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Sandy Hook

Connecticut State Police Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting Report

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Archived Version

Sat, 28 Dec 2013 03:09

Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting Reports

The reports below document the many stages of the investigation of the December 14, 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Administratively, the investigation consists of three separate case numbers. CFS 1200704559 is the primary investigation, CFS 1200704597 is the processing of the scene at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and CFS 1200705354 is the investigation of the homicide at 36 Yogananda St. in Newtown. As laid out in the Table of Contents, each investigation includes numerous written reports, with each case number available for separate download. Additionally, each investigation also includes various forms of multimedia including photographs, video recordings and/or audio recordings. These attachments to the reports are available for download under the case number of the investigation to which it pertains, and further divided by the document number of the corresponding report or other description.

Please note that many of the linked files are very large. These files will take a considerable amount of time to download, and may impose a heavy burden on the hosting system. We encourage you, especially with respect to the larger video files, to download and view the smaller files first to confirm your interest in obtaining the larger files.

For additional information pertaining to this report and the redactions that have been made, please reference the letter from Commissioner Bradford, as well as the Redaction Index linked at the top of the Table of Contents below.

All files are viewable using Adobe Reader or Windows Media Player. You may download these software packages free of charge at the links provided.

- Letter from Commissioner Bradford

- Redaction Index

- Reports

- Media/Attachments

Exhibit 349 - 911/Telephone/Radio Communications (.zip, 105 MB includes wma, .xml and pdf files) 00030290 - Attachments (.zip, 19.3 MB includes 3 pdf files) 00152008 '' Newtown Public School Automated Notifications (.zip, 654 KB includes 10 .mp3 files) Mobile Video RecordingsPlease Note: If you would like to download videos, right click on the link and select "Save Target As" and choose a location to save the file.

Outdoor Scene Processing VideoIndoor Scene Processing Video

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Divided Federal Court Rules Crack Cocaine Sentencing Reforms Do Not Apply To Those Already in Prison | NAACP LDF

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Sat, 28 Dec 2013 15:08

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Today, a sharply divided Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Fair Sentencing Act (FSA), which reduced the unfair, unjustified, and racially discriminatory crack cocaine/powder cocaine sentencing ratio from 100-to-1 to 18-to-1, does not apply to thousands of individuals who are currently incarcerated pursuant to sentences imposed under the discredited 100-to-1 regime. Seven judges concluded that the FSA should apply to those serving sentences under the 100-to-1 federal sentencing structure, and ten judges declared that it should not.

''We are deeply disappointed in the outcome of this case. Thousands of people, the majority of whom are African-American, are still serving time under an unfair drug sentencing regime that has destroyed individuals, families and communities. Today's decision demonstrates that those who are working to eliminate the impermissible role of race in criminal prosecutions and sentences still have much more work to do. We will continue to press this issue in the court,'' said Sherrilyn A. Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., a leading civil rights law firm and a separate entity from the NAACP.

''We are heartened that seven judges on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals were willing to rule in favor of a just application of the Fair Sentencing Act. Their powerful dissents encourage us to remain steadfast in our effort to win the release of those held under draconian and discriminatory sentences,'' Ifill added.

In 2010, Congress passed the FSA to reduce the irrationality and unfairness occasioned by a federal sentencing structure under which 100 grams of powder cocaine triggered the same sentence as a single gram of crack cocaine. Congress made this change in recognition of the fact that powder cocaine and crack are indistinguishable from one another and the fact that the law was imposed in starkly racially disproportionate ways. Indeed, Judge Karen Nelson Moore, who joined the majority and concluded that the law does not apply to those who are already serving 100-to-1 prison sentences, acknowledged that the 100-to-1 ratio ''led to the mass incarceration of African-American men and has bred distrust of law enforcement in the larger African-American community.'' Nationwide, nearly 9,000 individuals'--90% of whom are African American--are serving out sentences imposed on them under the 100-to-1 ratio.

In its amicus (''friend of the court'') brief in this case, LDF argued that the court's failure to apply the FSA to individuals serving sentences based on the 100-to-1 ratio would perpetuate an irrational and racially discriminatory sentencing regime. In oral argument, Vincent Southerland, Senior Counsel in the Criminal Justice Practice at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., urged the court to apply the Fair Sentencing Act's new 18-to-1 crack-powder cocaine sentencing ratio to those still serving sentences under the old 100-to-1 ratio.

Mr. Southerland noted that ''everyone'--from all three branches of government to the law enforcement community and the American public'--has recognized that the old 100-to-1 crack cocaine sentencing ratio was unfair and racially discriminatory. The Fair Sentencing Act was enacted to end that old discriminatory sentencing ratio. It is extremely disheartening that a majority of the judges on the Sixth Circuit failed to see the inherent arbitrariness and unfairness in perpetuating the unjust 100-to-1 sentencing ratio, despite Congress's command in the Fair Sentencing Act.''

In his dissent, Judge R. Guy Cole agreed, explaining, ''Congress repealed the law because the ratio is unjustified, with the full awareness of its discriminatory effects. Using the ratio to deny sentence modifications continues to treat African-American offenders more harshly than White offenders, despite Congress's aim to the contrary.''

Read the full court's opinion here.

Holder & Obama Are Playing Us On Mandatory Minimums, the Drug War and Mass Incarceration | Black Agenda Report

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Sat, 28 Dec 2013 15:15

Wed, 08/14/2013 - 16:16 '-- Bruce A. Dixon

Printer-friendly versionby BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Once or twice a year Eric Holder and/or the president discover police brutality, racial profiling, or the injustice of the drug war, or mass incarceration. Black America gets some sound bytes of ''drive-by'' concern, some noises about a study or a ''policy change." But 55 months into the Obama administration, when we compare the prez and attorney general's words with their actions, black America looks like it's been played. Again.

Holder & Obama Are Playing Us on Mandatory Minimums,the Drug Warand Mass Incarceration

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

After 55 months as US Attorney General, preceded by years as a remarkably vicious federal prosecutor, Eric Holder made what could have been a groundbreaking speech '' if only he'd made it 50-some months ago and followed it up with four and half years of the persistent, wide ranging action needed to begin undoing and unraveling the prison state Let's stand Eric Holder's and this administration's expressions of concern over mass incarceration alongside its actual record of exercising the power in its hands. When we do, Eric Holder looks a lot like a lying hypocrite, and the administration looks like it's playing black America for a nation of chumps.

At no time in this 55 months have the White House, its Attorney General, or its allies in Congress ever seriously pushed for the repeal of mandatory minimum drug sentences, and there is no full court press on this now either. Holder merely says that he'll instruct federal D.A.s not to file drug charges which under federal law invoke the mandatory minimum sentences in small scale cases where the feds see no violence or gang affiliation. For all kinds of reasons federal D.A.s don't exactly and often will not follow these instructions. More importantly they can be quietly revoked at any time by this or any future attorney general, and none of it affects drug prosecutions under state law. That's a lot less than the sea change in the prosecution of the drug war you'd think happened if you watched CNN or MSNBC this week.

Changing a few rules and calling for a Department of Justice study would be a good start when you have and intend to use your next seven plus years in office to follow it up and make it stick. But more than half the Obama administration's time is up, including 24 months when they held majorities in both the House and Senate. It's late. And this is just a little.

Holder and Obama have established a pattern. Once or twice a year, generally but not always in front of black audiences, they pretend to have newly discovered police forces and prosecutors around the country routinely profile and stalk black males. They publicly admit, as if it's new news, that black and brown people are arrested more often, charged more aggressively, sentenced more harshly and serve longer sentences than whites. This very week Eric Holder uncovered the fact the US locks up too many people for too long, and that mass incarceration (though he won't use that term unless quoting the title of a certain book) ravages and punishes entire communities. But it's all talk.

What could the administration actually do?

What Holder and the Obama administration will NOT discover is a way to reduce the budget of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which grew 4% in this year of budgetary austerity. They won't find a way to NOT open that new federal supermax prison in Illinois, or a way to close existing torture facility like the one Florence CO. They aren't looking for ways to use federal law enforcement and corrections funding to pressure states to close their supermaxes, or encourage them to provide educational opportunities and decent medical care to the 2 million plus in state and local prisons and jails. These are practical measures Holder and his boss have had the power to do for 55 months now, and haven't done, haven't even discussed.

After the 2010 passage of the Fair Sentencing Act, and court decisions which say its provisions ought to be retroactive back to the 1980s, President Obama could have, as Margaret Kimberley pointed out two weeks ago, simply commuted the sentences of the 5,000, 10,000 or 12,000, depending on the degree of retroactivity applied, who have already served excess prison time under the old and outlawed 100 to 1 crack vs powder cocaine penalties.

What has the Obama Justice Department actually done?

President Obama signed the Fair Sentencing Act in August of 2010 reducing the 100 to 1 crack vs powdered cocaine penalties to 18 to 1, but the Department of Justice refused to actually reduce the sentences of prisoners already serving time. In July 2011, after resisting pressure from the families of prisoners serving that unjust time for ten months, Attorney General Eric Holder announced sentence reductions would be implemented, but only retroactive to August 2010. That hasn't happened either.

As we revealed two weeks ago in Black Agenda Report, the Obama Justice Department argued in 2010, 2011 and as late as May 2013 that the old, unfair crack vs powder sentences just continue to apply and that nobody should be let go a day early. The 6th circuit court disagreed with the Justice Department and declared that sentence reductions should go back at least to 2003 and perhaps to 1987. The Justice Department is still opposing this, and appears set to take it up to the US Supreme Court --- the same gang that overthrew the Voting Rights Act. Good luck for us all on that one.

The administration continies to funnel NSA intercept data to local cops for evidence in drug and other cases

Last week, Black Agenda Report was one of the few places that reported on a Reuters story that a pipeline of unknown dimensions exists between NSA's vacuum cleaner surveillance and local police departments around the country through the DEA, the federal police agency explicitly created to prosecute the war on drugs. DEA manuals, the copyrighted Reuters story says, instruct their operatives to tell local cops they must conduct ''parallel investigations'' to effectively launder the illegal evidence against suspects, and that they should conceal its existence from judges and prosecutors. Conspiracy and perjury, this would be called if anyone else but DEA and local cops did it. The DEA is part of Eric Holder's and President Obama's Justice Department.

Since the drug war principally targets nonwhites and nonwhite communities it's absolutely certain that disproportionate numbers of black and brown people have been effectively framed with this illegally acquired and laundered evidence.

Justice Department spokespeople have not commented in the NSA-DEA link, except to say they are ''investigating'' themselves. For his part, President Obama, who now says he is open to the appointment of ''civil libertarians'' or observers in the NSA processes and as secret witnesses in his secret courts, and that he may allow some of them a say in how the information gathered by NSA is used, presumably including by the DEA and local cops around the country. But this is the same president who assured us two months ago that nobody was listening to our phone calls or reading our emails, unless we were terrorists.

What Obama and Holder say VS what they do

The president and attorney general have waxed philosophical about racism, profiling, police practices and mass incarceration, although again they won't use that phrase. The president observed that Trayvon could have been his son or even himself 35 years ago. The attorney general shared with us that as a black father he must carefully instruct his young sons as to how to comport themselves in the presence of aggressive cops.

But Holder and Obama are not philosophers, pastors or teachers. They are the two most powerful black men in the US. They've been in actual power 55 months now, with a little over 40 to go. Their actions reveal their expressions of concern and feeling our pain are no more than politically expedient drive-by gestures to keep black America in line. Occasional expressions of concern, and constant celebrations of the victories of the civil rights era, are all that black America really wants from its black attorney general and black president, no matter what they actually do with the very real power in their hands.

The rest of our useless black political class is quiet too. None of them from the NAACP, the Urban League, the National Action Network and all the usual corporate funded suspects have commented on the Department of Justice's 3 year fight to keep crack defendants in jail serving longer sentences. None of them have a mumbling word, let alone a press conference on the disturbing implications of the NSA-DEA pipeline of laundered evidence in countless local drug trials. Maybe they're all too busy getting ready for the 50th anniversary of the historic 1963 march on Washington for Jobs and Justice. After all, the president is speaking, and what he says, and how he looks saying it seems a lot more important, than what he and his attorney general actually do.

Bruce A Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a member of the state committee of the Georgia Green party. Reach out and touch him using this site's contact page, or at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

Obama & Holder Win Court Case, Keep Thousands in Prison Under Unfair 80s Crack Sentencing Laws | Black Agenda Report

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Archived Version

Sat, 28 Dec 2013 15:11

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 17:12 '-- Bruce A. Dixon

Printer-friendly versionA Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. DixonWho's opposed to mass incarceration and the prison state, and who is faking the funk? Our president and attorney general, who talk on one side of the issue and act on the other side? Our traditional civil rights outfits like the NAACP-LDF who won't speak against the nation's chief jailers as long as they have black faces?

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon "...it was the Obama-Holder Justice Department which first refused to retroactively reduce the unfair crack cocaine sentences under the law the president signed and the attorney general praised..."

Are establishment black ''civil rights organizations'' like the NAACP, the National Action Network and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund really opposed to mass incarceration and the prison state?

I got an email yesterday from the NAACP LDF, the outfit founded by none other than Thurgood Marshall, who litigated Brown V Board of Education back in the 1950s. The email said that the federal 6th Circuit Court of Appeals had just ruled that the so-called Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 reducing the racist laws fixing the penalties for crack cocaine at 100 times those for powder cocaine to a somewhat less unfair ratio of 18 to 1 would not be applied retroactively to the thousands of people still serving obscenely long prison sentences from the quarter century those laws were enforced.

The press release went on to say that they are heartened that 7 judges did favor the release of the prisoners suffering these unfair sentences, and that ''...Their powerful dissents encourage us to remain steadfast in our effort to win the release of those held under draconian and discriminatory sentences.''

The NAACP LDF which represented the families of prisoners serving these unjust sentences knows very well that this is a political issue and a political struggle.

So why did the NAACP LDF fail to mention that their legal opponents in this case were President Barack Obama's and Attorney General Eric Holder's Justice Department, which opposed in court the application of the very law which the president signed and the attorney general lauded.

