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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 01:08 PM
Number of posts: 46,164

About Me

Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives


Toon- The un-giver

US drone strike (Dec. 25th) kills three in northwest Pakistan

Miranshah (Pakistan) (AFP) - A US drone strike targeting a militant compound killed at least three suspected insurgents in a restive Pakistani tribal region near the Afghan border late Wednesday, officials said.

The attack took place around midnight in Qutab Khel village, five kilometres (three miles) south of Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan tribal region, a stronghold for Taliban and Al-Qaeda linked militants.

"A US drone fired two missiles on a militant compound, killing at least three suspected insurgents," a senior security official told AFP.

A security official in Peshawar confirmed the attack and casualties.

Another official in Miranshah put the death toll at four and said a fifth militant was seriously injured.



Federal judge rules that TSA, FBI can detain and arrest you for carrying Arabic flashcards

By Scott Kaufman

A former college student detained at Philadelphia International Airport after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials discovered he was carrying Arabic language flashcards lost his bid to sue the federal agents who detained him.

Nicholas George alleged that the TSA agents violated his First and Fourth Amendment rights when they arrested him as he tried to board a flight from his Philadelphia home to Pomona College in 2009.

According to Chief Judge Theodore McKee’s ruling, despite the fact that George clearly had the right to carry the flashcards, the TSA agents were “at the outer boundary” of justifiability in detaining him. In addition to everyday words and phrases like “day before yesterday,” “fat,” “cheap,” and “pink,” the deck of flashcards also contained and phrases like “bomb,” “terrorist,” “explosion,” and “to target.”

Judge McKee believes that those words and phrases warranted further investigation, even though George told the officers that he was using the flashcards in order to learn Arabic for a study abroad program in which he would be traveling to Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan.

“I want to serve my country using my Arabic language,” George told CNN. “And it just seems crazy to me that for that I was arrested and treated like a criminal.”



"Judges have to be neutral, but they don't have to be eunuchs"

US judge defends scathing remarks on financial crisis

A federal judge in New York who wrote a scathing opinion article questioning the lack of high-level financial crisis prosecutions says he was offering his views "not as a judge but as a citizen."

Still, U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff is making no apologies.

"Judges have to be neutral, but they don't have to be eunuchs," Rakoff said.

Rakoff spoke exclusively with CNBC in some of his first public comments following the controversial essay in the January 9 edition of the New York Review of Books headlined "The Financial Crisis: Why Have No High-Level Executives Been Prosecuted?" In the article, Rakoff writes that if the financial crisis is a result of intentional fraud, "the failure to prosecute those responsible must be judged one of the more egregious failures of the criminal justice system in many years."

In the interview, conducted by phone while the judge was in his chambers in New York, Rakoff said he wrote the article because he was puzzled by what he called "seeming inconsistencies;" some parts of the government-like the independent Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission-concluding there was fraud, while the Justice Department has so far declined to prosecute top Wall Street executives.

Rakoff said the explanation by some prosecutors for the lack of high-level cases is "implausible," and called the suggestion by some top officials including Attorney General Eric Holder that some prosecutions would damage the economy-the so-called "too big to jail" argument-"a doubtful proposition."



Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood declared 'terrorist group'

Source: BBC

The military-backed interim Egyptian government has declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group after blaming it for a deadly attack on a police HQ earlier this week.

The group, whose candidate Mohammed Morsi won the presidential poll last year before being deposed by the military, had already been outlawed.

Thousands of its supporters have been arrested in a crackdown.

A Muslim Brotherhood leader in exile vowed that protests would continue.

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-25515932

Dallas' Omni Hotel welcomes homeless guests for Christmas

It's going to be a good Christmas for hundreds of homeless men and women staying at the Omni Hotel.

SoupMobile once again organized the annual event called "Room at the Inn." About 500 homeless guests were treated to new clothes, a room and a banquet in their honor Tuesday, all in the name of Jesus and his birth.

"You know, Christmas is a hard time for a lot of us that are struggling and our not with our families," said Ginger Harvey, who's homeless. "So this really, really helps us."

Not only will the guests wake up in a warm bed on Christmas morning, but about 1,000 volunteers will be working to make their stay magical.

"So just imagine when those doors open and our homeless friends look out. Wow, it's Christmas. And all these people came out for us. It gives them so much hope," said Lon Ricker, director of development for SoupMobile.

Read more: http://www.myfoxdfw.com/story/24295987/omni-hotel-welcomes-homeless-guests-for-christmas

Solar power is growing so fast in California that it is turning the state’s power system upside down

Catching Rays in California, and Storing Them

WASHINGTON — Solar power is growing so fast in California — with installations by customers increasing tenfold since 2006 — that it is turning the state’s power system upside down.

In a twist that is being closely watched by power companies around the country, California utilities will install massive banks of batteries and other devices to store the power surplus created by solar panels in the afternoon, when the sun’s rays are strong. The batteries are then to begin discharging power into California’s electric grid in the early evening, around sunset, when the solar generation of energy dies down but demand rises as millions of people get home and turn on air-conditioners, televisions and other electricity gobblers.

The new system is the opposite of an idea utilities have considered for years: Use batteries to store power at night from traditional sources, like natural gas and coal, and run them down in the peak heat of late afternoon.

“It is the reverse of the way we’ve always thought of storage,” Gregory Reed, director of the Electric Power Initiative at the University of Pittsburgh.


1,000 dolphins dead following epidemic break out


ORLANDO - More than 1,000 migratory bottlenose dolphins have died from a measles-like virus along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard in 2013 and the epidemic shows no sign of abating, a marine biologist said on Monday.

The death toll exceeds the 740 dolphins killed during the last big outbreak of the then-unknown virus in 1987-88.

"It is having a significant impact and that is something we're monitoring closely," said Erin Fougeres, a marine mammal biologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

An estimated 39,206 bottlenose dolphins populated the eastern seaboard, to a depth of 25 feet, from New Jersey to Central Florida in 2010, according to the latest NOAA census.



Mark Fiore Flashtoon: Saint Ayn Rand visits the day after Christmas!

Mark- Get ready for a visit from Saint Ayn Rand on the day after Christmas! With a million and a half people losing their unemployment benefits, there’ll be tough times ahead for all you “moochers.” But don’t worry, Rand Paul and crew are just trying to help you, promise.

The poor and unemployed are just too comfortable and need to have meager help from the government taken away– which will magically help them get jobs! Never mind that there are three times as many job seekers as job openings. The poor just need to buck up, pull themselves up by their bootstraps and pop on a helpful tri-cornered hat! Oh, and if you’re on food stamps, be prepared to pee in a cup to get your $1.40 per meal.

Forgetting about the congressional heartlessness, I hope you all have a great holiday season

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