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Archive for August, 2011

Government waste???

U.S. Secret Service gets 2 new buses ahead of Obama tour

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20092460-503544.html

By Mark Knoller

The U.S. Secret Service has two new buses in its fleet for President Obama to use on his three-day, three-state Midwestern bus trip that kicked off Monday.

CBS News has learned the buses were purchased in recent months at a cost of just under $1.1-million each and will serve as part of the fleet of vehicles the Service uses for all of its protectees.

In the past, the Secret Service would lease buses as needed and outfit them with the security and communications equipment.

“We have not been satisfied with the level of protection offered by leased buses,” said a Secret Service official.

Last year, the Secret Service placed an order for two buses with the Hemphill Brothers Coach Company of Whites Creek, Tennessee at a combined cost of $2,191,960.

The buses have lavish interiors and are usually leased to transport stars of the entertainment industry.

The company’s website says its clients have included Beyonce, Cher, Gloria Estefan, Jennifer Lopez, Stevie Wonder, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, Madonna, Jack Nicholson, and Pope Benedict.

Mr. Obama will travel through Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois on the tour. He has four town hall meetings planned, as well as a forum on rural economic issues.

Although the bus trip has the feel of a campaign swing, the White House is billing it as “official.” That means taxpayers pick up all the related costs. When Mr. Obama ventures out on political trips, his campaign or the Democratic National Committee pay a small portion of the cost of presidential travel, as required by the Federal Elections Commission.

But spokesman Jay Carney says “the president is not engaged in a primary election and he is doing what presidents do, which is go out in the country and engage with the American people, have discussions about the economy and other policy issues.”

Aboard Air Force One en route to the start of the bus trip in St. Paul, Minn., Carney told reporters that “to suggest that any time the president leaves Washington it’s a political trip would mean that presidents could never leave unless they were physically campaigning on their own behalf, and he’s not; he’s out here doing his job and meeting with the American people.”

But Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called a news conference in Minnesota this morning to raise objections to the taxpayer-funded nature of the president’s trip.

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How to become a Christian

www.scripturesforamerica.org

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Colossians 2:10-12
…and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead…

 

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Feds making war on Alabama…

Federal lawyer: no room for Ala. immigration law

An attorney for the U.S. Justice Department says it’s the federal government’s obligation to regulate immigration and there is “no room” for states to adopt their own laws cracking down on illegal immigration.

seattletimes.nwsource.com

By BOB JOHNSON

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. —

An attorney for the U.S. Justice Department says it’s the federal government’s obligation to regulate immigration and there is “no room” for states to adopt their own laws cracking down on illegal immigration.

Deputy Assistant U.S. Attorney General William Orrick told a judge in Birmingham on Wednesday that sections of Alabama’s new immigration law should be blocked because they conflict with federal law. Orrick said the law makes criminals out of people who rent houses to illegal immigrants and in some cases makes it a crime to work.

U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn is holding a hearing on lawsuits by the Obama administration and others to block the law. She will also hear arguments from attorneys for the state asking her to let the law take effect on Sept. 1.

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More birth pangs…

Mark 13:7-8
When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be frightened; those things must take place; but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will also be famines. These things are merely the beginning of birth pangs

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East Coast rocked by strongest quake since 1944

news.yahoo.com

By BOB LEWIS – Associated Press

MINERAL, Va. (AP) — The most powerful earthquake to strike the East Coast in 67 years shook buildings and rattled nerves from South Carolina to Maine on Tuesday. Frightened office workers spilled into the streets in New York, and parts of the White House, Capitol and Pentagon were evacuated.

There were no immediate reports of deaths, but fire officials in Washington said there were at least some injuries.

The National Cathedral said its central tower and three of its four corner spires were damaged, but the White House said advisers had told President Barack Obama there were no reports of major damage to the nation’s infrastructure, including airports and nuclear facilities.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake registered magnitude 5.8 and was centered 40 miles northwest of Richmond, Va.

Two nuclear reactors at the North Anna Power Station, in the same county as the epicenter, were automatically taken off line by safety systems, said Roger Hannah, a spokesman for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The earthquake came less than three weeks before the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, and in both Washington and New York it immediately triggered fears of something more sinister than a natural disaster.

At the Pentagon, a low rumbling built until the building itself was shaking, and people ran into the corridors of the complex. The shaking continued there, to shouts of “Evacuate! Evacuate!”

The Park Service closed all monuments and memorials on the National Mall, and ceiling tiles fell at Reagan National Airport outside Washington. All flights there were put on hold.

In lower Manhattan, the 26-story federal courthouse, blocks from ground zero of the Sept. 11 attacks, began swaying, and hundreds of people streamed out of the building.

The New York police commissioner, Raymond Kelly, was in a meeting with top deputies planning security for the upcoming anniversary when the shaking started. Workers in the Empire State Building spilled into the streets, some having descended dozens of flights of stairs.

“I thought we’d been hit by an airplane,” said one worker, Marty Wiesner.

