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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Dust Storms Spread Deadly Diseases Worldwide

Dust storms like the one that plagued Sydney are blowing bacteria to all corners of the globe, with viruses that will attack the human body. Yet these scourges can also help mitigate climate change.

By John Vidal
The Observer UK
Sept. 27, 2009

A dust storm blankets Sydney's iconic Opera House at sunrise. Huge dust storms, like the ones that blanketed Sydney twice last week, hit Queensland yesterday and turned the air red across much of eastern Australia, are spreading lethal epidemics around the world. However, they can also absorb climate change emissions, say researchers studying the little understood but growing phenomenon.

The Sydney storm, which left millions of people choking on some of the worst air pollution in 70 years, was a consequence of the 10-year drought that has turned parts of Australia's interior into a giant dust bowl, providing perfect conditions for high winds to whip loose soil into the air and carry it thousands of miles across the continent.

It followed major dust storms this year in northern China, Iraq and Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, east Africa, Arizona and other arid areas. Most of the storms are also linked to droughts, but are believed to have been exacerbated by deforestation, overgrazing of pastures and climate change.

As diplomats prepare to meet in Bangkok tomorrow for the next round of climate talks, meteorologists predict that more major dust storms can be expected, carrying minute particles of beneficial soil and nutrients as well as potentially harmful bacteria, viruses and fungal spores.

"The numbers of major dust storms go up and down over the years," said Andrew Goudie, geography professor at Oxford University. "In Australia and China they tailed off from the 1970s then spiked in the 1990s and at the start of this decade. At the moment they are clearly on an upward trajectory."

Laurence Barrie is chief researcher at the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) in Geneva, which is working with 40 countries to develop a dust storm warning system. He said: "I think the droughts [and dust storms] in Australia are a harbinger. Dust storms are a natural phenomenon, but are influenced by human activities and are now just as serious as traffic and industrial air pollution. The minute particles act like urban smog or acid rain. They can penetrate deep into the human body."

Saharan storms are thought to be responsible for spreading lethal meningitis spores throughout semi-arid central Africa, where up to 250,000 people, particularly children, contract the disease each year and 25,000 die. "There is evidence that the dust can mobilise meningitis in the bloodstream," said Barrie.

Higher temperatures and more intense storms are also linked to "valley fever", a disease contracted from a fungus in the soil of the central valley of California. The American Academy of Microbiology estimates that about 200,000 Americans go down with valley fever each year, 200 of whom die. The number of cases in Arizona and California almost quadrupled in the decade to 2006.

Scientists who had thought diseases were mostly transmitted by people or animals now see dust clouds as possible transmitters of influenza, Sars and foot-and-mouth, and increasingly responsible for respiratory diseases. A rise in the number of cases of asthma in children on Caribbean islands has been linked to an increase in the dust blown across the Atlantic from Africa.

The asthma rate in Barbados is 17 times greater than it was in 1973, when a major African drought began, according to one major study. Researchers have also documented more hospital admissions when the dust storms are at their worst.

"We are just beginning to accumulate the evidence of airborne dust implications on health," said William Sprigg, a climate expert at Arizona University.

The scale and range of some recent dust storms has surprised scientists. Japanese academics reported in July that a giant dust storm in China's Taklimakan desert in 2007 picked up nearly 800,000 tonnes of dust which winds carried twice around the world.

Dust from the Gobi and Taklimakan deserts is often present over the western United States in the spring and can lead to disastrous air quality in Korean, Japanese and Russian cities. It frequently contributes to the smogs over Los Angeles. Britain and northern Europe are not immune from dust storms.

Dust blown from the Sahara is commonly found in Spain, Italy and Greece and the WMO says that storms deposit Saharan dust north of the Alps about once a month. Last year Britain's Meteorological Office reported it in south Wales.

Some scientists sought to attribute the 2001 foot-and-mouth outbreak to a giant storm in north Africa that carried dust and possibly spores of the animal disease as far as northern Britain only a week before the first reported cases.

The scale and spread of the dust storms has also surprised researchers. Satellite photographs have shown some of the clouds coming out of Africa to be as big as the whole land mass of the US, with a major storm able to whip more than a million tonnes of soil into the atmosphere. Sydney was covered by an estimated 5,000 tonnes of dust last week, but the WMO says Beijing was enveloped by more than 300,000 tonnes in one storm in 2006.

