Former quadriplegic runs, walks to show others they can

The worst day of Aaron Baker’s life wasn’t when the then-20-year-old professional motocross racer crashed his bike one spring day in 1999, flew over the handlebars and hit the ground head-first, paralyzing him from the neck down.

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The chances of walking again, he was told, were one in a million. He eventually used that as a mantra — when people say odds are a million to one, ignore the million and focus on the one — and has learned to walk again. It began with learning to do just one thing, beginning with getting just a few muscles in an arm to work and then moving on to another task.

Former quadriplegic runs, walks to show others they can

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EPA to certain news media: “Fuck You!”

The Environmental Protection Agency excluded several news outlets and reporters who regularly cover the agency from a press briefing and announcement regarding its release of a regulation that expands its jurisdiction over waterways.
The Washington Examiner, as well as publications such as U.S. News and World Report and the Alaska Dispatch-News, were not sent an email at about 7:15 a.m. informing a wide range of reporters and news organizations of the impending Waters of the United States rule. Those reporters also received a later email sent around 9 a.m. that included a blog post from EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Jo-Ellen Darcy, assistant secretary for the Army for Civil Works with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

via EPA shuts out Examiner, others from water rule announcement | WashingtonExaminer.com.

Leaving the Church of Environmentalism

That is why the predictions made by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and all the others based on computer models are, by definition, worthless. Computer models cannot predict anything about the vast chaotic global climate system. Even today, meteorologists are mystified by the actions of clouds which can form and disappear in minutes.
It’s useful to keep in mind that climate is measured in centuries, while the weather is reported as what is occurring today and forecast, at best, for no more than a week. Weather records are maintained for purposes of comparison and within the larger context of determining the Earth’s climate cycles. Like those in the past, the present cooling cycle is based on a comparable one of the Sun that is producing lower levels of radiation. You don’t need a Ph.D. in meteorology to understand this.
Carlin does not hesitate to excoriate the blather put forth by the alarmists; particularly their claims that the weather is affected in any significant fashion by human activity and development in particular. “There is simply no evidence thus far that the normal activities of man have or will result in catastrophic outcomes for either man or nature.”

Click forth and read all.

via Leaving the Church of Environmentalism | Watts Up With That?.

Spicoli’s Paradise: Ex-Bus Driver Announces New “Un País, Un Pene” Policy

El Hefe, Mucho Macho Maduro, announced today a new Government Policy, “To Prevent The Spread of Damned Yanqui Lies and Sexual Perversion – Un País, Un Pene” (One Country, One Penis.)

The ex-Bus Driver, after consultations with the men in his cabinet and friendly talks with Fidel, has decided to sacrifice himself to the good of the country.  From this point forward, all women (and some cute T-Girls) will be required to copulate with El Hefe, La Salchicha Grande, El Cabeza de Guevo, Nicolás “Huevón” Maduro.

Policy, assembly centers, and hygene requirement will be announced on the next, eagerly awaited, ever popular “en contacto con Maduro”  (No mangoes allowed at centers.)

Venezuela to Develop Sole Government Server to Keep Google, Social Media Out.

DC Council: ‘Our citizens are minding the law too well… Fuck them, raise the price of parking’

The D.C. Council on Thursday is prepared to consider whether to raise parking ticket fines by $5 and extend the hours for when meters in “premium zones,” which include the busiest commercial districts, will be in effect, from the current 10 p.m. until midnight. Parking ticket fines currently range from $25 to $250, depending on the violation.

via End of an era: Technology is changing the way we park as tickets decline – The Washington Post.

GH Reynolds: Fire college ‘Palace Eunuchs’ to fix higher ed

At California Polytechnic University-Pomona, for instance, the number of administrators grew 221% from 1975 to 2008. Administrators now outnumber faculty at that school 12,183 to 12,019. In 2010, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor employed 49% more full-time administrative and professional staff than full-time faculty. Nationwide, the number of full-time administrators per 100 students at leading universities grew by 39% between 1993 and 2007, while the number of employees engaged in teaching, research, or service grew only 18%, according to the Goldwater Institute.

Even when schools plead poverty and reduce faculty payrolls, transferring teaching duties to low-paid part time adjuncts, they keep hiring administrators. As a study from the New England Center for Investigative Reporting and the American Institutes for Research discovered, over the past 25 years the ratio of non-academic to academic positions, at both public and private universities, has doubled. When asked, college presidents blamed funding cuts and talk about efforts to cut costs. But the “funding cut” story is a “fairy tale”:

“In other words,” according to one recent New York Times column, “far from being caused by funding cuts, the astonishing rise in college tuition correlates closely with a huge increase in public subsidies for higher education.” Likewise, the cost-cutting is largely bogus: As economist Richard Vedder of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity says, “I wouldn’t buy a used car from a university president. They’ll say, ‘We’re making moves to cut costs,’ and mention something about energy-efficient lightbulbs, and ignore the new assistant to the assistant to the associate vice provost they just hired.”

