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US eases airport screening for travelers 75-plus

May 26, 2012 by legitgov

US eases airport screening for travelers 75-plus 25 May 2012 The US government is easing the airport screening process for travelers 75 and older, beginning to roll out new rules just in time for the long Memorial Day holiday weekend, an official said Friday. From this weekend the elderly will no longer have to doff shoes, belts and jackets as they pass through security checkpoints at New York's three major airports: John F. Kennedy International, La Guardia, and Newark Liberty. The Transportation Security Administration has said rollout of the new measures to the rest of the country could follow.

U.S. asks judge to undo ruling against military detention law

May 26, 2012 by legitgov

It's the Obusha Friday-Evening-Entering-A-Holiday-Weekend Civil Liberties Bad News Dump: U.S. asks judge to undo ruling against military detention law 25 May 2012 Federal prosecutors on Friday urged a judge to lift her order barring enforcement of part of a new law that permits indefinite military detention [of US citizens]. Manhattan federal court Judge Katherine Forrest this month ruled in favor of activists and reporters who said they feared being detained under a section of the law, signed by President Barack Obama in December. The judge's preliminary injunction bars the government from enforcing section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act's "Homeland Battlefield" provisions. The section authorizes indefinite military detention for those deemed to have "substantially supported" al Qaeda [al-CIAduh], the Taliban or "associated forces."

Did Sabu Burn Assange Through Anonymous-LulzSec?

May 26, 2012 by legitgov

Did Sabu Burn Assange Through Anonymous-LulzSec? Flier sent by publisher with the review book emphasizing the LulzSec and WikiLeaks discussions. (cryptome.org) 25 May 2012 The following passage is from 'We Are Anonymous: Inside the Hacker World of LulzSec, Anonymous, and the Global Cyber Insurgency' by Parmy Olson. 'Also in the IRC channel with Topiary and q was Sabu, now likely with very interested FBI agents monitoring the discussion... It is unclear if Sabu was in reality haunted by the fact that he was now also helping to implicate Assange... Another possibility: the FBI was encouraging Sabu to reach out to Assange to help gather evidence on one of the most notorious offenders of classified government data in recent times. It seems probable that if Sabu had helped, for instance, extradite Assange to the United States, it would have improved his settlement dramatically.'

Legislation may enable states to offer universal healthcare

May 25, 2012 by legitgov

Legislation may enable states to offer universal healthcare 25 May 2012 Legislation quietly being drafted by Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) would create a mechanism for states to request federal funds after establishing their own health insurance programs. If passed into law - admittedly a long shot with Republicans controlling the House of Representatives - McDermott's State-Based Universal Healthcare Act would represent a game changer for medical coverage in the United States. It would, for the first time, create a system under which a Medicare-for-all program could be rolled out on a state-by-state basis. In California's case, it would make coverage available to the roughly 7 million people now lacking health insurance.

U.S. sailor is 3,000th Afghanistan war death

May 25, 2012 by legitgov

U.S. sailor is 3,000th Afghanistan war death 25 May 2012 A U.S. sailor who died last week of medical complications was the 3,000th death among coalition forces in the Afghanistan war, according to CNN's count based on information provided by the U.S. Defense Department and the International Security Assistance Force. Petty Officer 1st Class Ryan J. Wilson, 26, of Shasta, California, died May 20 in Manama, Bahrain, the Defense Department reported in an e-mail sent Friday. Wilson, assigned to U.S. Naval Forces Central Command in Bahrain, was supporting the Afghanistan mission, the e-mail said.

Japan Nuclear Operator Conducts Check on Risky Unit

May 25, 2012 by legitgov

Japan Nuclear Operator Conducts Check on Risky Unit 25 May 2012 The operator of Japan's stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power plant said it took extra steps this week to check the soundness of one of its riskiest reactor buildings, in response to growing public unease over the possibility of further accidents at the facility. The investigation-the first of its kind to take place at Fukushima Daiichi since three reactors spun out of control 14 months ago-also underscores how unclear conditions at the plant remain, and how deep the distrust in Japan's nuclear industry runs. Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Friday that it conducted its first on-the-ground look at the condition of Fukushima Daiichi's Unit 4 reactor building, which houses in a pool of water at its top what is seen as the most hazardous collection of fuel rods in the plant.