"The 2-3 billion tonnes of fine soil particles that leave Africa each year in dust storms are slowly draining the continent of its fertility and biological productivity," said Lester Brown, director of the Earth Policy Institute research group in Washington DC. "Those big storms take millions of tonnes of soil, which takes centuries to replace."

Brown and Chinese scientists say the increased number of major dust storms in China is directly linked to deforestation and the massive increase in numbers of sheep and goats since the 1980s, when restrictions on herders were removed. "Goats will strip vegetation," said Brown. "They ate everything and dust storms are now routine. If climate change leads to a reduction in rainfall, then the two trends reinforce themselves."

China is planting tens of millions of trees to act as a barrier to the advancing desert.

However, research increasingly suggests that the dust could be mitigating climate change, both by reflecting sunlight in the atmosphere and fertilising the oceans with nutrients. Iron-rich dust blown from Australia and from the Gobi and Sahara deserts is largely deposited in oceans, where it has been observed to feed phytoplankton, the microscopic marine plants that are the first link in the oceanic food chain and absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide. In addition, the upper layers of the rainforest in Brazil are thought to derive much of their nutrient supply from dust transported across the Atlantic from the Sahara.

Just as scientists struggle to understand how dust is affecting climate, evidence is growing that another airborne pollutant, soot, is potentially disastrous. Minute particles of carbon produced by diesel engines, forest fires and the inefficient burning of wood in stoves is being carried just like dust to the remotest regions of the world.

A study by the United Nations Environment Programme has just concluded that the pollutant has played a major part in shrinking the Himalayan glaciers and has helped to disrupt the south Asian monsoon.

"Soot accounts from 10% to more than 45% of the contribution to global warming," said Achim Steiner, director of the UN's environment programme. "It is linked to accelerated losses of glaciers in Asia because soot deposits darken ice, making it more vulnerable to melting."


Wednesday, September 23, 2009


It is all part of a population reduction agenda. This is why they are targeting children and middle aged people.

John Holdren



Vaccine A-The Covert Government Experiment Thats Killing our Soldiers

The Philippine High Court convicted WHO (The World Health Organization) of involuntarily sterilizing over 3 million Philippina women through the use of vaccines.
Delayed effects of neonatal exposure to Tween 80 on female reproductive organs in rats.-

The WHO 5-shot vaccine programs for tetanus in third world countries in South and Central America caused the involuntary sterilization of millions of women.

Monsanto's MON 810 corn causes sterility according to studies published by the Austrian Government.

Gardasil contains substances which may cause sterility in women.

A significant number of virologists and other scientists are on record stating that the Swine Flu was created in a laboratory and could not evolve naturally.

President Obama announced to the public shortly after his inauguration that every man, woman and child should receive the Avian Flu vaccine this fall along with seasonal flu shots this coming Fall. President Obama is on record saying that he believes that vaccinations should be mandatory.

Every recent major event like 9/11, the Madrid bombings or the London bombings has been accompanied by a materially identical training exercise simulating the actual event involving, confusing and distracting the legitimate responders.

Squalene is in the vaccination!

Great Danger Lurking In Flu Shots Health Risks Far Outweigh Benefits!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Let's Make a Deal: Beltway Edition

by: Michael Winship
T r u t h o u t Perspective
September 19, 2009

During the first half of 2009 lobbies for oil and natural gas sent $82.1 million on Capitol Hill.

If you ever needed proof that Washington is governed by the Golden Rule - the one that says, he who has the gold, rules - you only have to look at the wagonloads of cash being dumped by big business into crushing President Obama's domestic agenda.

Good gosh, how the money rolls in. And I'm not only talking about the millions bankrolling the gang war over health care reform. A couple of weeks ago, The Washington Post reported that the energy lobby is barnstorming around the country holding rallies and concerts, giving away free lunches and t-shirts, spreading the wealth like a drunken oil tycoon - all to defeat the cap-and-trade climate bill that squeaked through the House and now awaits a vote by the Senate.

