Wednesday, June 29, 2011

TSA Knew That Porno-Scanners Were Not Tested

Newly released internal government documents (obtained via the Freedom Of Information Act) reveal that the TSA, and specifically the head of the Department of Homeland Security, “publicly mischaracterized” the findings of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, in stating that NIST had positively confirmed the safety of full body scanners in tests.

Newly disclosed email correspondence shows that NIST notified the TSA that the Institute had not, in fact, tested full body scanners for safety-- that in fact, the Institute does not even undertake product testing.

Other documentation shows that, far from affirming their safety, NIST warned that airport screeners should avoid standing next to full body scanners in order to keep exposure to harmful radiation “as low as reasonably achievable.”

According to other documents, a growing number of TSA workers diagnosed with cancers are voicing concern that the full body scanners and x-ray machines are indeed to blame for their illnesses.  These same documents highlight the fact that the TSA has failed to issue employees with dosimeters, safety devices that would warn of radiation exposure, despite repeated requests from workers and their supervisors.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fukushima Residents Glow-in-the Dark Piss

Fukushima residents, who have been misled by Government officials since the March 11 meltdown, now have solid confirmation that their bodies have suffered serious radiation exposure.  Their piss is now radioactive.  From the Japan Times:
More than 3 millisieverts of radiation has been measured in the urine of 15 Fukushima residents of the village of Iitate and the town of Kawamata, confirming internal radiation exposure, it was learned Sunday.

Both are about 30 to 40 km from the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, which has been releasing radioactive material into the environment since the week of March 11, when the quake and tsunami caused core meltdowns.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Military Pinheads Don't Care About Rape

A GAO report this week entitled, “Military Justice: Oversight and Better Collaboration Needed for Sexual Assault Investigations and Adjudications” provided a scathing analysis of the Department of Defense (DoD) Office of the Inspector General (IG) and its lack of attention to the issue of rape and sexual assault in the military.

The report states that the DoD IG’s Office was told to develop policy and oversee sexual assault investigations in June 2006. According to the report, however, “The [IG Office] has not performed these responsibilities, primarily because it believes it has other, higher priorities.”

Like what, for instance? Here are some highlights from the DOD IG's own semi-annual report:

· An IG investigation determined that Allergan promoted Botox for off-label indications that were not medically accepted and therefore not covered by federal health care programs.

· A DOD senior official accepted sporting event tickets and parking from a prohibited source, presented coin awards to contractor employees, and used official time and government resources to coordinate and attend the event.

· A general officer misused government resources to support his private Christmas party in violation of the Joint Ethics Regulation.

· A general used official postage for unofficial purposes, and failed to use the government Travel Charge Card for official travel as required by law.

Botox, sporting events, stamps and Christmas parties-- waayyy more important than rape, don't ya think?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

"Duck? I Don't See No Du---" Bonk!

A group of men on a large party bus were celebrating a bachelor party. A 24-year-old reveler popped open an overhead emergency hatch, stuck his head out of the bus. Moments later that very head (with a pea-sized brain, clearly) slammed into an overpass along I-94. Details and picture here . . .

Friday, June 24, 2011

Shit Bag

Boulder police are searching for a Peeping Tom who lurks inside portable toilets.

A woman told police she saw something moving in the tank under the toilet at the Hanuman Yoga Festival on Friday near Boulder High School. She told police she walked out of the toilet and asked a nearby man to look inside.

"He didn't believe her at first," said Kim Kobel, a spokeswoman with the Boulder Police Department. "So he went in, not thinking he would see anything, and did indeed find a man in the tank of the portable toilet."

He told police he saw someone inside the tank, covered in a tarp. After security was called, the man fled the scene covered in feces.

The man, who is believed to be a transient, could face charges of attempted sexual contact if found.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Rat Eats Pig

A Baltimore police officer was riding in an unmarked patrol car when he felt something on his neck-- it turned out to be a big rodent crawling up his back. The rat bit his palm and thumb before the officer was able to throw it out of the car window.