Judge strikes down Defense of Marriage Act provision in California employees' case

May 25, 2012 by legitgov

Judge strikes down Defense of Marriage Act provision in California employees' case 25 May 2012 A federal judge ruled Thursday that the state's public-employee pension system must make long-term care insurance equally available to same-sex spouses and partners. U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken said a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, is unconstitutional to the extent that it limits same-sex spouses of state workers in obtaining the insurance. The provision of the 1996 DOMA law defines marriage as "a legal union of a one man and one woman as husband and wife."

Drone Kills 4 in Pakistan Amid Tension With US

May 25, 2012 by legitgov

Drone Kills 4 in Pakistan Amid Tension With US 23 May 2012 A U.S. drone fired two missiles at a compound in northwest Pakistan on Wednesday, killing four 'suspected militants' in an attack that comes as Washington is running out of patience with Islamabad's refusal to reopen supply routes for NATO troops in Afghanistan. U.S. drone strikes have complicated negotiations over the routes, which Pakistan closed six months ago in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers along the Afghan border. Pakistan's parliament demanded the strikes stop in the wake of the attack, but the U.S. has refused.

Hunt for non-citizen Florida voters exposes partisan divide

May 25, 2012 by legitgov

Hunt for non-citizen Florida voters exposes partisan divide 23 May 2012 Hispanic, Democratic and independent-minded voters are the most likely to be targeted in a state hunt to remove thousands of noncitizens from Florida's voting rolls, a Miami Herald computer analysis of elections records has found. Whites and Republicans are disproportionately the least-likely to face the threat of removal, the analysis of a list of more than 2,600 potential noncitizens shows. The list was first compiled by the state and furnished to county election supervisors and then The Herald.

Senate panel backs $631 billion in defense spending

May 25, 2012 by legitgov

Senate panel backs $631 billion in defense spending 24 May 2012 A Senate panel voted on Thursday to authorize $631.4 billion in defense spending for the 2013 fiscal year, blocking plans to cut the Air Force and ordering offsetting reductions in Pentagon civilian personnel to stay within the president's budget limits. The Senate Armed Services Committee approved a defense policy bill that would authorize a base Pentagon budget of $525.8 billion along with $88.2 billion for the Afghanistan war and other overseas operations. The panel also authorized $17.3 billion for Energy Department nuclear weapons programs.

GI seeks dismissal of 10 counts in WikiLeaks case

May 25, 2012 by legitgov

GI seeks dismissal of 10 counts in WikiLeaks case 24 May 2012 An Army private charged in the biggest leak of government secrets in U.S. history is seeking dismissal of 10 of the 22 counts he faces, contending they are either unconstitutionally vague or fail to state a prosecutable offense. Pfc. Bradley Manning's civilian defense attorney, David Coombs, posted the documents late Wednesday on his website. A military judge will consider the motions at a pre-trial hearing June 6-8 at Fort Meade near Baltimore. Manning, a 24-year-old Crescent, Okla., native, faces the possibility of life in prison if convicted of the most serious charge, aiding the enemy.

7 hurt fighting fire on nuclear submarine; cause of blaze unknown

May 25, 2012 by legitgov

7 hurt fighting fire on nuclear submarine; cause of blaze unknown 24 May 2012 Seven people were injured while fighting a blaze aboard a nuclear-powered submarine being overhauled at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Maine, Navy officials said Thursday. The fire aboard the USS Miami SSN 755 began at 5:41 p.m. Wednesday and was declared out at 6:45 a.m. Thursday, a base spokeswoman said by telephone. The cause of the fire is under investigation, she said. The reactor was unaffected by the fire and has been shut down for months.

