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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 90906 times)
WingsofCrystal
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« Reply #5505 on: Nov 15th, 2011, 09:17am »

LA Times

Witnesses describe Occupy Wall Street raid in Zuccotti Park

November 15, 2011 | 6:42 am

It took nearly two months for Occupy Wall Street's Lower Manhattan encampment to become as solid a community as one can build in an open-air park surrounded by traffic, people and construction, but it took just hours to make it disappear when police conducted a surprise raid early Tuesday.

By rush hour Tuesday morning, Zuccotti Park looked more like its old self, except for the gleaming concrete still wet from being power-washed and the helmeted police officers hanging out beneath the golden leaves of the trees dotting the plaza. Police said tents, sleeping bags, clothes and other belongings seized during the raid could be retrieved later, but protesters such as Lopi LaRoe, a 47-year-old Brooklyn artist, were skeptical.

LaRoe was one of several former Zuccotti Park occupants standing on the sidewalks, looking bewildered and somewhat distraught at the sudden turn of events. She described watching sanitation crews scoop up mountains of belongings that had turned Occupy Wall Street's base into home for people like herself. She said she had been there since Sept. 22, only going home to feed her cat.

Tents, books from the camp's burgeoning library, bicycles, medical equipment, clothes and kitchen equipment -- all of it went. "I watched the stuff thrown into sanitation trucks and just crushed," LaRoe told a reporter, adding that among the items taken was one of her own works of art. The painting, called "Rise-Up Image," was meant to be the iconic image of Occupy Wall Street, she said.

She seemed doubtful that people would get their belongings back.

As she spoke, some protesters meandered down Broadway, which runs alongside Zuccotti Park. Some pumped their fists into the air. Others carried signs. "We're still winning," read one.

LaRoe said the raid took everyone by surprise and that she got word of it during a meeting being held a few blocks away from Zuccotti Park with other Occupy Wall Street protesters. The meeting had become heated as individuals debated the future of the movement, she said. Some people carried their argument to the streets; that's when they began noticing police -- a lot of police -- in the area, she said, and a car full of activists pulled up and warned them of the raid, which by then was well under way.

Also caught by surprise was 21-year-old Alan Lilienthal, who said he came to New York last week from San Diego with his brother, Itamar, to join the Occupy Wall Street protest and to try to make it as a musician in the big city. He stood on a street corner, his guitar slung over his shoulder, but 19-year-old Itamar was nowhere to be seen. "I can't find my brother," said the clearly weary and worried Lilienthal.

Also in the area were Jethro Black, 38, and Joseph Allen, 21. Both men said they had jumped into a car and sped overnight into New York City from Occupy Philly after hearing that the raid was under way. The men said they had come to be supportive, but by the time they arrived, it was a bit late to do much beyond stand on the park's perimeter and lament the loss of Occupy Wall Street's camp.

By 8:25 a.m., though, some people were back in the park even as police maintained a presence along the perimeter. Nobody moved to evict the handful of activists who bypassed the officers and sat down to enjoy the abnormally warm November day. The National Lawyers Guild, which has provided legal services to Occupy Wall Street, said it had obtained a court order barring the city from keeping campers out of Zuccotti Park, according to the Associated Press.

At a news conference, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he had not yet seen the order but that he did not want to fully reopen the park until the legal issue was clearer.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/nationnow/2011/11/occupy-wall-street-raid-zuccotti-park.html

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« Reply #5506 on: Nov 15th, 2011, 09:22am »

Telegraph

Alien and UFO sightings and famous hoaxes

14 November 2011

In a close encounter of the fridge kind, these images show what appears to be a chilled alien corpse. Marta Yegorovnam claims she kept this body in her freezer for two years in the city of Petrozavodsk, Russia. The evidence of alien life was photographed and released by authorities after she came forward with her story. She reported to the Karelian Academy of Science in Petrozavodsk that two years ago she heard an enormous crashing noise outside her home in the evening. She approached what appeared to be a crash site with flaming wreckage and crumpled metal which she described as 'unbearably hot'. Near the twisted hulk that she claims was a crashed UFO lay the dead body...

photo gallery and explanations (30) after the jump
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/howaboutthat/8891410/Alien-and-UFO-sightings-and-famous-hoaxes.html

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« Reply #5507 on: Nov 15th, 2011, 09:24am »

Reuters

MF Global activity looks "suspicious": CFTC official

Tue Nov 15, 2011 8:57am EST

(Reuters) - A U.S. futures regulator said on Tuesday that activity leading up to the bankruptcy of brokerage MF Global appears to be "either nefarious or illegal."

Bart Chilton, a Democratic commissioner at the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, said on CNBC that he could not comment specifically on the agency's investigation, but that the activity "looks suspicious as heck."

"It's either nefarious or illegal in my personal opinion," he said.

An MF Global representative was not immediately available for comment.

Neither MF Global nor its former head Jon Corzine has been charged with any wrongdoing.

MF Global filed for bankruptcy protection on October 31 after concerns over risky bets on European sovereign debt sped its collapse. The CFTC and other regulators are still searching for roughly $600 million in customer account funds.

When asked about whether customers will get their money back, Chilton said: "It depends on what is there."

