Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Guy From Pittsburgh ( tm ) Like Ike & Nixon, I Will Go To Noory !

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Obama Misses on the Economy

Obama Misses on the Economy By Michael Reagan I didn’t watch the State of the Union address Tuesday night. Instead I sat with my lovely wife, had a glass of wine and played with the dogs. Let me guess how it went. President Obama stood in front of Congress and declared the state of the union is strong — except for a whole bunch of new government freebies and new federal laws he wants to see enacted to make it even stronger. Pandering to his liberal-Democratic base, he promised his usual wish list of unrealistic ideas that not three Republicans in the House and Senate will support: He called for Congress to mandate paid sick leave for workers. He promised to close the gender gap on wages. He called for a hike in the national minimum wage. He didn't promise to make everyone in the middle class a millionaire. But he said he was going to ask Congress to pass this year’s special treat — “a bold new plan” for Congress to make community college free for anyone who wants it. The president is supposed to be so brilliant. So why does he continue to believe that community college, Obamacare, food stamps, subsidized loans, and quality day care — or anything else the federal government gives us — is free? It’s cynical politics, pure and simple. He knows nothing is free, and that someone is paying for those federal goodies. That someone is the hardworking American taxpayer. I’m sure the State of Union was same bad TV show I saw last year and the four years before that. It was all about class warfare, about the rich taking from the poor — and about $320 billion in more taxes. I’m really, really tired of hearing the same stuff all the time. I understand he didn’t even mention the words “al-Qaida.” Guess what’s going on in Yemen right now didn’t come up on his radar screen. I’m also so tired of this president. He is so overdone and partisan. He’s so sure he has saved the economy with his gigantic deficits, and that he’ll save the middle class with his latest giveaways. He’s the president but he still runs around the country like he’s still campaigning for something. On Wednesday he flew into Idaho, one of the reddest of the red states, to push his awful State of the Union themes. Does he ever stop talking? Every time you turn on the TV, he’s talking, talking, talking. It’s like, “O my God, will you please just shut up. Please. Shut up. For two days.” Mr. President, I’ll be so glad when your next two years are over. I’m really tired of seeing your face, hearing your voice, and being bombarded by your progressive New Deal ideas — always giving more money and power to Washington, D.C., when what we need is less. Mr. President, when will you ever stop thinking up new laws which Congress will not pass? We need fewer laws, not more. I’m for passing just one new law in 2015 — a law setting up a part-time Congress. They spend too much time in Washington, D.C. They think because they’re there every day they have to keep passing more laws. Every time they pass one, it hurts everyone’s personal economy, the national economy, and the global economy. Mr. President, you say the state of union is looking good. That’s because you and your media friends are living in a bubble of fantasy. The reality, according to a recent NBC poll, is that nearly 60 percent of the country believes were on the wrong track. Michael Reagan is the son of former President Ronald Reagan and chairman of the League of American Voters.

Inside the Wells Fargo History Museum, San Francisco, California, USA

Historic gold nuggets stolen from Wells Fargo museum in San Francisco

Historic gold nuggets stolen from Wells Fargo museum in San Francisco Published January 27, 2015
Thieves in an SUV smashed through the glass doors of the Wells Fargo History Museum in downtown San Francisco early Tuesday and made off with gold nuggets dating back to California’s Gold Rush that were on display. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the 'crash-and-grab' job occurred at 2:30 a.m., and involved a GMC Suburban. The suspects reportedly ditched the SUV and fled in a silver car. Wells Fargo spokesman Ruben Pulido said in a statement that the company is grateful no one was injured and the historic stagecoaches on display weren't damaged. It is not immediately clear how much gold the suspects, who were wearing ski masks, made off with. The museum is at the site where Wells Fargo opened for business in 1852. Commuters stopped to look at the aftermath of the robbery and snap pictures, while police surveyed the damage. Shattered glass crunched underneath the tires of a tow truck pulling the green SUV from the building. ********* I've been in that museum dozens of times since I was a kid. Big plate glass windows facing the street with a revolving door and NOTHING to stop anyone from doing what these thieves did. - TGFP.

Winter Storm Juno: LB's weather report

Blizzard brings heavy snow to Boston, Nantuckett dark.

