Category: Crime

Microsoft confronts the DOJ and Congress over global privacy


Some folks think this is up-to-date

American law enforcement officials cannot get evidence located in other countries without the help of foreign governments. But can an American company be ordered by a court to turn over information stored on computer servers located in another country? The Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York will consider that question this week in a narcotics case in which federal prosecutors want access to a Microsoft email account stored in Ireland.

The case raises difficult questions about the reach of domestic law and the Internet’s global nature. It also points to significant gaps in American laws, which do not address how data stored abroad should be treated. Congress passed the Stored Communications Act, the law at issue in this case, in 1986, when few people could have foreseen cloud computing or imagined that businesses would operate data centers around the world that store messages and documents of Americans and foreigners alike.

I certainly hope you don’t think the lazy bastards we elected would keep up-to-date with changing technology and legal responsibility. Some of these clowns still haven’t figured out civil rights or having a commitment to the whole electorate.

Microsoft is asking the court to quash a warrant issued by a federal magistrate judge in December, contending that it cannot be compelled to turn over information located in its Irish data center because American law does not apply there. It argues that to obtain information stored in Ireland, the Justice Department needs to go through the legal-assistance treaty between that country and the United States. Other companies, including Verizon, AT&T and Apple, and public-interest groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation have filed briefs supporting Microsoft’s position.

The United States attorney’s office in Manhattan, which is fighting Microsoft, argues that going through foreign governments would be far too cumbersome and would allow criminals to evade American law by storing information about illegal activities on foreign servers.

Not much more detail needed. The crux of the case is privacy protection which can affect all of us.

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Acid-head shows up at pizza shop wearing just a towel, carrying a gun!

Engle jail

A Michigan man allegedly decided to drop acid and take a trip down to a local pizza place while only wearing a towel. Staff members at Happy’s Pizza in Muskegon Township were not too pleased to see Phillip Andrew Engle show up because he allegedly had a gun and three children with him when he arrived.

The 27-year-old began banging on the glass at the front of the pizzeria and his gun went off. He may have been angry about not being able to eat at the business, although it was open at the time and two employees were working.

No one was injured and Engle walked home after the gun discharged. Police found him sitting on his porch with his 40 caliber semi-automatic in hand. Officers asked him to drop the weapon and he complied.

According to Muskegon Township Police Chief Ken Sanford, Engle admitted to taking four hits of acid before the incident

After the officer defused the “potentially very dangerous situation,” Engle was arrested and brought to a local hospital to be evaluated.

Who says life in small town America is never interesting?

Let’s check out Bill’s gun collection – no worries about any being loaded!

Katherine Lynn Bryan grew up in New Port Richey, Florida, the youngest in a tight-knit group of four siblings. She recently got married and became Katherine Hoover. At the age of 25, she was five months pregnant. The new baby was going to be her second son.

Instead, a tragic gun accident at a friend’s house left the young mother and her unborn child dead Sunday…

A stay-at-home mother who had recently moved from New Port Richey to Inverness, Katherine Hoover died in a hospital emergency room early Sunday.

She was shot in the head Saturday evening while being shown a gun at a friend’s house in Brooksville, authorities said.

She and her husband, Carson Hoover, had gone to visit friends at 20079 Suncrest Drive in northwest Brooksville, just outside the city limits.

Sometime around 6:45 p.m. inside the house, William DeHayes was showing the Hoovers some of his guns, including a .22-caliber revolver. The gun accidentally fired and shot Katherine Hoover in the head, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.

Hoover was rushed to Bayfront Health Brooksville and then airlifted to Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point.

Her unborn child could not be saved. Shortly before 8 p.m. Saturday, physicians removed the 5-month-old fetus from his dying mother in a last-ditch attempt to save him. But he was pronounced dead just after 8:30 p.m.

Hoover succumbed to her injuries just after 3 a.m. Sunday. She is survived by her other son, 6-year-old Nicholas, her family said.

So far — coppers say, “Hey, it’s an accident” and no charges preferred against DeHayes for handling a loaded gun and killing someone.

Keep on rocking in the Free World!

Israelis shell a UN emergency shelter — kills 15, injures 200


This is how Israel brings Western democracy to the Middle eastMichael Longari/AFP/Getty Images

At least 15 people have been reported killed and 200 injured in the Israeli shelling of a UN school in northern Gaza which was being used as a shelter from fierce clashes on the streets outside…

In an interview with Al Jazeera Chris Gunness, the spokesman for UNRWA, the UN’s humanitarian organisation in Gaza, said his organisation had been in contact with Israeli forces as fighting closed in on the shelter.

“We gave the Israelis the precise GPS co-ordinates of the Beit Hanoun shelter. We were trying to co-ordinate a window [for evacuation] and that was never granted…”

He called the attack “tragic and appalling”…

Robert Turner, the director for UNRWA told Al Jazeera there was no warning from the Israelis before the shells landed.

This is a designated emergency shelter,” he said. “The location was conveyed to the Israelis.