(Reporting by Alexandra Alper; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/15/us-mfglobal-chilton-idUSTRE7AE14H20111115

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« Reply #5508 on: Nov 15th, 2011, 09:28am »

Scientific American

Cyberwar Most Likely to Take Place Among Smaller Powers, Experts Say

Small, faraway conflicts could precipitate an attack against the U.S., so cyberdefense could drop the 'fortress' mentality for a focused set of solutions

By Jesse Emspak and SecurityNewsDaily
November 14, 2011

Most Americans who worry about cyberwarfare are concerned that it will be directed against the United States. But the truth is that cyber conflict is far more likely to involve smaller players — and the dangers associated with that possibility are just as real.

That's because war is more common in small, unstable areas: it's where the most conflicts are. The U.S. and other big powers — Russia and China, for instance — have pretty well-established diplomatic channels. Such hotlines are less common, for example, in Central Asia, where many nations trace their modern independence to the early 1990s, or in the Middle East, where a tit-for-tat skirmish between pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian hackers broke out just last weekend.

Jeffrey Hunker, a Pittsburgh-based cybersecurity consultant who worked for the National Security Council under President Bill Clinton as senior director for critical infrastructure, said the problem is compounded by the fact that the appropriate response to a cyberattack hasn't yet been worked out.

Fighting in the fog
"Nobody can quite figure out rules for use of engagement and response," Hunker said. "When is it an act of war? What is the mechanism for deterrence? What is the doctrine for deterrence?"

The ambiguities could create big problems if a small "patriotic" group — such as the Russian-speaking hackers who attacked Estonian websites in 2007 — were to mount a hacking attack that caused real damage, all without the explicit support of a nation-state. Thus far, such attacks haven't provoked a military response.

But they might provoke such a response in the future. Hunker noted that the Pentagon's recently unclassified cyberwar strategy treats cyberattacks, no matter who launches them, as acts of war, and other countries may see them in the same light.

Then there's the problem of governance. Pakistan, for example, has state institutions that are comparatively weak. That leaves room for rogue actors within the system to attack other countries — perhaps India. The Pakistani government might deny involvement, but that doesn't mean India would believe it.

"The scope for someone to do something irrational is expanded," Hunker said.

Jeffrey Carr, chief executive officer of Taia Global, a security consulting firm based in McLean, Va., and an expert who blogs about cyberconflict, expects attacks by non-state actors in the near future.

"I think you'll see more of that in the next few years," Carr said. "You'll see an increase in religious or other fanatical groups that just want to destroy things."

Supplementing physical attacks
Carr said he sees cyberconflict as part of larger wars and struggles. He thinks there isn't any ultimate cyberweapon that would bring down an entire nation's infrastructure. But, he said, there are other kinds of attacks that can work in tandem with "real" military force and shade into espionage.

For example, the Israeli external intelligence agency Mossad reportedly used a Trojan to infect a computer belonging to Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh​, a Hamas military commander. Mossad agents allegedly read his email, figured out his travel schedule and assassinated him in a Dubai hotel room in January 2010.

During the brief war between Russia and Georgia in August 2008, "patriotic" Russian hackers disrupted communications in Georgia, but that was part of a larger pattern of attacks involving real military hardware.

Both Hunker and Carr noted that cyberweapons of any kind are much cheaper than the usual military hardware and level the playing field somewhat. Destructive malware can be downloaded from the Internet, and it is often just a matter of devoting some time and resources to developing it further.

This is something different from the days when small conflicts might be sponsored by larger powers. When the U.S. or China sells crates full of guns, they know that those guns will still be guns — even if they are turned on them by terrorists.

A cyberattack, via malware or other code, might come from anywhere and be modified in a number of ways. And small conflicts are good laboratories for such modifications.

The fact that many countries have access to at least low-level cybercriminal technology means that police actions by powerful nations, such as the NATO intervention in Libya, might provoke a digital response by smaller states.

"Ten years from now ... there's an increased chance that the U.S. or NATO would get hit by something," Hunker said.

It isn't just attacks on infrastructure or a website that can make a group powerful.

"Al-Qaida is as powerful as they are because of cyber," Hunker said, noting that prior to the Internet, a group like al-Qaida might have stayed a small, local terrorist organization.

YouTube has also given al-Qaida and other militant Islamist groups an avenue for propaganda at little cost. That was not lost on the pro-Israel hackers who in 2008 attacked Hamas websites, or the mysterious American hacker known as The Jester, who has been attacking al-Qaida-affiliated recruitment sites.

Carr said that in order to reduce the danger that small, faraway conflicts could precipitate an attack against the U.S., there would have to be a rethinking of national cyberdefense that would scrap the "fortress" mentality in favor of a more focused set of solutions.

For example, the Department of Defense is experimenting with "microgrids" to power military bases — essentially localized power supplies. That would eliminate the possibility that a power grid attack could accomplish much.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=cyberwar-most-likely-to-take-place

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« Reply #5509 on: Nov 15th, 2011, 1:45pm »

on Nov 15th, 2011, 08:23am, Swamprat wrote:
Technology - SCITECH

Google Maps Reveals Strange Patterns in China Desert


Published November 15, 2011
| FoxNews.com

User Image
What's going on in the Gobi Desert?