NORAD, Northcom launch joint cyber division

May 25, 2012 by legitgov

NORAD, Northcom launch joint cyber division 22 May 2012 A new cyber division, jointly managed by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command's (Northcom) Operations Division, is up and running after approval by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta earlier this month. The U.S. Northern Command Joint Cyber Center (JCC) has three main missions: improving cyber domain situational awareness, improving the defense of the commands' networks, and providing cyber consequence response and recovery support to civil authorities upon request, according to an announcement from the joint center. [Anonymous, get busy.]

Bradley Manning military trial: group petitions for a more open court

May 25, 2012 by legitgov

Bradley Manning military trial: group petitions for a more open court --Coalition says WikiLeaks suspect's trial is being conducted amid far more secrecy than the alleged 9/11 plotters in Guantanamo 24 May 2012 The military trial of the WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning is being conducted amid far more secrecy than even the prosecution of the alleged 9/11 plotters in Guantanamo, a coalition of lawyers and media outlets protest. Led by the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, the coalition has petitioned the Army court of criminal appeals calling for the court-martial against Manning to be opened up to the press and public. The group complains that the way the trial is being handled by the trial judge Colonel Denise Lind is a violation of the First Amendment of the constitution that requires public access unless the government can specifically demonstrate the need for secrecy.

Lemurs just as excited over yesterday's eclipse

May 25, 2012 by legitgov

Lemurs just as excited over yesterday's eclipse 22 May 2012 By now you've already dozens of pictures of yesterday's annular eclipse and read all about how everyone in Japan had their eyes to skies at 7:30 in the morning. But it wasn't just humans who were excited over the event that only occurs once in more than one hundred years. While those of us here in Nagoya didn't get to see much other than a typical gray, overcast morning, the ring-tailed lemurs at the Japan Monkey Center here in Aichi prefecture enjoyed the eclipse to a fuller extent. A zoo official stated in the afternoon that the group of around 20 lemurs went into a frenzy during the eclipse as they believed it was nighttime.

Food Fight: Contractor Accused of $750 Million Overcharge for Wartime Grub

May 25, 2012 by legitgov

Food Fight: Contractor Accused of $750 Million Overcharge for Wartime Grub 24 May 2012 In 2008, the Pentagon began investigating whether the main supplier of food to troops in Afghanistan overcharged taxpayers. Since then, there have been audits, recriminations and the discovery that the supplier may have overbilled the military as much as $756.9 million... The congressmen want documents and information within 10 days from both the Pentagon's Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and the Switzerland-based company, Supreme Foodservice GmbH. This might be difficult, because the Pentagon has alleged Supreme Foodservice - which has been paid $5.5 billion since 2005 [under unelected dictator, George W. Sociopath - so forget about Faux News ever mentioning it] to supply food to more than 250 bases and outposts - did not maintain invoices and truck manifests while transporting food, water and other materiel; nor did the company provide data to investigators on fuel costs, price estimates and even correct flight plans. [Oh. I thought there was a deficit and we have to cut 'entitlements?' Start reading.]

6.1 earthquake strikes northeastern Japan

May 25, 2012 by legitgov

HAARP is a busy little bee! 6.1 earthquake strikes northeastern Japan 24 May 2012 An earthquake with a 6.1 magnitude rating on the Richter scale occurred in northeastern Japan late Wednesday. Local news is saying that Aomori Prefecture felt most of the trembler effects. The U.S. Geological Survey reports that the 6.1 quake originated from roughly 107 kilometers (66 miles) northeast of Hachinoche, on the island of Honshu, and 119 kilometers (74 miles) southeast of Hakodate, on Hokkaido. Currently, there are no reports of serious damage or injuries in the area, and all nearby nuclear power plants have reported no impairment or irregularities. On March 11th, 2011, Japan's northeastern Tohoku region was destroyed by an earthquake of magnitude 9.0, and the resulting tsunami.

Hillary Clinton confirms US cyber attack on Yemeni websites

May 25, 2012 by legitgov

Hillary Clinton confirms US cyber attack on Yemeni websites --US Centre for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications experts patrol the internet and social media. 25 May 2012 US cyber experts hacked Yemeni websites, replacing al-Qa'ida al-CIAduh propaganda that bragged about killing Americans, Hillary Clinton confirmed yesterday. In a rare public admission of the covert cyber war against extremists, the US Secretary of State said cyber experts based at the State Department hacked Yemeni tribal websites. Mrs Clinton said the cyber attack was launched by an interagency group of specialists, including diplomats, special operators and intelligence analysts, housed at the State Department.