The paper noted, that in the first half of the year, oil and natural gas groups spent $82.1 million lobbying Capitol Hill - but that environmental, health and clean-energy interests scraped together less than a quarter of that amount, $18.7 million. Money talks, and it's murmuring in your ear, "Global warming, what global warming?"

Those energy lobby high rollers in denial aren't the only ones who know how to throw a party.

Last month, Public Citizen, the consumer advocacy group that was founded by Ralph Nader, released an investigation of the ten banks receiving the most Federal bailout money plus five trade associations fighting government attempts to more closely regulate consumer banking.

In the period between Election Day last November and the end of June, the groups scheduled 70 fundraisers for members of Congress. Along the way, they made $6 million in federal campaign contributions.

Thirty-five of those 70 wingdings - half! - were thrown by the US Chamber of Commerce and its lobbyists. And a third of the money contributed to candidates came from the American Banking Association and affiliated lobbyists. Both organizations are fighting hard to keep the government from clamping down on the financial industry. In fact, the Chamber of Commerce is planning on spending a hundred million bucks to keep the noses of federal snoops out of their business.

It's not hard to figure out why they're so eager to grease palms and throw the regulatory bloodhounds off the scent. On August 31, Bloomberg News reported that Wall Street is getting ready for a major battle to prevent tighter government control of the nearly $600 trillion over-the-counter derivatives market.

According to Bloomberg, "Five U.S. commercial banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Bank of America Corp., are on track to earn more than $35 billion this year trading unregulated derivatives contracts. At stake is how much of that business they and other dealers will be able to keep."

Astonishing to think about when you recall that just a year ago irresponsible derivatives trading was one of the reasons we were being sucked into the vortex of economic catastrophe.

Equally astonishing to see the extravagant salaries banking executives are still raking in even while their foolish financial strategies made more and more of us eligible for the breadlines.

Recently, the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive think tank, issued their annual executive compensation survey. This year's is titled "America's Bailout Barons."

The institute took a look at paychecks for the top five executives at 20 financial companies - the ones that took the biggest helpings from the taxpayer-funded bailout buffet. From 2006 through 2008, they received an average of $32 million apiece - compensation packages that totaled $3.2 billion.

Just as a reality check, one hundred US workers making the annual average wage would have to work for more than a thousand years to make the money those hundred execs made in three.

Despite the financial crisis that nearly sank us a year ago, the front page of the September 12 New York Times reports that, "Backstopped by huge federal guarantees, the biggest banks have restructured only around the edges. Employment in the industry has fallen just 8 percent since last September. Only a handful of big hedge funds have closed. Pay is already returning to precrash levels, topped by the 30,000 employees of Goldman Sachs, who are on track to earn an average of $700,000 this year. Nor are major pay cuts likely, according to a report last week from J.P. Morgan Securities. Executives at most big banks have kept their jobs."

If nothing is changed, MIT's Simon Johnson, former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, told the Times the banks "will run up big risks, they will fail again, they will hit us for a big check."

And look at this: While those executives are dancing with your dollars, the foreclosures they helped to bring on continue to rise.

According to Moody's, nearly 1.8 million American mortgage holders will lose their homes this year - up from 1.4 million in 2008. And the Mortgage Bankers Association reports that the lion's share of those foreclosures has shifted from the dreaded subprime mortgages that triggered this crisis to prime loans. That means people who were employed with sufficient income and security to take out a prime mortgage are losing their jobs and houses, too.

This jump in foreclosures is spreading nationwide to parts of the country previously not as hard hit, such places as Illinois, Idaho and Utah. In Oregon, where joblessness jumped to nearly 12 percent in July, foreclosures have skyrocketed 84 percent from a year ago.

So far, government programs intended to ease the hurt have had little effect. The Associated Press reported a month ago that despite a $50 billion mortgage bailout from Washington, only nine percent of the borrowers eligible for relief have seen their home loans modified.

Many of the banks involved have been dragging their feet, enjoying the bailout bucks, but failing to spread them around. Some haven't modified a single mortgage.

No wonder Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, chair of the House Financial Services Committee, and Democratic Senate Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois are reviving the reform proposal that would allow bankruptcy judges to "cramdown" mortgage principal and interest rates to give homeowners some much-needed relief. Durbin said, "Waiting for banks to 'volunteer' to end this foreclosure crisis is a waste of time ... This approach has failed miserably."