Blizzard brings heavy snow, strong winds to Mass.
By Evan Allen, Jenna Russell, Laura Crimaldi, Kathy McCabe, Travis Andersen, John R. Ellement and Martin FinucaneGLOBE STAFF JANUARY 27, 2015 Is the end of the blizzard of 2015 in sight? The National Weather Service says residents of Eastern Massachusetts can expect moderate to heavy snow for another few hours before it tapers off to lighter snow by early evening. Snow will gradually diminish and end from west to east tonight, the forecasters said. The historic nor’easter was expected to dump as much as 30 inches in Eastern and Southeastern Massachusetts. But even before noon, Framingham hit that mark, and several communities were approaching it. With 20.8 inches recorded in Boston this afternoon, it appeared the storm was on track to make it into the Top 10 ever recorded in the city.
BARRY CHIN/GLOBE STAFF Water flooded the parking lot and buildings at the Chatham Fish Pier early Tuesday morning Governor Charlie Baker on Tuesday afternoon lifted a travel ban in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire counties, where, forecasters said, people only saw a moderate snowstorm. But the travel ban remained in effect all along the Massachusetts Turnpike and in the rest of the state.
Marshfield sea wall collapses.
Scituate flooding.
Logan Int'l airport. Major snowstorm hits Northeast Forecasters said 1 to 2 feet of snow would fall in many places, with some spots seeing as much as 3 feet. Map: Reports from the blizzard For governors in a storm, showing up is half the battle Utilities gear up for outages It’s the end of the world: TV said so Advocates seek shelter for the homeless ahead of ferocious storm Blizzard, travel ban forcing businesses to scramble Snowstorm brings special headaches for small businesses Phoenix-bound fliers from Logan mix guilt with glee Millions in path of fierce storm across Northeast
Baker said the state was experiencing two storms: One west of Worcester that was “relatively minor, manageable and pretty well dealt with,’’ and a second, still powerful one, that continued to dump snow on Worcester and all points east, generating as much as 10 more inches of snow and whiteout conditions. “For now the Eastern Mass. [travel ban] piece needs to stay in place,’’ Baker said.
3 months to baseball season. - TGFP. Baker said state officials have not been alerted to any serious injuries or deaths related to the storm.
“I’m certainly hoping that continues to be the case,’’ he said. Baker said he remained concerned about the high tide this afternoon in coastal communities that have been battered by the nor’easter, requiring the evacuation of some residents. But in a news conference surrounded by top state public safety officials at the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Framingham, he said, “I don’t think people feel at this point that it’s much beyond what would typically be the case for this kind of event.” State officials said in a news conference Tuesday morning that evacuations were necessary in Hull, Marshfield, and Scituate as the morning’s high tide pushed the Atlantic Ocean into neighborhoods routinely flooded during storms, but none of the evacuations constituted an emergency. “These were not life-and-death situations,’’ MEMA director Kurt Schwartz said, adding that high-water vehicles were used by state and local governments to rescue people who had chosen to stay in their homes and ignored requests from officials to leave before the tide arrived. Statewide, Schwartz said, “We have not had any catastrophic issues, life safety issues, overnight.’’ Baker said at the morning news conference that only about 200 people statewide had sought shelter, reflecting fewer power outages than authorities once feared. Baker attributed that to cold temperatures resulting in light, fluffy snow — the kind less likely to bring down power lines. By mid-morning, with the snow still coming down hard, the National Weather Service had fielded unofficial reports of 30 inches in Framingham, 28 inches in Littleton, and 27 inches in Tyngsborough. A number of other communities recorded snow depths greater than 2 feet, including Worcester, where the 25 inches recorded appeared likely to place it among the top 5 ever recorded there. The storm forced the shutdown of the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth when two transmission lines that carry power from the plant to the power grid were knocked down, said Matthew Beaton, state environmental secretary. He said the plant was “safe and secure” and that the problems had happened on the transmission, rather than generating, side of the plant. Forecasters said at 9 a.m. that they expected another 6 to 10 inches of snow from the storm. But they also said that far western Massachusetts would only see a moderate snowstorm. The city of Boston said at around 10:30 a.m. that it expected another 10 to 14 inches. Forecasters extended a blizzard warning until 8 p.m. The weather service had warned of a massive storm affecting metropolises from Philadelphia to Boston. But the storm didn’t deliver as much of a blow as had been expected in New York City, New Jersey and Philadelphia. Travel bans that had been in effect have now been lifted. And New York’s buses, subways and trains are getting back into service, The Associated Press reported. Baker said he was casting a wary eye toward this afternoon’s high tide. While the tide will not be as high as Tuesday morning’s level, Dunten said there was likely to be a second round of flooding – or coastal erosion – on Nantucket and Plum islands and in Sandwich, Plymouth, and Scituate. Peak wind gusts of 76 miles per hour were recorded on Nantucket, 75 in Chatham, 74 on Martha’s Vineyard, and 74 in Plymouth. In Scituate, after the predawn high tide, residents along Central Avenue and Surfside Road called for help to evacuate their flooded homes. Town officials declared a state of emergency at 4:55 a.m. About a dozen people had sought shelter at Scituate High School. Town officials said a vehicle washed away on Edward Foster Road, and some streets in the Humarock and Brant Rock neighborhoods near the Marshfield-Scituate line were impassable because flood waters four or more feet deep. On Plum Island, waves fueled by howling winds that reached 45 miles per hour crashed over granite sea walls erected in 2013, but homes remained undamaged. Waves reached 16½ feet, according to “This is just basically a typical high tide during a nor’easter,” said Bob Connors, a 39-year resident of Annapolis Way, standing in his living room overlooking the ocean, just after the 4:42 a.m. high tide. At White Horse Beach in the Manomet section of Plymouth, a fierce combination of waves and winds pushed water between the rows of small wooden beach cottages after the 4:33 a.m. high tide. A thick, frigid mixture of ocean water, yellow sand and icy slush filled in around the boarded-up homes, spilling down walkways, filling parking lots and flooding adjacent Taylor Avenue with a foot of foamy storm sludge. In Chatham, where the powerful winds made snowflakes feel like pebbles, fisherman John Small arrived at the Chatham Fish Pier to find it surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean early Tuesday. BARRY CHIN/GLOBE STAFF Water flooded the parking lot and buildings at the Chatham Fish Pier early Tuesday morning. “The tide is higher than I have ever seen it,’’ said Small, who estimated it was four feet higher than in the past. “This storm is doing some damage.’’ Marinas and parking lots along Shore Road in Chatham were flooded early Tuesday. The high winds and steady snowfall were affecting utilities across Massachusetts, although no widespread outages had been reported. By 11 a.m., a total of about 31,000 power outages were reported, up from 5,000 at 6 a.m. The number included 12,000 customers on Nantucket, which was completely without power, and about 5,000 at the tip of Cape Cod in Provincetown, also a near-complete outage. The governor had ordered a state of emergency on Monday, issuing a driving ban and shutting down the MBTA, which hopes to resume operations Wednesday. He also called up 500 members of the Massachusetts National Guard to help in storm response. Mayor Martin J. Walsh declared a snow emergency in Boston and issued a parking ban on major arteries for Tuesday. “We’re trying to stay ahead of the storm,” Walsh told WCVB-TV (Channel 5). He said the city has 700 pieces of equipment out as part of the response. Generally, he said, the streets have been quiet, with just a few problems, including a hydrant hit by a plow. The fire department also had two fire calls. Walsh urged residents to be careful clearing snow, to keep an eye on neighbors, and to obey travel restrictions in place for the storm “Don’t expect to be going out today,” the mayor said. “You won’t be driving around.” Walsh ordered Boston schools closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Most Massachusetts school systems are closed Tuesday, with decisions on whether to open Wednesday to be made later in the day. State offices also will be closed Tuesday, and postal service will be suspended for the day in Greater Boston. State and federal courthouses are also closed Tuesday. At Logan International Airport, all flights were halted Monday night and had not resumed Tuesday morning. As of about 10:30 a.m., Michael Verseckes, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation reported, the state had deployed 3,900 pieces of equipment statewide. Beginning at 10 p.m. Monday, tolls were waived until further notice on the Massachusetts Turnpike, Tobin Bridge, and harbor tunnels. 2) Plymouth, Provincetown power outages on the rise By Jay Fitzgerald GLOBE CORRESPONDENT JANUARY 27, 2015 Plymouth and Provincetown are getting hit with widespread outages tied to today’s brutal blizzard that is dumping record amounts of snow on the region and whipping up damaging ocean waves along coastal areas. About 3,352 customers have now lost electricity in Plymouth, out of a total of 29,342 customers, according to recent data from NStar. Michael Durand, a spokesman for NStar, said the Plymouth outages are “weather related and unrelated” to this morning’s shutdown of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in the community. A spokesperson at Entergy, owner of the Pilgrim plant, said the facility automatically shut down at about 4 a.m. today as a “safety precaution” after electrical connections that the station uses to transmit electricity to the grid were “interrupted by the severe storm.” “All safety systems worked as designed,” said Lauren Burm, the Entergy spokesperson. “Plant conditions are stable and there is no threat to the safety of plant workers or the public.” View Graphic Power outage totals in Mass. A look at the number of homes without power in the state. Major snowstorm hits Northeast Entergy, which said a similar mishap occurred a few years ago, has indicated that it could take a few days to get the station up and running again. In Provincetown, nearly the entire town has lost electricity, with 5,553 outages reported, out of a total of 5,686 customers, according to data from NStar. “We’re working on weather-related damage to an electrical distribution line that serves Provincetown,” Durand said. Across eastern Massachusetts, about 31,624 NStar and National Grid customers have lost power since the mega-storm hit the region Tuesday evening. The utilities were bracing for far worse, but the snowfall has been lighter and fluffier than predicted, limiting damage. The storm may be easing a bit this afternoon, but utilities are still on high alert for outages tied to continued high winds, coastal flooding, and more snow accumulation. On Nantucket, virtually all of National Grid’s 12,800 electrical customers are still without power. National Grid said the island’s hospital and police and fire stations have their own back-up generators and they have some power. But the utility is still trying to hook up those facilities with larger generators that can provide more electricity, said spokesman Jake Navarro. “We are still working on connecting on-island generation,” Navarro said. “We have to make sure the power lines that would carry the power from the generators are in good shape and undamaged, and there is serious ice accretion on the island at this point.” National Grid has indicated that it may take far longer to get power to the rest of Nantucket.