Catastrophic nuclear reactor meltdowns like Fukushima could happen every ten to 20 years - scientists

May 25, 2012 by legitgov

Catastrophic nuclear reactor meltdowns like Fukushima could happen every ten to 20 years, scientists warn --German scientists say meltdown could happen 200 times more often than previously calculated --Researchers call for international phasing out of nuclear energy 24 May 2012 Devastating nuclear reactor meltdowns like those at Chernobyl and Fukushima could happen every decade, according to a disturbing new study. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, Germany, fear similar catastrophes could occur around the world every ten to 20 years - 200 times more frequently than previously thought. And they said people in Western Europe have a higher risk than anybody else in the world of being affected by radioactive fallout from such a disaster.

Fukushima's estimated radiation leak doubles versus government

May 24, 2012 by legitgov

Fukushima's estimated radiation leak doubles versus government 24 May 2012 Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant may have released twice as many radioactive particles than Japan's government estimated, the utility said in a report today. The Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant may have emitted about 900,000 terabecquerels of the iodine equivalent of radioactive iodine 131 and cesium 137 into the air at the height of the disaster, the utility known as Tepco said today in a statement. The amount is about 2 times more than the 480,000 terabecquerels estimated in February by the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency or NISA, the utility said.

Memo: Afghan 'Burn Pit' Could Wreck Hearts, Lungs

May 24, 2012 by legitgov

Memo: Afghan 'Burn Pit' Could Wreck Hearts, Lungs 22 May 2012 An 8-year assessment of the air quality at one of the largest military bases in Afghanistan reveals that servicemembers' and civilians' exposure to air contaminants from the "burn pits," used for disposing of trash, could pose long-term respiratory problems, according to an Army memo. "The long term health risk associated with air conditions on BAF... indicates there is a potential that long-term exposure at these levels may increase the risk for developing chronic health conditions such as reduced lung function or exacerbated chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, atherosclerosis, or other cardiopulmonary diseases," reads a portion of the one-page memo, dated April 15, 2011, obtained by Danger Room and posted to its website.

Combat 'Burn Pits' Ruin Immune Systems, Study Shows

May 24, 2012 by legitgov

Combat 'Burn Pits' Ruin Immune Systems, Study Shows 23 May 2012 Since returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan, an untold number of soldiers have come down with puzzling health problems. Chronic bronchitis. Neurological defects. Even cancer. Many of them are pointing the finger at a single culprit: The open-air "burn pits" that incinerated trash - from human waste to computer parts - on military bases overseas. Pentagon officials have consistently reassured personnel that there was no "specific evidence" connecting the two. But now, only days after Danger Room uncovered a memo suggesting that Army officials knew how dangerous the pits were, an animal study is offering up new scientific evidence that links burn pits to depleted immune systems.

Japanese infants face high risk of thyroid cancer following Fukushima disaster

May 24, 2012 by legitgov

Japanese infants face high risk of thyroid cancer following Fukushima disaster 24 May 2012 In the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, infants in one town appear to be at a higher risk of developing thyroid cancer, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday. [Just one?] In a preliminary report, independent experts said that people in two locations in Fukushima prefecture may have received a radiation dose of 10-50 millisieverts (mSv) in the year after the accident at the power station operated by Tepco. Separately on Wednesday, a UN scientific body said that several Tepco-related workers were "irradiated after contamination of their skin," but that no clinically observable health effects had been reported.

Bank profits at highest level since 2007: FDIC

May 24, 2012 by legitgov

Bank profits at highest level since 2007: FDIC [Thanks, Obusha!] 24 May 2012 Bank profits rose in the first quarter of 2012, reaching their highest quarterly levels since the second quarter of 2007, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s quarterly banking report, released Thursday. Bank net income for the first quarter of 2012 was $35.3 billion, up by $6.6 billion from the first quarter of 2011.

