Army rolls out app store for grunts

The U.S. Army has launched a custom mobile app marketplace to deliver handset and tablet applications through the web to military personnel who have access to iOS devices.

The Army Software Marketplace prototype currently features 12 mobile training applications, available (iOS devices required) for download on iOS devices only, that are the direct result of the Connecting Soldiers to Digital Apps (CSDA) initiative.

Army CSDA Director Brig. Gen. Wayne Grigsby Jr. said that the marketplace is an information delivery tool designed to distribute training material to soldiers at “the point of learning…”

“This prototype is a first step in establishing and exercising new submission and approval processes that will eventually enable Army members, organizations and third-party developers to release applications for Army-wide distribution,” said Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence, Army Chief Information Officer/G-6.

No timetable as to when Angry Birds in Pakistan will be released.

Court orders FDA to review antibiotic use in livestock — finally

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday said it was studying a federal judge’s order that it consider withdrawing two popular antibiotics from use in livestock. In a ruling issued Thursday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Theodore Katz said that the FDA must issue notices to drug manufacturers that the drugs will be withdrawn unless the companies can prove they’re safe. Katz didn’t issue a full ban — suggesting the manufacturers should be given a hearing to make their case.

The suit was originally brought by the Natural Resources Defense Council, which argued that the FDA has allowed livestock producers to use popular antibiotics penicillin and tetracycline in feed for more than 30 years for purposes other than treatment of illnesses.

The NRDC claims “the indiscriminate use of antibiotics in animal feed can lead to the growth and spread of drug-resistant bacteria capable of infecting people.” Antibiotic resistant bacteria are fast-moving, can be deadly, and can infect otherwise healthy individuals.

In its statement, the FDA said, “We are studying the opinion and considering appropriate next steps…”

As they have been saying for the last 35 years.

The suit alleged that the FDA’s failure to withdraw approval of penicillin and tetracycline after the 1977 research was unlawful and violated the administrative procedure act.

According to the NRDC, 80% of antibiotics used in the United States is used in livestock

Meanwhile, the ruling isn’t sitting well with beef producers. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association noted its dissent in a statement saying “blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!

Overdue. Every time this has been brought up – decisions have been overdue. The “new” FDA made noises about doing something – but hasn’t yet. The medical-industrial complex certainly isn’t in any hurry to reduce the excess amount of antibiotics produced.

Tsunami ghost ship spotted off the coast of British Columbia

A fishing trawler swept away more than a year ago by a tsunami off the east coast of Japan has been spotted floating near British Columbia…”It looks fairly sound and has rust streak from being out there for a year,” said Marc Proulx, the maritime coordinator of the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Victoria, British Columbia.

The trawler is part of a giant debris field that was generated by the giant wall of water that struck the east coast of the island nation following a 9.0 earthquake, sweeping everything from cars to houses into the ocean.

The fishing vessel is about 120 miles off the Queen Charlotte Islands, commonly referred to as the Haida Gwaii. The islands are an archipelago on the north coast of the British Columbia.

It was first spotted by a Canadian military air patrol, and it has since been determined that it has been adrift without anybody at the helm since March 11, 2011, Proulx said.

The Japan Coast Guard identified the owner of the vessel after being contacted Friday by Canadian officials, who were able to provide the identification number on the hull of the ship. The vessel, which was used for squid fishing, was moored at Hachinohe in the Aomori prefecture when the tsunami hit, said Toshiro Yoshinaga, a Coast Guard official.

The trawler is considered a navigation obstruction for vessels in the area, according to Canada’s Department of National Defense. Canadian agencies are monitoring the ship for possible marine pollution, though there are no reports of leaks from the vessel, the defense department said.

Everyone certain there is no one, nothing on board?

Supreme Court deepens rights of accused in plea bargains


The Supreme Court considers robes to match Congressional garb

Criminal defendants have a constitutional right to effective lawyers during plea negotiations, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday in a pair of 5-to-4 decisions that vastly expanded judges’ supervision of the criminal justice system. The decisions mean that what used to be informal and unregulated deal making is now subject to new constraints when bad legal advice leads defendants to reject favorable plea offers.

“Criminal justice today is for the most part a system of pleas, not a system of trials,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority. “The right to adequate assistance of counsel cannot be defined or enforced without taking account of the central role plea bargaining takes in securing convictions and determining sentences.”

And that…is a beancounters’ ethic at work. The leading motive for plea-bargains is the budget.

