May 22nd, 2012
We try to record and archive as much storm footage as possible.
The above video of the Tuscaloosa monster F-4, is one of the most incredible videos yet. You can see the storm approaching from miles away, but as it approaches, you can hear the responses of the gentleman intrepidly filming it.
You can also watch the storm as the videographer deftly circumvents the storm, running through the various strings of parking lots while avoiding the storm's path. As the storm gets closer and closer, you can see the powerful tendrils streaming off, as it plows through Tuscaloosa leaving nothing but extreme devastation in its wake.
It was but one of many storms that kicked off the twister season of 2011, but few can match this awesome footage from a clearly terrified, but uncommonly brave individual.
The string of storms which hit in 2011 would eventually claim the lives of at least 313 people across eight southern states.
May 22nd, 2012
By VERONICA SIKKA M.D., ABC News Medical Unit
The governmental advisory panel tasked with issuing cancer screening guidelines made a final recommendation on the most common form of prostate cancer screening, PSA tests.
The panel's ruling: Not needed, regardless of age.
On Monday, the United States Preventive Services Task Force, or USPSTF, put forth this guideline on prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests, which more than 20 million American men get each year. The formal recommendation follows draft guidance the task force issued in October 2011. These guidelines drive the screening decisions of doctors throughout the country.
The PSA blood test is the traditional way to detect evidence of prostate cancer, which is the most common cancer diagnosed in American men. The National Cancer Institute estimates that in 2012, almost 250,000 new cases and more than 28,000 prostate cancer-related deaths will occur.
The task force maintains that PSA tests do more harm than good. Dr. Michael LeFevre, co-vice chairman of the task force, said the medical procedures arising from the tests could have serious downsides, including blood clots, heart attacks, strokes and possibly death. Other complications include impotence and urinary incontinence.
"Of 1,000 men who are screened, at most one man will avoid a prostate cancer death," LeFevre said. "Two to three will have blood clot, heart attack, stroke or even death from treatment of the prostate cancer. One in 3,000 men screened will die of surgical complications from the treatment."
Paul Nelson, 51, knows firsthand the feeling of getting a postive PSA test. He was diagnosed five years ago.
"Panic was the number one thing in my mind," he told ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser. "And the doctors were like, 'The only way to make sure you're done is to get it out.'"
Now the president of the Erectile Dysfunction Foundation, Nelson said not enough men know about the side effects of the procedures that follow a positive PSA test.
"The doctors wouldn't talk about it," he said. "There was nothing on the Internet."
The medical community is split on the new recommendation. And most urologists -- the doctors who arguably treat the most cases of prostate disease -- do not agree with the task force's guidelines.
"PSA screening is the only test we have," said Dr. William Catalona, a professor of urology at Northwestern University. "The great majority of doctors who deal with prostate cancer patients believe that the task force underestimated the benefits and overestimated the harms. Perhaps it is because none of the Task Force members were urologists."
"There is no mention of the dramatic decline in the number of men with advanced prostate cancer," said Dr. Patrick Walsh, professor of urology at Johns Hopkins University. "In 1990, 21 percent of men at diagnosis had metastatic prostate cancer to bone. Today it is 4 percent. This is clearly a dramatic effect of PSA testing.
"[The new recommendations] fail to recognize that in the absence of PSA testing, a man will not know that he has the disease until he has symptoms, at which time the cancer is too far advanced to cure," Walsh said.
And Dr. Gerald Andriole, chief of urology at Washington University School of Medicine, called the task force's recommendations "too draconian on categorically dismissing PSA."
"In some respects we have not been using PSA as well as we could," Andriole said. "However, to post a headline that says 'No More PSA Testing' is throwing the baby out with the bathwater."
Primary care physicians differed on whether the recommendations are a good idea. Some, like Dr. Jacques Carter, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, insisted that "screening for prostate cancer saves lives." Others, like Dr. Jim Jirjis, director of adult primary care at Vanderbilt University, said they had already begun to recommend against the tests.
"I inform the patients that it is not an ideal screening test and that the USPSTF [task force] is recommending against it," Jirjis said. "Many patients ... decline after I explain."
May 22nd, 2012
In a major development in his probe of Barack Obama’s eligibility for Arizona’s 2012 presidential ballot, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has dispatched his lead Cold Case Posse investigator and a deputy detective to Hawaii.
The mission to Obama’s purported birthplace comes as the Hawaii Department of Health continues to resist efforts by Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett to verify that the Honolulu agency has a valid birth certificate on file for Obama.
Former Bergen County, N.J., detective Mike Zullo and his volunteer team were commissioned by Arpaio last September to investigate Obama’s eligibility after citizens raised concerns about the authenticity of the birth record the White House posted on its website. Zullo’s team announced March 1 that it found probable cause that the document is a forgery.
