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Monday, January 12, 2009

King Nut -ridin' durty

CDC: Tainted peanut butter



MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The salmonella bacteria that has sickened more than 400 people in 43 states has been conclusively linked to peanut butter, Minnesota health officials announced Monday. Federal officials said the outbreak may have contributed to three deaths.

State health and agriculture officials said last week they had found salmonella bacteria in a 5-pound package of King Nut peanut butter at a nursing facility in Minnesota. Officials tested the bacteria over the weekend and found a genetic match with the bacterial strain that has led to 30 illnesses in Minnesota and others across the country.

"The commonality among all of our patients was that they ate peanut butter," said Doug Schultz, a spokesman with the Minnesota Department of Health. While the brand of peanut butter couldn't be confirmed in every case, the majority of patients consumed the same brand, he said Monday.

King Nut Companies of Solon, Ohio, on Sunday asked its customers to stop using peanut butter under its King Nut and Parnell's Pride brands with a lot code that begins with the numeral "8." Company president and chief executive Martin Kanan said Monday that Minnesota's findings validated that decision.

The peanut butter was distributed only through food service providers and was not sold directly to consumers. Officials are concerned the peanut butter is still being used, and Kassenborg urged institutions to toss it out.

creating life-closer still

An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute are potentially one step closer to creating life. In an experiment they recently created enzymes that can replicate and evolve. 'It kind of blew me away,' said team member Tracey Lincoln of the Scripps Research Institute, who is working on her Ph.D. 'What we have is non-living, but we've been able to show that it has some life-like properties, and that was extremely interesting.'" -full story link at the title.

DOT to close DC highways

 found a copypasta version of the DOT notice of highway closures @ cryptome :
[Federal Register: January 7, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 4)]
[Notices]               
[Page 760-761]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr07ja09-76]                         

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Highway Administration

[Docket No. FHWA-2008-0189]

 
Emergency Temporary Closure of I-395 & I-695 Southeast and 
Southwest Highway in the District of Columbia

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.

ACTION: Announcement for the District of Columbia to temporarily close 
the SE/SW Highway (I-395 & I-695), on January 20, 2009, for safety and 
security purposes for the Inauguration of the President of the United 
States.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: Pursuant to section 658.11(e) of title 23, Code of Federal 
Regulations, the Washington, DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) has 
requested approval of a plan to temporarily close segments of the 
Interstate to all traffic except motor coaches and buses--I-395 (from 
the 14th Street Bridge to New York Avenue), I-695 (from the 3rd Street 
Tunnel to the 11th Street Bridges), and I-295 (from I-695 to DC-295)--
on January 20, 2009, beginning at 12 a.m., for one consecutive 24-hour 
period, because of the Presidential Inauguration. I-395 would be closed 
to general purpose traffic at New York Avenue up to the 14th Street 
Bridge. I-695 would be closed to general purpose traffic at the 11th 
Street Bridges. I-295 would be closed to general purpose traffic at 
Pennsylvania Avenue. The request has been made for the purposes of 
safety and security in and around the Capitol Building as well as for 
the critically needed space to park a portion of the expected 10,000 
buses bringing people into the Washington area on January 20th. The 
Interstate routes included in the request are part of the National 
Network of highways that can safely and efficiently accommodate the 
large vehicles authorized by provisions of the Surface Transportation 
Assistance Act of 1982 (STAA), as amended, designated in accordance 
with 23 CFR Part 658 and listed in Appendix A. This regulation limits 
the authority of the States to restrict the access of these commercial 
motor vehicles to the designated National Routes, and requires the 
approval of the FHWA for additions, deletions, exceptions and 
restrictions in accordance with 23 CFR 658.11. The FHWA has decided to 
approve the request by the DDOT as an emergency deletion in accordance 
with section 658.11(e) due to the safety considerations discussed in 
this notice. The FHWA is requesting comments from the general public on 
this determination. Under title 23 of the Code of Federal Regulations, 
section 658.11 (Additions, deletions, exceptions, and restrictions), 
the FHWA can grant the closing of the Interstate system or other 
National Network route based upon specified justification criteria in 
section 658.11(d)(2). The FHWA is also authorized to delete any route 
from the National Network on an emergency basis based on safety 
considerations pursuant to section 658.11(e). These emergency deletions 
are published in the Federal Register for notice and comment.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before January 16, 2009.