Weatherpeople apologize for blown forecast.

Weatherpeople apologize for blown forcast. BY RACHELLE BLIDNER NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Tuesday, January 27, 2015, 9:26 AM
Weatherpersons speak with forked charts. They're going to get it RIGHT * NEXT * time ? Sure they are. - TGFP.
Newtown, Pa.
L.I. golf car lot.
7th Ave NYC
Brooklyn Bridge
Scuitate, Mass.
" Why Me ? " - Somerville, Mass.
Zuccoli Park Manhattan I thought the lights reflecting on the snow look cool. - TGFP.
Boston, Mass.
They can't win 'em all, but give them credit for being honest. Meteorologists across the Northeast were apologizing Tuesday morning after the so-called "Storm of the Century" proved to be less than historic. Blizzard warnings that called for up to 3 feet to fall in New York City led officials to close schools, cancel flights and institute statewide travel. But the snowstorm did not pummel parts of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania with the same punch that forecasters had predicted — though it was delivering as advertised in eastern Long Island and in New England. LIVE BLOG: Up-to-the-minute blizzard coverage and photos from the New York Daily News team Gary Szatkowski, the meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service in Mount Holly, N.J., started the wave of apologies just before 1 a.m. Tuesday. "My deepest apologies to many key decision makers and so many members of the general public," he wrote on Twitter
Gary Szatkowski @GarySzatkowski You made a lot of tough decisions expecting us to get it right, and we didn't. Once again, I'm sorry. 9:46 PM - 26 Jan 2015 A number of meteorologists followed suit. John Bolaris, the Philadelphia Inquirer's meteorologist, called the storm "a cakewalk" for the city, with only 1-3 inches expected Tuesday. "From a forecast standpoint, it's been a failure, or better yet, a bust," he wrote. "Whenever you're forecasting six inches or more of snow in the big city and it fails to happen, you disrupted livelihood and ticked off mom, dad, schools, businesses." Earlier, the National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for a 250-mile area, predicting high winds and between 24 and 36 inches of snow in some places. The service later downgraded the warnings for New York City and parts of New Jersey, where accumulations were much lighter than expected. Steven DiMartino @nynjpaweather Well, the forecast for PA and western NJ has pretty much crashed and burned. 12:29 AM - 27 Jan 2015 In New York City, only about 6 inches fell at Central Park by early Tuesday, far less than the record of 26.9 inches from 2006. In New Jersey, snowfall intensity "sharply curtailed" after the storm shifted east and out over the Atlantic Ocean, Szatkowski said. Whiteout conditions and 45 mph winds were still considered possible in Monmouth, Ocean, Middlesex, Passaic and Bergen counties. Kate Bilo CBS3 @katebilo Alright, this dunce is headed to bed. Lots more snow chances ahead as the cold gets locked in. We'll get the next one. 10:07 PM - 26 Jan 2015 By mid-morning on Tuesday, the storm was continuing to smack eastern Long Island, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The town of Islip, on Long Island, recorded 18.2 inches Tuesday morning. Roughly 24 inches fell in the eastern Long Island village of Mattituck. "I do not criticize forecasters," Gov. Cuomo said at a news conference on Tuesday morning, noting he instituted closures because he would rather be "safe than sorry." Many meteorologists echoed Cuomo's sentiments, saying it is better to be prepared. They said they hoped their botched forecasts would not hurt preparations for future major storms and natural disasters. OccuWeather @Occuweather You know what's the most dangerous Aspect of this whole thing imo? If we get another storm threat of a Dangerous magnitude sometime 1/2 4:43 AM - 27 Jan 2015 OccuWeather @Occuweather soon and people don't take it seriously because of what happened with this storm. This could be a huge problem.... (2/2) 4:43 AM - 27 Jan 2015

Monday, January 26, 2015

Wife of Alan Ladd, Jr. says Coz drugged & raped her.

