Tuesday, November 30, 2010

WikiLeaks founder offered asylum in Ecuador

From the AP:
If WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange needs a home, Ecuador's deputy foreign minister says this Andean nation is happy to provide one. ...

... In contrast to the potential hostility from U.S. allies, leftist-run Ecuador provided Assange with an invitation Monday.

Deputy Foreign Minister Kintto Lucas said in audio posted online by the EcuadorInmediato news site that "we are open to giving him residence in Ecuador, without any kind of trouble and without any kind of conditions."

"We think it would be important not only to converse with him but to listen to him," Lucas added, saying Ecuador wanted to invite Assange to "freely expound" and see what it's like in "friendly countries."

He praised people like Assange "who are constantly investigating and trying to get light out of the dark corners of (state) information"
This isn't sitting too well with the state-worshiping neocon Neanderthals at Free Republic.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Give thanks to TSA agents?

No. Robert Wenzel of EconomicPolicyJournal.com explains what we should give them.

Congressman wants WikiLeaks declared a terrorist organization

WASHINGTON (AP/1010 WINS/WCBS 880) - Hundreds of thousands of State Department documents leaked Sunday revealed a hidden world of backstage international diplomacy, divulging candid comments from world leaders and detailing occasional U.S. pressure tactics aimed at hot spots in Afghanistan, Iran and North Korea.

The classified diplomatic cables released by online whistle-blower WikiLeaks and reported on by news organizations in the United States and Europe provided often unflattering assessments of foreign leaders, ranging from U.S. allies such as Germany and Italy to other nations like Libya, Iran and Afghanistan.

The cables also contained new revelations about long-simmering nuclear trouble spots, detailing U.S., Israeli and Arab world fears of Iran’s growing nuclear program, American concerns about Pakistan's atomic arsenal and U.S. discussions about a united Korean peninsula as a long-term solution to North Korean aggression.

Long Island Rep. Peter King told 1010 WINS the release of the information put "American lives at risk all over the world."

(Full story)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The FBI successfully thwarts its own terrorist plot

by Glenn Greenwald - The FBI is obviously quite pleased with itself over its arrest of a 19-year-old Somali-American, Mohamed Osman Mohamud, who -- with months of encouragement, support and money from the FBI's own undercover agents -- allegedly attempted to detonate a bomb at a crowded Christmas event in Portland, Oregon. Media accounts are almost uniformly trumpeting this event exactly as the FBI describes it. Loyalists of both parties are doing the same, with Democratic Party commentators proclaiming that this proves how great and effective Democrats are at stopping The Evil Terrorists, while right-wing polemicists point to this arrest as yet more proof that those menacing Muslims sure are violent and dangerous.

What's missing from all of these celebrations is an iota of questioning or skepticism. All of the information about this episode -- all of it -- comes exclusively from an FBI affidavit filed in connection with a Criminal Complaint against Mohamud. As shocking and upsetting as this may be to some, FBI claims are sometimes one-sided, unreliable and even untrue, especially when such claims -- as here -- are uncorroborated and unexamined. That's why we have what we call "trials" before assuming guilt or even before believing that we know what happened: because the government doesn't always tell the complete truth, because they often skew reality, because things often look much different once the accused is permitted to present his own facts and subject the government's claims to scrutiny. The FBI affidavit -- as well as whatever its agents are whispering into the ears of reporters -- contains only those facts the FBI chose to include, but omits the ones it chose to exclude. And even the "facts" that are included are merely assertions at this point and thus may not be facts at all.

(Full article)

Perry backs sending U.S. troops into Mexico to quell drug violence

AUSTIN (Dallas Morning News) - Gov. Rick Perry said Thursday he would support sending U.S. troops into Mexico to fight the drug war.

The Republican has long urged beefed-up security on the American side of the violence-plagued border, but he said stronger tactics are needed to defeat the drug cartels.

"You have a situation on the border where American citizens are being killed, and you didn't see that back when George Bush was the governor," Perry said in an interview with MSNBC.

