Articles from January 2008



Bloggers and Journalists = Homeland security threat?

I-kid-you-freakin’-not, from the AP via WUSA9: Trains, Bloggers Are Threats In Drill:

It’s the government’s idea of a really bad day: Washington’s Metro trains shut down. Seaport computers in New York go dark. Bloggers reveal locations of railcars with hazardous materials. Airport control towers are disrupted in Philadelphia and Chicago. Overseas, a mysterious liquid is found on London’s subway.

And that’s just for starters.

Those incidents were among dozens of detailed, mock disasters confronting officials rapid-fire in the U.S. government’s biggest-ever “Cyber Storm” war game, according to hundreds of pages of heavily censored files obtained by The Associated Press. The Homeland Security Department ran the exercise to test the nation’s hacker defenses, with help from the State Department, Pentagon, Justice Department, CIA, National Security Agency and others.

The laundry list of fictional catastrophes – which include hundreds of people on “No Fly” lists suddenly arriving at airport ticket counters – is significant because it suggests what kind of real-world trouble keeps people in the White House awake at night.

And it shows what idiots are at the Department of Homeland [In]Security.

Imagined villains include hackers, bloggers and even reporters. After mock electronic attacks overwhelmed computers at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, an unspecified “major news network” airing reports about the attackers refused to reveal its sources to the government. Other simulated reporters were duped into spreading “believable but misleading” information that worsened fallout by confusing the public and financial markets, according to the government’s files.

Isn’t this the point when you call Jack Bauer to find the source?

The $3 million, invitation-only war game simulated what the U.S. described as plausible attacks over five days in February 2006 against the technology industry, transportation lines and energy utilities by anti-globalization hackers. The government is organizing another multimillion-dollar war game, Cyber Storm 2, to take place in early March.

So, bloggers and journalists are homeland security threats, now?

Where’s the wargame for the thousands of people coming across our southern border? What about the northern border?

How about the Iraqis illegally entering through the southern border? Illegal border crossing isn’t just for people from Central America anymore.

Wait, I forgot what Director Chertoff of the Department of Homeland [In]Security has previously said: “We’re living in a world in which lettuce and fruit is not being picked because we are enforcing the law.

And, another comment:

Secretary Chertoff: I mean, I understand it’s personally difficult—must be personally difficult sometimes for people to hear discussion on the radio or on television or on blogs which is intemperate, where people are called names. That’s where I do think we step over the line if someone says that you’re a sellout or a traitor if you support the bill. Or sometimes—I mean, I don’t spend a lot of time in the blogosphere but sometimes I see blogs. And, you know, when people write blogs, some of them are well reasoned. But some of them have a lot of capital letters and exclamation points and a lot of language that you tend to hear in an Army barracks and a lot of cursing and attacking of other people’s motives. I don’t think that that’s particularly helpful.

How about a nerve gas attack at a mall? Or a suicide bomber? We still haven’t caught the anthrax mailer!

How about totally incompetent security checks at the airport? How does a 16 year-old get on an airplane with a bag that has rope, handcuffs, and duct tape?

How about our ports? Wait, I forgot, Dubai isn’t running them, so everything is safe there. *snort*

Sci-Fi Nerd Alert: Railgun tested at Dahlgren

From the AP via NBC4: Navy Puts ‘Railgun’ To Test In Va. Trial:

A futuristic weapon getting a trial run by the Navy demonstrated its destructive power at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren.

In the demonstration Thursday, engineers fired the electromagnetic railgun at what they said was a record power level: 10 megajoules.

Current Navy guns generate about 9 megajoules of muzzle energy.

Railguns use electromagnetic energy to launch projectiles long distances — more than 200 nautical miles.

Because the railgun uses electricity and not gunpowder to fire projectiles, it eliminates the possibility of explosions on ships.

The Navy hopes the railgun will eventually replace the standard 5-inch gun on its ships. The weapon isn’t expected to be deployed until at least 2020.