Conspiracy theorists are having a field day with the latest set of images to be ripped from Google Maps. This time around, they show a series of giant structures in the Gobi Desert, on the Chinese side of the border with Mongolia.

Two different sets appear to show giant grid patterns, one of which theorists claim is a replica of the Washington, D.C., street layout.One shows a spiral pattern (image below). Zoom in on it and you'll see some planes scattered around, inside rings of what look to be military trucks.

The rest are perhaps best left up to your imagination, if only because they are inexplicable: Another giant grid over 18 miles long. Giant metallic squares or holes. Two enormous reflective rectangles.

The UK Telegraph says the sites are scattered around an area 93 miles from the headquarters of China's space program in Jiuquan. It's quickly become known as China's Area 51, mirroring the secret U.S. base where it is claimed UFOs are hoarded.

The book "Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base" exposed some of the reality behind the U.S. base earlier this year. China's strange patterns remain a mystery, however.

Officially, the same areas hosts similar circular arrangement such as the one found in China. They're missile test ranges to record weapon effects, one expert told the Telegraph.

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It's enough to make one say, what the heck?

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/11/15/google-maps-reveals-strange-patterns-in-china-desert/#ixzz1dmdbKy70


Hey Swamp,

Here's a link to the Telegraph article on these strange desert structures:

China: Google Earth spots huge, unidentified structures in Gobi desert

Vast, unidentified, structures have been spotted by satellites in the barren Gobi desert, raising questions about what China might be building in a region it uses for its military, space and nuclear programmes.

By Malcolm Moore, Shanghai
and Thomas Harding, Defence correspondent

1:50PM GMT 14 Nov 2011

In two images, available on Google Earth, reflective rectangles up to a mile long can be seen, a tangle of bright white intersecting lines that are clearly visible from space.

Other pictures show enormous concentric circles radiating on the ground, with three jets parked at their centre.

In one picture from 2007, a mass of orange blocks have been carefully arranged in a circle. In a more recent image, however, the blocks, each one the size of a shipping container, appear to have been scattered as far as three miles from the original site.

Another image shows an array of metallic squares littered with what appears to be the debris of exploded vehicles while another shows an intricate grid that is some 18 miles long.

All of the sites are on the borders of Gansu province and Xinjiang, some less than 100 miles from Jiuquan, the headquarters of China's space programme and the location of its launch pads.

more after the jump
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/8888909/China-Google-Earth-spots-huge-unidentified-structures-in-Gobi-desert.html

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« Reply #5510 on: Nov 15th, 2011, 2:14pm »

The Guardian

Former Navy Seal's book on Bin Laden's death branded 'fabrication'
US special operations command says claims in Chuck Pfarrer's Seal Target Geronimo are 'categorically incorrect'

Associated Press
guardian.co.uk
Tuesday 15 November 2011 14.59 EST

The US special operations command has called a former Navy Seal's book claiming to describe the real version of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden a "fabrication". "It's just not true," spokesman Colonel Tim Nye said. "It's not how it happened."

Filled with conspiracy theories and attacks on the Obama White House, Chuck Pfarrer's Seal Target Geronimo claims the White House issued a fictional and damaging account of the raid that made the Seals looks inept. He says Barack Obama's quick acknowledgement of the raid was a craven political move that rendered much of the intelligence gathered useless. In Pfarrer's account, commandos shot Bin Laden within 90 seconds of arriving at the Pakistan compound where the al-Qaida leader was holed up.

Describing the book as a "fabrication", Nye issued an on-the-record denial on behalf of Admiral Bill McRaven, who was in charge of special forces operations at the time of the raid. Nye said McRaven was concerned that the book, which broke into Amazon's top 20 list in the US last week, would lead Americans to doubt the administration's version of events.

"We have never come forward and gone after an author and said, 'That is a lie'," Nye said. "That tells you how far off the mark we believe this book is."

Nye said Pfarrer had no access to any troops connected with the mission. He said there would be no investigation into whether individual Seals spoke to Pfarrer because his account is so wide of the mark.

"I have truth on my side," Pfarrer said in an interview. "I spoke to the guys on the ground and in the secondary bird," he said, referring to the aircraft carrying a second Seal team that was there to rescue the first if it came under attack inside Pakistan's borders.

Pfarrer insisted the stealth helicopter that the White House said crashed within moments of launching the raid actually crashed later. He said the Seals were able to launch their raid as they had planned it, by landing on top of the building while another team attacked from below.

Pfarrer also said the way the White House described the Seals shooting Bin Laden – that he was unarmed but trying to evade them – amounted to murder. He said his version, which has Bin Laden reaching for a gun, makes the killing legal. Officials involved in the raid say Pfarrer is out of date on the post-9/11 laws of war, which sanction targeting al-Qaida with deadly force.

Pfarrer defended the book as a patriotic way to laud the "heroes of the Bin Laden mission". He said the money he earns will barely cover his medical bills for a long battle with colon cancer.

Pfarrer claims in his book that he is still part of the Seals' fighting network, even intimating that he played a part in preparations for the Bin Laden raid.