Asked whether the U.S. should consider deploying troops inside Mexico, Perry said the federal government should consider all options "including the military."

(Full story)

A brief observation on terrorism at airports

What terrorist in his right mind would bother trying to sneak a bomb through airport security? If the goal of the terrorist is to simply take out as many people as possible, why not simply detonate a bomb in the middle of a packed airport? The parking ramps, main entrances, ticket counters, and lines leading up to the security checkpoints are all unguarded and unscreened. I have yet to see a single government official or news reporter mention this. Why is that?

The reason is that all of the "security" measures being implemented at our nation's airports have more to do with creating a submissive citizenry than actually keeping people safe. And, of course, the use of porno scanners means loads of cash for Michael Chertoff and his friends.

Willie Nelson charged with pot possession in Texas

SIERRA BLANCA, Texas (AP) - A U.S. Border Patrol spokesman says country singer Willie Nelson was charged with marijuana possession after 6 ounces was found aboard his tour bus in Texas.

Patrol spokesman Bill Brooks says the bus pulled into the Sierra Blanca, Texas, checkpoint about 9 a.m. Friday. Brooks says an officer smelled pot when a door was opened and a search turned up marijuana.

(Full story)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

U.S. seizes sites linked to copyright infringement

(Cnet) - The U.S. government has launched a major crackdown on online copyright infringement, seizing dozens of sites linked to illegal file sharing and counterfeit goods.

Torrent sites that link to illegal copies of music and movie files and sites that sell counterfeit goods were seized this week by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement division of the Department of Homeland Security. Visitors to such sites as Torrent-finder.com, 2009jerseys.com, and Dvdcollects.com found that their usual sites had been replaced by a message that said, "This domain name has been seized by ICE--Homeland Security Investigations, pursuant to a seizure warrant issued by a United States District Court."

(Full story)

Obama halts sermons during soup kitchen meals

(AllGov) - Faith-based organizations that accept federal funding cannot proselytize while providing social programs to the needy, under a new executive order signed by President Barack Obama. The order changes the original initiative, adopted by President George W. Bush in December 2002, which allowed faith-based social programs to receive tax dollars.

President Obama's decree prevents soup kitchens run by churches from conducting sermons while feeding people, for example. The White House expects federal officials to monitor publicly-funded faith-based groups to ensure they comply with the new order.

(Full story)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Libertarians against the regime

by Justin Raimondo - We should all give thanks, this Thanksgiving holiday, for the fact that we are not – yet – living under a dictatorship. Although if you're going through an airport on your way to celebrate the season, you are indeed living in a dictatorship, subject to search and the seizure of your personal effects, as well as being "porno-scanned" and felt up by some TSA Epsilon-Minus Semi-Moron.

No, we aren't yet living under a dictatorship, but I can't say I'm all that optimistic that we won't be come next Thanksgiving. The odds of another terrorist attack are quite good, and our ineffective means of preventing it are just a way of reassuring the public that all is "normal." But we are so far from normalcy, these days, that I despair of our ever returning to that lost world of innocence into which I was born. The America of my youth is gone forever, together with youth itself, and while this latter cannot be prevented, the loss of the former is a reversible tragedy – although it seems much less reversible than ever, sad to say.

That golden age – we didn't know it was golden at the time, of course – was an America in which the idea of being searched before getting on a plane was incomprehensible, impossible, the product of someone's dystopian imagination: today it is a reality. It was an America in which the idea that the government could read our communications, spy on our lawful activities, and declare anyone – even an American citizen – an "enemy combatant," and hold them indefinitely or even kill them, was utterly inconceivable, a paranoid's fever dream: today it is all too real.

(Full article)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

TSA: Some gov't officials to skip airport security

WASHINGTON (AP) - Cabinet secretaries, top congressional leaders and an exclusive group of senior U.S. officials are exempt from toughened new airport screening procedures when they fly commercially with government-approved federal security details.