Former Hollywood exec: Cosby drugged and raped me By Lindsey KupferJanuary 26, 2015 | 6:04pm
Cindra Ladd (inset) has come forward as the latest alleged victim of Bill Cosby's. Photo: Getty Images/AP
Who didn't Cosby supposedly rape ? - TGFP. Former Hollywood executive Cindra Ladd, the wife of “Braveheart” producer Alan Ladd Jr., alleges that embattled comedian Bill Cosby drugged and raped her in 1969. In a first-person piece for The Huffington Post on Monday, Ladd said she met Cosby when she was a 21-year-old single woman working for the late film producer Ray Stark in New York City. She and Cosby, then 32 and married, became friendly and at first he acted like a “perfect gentleman.” His behavior changed, Ladd alleges, when she met him one night at his friend’s apartment before they were supposed to see a movie. She said she told the TV legend she had a “terrible headache.” “He told me he had a miracle cure his doctor had given him that would get rid of the headache,” Ladd wrote. “He went into another room and came back with a capsule. I asked a couple of times what it was. Each time he reassured me, asking, ‘Don’t you trust me?’ Of course I did. This was Bill Cosby.” Ladd said she woke up naked in bed, while Cosby wore a white terrycloth robe. “It was obvious to me that he had had sex with me,” she said. “I was horrified, embarrassed and ashamed. There was a mirror above the bed, which shocked me further.” ‘It never occurred to me to go to the police. It was a different time and “date rape” was a concept that didn’t exist. I just kept asking myself over and over in disbelief why this had happened to me. Other than my roommate, I did not discuss that night with anyone for 36 years.’ Over the last several months, more than 15 women have come forward accusing Cosby of sexual assault, including former models Janice Dickinson and Beverly Johnson. His projects with both NBC and Netflix have been canceled and many of his live shows were also nixed. Ladd wrote in the essay that this is the first and last time she will publicly discuss the alleged incident. She also noted that she does not plan to press charges. Modal Trigger Producer Alan Ladd Jr. and his wife, Cindra Ladd Photo: Getty Images “So why speak out at all and why now?” she said. “The simple answer is that it’s the right thing to do. The truth deserves to be known … I have read comments like, ‘What took them so long?’ and ‘What are they after now’? I would ask these people to remember that up until relatively recently, prosecuting rape was a ‘he said/she said’ proposition where the victim was blamed for having worn ‘suggestive clothing’ or questioned as to why she went somewhere with her rapist.” The 77-year-old comedian, who has denied a multitude of allegations through his attorney, continues to travel and perform at venues keeping their doors open, including locations in Colorado and California. Cosby recently released a statement saying his career is “far from finished.” Since that night in 1969, Ladd says she has “crossed paths with Cosby only once, when my husband, a highly successful Oscar-winning film executive and producer, introduced me to him.” “I was shaking, wondering if he would recognize me by my unusual first name,” she continued. “His reaction spoke volumes. To Bill Cosby, I was just another stranger.”

FOIA Documents Reveal Massive DEA Program to Record American’s Whereabouts With License Plate Readers.