Let me say that again... First, it was the Obama-Holder Justice Department which first refused to retroactively reduce the unfair crack cocaine sentences under the law the president signed and the attorney general praised Secondly, it was the Obama-Holder Justice Department which went to court to keep those people in prison. They lost when the trial judge ruled they should be released. And third, the same Justice Department run by the same first black attorney general under the first black president appealed the order to reduce those sentences, instead seeking and obtaining yesterday's ruling by the 6th circuit court of appeals.

"their first priority is boosting the political fortunes and careers of their peers in the black political elite"

But you wouldn't know any of this from the NAACP-LDF's press release. Or NAN's or any of the rest of the corporate-funded black ''civil rights' establishment. You could have read it in Black Agenda Report

On mass incarceration in general and the reduction of these unfair, unjust sentences, our first black president and attorney general are howling hypocrites, saying one thing and doing another. Their hypocrisy is enabled by traditional black civil rights organizations like the NAACP-LDF, who refuse to make a political issue out of Obama's and Holder's hypocrisy. The ''civil rights'' establishment is in a bind. They claim to oppose mass incarceration and the prison state, although they've only just learned the phrase ''mass incarceration'' and cannot fix their lips to say ''prison state.''

But since their first priority is boosting the political fortunes and careers of their peers in the black political elite, who we affectionately call our black misleadership class, they are unable to call the devil in charge of mass incarceration by his name, if that devil has a black face.

For Black Agenda Report, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.

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The Hidden Agenda of Code.org | PCMag.com

NORAD

Photo & Remarks from the First Lady's Conversations with Children While Tracking Santa with NORAD

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Archived Version

Source: White House.gov Press Office Feed

Sat, 28 Dec 2013 15:22

The White House

Office of the First Lady

For Immediate Release

December 24, 2013

Via Telephone

11:06 A.M. HAST

MRS. OBAMA: Hello?

CHILD: Hi.

MRS. OBAMA: Hi, is this Kileen?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: Hi, Kileen. How are you? This is Michelle Obama. Are you calling to find out where Santa is?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: Yes, you're looking for Santa? I am at NORAD, where they track Santa, and I'm looking at the computer, and right now, as we speak, Santa and his sleigh are flying over Egypt. Can you imagine that? That's all the way in another part of the world. But I can see him on the tracker -- I see Santa, and his sleigh, and I see eight tiny reindeer, and I think I see one with a little red nose -- that might be Rudolph. So I think he's coming your way, okay? Are you excited?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: Yes? How old are you, Kileen?

CHILD: I'm six.

MRS. OBAMA: You're six? What's the number-one gift you asked Santa for this year?

CHILD: (Inaudible.)

MRS. OBAMA: Yes? Well, have you been good this year? Have you been a good girl this year?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: Yes? All right, well, I think that Santa is on his way to your house so you better go to sleep because he won't come until you've gone to sleep, okay?

CHILD: Okay.

MRS. OBAMA: All right. Have a merry Christmas, okay?

CHILD: You too.

MRS. OBAMA: Okay, thanks so much, sweetie. Bye-bye.

***

MRS. OBAMA: Hi, Sofia and Jessica, it's Michelle Obama, the First Lady. I'm helping to track Santa with NORAD. I'm helping NORAD tonight. How are you guys doing?

CHILD: Good, how are you?

MRS. OBAMA: I'm doing really good -- I'm so excited it's Christmas Eve and I'm watching Santa on the radar. How old are you guys?

CHILD: Eleven.

MRS. OBAMA: And --

CHILD: Eleven, and my sister is nine.

MRS. OBAMA: And nine? You guys want to know where Santa is right now, as we speak?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: I am looking at the tracker. I see the screen and he is in Sudan. He is all the way in Africa, and he's moving at the speed of light. He is going so fast and delivering all kinds of gifts all over the world. Pretty exciting, huh?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: Yes. Yes, what, sweetie?

CHILD: Okay, do you know when he is going to come to Boston, Massachusetts?

MRS. OBAMA: He darts all over the world, and he doesn't come to your house until you guys are fast asleep, okay?

CHILD: Okay.

MRS. OBAMA: All right, so he's looking -- so he's going to know when you guys are out and your eyes are closed, and that's when he's going to make it to your house, okay? But right now he's delivering some gifts to some little kids all the way in Africa, as we speak, because they're asleep right now, okay?

CHILD: Okay.

MRS. OBAMA: So as soon as you close your eyes and go fast asleep, he's going to come and deliver gifts to your house -- isn't that exciting?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: Yes, so I know you guys have been good girls this year.

CHILD: Yes. Merry Christmas to you and President Obama.

MRS. OBAMA: Thank you, sweetie. Merry Christmas to you and your family, too, okay?

CHILD: Thank you.

MRS. OBAMA: Have fun tomorrow.

CHILD: Bye, thank you.

MRS. OBAMA: Bye-bye.

***

MRS. OBAMA: Hello, is this Ella?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: Hi, Ella. This is First Lady Michelle Obama. I'm here today helping the folks out at NORAD track Santa, and is that what you're calling for? Are you calling to find out where Santa is?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: Yes? Well, I'm looking on the radar screen and I see his sleigh. I see his sleigh with eight tiny reindeer and he is over Sudan -- South Sudan. That's in Africa. And right now, he's delivering some gifts. He's going down, swooping down to some little kids who are in South Sudan, okay? That's where he is right now. It's really, really very cool, don't you think?

CHILD: When are you coming to Kansas City? (Laughter.) When is Santa coming to Kansas City?

MRS. OBAMA: Santa is going to come to your house, Ella, when you are fast asleep -- that's how he works. I think he is in Sudan now because there are some kids over there who are already tucked in bed with their eyes closed. So he is going to come to your house as soon as you're asleep. Are you getting ready for bed any time soon?

Ella, I think that if you go to bed right now and you shut your eyes, and you go to sleep, he might just show up at your house now, okay? Because he can go anywhere in the world at the speed of light.

CHILD: Thank you.

MRS. OBAMA: Okay, well, have a good night's sleep and merry Christmas to you and your whole family, okay?

CHILD: Okay. Merry Christmas.

MRS. OBAMA: Okay, bye-bye. Thanks for calling. Merry Christmas to you guys.

CHILD: Merry Christmas.

MRS. OBAMA: Thanks so much, you guys. Enjoy your holiday. Bye-bye.

***

MRS. OBAMA: Hello, this is First Lady Michelle Obama. I hear that Wyatt and Alex are on the phone looking for Santa.

CHILD: Hi.

MRS. OBAMA: Hi, is this Wyatt?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: How are you, Wyatt?

CHILD: I'm good.

MRS. OBAMA: You're good? How old are you?

CHILD: Nine.

MRS. OBAMA: You're nine? Is Alex there, too? Are you excited, Wyatt?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: Yes? What do you want for Christmas?

CHILD: A Zoomer.

MRS. OBAMA: A Zoomer? That sounds exciting, that sounds fun. Well, I'm here at NORAD, and I'm helping them track Santa. And I'm looking on their radar screen and right now, Santa is headed to the Republic of Rwanda -- that's in Africa, that's all the way in Africa. Right now, he is delivering toys to some little girls and boys all the way in Africa. Can you believe that?

CHILD: No.

MRS. OBAMA: He is flying so fast -- at the speed of light -- and from the satellite radar tracker, I can actually see his sleigh and I think I can make out two, four, six -- eight tiny reindeer and there's -- oh, they just turned, and there's one leading the way with a red nose. It's flashing. They just turned. They made a sharp turn. I think that's Rudolph that's leading the sleigh. Really exciting, don't you think?

CHILD: Yes. What I want for Christmas is the Transformer -- whose name is Metroplex.

MRS. OBAMA: That sounds good. If you guys have been good this year, I know that Santa is going to come and deliver some great toys. But you know what -- you have to be fast asleep before he comes to your house in South Carolina, okay, because Santa only comes when you guys are fast asleep.

CHILD: My cousin said we were going to sleep at eight.

MRS. OBAMA: Okay, that sounds good. That sounds like a really good bedtime. All right, well, you guys have a merry, merry Christmas, okay?

CHILD: Thank you.

MRS. OBAMA: Okay, you guys give your whole family my best, okay?

CHILD: All right, thank you.

MRS. OBAMA: All right, take care. Bye-bye.

***

MRS. OBAMA: Hello, is this Daisy?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: Hi, Daisy. It's First Lady Michelle Obama. I'm here at NORAD, and I'm helping them track Santa tonight -- is that why you're calling?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: Okay. How old are you, Daisy?

CHILD: Five.

MRS. OBAMA: You are five? What a big girl! Oh my goodness. Well, let me look on the radar screen and -- oh my goodness -- I see his sleigh. And I can make out a little man with a little white beard, and there are eight reindeer. And one in the front, I think it's Rudolph. You know where they are right now? They're in a place called Burundi, all the way on the other side of the world in Africa. Can you imagine?

CHILD: Uh-uh.

MRS. OBAMA: Yes, I think there are some little kids there in that country that are fast asleep now, and he's dropping off lots of presents. Right now, he has delivered over 3 million presents -- already. Can you imagine that? How much work it takes?

CHILD: Three billion?

MRS. OBAMA: Hm?

CHILD: Three billion?

MRS. OBAMA: Right now it's 3 million -- yes, it's 3 million. He'll probably get to 3 billion before the night is out, but right now, he has delivered 3 million. He still has a lot of work to do. He has got to get all the way to your house tonight, right?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: But he's not going to come until you're fast asleep, okay, sweetie?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: Okay. So make sure you go to sleep, close your eyes, get a good night's sleep, and as soon as you're fast asleep, Santa is going to know and he's going to turn his sleigh around and he's going to come right to you, okay?

CHILD: Okay.

MRS. OBAMA: All right. Be a good girl, all right?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: And have a merry, merry Christmas, okay?

CHILD: Okay.

MRS. OBAMA: All right, thanks for calling, sweetie.

CHILD: You're welcome.

MRS. OBAMA: Bye-bye.

CHILD: Bye.

***

MRS. OBAMA: Hello, is this Anthony?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: Hi, Anthony, it's First Lady Michelle Obama. I'm here at NORAD. I'm helping them track Santa tonight. It's one of my most favorite things I get to do on Christmas Eve. Is that why you're calling? You're trying to find out where Santa is right now?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: Right now I'm looking at the radar screen and he is flying over a country called Burundi, which is in Africa. Right now I see his sleigh and you could make out these little hooves like feet moving and it looks like his reindeer are pulling him. He's moving so fast. But the NORAD tracker can track him. So he is in Africa right now because there are some boys and girls that are fast asleep there in that country, and he is dropping off toys. And I think he is going to come to your house, Anthony, as soon as you go to sleep. What time are you going to go to bed tonight?

CHILD: Eight-thirty.

MRS. OBAMA: Eight-thirty? That sounds like a great bedtime. Do you know what you want for Christmas this year?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: What's your number-one toy?

CHILD: (Inaudible.)

MRS. OBAMA: Yes? That's exciting. I think if you get to bed and you shut your eyes, Santa is going to be there as soon as he knows you've fallen asleep, okay?

CHILD: Okay.

MRS. OBAMA: All right, well, you're going to have a merry Christmas tomorrow, right?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: Okay. Be a good boy. You sound like a really smart kid so have a great Christmas, okay?

CHILD: Thank you.

MRS. OBAMA: Okay, merry Christmas, sweetie. Goodnight.

CHILD: Merry Christmas.

MRS. OBAMA: Okay. Bye-bye.

***

MRS. OBAMA: Hi, Kailean, it's First Lady Michelle Obama. How are you doing?

CHILD: Good.

MRS. OBAMA: I'm at NORAD tonight and I'm helping them track Santa. And I'm manning the phones, I've talked to a lot of boys and girls tonight who are looking to find out where Santa is -- is that why you're calling?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: So right now, I'm looking at the radar screen and I see -- I see his sleigh. I can make out his sleigh, and I can make out reindeer. And I see eight reindeer and one in the front -- who do you think that one is?

CHILD: Rudolph.

MRS. OBAMA: Yes -- his nose, you can see his nose flashing right now. He is flying over the Democratic Republic of the Congo -- do you know where that is?

CHILD: No.

MRS. OBAMA: That's all the way in Africa. Right now, he is flying over Africa, and I think he's there because there are some boys and girls that are fast asleep right now. And you know Santa only comes when you're fast asleep, right?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: Yes. So as soon as you go to sleep, sweetie, as soon as you shut your eyes and Santa knows that you're fast asleep, that's when he's going to come to your house, okay?

CHILD: I have a question.

MRS. OBAMA: Yes, sweetie, what is that?

CHILD: When is he going to come to Virginia?

MRS. OBAMA: Well, he comes all over the country at different times, all over the world at different times, and it depends on when kids are asleep. So I think first he is going to figure out whether you're fast asleep and when most of the kids where you live in Virginia are fast asleep. So what time do you think you're going to bed?

CHILD: About nine.

MRS. OBAMA: About nine? And I've talked to a couple of other kids in Virginia that are going to bed at about 8:30, 9 o'clock, so if a lot of kids in Virginia are starting to go to bed right around then, that's when he is going to come, okay?

CHILD: Okay.

MRS. OBAMA: All right, are you excited?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: Yes, me too. I love Christmas.

CHILD: Merry Christmas.

MRS. OBAMA: Okay, merry Christmas, sweetie, and the best to your whole family, okay?

CHILD: Okay.

MRS. OBAMA: All right, bye-bye.

CHILD: Bye.

***

MRS. OBAMA: Hello, is Marcus there?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: Hi, Marcus, it's First Lady Michelle Obama. How are you?

CHILD: Good.

MRS. OBAMA: I'm here at NORAD tonight. Every Christmas Eve, I help them track Santa. And I've been taking calls from boys and girls all over the country -- is that why you're calling, to find out where Santa is?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: Okay. I'm looking at the radar screen right now, and I see Santa. He is headed -- in one minute, he is going to be flying over Zambia. And that's a country in Africa. Right now, he's been spending a lot of time in Africa. From the calls I've been getting where he's traveling -- he has spent a lot of time in Africa because a lot of the kids in that part of the world are fast asleep. Isn't that exciting?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: How old are you, Marcus?

CHILD: Five.

MRS. OBAMA: You're five? Wow, you sound like a big boy. What do you want for Christmas this year?

CHILD: (Inaudible.)

MRS. OBAMA: Yes? Have you been good?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: I bet you have. I can tell -- you sound like you're a good boy. Well, as soon as you go to sleep -- what time do you think you're going to go to bed tonight?