Aviation security officials would not name those who can skip the controversial screening, but other officials said those VIPs range from top officials like Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and FBI Director Robert Mueller to congressional leaders like incoming House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who avoided security before a recent flight from Washington's Reagan National Airport.

(Full story)

You know you've been at war for too long...

...when your enemies have no idea why you're trying to kill them:
Few Afghans in Helmand and Kandahar provinces, Taliban strongholds where fighting remains fiercest, know why foreign troops are in Afghanistan, says the "Afghanistan Transition: Missing Variables" report to be released later on Friday.

The report by The International Council on Security and Development (ICOS) policy think-tank showed 92 percent of 1,000 Afghan men surveyed in Helmand and Kandahar know nothing of the hijacked airliner attacks on U.S. targets in 2001.

"The lack of awareness of why we are there contributes to the high levels of negativity toward the NATO military operations and made the job of the Taliban easier," ICOS President Norine MacDonald told Reuters from Washington.

"We need to explain to the Afghan people why we are here, and both convince them and show them that their future is better with us than the Taliban," MacDonald said.
And yet we Americans still can't figure out why so many people hate us.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Small cheesemaker defies FDA

(NY Times) - To her devotees, Ms. Estrella is a homespun diva of local food. With her husband and six adopted children from Liberia, she makes tasty artisan cheeses from the milk of her 36 cows and 40 goats and sells it at farmers' markets.

Some even winds up on tables at fancy restaurants in Manhattan and Los Angeles.

But to the federal government, Ms. Estrella is a defiant businesswoman unable to keep dangerous bacteria out of her products. Last month, the Food and Drug Administration moved to shut down her business, Estrella Family Creamery, after tests found listeria in some of her cheese and she refused to agree to a broad recall of her products.

(Full story)

TSA crybabies

TSA agents have run crying to their union because of the "abuse" they have suffered from passengers unhappy with the new sexual harassment policy in place at U.S. airports. The American Federation of Government Employees, the union representing TSA workers, published the following in a recent press release:
"AFGE agrees that strong security measures need to be in place and evolve as threats come anew, but the general public needs to know what the security procedures are and what their rights are as citizens," AFGE National President John Gage added. "TSA must do a better job explaining these measures to the flying public. This absence of information has resulted in a backlash against the character and professionalism of TSOs based on a few widely reported but largely ill-founded claims repeated over and over again by the media."

AFGE further called on TSA to provide an educational pamphlet to each passenger on the new procedures and what the passenger rights are.

"Like all Americans, TSOs deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. These men and women are the first line of defense against those who seek to harm this country," Gage said. "It is unacceptable for any passenger to verbally or physically assault any security officers, and TSA must act now — before the Thanksgiving rush — to ensure that TSOs are not being left to fend for themselves."
So, the perverts feeling up men, women, and children in public deserve "dignity and respect," and they are the "first line of defense" against terrorism? How anyone can take the TSA seriously is beyond me.

The right to travel pre-dates the TSA

Writes Michael S. Rozeff on the LewRockwell.com blog:
According to a UCLA Law Review source dating from 1975 and written by Stewart Abercrombie Baker, Magna Carta (ch. 42, 1215) "guaranteed free passage into and out of the realm." "Blackstone's Commentaries proclaims a right to travel which includes 'the power of loco-motion, of changing situation, or removing one's person to whatsoever place one's own inclination may direct; without imprisonment or restraint, unless by due process of law.'" (volume 1, *134). "The right to travel was declared ‘natural and inherent' by the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776″ (ch. 1, para. XV (1776)). Article IV of the Articles of Confederation protected "free ingress and regress to and from any other State…" The Constitution dropped that language and instead incorporated the right to travel under the privileges and immunities clause of article IV, section 2. "The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States." Baker writes: "The change was made not to disparage the right to travel, but because specific protection for the right would be redundant. Free travel was considered to be a necessary corollary to the 'more perfect Union' which the Constitution created." The Supreme Court has recognized this right in numerous cases.

