New York Times – A shift in authority has given military officials at the White House a bigger operational role in creating a backup government if the nation’s capital were “decapitated” by a terrorist attack or other calamity, according to current and former officials involved in the decision.
The move, which was made in the closing weeks of the administration of President George W. Bush, came after months of heated internal debate about the balance of power and the role of the military in a time of crisis, participants said. Officials said the Obama administration had left the plan essentially intact.
Under the revamped structure, the White House Military Office, which reports to the office of the White House chief of staff, has assumed a more central role in setting up a temporary “shadow government” in a crisis. Read article
The Washington Post – Pregnant women account for about 6 percent of H1N1 deaths, as well as cases serious enough to require hospitalization, Anthony Fiore, a physician and epidemiologist at the CDC, told the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
Children younger than 6 months do not produce a strong immune response to flu vaccine and are best protected by keeping them away from the virus, which is spread by coughing, sneezing and touching. Physicians, nurses and paramedics are high on the list because of the work they do. [Read article]
The Biochemist – How many times has a mortally ill person wanted to try medication before it undergoes umpteen trials? One question they often ask is “What have I got to lose?”
Well folks, be careful what you wish for – you might get it. Ask yourself what have I got to lose with a swine-flu vaccine? Without one? Will any lives be saved? Who wins?
Associated Press – The Democratic-controlled House went along with Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ plans to kill the over-budget F-22 fighter jet, but has rejected his efforts to cut off several other big ticket items.
Despite objections and veto threats from the White House, a $636 billion Pentagon spending bill passed by a 400-30 vote Thursday contains money for a much-criticized new presidential helicopter fleet, cargo jets that Gates says aren’t needed, and an alternative engine for the next-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter that the Pentagon says is a waste of money.
It also contains $128 billion for Pentagon operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, which would bring the total appropriated by Congress for those wars and other efforts to combat terrorism above $1 trillion. The bill rejects Obama’s $100 million request for the Pentagon to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba. Read article
Daily Tech -Â Apple says terrorists could use iPhones to attack cell phone towers.Â Apple has tried everything to stop iPhone unlockers.Â Bricking iPhones didn’t work — it just generated more headaches and bad PR.Â Apple’s internal protection technology turned out to be just as weak and poorly implemented as itsÂ consumer securityÂ on the iPhone — the hackers quickly overcame the latest protections Apple threw at them.Â Now with its shiny new iPhone 3G S becoming yet the latest handsetÂ to be freed, Apple has turned to none other than the U.S. government for help. Read Article
Guardian – UK’s Atomic Weapons Establishment asks for applicants with experience of games such as Crysis, in which US troops take on North Korea
If you’re the kind of guy who gets his kicks from killing Koreans, atomising aliens and blowing up beautiful islands in pursuit of “total domination”, your country needs you.
The government’s Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) at Aldermaston in Berkshire is advertising for a “virtual reality specialist” to use “serious gaming” to help train nuclear weapons scientists. One of the qualifications required is experience of computer games with good graphics like Crysis, the job advert says. Read article
Associated Press – A U.S. Army adviser to the Iraqi military command in Baghdad argues in an internal memo that the U.S. should “declare victory and go home” next year, 16 months ahead of schedule.
Col. Timothy R. Reese wrote that the years-long American effort to train, equip and advise Iraqi security forces has reached a point of rapidly diminishing returns, and that Iraqi forces already are good enough to defend the government against the weakened terrorist and insurgent forces that remain. Read article
Polemic – A victory? For whom exactly?