But how to get rid of the Palace Eunucks ?

via Reynolds: Fire administrators to fix higher ed.

Iran Announces Intentions To Invade Iraq

 The head of Iran’s foreign military operations has described the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known as Isis, as a “plague” which threatens Iran’s security and accused the US of doing little to stop their advance in neighboring Iraq.
The comments by Major General Qassem Soleimani underline fears in the Islamic Republic about potential spillover into its territory and follow reports that Tehran sent troops to neighbouring Iraq to prevent further advances by Isis, which took control of the Iraqi provincial capital Ramadi and Syria’s ancient city of Palmyra last week.

Iran commander warns of Isis threat to its security

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Islamic State’s Win in Ramadi

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‘We have to protect the security of our borders and people from the ISIS scum.’ –Iran

FBI says search warrants not needed to use “stingrays” in public (con’d)

Update: San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department doesn’t tell judges it’s using spy device (Stingray)

The sheriff in San Bernardino County—east of Los Angeles County—has deployed a stingray hundreds of times without a warrant, and under questionable judicial authority.

In response to a public records request, the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department (SBSD) sent Ars, among other outlets, a rare example of a template for a “pen register and trap and trace order” application. (In the letter, county lawyers claimed this was a warrant application template, when it clearly is not.) The SBSD is the law enforcement agency for the entire county, the 12th-most populous county in the United States, and the fifth-most populous in California.

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This template application, surprisingly, cites no legal authority on which to base its activities. The SBSD did not respond to Ars’ request for comment.
“This is astonishing because it suggests the absence of legal authorization (because if there were clear legal authorization you can bet the government would be citing it),” Fred Cate, a law professor at Indiana University, told Ars by e-mail.
“Alternatively, it might suggest that the government just doesn’t care about legal authorization. Either interpretation is profoundly troubling,” he said.
The documents sent to Ars by the SBSD’s county attorneys also show that since acquiring a stingray in late 2012, the agency has used it 303 times between January 1, 2014 and May 7, 2015.

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The template is likely to mislead judges who receive applications based on it because it gives no indication that the Sheriff’s Department intends to use a stingray,” he wrote by e-mail.
“We have seen similarly misleading applications submitted to judges by police departments across the country,” he continued. “Judges have no hope of ensuring that use of stingrays complies with the Fourth Amendment if they are kept in the dark about law enforcement’s intent to use a stingray. When police hide the ball from judges, our justice system cannot ensure justice.”

Update: Baltimore Police Spying On Cellphones And Hiding It

A detective’s court testimony Monday revealed that Baltimore law enforcement is spying on residents at an incredible rate without a warrant — and doing their best to hide it.
Detective Michael Dressel testified that Baltimore law enforcement have used “sting rays”–devices that can track personal cell phone data and location–without court orders, The Baltimore Sun reports. Police said they have used sting rays 4,300 more than times since 2007.
“This is scandalous,” Tim Lynch, the Cato Institute’s Director for the Project on Criminal Justice, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Police agencies have misled the public about how the stingray devices have been used and how often. We need to find out what has been happening in other cities around the country. FBI officials and police chiefs need to come clean about this.”

Update: NYCLU releases details of EC Sheriff’s cell phone spying

The NYCLU says documents show the sheriff’s office has a confidentiality agreement with the FBI that allows it to maintain almost total secrecy over the records for this device, including that the FBI can request the sheriff’s office dismiss criminal prosecutions rather than risk compromising the secrecy of how the Stingray is used.]
“Stingrays are an advanced surveillance technology that can sweep up very private information, including information on innocent people,” said NYCLU Western Region Director John Curr III. “If the FBI can command the Sheriff’s Office to dismiss criminal cases to protect its secret stingrays, it is not clear how the $350,000 we are spending on stingray equipment is keeping the people of Buffalo safer.”

