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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Venezuelan media crackdown: TV anchors sign off, mouths shut

It is pretty clear now that President Hugo Chavez's self-proclaimed socialist revolution is really one of a socialist dictator not a social democracy...

Boing Boing: A Directory of Wonderful Things:

Sunday, May 27, 2007

"In this video, you can see the strange and sad way that the news program on RCTV shut down this past Friday, after Venezuela's president arbitrarily decided to close it.

Each worker at the TV station, hundreds of people whose jobs depend on this network which has been critical of Chavez, will be unemployed tomorrow.

The station closes Monday May 28th thanks to a political decision through which Chavez seeks to gain total control of the basic freedoms of the country's citizens.

The world needs to know. Only you guys abroad can help us spread the word. Chavez spends hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying around the world with goverments and earning many international support at the expense of our taxes, natural resources, and freedoms.

Many of us are scared, but we are willing to do something about it.

Video link.

And here are videos of demonstrations against chavez closing down this channel, the most popular tv station in Venezuela, one that has been on the airwaves for 53 years: Link 1, Link 2.

Here's a Reuters item about the TV shutdown by Chavez. It will be replaced by a state-run channel "promoting President Hugo Chavez's self-proclaimed socialist revolution in a move widely criticized as a threat to democracy." (posted from Central America / Xeni) "

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

In child-arrest case, the adults are the ones out of control

In child-arrest case, the adults are the ones out of control, Florida police dept. suffering from idiotic police chief

AVON PARK, Fla. - When 6-year-old Desre'e Watson threw a tantrum in her kindergarten class a couple of weeks ago she could not have known that the full force of the law would be brought down on her and that she would be carted off by the police as a felon.

But that's what happened in this small, backward city in central Florida. According to the authorities, there were no other options.

"The student became violent," said Frank Mercurio, the no-nonsense chief of the Avon Park police. "She was yelling, screaming - just being uncontrollable. Defiant."

"But she was 6," I said.

The chief's reply came faster than a speeding bullet: "Do you think this is the first 6-year-old we've arrested?"

The child's tantrum occurred on the morning of March 28 at the Avon Elementary School. According to the police report, "Watson was upset and crying and wailing and would not leave the classroom to let them study, causing a disruption of the normal class activities."

After a few minutes, Desre'e was, in fact, taken to another room. She was "isolated," the chief said. But she would not calm down. She flailed away at the teachers who tried to control her. She pulled one woman's hair. She was kicking.

I asked the chief if anyone had been hurt. "Yes," he said. At least one woman reported "some redness."

After 20 minutes of this "uncontrollable" behavior, the police were called in. At the sight of the two officers, Mercurio said, Desre'e "tried to take flight."

She went under a table. One of the police officers went after her. Each time the officer tried to grab her to drag her out, Desre'e would pull her legs away, the chief said.

Ultimately the child was no match for Avon Park's finest. The cops pulled her from under the table and handcuffed her. The officers were not fooling around. In the eyes of the cops the 6-year-old was a criminal, and in Avon Park she would be treated like any other felon.

There was a problem, though. The handcuffs were not manufactured with kindergarten kids in mind. The chief explained: "You can't handcuff them on their wrists because their wrists are too small, so you have to handcuff them up by their biceps."

As I sat listening to Mercurio in a spotless, air-conditioned conference room at the Avon Park police headquarters, I had the feeling that I had somehow stumbled into the middle of a skit on "Saturday Night Live." The chief seemed like the most reasonable of men, but what was coming out of his mouth was madness.

He handed me a copy of the police report: black female. Six years old. Thin build. Dark complexion.

Desre'e was put in the back of a patrol car and driven to the police station. "Then," said Mercurio, "she was transported to central booking, which is the county jail."

The child was fingerprinted and a mug shot was taken. "Those are the normal procedures for anyone who is arrested," the chief said.

Desre'e was charged with battery on a school official, which is a felony, and two misdemeanors: disruption of a school function and resisting a law enforcement officer. After a brief stay at the county jail, she was released to the custody of her mother.

The arrest of this child, who should have been placed in the care of competent, comforting professionals rather than being hauled off to jail, is part of an outlandish trend of criminalizing very young children that has spread to many school districts and law enforcement agencies across the country.

A highly disproportionate number of those youngsters, like Desre'e, are black. In Baltimore last month, the police arrested, handcuffed and hauled away a 7-year-old black boy for allegedly riding a dirt bike on the sidewalk. The youngster was released and the mayor, Sheila Dixon, apologized for the incident, saying the arrest was inappropriate.