ADDRESSES: The letter of request along with justifications can be 
viewed electronically at the docket established for this rulemaking at 
http://www.regulations.gov. Hard copies of the documents will also be 
available for viewing at the DOT address listed below.
    Mail or hand deliver comments to the U.S. Department of 
Transportation, Dockets Management Facility, Room W12-140, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590, or submit comments 
electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, or fax comments

[[Page 761]]

to (202) 493-2251. Alternatively, comments may be submitted via the 
Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov (follow the 
on-line instructions for submitting comments). All comments should 
include the docket number that appears in the heading of this document. 
All comments received will be available for examination and copying at 
the above address from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays. Those desiring notification of receipt of 
comments must include a self-addressed, stamped postcard or you may 
print the acknowledgment page that appears after submitting comments 
electronically. All comments received into any docket may be searched 
in electronic format by the name of the individual submitting the 
comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an 
association, business, labor union, etc.). Persons making comments may 
review DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register 
published on April 11, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 70, Pages 19477-78), or 
you may view the statement at http://dms.dot.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Michael P. Onder, Team Leader 
Truck Size and Weight and Freight Operations and Technology Team, (202) 366-2639, Raymond W. Cuprill, Office of the Chief Counsel, (202) 366-
0791, Federal Highway Administration; 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., 
Washington, DC 20590, and Mr. Mark Kehrli, FHWA Division 
Administrator--Washington, DC, Truck Size and Weight and Freight Operations and Technology Team, (202) 366-2639, Raymond W. Cuprill, Office of the Chief Counsel, (202) 366-
0791, Federal Highway Administration; 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., 
Washington, DC 20590, and Mr. Mark Kehrli, FHWA Division 
Administrator--Washington, DC, (202) 219-3536. Office hours for the 
FHWA are from 7:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Electronic Access and Filing

    You may submit or retrieve comments online through the Federal 
eRulemaking portal at: http://www.regulations.gov. The Web site is 
available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year. Electronic submission 
and retrieval help and guidelines are available under the help section 
of the Web site.
    An electronic copy of this document may also be downloaded from the 
Office of the Federal Register's home page at: http://www.archives.gov/
federal_register and the Government Printing Office's Web page at: 
http://www.gpoaccess.gov.

Background

    On January 20, 2009, as a result of the inauguration activities, 
the number of participants and spectators is expected to reach 2-4 
million, overwhelming both the roadway and transit networks in the 
District of Columbia and will create a safety hazard for commercial 
traffic to traverse these routes during that time. This is one of the 
principal reasons for the closure of these routes to commercial 
traffic. Additionally, preliminary data indicates that approximately 
10,000 or more motor coaches within a 1,000-mile radius of the District 
of Columbia are expected to travel to the District. As such, safety in 
normal transport and in the event of emergency evacuation requires 
creating transportation redundancy. That redundancy can best be created 
by allowing arrivals by motor coach to proceed directly (without 
transfer to transit or another vehicle) to the inaugural checkpoint 
areas and then by allowing the motor coaches to park within walking 
distance of the drop-off location. The identified segments of I-395/I-
295/I-695, if temporarily restricted to prohibit general purpose 
traffic, provides the best and only feasible location for allowing 
large numbers of motor coaches to approach the departure from the 
inauguration and the subsequent parade while providing the possibility 
of expedited departures in the event of an emergency.
    Temporary closure of these segments of the Interstate to general 
purpose traffic means that the motor coaches can be moved in and out 
with maximum safety while providing the possibility of expedited 
departures in the event of an emergency. Temporary closure of these 
segments of Interstate to general purpose traffic also facilitates the 
movement of emergency vehicles into and out of the area, thereby 
enhancing safety. To further enhance safety, the motor coaches will be 
parked in the roadway approach spans, beyond the bridge limits. This 
will minimize bridge overloading and ensure routes for pedestrian 
traffic and emergency vehicles.
    The temporary closure should have no impact on Interstate commerce. 
I-95, which is the main north-south Interstate route in the region, is 
signed around the Washington Beltway (I-495) so that Interstate traffic 
need not enter the District at all. Likewise, Interstate traffic 
seeking to go west via I-66 or I-270 can access either I-66 or I-270 
via I-495 without ever entering the District. Likewise, traffic seeking 
to go east via U.S. Route 50 can access U.S. Route 50 via I-495 without 
ever entering the District.
    Commercial motor vehicles, of the dimensions and configurations 
described in 23 CFR 658.13 and 658.15, serving the area can utilize the 
routes listed above in response to 23 CFR 658.11(d)(2)(ii). Vehicles 
serving the immediate area north of the temporarily restricted I-395/I-
295/I-695 segments of the Interstate will be unable to do so because 
the local and National Highway System (NHS) street network will also be 
closed during the inauguration. Therefore, the closure of the I-395/I-
295/I-695 segments of the Interstate will have no material effect on 
such traffic. Entities requiring deliveries within and adjacent to the 
area of closed local and NHS streets will be encouraged to receive 
deliveries before or after January 20th. To assist in facilitating 
Interstate commerce, the DDOT and other District government agencies 
will coordinate with local governments and adjacent jurisdictions 
(i.e., VA and MD) to minimize traffic disruptions. Requests will be 
made for adjacent jurisdictions to cooperate in routing traffic around 
the closure and warn Interstate traffic of the closure by signs, and 
other means to get the message out to the trucking industry and the 
rest of the traveling public.

