decade before the War of Independence, Vermont became New England's first frontier, settled by pioneers escaping colonial bondage who hewed settlements across a lush region whose spine is the Green Mountains. These independent folk brought with them what Henry David Thoreau called the "true American Congress" -- the New England town meeting, which is still the legislature for nearly all of Vermont's 237 towns. Here every citizen is a legislator who helps fashion the rules that govern the locality.

Today, however, Vermont no longer controls even its own National Guard, a domestic emergency force that is now employed in an imperial war 6,000 miles away. The 9/11 commission report says that "the American homeland is the planet." To defend this "homeland," the United States spends six times as much on its military as China, the next highest-spending nation, funding more than 730 military bases in more than 130 countries, abetted by more than 100 military space satellites and more than 100,000 seaborne battle-ready forces. This is the greatest military colossus ever forged.

Few heed George Washington's Farewell Address, which warned against the danger of a permanent large standing army that "can be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty." Or that of a later general-become-president: "We must never let the weight of [the military-industrial complex] endanger our liberties or democratic processes." Dwight D. Eisenhower pointedly included the word "congressional" after "military-industrial" but allowed his advisers to excise it. That word completes a true description of the hidden threat to democracy in the United States.

The two of us are typical of the diversity of Vermont's secessionist movement: one descended from old Vermonter stock, the other a more recent arrival -- a "flatlander" from down country. Our Vermont homeland remains economically conservative and socially liberal. And the love of freedom runs deep in its psyche.

Vermont seceded from the British Empire in 1777 and stood free for 14 years, until 1791. Its constitution -- which preceded the U.S. Constitution by more than a decade -- was the first to prohibit slavery in the New World and to guarantee universal manhood suffrage. Vermont issued its own currency, ran its own postal service, developed its own foreign relations, grew its own food, made its own roads and paid for its own militia. No other state, not even Texas, governed itself more thoroughly or longer before giving up its nationhood and joining the Union.

But the seeds of disunion have been growing since the beginning. Vermont more or less sat out the War of 1812, and its governor ordered troops fighting the British to disengage and come home. Vermont fought the Civil War primarily to end slavery; Abraham Lincoln did so primarily to save the Union. Vermont's record on the slavery issue was so strong that Georgia's legislature resolved that a ditch be dug around the "pestiferous" state and it be floated out to sea.

After the Great Flood of 1927, the worst natural disaster in the state's history, President Calvin Coolidge (a Vermonter) offered help. Vermont's governor replied, "Vermont will take care of its own." In 1936, town meetings rejected a huge federal highway referendum that would have blacktopped the Green Mountain crest line from Massachusetts to Canada.

Nor did Vermont sign on when imperial Washington demanded that the state raise its drinking age from 18 to 21 in 1985. The federal government thereupon resorted to its favored tactic, blackmail. Raise your drinking age, said Ronald Reagan, or we'll take away the money you need to keep the interstates paved. Vermont took its case for state control to the Supreme Court -- and lost.

It's quite simple. The United States has destroyed the 10th Amendment, which says that "powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

The present movement for secession has been gathering steam for a decade and a half. In preparation for Vermont's bicentennial in 1991, public debates -- moderated by then-Lt. Gov. Howard Dean -- were held in seven towns before crowds that averaged 230 citizens. At the end of each, Dean asked all those in favor of Vermont's seceding from the Union to stand and be counted. In town after town, solid majorities stood. The final count: 999 (62 percent) for secession and 608 opposed.

In early 2003, transplanted Southerner and retired Duke University economics professor Thomas Naylor gave a speech at Johnson State College opposing the Iraq war. When he pitched the idea of secession to the crowd, he saw many eyes "light up," he said. Later that year, he and several others started a loosely organized movement (now a think tank) called the Second Vermont Republic, which has an independent quarterly journal, Vermont Commons, and a Web site.

In October 2005, about 300 Vermonters attended a statewide convention on the question of secession. Six months later, the annual Vermont Poll of the University of Vermont's Center for Rural Studies found that about 8 percent of respondents replied "yes" to peaceful secession, arguably making Vermont foremost among the many states with secessionist movements (including Alaska, California, Hawaii, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Texas).

We secessionists believe that the 350-year swing of history's pendulum toward large, centralized imperial states is once again reversing itself.

Why? First, the cost of oil and gas. According to urban planner James Howard Kunstler, "Anything organized on a gigantic scale ... will probably falter in the energy-scarce future." Second, third-wave technology is as inherently democratic and decentralist as second-wave technology was authoritarian and centralist. Gov. Jim Douglas wants Vermont to be the first "e-state," making broadband Internet access available to every household and business in the state by 2010. Vermont will soon be fully wired into the global social commons.

Against this backdrop, secessionists from all over the state will gather in June to plan a grass-roots campaign to get at least 200 towns to vote by 2012 on independence. We believe that one outcome of this meeting will be dialogues among different communities of Vermonters committed to achieving local economic vitality, be they farmers, entrepreneurs, bankers, merchants, lawyers, independent media providers, construction workers, manufacturers, artists, entertainers or anyone else with a stake in Vermont's future -- anyone for whom freedom is not just a slogan.

