Friday, October 29, 2010

TSA to phase in new pat-down procedures at airports nationwide

(CNN) - Airline passengers can expect to see as well as feel new pat-down procedures at U.S. airports over the coming weeks in an effort to provide another layer of security for travelers, the Transportation Security Administration said Thursday.

"Pat-downs are one important tool to help TSA detect hidden and dangerous items such as explosives," according to a TSA statement sent to CNN.

The TSA said passengers should continue to expect "an unpredictable mix of security layers that include explosives trace detection, advanced imaging technology, canine teams, among others."

But it's the hands-on procedures that have at least one traveler concerned that the TSA may be going too far.

(Full story)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Baltimore hands out first trans fat citation

BALTIMORE (WBAL) - The Baltimore City Health Department issued its first environmental citation for repeat violations of the city's trans fat ban.

The Health Department issued Healthy Choice, a food facility in the 400 block of Lexington Street, a $100 fine on Thursday.

(Full story)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Wider role for CIA sought

WASHINGTON (Wall Street Journal) - The U.S. is pushing to expand a secret CIA effort to help Pakistan target militants in their havens near the Afghan border, according to senior officials, as the White House seeks new ways to prod Islamabad into more aggressive action against groups allied with al Qaeda,

The push comes as relations between Washington and Islamabad have soured over U.S. impatience with the slow pace of Pakistani strikes against militants who routinely attack U.S.-led troops in Afghanistan. President Barack Obama has said he will begin to withdraw troops from Afghanistan in July, increasing the urgency to show progress in the nine-year war against the Taliban.

(Full story)

'Government Doesn't Suck' march planned

(Washington Post) - Amid growing dissatisfaction with federal employees, a group of younger, web-savvy feds are planning to march on Saturday in defense of their coworkers on the sidelines of Jon Stewart's "Rally to Restore Sanity."

Organizers of the "Government Doesn't Suck March" (their choice of words, not ours) were inspired in part by last week's Washington Post poll that revealed widespread negative perceptions of federal workers.

"We hear it day in and day out: the government sucks, federal employees are lazy and their positions are redundant," said march organizer Steve Ressler, founder of GovLoop, a social networking Web site for public servants.

"It's time to turn the tables and remind the world that government employees just happen to be people -- people that don't suck," Ressler said in a message sent to The Federal Eye on Sunday announcing the march. Government workers "are a lot of cool cats" who work hard, listen to good music and watch Stewart's "The Daily Show," "but that's all after they've spent a whole day keeping the country running," he said.

(Full story)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Body scanners unveiled at JFK Airport; Homeland Security Sect. Janet Napolitano doesn't volunteer

(NY Daily News) - Airline passengers might want to consider a trip to the gym before heading to the airport now that high-tech body scanners have been unveiled at Kennedy Airport.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano yesterday hailed them as an important breakthrough for airport security and the fight against terrorism.

Yet when it came to testing the devices - which produce chalky, naked X-ray images of passengers - she turned the floor over to some brave volunteers.

(Full story)

In case you're planning on flying this holiday season...

You may want to know which airports are using the full-body porn scanners that store naked images of airline passengers. According to the TSA's own web site, there are 259 such machines located at 58 airports across the U.S.

