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Member since: Fri Nov 12, 2004, 07:39 AM
Number of posts: 43,168

Journal Archives

Food Stamp Myths Debunked - 'FACT: Every $1 in SNAP benefits generates $1.73 in economic activity'


The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or SNAP, the new name for food stamps), is one of the best lines of defense against hunger in the United States. The federally funded program helps working families, seniors and many others in need put food on their tables. But stereotypes about SNAP and who uses it persist.

Let's set the record straight:

Myth #1: People who get SNAP don’t work.

FACT: In 2010 according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the program, 30% of households enrolled in SNAP do work. Of all SNAP households in the United States, 49% include children, 16% include seniors and 20% include someone disabled. All together, 76% of SNAP households contain a child, a senior or a disabled person.

Myth #2: SNAP is a drain on taxpayers.

FACT: Every $1 in SNAP benefits generates $1.73 in economic activity, according to Moody's economist Mark Zandi. SNAP not only helps low-income people buy groceries, it frees up cash for other expenses, such as medical care, clothing, home repairs and childcare. That benefits local businesses and their employees, which boosts the economy as a whole.

Myth #3: SNAP is rife with fraud and abuse.

FACT: “SNAP has one of the most rigorous quality control systems of any public benefit program,” according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. SNAP fraud has actually been cut by three-quarters over the past 15 years, and the program’s error rate is at an all-time low of less than 3 percent. The introduction of EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) cards has dramatically reduced consumer fraud. According to the USDA, the small amount of fraud that continues is usually on the part of retailers, not consumers.


Chris Christie to Heckler: 'Sit Down and Keep Quiet or Get Out'

Source: CBS News

Chris Christie to heckler: "Sit down and keep quiet or get out"

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. - Six hecklers were ejected from a town hall with Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J. after shouting about a political payback scandal that has ensnared his administration. Five were escorted out Thursday after yelling about the George Washington Bridge scandal and other matters.

Police removed the sixth, Rowan University student Michael Brein, after he began shouting about the distribution of Superstorm Sandy aid. The 19-year-old says he's affiliated with the left-leaning Working Family Alliance.

After the first heckler interrupted an audience member's question, Christie stopped the questioner and turned to face the heckler.

"Listen, listen. ... Either sit down and keep quiet or get out, one or the other. We are done with you," Christie said to applause from the mostly supportive audience.

Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/chris-christie-to-heckler-sit-down-and-keep-quiet-or-get-out

Report: Missing Airplane Flew On For Hours

Source: Associated Press


Mar. 13, 2014 1:20 AM EDT

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — The Wall Street Journal is reporting that U.S. investigators suspect a missing Malaysian jetliner flew on for four hours once it lost contact with air traffic controllers.

The suspicion is based on data from the plane's engines that are automatically downloaded and transmitted to the ground as part of routine maintenance programs.

The report raises questions as to why the Boeing 777 was flying like that, and if anyone was in control during that time.

The plane's last known confirmed position was roughly halfway between Malaysia and Vietnam.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/report-missing-airplane-flew-hours

UPDATE: @BreakingNews: Malaysia's transport minister says media reports suggesting lost Malaysia Airlines aircraft kept flying are inaccurate - live video

How the NSA Plans to Infect ‘Millions’ of Computers with Malware (Snowden Docs)

Source: The Intercept

How the NSA Plans to Infect ‘Millions’ of Computers with Malware

By Ryan Gallagher and Glenn Greenwald
12 Mar 2014, 9:19 AM EDT 9

One presentation outlines how the NSA performs “industrial-scale exploitation” of computer networks across the world.

Top-secret documents reveal that the National Security Agency is dramatically expanding its ability to covertly hack into computers on a mass scale by using automated systems that reduce the level of human oversight in the process.

The classified files – provided previously by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden – contain new details about groundbreaking surveillance technology the agency has developed to infect potentially millions of computers worldwide with malware “implants.” The clandestine initiative enables the NSA to break into targeted computers and to siphon out data from foreign Internet and phone networks.

The covert infrastructure that supports the hacking efforts operates from the agency’s headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, and from eavesdropping bases in the United Kingdom and Japan. GCHQ, the British intelligence agency, appears to have played an integral role in helping to develop the implants tactic.

In some cases the NSA has masqueraded as a fake Facebook server, using the social media site as a launching pad to infect a target’s computer and exfiltrate files from a hard drive. In others, it has sent out spam emails laced with the malware, which can be tailored to covertly record audio from a computer’s microphone and take snapshots with its webcam. The hacking systems have also enabled the NSA to launch cyberattacks by corrupting and disrupting file downloads or denying access to websites.