CHILD: About nine -- or earlier.

MRS. OBAMA: Well, the earlier you go to bed, the quicker Santa gets there, okay?

CHILD: Okay.

MRS. OBAMA: I told you there are a bunch of kids right in your area that have told me they're going to go to bed about 8:30 or 9 o'clock. So if you get to bed at that time, that's probably when Santa is going to try to come -- when all the kids in that area are starting to go to sleep. Okay?

CHILD: Cool.

MRS. OBAMA: All right, you have a merry Christmas. It's exciting, isn't it?

CHILD: Yes, you too.

MRS. OBAMA: Okay, thanks, sweetie. Wish your whole family a merry Christmas for me, okay?

CHILD: Okay.

MRS. OBAMA: All right, bye-bye.

CHILD: Goodnight.

MRS. OBAMA: Goodnight.

***

MRS. OBAMA: Hello, is this Caitlin?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: Hi, Caitlin, it's First Lady Michelle Obama. How are you?

CHILD: Good.

MRS. OBAMA: I'm here at NORAD. I spend every Christmas Eve helping them track Santa. Is that why you're calling? You're calling to find out where Santa is?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: Okay, let me look on the radar screen. Right now, I'm looking -- I've spotted him again. I can see him, I can see him with his sleigh, and I can make out some little hooves moving -- I think that's the reindeer. I see eight reindeer and one leading the way -- do you know who that could be?

CHILD: Rudolph.

MRS. OBAMA: Yes, it's Rudolph, he's got Rudolph tonight leading the way. And right now, he is headed -- he is in Africa, can you believe that? He is over a country called Zimbabwe right now, right as we speak. He's dropping off toys for some boys and girls in Zimbabwe all the way in Africa. And a lot of the boys and girls there have already gone fast asleep, that's why he is in that part of the world right now. So what time do you think you're going to go to bed tonight, Caitlin?

CHILD: Eight.

MRS. OBAMA: At eight?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: That sounds like a great bedtime, because you know what, I've talked to a lot of boys and girls tonight in your part of the world and they're planning on going to bed right at that time, too. So I think as soon as all of you guys are fast asleep, that's when Santa is going to shoot over and he is going to deliver some gifts. Right now, he has already delivered more than 3 million gifts already tonight. Can you believe that?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: Yes, and he is going to keep going. He is delivering them really fast. Have you been a good girl this year?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: I know you have. So you get to bed, all right, get a good night's sleep, close your eyes, and as soon as you do, Santa is going to come your way, okay?

CHILD: I will.

MRS. OBAMA: Okay. You have a great Christmas, okay? And wish your whole family a merry Christmas for me, okay?

CHILD: Okay. Thank you.

MRS. OBAMA: Have fun tomorrow, okay, sweetie?

CHILD: Okay.

MRS. OBAMA: Okay. Bye-bye.

CHILD: Bye-bye.

***

MRS. OBAMA: Hi, Cal. It's First Lady Michelle Obama. How are you?

CHILD: Good.

MRS. OBAMA: I'm here at NORAD because I'm helping them track Santa. Is that why you're calling? You wanted to call to find out where Santa is right now?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: Right now, I'm looking at the radar screen -- (gasps) -- oh my goodness, I can see his sleigh. I see Santa in his sleigh. I see eight tiny reindeer, and I see one leading the way. Do you know who that one is?

CHILD: Santa!

MRS. OBAMA: Yes, that's Santa, and he's got Rudolph with him.

CHILD: Rudolph!

MRS. OBAMA: Yes, he's got Rudolph and right now he is in Africa. He's flying over a country called Botswana. Do you know why he is in Africa right now?

CHILD: Why?

MRS. OBAMA: Because there are a lot of little boys and girls there who have already gone to bed. And Santa doesn't come until you're fast asleep, okay? What time do you think you're going to go to bed tonight, Cal?

CHILD: Nine o'clock.

MRS. OBAMA: Nine o'clock? You know what -- nine o'clock?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: That sounds like a perfect time, do you know why? Because I've talked to a lot of little boys and girls who live right in your area, and they're planning to go to bed at the same time. So as soon as a lot of kids of Wisconsin, in your part of the world, have started to go to sleep, that's when Santa is going to shoot over. And he is going to drop off toys at the houses in your part of the world. So the sooner you go to bed, the sooner you go fast asleep, the sooner Santa will come and deliver toys, okay?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: Okay. Well, you have a merry Christmas, all right, Cal?

CHILD: Merry Christmas.

MRS. OBAMA: Okay, tell your whole family merry Christmas for me, okay?

CHILD: Merry Christmas.

MRS. OBAMA: Okay, thank you, sweetheart. You sound like a sweet kid. Have fun tomorrow, okay?

CHILD: Thank you.

MRS. OBAMA: Okay, bye-bye.

CHILD: Bye.

***

MRS. OBAMA: Hello, is Anderson there?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: Hi, Anderson, it's First Lady Michelle Obama. I'm here at NORAD. Every Christmas Eve, I help them track Santa. Is that why you're calling?

CHILD: Yes?

MRS. OBAMA: All right, I'm going to take a look at the radar screen and -- oh my goodness, I can see him. He's moving fast. Right now, Santa is flying over Africa, and he's flying over Johannesburg, South Africa. Right now, he has just reached South Africa, the southern part of Africa. Can you believe that?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: How old are you, Anderson?

CHILD: Six.

MRS. OBAMA: What do you want for Christmas from Santa?

CHILD: A bicycle.

MRS. OBAMA: Yes? That sounds pretty cool. Tell me, Anderson, where do you live?

CHILD: Uh --

MRS. OBAMA: You're in Pennsylvania?

CHILD: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: Well, guess what, Anderson. I've talked to about five or six other kids who live in Pennsylvania, and they plan on going to bed at about 8:30 or 9 o'clock. What time are you going to go to bed?

CHILD: Nine.

MRS. OBAMA: Nine? That sounds like a great time because I think as soon as you go to bed, there are all the kids in your part of the country that are going to go to bed and that's when Santa is going to shoot over and deliver toys to you guys -- as soon as he knows you're fast asleep, okay?

CHILD: Okay.

MRS. OBAMA: All right, well, you have a good night's sleep, okay, sweetie?

CHILD: Okay.

MRS. OBAMA: Merry Christmas, okay? You all have a very merry Christmas, okay?

CHILD: Okay. Bye.

MRS. OBAMA: Bye-bye.

END11:36 A.M. HAST

*** Photo available here: http://bit.ly/1gVaGu6 ***

Background from a White House Official

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: White House.gov Press Office Feed

Sat, 28 Dec 2013 15:22

Mrs. Obama just finished answering calls from children from across the country asking where Santa was located as part of the annual NORAD Tracks Santa program run by the North American Aerospace Defense Command. This is the First Lady's fourth year participating in this Christmas Eve tradition.

Mrs. Obama started the calls at around 11:00am local time, and spoke to children for about 30 minutes.

A transcript of the call will be released as soon as it's ready. In the meantime here is a photo taken by Pete Souza: http://bit.ly/1gVaGu6

Background on the NORAD Tracks Santa Program: The NORAD Tracks Santa program began in 1955 after a phone call was made to the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. The call was from a local youngster who dialed a misprinted telephone number in a local newspaper advertisement. The commander on duty who answered the phone that night gave the youngster the information requested - the whereabouts of Santa. This began the tradition of tracking Santa, a tradition that was carried on by NORAD when it was formed in 1958.

The NORAD Tracks Santa program has grown immensely since first presented on the Internet in 1998. The website receives millions of unique visitors from hundreds of countries and territories around the world. In addition, a live Operations Center is occupied for 25 hours with more than 1,200 volunteers each year who receive hundreds of thousands of phone calls and emails from families around the world.

So the Santa Tracker was designed for 20m hits and Healthcare.org is still f*d up? NORAD Tracks Santa Logs 19.58 Million Web Visits

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: Military Top Stories Center

Sat, 28 Dec 2013 16:32

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - The North American Aerospace Defense Command's Santa-tracking program logged 19.58 million unique visitors to its website on Christmas Eve.

NORAD said Thursday that volunteers answered 117,371 calls from children seeking information on the jolly old elf's whereabouts. First lady Michelle Obama was among the program's 1,200 volunteers.

An additional 146,307 followed Santa's progress on Twitter. The program also got 1.45 million "likes" on Facebook.

Those numbers are up from last year when volunteers answered 114,000 phone calls from around the world. The website had 22.3 million unique visitors. NORAD Tracks Santa had 1.2 million followers on Facebook and 129,000 on Twitter.

The Christmas tradition of tracking Santa began in 1955 when a local newspaper advertisement invited children to call Santa but mistakenly listed the hotline of NORAD's predecessor.

(C) Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Turkey

Turkey: Rift with US-based cleric widens

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Archived Version

Sun, 29 Dec 2013 15:24

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) '-- Turkey's embattled prime minister on Saturday ratcheted up the rhetoric against a U.S.-based Muslim cleric seen as a threat to his government, for the first time directly suggesting followers have infiltrated the police and judiciary and are pushing a corruption probe against his allies.

Analysts meanwhile pointed to growing evidence of an uneasy alliance between Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islam-based government and the secular military, which for years regarded him with suspicion.

The scandal is revealing the deep cracks among Turkey's elite, spilling out into the public the power struggles that have until now mostly remained hidden. Turks are watching with disbelief as two major Islamic groups go after each other so transparently.

Erdogan has frequently pointed to outside forces as trying to destabilize the country '-- most recently during massive summer anti-government protests '-- but he has broadened his claims in the latest crisis to include domestic foes working as "pawns."

Many believe the probe was orchestrated by followers of Pennsylvania-based spiritual leader Fethullah Gulen, a moderate preacher whose network of Muslim believers command a global empire of business, media and education interests.

Until recently, Gulen was a government backer '-- but the power feud between Erdogan and Gulen has become increasingly public. In recent weeks, Gulen has prayed that "God bring fire to their houses," and Erdogan responded with a promise to "go into their caves" and "expose them." Neither side has named each other directly, but they have left no doubt as to the target of their words.

Erdogan on Saturday suggested the movement's followers had gotten into the police and the judiciary.

"There is a serious smear campaign and there is an organization, a gang that has established itself within the state," Erdogan said. There are judicial officials who are... smearing innocent people. They are within the police too."

Erdogan's political adviser Yalcin Akdogan suggested in a regular column in the pro-government Star newspaper this week that the Gulen movement had "framed" hundreds of military officers who were convicted last year of plotting to bring down the government.

The officers had long claimed that much of the evidence against them was fabricated. On Saturday, two Turkish newspapers '-- Cumhuriyet and Milliyet '-- reported that Turkey's military chief requested the government's help for a review of the case against the jailed officers and a retrial.

Cumhuriyet based the report on a senior official, while Milliyet did not cite a source. Military officials could not be reached on Saturday for comment on the reports, while a spokesman for Erdogan said he was aware of them but had no information on whether anything was under discussion.

Turkey's military has staged three military takeovers since the 1960s but has seen its powers curbed under Erdogan's decade in power. The trial of the military officers helped end its hold on politics.

The military says it won't be dragged into politics amid the scandal. But analysts say it distrusts Gulen's movement and may see Erdogan's government as the better option.

"As the alliance with Gulen is breaking down, there are signs that the government is entering into a kind of solidarity, a kind of a coalition, with the military," said Umit Kardas, a retired military judge and commentator for Taraf newspaper. "We are seeing a realignment of political alliances of sorts, although these types of alliances have no place in Turkish democracy."

Kardas added that current Turkish laws do not allow a re-trial in the case of the military officers.

Erdogan was forced to reshuffle his cabinet and dismiss ministers implicated in the case, which allegedly involves illicit money transfers to Iran and bribery for construction projects. Two former ministers' sons have been arrested on bribery charges.

The Turkish currency has plummeted against the dollar and the euro over the turmoil.

European officials urged Turkey to handle the case openly, amid concerns that Erdogan's government was trying to stifle the investigation. Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey's newly appointed minister in charge of relations with the European Union, responded by saying the matter was an internal Turkish one.

Erdogan has removed police officers from posts, sparking claims that his government was impeding the investigation. Erdogan also changed police regulations to ensure that corruption probes are funneled through top police and judiciary close to the government, but a Turkish high court overturned that move.

"I urge Turkey ... to take all the necessary measures to ensure that allegations of wrongdoing are addressed without discrimination or preference in a transparent and impartial manner," EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele said.

Cavusoglu responded: "I invite our European friends ... to act with caution while commenting on issues that concern Turkey's domestic affairs." He also said Turkey would overcome the "difficult process" through democracy and "basic principles of law."

The EU recently resumed membership negotiations with Turkey that began in 2005 but have been stalled for more than three years.

Also Saturday, an estimated 4,000 people gathered in central Ankara for a protest organized by a civil servants' union, calling on the government to step down over the scandal and chanting: "May the thieves' hands be broken!" No violence was immediately reported.

On Friday, riot police used water cannons, tear gas and plastic bullets to push back hundreds of protesters trying to reach Istanbul's main square. Police also broke up a similar demonstration in Ankara. The number of protesters taking part in anti-corruption demonstrations has not reached the level of summer protests.

Ankara's "Economic Miracle" Collapses: Changes in Turkey :: Middle East Quarterly

Turkey's high-flying economy, which expanded at a 10 percent annual rate of gross domestic product growth during the first half of 2011,[1] will crash-land in 2012. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoٟan's "economic miracle," to use the Daily Telegraph's admiring words,[2] depended on a 40 percent annual rate of bank credit expansion, which in turn produced a balance of payments deficit as wide as that of southern Europe's crisis countries. Markets have already anticipated a sudden turnaround in the Turkish economy. The Turkish lira (TRY) fell by a quarter between November 2010 and September 2011, making it the world's worst performing emerging market currency.[3] The stock market has fallen in dollar terms by 40 percent, making Turkey the worst performer after Egypt among all the markets in the MSCI Tradable Index during 2011. (See Graph 1 for Turkey vs. emerging markets.) And most analysts now expect that the cyclical slowdown will uncover deep deficiencies in Turkey's labor force and infrastructure, leading to a prolonged structural slump rather than a passing recession. The suddenness and size of this economic setback will in most likelihood erode the ruling Justice and Development Party's (Adalet ve Kalkٱnma Partisi, AKP) capacity to govern on the strength of pragmatic success rather than Islamist ideology; will undercut its ability to use economic incentives to defuse Kurdish separatism and contain domestic opposition; and will weaken Ankara's claim to a leading regional role.