Another, Adrian Ollivierre, an accountant, was in his office on the 60th floor when the quake struck: “I thought I was having maybe a heart attack, and I saw everybody running. I think what it is, is the paranoia that happens from 9/11, and that’s why I’m still out here — because, I’m sorry, I’m not playing with my life.”

New York District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance was starting a news conference about the dismissal of the sexual assault case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, when the shaking began. Reporters and aides began rushing out the door until it became clear it was subsiding.

On Wall Street, the floor of the New York Stock Exchange did not shake, officials said, but the Dow Jones industrial average sank 60 points soon after the quake struck. The Dow began rising again a half-hour later and finished the day up 322 points.

In Washington, the National Cathedral said cracks had appeared in the flying buttresses around the apse at one end. “Everyone here is safe,” the cathedral said on its official Twitter feed. “Please pray for the Cathedral as there has been some damage.”

Shaking was felt as far south as Charleston, S.C., and as far north as Maine. It was also felt on Martha’s Vineyard, off the coast of Massachusetts, where Obama is taking summer vacation and was starting a round of golf when the quake struck at 1:51 p.m. EDT.

Obama led a conference call Tuesday afternoon on the earthquake with top administration officials, including his homeland security secretary, national security adviser and administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

By the standards of the West Coast, where earthquakes are much more common, the Virginia quake was mild. But quakes in the east tend to be felt across a much broader area.

“The waves are able to reverberate and travel pretty happily out for miles,” said U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Susan Hough.

More than 12 million people live close enough to the quake’s epicenter to have felt shaking, according to the Geological Survey. The agency said put the quake in its yellow alert category, meaning there was potential for local damage but relatively little economic damage.

The USGS said the quake was 3.7 miles beneath the surface.

The last quake of equal power to strike the East Coast was in New York in 1944. The largest East Coast quake on record was a 7.3 that hit South Carolina in 1886. In 1897, a magnitude-5.9 quake was recorded at Giles County, Va., the largest on record in that state.

A 5.8-magnitude quake releases as much energy as almost eight tons of TNT, about half the power of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. The earthquake that devastated Japan earlier this year released more than 60,000 times more energy than Tuesday’s.

The Virginia quake came a day after an earthquake in Colorado toppled groceries off shelves and caused minor damage to homes in the southern part of the state and in northern New Mexico. No injuries were reported as aftershocks continued Tuesday.

On the East Coast, Amtrak said its trains along the Northeast Corridor between Baltimore and Washington were operating at reduced speeds and crews were inspecting stations and railroad infrastructure before returning to normal.

In Charleston, W.Va., hundreds of workers left the state Capitol building and employees at other downtown office buildings were asked to leave temporarily.

“The whole building shook,” said Jennifer Bundy, a spokeswoman for the state Supreme Court. “You could feel two different shakes. Everybody just kind of came out on their own.”

In Ohio, where office buildings swayed in Columbus and Cincinnati and the press box at the Cleveland Indians’ Progressive Field shook. At least one building near the Statehouse was evacuated in downtown Columbus.

In downtown Baltimore, the quake sent office workers into the streets, where lamp posts swayed slightly as they called family and friends to check in.

Around Mineral, Va., a small town close to the epicenter, people milled around in their lawns, on sidewalks and parking lots, still rattled and leery of re-entering buildings. There was least one aftershock.

All over town, masonry was crumpled, and there were stores with shelved contents strewn on the floor. Several display windows at businesses in the tiny heart of downtown were broken and lay in jagged shards.

Carmen Bonano, who has a 1-year-old granddaughter, sat on the porch of her family’s white-frame house, its twin brick chimneys destroyed. Her voice still quavered with fear.

“The fridge came down off the wall and things started falling. I just pushed the refrigerator out of the way, grabbed the baby and ran,” she said.

Twitter and Facebook lit up with reports of the quake.

“People pouring out of buildings and onto the sidewalks and Into Farragut Park in downtown DC,” Kevin Madden, a Republican strategist, posted on Twitter.

John Gurlach, air traffic controller at the Morgantown Municipal Airport in West Virginia, was in a 40-foot-tall tower when the earth trembled.

“There were two of us looking at each other saying, ‘What’s that?'” he said, even as a commuter plane was landing. “It was noticeably shaking. It felt like a B-52 unloading.”

Immediately, the phone rang from the nearest airport in Clarksburg, and a computer began spitting out green strips of paper — alerts from other airports in New York and Washington issuing ground stops “due to earthquake.”

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The following Associated Press writers contributed to this report: Larry Neumeister and Tom Hays in New York; Lolita C. Baldor and Seth Borenstein in Washington; Ray Henry in Atlanta; Tom Withers in Cleveland; JoAnne Viviano in Columbus, Ohio; and Vicki Smith in Morgantown, W.Va.

Mark 13:37
What I say to you I say to all, be on the alert!