FOIA Documents Reveal Massive DEA Program to Record American’s Whereabouts With License Plate Readers 01/26/2015 License Plate Scanners By Bennett Stein, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project & Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 7:15pm
The Drug Enforcement Administration has initiated a massive national license plate reader program with major civil liberties concerns but disclosed very few details, according to new DEA documents obtained by the ACLU through the Freedom of Information Act. The DEA is currently operating a National License Plate Recognition initiative that connects DEA license plate readers with those of other law enforcement agencies around the country. A Washington Post headline proclaimed in February 2014 that the Department of Homeland Security had cancelled its “national license-plate tracking plan,” but all that was ended was one Immigrations and Customs Enforcement solicitation for proposals. In fact, a government-run national license plate tracking program already exists, housed within the DEA. (That’s in addition to the corporate license plate tracking database run by Vigilant Solutions, holding billions of records about our movements.) Since its inception in 2008, the DEA has provided limited information to the public on the program’s goals, capabilities and policies. Information has trickled out over the years, in testimony here or there. But far too little is still known about this program. In 2012, the ACLU filed public records requests in 38 states and Washington, D.C. seeking information about the use of automatic license plate readers. Our July 2013 report, You Are Being Tracked, summarized our findings with regard to state and local law enforcement agencies, finding that the technology was being rapidly adopted, all too often with little attention paid to the privacy risks of this powerful technology. But in addition to filing public records requests with state agencies, the ACLU also filed FOIA requests with federal agencies, including the DEA. The new DEA records that we received are heavily redacted and incomplete, but they provide the most complete documentation of the DEA’s database to date. For example, the DEA has previously testified that its license plate reader program began at the southwest border crossings, and that the agency planned to gradually increase its reach; we now know more about to where it has grown. The DEA had previously suggested that “other sources” would be able to feed data into the database; we now know about some of the types of agencies collaborating with the DEA. The documents uncovered by our FOIA request provide additional details, but their usefulness is limited by the DEA’s decision to provide only documents that are undated or years old. If the DEA’s collection of location information is as extensive as the agency has suggested in its limited comments to legislatures, the public deserves a more complete and comprehensive explanation than the smattering of records we have obtained can provide. These records do, however, offer documentation that this program is a major DEA initiative that has the potential to track our movements around the country. With its jurisdiction and its finances, the federal government is uniquely positioned to create a centralized repository of all drivers’ movements across the country — and the DEA seems to be moving toward doing just that. If license plate readers continue to proliferate without restriction and the DEA holds license plate reader data for extended periods of time, the agency will soon possess a detailed and invasive depiction of our lives (particularly if combined with other data about individuals collected by the government, such as the DEA’s recently revealed bulk phone records program, or cell phone information gleaned from U.S. Marshals Service’s cell site simulator-equipped aircraft ). Data-mining the information, an unproven law enforcement technique that the DEA has begun to use here, only exacerbates these concerns, potentially tagging people as criminals without due process. Some major findings from the documents The National License Plate Recognition Initiative includes a massive database containing data from both DEA-owned automatic license plate readers and other readers. Among the findings from the FOIA documents: At the time of an undated slideshow, the DEA had deployed at least 100 license plate readers across the United States (eight states are identified: California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Florida, Georgia, and New Jersey). A 2010 document also explains that the DEA had by then set up 41 plate reader monitoring stations throughout Texas, New Mexico, and California. The DEA is also inviting federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies around the country to contribute location information to the database. For example, the documents show that local and regional law enforcement systems in Southern California’s San Diego and Imperial Counties and New Jersey all provide data to the DEA. The program was “officially opened” to these partners in May 2009. Other agencies are surely partnering with the DEA to share information, but these agreements are still secret, leaving the public unable to know who has their location information and how it is being used. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) is one of the federal agencies that has shared information with the DEA. An undated Memorandum of Understanding explains that the agencies will, “at regular intervals,” provide each other license plate reader data. It also authorizes the two agencies to further share each other’s data with other federal, state, and local law enforcement and prosecutors as well as to “intelligence, operations, and fusion centers.” This is a lot of location points. CBP collects “nearly 100 percent of land border traffic,” which amounts to over 793.5 million license plates between May 2009 and May 2013, according to CBP’s response to our FOIA request. Additionally, any federal, state, or local law enforcement agent vetted by the DEA’s El Paso Intelligence Center can conduct queries of the database, located in Merrifield, Va. The same, undated slideshow suggests that there were over 343 million records in the database at the date of the slide’s publication (due to redactions, it is impossible to confirm that date from this document). The unredacted parts of the documents and news reports suggest that the DEA recently changed its retention policy to six months for non-hit data. While this is an improvement from previous statements of DEA retention policy, it is still far too long. The government should not collect or retain information revealing the movements of millions of people accused of no crime. But even that long retention period is only meaningful if it comes with strict rules limiting data use, sharing, and access. Like its retention policy, the DEA should make these policies public. The DEA says that the National License Plate Recognition Initiative targets roadways that the agency believes are commonly used for contraband transport. But it’s not clear what this means or what it is based on. Every highway in the United States must be regularly used for contraband transport. Is the DEA using this undefined mandate to target people of color? Without more information from the DEA, we have no idea. One DEA document references steps needed to ensure the program meets its goals, "of which asset forfeiture is primary." Asset forfeiture has been in the news a lot lately, criticized as a widely abused law enforcement tactic that doesn’t advance public safety but simply enriches police and federal agencies. The program also apparently data mines license plate reader data "to identify travel patterns." The extent of this data mining is unknown. Is the DEA running all of our license plate reads through a program to predict our likelihood of committing a crime? Are we all suspects if we drive on a certain road? What else does the DEA think it knows about us just from the collection and analysis of our locations via license plate reader data? More answers are needed The DEA’s license plate reader programs raise serious civil liberties concerns, and the agency should be open about what it is doing so that those activities can be subject to public debate. Among other questions, the agency should answer these: How many license plate readers does DEA currently own and operate? In which states? And, how much did it spend on these license plate readers? Which policies govern the use of the license plate readers? Which policies govern the use of the license plate reader database? Has the agency done a Privacy Impact Assessment on these programs? How many license plate reader hits have resulted in arrest and prosecution of a serious crime? How many license plate reader hits have not correlated to an alert upon further investigation (a “mis-hit”)? From which local, state, and tribal law enforcement agencies does the DEA receive license plate reader data? Which additional agencies does the DEA partner with? How many people have been approved to conduct queries of the DEA database? Has the DEA used or attempted to use Vigilant Solution’s National Vehicle Location Service or a similar privately-run license plate reader database? Does DEA combine information from its own database with records in Vigilant’s, creating a mega-database in a public-private surveillance partnership? As is the case with most police and federal law enforcement spy technologies, license plate tracking programs have flown under the radar of courts and legislators for far too long, silently collecting records about ordinary Americans in the cover of secrecy. When programs are secret, we have no way of challenging them or ensuring they conform with our values and the law. Before accountability comes transparency. Over the coming weeks, we will continue to release records documenting the federal government’s significant investment in automatic license plate readers and its unregulated and largely unseen location tracking programs.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

What would a return to the gold standard mean ?