Update: NYT catches up on Stingray

A powerful new surveillance tool being adopted by police departments across the country comes with an unusual requirement: To buy it, law enforcement officials must sign a nondisclosure agreement preventing them from saying almost anything about the technology.
Any disclosure about the technology, which tracks cellphones and is often called StingRay, could allow criminals and terrorists to circumvent it, the F.B.I. has said in an affidavit. But the tool is adopted in such secrecy that communities are not always sure what they are buying or whether the technology could raise serious privacy concerns.
The confidentiality has elevated the stakes in a longstanding debate about the public disclosure of government practices versus law enforcement’s desire to keep its methods confidential. While companies routinely require nondisclosure agreements for technical products, legal experts say these agreements raise questions and are unusual given the privacy and even constitutional issues at stake.

Update: WaPost wakes up on Stingray

The Tallahassee police have used the StingRay or a similar device in 250 investigations over a six-year period from mid-2007 through early 2014, according to a list of cases compiled by the Tallahassee Police Department and provided to the American Civil Liberties Union.
That’s 40 or so instances a year in a city of 290,000, a surprisingly high rate given that the StingRay’s manufacturer, Harris Corp., has told the Federal Communications Commission that the device is used only in emergencies. At least 48 state and local law enforcement agencies in 20 states and the District of Columbia have bought the devices, according to the ACLU.
The secrecy surrounding the device’s use has begun to prompt a backlash in cities across the country. In Baltimore, a judge is pushing back against the refusal of police to answer questions while testifying. In Charlotte, N.C., following a newspaper investigation, the state’s attorney is reviewing whether prosecutors illegally withheld information about the device’s use from defendants.
In Tacoma, Wash., after a separate newspaper investigation found that judges in almost 200 cases had no idea they were issuing orders for the StingRay, the court set new rules requiring police to disclose the tool’s use. The state legislature is weighing a bill to regulate police use of the equipment.

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The bureau’s position on Americans’ privacy isn’t surprising. The Obama Administration has repeatedly maintained that the public has no privacy in public places. It began making that argument as early as 2010, when it told a federal appeals court that the authorities should be allowed to affix GPS devices on vehicles and track a suspect’s every move without court authorization. The Supreme Court, however, eventually ruled that warrants are required. What’s more, the administration has argued that placing a webcam with pan-and-zoom capabilities on a utility pole to spy on a suspect at his or her residence was no different from a police officer’s observation from the public right-of-way. A federal judge last month disagreed with the government’s position, tossing evidence gathered by the webcam that was operated from afar.

In their letter, Leahy and Grassley complained that little is known about how stingrays, also known as ISMI catchers, are used by law enforcement agencies. The Harris Corp., a maker of the devices from Florida, includes non-disclosure clauses with buyers. Baltimore authorities cited a non-disclosure agreement to a judge in November as their grounds for refusing to say how they tracked a suspect’s mobile phone. They eventually dropped charges rather than disclose their techniques. Further, sometimes the authorities simply lie to judges about their use or undertake other underhanded methods to prevent the public from knowing that the cell-site simulators are being used.

via FBI says search warrants not needed to use “stingrays” in public places | Ars Technica.

OMG: The Government Need To Take Out the Trash

Nuclear power plant technicians, senior military officers, FBI contractors and an employee of “a highly-secretive Department of Defense agency” with a Top Secret clearance. Those are just a few of the more than 100 people with sensitive military and government connections that law enforcement is tracking because they are linked to “outlaw motorcycle gangs.”

A year before the deadly Texas shootout that killed nine people on May 17, a lengthy report by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives detailed the involvement of U.S. military personnel and government employees in outlaw motorcycle gangs, or OMGs. A copy of the report was obtained by The Intercept.

The report lays out, in almost obsessive detail, the extent to which OMG members are represented in nearly every part of the military, and in federal and local government, from police and fire departments to state utility agencies. Specific examples from the report include dozens of Defense Department contractors with Secret or Top Secret clearances; multiple FBI contractors; radiological technicians with security clearances; U.S. Department of Homeland Security employees; Army, Navy and Air Force active-duty personnel, including from the special operations force community; and police officers.

If this is true.  Fuck them and their ‘careers’  they can go from wanna-be-Hells-Belles, to full time scum.

via Exclusive: Leaked Report Profiles Military, Police Members of Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs – The Intercept.

Did Blumenthal have US Classified documents?

Update: (NYT) Clinton Friend’s Memos on Libya Draw Scrutiny to Politics and Business

When the Clintons last occupied the White House, Sidney Blumenthal cast himself in varied roles

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Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, a Republican who is leading the congressional committee investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, plans to subpoena Mr. Blumenthal, 66, for a private transcribed interview.

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According to emails obtained by The New York Times, Mrs. Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time, took Mr. Blumenthal’s advice seriously, forwarding his memos to senior diplomatic officials in Libya and Washington and at times asking them to respond. Mrs. Clinton continued to pass around his memos even after other senior diplomats concluded that Mr. Blumenthal’s assessments were often unreliable.