I do not claim that the right to travel as interpreted by a Supreme Court of 2010 would allow the traveler unimpeded travel or prevent placing such a burden on the traveler that it would effectively foreclose travel by air. The Court would probably back the TSA and provide some sort of balancing test. I assert that such a test would be unconstitutional and would destroy the right to travel. I assert that the TSA's search procedures place a burden on the right to travel that destroys that right for millions of protesting Americans.
The TSA and other government agencies, however, are quick to remind us that traveling is merely a privilege.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Air Force launches massive, secret satellite

(CBS) - A powerful Delta 4 rocket roared to life and climbed away from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Sunday evening on a high-priority mission to boost a National Reconnaissance Office spy satellite into orbit.

The payload is believed to be an electronic eavesdropping satellite with a huge collecting antenna. In a September address to the Air Force Association, NRO Director Bruce Carlson said the Delta 4 was carrying "the largest satellite in the world."

(Full story)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

TSA chief John Pistole to put priority on rail, subways

ARLINGTON, Va. (USA Today) - Protecting riders on mass-transit systems from terrorist attacks will be as high a priority as ensuring safe air travel, the new head of the Transportation Security Administration promises.

In his first interview since taking over the TSA, former FBI deputy director John Pistole told USA TODAY that some terrorists consider subway and rail cars an easier target than heavily secured planes. "Given the list of threats on subways and rails over the last six years going on seven years, we know that some terrorist groups see rail and subways as being more vulnerable because there's not the type of screening that you find in aviation," he said. "From my perspective, that is an equally important threat area."

(Full story)

TSA pat-down leaves traveler covered in urine

(MSNBC) - A retired special education teacher on his way to a wedding in Orlando, Fla., said he was left humiliated, crying and covered with his own urine after an enhanced pat-down by TSA officers recently at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

"I was absolutely humiliated, I couldn't even speak," said Thomas D. "Tom" Sawyer, 61, of Lansing, Mich.

Sawyer is a bladder cancer survivor who now wears a urostomy bag, which collects his urine from a stoma, or opening in his stomach. "I have to wear special clothes and in order to mount the bag I have to seal a wafer to my stomach and then attach the bag. If the seal is broken, urine can leak all over my body and clothes."

(Full story)

TSA thugs strip-search a young boy

Saturday, November 20, 2010

$11,000 fine, arrest possible for some who refuse airport scans and pat downs

(Sun Sentinel) - If you don't want to pass through an airport scanner that allows security agents to see an image of your naked body or to undergo the alternative, a thorough manual search, you may have to find another way to travel this holiday season.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is warning that any would-be commercial airline passenger who enters an airport checkpoint and then refuses to undergo the method of inspection designated by TSA will not be allowed to fly and also will not be permitted to simply leave the airport.

That person will have to remain on the premises to be questioned by the TSA and possibly by local law enforcement. Anyone refusing faces fines up to $11,000 and possible arrest.

(Full story)

Unequal protection under the law

On Thursday, the House ethics committee recommended that Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) be censured for failing to pay taxes on income he received from a vacation villa in the Dominican Republic. A slap on the wrist, and he gets to stay in office.

Contrast that with the case of Wesley Snipes. The actor was convicted in 2008 on three misdemeanor counts of willful failure to file his income tax returns. He has just been sentenced to three years in prison. That's three years of his life taken away for not turning in a form that in essence violates the Fifth Amendment's prohibition against self-incrimination.

There should be equal protection under the law, which means everyone, including Hollywood actors and 20-term congressmen, should be treated the same. But, as Orwell pointed out, some are considered more equal than others.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Seattle officer's kicking of suspect prompts call for federal civil-rights review

(Seattle Times) - The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington said it will seek a federal civil-rights investigation of the Seattle Police Department, citing a newly released video of an officer kicking an African-American teen during an arrest, and other "unnecessarily violent confrontations" with minorities.