WHAT WOULD A RETURN TO THE GOLD STANDARD MEAN? OCT 23, 2012 || KIRA BRECHT This is an edited version of an article originally published at TraderPlanet The debt clock keeps on ticking. The U.S. federal debt recently surpassed $16 trillion and is still rising. Republicans ushered the idea of a return to the gold standard to the center stage at their Tampa convention in August. Some see a return to the gold standard as a panacea to instill fiscal responsibility by our elected officials. While there are no easy answers or simple solutions to the massive debt crisis America faces, could a return to the gold standard be the answer?The U.S. went off the gold standard under President Nixon in 1971. What may not be widely known is that the classic gold standard that the U.S. was utilizing (and that Britain and France had followed before) included a 40 percent cover ratio.What does that mean? “The government will only print money if it has gold in its Treasury equivalent to 40% of the currency in circulation,” says Jeffrey Christian, managing director at the CPM Group. “That means if you have $10 billion of money in circulation, you have to have $4 billion of gold in the Treasury. A lot of gold bulls don’t realize it was a 40 percent cover.” Christian noted.How Much Gold Is In Fort Knox?Given that the current U.S. federal debt stands at $16 trillion, it begs the question, how much gold does the United States own? Currently, the U.S. does have the largest gold reserves in the world at 8,133.5 tons, according to the World Gold Council. Just for comparison, Germany is a distant second with 3,395.5 tons and the IMF is in third place at 2,814 tons.So, the U.S. has a lot of gold, but is it enough to back all our debt? Not even close.David Beahm, vice president at Blanchard & Co., a New Orleans based precious metals investment firm, did some quick back-of-the-envelope math. “One ton equals 2000 pounds. One pound equals 16 ounces. 2000 times sixteen equals 32,000 ounces. With spot gold about $1,760, one ton equals about $56 million,” he says. That equals about $456 billion at current market value, or roughly half a trillion in gold, he said.“Even if we liquidated our gold we could only bring our debt down to $15.5 trillion,” Beam notes. “That’s a lot of shortfall. The next step [for the gold standard] is for them to revalue gold. It would make it go up by 400-500 percent.”David Hargreaves, a widely watched mining consultant, has actually calculated a figure at $40,000 per ounce, based on world GDP figures (roughly 100 trillion).Others have estimated a $10,000 per ounce. But, again even that could be high, as CPM Group’s Christian notes that most gold bulls are assuming a 100 percent cover rate, while historic gold standards have only boasted a 40 percent cover.While gold bulls are frothing at the mouth at the thought of cashing in the gold coins buried in their backyard for a government-mandated standard, let’s take a look at both sides of the coin. What are the positives of a gold standard for the economy, and what are the negatives?ProsSimply put, the big positive of a return to the gold standard “would give us fiscal discipline for governments, businesses and individuals,” says Ken Goldstein, economist at the New York-based Conference Board. “It would force all of us to be more fiscally responsible.”While that may sound enticing given the $16 trillion price tag Washington D.C. has currently placed on our future, the gold standard comes with some costs too.ConsOn the negative side of the coin, Goldstein explains “our jobs, incomes and the overall economy would grow at a much slower pace.” Why?The answer comes down to money supply. That simply means the total money in circulation. and it is a dynamic and growing figure.“Modern finance has growing money. Money supply grows in reaction to the growth of the real economy,” says CPM Group’s Christian. “As an economy grows, more wealth is generated. Post industrial growth for the last 160 years has averaged 2-3 percent and the gold supply hasn’t risen at the same pace.”Put another way, today’s global economy stands at roughly $100 trillion GDP, and has been growing at 3-4 percent per year. “Finding that much more gold per year is just not going to happen,” says Goldstein. That’s why going back to the gold standard is a pipe dream.”Choke Off GrowthBottom line? A gold standard would result in a relatively fixed money supply. Money supply couldn’t grow faster than the supply in gold, which would ultimately choke off growth. “It would force lending to slow down and the economy to slow down,” says Goldstein. Explaining the connection and impact on lending, Goldstein elaborates. “For every dollar a bank has, it can loan maybe $10-15 out. But, if those dollars are convertible to gold, that all collapses.”“If you can’t borrow, it would choke off the jobs growth, businesses can’t raise prices, and consumers can’t buy at higher prices because they can’t borrow. Basically, you put a chokehold on the economy.”Additionally, for anyone who has current debt now, including a mortgage, “our ability to pay it back would take us longer and would cause us to do without other things to pay it back,” says Goldstein. The gold standard would result in a devaluing of the dollar and it would buy less. That would include bonds issued by cities and towns, and corporate debt as well as consumer debt. “The lenders would benefit, but the people who suffer are people who have to pay back debt.”CPM Group’s Christian echoed those thoughts. “If we are going to manage our money supply, the economy cannot grow as rapidly as it wants to grow with periods of deflation, starvation and depravation that simply don’t have to occur,” he says, noting that repeated periods of starvation were seen in the U.S. through the 1870’s-1890’s “because the money supply could not grow fast enough to grow the economy. ”Longer Recessions While many gold bugs are known Fed bashers, Christian points to the Bank Panic of 1907, which occurred while the U.S. was on the gold standard and prior to the creation of the U.S. Federal Reserve. “That bank panic threw almost the whole world into depression,” he says. “The U.S. was in recession in 60 of the 90 following months.”Goldstein agrees that a gold standard would make “the climb out of recession longer because you can’t create as much debt with a gold standard.”What’s Ahead?So, what are the odds that we will see a gold standard? “Pretty slim,” says Pete Grant, chief market analyst at USAGOLD.Adrian Day, president of Adrian Day Asset Management, highlights the November U.S. presidential elections as key. “If the Republicans win, I suspect a commission could well be set up,” Day notes. “But, just because you get a commission doesn’t mean they will do it.” In fact, there was a Gold Commission set up to study the matter in 1981, under President Reagan. At that time, “the majority said that gold had no role,” Day says.Looking around at academia and the Washington bureaucracy, Day adds “I don’t think there is broad pressure for a return to the gold standard. But, a new commission could have a suggestion that gold could play a role.”Looking ahead, however, Day sees potential for the tides to shift. “As time goes on and the financial mess continues to not be solved, and the currency continues to lose its purchasing power, the sentiment that we should have a gold standard will grow stronger and stronger,” Day says. Perhaps “we could have a dollar standard backed by a basket of hard assets including gold,” he adds.Christian concedes that “it’s possible we could see a gold standard briefly if you had a major world war. But, once you got out of the cataclysmic crisis, we would quickly go off. ”Is It Practical? Another stumbling block would be the difficulty in actually organizing a shift back to the gold standard. Some say it would only work if all countries agreed to work off the gold standard. “Suppose we did it and the rest of the world didn’t drink the Kool Aid, we’ve got an economy moving at a snail’s pace and we’ve got the rest of the world growing at a 3.5-4% pace,” says Goldstein.Besides, he adds, “it would be unwieldy just to get an [global] agreement. Look at the degree of difficulty just getting 17 member of the European Union to agree.”Does the Conference Board’s Goldstein think we’ll see a gold standard anytime soon? “You will hit the lottery before we go back on the gold standard,” he concludes.Others are more optimistic. “The odds are remarkably high that we will see gold play an increasing role in the monetary system over the next ten years,” says Day. “But, I don’t think we will see a return to a pure gold standard.”

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A Social Security joke.