“This was an installation we were managing, that monitored [to ensure] that our neutrality was maintained.

Thoughtful, concerned citizens of many nations want a UN investigation into Israeli war crimes like this and others. Of course, that doesn’t include representatives from the United States government. It really doesn’t matter how many civilians are killed by Israel’s military – to Congress, the White House, to the less-than-courageous journalists of the center and right mass media.

It has never mattered to the Israeli government or their kriegsmaschine.

Israelis shell Gaza hospitals


In the Al-Aqsa HospitalMohammed Abed/AFP-Getty Images

Israeli tanks have shelled a hospital in the central Gaza Strip, killing at least five people and wounding at least another 50.

Al Jazeera’s Stephanie Dekker, reporting from Gaza, said according to early reports the third floor of the al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah had been hit by at least three tank shells on Monday…

Al-Aqsa Hospital is the third to be hit by Israeli tank fire since Israel launched its ground offensive in Gaza four days ago.

Al Jazeera’s Dekker said the scene of the hospital shelling was an area “where a lot of people had been fleeing to”…”There’s extremely heavy shelling going on in that neighbourhood. This is an area you’d think would be relatively safe,” she said…

A distressed doctor at the scene of the attack told Al Jazeera: “We cannot do anything here for our patients, all the patients, all the injured in the emergency department.”

There were no known indications that the hospital was used by armed factions of Hamas…

That is the excuse the Israeli military always uses for killing civilians in any facility normally protected by international protocols.

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Dumb crook of the day

dumb selfie

An Illinois woman who allegedly stole a dress from a West Frankfort store was arrested after she posted a selfie of herself wearing the pilfered garment on Facebook.

Danielle Saxton allegedly swiped a leopard-print dress from Mortie’s Boutique and then posted four photos of herself wearing the ill-gotten garb just hours later. Saxton even made one of the snaps her profile picture.

People who had also seen the store post about the theft were able to connect the dots and alert police. “Not two hours and our stolen dress has shown up on Facebook,” Mortie’s posted. “Gotta love it.”

“We just had a description and a direction of travel, but when the social media aspect played into it, we were able to identify who it was. And by looking at the background of the photograph we were able to pinpoint where she was at,” said Police Chief Shawn Talluto.

When police arrived to arrest the 27-year-old suspect, she was holding the dress and other stolen clothes.

The store previously used its surveillance cameras and social media to catch three other…shoplifters.

Same as it ever was. You don’t set off on a day’s worth of stealing because you’re extra bright.

Remembering absent friends and more…

30 seconds over Tokyo

It’s been a tough morning.

Up early as usual. Because of my wife’s work routine, we’re usually up before 5AM. Habit runs right through the weekend.

I figured to watch the start of the German Gran Prix. Had it set to record so I could check back through the race after it was over. But, I started to look around to see what else was on TV this early. I certainly wasn’t going to watch the news. Guaranteed it would be them dangerous furriners killing each other in Ukraine; brave little Israel killing Arabs in self-defense at a rate of 200 to 1; crowds of white Americans demonstrating our freedom by massing to keep children fleeing North towards our border from crossing into the Land of Liberty.

I don’t recall the channel; but, there was 30 SECONDS OVER TOKYO…the story of the shock raid by a few American bombers that took off from an aircraft carrier in 1942 to bring the war started by Japan – home to the Japanese nation. You can read about the raid any number of places. The movie is pretty accurate.

It became harder to watch than I thought. I saw the movie when it came out in the autumn of 1944 at our neighborhood movie theater. My sister and me, mom and dad. Four of my uncles were still overseas in the war. One of my older cousins was missing in the Pacific.

I didn’t remember General Doolittle’s speech to the pilots and crew before they lifted their B-25 Mitchell bombers off the flight deck of the Hornet. So, it took me by surprise when he finished by explaining to the airmen this would be the first time American pilots bombed a city. Yes, these were military targets; but, innocent civilians were inevitably going to be killed and injured. Anyone who didn’t want to take part in what some would feel was murder of the innocents could step aside and no one would think the worse of them.

And I had to cry.

First and foremost, all the emotions of those days of war flooded back into my heart and mind. People I loved, people I didn’t even know. Tens of thousands dying horrible deaths around the globe from England to Asia and the Pacific. Then, I couldn’t help but reflect on what our nation has become; how hardened and distorted our culture has become – we now only describe the murder of innocent civilians as “collateral damage”. We can send in pilotless drones to fire missiles at our enemy du jour and maybe only kill a few members of their families. Guilty of being kin to evil men. What have we become?

I couldn’t finish watching the movie. I got as far as the Ruptured Duck, one of the B-25s crash-landing in the ocean just off the coast of China – as did all the planes after the mission. Running out of fuel near China or the Soviet Union. Crashing into the sea or just inland. Most of those who flew the attack survived the mission.