Police said the officer's partner rushed him to Harbor Hospital, where they were told they had to retrieve the rat to test it for diseases. The officer said he and his partner went back to where they threw the rat out, found it limping along the road and, after a small struggle, one of the officers beat the rat to death with an umbrella and bagged it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

JLo Nip Slip

Jennifer Lopez was left red-faced on national TV in Germany after a wardrobe malfunction exposed her breast. The singer was part of a star-studded episode of German TV show Wetten, Dass...? ("Wanna bet?")-- Europe's most popular Saturday television program. The show was filming in front of live stadium audience in Majorca, Spain.

The actress made a spectacular entrance in a horse-drawn carriage before taking her seat. But as she tried to arrange the train of her flowing dress to sit down, the garment slipped, exposing her breast. Lopez quickly covered up and got on with the interview.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Death of a [Teenage] Salesman

A 14-year-old Girl Scout who became a star in San Diego for her blockbuster cookie-selling totals died suddenly after collapsing at a middle school dance. Sabrina Keller, 14, was celebrating the end of 8th grade with 250 classmates at Woodland Park School when she stepped off the dance floor and crumpled to the floor.

A parent chaperone who works as a nurse rushed over and performed CPR before emergency crews arrived. She was flown to Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego, where she was pronounced dead within an hour later.  An autopsy performed the next day was inconclusive.

The popular 8th grader was celebrated in her suburban community last month for selling 3,463 boxes of Girl Scout cookies, a county record. She won an iPad and earned a helicopter ride from the deck of the USS Midway.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fukushima Is Completely Fucked

Fukushima is the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind," Arnold Gundersen, a former nuclear industry senior vice president, said in an Al Jazeera interview.

Japan's 9.0 earthquake on March 11 caused a massive tsunami that crippled the cooling systems at the Tokyo Electric Power Company's (TEPCO) nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan. It also led to hydrogen explosions and reactor meltdowns that forced evacuations of those living within a 20km radius of the plant.

Japan's Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters finally admitted earlier this month that reactors 1, 2, and 3 at the Fukushima plant experienced full meltdowns. TEPCO announced that the accident probably released more radioactive material into the environment than Chernobyl, making it the worst nuclear accident on record.

Meanwhile, a nuclear waste advisor to the Japanese government reported that about 966 square kilometres near the power station - an area roughly 17 times the size of Manhattan - is now likely uninhabitable.

In the U.S., physician Janette Sherman and epidemiologist Joseph Mangano published an essay shedding light on a 35 per cent spike in infant mortality in northwest cities that occurred after the Fukushima meltdown, and may well be the result of fallout from the stricken nuclear plant.

"We have 20 nuclear cores exposed, the fuel pools have several cores each, that is 20 times the potential to be released than Chernobyl," said Gundersen. "The data I'm seeing shows that we are finding hot spots further away than we had from Chernobyl, and the amount of radiation in many of them was the amount that caused areas to be declared no-man's-land for Chernobyl. We are seeing square kilometres being found 60 to 70 kilometres away from the reactor. You can't clean all this up. We still have radioactive wild boar in Germany, 30 years after Chernobyl."

Friday, June 17, 2011

Bad Seed Sown At Apple

iPhone users may soon be prevented from using their devices at live concerts — as a result of new Apple technology. The leading computer company plans to build a system that will sense when people are trying to video live events — and turn off their cameras.

A patent application filed by Apple revealed how the technology would work. If an iPhone were held up and used to film during a concert infra-red sensors would detect it. These sensors would then contact the iPhone and automatically disable its camera function. People would still be able to send text messages and make calls.

The new technology is seen as an attempt to protect the interests of event organizers and broadcasters who have exclusive rights to concerts-- screw the iPhone owners, who have paid hundreds of dollars to buy the devices and hundreds more for the monthly service fees.