If Vermonters succeed in once again inventing vibrant local economies, these in turn may reinvigorate the small-scale democratic town meeting tradition, the true American Congress, and re-create the rudiments of a republic once again able to make its own way in the world. The once and future republic of Vermont.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Goonies the Musical

Read all about it.,,20016233,00.html

Stage News
'Goonie' Tunes

A second ''Goonies'' movie probably won't ever happen, but director Richard Donner says he's discussed a musical adaptation with Steven Spielberg

The coolest kid adventure film of the 1980s — eat it, Flight of the Navigator! — has enjoyed a fervent cult following ever since its release in 1985. But what Goonies lovers really want to know is, Will we ever see Chunk, Data, and Mouth in another incarnation? Believe it or not, we very well might — as a musical. The film's director, Richard Donner (16 Blocks), says there is an active attempt to mount a musical adaptation of the original, which was written by Chris Columbus from Steven Spielberg's story. ''Steven and I have discussed it, and it's something that I'm fairly passionate about right now,'' Donner tells us.

A second movie seems unlikely, however. ''We never had a script,'' Donner explains. ''We tried a couple of times and every time we did, we realized, 'What are we doing?''' Which is disappointing, to be sure, but nothing seeing the ''Truffle Shuffle'' as a lavish production number can't make better.

Posted Mar 28, 2007

Goonies the Musical

Read all about it.,,20016233,00.html

Stage News
'Goonie' Tunes

A second ''Goonies'' movie probably won't ever happen, but director Richard Donner says he's discussed a musical adaptation with Steven Spielberg

The coolest kid adventure film of the 1980s — eat it, Flight of the Navigator! — has enjoyed a fervent cult following ever since its release in 1985. But what Goonies lovers really want to know is, Will we ever see Chunk, Data, and Mouth in another incarnation? Believe it or not, we very well might — as a musical. The film's director, Richard Donner (16 Blocks), says there is an active attempt to mount a musical adaptation of the original, which was written by Chris Columbus from Steven Spielberg's story. ''Steven and I have discussed it, and it's something that I'm fairly passionate about right now,'' Donner tells us.

A second movie seems unlikely, however. ''We never had a script,'' Donner explains. ''We tried a couple of times and every time we did, we realized, 'What are we doing?''' Which is disappointing, to be sure, but nothing seeing the ''Truffle Shuffle'' as a lavish production number can't make better.

Posted Mar 28, 2007

Way to Go!

Linda Chance, Oklahoma City, OK

The idea for an MS awareness ribbon was a no-brainer for Linda Chance: If so many other diseases had ribbons, why shouldn’t MS?

With newfound time on her hands due to the necessity of an early retirement, Linda decided to take action. Using a hot glue gun, she constructed more than 1,000 ribbons made from prism fabric to distribute at MS walks, runs and rides. She selected the prism design because the changing colors signified MS as an ever-changing and unpredictable disease. She also authored a brochure and created display boards to showcase the ribbons.

With her Betaseron® Champions of CourageSM grant, Linda will be able to manufacture more MS awareness ribbons and travel to other cities to promote the concept.

"My goal is to display the ribbon at as many events and locations as possible so that more people will be aware of MS and its devastating effects," says Linda. "My hope is that increased awareness will result in more funding to find an end to this disease."

With her Champions of Courage grant, Linda assembled ribbon kits which were distributed through the Oklahoma chapter of the National MS Society as well as by Linda herself!

Linda’s hard work to benefit people with MS did not gone unnoticed by her community. For her outstanding volunteer service, Linda received the 2000 Oklahoma Citian With a Disability of the Year award at the city’s Mayor’s Conference on People with Disabilities, and also was honored by her chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Disability Defence

Bus ordeal for disabled man
Nick Tarver
3/ 4/2007

A BUS driver ordered a man with no legs to prove he was disabled before letting him travel on his bus.

Double amputee Brian Callaghan, 60, was in a wheelchair when his wife Maria helped him board the Number 17 First bus.

But after she bought herself a £1.40 ticket, the driver demanded to see her husband's disabled pass, which entitles him to free travel.

To the astonishment of other passengers on the Middleton-bound bus, he refused to drive on until Mr Callaghan had produced the pass.

Mr Callaghan, of Blackley, a former bus driver himself, said: "The bus drivers never ask me for my pass, because it's obvious that I'm disabled. But this time, after I got settled on the bus, the driver shouted 'Have got your pass mate?'

"I said: 'But I've got no legs - surely you don't need to see it'.

"He told me he did and that the bus wouldn't move until I showed it to him."

He said other passengers were furious and shouted at the driver: 'Are you for real?' but he still refused to budge.

After searching his bag and wallet, he eventually found the pass and showed it to the driver.


Mr Callaghan said he was extremely embarrassed by the whole experience.

"The bus was full and everyone was looking at me. I couldn't take it all in - it was like the driver thought I was trying to pull the wool over his eyes.

"I was a bus driver for 17 years and I never treated a disabled person like he treated me. I am absolutely livid at his behaviour."

Mr Callaghan, who has two children, Jacqueline, 39, and Bernard, 37, and four grandchildren, was a driver for Manchester buses until 1980 and then became a chauffeur and worked for the city council.

He lost his legs three years ago after he went to hospital with a swollen foot and was diagnosed with diabetes. His first leg was amputated within seven days and his second six months after that.

Although the Callaghans have a car, he and his wife occasionally use public transport and had caught the bus to meet friends for Sunday lunch.

The couple celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary at the weekend and Mr Callaghan said he would be unable to cope without his wife's help.

He still manages to keep active and is chairman of the North Manchester Amputees Group.

All disabled people are allowed to travel free on Greater Manchester buses, trains and Metrolink trams between 9.30am and midnight on weekdays and at all times on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

First director Bob Mason said: "I was saddened to hear of Mr Callaghan's experiences while travelling with us on service 17.

"We need to establish all the facts so that we can learn what transpired and introduce steps, if necessary, to ensure there is no repeat at any time in the future."