Airports that currently have imaging technology:
  • Albuquerque International Sunport Airport
  • Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport
  • Boise Airport
  • Boston Logan International Airport
  • Bradley International Airport
  • Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport
  • Buffalo Niagara International Airport
  • Bush Houston Intercontinental Airport
  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport
  • Chicago O'Hare International Airport
  • Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport
  • Cleveland International Airport
  • Corpus Christi International Airport
  • Denver International Airport
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
  • Detroit Metro Airport
  • El Paso International Airport
  • Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
  • Fort Wayne International Airport
  • Fresno Air Terminal
  • Gerald R. Ford Grand Rapids International Airport
  • General Mitchell Milwaukee International Airport
  • Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport
  • Harlingen/Valley International Airport
  • Harrisburg International Airport
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
  • Indianapolis International Airport
  • Jacksonville International Airport
  • Kansas City International Airport
  • Lambert/St. Louis International Airport
  • Laredo International Airport
  • Lihue Airport
  • Los Angeles International Airport
  • Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport
  • Los Angeles International Airport
  • McAllen Miller Airport
  • McCarran International Airport
  • Memphis International Airport
  • Miami International Airport
  • Mineta San José International Airport
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport
  • Nashville International Airport
  • Oakland International Airport
  • Omaha Eppley Airfield Airport
  • Palm Beach International Airport
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
  • Pittsburgh International Airport
  • Port Columbus International Airport
  • Raleigh-Durham International Airport
  • Reno-Tahoe International Airport
  • Richmond International Airport
  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
  • Salt Lake City International Airport
  • San Francisco International Airport
  • San Jose International Airprot
  • Spokane International Airport
  • T. F. Green International Airport
  • Tampa International Airport
  • Tulsa International Airport

Airports receiving imaging technology soon:
  • Chicago Midway International Airport
  • Dulles International Airport
  • Greater Rochester International Airport
  • Honolulu International Airport
  • Houston William P. Hobby Airport
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport
  • La Guardia International Airport
  • Orlando International Airport
  • Philadelphia International Airport
  • Saipan International Airport
  • San Antonio International Airport
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Government-sponsored "family planning"

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Military recruiters told to accept gay applicants

WASHINGTON (AP) - A Pentagon spokeswoman says recruiters have been told that they must accept gay applicants, following a federal court decision striking down the ban on gays serving openly in the military.

Spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said Tuesday that top-level guidance has been issued to recruiting commands informing them that the military's "don't ask, don't tell" rule has been suspended for now. Recruiters also have been told to inform potential recruits that the moratorium could be reversed at any point.

(Full story)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Soldier ordered to delete videos of Fort Hood shooting

(World) - A soldier who recorded the terror of last year's deadly shooting rampage at Fort Hood in Texas using his cell phone was ordered by an officer to delete both videos, a military court heard Friday.

Under cross examination, Pfc. Lance Aviles told an Article 32 hearing that his noncommissioned officer ordered him to destroy the two videos on Nov. 5, the same day Major Nidal Hasan unleashed a volley of bullets inside a processing center at the Texas Army post.

(Full story)

Friday, October 15, 2010

For cops, citizen videos bring increased scrutiny

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (USA Today) - Diop Kamau's home in a leafy, gated community just north of town is not easy to find — for good reason.

For more than two decades, the 52-year-old former Hawthorne, Calif., police officer has made a living embarrassing cops with a video camera.

Stung by the rough treatment of his father during a 1987 traffic stop by another California department, Kamau turned to a second career recording police across the country in compromising — often abusive — encounters with the public.

(Full story)

Former Joint Chiefs chairman: Iraq war 'fiasco' due to Rumsfeld’s 'lies'

(Raw Story) - The US had no reason to invade Iraq in 2003, and only did so because of "a series of lies" told to the American people by the Bush administration, says Gen. Hugh Shelton, who served for four years as the US's top military officer.

Shelton, who was the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1997 to 2001, makes the comment in Without Hesitation: The Odyssey of an American Warrior, a soon-to-be-published memoir reviewed at Foreign Policy by Thomas E. Ricks.

(Full story)

Hell hath no fury like a cop with a bruised ego

A drunk girl trying to get home in Washington, D.C., wanted to board the metro, but a transit cop refused to let her on. She swore at the cop and turned to leave, so, naturally, he had no other choice but to give chase, wrestle her to the ground, pull up her skirt, molest her, and restrain her against her will. You see, she had committed the ultimate crime: she hurt the poor cop's feelings.

What you see in the following video is just what you would expect in a police state. Note how the costumed tax-feeder keeps shouting, "Stop resisting! Stop resisting!" That's what all cops are trained to do. It helps to reinforce the idea that resisting an unlawful arrest is no longer a common law right.