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How to become a Christian

www.scripturesforamerica.org

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Mark 1:15
“ The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

 

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Hurricane Irene predicted track…

Click on image to enlarge…

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5 things you probably didn’t know could be hacked

news.yahoo.com

Hackers are making headlines these days like never before. From video game systems to voicemail accounts, it seems like almost every type of electronic device or information storage medium can be hacked to either give up information or perform actions it wasn’t initially designed to do. We’ve gathered a handful of the weirdest hacks out there, and the vulnerability of some of your everyday devices might surprise you.

1. Medical implants

High-tech medical devices like pacemakers and insulin pumps can save lives, but hackers can actually utilize their built-in wireless features for less helpful purposes. Researchers have demonstrated that certain pacemakers that use a wireless signal for easy tweaking are vulnerable to anyone with the correct reprogramming hardware. Doctors use these wireless programming devices to make subtle adjustments to the heart helpers without the need for further surgeries. Unfortunately, the signal they use is unencrypted, meaning that anyone who finds a way to obtain such a device could literally manipulate the heart of a patient, causing cardiac arrest, or even death.

Insulin pumps are apparently even more susceptible to outside interference, and at the recent Black Hat hacker conference in Las Vegas, the life-saving pumps were shown to be vulnerable from distances of up to a half mile. Using power radio antennas, hackers can hijack a pump’s wireless signal and cause it to give a blast of insulin to a wearer, with potentially deadly results.

2. Baby monitors

Having a constant ear and eye on your baby’s crib is something that most parents take for granted. Baby monitors have been around for a long time, and in recent years, video-equipped versions have become very popular with new parents. What most users probably don’t realize, is that the dozen or so wireless channels that these helpful devices use can often be picked up outside the home — giving anyone with a similar device or wireless receiver an undetectable window into your home.

The vulnerability of such monitor systems was highlighted in 2009 when an Illinois family sued the manufacturer of a baby monitor system they purchased at Toys R Us. After using the system for months, a neighbor — who had recently purchased a similar system — alerted them that their monitor’s camera was broadcasting its signal strong enough to be picked up in the neighboring house. The camera’s microphone was so sensitive that the unsuspecting neighbors were able to hear entire conversations happening outside of the nursery where it was placed.

Newer baby monitor models feature “frequency hopping” technology that changes channels randomly to ensure privacy, but older, less-secure versions can still be found on store shelves. Check the features list on the side of the box when considering a monitor system to verify this very the device you’re purchasing includes this new technology.

3. Automobiles

Breaking into cars by smashing a window or picking a lock is so 90’s. These days, security experts are worried about much more tech-savvy car thieves who can unlock your car, or even start it, simply by shooting it a text message or two. Many automotive systems — such as OnStar — utilize the same type of cellular technology as a common cell phone.

Demonstrating the hack at the Black Hat convention, security experts Don Bailey and Mathew Solnik explained how vulnerable new vehicles are to such manipulation. Leaving out the details as to how the hack works — he is a security consultant after all — Bailey noted that the same hack could potentially affect infrastructure like power grids and traffic systems. But all it not lost — with just a few changes, car makers could close the door on hackers, though it won’t be cheap.

Only vehicles with systems like OnStar are vulnerable in this way, and older, less feature-rich cars are immune to these advanced hacking techniques. Consider the risks when purchasing a vehicle with advanced connectivity and know that you can opt to have these features disabled if you think you may be vulnerable to theft.

4. Garage door openers

A garage door opener is an extremely convenient device, but relying on a handheld gadget to be the gatekeeper of some of your most precious possessions can sometimes backfire. If you’ve ever taken a look inside your garage door opener to replace its batteries, or perhaps because you dropped it on the ground, you may have noticed a plethora of tiny wires and contact points. Hackers can easily modify a standard door opener to accept a USB port, and software is readily available on the web to modify how it operates. A number of tutorials can be found online to walk an amateur hacker through the process of hacking your garage door in just minutes.

Thankfully, this vulnerability is typically only an issue for older garage door systems, and newer, more sophisticated openers use a rolling code that changes each time it is used. However, if your opener was made more than 5 years ago, there’s a good chance it can easily be hacked, so consider upgrading if you can.

5. The human brain

Of all the storage mediums you use to keep information that is most important to you, your brain is by far the most complex. Because of the immense amount of data that the human brain can hold, scientists have been attempting to crack our internal hard drives for quite some time. The scary part? They’re actually getting close.

By building complex models of other brains in the animal kingdom — such as those of mice, cats, and primates — and then moving on to humans, researchers have begun to translate the trillions of impulses that go on in our heads into readable data. In fact, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is funding a $4.9 million program to reverse-engineer the human brain in an effort to mine its computational abilities.

Some scientists, including Ray Kurzweil of Kurzweil Technologies, see a future where microscopic robots will be injected into a person’s blood stream, head straight for the brain, and monitor activity. Of course, with the vulnerabilities of other medical implants already well documented, we’d hate to know the consequences of someone taking control of our brain’s bots.

Related

www.seattlepi.com

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