"In the weeks and months leading up to Neptune's Spear [the code name for the mission], it was my privilege to help troops and platoons train for submissions and run parallel HVT [high-value target] missions," Pfarrer writes.

"That is categorically incorrect," Nye said. "He was not involved in mission planning, execution or close mission analysis."

Pfarrer responded that he conducted training for the Seal team's parent organisation, the Naval Special Warfare Command, through his defence security company Acme Ballistics. He refused to describe how it was related to the raid, saying the contracts were classified.

Pfarrer has frequently claimed that his accounts come from a top-secret world, and that readers must take his word on faith.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/15/navy-seal-book-bin-laden-chuck-pfarrer

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« Reply #5511 on: Nov 15th, 2011, 6:39pm »

grin





Uploaded by RougeSquadronSWTOR on Sep 5, 2011

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Recruitment video for Star Wars: The Old Republic

http://www.rougesquadron.com

Other stupid videos:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzhDkdOqDb8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1ufGUP13OA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=li1DJaxWw8k
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCVaKiRVT9M
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMX10QS15iQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFJWYNYEUuY

Rouge is intentional (we suck get it?)

Category:
Gaming

~

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« Reply #5512 on: Nov 16th, 2011, 11:39am »

New York Times

November 16, 2011
Eyeing China, U.S. Expands Military Ties to Australia
By JACKIE CALMES

CANBERRA, Australia — President Obama and Prime Minister Julia Gillard of Australia announced plans on Wednesday for the first sustained American military presence in Australia, a relatively small deployment that is still a major symbol of American intentions to use regional alliances to counterbalance a rising China.

“With my visit to the region I am making it clear that the United States is stepping up its commitment to the entire Asia-Pacific region,” Mr. Obama said at a joint news conference with Ms. Gillard soon after his arrival here in Australia’s capital.

Mr. Obama said the basing agreement “allows us to meet the demands of a lot of partners in the region that want to feel that they’re getting the training, they’re getting the exercises, and that we have the presence that’s necessary to maintain the security architecture in the region.”

“But the second message I’m trying to send is that we are here to stay,” Mr. Obama said. “This is a region of huge strategic importance to us.” He added: “Even as we make a whole host of important fiscal decisions back home, this is right up there at the top of my priority list. And we’re going to make sure that we are able to fulfill our leadership role in the Asia Pacific region.”

On his two-day visit, the president will fly north across the continent to Darwin, a frontier town and military outpost across the waters from Indonesia that will be the center of operations for the coming deployment. The first 200 to 250 Marines will arrive next year, with forces rotating in and out and eventually building to 2,500-strong, the two leaders said.

The United States will not build new bases on the continent but instead will use Australian facilities. Mr. Obama said Marines will rotate through for joint training and exercises with Australians and the American Air Force will have increased access to airfields in the nation’s Northern Territory.

“We’re going to be in a position to more effectively strengthen the security of both of our nations and this region,” he said.

Since World War II, the United States has had military bases and much larger forces in Japan and South Korea, in the north Pacific, but the arrangement with Australia will put an American footprint closer to the southern reaches of the South China Sea. The sea, a major commercial route — including for American exports — has been roiled by China’s aggressive claims of control.

Like Australia, China’s neighbors in Southeast Asia have looked to the United States to increase its military presence as a counterweight to Beijing. Mr. Obama has sought to provide that assurance, but the Asia-Pacific allies are well aware of the intense pressure for budget-cutting in Washington, and fear that squeezed military spending and other factors may inhibit Mr. Obama’s ability to follow through.

The United States and other Pacific Rim nations are also negotiating for a free-trade bloc that does not include China, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The tentative trade agreement was a topic over the weekend in Honolulu, where Mr. Obama hosted the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, and it will be discussed again later this week when he becomes the first American president to participate in the East Asia Summit, on Indonesia’s island of Bali.

For China, the week’s developments could suggest both an economic and military encirclement. For the United States and its Pacific Rim allies, they suggest a growing concern over China’s muscle.

But Mr. Obama said, “The notion that we fear China is mistaken. The notion that we are looking to exclude China is mistaken.”

The president said China would be welcomed into the tentative Trans-Pacific Partnership — nine nations, including the United States, agreed in Honolulu to finalize a framework in 2012 — if it is willing to meet the free-trade standards for membership. Such standards would require China to let its currency rise in value, better protect foreign producers’ intellectual property rights and limit or end subsidies to state-owned companies.

Mr. Obama arrived in Australia for his first visit as president after twice cancelling trips due to domestic demands; he recalled at a state dinner that he had visited twice as a boy, when his mother was working in Indonesia on development programs.

This time, as president, Mr. Obama arrived at Parliament House to a 21-gun salute and, once inside, to the enthusiastic greeting of Australians crowding the galleries of the massive marble entrance hall.

The two countries have long been allies and another purpose of Mr. Obama’s visit is to celebrate their alliance’s 60th anniversary. “The United States has no stronger ally,” Mr. Obama said.