Last spring, a number of civil rights organizations collaborated on a study of disciplinary practices in Florida schools and concluded that many of them, "like many districts in other states, have turned away from traditional education-based disciplinary methods - such as counseling, after-school detention or extra homework assignments - and are looking to the legal system to handle even the most minor transgressions."

Once you adopt the mindset that ordinary childhood misbehavior is criminal behavior, it's easy to start seeing young children as somehow monstrous.

"Believe me when I tell you," said Mercurio, "a 6-year-old can inflict injury to you just as much as any other person."

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Southern California 'Fusion' Anti-Terrorism Intelligence Center

Southern California Opens 'Fusion' Anti-Terrorism Intelligence Center

Thursday, July 27, 2006

To defend Southern California more effectively from terrorist attacks, federal, state and local law enforcement agencies on Thursday launched the area's first "fusion" command center.

The Los Angeles Joint Regional Intelligence Center (JRIC), based in Norwalk, Calif., is designed to provide a common information and intelligence-sharing network for local police and federal agents in seven counties working to infiltrate or expose terrorist operations. It will combine information from the Los Angeles Police Department, FBI and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

"It brought all of our capabilities and expertise together instead of doing it through telephone calls and e-mails," said Los Angeles Police Department Lt. Robert Fox.

"It's really unique that we have so many players coming together," Willie T. Hulon, FBI executive assistant director, said at the center's opening Thursday. "This will be a model for the rest of the country."

Memex is the Virginia-based company that created the search software used by the new L.A. fusion center. It allows the JRIC to gather, collate, track, analyze and disseminate intelligence information in real time, including counterterrorism tips and leads.

"One of the primary things we’ve done with the multi-agency approach is collecting all tips and leads into a single center to provide searching and cross-referencing with other databases within the whole system," Mike Himley, western general manager of Memex, told "Instead of the old manual processes, everything's more automated."

Memex has been in business for 20 years. Scotland Yard has been using its technology for more than a decade, and some other U.S. agencies are also utilizing it. The company hopes to put its software to use in other cities' fusion centers in the future.

"We're enthusiastic to try to share information," Himley said.

The Memex system works to reduce search time by allowing investigators to research and locate an entity by clicking through one unifying intelligence system. Agencies can share leads and are able to conduct more efficient searches when trying to locate or apprehend a suspect.

Without this search capability, Himley said, the investigator may have to make phone calls to various other agencies or sift through mounds of paper documents. A search concerning a suspicious rental truck can be completed in seconds instead of hours, Himley continued.

"The mission here is to look at counter-terrorism operations. [The system] significantly speeds up intel reports, it helps them move faster," he said.

While similar centers exist in other areas around the country, the Los Angeles center is staffed by 62 personnel from more than 15 other agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security. The center will be responsible for a region spanning seven counties which is also home to some 18 million residents. Roughly $6 million has been invested in the operation.

"No place is going to be better prepared to defend against terrorism," Los Angeles police Chief William Bratton said.

In related news, DHS announced on Thursday that analysts from the Office of Intelligence Analysis will work with state and local authorities on fusion centers in New York City, Los Angeles, Reisterstown, Md., and Baton Rouge, La. to help facilitate the fast-flow of information and intelligence on all types of hazards.

"One of the the department's top priorities is to work with state and local authorities and share information that helps to connect the dots on emerging threats," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said in a statement. "There is no more effective way to connect the dots than by having our personnel sitting in a chair next to their local counterparts, providing them with information they need to make timely and informed decisions on how best to protect their community."

Thirty-eight fusion centers can be found around the country. DHS has so far provided $380 million to state and local governments to support the facilities.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Campers at Henry Coe park find human remains

Campers at Henry Coe park find human remains

San Jose Mercury News

Campers at Henry Coe State Park on Monday stumbled across the remains of what appears to be a man who went missing in 2005, Santa Clara County Sheriff's Sgt. Ed Wise said today.

The bones clung to the edge of a steep ravine about an hour-and-a-half hike from the park's entrance. Investigators found a rifle and clothing near the remains, Wise said.

The campers reported their find to park rangers around noon on Monday. Rangers, in turn, called deputies.

While items at the scene lead investigators to believe the remains belong to a man who went missing in 2005, Wise said authorities are waiting for results of DNA tests before identifying the man.