A Funny Joke, but Future Retirees Won’t Think it’s Very Amusing October 7, 2009 by Dan Mitchell
Young Chuck, moved to Texas and bought a Donkey from a farmer for $100.00. The farmer agreed to deliver the Donkey the next day. The next day he drove up and said, “Sorry son, but I have some bad news, the donkey died.” Chuck replied, “Well, then just give me my money back.” The farmer said, “Can’t do that. I spent it already.” Chuck said, “Ok, then, just bring me the dead donkey.” The farmer asked, “What ya gonna do with him?” Chuck said, “I’m going to raffle him off.” The farmer said, “You can’t raffle off a dead donkey!” Chuck said, “Sure I can Watch me.. I just won’t tell anybody he’s dead.” A month later, the farmer met up with Chuck and asked, “What happened with that dead donkey?” Chuck said, “I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at two dollars a piece and made a profit of $898.00.” The farmer said, “Didn’t anyone complain?” Chuck said, “Just the guy who won. So I gave him his two dollars back.” Chuck now works for the government, in the Social Security Administration.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Smuggler caught with 94 Iphones strapped to body.

Smuggler Caught With 94 iPhones Taped To Body Customs officers in Shenzen alerted by the man's odd walking posture discovered the handsets stuck to his arms and legs. By Sky News Beijing team
Apples next product will be the Ipablum wireless speaker. The baby food is in a pouch in the center of the speaker and is heated by a small element that is activated when you turn on the speaker. Geared for the Chinese market and comes in 8 attractive colors and 29 flavors. - TGFP. A smuggler tried to sneak 94 iPhones into China by strapping them to his body, but he was stopped by customs officers between Hong Kong and the mainland by customs officers who noticed his strange gait. The man's unusual posture as he walked caught the attention of customs officers in the city of Shenzhen as he tried to cross into China from Hong Kong on Sunday night, China's state media reported Reports indicate he looked as though he was weighed down with something heavy, despite only holding two plastic bags. When the airport-style metal detector sounded as he passed through he was stopped and searched. Images released by Chinese officials revealed he had taped the unboxed phones to his body and legs. The stash contained iPhone 6, 6+ and the older iPhone 5 handsets. iPhones are, on average, £80 cheaper in Hong Kong than they are in mainland China. High demand from Chinese consumers contributes to smuggling. Ironically, all iPhones are made in factories on the Chinese mainland, including one plant near the port where the seizure was made. The border between Hong Kong and mainland China is a notorious smuggling route. Electrical and luxury goods are often cheaper in Hong Kong than on the mainland. Baby formula is also often smuggled because of ongoing fears on the mainland about the safety of Chinese-made formula.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

How to set up triple monitors on a PC for super wide screen gaming.