Zullo’s investigation is a volunteer effort, but the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has sent him to Hawaii with an MCSO deputy detective for safety reasons and to act as a liaison between MCSO and local law enforcement.
WND reporter Jerome Corsi is embedded with the investigators in Hawaii with the provision that reporting during the trip be curtailed to protect the investigation.
Arpaio told WND Friday that the Hawaii Department of Health’s refusal to confirm to Bennett that it has a valid Obama birth certificate on file makes it look like Hawaii officials “are hiding something.”
Bennett has said that he might keep Obama’s name off of the state’s presidential ballot if he doesn’t receive the confirmation.
Eight weeks ago, the secretary of state asked Hawaii officials merely for an email confirming the Department of Health has a certified copy of the birth certificate, but Hawaii officials have not complied.
Zullo told WND Friday that Hawaii’s refusal to comply “is just another outright, glaring display of stonewalling that the Sheriff’s Office has encountered since Day One conducting this investigation.”
Zullo said “common sense at this point should be everyone’s guide.”
“If this was a non-issue, it wouldn’t be going on eight weeks waiting for the state of Hawaii to verify anything,” he said.
Over the weekend, KTVK-TV in Phoenix reported the Hawaii attorney general’s office has told Bennett he needs to take certain steps to confirm Obama’s birth records.
The steps include Bennett proving that he “legitimately needs confirmation to update records at his office.”
Zullo told WND that Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office investigators have spoken at length with Bennett regarding the president’s birth record. Zullo said his team spoke with Bennett as recently as last week.
“We are in the beginning stages of enlightening him to critical information that the sheriff has acquired during this investigation,” Zullo said.
‘It looks like they’re hiding something’
Arpaio’s team also is investigating the president’s Selective Service registration form, which his team also found probable cause to be a forgery.
He told WND he’s not getting much cooperation with federal and state governments.
“But that doesn’t matter; we’re still going to continue our investigation and see if those documents are forged,” he said.
Regarding the Hawaii Department of Health, Arpaio noted he’s said since the beginning of the investigation last fall, “Show me the microfilm.”
“They won’t do that, so it looks like they’re hiding something,” he said.
Arpaio said he will continue his investigation regardless of whether or not Obama gets on the ballot.
In an interview last Thursday with Phoenix radio host Mike Broomhead of KFYI, Bennett was asked if he would remove Obama’s name from the ballot if Hawaii won’t reply to his request.
“That’s possible. Or the other option would be that I would ask all the candidates, including the president, to submit a certified copy of their birth certificate,” Bennett said.
Bennett explained that under Hawaii law, government officials can request verification that the state has possession of a valid birth certificate.
“They could say yes tomorrow, and the whole thing goes away,” Bennett said. “If they can’t say yes to that simple question, then it makes me wonder if we have to take it to another level.”
Bennett said that regardless of Hawaii’s response, he needs “to have to have some simple verification that people are qualified for the office if they’re going to be on the ballot here in Arizona.”
The Arizona official insisted he’s not a “birther” and denied he’s trying to appease “birthers” because he wants to run for governor.
“I believe the president was born in Hawaii – or at least I hope he was,” Bennett said.
More from WND
May 21st, 2012
ABC News Political Punch
By Devin Dwyer
The Obama campaign is in full damage-control mode one day after Newark Mayor Cory Booker publicly derided Democrats’ assault on presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney over his record at Bain Capital.
Chief Obama strategist David Axelrod today publicly rebuked Booker, a popular and high-profile surrogate for the campaign, saying he was “just wrong.”
“I love Cory Booker. He’s a great mayor. If I were, if my house was on fire, I’d hope he were my next door neighbor,” Axelrod said on MSNBC, referring to Booker’s rescue of a neighbor last month.
“I agree with what he said later. I think this was a legitimate area for discussion,” Axelrod said of Booker’s subsequent comments clarifying the issue.
As for the criticism that the Team Obama’s Bain attack is part of “nauseating” political discourse with which Booker has become “very uncomfortable,” Axelrod said, “on this particular instance he was just wrong.”
Booker is not the only Democrat to question the aggressive, negative portrayal of Romney’s work in private equity. Former Tennessee Rep. Harold Ford Jr. said today he agreed with “the substance” of Booker’s comments and “would not have backed out.”
“I agree with him, private equity is not a bad thing. Matter of fact, private equity is a good thing in many, many instances,” the Democrat said in a separate appearance on MSNBC earlier in the day.
Former Obama administration economic adviser Steven Rattner made similar comments last week, calling a new Obama campaign TV ad attacking Romney’s role in the bankruptcy of a Bain-owned steel company “unfair.”