Apple filed for the patent 18 months ago, and it is thought if successful it will help them negotiate deals with record labels to sell content through iTunes-- something which is obviously more important to Apple than serving its iPhone users.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Putin' Lipstick On Russian Democracy

If you want more evidence of how Russia is fast transforming itself back into a corrupt autocracy, read about the case of Sergei Magnitsky. Magnitsky, a senior partner at a Moscow law firm, was imprisoned, tortured, and murdered after his efforts to shed light on a massive governmental fraud by Interior Ministry officials. Those corrupt officials, in cahoots with elements of the Russian mafis, fraudulently took control of subsidiaries of the Hermitage Fund (one of the law firm's clients), and stole $230 million of taxes they had paid. He was put in a cell with eight inmates and only four beds so the detainees had to sleep in shifts. In December 2008, he was put in a cell with no heat and no windowpanes -- he nearly froze to death. Later, he was moved to another cell with no toilet, just a hole in the floor where the sewage overflowed.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bush's Iraq War In A Nutshell

Pentagon officials have determined that one giant C-130 Hercules cargo plane could carry $2.4 billion in shrink-wrapped bricks of $100 bills. The Bush administration sent an initial full planeload of cash, followed by 20 other flights to Iraq between March 2003 and May 2004-- a $12-billion haul that U.S. officials believe to be the biggest international cash airlift of all time.

But despite years of audits and investigations, U.S. Defense officials still cannot say what happened to $6.6 billion of the money. Stuart Bowen, special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, an office created by Congress, said the missing $6.6 billion may be "the largest theft of funds in national history."

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What A Class Act

After his Miami Heat lost the NBA Finals to the Dallas Mavericks, LeBron James was asked about the fans who've rooted against him since he publicly dumped his former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. In response, James told the haters to get a life. He was quoted by the Associated Press:

"All the people that were rooting on me to fail, at the end of the day they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today. They have the same personal problems they had today. I'm going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things that I want to do with me and my family and be happy with that."

Monday, June 13, 2011

Foreign Firms Behind African "Land Grabs"

A new study has raised concerns that hedge funds are behind "land grabs" in Africa to boost their profits in the food and biofuel sectors.

In its report, the Oakland Institute said hedge funds and other foreign firms had acquired large swathes of African land, often without proper contracts. As a result, the acquisitions had displaced millions of small farmers.

Foreign firms farm the land to consolidate their hold over global food markets, using the land for export commodities (such as biofuels and cut flowers) instead of food products that could be used to combat hunger in local markets.

"The same financial firms that drove us into a global recession by inflating the real estate bubble through risky financial maneuvers are now doing the same with the world's food supply," the report said. It added that some firms obtained land after deals with gullible traditional leaders or corrupt government officials.

"The research exposed investors who said it is easy to make a deal - that they could usually get what they wanted in exchange for giving a poor tribal chief a bottle of Johnnie Walker," said Anuradha Mittal, executive director of the Oakland Institute. "When these investors promise progress and jobs to local chiefs it sounds great, but they don't deliver."

Saturday, June 11, 2011

New York Police Harrassing Bike Riders

A New York City filmmaker and cyclist has launched an online crusade to push authorities to ticket motorists who park in bike lanes.

In May, a policeman gave Casey Neistat a $50 fine for riding in a traffic lane, dismissing his plea that the bike lane was dangerously blocked. To prove his point, Neistat created a video in which he is shown crashing into a series of bike lane obstacles.

New York City has dramatically expanded its network of bike lanes in recent years, but cyclists have complained the lanes are disregarded by delivery trucks and police, who use them as an extra parking lane, and by pedestrians, who use them to escape congested pavement.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Happy 90th Birthday To Prince Philip

The series of photos below is from a recent public appearance, during which the British press accused Philip of farting.  Notice how Charles and Anne look over at Phillip (at the exact same time) while Harry (in the background) starts cracking up.  In the final photo, we can see Harry holding his nose, while the Queen has a pained expression on her face.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

"Ladies Want Tradies"

Australian realtors are now using the lure of hunky tradesmen to lure voyeuristic women to buy real estate properties near construction sites.  The following write-up comes from a real estate listing of a townhouse in Melbourne:

If you are a single lady looking to meet a tradesman, this incredibly affordable 2 Storey, 2 Bedroom, 2 Bathroom, Townhouse is the one for you.

The townhouse includes: Large Living/Dining Area, open plan Kitchen with Dishwasher and Blanco Stainless steel appliances, Alarm and 2 Security gates, not to mention the all important huge upstairs Balcony, perfect for surveying the scene.

Carpenters, tilers, painters, builders and plumbers. These are the five hottest professions to have in the dating world right now, according to a survey conducted by networking site

With a Plumbers yard next door and a number of developments being built in the area the numbers are certainly on your side. Not to mention the potential inside the townhouse to personalise with your choice of carpet and color scheme.