Justice Kennedy, who more often joins the court’s conservative wing in ideologically divided cases, was in this case in a coalition with the court’s four more liberal members. That alignment has sometimes arisen in recent years in cases that seemed to offend Justice Kennedy’s sense of fair play…

Claims of ineffective assistance at trial are commonplace even though trials take place under a judge’s watchful eye. Challenges to plea agreements based on misconduct by defense lawyers will presumably be common as well, given how many more convictions follow guilty pleas and the fluid nature of plea negotiations…

Scholars agreed about its significance.

RTFA for all the legalistic blather. The conservative cabal – including Chief Justice Roberts are always most concerned about the number of cases that will spin from this decision.

The best part of was the ruling about defendants having a right to an effective lawyer. While I’ve known a fair number of talented and skillful lawyers [which they coupled with care for our Constitution and dedication to ordinary people’s needs] – there seems to be a constantly growing crop of incompetents. A conclusion I feel is matched by the truly awful – but politically connected – who seem to end up as judges.

Messi part of conspiracy against Bashar al-Assad — WTF?


 
Barcelona footballers don’t just have a slick passing game, they can also secretly indicate arms smuggling routes to Syria, a pro-government Syrian television channel claimed this week.

Without a hint of irony, Addounia TV superimposed a map of Syria on a screen to show how Lionel Messi and his team-mates, representing smugglers, had kicked a ball, representing a weapons shipment, into Syria from Lebanon.

The subtle signals to rebels were transmitted when Barcelona played Real Madrid in December, said the channel, which is owned by a cousin of President Bashar al-Assad. It did not trouble viewers by revealing Barcelona’s motives for the exploit.

“First we see how the guns are brought from Lebanon,” the presenter comments as one player passes the ball. “Then they cross into Homs and give the weapons to other terrorists in Abu Kamal,” he added, referring to rebel strongholds in Syria.

Messi’s final flick indicates the successful handover of the weapons to their destination in eastern Syria, he said.

Bizarre it may be, but paranoid conspiracy theories are common coin in the deeply divided and conflict-ridden state.

Not that anyone in the enlightened West could be drawn into into believing looneybird conspiracy theories, eh?

World’s largest Christian TV channel pays for royal lifestyle


Love that polyester hair!

The world’s largest Christian TV channel, the California-based Trinity Broadcasting Network, has become embroiled in a multimillion-dollar financial scandal after members of the family that founded it alleged widespread embezzlement.

The claims – by Brittany Koper, whose grandfather Paul Crouch founded TBN, and by Joseph McVeigh, another family member – describe exorbitant spending on mansions in California, Tennessee and Florida, private jets and even a $100,000 mobile home to house the dogs of Crouch’s flamboyant wife, Janice.

The network, which claims to broadcast in every continent except the Antarctic and has 18,000 affiliates, was set up by Crouch in the 1970s and preaches a “prosperity gospel” which promises material rewards to those who give generously…[Cripes]

According to the lawsuit…Paul Crouch Sr obtained a $50m luxury jet for his personal use through a “sham loan”, while church funds – many of which come from donations during events like its “Praise-a-thons” – paid for the dogs’ mobile home.

McVeigh’s lawsuit makes the most damning allegations, claiming “unlawful and unreported income distributions to Trinity Broadcasting’s directors” with “multiple jet aircraft, including a $50m Global Express luxury jet aircraft purchased for the personal use of the Crouches through a sham loan … as well as an $8m Hawker jet aircraft purchased by Trinity Broadcasting for the personal use of director Janice Crouch”.

It also describes the purchase of “multiple motor vehicles, including a $100,000 motor home purchased by Trinity Broadcasting as a mobile residence for director Janice Crouch’s dogs”.

Directors of the network are also accused of misusing funds to cover up sex scandals, including the alleged “cover-up and destruction of evidence concerning a bloody sexual assault involving Trinity Broadcasting and affiliated Holy Land Experience employees; the cover-up of director Janice Crouch’s affair with a staff member at the Holy Land Experience; the cover-up of director Paul Crouch’s use of Trinity Broadcasting funds to pay for a legal settlement with Enoch Lonnie Ford (a former TBN employee who said he had a homosexual affair with [founder] Paul Crouch)”.

Brittany Koper, the network’s former finance director, claims she was fired after she discovered the extent of the financial wrongdoing…

She blew the whistle and got terminated,” Koper’s lawyer, Tymothy MacLeod, told the Los Angeles Times. “Brittany has done the right thing. It’s admirable that someone on the inside of TBN has come forward and is revealing to the world exactly what is going on behind those closed doors…”

No one is really surprised about these accusations, are they?

People with reasonable education and a modicum of worldliness are’t exactly shocked over these revelations. And the True Believers who follow and fund these hustlers probably are convinced the attacks are manipulated by Satan, himself.