Google Pack Adds Free Security Apps

Ok whats the catch?
The Google Pack version of Symantec's Norton Security Scan is designed to remove all existing viruses, Trojans, and worms found on a user's PC and provide tips on how to improve PC security. Meanwhile, the free Google Pack edition of PC Tools' Spyware Doctor offers on-demand spyware detection and removal as well as real-time protection.

Google on Tuesday made moves to beef up its Google Pack service. The free collection of software applications now includes antivirus, antimalware, and antispyware tools.

Google Pack provides basic virus protection from Symantec's Norton Security Scan, which offers automatic security Relevant Products/Services updates and scheduled scanning. No subscription fee is required. The company also added PC Tools' Spyware Doctor Starter Edition, an antispyware utility that offers scheduled scanning, threat removal, active protection, and automatic updates.

The new additions are in line with Google Pack's aim to make it easier for users to find, install, and update software. A Google Updater keeps the programs up to date.

"It is almost always a benefit to security to have that kind of defense in-depth. Having this sort of free security products through Google is a great benefit for users," said Jen Albornoz Mulligan, an analyst at Forrester Research. "This offering is impressive."

Demonstrated Need

Google is responding to a demonstrated need. According to Symantec's most recent Internet Security Threat Report, home users or "the everyday Internet user" made up the most highly targeted sector, accounting for 93 percent of all targeted attacks.

The Google Pack version of Norton Security Scan is designed to remove all existing viruses, Trojans, and worms found on a user's PC and provide tips on how to improve PC security. Norton Security Scan replaces Norton AntiVirus 2005 Special Edition, which was part of the initial lineup of software when the Google Pack first launched in 2006.

Meanwhile, the free Google Pack edition of PC Tools Spyware Doctor offers on-demand spyware detection and removal as well as real-time protection. Users can choose to upgrade to the full version, which features the File Guard module.

With so many different vendors offering security, some might wonder whether you can install too much of a good thing. Indeed, downloading too many different security applications could slow a PC, Mulligan said, and there is a limited benefit to having multiple services running at the same time. "Symantec and McAfee share a lot of their information and oftentimes scan for the same threats," she added. "But if it doesn't slow your computer down then there's no real downside."

Social-Networking Play?

In a customized social networking-style play, Google also added the Photos Screensaver, which allows users to turn their screen into a digital picture frame of sorts, to display photos from family and friends or images from other photo-sharing sites.

"Now you can turn your computer into a digital picture frame that displays pictures from photo feeds -- continuously updated streams of photos from the Web. Many of your favorite photo-sharing sites support them already, so it's easy to keep in touch with your friends and family this way," Google Product Manager Jesse Savage wrote in the company's official blog.

Google Pack's growing lineup of free products also includes Google Earth, Google Talk, Picasa, Google Desktop, and the Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer. Google also has packed in third-party applications, such as Mozilla's Firefox browser and Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Google Pack Beta is available in 12 languages, runs on Window XP and Vista, and supports Internet Explorer 6.0 and Firefox 1.0 and higher.

Original story Link here at

Thursday, March 8, 2007

The Constant American: FBI Violated Patriot Act Guidelines

The Constant American: FBI Violated Patriot Act Guidelines:

FBI Violated Patriot Act Guidelines

Like that couldn't have been wasn't predicted.

ABC News reports:
The FBI repeatedly failed to follow the strict guidelines of the Patriot Act when its agents took advantage of a new provision allowing the FBI to obtain phone and financial records without a court order, according to a report to be made public Friday by the Justice Department's Inspector General.
The report, in classified and unclassified versions, remains closely held, but Washington officials who have seen it tell ABC News it documents "numerous lapses" and describe it as "scathing" and "not a pretty picture for the FBI."

FBI Director Robert Mueller is scheduled to brief Congress on the report at noon.

The officials say the inspector general found the FBI underreported by at least 20 percent the use of the controversial provision, known as National Security Letters, NSLs, in required disclosures to Congress.

The Patriot Act gave FBI agents the ability to demand telephone, bank, credit card and library records by issuing an administrative letter, bypassing the need to seek a warrant from a federal judge.

Civil liberties groups have long opposed the provision, saying the lack of oversight could lead to the kinds of problems apparently uncovered by the inspector general.

In a report last year, the Justice Department said there were 9,254 NSL requests on 3,501 persons in the calendar year 2005.

Some officials say the actual number is substantially higher.

The inspector general's report reportedly found "systemic" failures in the issuance, tracking and accountability of the controversial NSLs, although a Justice Department official said there was no finding of "willful or criminal misconduct."