Update (ProPublica):Private Emails Reveal Ex-Clinton Aide’s Secret Spy Network

Blumenthal, Grange, and Kikhia all did not respond to repeated attempts to reach them. Nick Merrill, a spokesman for Clinton had no comment on Blumenthal’s activities with Drumheller.

Update (WaTimes)Another mystery about Hillary’s private email

Did Mr. Blumenthal ever get a security clearance? Mrs. Clinton’s closest aide, Huma Abedin, never did, and when five Republican members of Congress asked State’s inspector general for the reason, they were pummeled by Democrats, the press, and some fellow Republicans.
If Mrs. Clinton had an off-the-books arrangement with Messrs. Blumenthal and Drumheller, it could have jeopardized national security. We have a right to know what it was, what purpose it served, at whose behest, how it guided her as secretary, and what, if any, payments were made to the parties involved.
If she did not have an association with Messrs. Blumenthal and Drumheller, she should be willing to disclose all of her communications.

Update: Was Hillary Clinton running her own rogue intel operation?

Driving While Smug

Courtesy: Nashua Police Department

Who gave Blumenthal these classified documents?  I seem to remember a recent federal prosecution for passing along classified documents.

Relevant Federal Code: 18 U.S. Code § 798 – Disclosure of classified information

(a) Whoever knowingly and willfully communicates, furnishes, transmits, or otherwise makes available to an unauthorized person, or publishes, or uses in any manner prejudicial to the safety or interest of the United States or for the benefit of any foreign government to the detriment of the United States any classified information

  • (1) concerning the nature, preparation, or use of any code, cipher, or cryptographic system of the United States or any foreign government; or
  • (2) concerning the design, construction, use, maintenance, or repair of any device, apparatus, or appliance used or prepared or planned for use by the United States or any foreign government for cryptographic or communication intelligence purposes; or
  • (3) concerning the communication intelligence activities of the United States or any foreign government; or
  • (4) obtained by the processes of communication intelligence from the communications of any foreign government, knowing the same to have been obtained by such processes—
    Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

The memos to Clinton carried titles like “Comprehensive Intel Report on Libya,” and included all-cap warnings that, “THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION COMES FROM EXTREMELY SENSITIVE SOURCES AND SHOULD BE HANDLED WITH CARE.” Blumenthal has not held a public post since leaving his White House job in January 2001.
Each memo included a note on the sources of intelligence included in the document. One typical memo referred to “Sources with access to the highest levels of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the leadership of the Armed Forces, and Western Intelligence, diplomatic, and security services.”

Blum Security Breach

Who in Gvt provided and emailed classified documents to Blumenthal?

In 2012, when Congressional investigators sought documents related to the attack on the United States diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, they were initially not supplied with emails from Mrs. Clinton’s private account. In 2013, Gawker submitted a Freedom of Information Act request seeking correspondence between Mrs. Clinton and a close adviser, Sidney Blumenthal. Though some of that correspondence had been made public already, the State Department told Gawker that it could find no records responsive to the request, Gawker reported.

It appears that Hillary was the World Traveling Face, and Sidney was doing all the reading and paperwork.

In its requests, the AP asked for her full schedules and calendars and for details on the State Department’s decision to grant a special position to a longtime Clinton aide, Huma Abedin, among other documents. The oldest request, the news organization said, was made in March 2010.

Huma Abedin…. oh yea!  You mean Mrs. Huma Abedin-Weiner.  Right.  Dick-n-Twitter‘s wife.  Did Mrs. Abedin-Weiner ever receive a security clearance?

via Associated Press Threatens Legal Action Over Request for Hillary Clinton Information – NYTimes.com.

policemen, sheepdogs, flock, predators

“Policemen are sometimes tempted into being sheepdogs who prefer to keep the flock corralled rather than protect it from the predators, because it’s easier to bite sheep than wolves”  –Sir Terence David John “Terry” Pratchett, Kt, OBE, 28 April 1948 – 12 March 2015

3D Printed Guns are for Jay-Vee. Major Leagues will print their own jet-powered Cruise Missiles

GE fires up fully 3D-printed jet engine

3D printed jet engineThe 1-foot long by 8-inch tall (30 by 20 cm) engine was built at GE Aviation’s Additive Development Center outside Cincinnati as a side project. The result of several years’ work, the purpose was to test the printing technology. It’s not the first 3D-printed jet engine, but it has been fired and revved up to 33,000 RPM.
GE says that the simplified design was necessary because building anything like a conventional commercial engine is beyond the present technology’s state of the art. The team therefore chose a design created for remote control model planes, which was modified for Direct Laser Metal Melting (DLMM) printing

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3D-printed UAV can go from not existing to flying within 24 hours

Engineers at the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Center (AMRC), however, have taken things a step farther. They’ve made a 3D-printed UAV airframe that’s designed to minimize the amount of material needed in its construction, and that can be printed and in the air within a single day.