China fake parts 'used in US military equipment'

May 24, 2012 by legitgov

China fake parts 'used in US military equipment' 21 May 2012 Vast numbers of counterfeit Chinese electronic parts are being used in US military equipment, a key Senate committee has reported. A year-long probe found 1,800 cases of fake parts in US military aircraft, the Senate Armed Services Committee said. More than 70% of an estimated one million suspect parts were traced back to China, the report said. It highlighted suspect counterfeit parts in SH-60B helicopters used by the Navy, in C-130J and C-27J cargo planes and in the Navy's P-8A Poseidon plane.

Russia tests new missile, in warning over U.S. shield

May 24, 2012 by legitgov

Russia tests new missile, in warning over U.S. shield 23 May 2012 Russia tested a new long-range missile on Wednesday that should improve its ability to penetrate missile defense systems, the military said, in Moscow's latest warning to Washington over deployment of a missile shield in Europe. The Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) was successfully launched from the Plesetsk facility in northwestern Russia and its dummy warhead landed on target on the Kamchatka peninsula on the Pacific coast, the Defense Ministry said. Russia opposes a missile shield the United States and NATO are deploying in Europe, saying it will be able to intercept Russian warheads by about 2018, weakening Moscow's nuclear arsenal and upsetting the post-Cold War balance of power.

9/11 truther leading Egyptian presidential race

May 24, 2012 by legitgov

9/11 truther leading Egyptian presidential race 21 May 2012 An Islamist who believes that the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States were an American conspiracy [which, of course, it was] is the front-runner in Egypt's presidential race, a new poll shows. Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh, formerly a leading figure in the Muslim Brotherhood, led the field of 13 candidates with 32 percent of the vote in a survey released Monday by the Washington-based Brookings Institution. Mr. Abolfotoh expressed his views on the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in an interview last year with Egypt scholar Eric Trager.

Alarm Over Arming of Domestic Drones

May 23, 2012 by legitgov

Alarm Over Arming of Domestic Drones 23 May 2012 With the use of domestic drones increasing, concern has not just come up over privacy issues, but also over the potential use of lethal force by the unmanned aircraft. The Federal Aviation Administration has allowed several police departments to use drones across the U.S. They are controlled from a remote location and use infrared sensors and high-resolution cameras. Chief Deputy Randy McDaniel of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office in Texas told The Daily that his department is considering using rubber bullets and tear gas on its drone. The use of potential force from drones has raised the ire of the American Civil Liberties Union. [Just shoot them down - problem solved!]

Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station shut down

May 23, 2012 by legitgov

Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station shut down --Entergy: Plant will remain shut until investigators figure out what happened 23 May 2012 (MA) Officials say the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth has been shut down after a malfunction in a machine that cools the steam the reactor produces and converts it into water. Neil Sheehan, spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said a condenser at the plant lost its vacuum pressure. He tells The Boston Globe that the condenser operates in a vacuum to maximize efficiency. Officials said the incident happened at about 1:10 p.m. Tuesday, when the plant was operating at about 30 percent capacity.

Iraq acquiring drones from US to guard oil installations

May 23, 2012 by legitgov

Mission accomplished! Iraq acquiring drones from US to guard oil installations 21 May 2012 Iraq is acquiring unmanned surveillance drones from the United States as part of efforts to boost bilateral relations and also to beef up security of its oil installations and energy fuel exports amid growing tensions in the region. The US drones will help to protect the southern oilfield around Basra, which have become vulnerable after the withdrawal of the last American troops, U.S. and Iraqi officials said on Monday. "Iraq's navy has purchased U.S. drones to protect the country's oil platforms in the south, from where most of Iraq's oil is shipped," said an official from the Office of Security Cooperation in Iraq, reported Reuters. [See: Drone Hunting Permit.]

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Arming the Left: Is the time now? By Charles Southwell 21 Oct 2003 As long as we pose no REAL threat to the powers-that-be, to what is shaping up into [is] a dictatorship, we will continue to be ignored. Right now, we are ignored because we present no organized power to fight this onslaught of anti-democratic, totalitarian government that we are up against...

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