How To Set Up Triple Monitors For Super-Widescreen Gaming Alan Henry Yesterday 11:30 AM Will post one for the Mac as soon as I can. - TGFP.
Using more than two monitors used to be a luxury for those with the biggest PC-building budgets. These days, large, high-resolution displays are affordable, and graphics cards are more powerful than ever. If the thought of gaming (or working) on three displays at once entices you, here’s how to make it happen. Pictures: Jon B, Kyle James Imagine it: firing up your favourite game and having it spread across three glorious displays, a full field-of-vision where you can see more bad guys coming, and a larger view of the game field, whether you’re playing a FPS, racing game, top-down strategy or MMO. Even better, if you’ve purchased or built a computer at all in the past few years, odds are you have a video card that already supports it. Of course, gaming with three displays also requires significant graphics power, so even if your card supports three panels, gaming with it is another story. Before you go plugging things in, you have some homework to do first. Making the most of multiple monitors isn’t difficult, but a little planning goes a long way. Let’s walk you through what you need to know and how to set everything up, step by step. Make Sure The Games You Want to Play Support Three Panels
Before you do anything — and especially before you start spending money, find out if your favourite games support three-panel gaming. Some games do right out of the box, while others will use your primary display and ignore the others. Titles like Battlefield 4, Borderlands 2, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, GRID Autosport and Elite: Dangerous all support three monitors with little additional configuration, you just have to group them first (more on how to do that later.) The Wide Screen Gaming Forum keeps a database of Eyefinity and Surround-capable games here you can search for your favourite titles before you go and buy a second or third display. If your favourite game isn’t in that list, it doesn’t mean it won’t work. The list only contains games verified to work with multiple panels, so newly released games may not be included yet, and games that require tweaks like third-party mods or FOV (field of view) hacks won’t show up either. Do your homework — odds are someone’s managed to make your favourite game work. Even if they haven’t, there are plenty of other games to choose from. Make Sure Your Graphics Card Can Support Three Displays
Next, before you run out and buy another display, see if your current graphics card can support three displays. Part of this is simple — just look at the back of your computer and see how many outputs your card has. If you’ve purchased a mid-to-upper tier card at all in the past four or five years, odds are you have at least one DVI output, DisplayPort output and HDMI output (possibly several of each). If you have at least three outputs (or one DisplayPort 1.2 port you can daisy-chain with compatible displays), you’re in good shape. If you only have two, all isn’t lost. Many video cards still support multiple displays connected to the a single output using a video splitter. That will work for everyday use, but likely not for gaming. You’ll need to consult the documentation for your card to be sure, or do a little research (like Googling your graphics card model and the terms “multiple monitors” and “splitter” at the same time) before you run out and buy a splitter. Similarly, mixing outputs from your graphics card can be tricky. Some video cards will work with any combination of connections, but others demand you use specific ports. Some support “passive” adaptors, meaning you can connect a dongle to convert a DVI port to a DisplayPort, for example. Others require “active” adaptors — meaning you’ll need to provide an additional power source before you can connect your card’s DVI port to a display’s DisplayPort input. Your best bet is to look around the web (again, search your card’s model number and “3 monitors” or “active” and “passive”) to see if other people have been successful with your card in a triple monitor setup. If all of that sounds like a pain, it is. If you start to get into the weeds with a card you already have, or get conflicting information from your research, you may be better off just upgrading your graphics card. Traditionally, AMD cards have been the go-to cards for triple (or more) monitor gaming, thanks to AMD’s Eyefinity technology. When it works, it works really well, and it seamlessly spans your game across multiple displays, and even gives you options to compensate for your display’s bezel width or use different resolutions. NVIDIA, not to be outdone, has NVIDIA Surround for multi-monitor gaming, which supports up to five displays and even 4K resolutions (on high end cards, of course). AMD has a history of making three-plus monitor gaming easy to set up, but if you’re an NVIDIA die-hard, your favourite card should work too. If you do upgrade, you’ll be happy to learn that all of this generation’s bang-for-your-buck cards can generally support three (or more) displays. AMD has a list of Eyefinity GPUs here, and NVIDIA has a list of Surround-supported GPUs here so you can make sure the card you want will work the way you want it to. Similarly, the folks at Tom’s Hardware have a great guide to graphics cards at all price points so you have a couple of options to start your search with. Before you buy, however, make sure to do a little research to see how other people have connected the card you’re interested in to three displays, and whether they made it work with the games you like to play. Some cards may require those splitters we mentioned, or share outputs on different connectors. (For example, the DVI port and the DisplayPort connectors are actually the same output.) A little homework in advance will make sure you get all of the components you need at once, and don’t have to wait for an adaptor or dongle to ship before your dream setup is complete. Make Sure All of Your Displays Can Connect to Your Graphics Card
Your next step is to make sure all of your displays can connect to the same graphics card. If you have displays with multiple inputs, such as DVI, DisplayPort, HDMI and other connection options, you can mix and match with whatever your graphics card supports best. For example, the the Dell Ultrasharp line is well known for cramming a ton of inputs on a thin (and relatively affordable) display. However, if you do your display shopping on a budget (and there are lots of cheap and awesome options out there), you’ll need to make sure your monitors have the inputs you need before you buy. Some high-quality panels that come come cheap sacrifice input options in order to keep price down. That means you may score a great 27-inch display, for example, that only has one DVI-D input and one VGA input. If you have a graphics card with a bunch of DisplayPort outputs, that could make things more difficult. You’d have to wind up spending money on adaptors and dongles to make everything work, and even then you could still run into problems. Seamless gaming on three displays doesn’t require that all three displays be connected at the same resolution and with the same connectors, but it certainly helps if they are. If you wind up having to bump a DisplayPort output down to VGA, you can bet it won’t work when you try to game with that display in the mix. Of course, the whole thing is a bit of a chicken and egg situation. If you already have a graphics card and you’re shopping for displays, you can just see how other people have set up three displays with your card and make sure you get displays with the right combination of ports (preferably three of the same display.) If you have the displays already and you’re shopping for cards, you can just buy according to the input options you have one those displays. If you already have both (like I did, unfortunately), you may be stuck buying dongles anyway and just hoping it works out. At the very least, you’ll be able to work with three displays, but your gaming may be limited to one or two. Enable All Three Monitors In Windows
Once you have the right card and the right displays, now you just have to the pieces together. If you have your displays connected and they’re all supported on the ports you’ve plugged them into, Windows should automatically recognise them. With luck, they will all work automatically. If they don’t, you may need to force your graphics card to detect or enable one of them. Right-click anywhere on your desktop, then select “Screen Resolution”. You’ll see all of the displays connected to your computer, along with their position relative to your primary display. If one of them is missing, try clicking “Detect” to make sure Windows sees them all. If it’s greyed out, there may be a problem with the connection, or the screen resolution you’re trying to run the display at may be too high. Try lowering the resolution on that display to see if it starts working. Similarly, make sure that “Multiple Displays” in the Screen Resolution control panel is set to “Extend these displays”. You may need to drag and drop their position around a bit in the control panel to make sure your desktop layout matches where the monitors are physically placed on your desk. Once you have everything set up and all three displays are running, click Apply and OK. At this stage, your displays are all set up for everyday work. You can use them productively for anything you want — web browsing on one, email on another, and open documents on the third — whatever you prefer. Group Your Displays and Fire Up Your Games
Now that all three displays are connected to your PC and working, we have to get them all set up for three-panel gaming. Here’s what you’ll need to do: Before anything else, update your graphics card’s drivers. Head over to AMD’s driver download page or NVIDIA’s driver download page and get the most recent drivers for your card. Install the drivers and restart your system. Once you’ve rebooted, launch your graphics card’s driver software (NVIDIA Control Panel or AMD’s Catalyst Control Center.) Next, we’ll set up your displays for multi-panel gaming. AMD owners have to create an “Eyefinity Display Group”, which tells your graphics card which display is the primary one (and should serve as the centre of your field of view in a game) and which ones are on either side. NVIDIA owners can click “Configure Surround, PhysX” to do the same thing. Both control panels will also let you correct for the thickness of your displays’ bezels, move displays around, change display resolutions while you’re gaming, and so on. After your display groups are configured, fire up one of your favourite titles. You’ll need to head into the game’s video settings and change the game’s resolution to match the total resolution of your combined displays (for example, three displays running at 1920px x 1200px will be 5760px x 1200px). Next, if your game allows you to change field of view, you’ll also want to expand it to get more of the game in your peripheral vision. Experiment with different values. Some games start you at about 45 degrees in front for a single display, and some let you go as high as 75 degrees or 90 degrees. You could go as high as possible, but you may wind up with distorted, fat-looking objects. Play around and see what works for you and the game you’re playing. Even if there’s no setting for FOV in your game’s video options, you may be able to manually edit the game’s config files. Every game is different, so do a little digging (like Googling your game’s name and “FOV” for example) to see what you can do. Either way, at this point, your favourite game should be up and spread across three displays, looking just the way you want it to. Don’t be disheartened if this all seems complicated — it’s actually fast and simple once you have all of the right parts, and once you know they all go together. Triple-display setups are easy to set up, but sometimes difficult to configure, mostly because there are plenty of points of failure. You may run into a graphics card that doesn’t support different screen sizes or resolutions, or a game that won’t span all three displays, or a broken driver that causes crazy artifacting in a specific game, and so on. The pieces fit together easily enough, but the devil is in the details. Once you get the kinks ironed out though, the rest is cake. Gaming on three displays — especially when the game you’re playing supports it — is a lot of fun. Once you get started, it’s difficult to go back to not having the same peripheral awareness you get with it. If you have the budget, the desk space (and a great triple-monitor stand option or two), and the time to get everything set up, it’s a great way to upgrade your PC gaming experience.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

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