    Authority: 23 U.S.C. 127, 315 and 49 U.S.C. 31111, 31112, and 
31114; 23 CFR Part 658.

    Issued on: December 31, 2008.
Thomas J. Madison, Jr.,
Federal Highway Administrator.
[FR Doc. E8-31472 Filed 1-6-09; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-22-P

Sunday, January 11, 2009

homeless exclusion

i have just recently found out about this new CTA policy:
On Nov. 22, Mike Doyle of Chicago Carless fame wrote a well-researched piece about the CTA's newest efforts to crack down on what it calls "continous riders" -- passengers who ride to the end of a rail terminal and board another train going in the opposite direction. Often folks who do this are homeless.
Doyle is angry that the CTA should now start aggressively enforcing this rule, saying it's aimed squarely at the homeless: "It’s pretty clear who these new “continuous riding” signs are aimed at. I can’t imagine a reasonable Chicagoan believing that homeless people are not the obvious and only target here."
But Doyle didn't just angrily rail against this policy. He reached out to the CTA with a series of well-thought-out questions to try and determine what was behind this new crackdown. The CTA had their typical PR spin that it wasn't to crack down on homeless, but "to remind CTA customers of the policy which prohibits customers from continuously riding the same line without payment of another fare, and as an aid to law enforcement in dealing with violators of this rule.” 

Friday, January 9, 2009

big Dick on torture

Vice President Dick Cheney, in another stunning admission during his campaign to burnish the Bush administration’s legacy, said he personally authorized the “enhanced interrogations” of 33 suspected terrorist detainees and approved the waterboarding of three so-called “high-value” prisoners.
“I signed off on it; others did, as well, too,” Cheney said about the waterboarding, a practice of simulated drowning done by strapping a person to a board, covering the face with a cloth and then pouring water over it, a torture technique dating back at least to the Spanish Inquisition. The victim feels as if he is drowning.
Cheney identified the three waterboarded detainees as al-Qaeda figures Abu Zubaydah, Khalid Sheik Mohammed and al Nashiri. “That's it, those three guys,” Cheney said in an interview with the right-wing Washington Times.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

man 'wants kidney back'


A US man divorcing his wife is demanding that she return the kidney he donated to her or pay him $1.5m (£1m) in compensation.
Dr Richard Batista told reporters that he decided to go public because he was frustrated at the slow pace of divorce negotiations with his estranged wife.
He said he had not only given his heart to his wife, Dawnell, but donated his kidney to save her life.
But divorce lawyers say a donated organ is not a marital asset to be divided.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Army Employee Pleads Guilty

MANHATTAN — Lev L. Dassin, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that Ben-Ami Kadish pleaded guilty earlier today to a one-count information charging him with participating in a conspiracy to act as an unregistered agent of the Government of Israel.
In summary, according to statements at Kadish’s guilty plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge Theodore H. Katz, the Information and other documents filed Manhattan federal court:
Kadish is a former employee of the U.S. Army’s Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center at the Picatinny Arsenal in Dover, New Jersey ("the Arsenal"). On numerous occasions from about 1980 through 1985, Kadish provided classified documents relating to the U.S. military – including some relating to U.S. missile defense systems – to an agent of the Government of Israel, Yossi Yagur, who photographed the documents at Kadish’s residence.
Kadish, 85, faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.
Kadish is scheduled to be sentenced in Manhattan federal court by U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley on February 13, 2009.
Mr. Dassin praised the investigative work of the New York and Newark Field Divisions of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and thanked the U.S. Army for their support in this case.
This prosecution is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Iris Lan from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and Trial Attorney Kathleen Kedian from the Counterespionage Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

trans safety

Did you pack this yourself, sir?
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Luggage featuring embossed images of a gun, knife or axe is likely to spark alerts at airports, security experts warned yesterday.
The cases, sold online for up to £98, were described as bringing 'a touch of black humour and novelty to an object which is usually rather boring' by retailer kidslovedesign.com.
But aviation security expert Bruce Schneier warned: 'They're not in good taste... It's a funny joke, but remember that there are no jokes when it comes to airport security.'