EARaq

Meanwhile Back In (And To) Iraq...

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: JustOneMinute

Fri, 27 Dec 2013 15:23

For a special segment of our ruling class Iraq was the Bad War, and Obama has always been wary of winning the war but losing the narrative. But we are putting our toe back in the water:

U.S. Sends Arms to Aid Iraq Fight With Extremists

By MICHAEL R. GORDON and ERIC SCHMITT

WASHINGTON '-- The United States is quietly rushing dozens of Hellfire missiles and low-tech surveillance drones to Iraq to help government forces combat an explosion of violence by a Qaeda-backed insurgency that is gaining territory in both western Iraq and neighboring Syria.

The move follows an appeal for help in battling the extremist group by the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, who met with President Obama in Washington last month.

But some military experts question whether the patchwork response will be sufficient to reverse the sharp downturn in security that already led to the deaths of more than 8,000 Iraqis this year, 952 of them Iraqi security force members, according to the United Nations, the highest level of violence since 2008.

The Times reminds us how we reached this parlous state:

The surge in violence stands in sharp contrast to earlier assurances from senior Obama administration officials that Iraq was on the right path, despite the failure of American and Iraqi officials in 2011 to negotiate an agreement for a limited number of United States forces to remain in Iraq.

In a March 2012 speech, Antony J. Blinken, who is currently Mr. Obama's deputy national security adviser, asserted that ''Iraq today is less violent'' than ''at any time in recent history.''

The Times had more in this Sept 22 2012 article which noted the pre-election year posturing:

Mr. Obama has pointed to the American troop withdrawal last year as proof that he has fulfilled his promise to end the Iraq war. Winding down a conflict, however, entails far more than extracting troops.

In the case of Iraq, the American goal has been to leave a stable and representative government, avoid a power vacuum that neighboring states and terrorists could exploit and maintain sufficient influence so that Iraq would be a partner or, at a minimum, not an opponent in the Middle East.

But the Obama administration has fallen frustratingly short of some of those objectives.

The attempt by Mr. Obama and his senior aides to fashion an extraordinary power-sharing arrangement between Mr. Maliki and Mr. Allawi never materialized. Neither did an agreement that would have kept a small American force in Iraq to train the Iraqi military and patrol the country's skies. A plan to use American civilians to train the Iraqi police has been severely cut back. The result is an Iraq that is less stable domestically and less reliable internationally than the United States had envisioned.

The civil war in Syria was well under way by late 2011 yet the current situation (as described in the original Times story) seems to be a surprise to Team Obama:

A number of factors are helping the Qaeda affiliate. The terrorist group took advantage of the departure of American forces to rebuild its operations in Iraq and push into Syria. Now that it has established a strong foothold in Syria, it is in turn using its base there to send suicide bombers into Iraq at a rate of 30 to 40 a month, using them against Shiites but also against Sunnis who are reluctant to cede control.

Al Qaeda and other militants takes up residence at the border of weak and failed states? Who knew?

PILING ON: 'Priaire Weather' delivers the sort of progressive bleat I was expecting:

This action is not expected to have much effect. It's meant to be life-saving but, our military are saying, it's not likely to " reverse the sharp downturn in security" in Iraq. And it certainly suggests that we're doing this to preserve the idea that the Iraq invasion was justified rather than a serious misstep that set Iraq up for Muslim extremists.

Please - Obama's interest in vindicating the initial invasion is less than zero. Fortunately, Obama seems to be looking forward here rather than driving with his eyes locked on the rear-view mirror.

Providing a bit of hope in this holiday season is digby of Hullabaloo:

I don't know when those "birth pangs" of the Iraq democracy are finally going to end, but George W. Bush was probably right when he said we'll all be dead before we know how it comes out. Unfortunately, so will a lot of kids who deserved better.

Can't argue. But here is a blast from the past on Bush's inadequate planning, and a stab at whether the failure was in conception or execution.

CYBER

'Military-Style' Raid on California Power Station Spooks U.S.

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sat, 28 Dec 2013 21:01

When U.S. officials warn about "attacks" on electric power facilities these days, the first thing that comes to mind is probably a computer hacker trying to shut the lights off in a city with malware. But a more traditional attack on a power station in California has U.S. officials puzzled and worried about the physical security of the the electrical grid--from attackers who come in with guns blazing.

Around 1:00 AM on April 16, at least one individual (possibly two) entered two different manholes at the PG&E Metcalf power substation, southeast of San Jose, and cut fiber cables in the area around the substation. That knocked out some local 911 services, landline service to the substation, and cell phone service in the area, a senior U.S. intelligence official told Foreign Policy. The intruder(s) then fired more than 100 rounds from what two officials described as a high-powered rifle at several transformers in the facility. Ten transformers were damaged in one area of the facility, and three transformer banks -- or groups of transformers -- were hit in another, according to a PG&E spokesman.

Cooling oil then leaked from a transformer bank, causing the transformers to overheat and shut down. State regulators urged customers in the area to conserve energy over the following days, but there was no long-term damage reported at the facility and there were no major power outages. There were no injuries reported. That was the good news. The bad news is that officials don't know who the shooter(s) were, and most importantly, whether further attacks are planned.

"Initially, the attack was being treated as vandalism and handled by local law enforcement," the senior intelligence official said. "However, investigators have been quoted in the press expressing opinions that there are indications that the timing of the attacks and target selection indicate a higher level of planning and sophistication."

The FBI has taken over the case. There appears to have been some initial concern, or at least interest, in the fact that the shooting happened one day after the Boston Marathon bombing. But the FBI has no evidence that the attack is related to terrorism, and it appears to be an isolated incident, said Peter Lee, a spokesman for the FBI field office in San Francisco, which is leading the investigation. Lee said the FBI has "a couple of leads we're still following up on," which he wouldn't discuss in detail. There has not been any published motive or intent for the attack, the intelligence official said, and no one has claimed credit.

Local investigators seemed to hit a dead end in June, so they released surveillance footage of the shooting. But that apparently produced no new information. The FBI says there have been no tips from the public about who the shooter might be and what he was doing there.

The incident might have stayed a local news story, but this month, Rep. Henry Waxman, the California Democrat and ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, mentioned it at a hearing on regulatory issues. "It is clear that the electric grid is not adequately protected from physical or cyber attacks," Waxman said. He called the shooting at the the San Jose facility "an unprecedented and sophisticated attack on an electric grid substation with military-style weapons. Communications were disrupted. The attack inflicted substantial damage. It took weeks to replace the damaged parts. Under slightly different conditions, there could have been serious power outages or worse."

The U.S. official said the incident "did not involve a cyber attack," but that's about all investigators seem to know right now. AT&T, which operates the phone network that was affected, has offered a $250,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator or perpetrators.

"These were not amateurs taking potshots," Mark Johnson, a former vice president for transmission operations at PG&E, said last month at a conference on grid security held in Philadelphia. "My personal view is that this was a dress rehearsal" for future attacks.

At the very least, the attack points to an arguably overlooked physical threat to power facilities at a time when much of the U.S. intelligence community, Congress, and the electrical power industry is focused on the risk of cyber attacks. There has never been a confirmed power outage caused by a cyber attack in the United States. But the Obama administration has sought to promulgate cyber security standards that power facilities could use to minimize the risk of one.

At least one senior official thinks the government is focusing too heavily on cyber attacks. Jon Wellinghoff, the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said last month that an attack by intruders with guns and rifles could be just as devastating as a cyber attack.

A shooter "could get 200 yards away with a .22 rifle and take the whole thing out," Wellinghoff said last month at a conference sponsored by Bloomberg. His proposed defense: A metal sheet that would block the transformer from view. "If you can't see through the fence, you can't figure out where to shoot anymore," Wellinghoff said. Price tag? A "couple hundred bucks." A lot cheaper than the billions the administration has spent in the past four years beefing up cyber security of critical infrastructure in the United States and on government computer networks.

"There are ways that a very few number of actors with very rudimentary equipment could take down large portions of our grid," Wellinghoff said. "I don't think we have the level of physical security we need."

San Jose: Sheriff's Office release video of attack on PG&E substation - San Jose Mercury News

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sat, 28 Dec 2013 21:02

SAN JOSE -- Looking to add a jolt to its investigation, the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday released surveillance video depicting an April shooting targeting a PG&E substation in South San Jose.

In the early-morning hours of April 16, someone opened fire at the utility's substation on Metcalf Road near Highway 101. The gunshots damaged five transformers and caused cooling oil to leak from a transformer bank, and the damage prompted state regulators to urge electricity conservation in the ensuing days. AT&T phone service in the area was also affected.

The dark and moderately grainy footage shows a series of gunshots fired over a roughly one-minute span, between the 1:54 and 3:07 marks. Sheriff's spokesman Kurtis Stenderup said investigators continue to analyze other footage taken at the time.

A month later, a man dressed all in black was seen lurking near the substation, touching off a large manhunt by Sheriff's deputies, but the man eluded capture.

AT&T is offering a $250,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.

Anyone with information for the Sheriff's Office can contact investigators at 408-808-4431.

Contact Robert Salonga at 408-920-5002. Follow him at Twitter.com/robertsalonga.

Act of 1871

Freedom Force International - Welcome

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Archived Version

Fri, 27 Dec 2013 16:27

IS THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT A CORPORATION?IF TRUE, SO WHAT?(C) 2007 by G. Edward Griffin. Revised 2007 December 17.

A common assertion made by those who are unhappy with the declining state of freedom in America is that this can be traced to an 1871 act of Congress that established Washington DC and, at the same time, converted the United States from a constitutional republic to a corporation. Secondary claims attached to this hypothesis are that this is the reason the official wording was changed from Constitution for The United States of America to Constitution of The United States of America and also why all capital letters are used in the name instead of upper and lower case letters. They claim that this Act of 1871 abolished the original constitutional government and created a legal fiction that became financially indebted to and controlled by international bankers. A forceful example of this view can be found on the Internet at www.serendipity.li/jsmill/us_corporation.htm.

A CHARTER FOR CITY GOVERNMENTMy own analysis is different. While it is true that Washington DC was created by the Act of 1871, its territory was limited to the District of Columbia and it was defined as a municipal corporation, which means it was limited to the affairs of city government. Three years later, on June 20, 1874, a new Act was passed by Congress that abolished the original city government and replaced it with a three-man commission, appointed by the President with the consent of the Senate. Its scope as a municipality did not change. A third Act of Congress, dated June 11, 1878, clarified the powers of the Commission but retained all the essential features of the previous Act, especially those that defined the nature of the District of Columbia as a municipal administrative unit. The following overview, taken from a Supreme Court decision (District of Columbia v. Camden Iron Works, 181 U.S. 453 (1901) 181 U.S. 453) describes this evolution:

The 1st section of the act 'to provide a government for the District of Columbia,' approved February 21, 1871 (16 Stat. at L. [181 U.S. 453, 458] 419, chap. 62), provided: 'That all that part of the territory of the United States included within the limits of the District of Columbia be, and the same is hereby, created into a government by the name of the District of Columbia by which name it is hereby constituted a body corporate for municipal purposes, and may contract and be contracted with, sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded, have a seal, and exercise all other powers of a municipal corporation not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws of the United States and the provisions of this act.'

A governor and legislature were created; also a board of public works, to which was given the control and repair of the streets, avenues, alleys, and sewers of the city of Washington, and all other works which might be intrusted to their charge by either the legislative assembly or Congress. They were empowered to disburse the moneys received for the improvement of streets, avenues, alleys, sewers, roads, and bridges, and to assess upon adjoining property specially benefited thereby a reasonable proportion of the cost, not exceeding one third.

June 20, 1874, an act was passed entitled 'An Act for the Government of the District of Columbia, and for Other Purposes.' 18 Stat. at L. 116, chap. 337. By this act the government established by the act of 1871 was abolished and the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate was authorized to appoint a commission, consisting of three persons, to exercise the power and authority vested in the governor and the board of public works, except as afterwards limited by the act.

By a subsequent act approved June 11, 1878 (20 Stat. at L. 102, chap. 180), it was enacted that the District of Columbia should 'remain and continue a municipal corporation,' as provided in 2 of the Revised Statutes relating to said District (brought forward from the act of 1871), and the appointment of commissioners was provided for, to have and to exercise similar powers given to the commissioners appointed under the act of 1874.

Many Internet commentators claim that using all upper-case letters when printing the name United States of America or when printing names of individuals has a profound legal implication. However, I have not been able to confirm this. If anyone can show me a law or court case to the contrary, I will readily acknowledge it; but so far I only have found assertions of this claim with no authoritative documentation. In the meantime, I am satisfied with the conclusion of the Dixieland Law Journal at http://home.hiwaay.net/~becraft/NamesInCaps.htm that there is no legal basis for this theory.

Now, to the bigger issue. Even if it were true that Congress in 1871 converted the United States into a corporation (a claim that I do not accept), there would be two questions that must be answered: (1) what would be the practical significance and (2) what can be done about it?

SO WHAT?Let's take the first question: what would be the practical significance of a corporate government versus a constitutional government? In one case, the charter is a corporate charter. In the other case it is a constitution. Both are written documents and both outline the purpose, function, and limitations of the entity they create. The primary difference is that a corporation always is the creation of government, which makes government a higher source with powers assumed to be derived from the people themselves. In the case of the United States, however, this distinction is blurred, because the federal constitution was created by representatives of the colonial governments. That means the United States was created by other governments just as it would have been if created as a corporation.

The structure of government is important but not as important as the power of government. That is also true of corporations. Governments and corporations are neither good nor evil by themselves. They can serve man well or be a huge disservice depending entirely on the terms of their charters and the character of those who direct them. Private entrepreneurs, partnerships, and associations have exactly the same capacity for good or evil. Corporations become evil when they acquire political favoritism giving them unfair advantages over competitors and legal immunity from crimes '' but exactly the same thing happens with politically connected individuals, partnerships, and associations.