“Bain Capital’s responsibility was not to create 100,000 jobs or some other number. It was to create profits for its investors,” Rattner said. ”‘It did it superbly well, acting within the rules, acting very responsibly. … This is part of capitalism, this is part of life. I don’t think there’s anything Bain Capital did that they need to be embarrassed about.”
Republicans have been gleeful with the apparent divide among Democrats over the portrayal of Romney’s Bain days. The Romney campaign produced a web video – “Big Bain Backfire” – highlighting the comments, while the Republican National Committee purchased ads on Twitter to play up the Booker flap.
“President Obama’s attacks on free enterprise have triggered a backlash among many, even among those in his own party,” Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said. “With no record to run on, it is no surprise that the Obama campaign has resorted to misleading attacks that have been disavowed by its own supporters.”
On a conference call with reporters to discuss the latest phase in the anti-Bain attack, Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said Romney’s record was fair game and insisted that Democrats, including Booker, are united behind the need for greater scrutiny of it.
“We’re not questioning the purpose of the private equity business as a whole or Romney’s capacity to run a business as he saw fit,” LaBolt told reporters on a conference call. “We’re questioning what the values and lessons are from that experience, whether the economic philosophy that he demonstrated while he was a corporate buyout specialist is one that Americans would like to see in the Oval Office.”
Booker himself has worked to clarify his remarks, taking to Twitter and YouTube to insist he supports examination of Romney’s Bain record but simply opposes a negative, divisive tone.
“Mitt Romney has made his business record a centerpiece of his campaign. He’s talked about himself as a job creator and therefore it is reasonable, and I encourage it, for the Obama campaign to examine that record and to discuss it,” Booker said Sunday night in a Web video.
“I have no problem with that.”
While Booker’s blunder distracted somewhat from the Obama campaign’s message Monday, it seems unlikely to impact Democrats’ overall strategy going forward. Obama aides believe Romney’s role at Bain illustrates a philosophy of economic unfairness that will not appeal to middle class voters.
“Mitt Romney’s partners, employees, and top supporters have all been clear: his tenure at Bain Capital was about creating wealth for himself and his investors, not creating jobs,” said Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith. “Those are the very same economic values he’d bring to the presidency. America can’t afford ‘Romney economics.’”
More From ABC News
May 21st, 2012
The Weather Channel
Farmers in northwest China are doing battle with swarms of locusts. As a pilot program 15,000 ducks will be used to try and fight the locusts by eating them.
The locusts are, apparently, still coming...in biblical proportions, and this has been going on for years...
From ABC News:
In a pernicious mass, swarms of locusta migratoria are chomping their way through the Central Asian plains, devouring vegetation and crops through swathes of Russia, China and the former Soviet republics.
A combination of drought, poverty, war and sheer neglect has seen locusts breeding unchecked on abandoned farmlands in the region resulting in the worst plague of locusts to hit the fertile Central Asian plains in 40 years.
In a desperate struggle to combat the unwelcome clouds of insects, local authorities have been using both orthodox and unorthodox means to beat the ravaging hordes.
And that includes a million-strong army of ducks.
A Quack Force
Call them quacks if you must, but authorities in the worst-affected Xinjiang province in China have recruited locust-eating ducks to combat the menace, the official Xinhua news agency has reported.
The "duck soldiers," specially trained by farmer Yang Dayuan, are capable of eating more than a pound of locusts every day. What's more, they even eat locust eggs that are laid in the marshy alkaline wastelands.
An environmentally friendly locust-crunching method, the duck soldiers add a boost to the circle of life, Yang told the British daily The Times. "The ducks will grow healthy and fat and will get a higher price on the market after they retire from pest-control duty."
Pesticides to the Rescue
But China has also been forced to employ pesticides to combat the menace. The official China Daily newspaper today reported that 2.5 million acres of land had been sprayed with pesticides.
In the southern Russian republic of Dagestan, the worst hit region in Russia, about 8,900 acres of agricultural land have been treated with chemicals, Russian Agriculture Ministry officials said today.
Petr Fomenko, a spokesman for the Agriculture Ministry, told Interfax news agency authorities estimate they have to treat at least 6 million acres to bring the situation under control.
Russia has assigned approximately $16 million this year to battle the locusts.
Poor Regions, Rich Breeding Grounds
Since most farmers in the former Soviet republics are unable to afford pesticides, they have been forced to rely on local authorities to combat the menace, a response that farmers maintain came a little too late. The slow and often haphazard official response has led to a spread of the migratory insects across national borders.
Last year China blamed lax pest-control measures in neighboring Kazakhstan for an infestation.
In April, the Taliban, the militia that controls most of Afghanistan, appealed for international aid to help combat a potential plague of locusts due to years of severe drought.
More than three years of hostilities in Chechnya has led to the loss of most of the embattled Russia republic's cattle breeders. Cattle can help contain a locust plague by stomping out locust nests.