UPDATE #3: From the AP via FOXNews: Navy Tests High-Powered Electromagnetic Railgun:

[A joule is defined as the energy needed to produce one watt of electricity for one second.

The railgun tested Thursday actually has a capacity of 32 megajoules, but the Navy is slowly building up the energy level in a series of tests.

That’s a lot of power, but with a new series of electrically-powered ships coming on line, the Navy figures generating capacity will not be a problem.

According to the Navy, the railgun, when fully developed, will be able to launch solid projectiles at Mach 5, or about 3,700 mph.]

(H/t: Ace of Spades HQ) (one of the funniest blogs out there) for the FOXNews story.

UPDATE: Some video from Future Weapons (April 9, 2007) off of the Discovery Channel:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OqlTXwLG40]

UPDATE #2: Some extended unclassified test footage from NSWC Dahlgren:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y54aLcC3G74]

“Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead!”

Well, almost, from the AP via NBC4: Va. Senate Passes Fees Repeal, Resolves Rebate Flap:

The Virginia Senate passed a bill to repeal high fees on bad drivers after ending an impasse over how to rebate fees already assessed and collected.

Wednesday’s 39-0 vote came after Republican Sen. Kenneth Stolle and Democrats agreed to allow those ordered to pay the fines to petition courts to vacate the order.

Once the order is set aside, the state will reimburse the amount paid.

Stolle’s amendment also prevents the Department of Motor Vehicles from withholding driving privileges for failure to pay any fees not yet collected.

Partisan wrangling over how to refund the fees had held up the legislation since last week.

The bill now heads to the House of Delegates.

Here’s a way to fix Virginia’s budget problems…

From the AP via WTOP: Lawmaker Proposes Hefty Tax on Bongs:

Bongs and water pipes are billed as tobacco accessories – but one Maryland lawmaker says everyone knows they’re used to smoke illegal drugs and should be heavily taxed.

Democratic Sen. Anthony Muse of Prince George’s County proposed a bill Wednesday to add a $20 tax to tobacco paraphernalia.

Muse says the tobacco accessories are now subject only to the regular 6 percent state sales tax. He says the $20 tax proposal isn’t intended to raise revenue, but to act as a deterrent for young people who smoke marijuana.

Muse sponsored a new Maryland law that requires people to be at least 18, the legal smoking age, before buying tobacco accessories such as bongs. Muse says he’d like to outlaw bongs because they’re so seldom used to smoke legal products, but he knows such a bill would not pass.

It them video games’ fault! Oh! And rap music!

Don’t forget that devil music which them kids call “rock ‘n’ roll”.

From The [Delmarva] Daily Times: Reality of violence hits Wicomico:

When Dan Dougherty sat down to listen to rap music lyrics for the first time, he was appalled.

“They talked about sex and killing cops,” Dougherty, the Wicomico County Gang Resistance and EXILE director, said Monday night. “Now you turn on the TV and see carnage … Extreme raw violence is making an impact on our young people, and we’re growing an acceptance for it.”

Dougherty spoke — at times shouted with fury — to a packed Delmar Town Hall, where about 40 residents and Wicomico Neighborhood Congress members received a non-sugarcoated view of their county.

There are nearly 500 known gang members in the county who have helped Wicomico earn the second-place ranking in the state for violent crime per capita. Wicomico County only trails Baltimore City. Dougherty blamed violent lyrics and excessive violence on television and especially in video games.

“In Grand Theft Auto, you score points by killing cops, stealing cars and beating prostitutes,” Dougherty said and cited cases in Maryland where kids re-enacted scenes from the game. “In the ’80s and ’90s, you didn’t have video games, you didn’t have the violence in the media, you didn’t have the Internet. It creates a lack of respect for life and makes violence acceptable.”

This moron is supposed to be preventing gang crime when he knows absolutely no history of gang formation or crime in the United States?

Here’s a brief history for this moron:

1969: The street gang the Crips is formed in Los Angeles.

The number one single that year: The Beatle’s “Get Back”.

