Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

June 21, 2009



Arstechnica - The Obama administration is making a last-minute effort to fix the controversial Real ID Act before the program's deadline is reached in December. Changes to the measure, which will be introduced soon in Congress, could add additional privacy safeguards and remove some of the program's most costly requirements. . . Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, the former governor of Arizona and a vocal critic of Real ID, is said to be drafting a new proposal that will scale back the law's requirements so that it can be reasonably accomplished by states within the allotted time. The Washington Post reports that the new proposal, which is called Pass ID, could boost the program's privacy safeguards and eliminate the costly national database requirements. The law would still require the identity cards to include a machine-readable mechanism. According to the Post, the Obama administration has been in talks with the National Governors Association for months in an effort to devise a reasonable compromise.


Guardian, UK -
A rift has opened between the Obama administration and some of its closest allies - Democratic leaders and environmental organizations - over its refusal to publicly disclose the location of 44 coal ash dumps that have been officially designated as a "high hazard" to local populations. The administration turned down a request from a powerful Democratic senator to make public the list of 44 dumps, which contain a toxic soup of arsenic and heavy metals from coal-fired electricity plants, citing terrorism fears. . . Last Christmas, a retaining wall burst on a coal ash pond in Tennessee disgorging a billion gallons of waste and putting pressure on the authorities to bring in safety controls over the management of some 600 similar waste pools dotted across the country.


News Tribune, IN - Jeffersonville attorney Larry Wilder was found asleep by police in his neighbor's overturned city garbage can Wednesday morning, after neighbors called police when they woke to find their trash strewn on the ground and a man inside the receptacle. . . No arrest was made as a result of the incident. . . Although police records describe Wilder as 10-47 - police code for intoxicated - upon officers' arrival, no breath alcohol or sobriety test was administered. . . A neighbor, Roberta Embry, said her husband found Wilder inside the can when walking out of the house that morning. "He (Wilder) took all the trash out and laid it (the trash can) on its side," she said




Boston Globe - People with robust health insurance are putting off doctors' appointments and skimping on prescriptions because they can't afford the increasing costs of copayments and deductibles, according to managers of patient-assistance hot lines in Massachusetts. Not that long ago, such dilemmas were typically faced by lower-income families, often on publicly subsidized insurance. But with many consumers struggling to pay rising healthcare costs amid today's shrinking family budgets, these tough choices are becoming commonplace - even among families with employer-provided health insurance, consumer advocates say. . . The problem appears particularly acute for people with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, asthma, and cancer. They make frequent visits to doctors and often take multiple medications. . .

Agence France Presse - Health experts have long warned of the risk of obesity, but a new Japanese study warns that being very skinny is even more dangerous, and that slightly chubby people live longer. People who are a little overweight at age 40 live six to seven years longer than very thin people, whose average life expectancy was shorter by some five years than that of obese people, the study found. "We found skinny people run the highest risk," said Shinichi Kuriyama, an associate professor at Tohoku University's Graduate School of Medicine who worked on the long-term study of middle-aged and elderly people. . . The study was conducted by a health ministry team led by Tohoku University professor Ichiro Tsuji and covered 50,000 people between the ages of 40 and 79 over 12 years in the northern Japanese prefecture of Miyagi.


Graham E. Fuller was the CIA's Chief of Station in Kabul and later the Vice-Chair of the National Intelligence Council, where he was responsible for long range strategic forecasting. Graham has a history of thinking outside the box, which makes his comments in a podcast interview with George Kenney about Afghnistan and Pakistan particularly informative.


Austrian Times - A teenage girl was electrocuted after dropping her laptop into the bath as she twittered in the tub. Police said they believed Maria Barbu, 17, had tried to plug in her laptop with wet hands after the battery died during a long session on social networking site Twitter as she took a soak at her home in Brasov, central Romania. She was found dead by her parents with the laptop lying next to her.


Anonymous change is now? said...

Why am I flashing back to "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas"? Hunter Thompson describes his three-hundred pound Samoan lawyer's pleas to have a radio tossed into the tub with him when "White Rabbit" reaches its orgasmic culmination.

June 22, 2009 7:02 PM  

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