A similar contrast between good and evil is found within governments, whether they are corporations or not. There is little difference between corporations and governments except ownership of stock. Too much is made over the structure of government and too little over the principles of government. Which would we choose: a corporate government with a charter that limits its powers and with functioning mechanisms to choose our leaders '' or a constitutional government in which the constitution is subverted and the electoral system is in the hands of a ruling elite?

Guns do not commit crimes but people using guns do. Likewise, organizational structures are not the problem, it's the people who control those structures and the principles they embrace. Evil men can subvert any social structure. There are no set of rules that can prevent it if the public becomes indifferent, which is why Wendell Phillips reminded us that "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty."

We should be thankful that America started off as a constitutional republic, but that was long ago. Today we live under a democratic oligarchy in which the masses are hypnotized into believing they control their political destiny because they are allowed to elect their own dictators. This conversion did not happen because of how government was chartered but because collectivists took control of political parties, media centers, educational institutions, and all other power centers of society. As long as collectivists remain in control, and as long as most people don't even know what the word collectivism means, it makes no difference if government has a constitutional or a corporate charter. Freedom is lost either way.

WHAT CAN BE DONE?The important question is what can be done? Even if it were true that the United States was secretly converted to a corporation in 1871, what can be done about it today? If we don't have an answer to that question, we are wasting out time. The enemies of freedom must be happy to see us chasing phantom issues because, as long as we do, we are out of the battle. The solution to the loss of our constitutional republic is, not to endlessly debate the meaning of an obscure event in 1871, but to take action today to recapture our government from the collectivists who have subverted it and then set about to restore the republic! That is the mission of Freedom Force.

IS THE GOVERNMENT AN OFFICIALLY BANKRUPT COMMERCIAL CORPORATION UNDER MARITIME LAW?

On December 17, 2007, I received the following admonition from a strong supporter who, nevertheless, felt that I needed more information. He wrote:

The evidence discovered is that an all CAPS account exists under our SSN. We can now fund this account and use it to discharge debt and operate in "commerce" as a creditor rather than a "debtor". The freedom movement has wrongly assumed that we are under constitutional law, when in fact we were sold out and are under bankruptcy and international maritime commercial law.

Based on the 1933 bankruptcy of the United States. The U.S was dissolved at that time and turned over to the international bankers and converted into a commercial Corporation operating under international maritime commerce law and bankrupcy law. Subsequently, our rights have been turned into civil rights under commerce law. We have not been a "government by the people" since 1933. We are corporate slaves owned and ruled by the international banking cartel. This the federal reserve act of 1913 and President Roosevelt's declaration of bankruptcy did for us. This explains much about why our President and Congress can "do unconstitutional' acts with impunity. They are lawful employees of the international banking cartel operating under commerce.

I think that the freedom community needs to accept the truth and facts and create a plan of action based on reality.

I strongly encourage you to listen to at least the first 10 minutes of Sharon's December 06 conference call recording (http://www.paralegalresearchadvocates.com/). I believe that Sharon has discovered something that will benefit us all. Please be open about this and at least investigate for yourself.

Warm Regards,RS

This was my reply:

Hello Richard.I have listened to the conference call as you suggested and learned nothing new over and above what I have read from many others who follow the Strawman/Bankruptcy/Admiralty Law hypothesis. Everything said about the Federal Reserve is basically true, but it is a giant leap to accept the validity of all the rest. I previously have examined the documents Sharon mentioned and, as I recall, found nothing in any of them that confirmed the hypotheses '' except by the most creative interpretation. I am afraid all of this is just a dead end that leads people into an endless loop of fighting a phantom that doesn't exist when we have very real enemies in the form of the Federal Reserve and a corrupted government.

You said: ''the freedom community needs to accept the truth and facts and create a plan of action based on reality.'' I agree totally, but what would that plan be? How would it be any different than abolishing the Federal Reserve and the IRS, returning to a sound money, and replacing corrupted government officials? If that is the solution, then why spend time in a legal wonderland that not one in ten-thousand has any chance of comprehending? Is there any better plan to turn people off of the topic and, thus, turn them away from a solution? It seems to me that crusading under the Strawman banner is well calculated to insure our defeat. Why not just stick with the easily understood and easily proven facts? That's what Ron Paul is trying to do and, judging by the groundswell of support he is getting, it is a very wise strategy.

Thanks again for your support and especially for your concern for the future of our Republic.

Ed Griffin

Later in the day, I happily recieved the following reply.

Mr. Griffiin:Thank you very much for your time and consideration and sound response. I am 100% for Ron Paul, the dissoling of the Federal Reserve and the IRS and the replacement of corrupted public officials. I fully support you and all of your efforts and Freedom Force. I am thankful for people like yourself. Please accept my apology for troubling you with an issue that I did not fully understand. Thank you for your clarifications.

Please enjoy the best during this Holiday season. Most respectfully and grateful,

Rich Steward

VIDEO- The American Scam Revealed the Act of 1871 'ž UNITED STATES INC. Legal Fiction Debt Slaves - YouTube

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Fri, 27 Dec 2013 15:58

Target

Forensics Overview | Target Corporate

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Fri, 27 Dec 2013 16:03

Target's accredited forensic labs in Minneapolis and Las Vegas have earned a strong reputation for working with law enforcement to gather and analyze evidence. Approximately 30 percent of the labs' caseload supports law enforcement with examinations of evidence from violent felony crimes at no charge.The American Society of Crime Lab Directors' Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB) awarded the Target forensic services laboratory system the ASCLD/LAB Legacy Accreditation for digital evidence (video analysis, audio analysis and image analysis) and latent fingerprint analysis. This achievement demonstrates our commitment to scientific, objective, world-class results.

As accredited laboratories, Target forensic labs use management, personnel, procedures, equipment and facilities that meet more than 90 stringent standards, including training, quality, scientific methodology and review.

Six Week Cycle

4 p.m. update: Suspect in LA airport shooting pleads not guilty - Chico Enterprise Record

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Fri, 27 Dec 2013 16:56

Click photo to enlargeThis undated file photo provided by the FBI shows Paul Ciancia, 23. The unemployed motorcycle mechanic charged with killing a Transportation Security Administration officer and wounding three others during a rampage at Los Angeles International Airport last month made his first court appearance on Wednesday Dec. 4, 2013.

RANCHO CUCAMONGA '-- A short, slender man speaking in a hoarse voice pleaded not guilty today to 11 federal charges, including the murder of a Transportation Security Administration screener and the wounding of three other people during a rampage at Los Angeles International Airport last month.The charges could bring him the death penalty. The decision on whether the government will seek the ultimate penalty will take a long time and will ultimately rest with U.S. Attorney General Erik Holder.

Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23, who was wounded before his arrest, occasionally touched a large, white bandage on his neck during a three-minute arraignment before a federal magistrate at the West Valley Detention Center east of Los Angeles. The center has a medical facility.

The diminutive defendant acknowledged his name in a near-whisper and that he had read his 11-count indictment.

Trial was set for Feb. 11 in a downtown Los Angeles federal court. But that was a formality required to meet federal speedy trial requirements. Cianca can agree to a delay later if his lawyers determine more time is needed for preparation. A pretrial hearing was set for Jan. 27.

U.S. Attorney's spokesman Thom Mrozek said prosecutors are continuing to investigate the event which wreaked havoc at one of the nation's largest airports and disrupted air travel nationwide.

Ciancia is from Pennsville, N.J., and moved to Los Angeles in 2012.

Authorities say the unemployed motorcycle mechanic arrived at the airport's Terminal 3 on Nov. 1 with the intention of killing TSA workers. Officials have said Ciancia had a grudge against the agency, but they have not indicated what prompted it.

A motive was not mentioned during the brief hearing.

After entering the terminal, police say Ciancia pulled a semi-automatic rifle from a duffel bag and began spraying the area with gunfire as hundreds of people fled in terror.

TSA Officer Gerardo Hernandez was killed. Two other uniformed TSA officers and a traveler were wounded.

Hernandez, 39, became the first TSA officer to die in the line of duty. A coroner's report showed he was struck by a dozen bullets. Witnesses have said that after first shooting him, the gunman returned to shoot again when he saw Hernandez move.

Airport police arrested Ciancia following a gunfight in which they wounded him four times.

An indictment accuses him of "substantial planning and premeditation to cause the death of a person and to commit an act of terrorism."

Outside court, Mrozek noted there are no allegations that Ciancia was part of a terrorist conspiracy. He said the allegation of committing a murder in an international airport falls under a terrorism provision.

Reflected hidden faces in photographs revealed in pupil | KurzweilAI

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Sat, 28 Dec 2013 22:40

Zooming in on the pupil of a subject's eye reveals hidden bystanders (credit: Rob Jenkins)

The pupil* of the eye in a photograph of a face can be mined for hidden information, such as reflected faces of the photographer and bystanders, according to research led by Dr. Rob Jenkins, of the Department of Psychology at the University of York and published in PLOS ONE (open access).

The researchers say that in crimes in which the victims are photographed, such as hostage taking or child sex abuse, reflections in the eyes of the photographic subject could help to identify perpetrators. Images of people retrieved from cameras seized as evidence during criminal investigations could be used to piece together networks of associates or to link individuals to particular locations.

By zooming in on high-resolution passport-style photographs, Jenkins and co-researcher Christie Kerr of the School of Psychology, University of Glasgow were able to recover bystander images that could be identified accurately by observers, despite their low resolution.

Lineup-style array of reflected images from photographs for spontaneous recognition task in experiment. All participants were familiar with the face of the psychologist and unfamiliar with the faces of the bystanders. Correct naming of the familiar face was frequent (hits 90%), and mistaken identification of the unfamiliar faces was infrequent (false positives 10%). (Credit: Rob Jenkins)

To establish whether these bystanders could be identified from the reflection images, the researchers presented them as stimuli in a face-matching task. Observers who were unfamiliar with the bystanders' faces performed at 71 per cent accuracy, while participants who were familiar with the faces performed at 84 per cent accuracy. In a test of spontaneous recognition, observers could reliably name a familiar face from an eye reflection image.

''The pupil of the eye is like a black mirror,'' said Jenkins. ''To enhance the image, you have to zoom in and adjust the contrast. A face image that is recovered from a reflection in the subject's eye is about 30,000 times smaller than the subject's face.'' In the research, the whole-face area for the reflected bystanders was 322 pixels on average.

Forensics implications

You probably recognize this well-known person, even though his face in this image measures only 16 pixels wide — 20 pixels high. (Photo credit: Steve Jurvetson)

High-resolution face photographs may also contain unexpected information about the environment of the photographic subject, including the appearance of the immediate surroundings, Jenkins explained to KurzweilAI.

''In the context of criminal investigations, this could be used to piece together networks of associates, or to link individuals to particular locations. This may be especially important when for categories of crime in which perpetrators photograph their victims. Reflections in the victims eyes could reveal the identity of the photographer.

''Also, around 40 million photographs per day are uploaded to Instagram alone, he pointed out. ''Faces are among the most frequently photographed objects. Our study serves as a reminder to be careful what you upload. Eyes in the photographs could reveal where you were and who you were with.''

Although Jenkins did the study with a high-resolution (39 megapixels) Hasselblad camera, face images retrieved from eye reflections need not be of high quality in order to be identifiable, he said. ''Obtaining optimal viewers '-- those who are familiar with the faces concerned '-- may be more important than obtaining optimal images.''

In addition, ''in accordance with Hendy's Law (a derivative of Moore's Law), pixel count per dollar for digital cameras has been doubling approximately every twelve months. This trajectory implies that mobile phones could soon carry >39 megapixel cameras routinely.''

It would be interesting to see what hidden information is buried in law-enforcement (and other) photo archives '-- some of which could even help exculpate innocent persons.

*Technically, the image is reflected by the cornea.

Abstract of PLOS ONE paper

Criminal investigations often use photographic evidence to identify suspects. Here we combined robust face perception and high-resolution photography to mine face photographs for hidden information. By zooming in on high-resolution face photographs, we were able to recover images of unseen bystanders from reflections in the subjects' eyes. To establish whether these bystanders could be identified from the reflection images, we presented them as stimuli in a face matching task (Experiment 1). Accuracy in the face matching task was well above chance (50%), despite the unpromising source of the stimuli. Participants who were unfamiliar with the bystanders' faces (n = 16) performed at 71% accuracy [t(15) = 7.64, p

PLOS ONE: Identifiable Images of Bystanders Extracted from Corneal Reflections

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Sat, 28 Dec 2013 22:03

Criminal investigations often use photographic evidence to identify suspects. Here we combined robust face perception and high-resolution photography to mine face photographs for hidden information. By zooming in on high-resolution face photographs, we were able to recover images of unseen bystanders from reflections in the subjects' eyes. To establish whether these bystanders could be identified from the reflection images, we presented them as stimuli in a face matching task (Experiment 1). Accuracy in the face matching task was well above chance (50%), despite the unpromising source of the stimuli. Participants who were unfamiliar with the bystanders' faces (n = 16) performed at 71% accuracy [t(15) = 7.64, p39 megapixel cameras routinely. However, as the current study emphasizes, the extracted face images need not be of high quality in order to be identifiable. For this reason, obtaining optimal viewers - those who are familiar with the faces concerned - may be more important than obtaining optimal images.

Supporting InformationMovie S1.

Animated zoom on the cornea of a high-resolution photographic subject. The zoom begins with a passport photo-style framing of the subject, and ends with a full face close-up of a bystander captured in the subject's corneal reflection. Successive movie frames represent a linear magnification of 6%. Each frame was resized to 720 pixels wide —540 pixels high using bicubic interpolation to reduce high spatial frequency noise. Contrast was enhanced separately for each frame using the Auto Contrast function in Adobe Photoshop to improve definition. The image sequence was then converted to movie format for viewing.

doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0083325.s001

(AVI)

AcknowledgmentsWe thank Stuart Campbell at the Photographic Unit at the University of Glasgow for high resolution photography, Llian Alys at the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA UK) for pointing out forensic applications, and an anonymous reviewer for inspiring Experiment 2. Original high-resolution photographs and performance data are available from the corresponding author.

Author ContributionsConceived and designed the experiments: RJ. Performed the experiments: CK RJ. Analyzed the data: CK RJ. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: RJ. Wrote the paper: RJ.