Executive Director Kathleen Taylor said Thursday the ACLU will send a request letter next week to the U.S. Justice Department, along with documentation of the incidents.

"These repeated incidents over the last 18 months, which have continued without forceful intervention by the Seattle Police Department, the mayor, or Seattle's other elected officials, leads the ACLU to call on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate whether there is a pattern and practice of civil-rights violations by the Seattle Police Department in violation of the Constitution and federal law," the organization said in a written statement.

(Full story)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Man arrested for punching TSA screener in Indy

(Indy Star) - A Connecticut man has been arrested after exchanging words and [allegedly] punching a TSA screener at a security checkpoint at Indianapolis International Airport.

According to a report from airport police, John A. Christina, 51, Simsbury, Conn., was charged with battery as a misdemeanor in connection with the incident about 2:50 p.m. Tuesday at the Concourse B checkpoint.

(Full story)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

God Bless the TSA

(To the tune of "God Bless the USA," by Lee Greenwood)

If tomorrow all my rights were gone,
I've had for all my life,
And I had to fly again
with my children and my wife.

I'd thank my lucky stars
to be in the USA,
'Cause the flag that stood for freedom
stands for something else today.

And I'm proud to be an American,
where I'm safe instead of free.
And I know the government has lied,
but they know what's best for me.

And I'd gladly strip down in front of you,
'cause there is no better way
To assure us all it's safe to fly,
God bless the TSA!

Taking off in Minnesota,
touching down in Tennessee,
It's only possible because of
heightened security.

Being patted down in Houston,
groped and scanned in L.A.
Well there's fear in every American heart,
and its time we stand and say...

That I'm proud to be an American,
where I'm safe instead of free.
And I know the government has lied,
but they know what's best for me.

And I'd gladly strip down in front of you,
'cause there is no better way
To assure us all it's safe to fly,
God bless the TSA!

And I'm proud to be an American,
where I'm safe instead of free.
And I know the government has lied,
but they know what's best for me.

And I'd gladly strip down in front of you,
'cause there is no better way
To assure us all it's safe to fly,
God bless the TSA!

Copyright © 2010 by Lee R. Shelton IV

Senator: FDA will ban alcoholic energy drinks

(ABC) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will effectively ban the sale of beverages that combine caffeine and alcohol, including Four Loko and Joose, by ruling that caffeine is an unsafe food additive, according to Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).

In a press release, the Senator also announced that the Federal Trade Commission will notify manufacturers that they're potentially marketing the products illegally.

(Full story)

County settles with family of boy paralyzed by speeding police officer

(Washington Examiner) - Montgomery County will pay $400,000 to the family of a Clarksburg boy who was paralyzed by an off-duty police officer driving more than 25 miles per hour over the speed limit.

With the boy never expected to walk again, the family is bracing for millions of dollars more in medical costs -- while the officer involved in the crash remains a member of the county's police force.

In April 2008, off-duty Officer Jason Cokinos struck 12-year-old Luis Jovel Jr. with his police cruiser as the boy crossed the street in front of his home on Stringtown Road. In a follow-up report, police determined that Cokinos was driving 56 miles per hour in a 30 mph zone and concluded that the boy would not have been hit if the officer were traveling at the speed limit.

(Full story)

New Jersey Senate stand up to the TSA

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

House ethics panel convicts Rep. Rangel on 11 of 13 counts

(The Hill) - Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), once one of the most powerful members of the House, was convicted Tuesday on 11 counts of violating House ethics rules and now faces punishment.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of the adjudicatory subcommittee and the full House ethics committee, announced the decision late Tuesday morning following an abbreviated public trial and nearly six hours of deliberations.

(Full story)

TSA's new book for kids


TSA to investigate body scan resister

(Sign-on San Diego) - The Transportation Security Administration has opened an investigation targeting John Tyner, the Oceanside man who left Lindbergh Field under duress on Saturday morning after refusing to undertake a full body scan.