(View Discretion: Some harsh language)


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Judge lets states' healthcare suit go forward

(Reuters) - U.S. states can proceed with a lawsuit seeking to overturn President Barack Obama's landmark healthcare reform law, a Florida judge ruled on Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson had already indicated at a hearing last month that he could not uphold parts of a motion by the Justice Department to dismiss the lawsuit, led by Florida and 19 other states.

(Full story)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Judge orders halt to 'don't ask, don't tell' policy

WASHINGTON (Wall Street Journal) - A federal judge ordered the military to stop enforcing the "don't ask, don't tell" law that has been used to discharge gay service members, putting at least a temporary halt to the 17-year-old policy.

Tuesday's order by U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips in Riverside, Calif., applies across the U.S. and would halt proceedings against service members suspected of violating the policy, which aims to bar openly gay people from the military.

(Full story)

Freer is better

(by John Stossel) - The 2010 Index of Economic Freedom lowers the ranking of the United States to eighth out of 179 nations -- behind Canada! A year ago, it ranked sixth, ahead of Canada.

Don't say it's Barack Obama's fault. Half the data used in the index is from George W. Bush's final six months in office. This is a bipartisan problem.

For the past 16 years, the index has ranked the world's countries on the basis of their economic freedom -- or lack thereof. Ten criteria are used: freedoms related to business, trade, fiscal matters, monetary matters, investment, finance, labor, government spending, property rights and freedom from corruption.

(Full article)

Monday, October 11, 2010

College student discovers FBI tracking device in his car

(The Money Times) - Yasir Afifi, a 20-year-old college student in Santa Clara, California, said in an interview that he was shocked when he accidentally discovered a GPS tracking device placed underneath his car earlier this week.

After posting the image of the device, with the help of a friend, on a user-generated news site, he found that the device belongs to Federal Bureau of Investigation. This could only mean one thing that FBI was tracking him for some reason.

Afifi revealed that two days after finding the device and posting it online to know who it belongs to,the FBI agents showed up at his Santa Clara apartment complex. Agents indirectly hinted that he’s been under surveillance for around three to six months.

(Full story)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Obama reshapes administration for a fresh strategy

(LA Times) - As President Obama remakes his senior staff, he is also shaping a new approach for the second half of his term: to advance his agenda through executive actions he can take on his own, rather than pushing plans through an increasingly hostile Congress.

A flurry of staff departures and promotions is playing out as the White House ends a nearly two-year period of intense legislative activity. Where the original staff was built to give Obama maximum clout in Congress, the new White House team won't need the same leverage with lawmakers.

"It's fair to say that the next phase is going to be less about legislative action than it is about managing the change that we've brought," White House senior advisor David Axelrod said in an interview.

(Full story)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Transportation Secretary weighs ban on all phone use in cars

(Bloomberg) - U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says he believes motorists are distracted by any use of mobile phones while driving, including hands-free calls, as his department begins research that may lead him to push for a ban.

LaHood, whose campaign against texting and making calls while driving has led to restrictions in 30 states, says his concerns extend to vehicle information and entertainment systems such as Ford Motor Co.'s Sync and General Motors Co.'s OnStar.

"I don't want people talking on phones, having them up to their ear or texting while they're driving," LaHood said in an interview this week. "We need a lot better research on other distractions," including Bluetooth-enabled hands-free calls and the in-car systems, he said.

(Full story)

Federal judge upholds key provisions of health care law

(Detroit Free Press) - A federal judge in Detroit today upheld key provisions of President Barack Obama's landmark health reform law.

In a 20-page decision, U.S. District Judge George Steeh refused to issue an injunction to halt preparations for putting federal health reforms into full effect in 2014, a law known as the Affordable Care Act passed by Congress in March. Steeh also dismissed the major points of the suit — requiring Americans to buy health insurance and penalizing those who don’t starting in 2014.

(Full story)

Overestimate fueled California's landmark diesel law

(SF Chronicle) - California grossly miscalculated pollution levels in a scientific analysis used to toughen the state's clean-air standards, and scientists have spent the past several months revising data and planning a significant weakening of the landmark regulation, The Chronicle has found.