References1.Creer KE (1984) The forensic examination of photographic equipment and materials, Forens Sci Internat. 24: 263''272. doi: 10.1016/0379-0738(84)90160-92.Ricci LR, Smistek BS (2006) Photodocumentation in the investigation of child abuse. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, US Department of Justice, United States.3.Laustsen CB (2008) The camera as a weapon. On Abu Ghraib and related matters. J Cultur Res 12: 123''142. doi: 10.1080/147975808023908484.Harmon LD, Julesz B (1973) Masking in visual recognition: Effects of two-dimensional filtered noise. Science 180: 1194''1197. doi: 10.1126/science.180.4091.11945.Harmon LD (1973) The recognition of faces. Sci Am 229: 70''83. doi: 10.1038/scientificamerican1173-706.Burton AM, Wilson S, Cowan M, Bruce V (1999) Face recognition in poor quality video: evidence from security surveillance. Psychol Sci 10: 243''248. doi: 10.1111/1467-9280.001447.Yip A, Sinha P (2002) Role of color in face recognition. Perception 31: 995''1003. doi: 10.1068/p33768.Nishino K, Nayar S (2006) Corneal imaging system: Environment from eyes. Int J Comp Vis 70: 23''40. doi: 10.1007/s11263-006-6274-99.Johnson MK, Farid H (2007) Exposing digital forgeries through specular highlights on the eye. Lect Notes in Comp Sci 4567: 311''325. doi: 10.1007/978-3-540-77370-2_2110.Trevisa J (1975) In: Seymour MC, et al.., editors. On the Properties of Things: John Trevisa's translation of ''Bartholomaeus Anglicus De Proprietatibus Rerum.'' Oxford: Clarendon. 184.11.Clutterbuck R, Johnston RA (2002) Exploring levels of face familiarity by using an indirect face-matching measure. Perception 31: 985''994. doi: 10.1068/p333512.Clutterbuck R, Johnston RA (2004) Matching as an index of face familiarity. Vis Cognit 11: 857''869. doi: 10.1080/1350628044400002113.Clutterbuck R, Johnston RA (2005) Demonstrating how unfamiliar faces become familiar using a face matching task. Eur J Cog Psychol 17: 97''116. doi: 10.1080/0954144034000043914.Megreya AM, Burton AM (2006) Unfamiliar faces are not faces: Evidence from a matching task. Mem Cognit 34: 865''876. doi: 10.3758/bf0319343315.Burton AM, White D, McNeill A (2010) The Glasgow face matching test. Behav Res Meth 42: 286''291. doi: 10.3758/brm.42.1.28616.Jenkins R, Burton AM (2011) Stable face representations. Phil Trans Roy Soc B 366: 1671''1683. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2010.037917.Ekman P (1993) Facial expression and emotion. Am Psychol 48: 384''392. doi: 10.1037/0003-066x.48.4.38418.Calder AJ, Lawrence AD, Keane J, Scott SK, Owen AI, et al. (2002) Reading the mind from eye gaze. Neuropsychologia 40: 1129''1138. doi: 10.1016/s0028-3932(02)00008-819.Blakemore S, Decety J (2001) From the perception of action to the understanding of intention. Nat Rev Neuro 2: : 561''567.20.Trucco E, Verri A (1998) Introductory Techniques for 3-D Computer Vision. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.21.Torralba A, Freeman WT (2012) Accidental pinhole and pinspeck cameras: Revealing the scene outside the picture. Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), 2012 IEEE Conference on, 374''381.22.Hendy B (1998) The future of digital photography. Paper presented at PMA/DIMA conference, Sydney, Australia, 1998.23.Moore GE (1965) Cramming more components onto integrated circuits. Electronics 38: 114''117. doi: 10.1109/n-ssc.2006.4785860

Paki$tan

36(b)(1) Arms Sales Notification

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Source: Federal Register Latest Entries

Fri, 27 Dec 2013 16:05

Ms. B. English, DSCA/DBO/CFM, (703) 601-3740.

The following is a copy of a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Transmittals 13-70 with attached transmittal and policy justification.

Dated: December 23, 2013.

Aaron Siegel,

Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.

Transmittal No. 13-70Notice of Proposed Issuance of Letter of Offer Pursuant to Section 36(b)(1) of the Arms Export Control Act, as amended(i) Prospective Purchaser: Pakistan

(ii) Total Estimated Value:

Major Defense Equipment§ *$ 0 millionOther$100 millionTOTAL$100 million(iii) Description and Quantity or Quantities of Articles or Services under Consideration for Purchase: to provide technical support services, and other related logistics support to assist in the oversight of operations in support of the Pakistan Peace Drive F-16 program.

(iv) Military Department: Air Force (GAF)

(v) Prior Related Cases, if any: FMS Case GAC'--$82M'--12Mar10

(vi) Sales Commission, Fee, etc., Paid, Offered, or Agreed to be Paid: None

(vii) Sensitivity of Technology Contained in the Defense Article or Defense Services Proposed to be Sold: None

(viii) Date Report Delivered to Congress: 19 December 2013

* as defined in Section 47(6) of the Arms Export Control Act.

POLICY JUSTIFICATIONPakistan'--Technical Support Team (TST)The Government of Pakistan has requested a possible sale to provide technical support services at Shahbaz and Mushaf Air Bases to assist in the oversight of operations in support of the Pakistan Peace Drive F-16 program. Also included: U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $100 million.

This proposed sale will support continuation of the Peace Drive program, which contributes to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a country that has been and continues to be a partner in overseas contingency operations. Pakistan is vital to U.S. foreign policy and national security goals in South Asia.

The proposed sale of this support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of two U.S. Government and 40 contractor representatives to Pakistan for a period of approximately five years to assist in the oversight of operations as part of the Peace Drive F-16 Program.

The principal contractor is not known at this time and will be determined during contract negotiations. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.

[FR Doc. 2013-31055 Filed 12-26-13; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 5001-06-P

Agenda 21

Fukushima radiation reaching California beaches?

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Sun, 29 Dec 2013 14:12

A great place for video content of all kinds. Direct links to major video sites are preferred (e.g. YouTube, Vimeo, etc.)

No politics. Political videos (including ones related to current political figures) should be submitted to r/politics, r/worldpolitics, etc.

No personal information such as names, Facebook pages, phone numbers, addresses, etc. This is grounds for an immediate (and likely permanent) ban, so consider this a warning.

No witch-hunting or incitement to witch hunt. This means no demanding "Reddit justice" in any way in post titles or comments.

No police brutality/violence videos. Consider posting to a different subreddit, like /r/Bad_Cop_No_Donut or elsewhere.

No blogspam or URL shorteners. Please post direct links.

No porn or gore. There are many other subreddits for such content.

No DAE posts or solicitation of votes or views.

If your submission does not appear in the new queue, please contact us (be sure to include a link to the Reddit post (i.e. comments section), not the content you are linking). Simply deleting your post may cause the spam filter to catch future ones.

Also, please contact us regarding spam, political or any other inappropriate videos, as this helps us remove them more quickly!

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Fukushima radiation hits San Francisco

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Sun, 29 Dec 2013 14:08

This shocking video was taken December 23rd 2013 with a quality Geiger Counter at Pacifica State Beach (Surfers Beach), California.

Location:

http://bit.ly/1g26Zjm

Geiger Counter used:

http://www.geigercounters.com/Inspector.htm

Background radiation is 30 CPM. Near the ocean it's 150 CPM. The fine mist coming from the ocean waves seems to be what makes the Geiger Counter jump.

Fukushima radiation disaster info:

http://www.rense.com

Massive starfish deaths on West Coast:

http://www.naturalnews.com/

We all must come to the realization that swimming in the Pacific Ocean (let alone eating anything out of it) is a thing in the past. And it's only going to get worse, as it's unstoppable. This is by far the worst man-made disaster in human history, and our garbage media and government say nothing.

RELATED :

Fukushima is here: 'ALL Bluefin Tuna Caught In California Are Radioactive'

Leave CommentsComments

Analysis of the reading

Let's take this guy's measurements, which he says average 150CPM and which peaks out at 156CPM at one point in the video. If you take the highest measurement of 156CPM and divided it by the specified 3500CPM/mR/h sensitivity level of his model Geiger meter, you get a measurement of 0.04458 mR/h (milliroentgens per hour). Multiply this value by 8766 hours per year to get 391 mR per year, then multiply that by 0.96 to convert to the roentgen equivalent in man (rem) value of 375 mrem--this is the level of radiation deposited in soft biological tissue. According to MIT, the average natural background radiation at sea level is 300 mrem. This increases at higher elevation where Denver has an average 400 mrem. Federal safety standards for fetuses and minors in workplace environment label 500 mrem, or 5000 mrem for adults, as the upper limit of safe. To give further context, acute radiation poisoning is defined as over 1 sievert or 100 rem (100,000 mrem) in a short time period, which at the rate of peak measurement level would take over 25 years to accumulate. Another way to look at that is, at 0.0428 mrem/h or 0.0007 mrem/m, that is over 142,857 times the peak measurement registered on Pacifica State Beach.

Pipe$ & Train$

Yemeni gunmen strike Hadramawt oil pipeline

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Source: AL JAZEERA ENGLISH (AJE)

Sun, 29 Dec 2013 06:10

Yemeni tribesmen blew up a pipeline in the eastern Hadramout province, disrupting oil flow two days after they seized an Oil Ministry building in the province, a local government official said.

"Gunmen belonging to an alliance of Hadramawt tribes blew up the oil pipeline linking Masila oilfield to al-Daba port in the town of Shahr," the unnanmed official said on Saturday.

The gunmen had planted an explosive device under the pipeline in Hadramawt province, the official said, adding that production had been halted.

An industry official confirmed the attack and that the flow of oil had ceased.

The pipeline in Hadramawt province pumps around 120,000 barrels per day and is operated by "several foreign companies".

This was the first time the pipeline had been hit.

The attack comes amid rising tensions between Yemeni authorities and southern secessionists, allied with a group of tribes from Hadramawt, an al-Qaeda stronghold.

The violence has intensified since the killing of local tribal chief Said Ben Habrish and his bodyguards at an army checkpoint earlier this month after they refused to hand over their weapons.

Two soldiers were also killed in the exchange of fire.

Yemen, which relies on oil exports to finance up to 70 percent of budget spending, has suffered frequent bombings ofits main pipeline in recent years.

Disgruntled tribesmen carry out such attacks to pressure the government to provide jobs, settle land disputes, or free relatives from prison.

232

WASHINGTON: Oil, grain trains squeeze Amtrak's Empire Builder route to Northwest | National | McClatchy DC

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Sun, 29 Dec 2013 14:03

WASHINGTON '-- Freight congestion has caused massive delays and even cancellations of a popular Amtrak train in recent months, a situation that could worsen as one of the nation's largest rail companies plans to increase shipments of fossil fuels on much of the route.

The Empire Builder, which runs from Chicago to Seattle and Portland, Ore., carries more passengers than any of Amtrak's long-distance trains, 543,000 in 2012.

But it also recorded the worst on-time performance in Amtrak's nationwide network in November, at 44.5 percent. Any number below 80 percent is considered substandard under a law Congress passed in 2008.

Amtrak took the drastic step this month of canceling five Empire Builder trains in one week, three eastbound and two westbound, between St. Paul, Minn., and Spokane, Wash. Delays in North Dakota and Montana were causing an imbalance of equipment and personnel at each end of the scenic, 2,000-mile run across the country's northern tier.

''Crews have to go off-shift. Equipment has to be serviced,'' said Marc Magliari, an Amtrak spokesman. ''We thought it best to stand down.''

He added that the move was largely because of congestion on the lines of the BNSF Railway Co., the 32,500-mile freight railroad bought by billionaire investor Warren Buffett in 2009.

BNSF, based in Fort Worth, Texas, is a major hauler of coal from Wyoming's Powder River Basin and of crude oil from the booming Bakken region in North Dakota. The railroad and energy companies are developing terminals in Washington state to handle more of both.

Opponents, including environmentalists and community groups, fear the increased traffic could choke the Northwest's rail network and harm the industries and people in the region that depend on it. An unusually robust fall harvest doubled the number of grain trains on the BNSF network, on top of a growing volume of crude oil.

Amtrak's Cascade trains operate on the BNSF route between Portland, Ore., and Vancouver, B.C., which also is the path of fossil fuel shipments.

BNSF already hauls coal through Washington state to an export terminal in Canada and crude oil to a refinery in Anacortes, Wash. These long, heavy trains share the rails with the Empire Builder along much of its journey.

Roxanne Butler, a BNSF spokeswoman, attributed the congestion to an increase in the number of grain trains from 60 a day to 122. She said the crude oil shipments account for 85 trains a day, ''one-half of 1 percent of the total daily train volume.''

Still, that's 85 trains BNSF was not operating before the Bakken boom, and many observers have questioned whether the railroad has enough track space to handle the increased shipments without delaying other trains.

''What the long-term implications are is hard to say,'' said Ross Capon, president of the National Association of Railroad Passengers, an advocacy group. ''It depends on how fast the railroad's able to add track capacity.''

Butler said the railroad's system-wide traffic levels remain below their pre-recession peak. But the railroad anticipates growth, as reflected in its capital spending plans.

BNSF said in August that it would spend $335 million this year to add capacity to its lines in Montana and North Dakota, and another $125 million to improve its network in Washington state, all part of a $4.1 billion system-wide investment.

Washington received nearly $800 million in economic stimulus funds from the Obama administration to pay for passenger rail improvements in the Cascade Corridor, including more double track and longer passing sidings on the BNSF line. Though that investment was intended to expand passenger service, it could also boost freight.

Crude oil production in North Dakota is setting records every month and is predicted to surpass 1 million barrels a day next year, from next to nothing five years ago. In October, almost 70 percent of the oil was shipped by rail, and much of that by BNSF. In the absence of new pipelines, including the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, rail has become the alternative.

The Bakken boom has increased ridership on the Empire Builder, which stops at two North Dakota towns, Minot and Williston, that have become home base for thousands of workers. Many arrive by train.

But increasing delays have put a dent in those gains. In 2013, the passenger count fell 1.2 percent.

Magliari said Amtrak has a good relationship with BNSF, and it's working to get the trains back on schedule.

''Our passengers aren't concerned with what freight shipments are impeding our traffic,'' he said. ''They are concerned about trains being delayed hours and hours and hours.''