In what was called one of the worst war crimes of the century, Japan executed 250,000 Chinese civilians along the coast because some had aided our airmen to survival and eventual safety.

Airbus patents new airline seat designed for pain and profit

1405380510-0

Last month, Airbus filed a patent for a new kind of airline seat, called a “seating device comprising a forward-foldable backrest.” This is a revolutionary idea that will enable them to pack more people onto a flight by eliminating that silly cushioned seat that can double as a flotation device and replace it with a foldable bicycle seat. The backrest will be a tiny lumbar support. No more tray, which you don’t need because they don’t serve meals on planes anyway. No more armrests, since you and your seat mate fight over them anyway.

Airbus openly acknowledges that packing more passengers on board is going to result in reduced comfort, and that the goal is basically to figure out how far they can go without inciting an airborne revolt.

Reduced comfort remains tolerable for the passengers in as much as the flight lasts only one or a few hours,” Airbus sagely calculates…

With the advent of TSA and the Department of Homeland Insecurity I don’t fly, anymore. So, unless car and truck manufacturers become equally demented, I shouldn’t have to confront this insanity.

For the rest of you? Good luck. And here’s an historic alternative:

airbus seating

Thanks, Ursarodinia

What the Taliban buy when shopping for themselves


140 pairs of tidy whities, bro’

An army offensive in Taliban-dominated tribal areas of Pakistan has caused large numbers of people to flee to safer regions. Among them is shopkeeper Rasheed Rehman, who until recently counted Taliban fighters among his best customers…

Miranshah is the administrative capital of North Waziristan, close to the Afghan border. Rasheed says he had a large shop in the main market there, selling all manner of cosmetics, socks and stockings, and a few electronic items.

He says he used to earn between 100,000 and 115,000 rupees a day, and that Taliban militants were the biggest spenders. According to Rasheed, they would buy plenty of goods on every visit – and they wouldn’t haggle to get prices reduced.

“They used to prefer foreign or branded perfumes and imported body sprays. They liked the ones with a strong scent.”

In fact, Rasheed would travel especially to Islamabad and Lahore in order to procure the kind of imported merchandise the Taliban preferred…

The perfumes they bought for their womenfolk included one called Secret Love, and Blue Lady by Rasasi.

They would ask for Head and Shoulders or Clear shampoo and Dove soap.

When it came to underwear, they preferred it white – briefs or Y fronts…

Another shopkeeper from Miranshah, Sohail Masih, a tailor, confirms that the Taliban would invariably be the best customers in the market, spending 2,000 to 3,000 rupees at a time – for many people that would be two weeks’ salary.

“They would drive to my shop in big white cars with black-tinted windows and had no qualms about doling out wads of cash,” he says.

“The kind of things they would buy, well people like me can’t even conceive of buying them.”

Pointing out once again that we’re dealing with run-of-the-mill bandits, folks. Neither the average Pashtun or Pakistani nor fixated Tea Party Islamophobes have their history or facts straight. Just because gangsters and thugs claim their mission is grounded in some variant of a religion doesn’t make it so.

And that ain’t new. Petty despots have claimed their mission is one of fighting for religious freedom, ethnic liberation, sectarian justice – time and again. A significant part of the trouble is the “other side” of the conflict is often just as willing to accept that crap lie as advocacy because it fits their own matrix of hate.

Connecticut man arrested for “threatening” after stabbing watermelon

A Thomaston man is accused of stabbing a watermelon with a butcher knife and leaving it in the kitchen for a woman to see, in what police describe as a “passive aggressive” swipe that landed him in custody. She was unnerved by what she perceived to be a menacing gesture directed at her and reported it to police.

On Monday, Carmine Cervellino, 49, of 126 Hickory Hill Road, was arraigned in Bantam Superior Court on charges of second-degree threatening and disorderly conduct. He is at liberty after posting a $500 bond and had his case referred to Family Services.

The woman said she felt Cervellino was resorting to “passive aggressive” tactics to “intimidate her because he is angry at her,” Thomaston Officer Keith Koval wrote in a report.

She showed up at the police station earlier with cell phone photos she said were of his marijuana and illicit prescription pills. The pill bottle in the photo had her name on the label – and the coppers couldn’t find the grass or the pills when they responded to her complaint – though she said she hid them in her bedroom.

The woman returned a second time and was greeted by the sight of a watermelon, pierced by Cervillino’s large butcher knife, sitting on the kitchen counter top, police said.

Cervillino walked in seconds later, and without saying anything, began slicing pieces of the watermelon. The woman snapped a picture of the knife and turned it over to police.

You can’t make this stuff up!

I eat fruit every day. I love fresh fruit. I eat it with a knife. Doesn’t matter if it’s an orange, peach, pear or a watermelon – I eat it with a knife. A habit, a style I learned from my Italian grandfather.

My wife has never felt threatened by how I eat fruit. As far as I know. She certainly hasn’t called local coppers to come and get me for brutalizing a watermelon.

And I hope they wouldn’t take me away to jail for it.