Read more: https://firstlook.org/theintercept/article/2014/03/12/nsa-plans-infect-millions-computers-malware/

TOM TOMORROW: Sunday Talking About Stuff Show (This Week: Ukraine)

DAILY KOS LINK: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/03/10/1282383/-Cartoon-Sunday-Talking-About-Stuff-nbsp-Show

AP: Why Malaysia Airlines Jet Might Have Disappeared


— Mar. 8, 2014 8:07 PM EST

NEW YORK (AP) — The most dangerous parts of a flight are takeoff and landing. Rarely do incidents happen when a plane is cruising seven miles above the earth.

So the disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines jet well into its flight Saturday morning over the South China Sea has led aviation experts to assume that whatever happened was quick and left the pilots no time to place a distress call.

It could take investigators months, if not years, to determine what happened to the Boeing 777 flying from Malaysia's largest city of Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

"At this early stage, we're focusing on the facts that we don't know," said Todd Curtis, a former safety engineer with Boeing who worked on its 777 wide-body jets and is now director of the Airsafe.com Foundation.

If there was a minor mechanical failure — or even something more serious like the shutdown of both of the plane's engines — the pilots likely would have had time to radio for help. The lack of a call "suggests something very sudden and very violent happened," said William Waldock, who teaches accident investigation at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz.

It initially appears that there was either an abrupt breakup of the plane or something that led it into a quick, steep dive. Some experts even suggested an act of terrorism or a pilot purposely crashing the jet.

"Either you had a catastrophic event that tore the airplane apart, or you had a criminal act," said Scott Hamilton, managing director of aviation consultancy Leeham Co. "It was so quick and they didn't radio."


Malaysia Airlines Says It 'Has Lost Contact' With Plane Carrying 239 People

Source: AFP

Malaysia Airlines
27 minutes ago
MEDIA STATEMENT released at 7.24am/8 Mar 2014 MH370 Incident

Sepang, 8 March 2014: Malaysia Airlines confirms that flight MH370 has lost contact with Subang Air Traffic Control at 2.40am, today (8 March 2014).

Flight MH370, operated on the B777-200 aircraft, departed Kuala Lumpur at 12.41am on 8 March 2014. MH370 was expected to land in Beijing at 6.30am the same day. The flight was carrying a total number of 227 passengers (including 2 infants), 12 crew members.

Read more: https://www.facebook.com/my.malaysiaairlines/posts/514299315349933?cid=crisis_management_19726844&stream_ref=10

Street Name Mix-Up May Have Delayed Response to Deadly Fire

Source: CBS News

Street name mix-up may have delayed response to deadly fire

Mar 6, 2014 9:54 PM EST

JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- Mayor Steven Fulop said a possible street mix-up may have delayed the response to a massive Jersey City fire that left four members of the same family dead and dozens of other residents displaced.

Fulop said there was some confusion with dispatchers as to the exact location of the blaze, which broke out at 28 1/2 Grant Ave. just after 1 a.m. Thursday.

"The initial call indicated what sounded like 'Grand' with a 'D,' and there was no indicator of street or avenue, which made it difficult for the dispatcher, who initially directed toward 'Grand' with a 'D' instead of 'Grant' with a 'T,' and it could have potentially resulted in a delay," Fulop told 1010 WINS, CBS Radio in New York.

Fulop told WCBS 880 the city is already considering changing the name of one of the streets.
Some neighbors said it took 20 to 25 minutes before firefighters arrived. Fulop said the response time was seven to eight minutes -- about double the usual time.

Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/street-name-mix-up-may-have-delayed-response-to-deadly-fire

Don't Forget: Rachel Maddow's "Why We Did It: Bush's Oil War" On Tonight MSNBC 9 PM ET


Rachel Maddow: CIA Spying on Congress 'is Death of the Republic Stuff'


Rachel Maddow: CIA spying on Congress ‘is death of the Republic stuff’

By Arturo Garcia
Wednesday, March 5, 2014 23:49 EST

A dispute between the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Senate Intelligence Committee may have spilled into dangerous territory, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow said on Wednesday, following a New York Times report that agency operatives gained access to the computers being used by lawmakers to investigate the agency.

“This is kind of death of the Republic kind of stuff,” Maddow said. “The whole separation of powers thing almost pales in comparison to the seriousness of the allegation that a nation’s own spy services have been turned against its’ own government. Particularly, where that government is supposed to be overseeing the spy services.”

The Times reported that the allegations exacerbated an ongoing rift between the agency and the committee over the CIA’s now-defunct interrogation program, which included waterboarding and other techniques in secret prisons located outside the U.S. Agency officials reportedly grew concerned that committee members had gained unauthorized access to CIA documents in the course of compiling the report, which is reportedly more than 6,000 pages long and highly critical of the agency. The program was shut down by President Barack Obama not long after he took office.

McClatchy Newspapers also reported that the agency’s inspector general has asked the Justice Department to open its own criminal investigation into the matter.

Sen. Mark Udall (D-UT) hinted at the allegation in a letter to President Barack Obama, Maddow said, alluding to “unprecedented action” taken by the CIA against the committee.

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