Email: ctate@mcclatchydc.com; Twitter: @tatecurtis

If Ted had a Blog

Wilders: Gmail blokkeert mailaccount islamsticker

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Fri, 27 Dec 2013 16:42

Geplaatst op27 december 2013Laatste update27 december, 09:27Foto's1Toon reacties ANPDEN HAAG (ANP) - PVV-leider Geert Wilders is boos op Gmail. Hij liet vrijdagochtend via Twitter weten dat Gmail het mailaccount islamsticker@gmail.com heeft geblokkeerd en ,,dus onbruikbaar" heeft gemaakt. ,,We zullen zo snel mogelijk een nieuw e-mailadres maken. Klaarblijkelijk was klacht Mohammed Rabbae dus succesvol."

Wilders doelt op een klacht die het Landelijk Beraad Marokkanen, dat door Rabbae wordt geleid, heeft ingediend bij Google. Het beraad vroeg Google om in te grijpen zodat er geen 'haatzaaiend materiaal' van Wilders meer kan worden verspreid.

Op het bewuste e-mailadres konden mensen een sticker bestellen met de tekst 'De islam is een leugen. Mohammed is een boef. De koran is gif'. Wilders wil naar eigen zeggen mensen niet kwetsen, maar bevrijden van het juk van de islam.

Nieuw mailadresIntussen is een nieuw mailadres beschikbaar, meldt Wilders op Twitter: islamsticker@islamsticker.org. Wilders noemde de stickeractie donderdag ,,een groot succes, al duizenden aanvragen. Nieuwe bij laten maken".

Mohammed Rabbae zegt blij te zijn dat Google het Gmail-adres heeft laten blokkeren. ,,Zo staat het ook in de reglementen van Google. Het is goed dat het bedrijf zich daar ook aan houdt en dat de regels niet alleen voor de b¼hne zijn", aldus Rabbae. Hij zoekt vrijdag nog uit bij welke provider het nieuwe mailadres is ondergebracht en zal dan proberen ook dat te laten blokkeren.

Eindhovens Dagblad, op dit artikel rust copyright.ShareU kunt deze pagina printen door gebruik te maken van de standaard print mogelijkheden in uw browser.

Twitter Now Has A Larger Market Capitalization Than 80% Of All S&P 500 Companies

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Source: Dave says...

Sat, 28 Dec 2013 16:33

As everyone is well aware by now, Twitter investors and speculators have been on a sharp, sudden and very relentless buying spree, sending the company nearly 50% higher since the first week of December, and nearly doubling it since late November.

Why the stock has exploded the way it has, nobody knows, and frankly nobody cares: it has entered that mythical zone of raging momentum where things work, until they don't for whatever reason. But in order to present readers with a sense of where TWTR's $40 billion market cap, which is greater than 403, or 80%, of all S&P 500 companies, puts in in the context of several companies all of which have a market cap that is lower than Twitter's, we have shown on the chart below Twitter's 2014 projected Revenue compared to this same universe of immediately smaller S&P500 companies. Again, just for the sake of perspective.

Certainly, we have no doubt that Twitter's growth curve, based on the realistic assumption of infinite and growing advertising budgets, will promptly eclipse not only the revenues but certainly the earnings and cash flows of all the below-listed companies, and why not all other companies, both in the US and the world, too. Surely, more idiotic things have happened under Bernanke's centrally planned regime.

Average:Your rating: NoneAverage: 5(14 votes)

Distraction of the Week

Piers prepares to face Binger | Wingham Chronicle

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Sat, 28 Dec 2013 05:27

Dec. 27, 2013, 3:18 p.m.

Piers Morgan '' talk-show host, former newspaper editor and cricket tragic '' is talking tough as he prepares to take on Brett Lee in the nets.

Piers Morgan '' talk-show host, former newspaper editor and cricket tragic '' is talking tough as he prepares to take on Brett Lee in the nets.

Morgan, who has played village cricket in Sussex, will on Friday face six balls from the owner of 310 Test wickets who was once regarded as the fastest bowler in the world.

It is part of a challenge laid down by Lee after Morgan questioned the courage of England's batsmen in the face of an onslaught from Mitchell Johnson.

Despite former Test stars warning Morgan of the pain to come, the 48-year-old was bristling with confidence '' or false bravado. ''I've just met 'Binga' and he's giving it plenty of the large one, as I'd expect, I like a bit of sledging. But I said I'm in a bit of two minds '' I can't decide whether to whack him over that stand or that one. I think Brett, now that he's physically met me, realises it's a bit more of a challenge than he thought.''

Morgan insists England's batsmen have lacked guts this series against high-class quicks and vowed to show his countrymen the way. ''At least I'd stand there, I wouldn't go home,'' Morgan said on Channel Nine.

''We seemed to have rolled over like a little puppy dog and said, 'take us down.' It's not some tea party where you give up after the first cup doesn't taste right.'' Morgan was earlier about to unload on the visitors' inadequacies when he was cut short by the fall of an England wicket.

Swann says KP wasn't the targetGraeme Swann has reassured Kevin Pietersen the star England batsman was not the subject of his controversial ''up their own backsides'' sledge. There had been speculation Pietersen was one of the current players who ''have no idea how far up their own backsides they are and it will bite them on the arse one day'', but Swann says that is not so.

''I've spoken to Kev yesterday,'' Swann told the UK's Sky Sports. ''I assured him there was nothing in it aimed towards him. He said, 'I know exactly who you were talking about'. All the England guys are with me, and they know who grinds my gears around the world in cricket.''

Warne's BroadsideIf the barb was not aimed at Kevin Pietersen, then who was Graeme Swann referring to? Shane Warne says Stuart Broad's recent behaviour places him at the top of the list, despite Swann's repeated denials his comments were aimed at any of his former teammates. ''Ithink the comment was just to put it out there and if anyone felt like they were being a bit of a big head they would feel affected by it,'' Warne said on Channel Nine.

''If they weren't they wouldn't even detect it. For me, I think he was just throwing it out there and I think there are a few England players that are. One is Stuart Broad because you can't hobble around on crutches when the game was on the line [in Perth]. You can't go out there with a moonboot, on crutches, hobble around with a bruised foot and then be running around there in warm-ups this morning, so I reckon it could be aimed at StuartBroad.''

Bill bounces backBill Lawry quickly rediscovered his best form in the commentary box. On his first day behind the microphone this series, the veteran caller and former Australian Test captain had a crack at Joe Root for, of all things, not scoring quickly enough. Lawry, who, despite being one of the bravest and finest players of his era, was dubbed as a ''corpse with pads'' for his defensive play, was unhappy with Root's lack of aggression.

Root's strike rate was hovering in the low 30s in the second half of his innings, which Lawry believed was ''far too low for a No.3''. ''He's not rotating the strike, and putting himself under enormous pressure,'' Lawry said. ''If you're going to bat like this against a quality attack, they're going to knock you over.'' Root was out less than four overs later.

Siddle's tofu treatComedian Dave Hughes delivered some hard love before the fourth Test. Invited by Darren Lehmann to tell the pre-play daily joke, Hughes poked fun at all team members. One highlight was his take on Peter Siddle's dominance of Kevin Pietersen, who he has dismissed 10 times in 16 Tests and three times this series. ''He's just a six foot five piece of tofu to take down.''

In the tweet zone''Any danger the England batsman can play a shot!!! 90,000 people deserve more entertainment.'' '' Michael Slater.

Benaud sits this one out

Cricketing great Richie Benaud will be forced to sit out the rest of the season following injuries the 83-year-old sustained in a car accident in October. Benaud, a long-time member of the Channel Nine commentary panel, broke his sternum in the crash and is recovering more slowly than expected. Benaud was driving his 1963 Sunbeam Alpine in Sydney when he lost control and hit a parked car and then crashed into a small brick fence. Alana Schetzer

Twitter: @_TheTonk

Email: thetonksmh@gmail.com

Out There

Wagging the Moondoggie, Part 1

A Force Field for Astronauts? - NASA Science

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Sat, 28 Dec 2013 09:44

Researchers are reviving an old but wild idea to protect astronauts from space radiation.

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June 24, 2005: Opposite charges attract. Like charges repel. It's the first lesson of electromagnetism and, someday, it could save the lives of astronauts.

NASA's Vision for Space Exploration calls for a return to the Moon as preparation for even longer journeys to Mars and beyond. But there's a potential showstopper: radiation.

Space beyond low-Earth orbit is awash with intense radiation from the Sun and from deep galactic sources such as supernovas. Astronauts en route to the Moon and Mars are going to be exposed to this radiation, increasing their risk of getting cancer and other maladies. Finding a good shield is important.

Right: Supernovas produce dangerous radiation. [More]

The most common way to deal with radiation is simply to physically block it, as the thick concrete around a nuclear reactor does. But making spaceships from concrete is not an option. (Interestingly, it might be possible to build a moonbase from a concrete mixture of moondust and water, if water can be found on the Moon, but that's another story.) NASA scientists are investigating many radiation-blocking materials such as aluminum, advanced plastics and liquid hydrogen. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Those are all physical solutions. There is another possibility, one with no physical substance but plenty of shielding power: a force field.

Most of the dangerous radiation in space consists of electrically charged particles: high-speed electrons and protons from the Sun, and massive, positively charged atomic nuclei from distant supernovas.

Like charges repel. So why not protect astronauts by surrounding them with a powerful electric field that has the same charge as the incoming radiation, thus deflecting the radiation away?

Many experts are skeptical that electric fields can be made to protect astronauts. But Charles Buhler and John Lane, both scientists with ASRC Aerospace Corporation at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, believe it can be done. They've received support from the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts, whose job is to fund studies of far-out ideas, to investigate the possibility of electric shields for lunar bases.

Above: Artist's concept of an electrostatic radiation shield, consisting of positively charged inner spheres and negatively charged outer spheres. The screen net is connected to ground. Image courtesy ASRC Aerospace.

"Using electric fields to repel radiation was one of the first ideas back in the 1950s, when scientists started to look at the problem of protecting astronauts from radiation," Buhler says. "They quickly dropped the idea, though, because it seemed like the high voltages needed and the awkward designs that they thought would be necessary (for example, putting the astronauts inside two concentric metal spheres) would make such an electric shield impractical."

Buhler and Lane's approach is different. In their concept, a lunar base would have a half dozen or so inflatable, conductive spheres about 5 meters across mounted above the base. The spheres would then be charged up to a very high static-electrical potential: 100 megavolts or more. This voltage is very large but because there would be very little current flowing (the charge would sit statically on the spheres), not much power would be needed to maintain the charge.

The spheres would be made of a thin, strong fabric (such as Vectran, which was used for the landing balloons that cushioned the impact for the Mars Exploration Rovers) and coated with a very thin layer of a conductor such as gold. The fabric spheres could be folded up for transport and then inflated by simply loading them with an electric charge; the like charges of the electrons in the gold layer repel each other and force the sphere to expand outward.

Right: How the voltage would vary above a lunar base for the sphere configuration shown above. You can learn more about this and other configurations in the report Analysis of a Lunar Base Electrostatic Radiation Shield Concept.

Placing the spheres far overhead would reduce the danger of astronauts touching them. By carefully choosing the arrangement of the spheres, scientists can maximize their effectiveness at repelling radiation while minimizing their impact on astronauts and equipment at the ground. In some designs, in fact, the net electric field at ground level is zero, thus alleviating any potential health risks from these strong electric fields.

Buhler and Lane are still searching for the best arrangement: Part of the challenge is that radiation comes as both positively and negatively charged particles. The spheres must be arranged so that the electric field is, say, negative far above the base (to repel negative particles) and positive closer to the ground (to repel the positive particles). "We've already simulated three geometries that might work," says Buhler.

Portable designs might even be mounted onto "moon buggy" lunar rovers to offer protection for astronauts as they explore the surface, Buhler imagines.

Right: One scenario for how an electrostatic radiation shield could be deployed for mobile lunar exploration vehicles. Inverted green cones denote regions of partial radiation protection. Image courtesy ASRC Aerospace.

It sounds wonderful, but there are many scientific and engineering problems yet to be solved. For example, skeptics note that an electrostatic shield on the Moon is susceptible to being short circuited by floating moondust, which is itself charged by solar ultraviolet radiation. Solar wind blowing across the shield can cause problems, too. Electrons and protons in the wind could become trapped by the maze of forces that make up the shield, leading to strong and unintended electrical currents right above the heads of the astronauts.

The research is still preliminary, Buhler stresses. Moondust, solar wind and other problems are still being investigated. It may be that a different kind of shield would work better, for instance, a superconducting magnetic field. These wild ideas have yet to sort themselves out.

But, who knows, perhaps one day astronauts on the Moon and Mars will work safely, protected by a simple principle of electromagnetism even a child can understand.

Author: Patrick L. Barry | Editor: Dr. Tony Phillips | Credit: Science@NASA

Vaccine$

Wrongful death lawsuit blames Chantix prescriber | Health | Eugene News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News | KVAL CBS 13

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Sun, 29 Dec 2013 13:30

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - A Eugene woman whose husband killed the couple's son and himself has sued the dentist who prescribed her husband a nicotine-cessation drug and the hospital that determined he was not a danger to himself or others two days before the slayings.

The Eugene Register-Guard reports Lamae Stout has sued dentist Matthew McLaughlin and PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center's University District hospital in Lane County Circuit Court.The lawsuit seeks $2.2 million in damages. Lamae Stout found the bodies of her husband and son at the top of a stairwell when she arrived home from work on Dec. 22, 2010. Darwin Stout had been prescribed the nicotine-cessation drug Chantix by his dentist to treat a nicotine addiction and curb his use of chewing tobacco. McLaughlin renewed the 49-year-old's prescription six times between March and October 2010, according to the lawsuit. The medication has been linked to depression and suicide. McLaughlin told the newspaper on Friday that he will be "vigorously defending" himself in response to the suit, but declined to speak in further detail. Two days before the slayings, Darwin Stout visited the hospital voluntarily for a mental evaluation. The hospital, a nurse practitioner and social worker who evaluated Darwin Stout allegedly discharged him before he had seen a doctor, and wrongly concluded he was not a danger to himself or others, according to the suit. PeaceHealth spokesman Jim Godbold told the paper on Friday that he had been unaware of Lamae Stout's claim and could not comment on the pending litigation. Chantix, a smoking cessation drug approved by the Federal Drug Administration in 2006, states on its website that some people have developed behavior changes including hostility, depressed mood and suicidal actions after using or ceasing use of the medication. The suit also names Eugene Emergency Physicians, which provides services to patients in the hospital's emergency room, who could not be reached for comment.