To lure him in there is a storage shed for all his tools. To cool you down after he has been around there is air-conditioning on both levels.

So you better get in quick to inspect this affordable 2 Storey 2 Bedroom 2 Bathroom Townhouse with Storage Shed and Car Space. It will be sold quicker than a speed date.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Motherfucking Aussies

Australia's second most populous state is due to approve new legislation which would allow police to slap fines of up to $257 on people using offensive words or phrases.

Victorian Attorney-General Robert Clark said the penalties, similar to those issued for speeding or parking illegally, would free up police time.

"This will give the police the tools they need to be able to act against this sort of obnoxious behaviour on the spot, rather than having to drag offenders off to court and take up time and money in proceedings," he said.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Fox News Needs Fixing

During a recent report on Sarah Palin, Fox News used a photo of Tina Fey impersonating the former governor by mistake.  The on-air blunder came two years after the network issued a zero-tolerance policy for on-screen errors.  In that incident, Fox use stock footage of Sarah Palin, and labeled it as "pictures just coming in". 

Maybe one day the "fact-challenged" wannabe news organization will join the ranks of real journalists . . . .

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Life Of Anthony Weiner

The Legacy Of 9/11 Marches On

The erosion of our constitutional rights continues unabated.  In addition to warrantless wiretapping, warrantless search and seizures of all your belongings at the border, now comes warrantless search of your cell/smart phone.

In California, it is now legal for police to search an arrestee's cell phone without a warrant -- ever since a January decision by the California Supreme Court.  California civil rights advocates are pushing back. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is supporting California Assembly Bill SB 914, which would require police in that state to get a warrant before searching an arrestee's cell phone.

According to the CNN report, EFF also recently filed an amicus brief in the Oregon case of James Tyler Nix, a criminal suspect who was arrested and placed in a holding cell.  Without a warrant, an investigator fished through the suspect's cell phone looking for evidence related to his alleged crime. Law enforcement officials claim they didn't need a warrant because the search was 'incident to arrest' -- an exception to the warrant requirement intended to allow officers to perform a search for weapons or to prevent evidence from being destroyed in exigent circumstances."  EFF attorney Marcia Hofmann called bullshit on that, saying, "The suspect was in custody and unable to destroy evidence on his cell phone."

Meanwhile, in Florida, an appellate court decision upheld warrantless cell phone searches, defining the phone as a kind of "container." This case may be considered by the Florida Supreme Court.

A similar Georgia appellate court decision upheld a warrantless search of a cell phone found in an arrestee's car (not on her person).

In contrast, the Ohio Supreme Court has barred warrantless cell phone searches.

Unfortunately, we can't expect the GOP-led congress to do the right thing-- so our only hope is that some of the conservative-leaning Supremes kick the bucket soon so that Obama can appoint their replacement. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sour Krauts

It's not surprising that the Germans used the latest E-coli outbreak in Europe as yet another opportunity to bash South Europeans.  It wasn't enough that the "snooty teuts" looked down their noses at the Greeks and Portuguese during the recent wave of bailout talks in Europe-- they couldn't wait to blame the Spaniards for their latest woes.

No sooner than the first wave of cases hit the news, the Germans start howling about "killer cukes" and banned all vegetable imports from Spain-- starting an unwarranted wave of persecution that spread across the continent to Russia.  Now comes news that it wasn't vegetables from Spain that spawned the outbreak-- it was (apparently) spouts from Germany itself that were responsible for the worst modern e-coli outbreak ever (over 2000 sick and 22 dead and counting). 

Where's the apology, Angela? 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Weiner In A Pickle

It was a strange week for Congressman Anthony Weiner, who was faced with question after question about how a photo of a man's crotch had been posted to his twitter account.  The more he waged his "battle of the bulge", the more problems he seemed to create for himself.

 Congressman Weiner is an active Twitter user, who recently made good on his promise to post his 1977 bar mitzvah photo if he reached 10,000 followers.  On of those followers was Genette Cordova, a college student identified as the intended recipient of the waist-down photo of a man in bulging underpants. Cordova is one of just 198 people Weiner himself follows in Twitter, and one of his problems is that he hasn't clearly explained why a 21-year-old female student would be on that short list.