Of course, you remember what happened the last time they tried to push "cramdown" through. Last spring, it was rejected by the Senate, 51 to 45. In anticipation of that vote, an exasperated Durbin told an Illinois radio station that, "The banks ... are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill, and they frankly own the place."

Like what they've done with it?


Thursday, September 17, 2009

UN Commission Accuses Israel, Hamas of Gaza War Crimes

by: Cliff Churgin
McClatchy Newspapers
via Truthout
September 15, 2009

Jerusalem - After a six-month investigation, the U.N.'s Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict has concluded there's evidence that Israeli forces and Palestinian militants committed war crimes during Israel's recent military operations in Gaza.

The mission, headed by South African jurist Richard Goldstone, called on the United Nations Security Council to monitor Israeli and Palestinian investigations into these charges and urged that if these aren't taking place in good faith to refer these cases to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.

The 554-page report released Tuesday has detailed investigations into 36 incidents, including some that McClatchy reported previously, such as the shooting of civilians with white flags, the firing of white phosphorus shells and charges that Israeli soldiers used Palestinian men as human shields.

According to the report, these violations weren't aberrations but rather appeared to be "the result of deliberate guidance issued to soldiers."

The commission charged Palestinian groups with indiscriminately firing at southern Israel and causing terror among the civilian population. The mission didn't find evidence of Israeli charges that Palestinian militants deliberately hid among civilians. Israel has released a number of videos purporting to show Hamas militants using civilians for cover.

The commission, charged with investigating allegations of war crimes related to Israel's military operations in Gaza, began its work April 3. The 22-day military operation, which began last Dec. 27, cost the lives of more than 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis.

The four-person mission came under attack almost immediately from Israeli officials, who refused to cooperate. They charged the mission with being one-sided, pointing out that the original mandate authorized an investigation into charges of Israeli war crimes and was altered only by an agreement between Goldstone and the president of the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Special criticism was reserved for commission member Christine Chinkin, a professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science, when it was discovered that she'd signed a letter last January published in The Sunday Times that accused Israel of war crimes.

A constant theme of Israeli soldiers' testimony after the war was that the Israel Defense Forces had made the protection of soldiers' lives its top priority. The report criticizes this approach, saying, "They must avoid taking undue risks with their soldiers' lives but neither can they transfer that risk to civilian men, women and children."

The mission didn't confine itself to investigating the operation. The report also refers to Israel's blockade of Gaza as a "collective punishment" and says "the series of acts that deprive Palestinians in the Gaza Strip of their means of subsistence, employment, housing ... could lead a competent court to find the crime of persecution, a crime against humanity, has been committed."

Mark Regev, a spokesman for the Israeli prime minister's office, reacted harshly to the report: "It was born in sin. Countries with atrocious human rights records sit there and criticize Israel.

It's not just Israel that criticized the Human Rights Council. Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-Moon have criticized its obsession with Israel," referring to the former and current U.N. secretaries general.

Israeli human rights groups have issued a statement calling on the government to "conduct an independent and impartial investigation into the suspicions."

Avi Bell, a professor of Law at Bar Ilan University, took exception to the report, disagreeing with its legal conclusions and pointing out, "They say they are a fact-finding mission. So how are they coming up with all these legal conclusions, especially wrong ones?"

The report is due to be presented to the U.N. Human Rights Council on Sept. 29 and the council will then decide whether to refer it to the Security Council. If it's referred to the Security Council, that council will decide whether to adopt the recommendations.

According to Bell, if charges are referred to the International Criminal Court, the court will have no jurisdiction, since Israel isn't a party to the court. "In order for the International Criminal Court to have jurisdiction, the accused has to be a citizen of a state that accepts the court's jurisdiction," he said.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Unprecedented Levels of Antibiotics Pollute India's Water

Environmental Health News
Sept. 10, 2009

Levels of antibiotics measured in streams, lakes and well water near pharmaceutical factories in India are 100,000 to 1,000,000 times higher than levels measured in waters that receive sewage effluent in the US or China. Much of the world's supply of generic antibiotics is produced in the study area. These levels pose direct risks to human health via contaminated drinking water, and they may also foster conditions for pathogens to develop antibiotic resistance.