Australians fought with the United States in every war of the 20th century, and more recently have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The war in Afghanistan has become increasingly unpopular with most Australians want their troops to come home immediately.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/17/world/asia/obama-and-gillard-expand-us-australia-military-ties.html?_r=1&hp#

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« Reply #5513 on: Nov 16th, 2011, 11:41am »

LA Times

California jails receiving more state prisoners than expected

County sheriff's departments are scrambling to adjust. Some officials predict the situation will lead to the release of some inmates.

By Richard Winton and Andrew Blankstein,
Los Angeles Times
November 16, 2011

The number of state prisoners arriving in county jails under California's controversial prison diversion program is significantly higher than officials had estimated, adding new pressure on sheriff's departments to figure out what to do with thousands of extra inmates.

Prisoners convicted of some nonviolent crimes began serving their time in county jails last month as California complied with a U.S. Supreme Court decision requiring the state to lower its prison population by 30,000.

But the number of state prisoners being transferred has been much higher than officials had predicted, prompting counties to speed up efforts to reopen shuttered jail wings and find other arrangements for some inmates.

Los Angeles County was projected to add about 600 state prisoners by now but has booked more than 900. The tally in Orange County is running more than double what the state had estimated.

Based on the state's initial projections, Orange County officials believed their jail system would reach capacity sometime in 2013, giving them time to find more jail beds. But if the trend continues, the county could reach capacity by May, said Assistant Sheriff Mike James.

In Kern County, the jail system got so full last week that the Sheriff's Department freed 50 parole violators — including thieves — because they had no jail beds for them.

"Instead of 120 inmates, we got 150 inmates extra in October. That adds up over 12 months," said Corrections Chief Kevin Zimmermann of the Kern County Sheriff's Department.

County jails are receiving extra state funding to help house the prisoners, but there are doubts about whether the money will be enough to avoid releasing some inmates. Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said he is considering a plan to release some inmates who are awaiting trial and outfit them with electronic monitors that chronicle their movements.

Other counties are also considering major expansions of house-arrest programs, as well as channeling some nonviolent inmates into mental health and substance abuse programs.

The L.A. County Sheriff's Department has the funding to open only an additional 1,800 beds, but the county is expected to receive 8,000 state prisoners in the next year, according to an internal report by the district attorney's office. That report also said the jails could reach capacity in December. Sheriff's officials said that it's unclear when the jails will be full but that it could occur in 2012.

Some counties, such as Los Angeles, are under court order preventing jail overcrowding. So officials said it's almost a foregone conclusion that some inmates will be released to make way for the state prisoners.

Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens said none of the alternatives are ideal. For example, she said, she's not sure how many inmates can be trusted to serve time wearing GPS-monitored bracelets.

"The question is how many can be put out safely on electronic monitoring? We are not going to have enough money to put everyone in jail. Jail is the most costly alternative," Hutchens said. "In California, the public wants criminals to do their full time, but no one wants to build more county jails and prisons. So something has to give."

State corrections officials said they hadn't expected the plan known as realignment to be a smooth transition because it is such an unprecedented shift. They acknowledged that their estimates have been off but believe the surge will be short-lived.

"We do expect that the overall jail admissions will level out," said Dana Toyama, spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. She added that some estimates have turned out to be correct, including the number of prisoners sent to San Francisco.

State officials and some sheriffs believe the higher-than-projected number of state prisoners being sent to jails has occurred in part because defense attorneys waited until realignment took effect to settle their clients' cases. By doing that, the attorneys were assured that their clients would receive jail time instead of prison time.

"We believe it has occurred because of publicity the realignment received. Defense attorneys delayed a lot of adjudications until after Oct. 1," when the law took effect, said Merced County Sheriff Mark Pazin, president of the California State Sheriffs' Assn. "Those persons who pleaded guilty ended up in the local facilities when under the old course of events they would have gone to prison."

Many county officials say it's just a matter time before some inmates have to be released.

Riverside County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Jerry Gutierrez said his jail is now at 93% capacity and will be full by January. In San Bernardino County, officials are planning to significantly expands their work-release and electronic monitoring programs, certain that the influx of state prisoners will force some releases.

"We just started the biggest system change in the history of California justice," said Nick Warner, legislative director for the State Sheriffs' Assn. "Anyone who predicts with certainty failure or success is premature in that judgment."

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-11-15-jails-20111116,0,2298072.story

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« Reply #5514 on: Nov 16th, 2011, 11:45am »

Wired Danger Room

Vet to Feds: Enough Stonewalling, Give Us Pot for PTSD
By Katie Drummond
November 16, 2011 | 6:30 am
Categories: Military Life

By the time Sgt. Ryan Begin obtained his medical marijuana card last March, he’d already hit rock bottom.

During his second deployment to Iraq in 2004, Sgt. Begin was evacuated to Maryland’s Bethesda Naval Hospital after enduring an IED attack that left him with a stump for a right arm. The years that followed were a haze of prescription drugs, arrests, overdoses and stints in several mental institutions.

“My life went downhill from the moment I came back from Iraq,” Begin, now a 31-year-old veteran, tells Danger Room. “Doctors at Bethesda had me on so much, and on such high doses of everything, that I didn’t even know what was a symptom and what was a side effect.”

At one point, Begin, diagnosed with PTSD shortly after coming home, was taking more than 100 pills a day. So many that he would stuff dozens of bottles into a backpack to lug everywhere he went. Now, he’s cut his dependency on prescriptions to zero. Their replacement? Five joints a day.