Both he and Cordova insist they have never met in person or had any inappropriate exchanges (interestingly, Cordova did say she called Weiner her "boyfriend" once on Twitter).  Weiner has denied sending the photo, which was directed to Cordova but ended up being posted to all his Twitter followers and publicized by conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart.

It seems that a Twitter used name Dan Wolfe (aka @patriotusa76) had been harassing Cordova for several weeks, under the belief that she was having an affair with the Congressman.  According to this breakdown of the story, the most likely scenario is that someone (probably Dan Wolfe) hacked into Weiner's Facebook acount (in the same way it was done to Sarah Palin) and downloaded the photo from his private photo area.  Dan Wolfe then posted the picture to Weiner's Yfrog account, which resulted in a tweet (see details here for how easy this is).

Of course, the right-wingers went nuts with the story, calling into question how complicit Andrew Breitbart is on the whole incident.  The twitter user Dan Wolfe  (who originally harassed Cordova and posted the photo online) has since deleted his Twitter account and has refused to come forward amidst the controversy.   Forensic image analysts have determined that the picture in question does not match the profile of Congressman Weiner's Blackberry (but have confirmed that all other photos posted by Weiner to his Yfrog account do match his Blackberry profile).

In interview after interview, Weiner refused to say "with certitude" whether it was a photo of him.   CNN's Wolf Blitzer said it best when he told Weiner, "You would know if this was your underpants." It was such a weird series of events for the normally media-savvy Congressman-- but we are still left  with two unanswered questions-- 1) Is it the Congressman (and his weiner) in the picture in question? 2) Why would Weiner ( a happily-married Congressman) be a Twitter follower of a 21-year-old college student?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Rid His Kidney, Didn't He?

A teenager in China has sold one of his kidneys in order to buy an iPad 2, according to media reports.  The 17-year-old, identified only as Little Zheng, told a local TV station he had arranged the sale of the kidney over the internet.

It all started when the high school student saw an online advertisement offering money to organ donors.   Illegal agents organized a trip to the hospital and paid him $3,392 after the operation.  With the cash the student bought an iPad 2, as well as a laptop.  When his mother noticed the computers and the deep red scar on his body,  Little Zheng confessed.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

British Backing For Fracking Lacking

It seems that the British have more common sense than we do-- or at least they didn't have Dick Cheney as a former deputy Prime Minister to force through regulations protecting mining interests.  Just a few days ago, a British mining company halted drilling for shale gas in England after scientists said two recent earthquakes might be linked to a controversial extraction process known as "fracking."

The British Geological Survey recorded a 1.5 magnitude quake near Blackpool in northwest England, just over a mile from a recently begun gas exploration site. Another 2.3 magnitude quake was recorded last month.

The geological survey's head of seismology, Brian Baptie, said that the two quakes appeared to have "a similar location and mechanism."

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Legacy Of Bush Incompetence Continues On

The incompetence of Bush's FEMA keeps paying negative dividends for Katrina victims-- over five years after King George's infamous mistreatment of down-and-out citizens of Louisiana and Mississippi.

Many residents haven't forgiven the Bush-era Federal Emergency Management Agency officials for their sluggish response to the storm.  But now, another delayed reaction by FEMA – a stop-and-start push to recoup millions of dollars in mistakenly-awarded disaster aid – is reminding storm victims why they often cursed the agency's name.  Incredibly, FEMA is now working to determine how much money it overpaid or mistakenly awarded to victims of the 2005 storm.

When a callow Bush came under political fire for his lackadaisical response to Katrina, he put unfair pressure on FEMA officials to generate favorable headlines,  resulting in the Michael Brown-led agency relaxing its safeguards so that it could claim that it paid millions to victims for food, clothing, shelter, medicine and home repairs.

Of course, the knee-jerk response by incompetent Bush bureaucrats continues to pay forward, as now government lawyers are forcing Obama's FEMA to add insult to injury and recover the improperly-paid money

In any other situation, Congress would quickly pass legislation to absolve the victims from having to make good on government incompetence.  However, this is 2011, and the GOP-led congress still can't get over having the country led by a black man.  So they are sitting on their hands, hoping to make the President look bad by doing nothing.


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