What did they do?

Swedish scientists measured antibiotics in surface and groundwater at the true source of these materials – near drug production facilities that supply the majority of the world's generic antibiotics.

The researchers analyzed surface waters – a sream that recieves outflow and two lakes that do not – and well water samples from six villages near Hyderabad, India, for 12 common antibiotics. These included ciproflaxin, enoacin, cetirizine, terbinafine and citalopram.

Samples were also collected from a water treatment plant that receives wastewater from 90 different drug manufacturing facilities.

What did they find?

They found shockingly high concentrations of several antibiotics and other drugs – concentrations 105 to 106 fold higher than previously reported levels from the US.
Drugs contaminated all of the wells tested. Some of the wells are currently used as drinking water sources for local villagers. The compounds ciproflaxin, enoacin, cetirizine, terbinafine and citalopram were detected at less than1 micrograms per liter (ug/L) in several of the wells.

High amounts of four antibiotics were measured in the lakes that do not take in wastewater from the sewage plant. The levels of ciprofloxacin (2.5 mg/L) and cetirizine (20 μg/L) in one of the lakes was higher than previously measured levels in the blood of people taking the medications, report the authors. This suggests there are other unknown sources – perhaps illegal dumping – of wastewater responsible for polluting the lakes.

In addition, effluents from a wastewater treatment had concentrations of ciprofloxin of 14 milligrams per liter (mg/L) and cetirizine as high as 1.2 mg/L. These concentrations are approaching therapeutic doses (concentratios that would kill some microorganisms outright). Concentration reported in the US range in the nanograms per liter (ng/L), which are one million fold less.

What does it mean?

Enormous quantities of antibiotics are released into wastewater from drug factories that manufacture the bulk of the world's pharmaceutical antibiotics. The compounds contaminated nearby surface and ground water, exposing people and aquatic wildlife to the drugs.

These levels of contamination are alarming for two reasons. First, they may adversely affect human health following exposure to contaminated water. The health effects of ongoing exposure to high concentrations of mixtures of pharmaceutical mixtures are largely unknown. This is especially true for a developing fetus, baby or child.

Second, they generate conditions that may foster development of antibiotic resistant strains of pathogens.

The authors conclude that "insufficient wastewater management in one of the world’s largest centers for bulk drug production leads to unprecedented drug contamination of surface, ground, and drinking water." They suggest that improved wastewater treatment could reduce contamination levels.

Report Source
Fick, J, H Söderström, RH Lindberg, C Phan, M Tysklind and DGJ Larsson. Contamination of surface, ground, and drinking water from pharmaceutical production. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry doi: .10.1897/09-073.1.


Friday, September 04, 2009

Why the Wars Roll on: Ban Campaign Money From Outside the District

by: Ralph Lopez
t r u t h o u t Perspective
September 4, 2009

As public opinion tips against the US military presence in Afghanistan, and Congress talks about "doubling down," as the pullout from Iraq is accompanied by steadily increasing violence, and talk turns to slowing or halting the pull-out, the question the anti-war public must ask itself is: What now? War funding for Iraq continues despite two consecutive Democratic majorities elected expressly to stop it. Obama's high-stakes 2008 Super Bowl ad blared "Getting Us Out of Iraq," and it worked. He was elected. But the cold hard fact seems to be emerging that, regardless of public opinion, the wars will roll on.

The occasional heroic Congress member or senator will call for a timetable, an exit plan or a halt to war funding, but despite lots of heat generated in the debate, the war bills seem to pass at the end of the day. This is because incumbents' real constituents are no longer the people who live in the district. The real power, the money which pays for television ad blitzes and the all-important donations to the local Little League, comes from far away.

Very few people know that on average 80 percent of their Congress members' and senators' campaign funds come from outside the district, and largely from outside the state. They come from industries like defense, telecommunications and financial services. What do they get for these contributions, even in cases when the Congress member votes against those contributors' positions on certain bills?

The 1976 US Supreme Court decision, Buckley v. Valeo, which equated money with "free speech," affirmed your right to buy your own congressman. But it did not explicitly affirm your right to buy mine. Since that decision, the amount of money in politics has skyrocketed and is at all-time highs. Also at record-breaking highs are the pay-offs, like bailouts for the auto and financial services industries.

