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Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See for full contents of our site

February 24, 2010


CNN - Eighty-six percent of people questioned in a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll say that our system of government is broken. . . . Of that 86 percent, 81 percent say that the government can be fixed, with 5 percent saying it's beyond repair.

INTERNET SIGHTINGS - Waiting for wife at The Body Shop. Sampled some Hemp Scrub. Had a bit more. Now trying to keep from eating the Strawberry Body Butter.

KANSAS CITY STAR - Terry Hoskins says he has struggled with the River Hills Bank over his home in Moscow for years and had problems with the Internal Revenue Service. He says the IRS placed liens on his carpet store and commercial property and the bank claimed his house as collateral. Hoskins says he owes $160,000 on the house. He says he spent a lot of money on attorneys and finally had enough. About two weeks ago he bulldozed the home 25 miles southeast of Cincinnati. Messages were left for the bank and its attorney. IRS spokeswoman Jodie Reynolds said individual taxpayer information is private and federal law prevents her from commenting. SLIDESHOW

CNET - The average social-networking user around the world spent more than five and a half hours on sites like Facebook and Twitter in December, according to data released Monday by Nielsen. That marked an 82 percent jump from December 2008 when Tweeters and Facebookers surfed their favorite sites for around three hours the entire month. . . Facebook was the top social-networking site in December, says Nielsen, grabbing 67 percent of social networking users throughout the world.

PRESS WATCH- Afternoon naps boost brain power and memory, study finds An hour's nap in the afternoon can boost a person's brain power and improve their memory, according to a study showing that short periods of sleep during the day can make it easier to function mentally. Scientists found that a Spanish-style siesta after lunch does more than just refresh the body and mind, it also makes it easier for the brain to store and retrieve items of short-term information needed for working or studying. The Sleep Foundation found people with insomnia are 10 times more likely to develop depression than those who sleep well.

FINANCIAL TIMES - A US Senate inquiry has demanded that regulators explain by next week why they permitted GlaxoSmithKline to proceed with a clinical trial of its diabetes drug Avandia after allegedly being aware that it had a higher risk of causing heart attacks than a rival medicine. Senators Max Baucus and Charles Grassley said GSK executives 'attempted to intimidate independent physicians and focused on strategies to minimise or misrepresent findings that Avandia may increase cardiovascular risk'. Their action came at the end of a lengthy study of Avandia in which US researchers identified potential safety concerns, triggering a review and modified information to doctors on the use of GSK's blockbuster drug. The senators accused the FDA of being "too cozy" with drugmakers, and raised concerns about the fact that the regulatory officials charged with assessing the safety of medicines after launch were "under the thumb" of those who originally authorized new drug approvals.

NY TIMES - In a ruling that freed Bank of America from some of its legal problems, a federal judge on "reluctantly" approved a $150 million settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission. But even as the judge, Jed S. Rakoff of the Southern District of New York, approved the settlement, he delivered harsh words for the S.E.C., saying that the agreement was "half-baked justice at best." In a written opinion released Monday morning, Judge Rakoff declared that the evidence showed that the bank failed to adequately disclose the bonuses and the losses, but he said it was unclear if the lack of disclosure resulted from negligence or ill-intent. The judge, known for his maverick ways, said the settlement amount was "paltry," but he said the deal - the second one the S.E.C. proposed - had met his minimum threshold for approval. "This court, while shaking its head, grants the S.E.C.'s motion and approves the proposed consent judgment," the judge wrote.


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