The pollution estimate in question was too high - by 340 percent, according to the California Air Resources Board, the state agency charged with researching and adopting air quality standards. The estimate was a key part in the creation of a regulation adopted by the Air Resources Board in 2007, a rule that forces businesses to cut diesel emissions by replacing or making costly upgrades to heavy-duty, diesel-fueled off-road vehicles used in construction and other industries.

(Full story)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

No threat, but counterterror operation targets bus station

ATLANTA, Ga. (WSB TV) - Federal agents launched a counterterrorism operation in Metro Atlanta for the third time in 10 days, inspecting every inch of a downtown Atlanta bus station.

Bomb sniffing dogs and officers from several agencies searched passengers, baggage and vehicles at the Forsyth Street bus station on Wednesday night.

Officials told Channel 2's Eric Philips there is no particular threat sparking the surge in activity, just their desire to ward off any potential attacks.

(Full story)

Man claiming police corruption has home searched

(Lake County Leader) - Outspoken Lake County Sheriff's Office critic Terry Leonard was served a search warrant Thursday afternoon by the very department he has claimed is corrupt.

"It's a bullying tactic," Leonard said Friday afternoon.

The 2 p.m. search of his Polson residence resulted in the seizure of computers, electronic storage devices and printed e-mails, Lake County attorney Mitch Young said.

"It is an ongoing investigation," he said. "I can't go into any specifics at this time."

(Full story)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pot raid at school turns up tomatoes

(The New Mexican) - Police last month raided an Española-area school looking for marijuana growing in a greenhouse, but all they found there were tomatoes.

Patricia Pantano, education director of the Camino de Paz Montessori School and Farm in Cuarteles, between Española and Chimayó on N.M. 76, said the raid occurred Sept. 21 during the lunch hour.

(Full story)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Feds drop charges against supposed OC terrorist

(OC Weekly) - Remember Craig Monteilh? The convicted con artist and OC Weekly cover story subject who claims he helped the FBI foil an OC terrorist cell operating inside local mosques only to be abandoned by the agency after they stopped believing his stories? The guy who first claimed he was a hero for helping the feds fight terror, but whose activities led only to the arrest of an Afghan immigrant named Ahmadullah Sais Niazi, who allegedly lied on his visa application about one of his in-laws being involved with Al Qaeda? The guy who promised that Niazi's arrest was just the tip of the iceberg and that soon the feds would be taking down an entire terrorist cell in Orange County?

Well, surprise, surprise, no big terror plot was ever uncovered.

(Full story)

Firefighters watch as home burns to the ground

OBION COUNTY, Tenn. (WPSD) - Imagine your home catches fire but the local fire department won't respond, then watches it burn. That's exactly what happened to a local family tonight.

A local neighborhood is furious after firefighters watched as an Obion County, Tennessee, home burned to the ground.

The homeowner, Gene Cranick, said he offered to pay whatever it would take for firefighters to put out the flames, but was told it was too late. They wouldn't do anything to stop his house from burning.

(Full story)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Friday, October 1, 2010

U.S. apologizes for '40s syphilis study in Guatemala

WASHINGTON (AP) - American scientists deliberately infected prisoners and patients in a mental hospital in Guatemala with syphilis 60 years ago, a recently unearthed experiment that prompted U.S. officials to apologize Friday and declare outrage over "such reprehensible research."

The discovery dredges up past wrongs in the name of science - like the infamous Tuskegee syphilis study in this country that has long dampened minority participation in medical research - and could complicate ongoing studies overseas that depend on cooperation from some of the world's poorest countries to tackle tough-to-treat diseases.

(Full story)

Bill Gates advocates global depopulation through new vaccines

Bill Gates wants to cut Earth's human population by at least 1 billion. In this video he explains what's needed to do that:

"The world today has 6.8 billion people. That's headed up to about 9 billion. Now if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by perhaps 10 or 15 percent."


Joseph Sobran passes away

One of my favorite columnists, Joseph Sobran, died yesterday from complications due to diabetes. He was only 64.

Mr. Sobran was a brilliant and controversial writer. Reading "How Tyranny Came to America" marked a significant turning point for me politically. He will be missed.