The savings and loan bailout of the nineties, at $200 billion, was chump change compared to the $700 billion TARP slush fund of today, which rewards financial services companies for the subprime mortgage fiasco. In searching for an answer to how the $3 trillion Iraq war can drag on despite three years of Democratic majorities in Congress elected to end it, follow the money.

The citizen's watchdog group has found that congressmen who voted for TARP, the "Troubled Assets Relief Program," received nearly 50 percent more in campaign contributions from the financial services industry (an average of about $149,000) than congressmen who voted no. Legislators who voted for the automobile industry bailout in 2009 received an average of 40 percent more in "contributions" from that industry (the less politic call them "bribes") than those who voted against it.

And House Energy and Commerce Committee members who voted yes on an amendment in 2009 favored by the forest products industry, to allow heavier cutting of trees, received an average of $25,745 from the forestry and paper products industry. This was ten times as much as was received by each member voting no. This pattern repeats itself over and over.

True, contributions don't guarantee a particular legislator will vote your way. But neither will he or she filibuster your bill or go on TV to ask rude questions about impacts to taxpayers or consumers. Arguably, that could be called hush money.

What we have arrived at is a system of industries, defense, financial, telecommunications, health insurance, trail lawyers and the rest, looking to appease those who, as Richard Nixon said, can do something for them, or something to them. Take one example: Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), who chairs the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. This is the final hurdle for war appropriations bills after they pass the House.

No war bill gets to the president's desk until it gets past Inouye, who can stop it cold, send it into perpetual conference committee loops or change it in a dozen ways. As one might guess, money comes pouring in to Inouye from defense contractors from across the country:

Inouye takes in $160,000 from corporations not in his district that have a financial interest in war. Double Medal of Honor winner Gen. Smedley Butler said after World War I, "war is a racket."

How do we change this?

We can call for reform which forbids money from outside the district. If money from PACs or individuals is to be equated with "free-speech," then let it be confined to its rightful boundaries.

There are now "free speech zones" for anti-war protesters, who welcome some public figures into town. So, the idea of geographically restricting some speech in the public interest is well established.

By halting money from outside districts, connections between business interests and committee members will be by coincidence, not forged as unholy alliances, which may conflict with the interests of real constituents. The influence of the defense industry over key committee members and House and Senate leaders will be diluted. The principle of Buckley v. Valeo, that money equals free speech, remains intact. But congressmen will still answer to constituents, the way they are supposed to. Of course, citizens are always free to work their hearts out for whomever they want.

When two-thirds of the nation's wealth is owned by just ten percent of the population, as is the case in the United States, that ten percent has a lot more money to give than the other 90 percent: therefore, the interest of society in limiting the corrupting influence of money across geographical boundaries is clear. found that money travels outward from wealthy zip codes to poorer ones.

If congressmen were not meant to represent geographical constituents, the founders wouldn't have drawn district maps. Campaign finance is now a frenzy of interests shopping for committee members and chairpersons across the country. The industry determines which committees are targeted. The reason incumbents no longer pay attention to constituents who are overwhelmingly against bailouts, or strongly anti-war, is that their real bosses will always give them enough money to bury any challenger in a blizzard of negative TV ads.

Why should Boeing Aircraft (maker of the Apache helicopter,) which doesn't even have a shop or an office in my district, be allowed to give money to my congressman in Boston? (It does.) He shouldn't be worrying about what Boeing thinks. He should be worrying about what I and my neighbors think. Without any extraneous distractions.

If there is one thing congressmen hate, it's being embarrassed and tongue-tied in public. If he or she won't go to the mat to end the wars, or for any other issue important to the district, then ask your representative what's the deal with that contribution from the real estate company in Arizona. Or what have you. If your congressman is using your district's leather seat (it belongs to the district, not to any one person or set of outside interests) in that historic, marble-filled chamber to represent you, vigorously, then there's no problem. If not, further questions are in order.

Ralph Lopez has been published in the Boston Globe, the Baltimore Sun, the Chicago Tribune, and other smaller newspapers. He has a degree in economics and political science from Yale University. He has reported from Afghanistan, and at present lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.