Highest grossing film: The Love Bug.

In television: The Brady Bunch and Sesame Street premiere.

In video games: Nothing. They didn’t exist yet!

1971: The street gang the Bloods is formed in Los Angeles.

The number one single that year: John Lennon’s “Imagine”.

Highest grossing film: Fiddler on the Roof.

In television: Masterpiece Theatre; Sabrina, the Teenage Witch; and Soul Train premiere.

In video games: The United States Patent and Trademark Office received a patent for “television gaming and training apparatus”.

1978: The Folk Nation (an alliance of already existing gangs) is formed in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

The number one single that year: the Bee Gee’s “Stayin’ Alive”.

Highest grossing film: Superman: The Movie.

In television: Dallas, WKRP in Cincinnati, and Diff’rent Strokes premiere.

In video games: The arcade game Space Wars is released.

This ignoramus should be nowhere near a government office, much less involved in gang prevention.

(H/t: GamePolitics.com)

Edwards is out too.

John Edwards to Quit Presidential Race

No big suprise: Rudy’s out.

Giuliani to Exit Presidential Race Today

Weekly News Media Briefs – Week Ending January 26, 2008

From the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office: Weekly News Media Briefs – Week Ending January 26, 2008:

On January 23, 2008, Deputy C. M. Hall received a report of witness tampering. After investigating, Emonnie O. Crichlow, 20, of Ruther glen was charged with attempting to induce a witness to commit perjury. He was ordered held without bond and a court date of March 7, 2008 was set.

On January 24, 2008, Deputy W. D. Lipscomb responded to a property damage report in Ruther Glen. After investigating, a 13 year old juvenile was charged with shooting into an occupied vehicle and property damage. A 15 year old juvenile was charged with being an accessory after the fact. Both juveniles were released to their parents and court date information was unavailable.

On January 24, 2008, Deputy P. E. Ford responded to a residence in Bowling Green for an altercation. After investigating, Charles W. Clarke, 24, of Richmond was charged with being drunk in public. He was released on his own recognizance and a court date of March 5, 2008 was set.

On January 25, 2008, Deputy P. E. Ford stopped a vehicle for a traffic infraction. After investigating, Thomas L. Martin, 65, of Bowling Green was charged with disorderly conduct and obstruction of justice. He was released on his own recognizance and a court date of February 1, 2008 was set.

On January 25, 2008, Deputy G. J. Hamilton stopped a vehicle for a traffic infraction. After investigating, Terrance S. Mosley, 42, of Ruther Glen was charged with driving on a suspended driver’s license – 3rd offense. He was ordered held on a $2500 bond and an arraignment date of February 1, 2008 was set.

On January 26, 2008, Deputy C. S. Wooldridge responded to Causteau Street in Woodford, for a reported fight. After investigating, Ryan E. Harrie, 29, of Ruther Glen, was charged with malicious wounding, and misdemeanor possession of a scheduled IV controlled substance. Harrie is being held without bond and a February 1, 2008 court date was set.

On January 26, 2008, Deputy S. Mullane was investigating a suspicious vehicle at the Pilot Truck Stop. While conducting his investigation, Dutch the canine unit alerted to another vehicle. Upon further investigation, Charles C. Rowe, 29, of Knoxville, TN was charged with possession of marijuana and possession of a schedule IV drug (Valium). Rowe is being held on a $2500, secure bond pending an arraignment on February 1, 2008.

Caroline man tries, fails to smear Albert Pollard.

From The Free Lance-Star: Pollard should be more experienced than this!:

Pollard should be more experienced than this!

Many of us have noticed that large “Pollard” signs have suddenly appeared around the district.

On closer inspection, it appears that these signs have been recycled from the previous state Senate campaign, with the lower portion cut off.

There is nothing wrong with that. The problem is that in cutting off the bottom, those who posted the signs have also eliminated the mandatory authorization line, which must be part of any political advertising.