“Using marijuana balances me out,” he says. “It takes those peaks and valleys of PTSD and it softens them. It makes my life manageable.”

Begin’s now launched an online petition asking the feds to change their course on marijuana as a treatment for PTSD. In September, the first-ever study proposed to evaluate marijuana as a potential treatment for PTSD was blocked by officials at the National Institutes on Drug Abuse (NIDA). With an estimated 37 percent of this generation’s vets afflicted with PTSD, and a dearth of effective treatment options available, Begin thinks pot deserves, at the very least, a single study.

Over 12,000 people in 40 states have signed his petition so far, most of them in the past three days. And Begin has been inundated with e-mails from vets who are both supportive and curious. “If I come out and admit ‘this works for me,’ they want to know whether it’ll work for them,” he says. “That’s why we need research.”

Dr. Sue Sisley, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, agrees. She’s the researcher behind the proposed study, which would evaluate the impact of various strains of weed, smoked or vaporized for two-month periods, on 50 veterans who’d been diagnosed with PTSD. For two years, Sisley’s collaborated with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), the study’s sponsor and the same group backing ongoing research into ecstasy for PTSD, to pull together documents that’d get the okay from federal agencies.

Earlier this year, FDA officials finally gave her the green light. But unlike any other illicit drug that’s used in medical studies (MDMA or LSD, for example), marijuana can only be accessed from one place: A massive storehouse operated by NIDA. A panel at that agency in September declined Sisley’s proposal, citing her relative inexperience in treating PTSD patients along with “a host of safety issues” they anticipated from allowing patients to smoke up outside a medical facility.

“At this point, I can’t help but think they simply don’t want to move forward,” she tells Danger Room. “Maybe they figure if they stall long enough, we’ll give up and go away.”

But in Begin’s case, as well as that of thousands of troops and vets, significant safety issues already accompanied legal, VA-vetted prescriptions. During his six-year stint on prescription meds doled out by VA doctors, Begin was largely unemployed and in and out of prison for assault charges and probation violations. In 2009, he took 90 Valium and was hospitalized, and subsequently institutionalized. Months later, he did the same thing with Klonopin, an anti-anxiety medication, and had his stomach pumped — before being sent home with a new prescription for the same drug.

“The son that left for Iraq was not the son that came back,” Anna Begin, Ryan’s mother, tells Danger Room. “Let me put it as simply as I can: Every single day, my son was suicidal.”

Last March, Begin saw a civilian doctor and was prescribed medical marijuana for chronic pain, largely caused by the upward of 30 surgeries to the arm and elbow that he’d had since 2004. Not only did the weed relieve Begin’s aches, but it soothed the anxiety, insomnia, rage and instability he associated with PTSD. When his VA doctor refused to offer up more prescriptions while Begin was smoking pot (“He said ‘pills or pot, you can’t have both,’” Begin recalls), he made an easy choice.

“I just didn’t want to be shoved full of pills anymore,” he says of his decision, which now sees Begin smoking four or fives joints a day. “I know this works for me.”

Begin even credits marijuana with his renewed vigor for activism: He’s spent the past 30 days camped out at the Occupy Augusta demonstration in Maine, in part to advocate for the legalization of marijuana and the addition of PTSD to the state’s list of qualifying conditions for medical weed. “There’s absolutely no way I’d be out here, surrounded by people, talking all day, without the marijuana,” he says. “I’d be at home, in bed, instead of out trying to help.”

Begin suspects that marijuana would work for other veterans, and it’s an idea that animal studies, human trials with synthetics and myriad anecdotal reports already reinforce. But with nary a human study to bolster the idea, it’s unlikely that PTSD will qualify patients for marijuana anytime soon. Indeed, the California Medical Association recently became the first major medical group to advocate for pot’s legalization, largely because its medicinal efficacy can only be established “once it is legalized and more research is done.”

Even Begin’s mom would rather see her son on pot than prescriptions.

“When I don’t hear from him for a few hours, I don’t have to wonder if he’s killed himself,” Anna says. “Marijuana saved my son’s life.”

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/11/pot-for-ptsd/

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« Reply #5515 on: Nov 16th, 2011, 11:48am »

Hollywood Reporter

Facebook Hit by Porn Attack
6:35 AM PST 11/16/2011
by Georg Szalai

NEW YORK - Facebook was hit in recent days by what the social network called a "coordinated spam attack" that led to the posting of pornographic and violent images on the pages of some Facebook users, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Some users had taken to blogs and Twitter to complain about porn and other disturbing pictures that appeared in their friend feed.

Facebook, led by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, said that some of its users were tricked into pasting and executing "malicious" code in their browser URL bar, causing them to share the offensive content without knowing it, according to the Journal. The action enables hackers to bypass Web security controls. Facebook also said that it is working on addressing the issue and has built "enforcement mechanisms" to shut down malicious pages and accounts.

"We've put in place back-end measures to reduce the rate of these attacks and will continue to iterate on our defenses to find new ways to protect people," a Facebook spokesman told the Journal.