FBI officials said they could not comment until the report was made public but said the FBI welcomed the findings because several of the reported problems were unknown to senior management.

"Expect a weekend firestorm," said one Justice Department official.

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Bobonit News Blog - Bob's news blog: The earth is shaking...Two Major pacific rim jolts

Bobonit News Blog - Bob's news blog: The earth is shaking...Two Major pacific rim jolts
: "Thursday, March 08, 2007

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The earth is shaking...Two Major pacific rim jolts

The earth is shaking...Two Major pacific rim jolts and a smaller 4.7 5 second jolt near Bridgeport in the Central Sierra's it was felt across the Central Valley into Modesto, Stockton, Tracy and even Fresno!

Looking at world earthquakes in the last day or so hundreds of moderate earthquakes around the pacific rim including Alaska, Indonesia, Japan, Russia and in
California a whole bunch of Micro Quakes in the San Francisco Bay area and Mammoth Lakes / Long Valley area.

Central California/Sierra Earthquake
A light earthquake occurred at 7:17:32 PM (PST) on Thursday, March 8, 2007.
The magnitude 4.7 event occurred 22 km (14 miles) NNW of Bridgeport, CA.
The hypocentral depth is 10 km ( 6 miles).

Magnitude 4.7 - regional moment magnitude (Mw)
Time Thursday, March 8, 2007 at 7:17:32 PM (PST)
Friday, March 9, 2007 at 3:17:32 (UTC)
Distance from Bridgeport, CA - 22 km (14 miles) NNW (328 degrees)
Wichman, NV - 37 km (23 miles) WSW (246 degrees)
Bodie, CA - 39 km (24 miles) NW (308 degrees)
Hawthorne, NV - 66 km (41 miles) W (261 degrees)
Sacramento, CA - 184 km (114 miles) E (94 degrees)

Map of 4.7 Richter earthquake near Bridgeport California

Map of 4.7 Richter earthquake near Bridgeport California north of Mammoth Lakes and the long Valley.

  • Two Major Pacific rim jolts one Offshore Japan - and apparently early reports of a large quake near Valdivostock which could affect as many 450,000 people in Russia

    6.1 in Russia near Valdivostock - USGS LINK

    Earthquake map Valdivostcok
    Earthquake map Valdivostcok

    Earthquake Details

    Magnitude 6.2
  • Friday, March 9, 2007 at 03:22:42 (UTC)
    = Coordinated Universal Time
  • Friday, March 9, 2007 at 1:22:42 PM
    = local time at epicenter
  • Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
    Location 43.218°N, 133.546°E
    Depth 436.2 km (271.1 miles)
    Distances 65 km (40 miles) NE of Nakhodka, Russia
    130 km (80 miles) E of Vladivostok, Russia
    990 km (620 miles) NNW of TOKYO, Japan
    6525 km (4050 miles) ENE of MOSCOW, Russia
    Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 5.1 km (3.2 miles); depth +/- 7 km (4.3 miles)
    Parameters Nst=197, Nph=197, Dmin=354 km, Rmss=0.78 sec, Gp= 32°,
    M-type=moment magnitude (Mw), Version=8
    Source USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
    Event ID us2007zsai
    • This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.
    No further reports yet potentially could affect 450,000 people.

    Earthquake off the coast of Japan- USGS Link
    Magnitude 6.1 - IZU ISLANDS, JAPAN REGION

    Magnitude 6.1 - IZU ISLANDS, JAPAN REGION

    Magnitude 6.1 - IZU ISLANDS, JAPAN REGION

    Earthquake Details

    Magnitude 6.1
  • Thursday, March 8, 2007 at 05:03:32 (UTC)
    = Coordinated Universal Time
  • Thursday, March 8, 2007 at 2:03:32 PM
    = local time at epicenter
  • Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
    Location 29.918°N, 140.281°E
    Depth 138.6 km (86.1 miles)
    Distances 355 km (220 miles) S of Hachijo-jima, Izu Islands, Japan
    370 km (230 miles) NNW of Chichi-shima, Bonin Islands, Japan
    580 km (360 miles) N of Iwo-jima, Volcano Islands, Japan
    640 km (395 miles) S of TOKYO, Japan
    Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 6.1 km (3.8 miles); depth +/- 14.7 km (9.1 miles)


    The Editor is predicting a large quake along the Pacific Rim possibly in the United States in the next week or so....Checking lost dog reports in your area?

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