In Title 24.2 of the Code of Virginia, Chapter 9.5 includes instructions for including the statement “Paid for by [Name of candidate or campaign committee]” on campaign materials.

Those instructions also state that “any disclosure required by this section shall be displayed in a conspicuous manner.” Under 24.2-955.3 of the code, certain penalties are prescribed for violation of these laws.

These signs have begun to appear throughout the district. Just curious: How can someone with such vast experience in government service have overlooked such a simple requirement?

Jeff Gerau

Caroline

Amazing job there getting it wrong.

From § 24.2-955:

The disclosure requirements of this chapter apply to any sponsor of an advertisement in the print media or on radio or television the cost or value of which constitutes an expenditure or contribution required to be disclosed under Chapter 9.3 (§ 24.2-945 et seq.) except that the disclosure requirements of this chapter do not apply to (i) an individual who makes independent expenditures aggregating less than $1,000 in an election cycle for a candidate or (ii) an individual who incurs expenses only with respect to a referendum.

From § 24.2-955.1:

As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

“Advertisement” means any message appearing in the print media, on television, or on radio that constitutes a contribution or expenditure under Chapter 9.3 (§ 24.2-945 et seq.). “Advertisement” shall not include novelty items authorized by a candidate including, but not limited to, pens, pencils, magnets, and buttons to be attached to wearing apparel.

[…]

“Print media” means billboards, cards, newspapers, newspaper inserts, magazines, printed material disseminated through the mail, pamphlets, fliers, bumper stickers, periodicals, website, electronic mail, and outdoor advertising facilities. If a single print media advertisement consists of multiple pages, folds, or faces, the disclosure requirement of this section applies only to one page, fold, or face.

“Radio” means any radio broadcast station that is subject to the provisions of 47 U.S.C. §§ 315 and 317.

[…]

“Television” means any television broadcast station, cable television system, wireless-cable multipoint distribution system, satellite company, or telephone company transmitting video programming that is subject to the provisions of 47 U.S.C. §§ 315 and 317.

Nowhere does it say that campaign signs (with the exception of billboards) have to have disclaimers on them. You can, of course, put disclaimers on them if you want but you don’t have to.

No local candidate had disclaimer information on their campaign signs on the side of the road in the last general election.

When Robert Wittman was running for reelection for his 99th House of Delegates seat his signs did not have disclaimers either.

After the general election, when Wittman was running for the Republican nomination for the special election for Virginia’s 1st Congressional District and after he won the nomination: he reused the same signs — ones that didn’t have disclaimers on them.

If this is the best that Lee Anne Washington supporters can come up with, she’s really in trouble…

Reason 2,428 to hate elections in Florida

From the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Primary day glitches few but frustrating:

In northern Coral Springs, near the Sawgrass Expressway and Coral Ridge Drive, David Nirenberg arrived to vote as an independent. Nevertheless, he said poll workers insisted he choose a party ballot.

“He said to me, ‘Are you Democrat or Republican?’ I said, ‘Neither, I am independent.’ He said, ‘Well, you have to pick one,”’ Nirenberg said.

In Florida, only those who declare a party are allowed to cast a vote in that party’s presidential primary.

Nirenberg said he tried to explain to the poll worker that he should not vote on a party ballot because of his “no party affiliation” status.

Nirenberg said a second poll worker was called over who agreed that independents should not use party ballots, but said they had received instructions to the contrary.

“He said, ‘Ya know, that is kind of funny, but it was what we were told.’ … I was shocked when they told me that.” Nirenberg said he went ahead and voted for John McCain.

Am I the only one that thinks Florida should be expelled from the Union?

At the very least, Floridians should not be allowed to vote!

At least we get to see where John McCain’s real base of support is…


Warning: Unknown: open(/home/content/36/5675336/tmp/sess_7r6uvhgi0ai22v4r6qcikm5536, O_RDWR) failed: No such file or directory (2) in Unknown on line 0

Warning: Unknown: Failed to write session data (files). Please verify that the current setting of session.save_path is correct () in Unknown on line 0