Chester Wisniewski, senior security adviser at Internet security firm Sophos, told the Journal that the pasting of bad code, known as "cross-side scripting," typically happens due to an enticement, such as a chance to win a free Apple iPhone.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/facebook-hit-by-porn-attack-262310

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« Reply #5516 on: Nov 16th, 2011, 5:47pm »

Vancouver Sun

Benetton's UNHATE campaign
November 16, 2011 3:07 PM


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ROME — Italian clothes company Benetton backed down and pulled a photo montage showing the pope kissing a leading imam from its new global ad campaign on Wednesday after the Vatican issued a stern condemnation.

The company, which is no stranger to controversy over its advertising campaigns, said it was "sorry that the use of the image had so hurt the sensibilities of the faithful."

The statement came shortly after the Vatican expressed "the firmest protest for this absolutely unacceptable use of the image of the Holy Father."

Benetton's poster showed Pope Benedict XVI kissing on the lips Egypt's Ahmed el Tayyeb, imam of the Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo and a leading voice in Sunni Islam.

It launched Wednesday a new global advertising campaign called UNHATE that contained a series of photo montages of political and religious leaders kissing.

The defended the campaign, saying its purpose "was solely to battle the culture of hate in all its forms".

There were other shock pictures showing U.S. President Barack Obama kissing Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao in one picture and Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez in another.

One picture showed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu smooching Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas. In another, French President Nicolas Sarkozy is depicted kissing German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

A picture of Silvio Berlusconi kissing Merkel was pulled at the last minute after the jovial billionaire submitted his resignation last week.

The Vatican strongly criticized the Benedict ad.

"We must express the firmest protest for this absolutely unacceptable use of the image of the Holy Father, manipulated and exploited in a publicity campaign with commercial ends," Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said in a statement.

"This shows a grave lack of respect for the pope, an offence to the feelings of believers, a clear demonstration of how publicity can violate the basic rules of respect for people by attracting attention with provocation," he said.

The Vatican was examining what steps to take "to guarantee a fair defence of respect for the image of the Holy Father", he added.

The posters appeared in Benetton clothing stores across the globe as well as in newspapers, magazines and on Internet websites.

The passionate embrace between the pope and the imam was briefly shown on a banner held up near Rome's landmark Castel Sant'Angelo castle not far from the Vatican.

Benetton deputy chief Alessandro Benetton said earlier in a statement that the ads were "constructive provocation" intended "to give widespread visibility to an ideal notion of tolerance".

Benetton "chooses social issues and actively promotes humanitarian causes that could not otherwise have been communicated on a global scale", he said.

But Luca Borgomeo, head of the Association of Italian Catholic Television Viewers, called for the ad to be removed.

"Is it possible Benetton could not come up with anything better?" he said.

The company, which became famous in the 1990s with a series of shocking ads, said it was also setting up a foundation to promote international tolerance.

"The central theme is the kiss, the most universal symbol of love, between world political and religious leaders," the company said.

One of the iconic Benetton ads — photographed by Oliviero Toscani — was of a young nun in white kissing a priest dressed in a black cassock, and others addressed important social issues such as AIDS and homosexuality.

Relations between the pope and the Al-Azhar imam, one of the leading voices in Sunni Islam, have been very tense particularly after Benedict expressed his solidarity with the victims of an attack on a Coptic church in Alexandria.

The statement was interpreted by Tayyeb as interference and he did not send a delegation to an inter-religious meeting hosted by Benedict last month.

http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Benetton+pulls+Pope+imam+kiss+after+Vatican+protest/5720314/story.html#ixzz1dunFlk00

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http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Gallery+Benetton+UNHATE+campaign/5721668/story.html

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« Reply #5517 on: Nov 16th, 2011, 8:00pm »

Sigh... Let's just say China has a long way to go.....


China school bus crash kills 20

By the CNN Wire Staff
Wed November 16, 2011

Beijing (CNN) -- Eighteen children and two adults died after an overloaded school bus collided with a coal truck Wednesday in northwest China's Gansu province, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The nine-seater minibus was involved in a head-on collision with the truck in Yulinzi township in Zhengning county, in the Qingyang city area, an official from the city's work safety bureau told Xinhua.

The bureau blamed overloading, saying in a statement the bus had 64 people on board at the time. Most of them were children from Yulinzi's Little Doctor Kindergarten, Xinhua said.

Five people, including the bus driver, were reported to have died at the scene Wednesday morning, with the others confirmed dead later.

Another 45 people, most of them children, were injured and are being treated in hospital, Xinhua quotes the bureau as saying.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/11/16/world/asia/china-bus-crash/index.html?hpt=hp_bn4
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« Reply #5518 on: Nov 16th, 2011, 8:14pm »

on Nov 16th, 2011, 8:00pm, Swamprat wrote:
Sigh... Let's just say China has a long way to go.....


China school bus crash kills 20

By the CNN Wire Staff
Wed November 16, 2011

Beijing (CNN) -- Eighteen children and two adults died after an overloaded school bus collided with a coal truck Wednesday in northwest China's Gansu province, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The nine-seater minibus was involved in a head-on collision with the truck in Yulinzi township in Zhengning county, in the Qingyang city area, an official from the city's work safety bureau told Xinhua.