Tyner recorded the half-hour long encounter on his cell phone and later posted it to his personal blog, along with an extensive account of the incident. The blog went viral, attracting hundreds of thousands of readers and thousands of comments.

Michael J. Aguilar, chief of the TSA office in San Diego, called a news conference at the airport Monday afternoon to announce the probe. He said the investigation could lead to prosecution and civil penalties of up to $11,000.

(Full story)

Monday, November 15, 2010

New Jersey man jailed for being a responsible gun owner

(Reason) - Sue Aitken called the police because she was worried about her son, Brian. She now lives with the guilt of knowing that her phone call is the reason Brian spent his 27th birthday in a New Jersey prison last month. If the state gets its way, he will be there for the next seven years.

Aitken was sentenced in August after he was convicted of felony possession of a handgun. Before his arrest, Aitken, an entrepreneur and owner of a media consulting business, had no criminal record, and it appears he made a good-faith effort to comply with New Jersey's stringent gun laws. Even the jurors who convicted him seem to have been looking for a reason to acquit him. But the judge gave them little choice. Aitken's best hope now is executive clemency. He is petitioning New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for a reprieve this week.

(Full story)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Encounter with the TSA in San Diego (with audio)

John writes:
A male agent (it was a female who had directed me to the backscatter machine in the first place), came and waited for me to get my bags and then directed me over to the far corner of the area for screening. After setting my things on a table, he turned to me and began to explain that he was going to do a "standard" pat down. (I thought to myself, "great, not one of those gropings like I've been reading about".) After he described the pat down, I realized that he intended to touch my groin. After he finished his description but before he started the pat down, I looked him straight in the eye and said, "if you touch my junk, I'll have you arrested." He, a bit taken aback, informed me that he would have to involve his supervisor because of my comment.
Full account here.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Are veterans owed our thanks?

Upon enlistment, every member of the armed forces swears an oath to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic." Since our attention always seems to be focused on foreign threats, the majority of Americans are under the impression that those in the military are protecting our freedoms.

The fact remains, however, that most assaults on liberty occur right here in the U.S., thanks to the very people who are sending our soldiers to kill and die in countries that never once threatened us. One would think those risking their lives to keep their loved ones safe might show a little more interest in the enemies operating within our own government.

I realize today is Veterans Day, which means we are expected to forget all criticism and simply thank those who have made sacrifices on our behalf, but just because someone believes he is defending my freedom doesn't mean he is owed my thanks. A soldier may do many things that are considered brave and noble, but, when it comes down to it, freedom is not protected by good intentions.

Military used domestically in war on drugs

TSA cuffs woman to chair, tears up her ticket

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Flight crews opting out of TSA porn scanners

I'm politically incorrect

by John Stossel - This week, I held a bake sale -- a racist bake sale. I stood in midtown Manhattan shouting, "Cupcakes for sale." My price list read:

Asians -- $1.50
Whites -- $1.00
Blacks/Latinos -- 50 cents

People stared. One yelled, "What is funny to you about people who are less privileged?" A black woman said, angrily, "It's very offensive, very demeaning!" One black man accused me of poisoning the cupcakes.

I understand why people got angry. What I did was hurtful to some. My bake sale mimicked what some conservative college students did at Bucknell University. The students wanted to satirize their school's affirmative action policy, which makes it easier for blacks and Hispanics to get admitted.

I think affirmative action is racism -- and therefore wrong. If a private school like Bucknell wants to have such policies to increase diversity, fine. But government-imposed affirmative action is offensive. Equality before the law means government should treat citizens equally.

(Full article)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Another unarmed man shot and killed by Oakland cops

On New Year's Day in 2009, Oakland BART cop Johannes Mehserle shot and killed an unarmed man who was lying face-down on the ground. Mehserle received two years in prison, including time already served, for involuntary manslaughter. That slap-on-the-wrist sentence has apparently sent Oakland police the message that it is now open season on unarmed civilians...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Barack Obama: Protector of the Innocent

President Obama, speaking in India, reminded his audience that "nothing ever justifies the slaughter of innocent men, women and children." Unless, of course, they are considered collateral damage in undeclared, preemptive wars.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Lancaster County man dies after being tasered

LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. (WGAL) - A Lancaster County man died after being tased by police early Saturday morning.