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ArduPilot Autopilot Suite

Point-and-click programming/configuration gets you up and operating without hassle
Multiple command modes: Acro, Stabilize, Loiter, Alt-hold, Return To Launchpoint, Land, Simple, Guided, Position, Circle, Follow Me, GeoFence, and Auto (which runs fully scripted missions using GPS waypoints)

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Insanity by the Press (CNN could do hours each week on the horrors of home-made, jet powered, cruise missiles) and faster a knee-jerk from Politicians than a cash donation in a plain envelope.

Air Force to certify SpaceX for launches by June

Certification of the Falcon 9 under the revised agreement is expected no later than the end of June 2015, the Air Force command said. SpaceX had filed suit in 2014 contesting the $11 billion sole-source EELV contract to ULA, a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin. In January, SpaceX agreed to drop the lawsuit, while the Air Force said the company could compete for future contracts once its certification was complete.
“We look forward to completing the certification process and competing for EELV missions,” SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell stated.

via Air Force to certify SpaceX for launches by June — Defense Systems.

Greek Election Results on Lake Michigan (Bond Status)

Update: Moody’s downgrades Chicago debt to ‘junk’ with negative outlook

Moody’s downgraded Chicago’s credit rating down to junk level “Ba1” from “Baa2.”

The announcement, which the ratings agency released Tuesday afternoon, cited a recent Illinois court ruling voiding state pension reforms. Moody’s said it saw a negative outlook for the city’s credit.

Following that May court decision, Moody’s said it believes that “the city’s options for curbing growth in its own unfunded pension liabilities have narrowed considerably.”

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel criticized the downgrade.
“While Chicago’s financial crisis is very real and at our doorsteps, today’s irresponsible decision by Moody’s to downgrade the City’s credit by two steps goes far beyond that reality,” he said. “Their decision was driven solely by the overturning of a state pension bill that did not include Chicago’s pension reform, yet they did not downgrade the State of Illinois.”

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NO AUSTERITY!!!

Chicago’s finances are already sagging under an unfunded pension liability Moody’s has pegged at $32 billion and that is equal to eight times the city’s operating revenue. The city has a $300 million structural deficit in its $3.53 billion operating budget and is required by an Illinois law to boost the 2016 contribution to its police and fire pension funds by $550 million.

The downgrade and violation of terms on the swaps agreement likely will become an issue in Emanuel’s re-election campaign. The first-term mayor, a former chief of staff to President Barack Obama, failed on Tuesday to win a majority of votes in a primary election, and faces a runoff vote April 7 against a Cook County commissioner, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.

What if Chuy wins?  Garcia is a Teacher’s Creature (hand-selected by CTU President Karen Lewis [I hope you get better Ms. Lewis.  Your politics are odious but your life is not.])  The CTU is not ready to embrace the changes needed in pension reforms that the city will have to make.  I will guess they would rather have ‘other’ city unions take/make reforms.

Some Chicago debt is trading at worse levels than bonds sold by Illinois, which is paying the biggest yield penalty among states in the U.S. municipal bond market due to its own fiscal woes.

The spread on Friday for Chicago bonds due in 2019 over the market’s benchmark triple-A scale hit 125 basis points, which is 25 basis points over Illinois’ so-called credit spread, according to Municipal Market Data.

Someone go up to the big house Englewood and ask Rod where the money went.

http://is.gd/gx9F0G

Same Old Clinton Headlines, Same Old Players

“Hillary Clinton’s damage control operation gets more troops”

Correct The Record, an outside rapid response and research group dedicated to defending the records of Clinton and the other Democratic presidential candidates is reorganizing so it can coordinate with Clinton’s campaign and devote all of its resources to her.
Founded by Clinton ally David Brock in late 2013, Correct the Record is splitting off from its parent organization, the opposition research group American Bridge 21st Century, and registering with the Federal Election Commission as a stand-alone super PAC, the group announced Tuesday.

DC Dave has you covered, Granny

DC Dave has you covered, Granny

Ghads.  When hasn’t this been a headline during the eons the Clinton’s have held political office.

via Hillary Clinton’s damage control operation gets more troops – Annie Karni – POLITICO.