The bureau blamed overloading, saying in a statement the bus had 64 people on board at the time. Most of them were children from Yulinzi's Little Doctor Kindergarten, Xinhua said.

Five people, including the bus driver, were reported to have died at the scene Wednesday morning, with the others confirmed dead later.

Another 45 people, most of them children, were injured and are being treated in hospital, Xinhua quotes the bureau as saying.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/11/16/world/asia/china-bus-crash/index.html?hpt=hp_bn4


Hi Swamprat,
I saw this on the news tonight. Awful!
Crystal
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« Reply #5519 on: Nov 17th, 2011, 12:33pm »

New York Times

November 17, 2011
U.S. to Review Cases Seeking Deportations
By JULIA PRESTON

The Department of Homeland Security will begin a review on Thursday of all deportation cases before the immigration courts and start a nationwide training program for enforcement agents and prosecuting lawyers, with the goal of speeding deportations of convicted criminals and halting those of many illegal immigrants with no criminal record.

The accelerated triage of the court docket — about 300,000 cases — is intended to allow severely overburdened immigration judges to focus on deporting foreigners who committed serious crimes or pose national security risks, Homeland Security officials said. Taken together, the review and the training, which will instruct immigration agents on closing deportations that fall outside the department’s priorities, are designed to bring sweeping changes to the immigration courts and to enforcement strategies of field agents nationwide.

According to a document obtained by The New York Times, Homeland Security officials will issue guidelines on Thursday to begin the training program and the first stages of the court caseload review. Both are efforts to put into practice a policy senior officials had announced in June, to encourage immigration agents to use prosecutorial discretion when deciding whether to pursue a deportation.

The policy, described in a June 17 memorandum by John Morton, the director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, suggested that the Obama administration would scale back deportations of illegal immigrants who were young students, military service members, elderly people or close family of American citizens, among others. While the announcement raised excited expectations in Latino and other immigrant communities, until now the policy has been applied spottily, deepening disillusionment with President Obama in those communities.

The Obama administration has removed high numbers of illegal immigrants, nearly 400,000 in each of the last three years. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Mr. Morton said those numbers would not decrease, but they wanted agents and courts to focus on deporting the worst offenders, including national security risks, criminal convicts and those who repeatedly violate immigration laws. Many immigration offenses, including being present in the United States without legal status, are civil violations; they are not crimes.

Administration officials have flexibility to transform immigration court procedures because those courts are part of the Justice Department in the executive branch, not part of the federal judiciary. Central to the plan is giving more power to immigration agency lawyers — the equivalent of prosecutors in the federal court system — to decide which deportation cases to press.

“We are empowering the attorneys nationally to make them more like federal prosecutors, who decide what cases to bring,” said a senior Homeland Security official, who asked not to be named because the policy has not been formally announced.

In the first stage of the court docket review, which will begin on Thursday, immigration agency lawyers will examine all new cases just arriving in immigration courts nationwide, with an eye to closing cases that are low-priority according to the Morton memorandum, before they advance into the court system.

At the same time, immigrants identified as high priority will see their cases put onto an expedited calendar for judges to order their deportations, Homeland Security officials said.

The goal is to “reduce inefficiencies that delay the removal of criminal aliens and other priority cases by preventing new low priority cases from clogging the immigration court dockets,” the Homeland Security document said. Officials said the first stage was an “initial test run” that would be completed by Jan. 13.

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a research group that analyzes immigration court data, reported in September that the backlog before the nation’s 59 immigration courts was at “a new all-time high.”

In a second stage, to begin Dec. 4, the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department will start six-week pilot projects in the immigration courts in Baltimore and Denver, in which teams of immigration agency lawyers will comb through the current dockets of those courts. They will focus on cases of immigrants who have been arrested for deportation, but who are not being held in detention while their cases proceed.

Immigrants who are deemed to qualify for prosecutorial discretion will have their cases closed, but not dismissed, officials said. That means that agents could re-open the deportations at any time if the immigrants commit a crime or a new immigration violation. Immigrants whose cases are closed will be allowed to remain in the United States, but they will be in legal limbo, without any positive immigration status.

The pilot projects will also end on Jan. 13, and then officials will decide how to expand the program to all immigration courts nationwide early next year.

Also on Thursday, Homeland Security officials will introduce a training program based on scenarios that could arise in enforcement operations, which every Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent must complete by mid-January. The goal is to instruct agents, many of whom have expressed doubts about Mr. Morton’s policy, to apply the prosecutorial discretion criteria.

The approach of deporting some illegal immigrants but not others requires a deep change in the mentality of the agents, who have long operated on the principle that any violation was good cause for deportation.

Republicans in Congress have denounced the new deportations policy, accusing the Obama administration of trying an end-run around Congress by granting de facto amnesty to illegal immigrants. Representative Lamar Smith, a Republican from Texas who is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said the prosecutorial discretion policy had the “specific purpose of overruling or preventing orders of removal for illegal immigrants.”

Administration officials said they would proceed case by case using existing legal authorities, and had no plans to exempt any large group of illegal immigrants from deportation.


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/17/us/deportation-cases-of-illegal-immigrants-to-be-reviewed.html?_r=1&hp

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