State police said Robert Neill, Jr., died after he was tased twice and maced.

It happened around 4 a.m. Saturday at Neill's home on the 300 block of Marietta Avenue in the borough of Mount Joy.

Several police departments assisted including Mount Joy Borough Police Department, Susquehanna Regional Police Department and State Police from Ephrata.

(Full story)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

GOP senator: Consider neutering Iran's 'ability to wage war'

Halifax, Nova Scotia (CNN) - A leading Senate Republican voice on defense issues said Saturday the United States should consider neutering Iran's navy and air force if Tehran does not halt its nuclear program.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, speaking at the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada, told reporters that there will come a point where Iran's nuclear program will reach the state that a conventional limited air strike "won't take them out."

"We're probably even past that point," he said.

"Instead of a surgical strike on their nuclear infrastructure, I think we're to the point now that you have to really neuter the regime's ability to wage war against us and our allies. And that's a different military scenario. It's not a ground invasion but it certainly destroys the ability of the regime to strike back."

(Full story)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

San Francisco law curbs McDonald's Happy Meal toys

(Reuters) - San Francisco on Tuesday became the first major U.S. city to pass a law that cracks down on the popular practice of giving away free toys with unhealthy restaurant meals for children.

San Francisco's Board of Supervisors passed the law on a veto-proof 8-to-3 vote. It takes effect on December 1.

The law, like an ordinance passed earlier this year in nearby Santa Clara County, would require that restaurant kids' meals meet certain nutritional standards before they could be sold with toys.

(Full story)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

"Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss"

Why is it every election makes me think of this song?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is now officially a legal authority

(io9) - The wisdom of Spock has guided us all for years, but now it's enshrined in Texas law. Ruling on the limits of police power, the Texas Supreme Court quoted from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

Ruling in Robinson vs. Crown Cork Seal Company (PDF), Justice Don Willett writes:

Appropriately weighty principles guide our course. First, we recognize that police power draws from the credo that "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few." Second, while this maxim rings utilitarian and Dickensian (not to mention Vulcan), it is cabined by something contrarian and Texan: distrust of intrusive government and a belief that police power is justified only by urgency, not expediency.

(Full story)

Man arrested for wearing a mask on Halloween

ZEBULON, N.C. (WXII News) - Zebulon police said a local man may have been wearing a mask on Halloween, but he was no trick-or-treater.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reports that 20-year-old Lawrence Marqueal Rogers was arrested Sunday for wearing a mask or hood in public. He's being held in the Wake County jail on a $7,500 bond.

(Full story)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Unemployment offices to add armed guards

INDIANAPOLIS (Indy Channel) - Armed security guards will be on hand at 36 unemployment offices around Indiana in what state officials said is a step to improve safety and make branch security more consistent.

No specific incidents prompted the action, Department of Workforce Development spokesman Marc Lotter told 6News' Norman Cox.

Lotter said the agency is merely being cautious with the approach of an early-December deadline when thousands of Indiana residents could see their unemployment benefits end after exhausting the maximum 99 weeks provided through multiple federal extension periods.

(Full story)

Wyoming Rep.: Estate tax rise has some planning death before Dec. 31

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Casper Star-Tribune) - U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis says some of her Wyoming constituents are so worried about the reinstatement of federal estate taxes that they plan to discontinue dialysis and other life-extending medical treatments so they can die before Dec. 31.

Lummis, a Republican who holds her state's lone seat in the House, declined to name any of the people who have made the comments.

But she said many ranchers and farmers in the state would rather pass along their businesses -- "their life's work" -- to their children and grandchildren than see the federal government take a large chunk.

(Full story)