VIDEOS

VIDEO-Anderson Cooper Discusses His Mother and 'Cunnilingus' | Mediaite

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Fri, 27 Dec 2013 16:06

Okay, normally I introduce these posts with either a brief summary of the reason you clicked the link in the first place or give some kind of context-building set-up, but Anderson Cooper talked about cunnilingus on CNN Thursday night and I really just'... I mean, really'... just a loss for words here.

CNN was doing one of those year in review segments, and Cooper asked Dan Savage for what he thought was a really good scandal story this year. Savage had to go with the amazing saga of Rob Ford, and said, ''I love a good cunnilingus joke on the evening news.''

Everyone (especially Andrew Sullivan) burst out laughing, and that's when Cooper decided to over-share.

''My mom once wrote a romance memoir about men she had dated''and I use that term loosely''and she described one guy she was currently dating''''my mom was 85 at the time''''as the Nijinsky of cunnilingus. And she made me proofread the book.''

Thanks, Anderson! Thank you SO MUCH for that image! Really, just'... wow.

But just for perspective's sake, this is only the second weirdest Anderson Cooper/cunnilingus story this year'...

Watch the video below, via CNN:

[photo via screengrab]

'' ''

Follow Josh Feldman on Twitter: @feldmaniac

VIDEO-Police release full Newtown massacre report, with photos and video - Investigations

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Sat, 28 Dec 2013 09:29

NBC News

Adam Lanza is seen in this photo obtained and distributed by NBC News. Lanza has been identified as the gunman in the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

By Tom Winter, Hannah Rappleye, Monica Alba and Kristen DahlgrenNBC News

A massive new report from the Connecticut State Police released online Friday reveals new details about the Dec. 14, 2012 mass shooting that took 26 lives at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

The 11,000-plus page report includes investigative files, 911 call transcripts, crime scene reports and thousands of photos, among them images of the aftermath of the shooting that show weapons, bloodstains, and bullet-riddled hallways, and the clothes shooter Adam Lanza wore. The report also includes dashcam video from police officers speeding to the scene, nearly three hours of audio files and more than four hours of heavily redacted video shot by investigators inside the school and the Lanza home. State law prevents the release of crime scene photos that show the bodies of the victims.

The report quotes an unnamed witness who says that Lanza may have targeted the nearby school because his mother Nancy had once worked there.

A citation found in the Lanza home thanks Nancy Lanza for her volunteer service at the school, which Adam attended, in 1999. "Dear Mrs. Lanza, Thank you for being such a special volunteer. The children achieved a most successful year with the dedication from your active involvement."

It also quotes a witness whose name is redacted that Adam had a grudge against the school. ''Lanza hated his mother and Sandy Hook,'' said the unnamed witness, ''because his mother worked there. Lanza apparently felt that his mother loved the students more than him.''

The Connecticut State Police have released a more than 7000-page report detailing their investigation into the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting '' many of the documents are heavily redacted. NBC's Natalie Morales reports

A male friend told investigators that Nancy Lanza wanted to sell her home and move to North Carolina or Washington state. In North Carolina, she reportedly said, she had a friend who had a computer business and could train Adam. In Washington, she knew of a special school that could educate him.

The report makes no conclusions about a possible motive. A summary report released in November said that Lanza had no clear motive, but was obsessed with school shootings -- particularly the Columbine massacre of 1999 -- and planned both the Sandy Hook rampage and ''the taking of his own life.''

The new report also says that a police officer who attempted to rescue a teacher and children hiding in a bathroom had to convince them he was really there to help. When he identified himself as a police officer, the teacher said, ''You're not the police, I don't believe you'' until a trooper began removing kids from the room.

Lanza, 20, killed his mother at the Newtown, Conn. home they shared and then drove to the nearby elementary school, where he murdered 20 children and six staffers with a Bushmaster rifle before taking his own life.

Jessica Hill / AP

A nation mourns after the second deadliest school shooting in U.S. history at Sandy Hook Elementary, which left 20 children and six staff members dead.

The release of the full police report, according to the state's Department of Emergency Public Services and Protection, ''is indicative that this State Police criminal investigation is concluded.''

''I hope that the release of this report, though painful, will allow those who have been affected by it to continue in their personal process of healing, and will provide helpful information that can be put to use to prevent such tragedies in the future,'' wrote DESPP Commissioner Reuben Bradford in a letter accompanying the report.

The release comes more than a month after the Danbury State's Attorney's office published a long-awaited summary report based on the state police investigation.

The original 48-page summary report said that there was "no clear indication" why Lanza chose Sandy Hook for the shooting, other than that it was close to his home. The report said Lanza had a strained relationship with his mother Nancy, telling a witness he would not feel bad if something happened to her.

Investigators said Lanza had a spreadsheet that listed famous mass killings, and had posted on an "internet blog" that "focused on mass shootings and in particular the Columbine shootings." The report's appendix noted that a computer hard drive included a computer game called "School Shooting," in which the player controls a character who enters a school and shoots students.

Lanza, whose bedroom windows were covered with trash bags, had also downloaded videos about Columbine shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, surveillance footage of a Cleveland school shooting, video of a mall shooting and two videos of suicide by gunshot.

At age 10, according to the report, Lanza helped write a book that includes characters who kill children, carry bags full of guns and say they enjoy hurting people, ''especially children.'' The ''Big Book of Granny'' was apparently written as part of a fifth-grade class assignment.

Police, according to the report, arrived at the school "within minutes of the first shots being fired. They went into the school to save those inside with the knowledge that someone might be waiting to take their lives."

According to the report, Lanza refused to take suggested medication and didn't engage in recommended behavior therapy. Investigators found no medication in his system "that would affect his behavior."

Lanza's mother Nancy consistently described him as having Asperger's Syndrome, said the report. She said he was unable to make eye contact, was sensitive to light and didn't like to be touched. She said there were marked changes in his behavior around the seventh grade, when he became more withdrawn.

Nancy Lanza "took care of all the shooter's needs,'' according to the report. A witness, however, told investigators that Lanza "did not have an emotional connection" with her. "A person who knew the shooter in 2011 and 2012 said the shooter described his relationship with his mother as strained," said the report.

In November 2012, just a month before the shooting, Nancy was concerned about Adam because "he hadn't gone anywhere in three months," said the report, "and would only communicate with her by email, though they were living in the same house." Nancy Lanza, however, never expressed fear for herself or anyone else at the hands of her son.

Nancy Lanza wanted to buy the shooter a new pistol for Christmas, according to the report, and "had prepared a check for that purpose to give the shooter."

The long-awaited summary of the second-deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history omitted much information from the investigative file, including transcripts of 911 calls, some witness statements from children and most crime scene photos.

State's Attorney Stephen Sedensky and the town of Newtown went to court to try and prevent the release of 911 calls from the school or transcripts of them, arguing that making them public could jeopardize the investigation. Tapes of seven calls were ultimately made public on Dec. 4.

Other evidence from the state's investigation may never be made available to the public.

A Connecticut law passed earlier this year in response to the shooting prohibits the release of photographs, film, video and other visual images showing a homicide victim if they can "reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy of the victim or the victim's surviving family members."

More from NBC News Investigations:

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VIDEO-Antarctic ship trapped in sea ice should be rescued by Friday - CNN.com

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Sat, 28 Dec 2013 22:27

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

NEW: A Chinese icebreaker is about 15 miles (24 kilometers) away from the vesselThe first of three ice-breaking rescue ships should reach trapped vessel by Friday"Between the three of them, we're hoping to get out relatively quickly," leader says"Everyone is fine, the vessel is safe," expedition leader tells CNN via Skype(CNN) -- [Breaking news update at 11:44 p.m. ET]

The Chinese icebreaker Xue Long ("Snow Dragon") is about 15 miles (24 kilometers) from the expedition vessel struck in ice in Antarctica, the icebreaker's captain told CNN. He said he expects to reach the stranded vessel late Friday local time.

[Previous story, published at 8:57 p.m. ET]

Antarctic ship trapped in sea ice should be rescued by Friday

(CNN) -- The first of three ice-breaking rescue ships is expected to reach an expedition vessel trapped in frozen seas off Antarctica by Friday, the voyage's leader told CNN via Skype.

"We just want to assure family and friends, everyone is fine, the vessel is safe, and we're looking forward to getting home and having a decent cup of coffee soon," said Chris Turney, expedition leader and professor of climate change at University of New South Wales in Australia.

He said crew members, researchers and tourists aboard were doing "amazingly well."

"Morale is remarkably high," he added Thursday in the Skype interview, whose video displayed a whited-out scenery.

The MV Akademik Shokalskiy, with 74 people aboard, became locked in sea ice Monday night and spent the next 12 hours with all aboard hoping that high winds would subside.

They didn't.

So, the ship spent Christmas at a frozen standstill 100 nautical miles east of the French base Dumont D'Urville, about 1,500 nautical miles south of Hobart, Tasmania.

"We had a great Christmas," Turney said, though everyone was frustrated about not being able to venture out into the open ocean.

"This is an area of enormous change. We're in an area of a big driver of global climate," Turney said. "We wanted to come here to see how much change has taken place.

"Ironically, this is actually giving us extra time to do research," he said about being stuck in the frozen waters.

He joked that he gave researchers the day off on Christmas, though.

"We're looking at life under the sea ice," he added.

A Chinese ice breaker called the Snow Dragon, or Xue Long, was en route from Freemantle, Australia, to the Ross Sea at Antarctica and could reach the stuck vessel by Friday.

Meanwhile, the French vessel Astrolabe is just 17 nautical miles away and is also expected to reach the trapped researchers and tourists by Friday.

An Australian ship, the Aurora Australis, is expected to arrive later, the expedition's website said Thursday.

"Between the three of them, we're hoping to get out relatively quickly," Turney said.

A British rescue coordination center received a satellite distress signal on Christmas morning from the Russian-flagged ship and contacted the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which handles the Southern Ocean region where the vessel was stuck, a safety authority statement said.

Turney said everyone aboard the expedition vessel is scheduled to return to southern New Zealand by January 4.

Expeditions Online, a polar booking agent for the MV Akademik Shokalskiy, said on its website that the ship got stuck "partway through her Australasian Antarctic Expedition towards Mawson's Hut at Cape Denison."

The Expeditions Online website described the ship as "a fully ice-strengthened expedition vessel" for working in polar regions. "This class of vessel is world-renowned for polar exploration, because of its strength, maneuverability and small passenger numbers," the company's website said.

CNN's Brianna Keilar, Tom Cohen, Kevin Wang, CY Xu and April Ma contributed to this report.

Fukushima radiation hits San Francisco

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Sun, 29 Dec 2013 14:08

This shocking video was taken December 23rd 2013 with a quality Geiger Counter at Pacifica State Beach (Surfers Beach), California.

Location:

http://bit.ly/1g26Zjm

Geiger Counter used:

http://www.geigercounters.com/Inspector.htm

Background radiation is 30 CPM. Near the ocean it's 150 CPM. The fine mist coming from the ocean waves seems to be what makes the Geiger Counter jump.

Fukushima radiation disaster info:

http://www.rense.com

Massive starfish deaths on West Coast:

http://www.naturalnews.com/

We all must come to the realization that swimming in the Pacific Ocean (let alone eating anything out of it) is a thing in the past. And it's only going to get worse, as it's unstoppable. This is by far the worst man-made disaster in human history, and our garbage media and government say nothing.

RELATED :

Fukushima is here: 'ALL Bluefin Tuna Caught In California Are Radioactive'

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VIDEO-Greenwald to MSNBC Host: 'I Defend Snowden Like People On MSNBC Defend Obama' | MRCTV

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Sun, 29 Dec 2013 15:20

MRC TV is an online platform for people to share and view videos, articles and opinions on topics that are important to them '-- from news to political issues and rip-roaring humor.

MRC TV is brought to you by the Media Research Center, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit research and education organization. The MRC is located at: 1900 Campus Commons Drive, Reston, VA 20194. For information about the MRC, please visit www.MRC.org.

Copyright (C) 2013, Media Research Center. All Rights Reserved.

VIDEO-Phil Robertson returns to 'Duck Dynasty'

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Sun, 29 Dec 2013 15:18

Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter says he isn't surprised A & E lifted Phil Robertson's suspension from 'Duck Dynasty'.

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VIDEO- C-SPAN QUESTION: IS THE U.S. A POLICE STATE? - YouTube

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Sun, 29 Dec 2013 15:14

VIDEO- Connecticut Authorities Release FULL Report On Sandy Hook Massacre - YouTube

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Sun, 29 Dec 2013 15:12

VIDEO- Connecticut Police Release Thousands Of Documents Including Photos & Videos On Sandy Hook Shooting - YouTube

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Sun, 29 Dec 2013 15:08

VIDEO- "IT IS NOW A CLOSED CASE! The Investigation Into The Massacre At Sandy Hook Concluding Today" - YouTube

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Sun, 29 Dec 2013 15:05

VIDEO- "We Said The Program Should Be Changed" Obama Appointed NSA Spying Review Panelist - YouTube

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Sun, 29 Dec 2013 14:54

VIDEO- Glenn Greenwald Keynote on 30c3 - YouTube

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Sun, 29 Dec 2013 14:39

VIDEO- New Report Finds Al Qaeda NOT Responsible For Benghazi Consulate Attack - YouTube

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Sun, 29 Dec 2013 14:31

Trust Us, This Is One Piers Morgan Video You Will Actually Want to Share With Friends | Video | TheBlaze.com

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Sun, 29 Dec 2013 13:04

Given CNN host Piers Morgan's unpopularity in the United States, there are likely a good number of Americans who would jump at the chance to throw cricket balls at him.

Brett Lee, a former Australian cricket player who once broke the 100mph barrier bowling a delivery, actually got the chance to do exactly that at the Melbourne Cricket Ground '-- six times.

(YouTube screengrab)

Morgan is in Australia for the fourth Ashes Test and has been talking trash about how bad the England squad is playing. It was his trash-talk that prompted Lee to challenge Morgan to an ''over.'' Though he probably now regrets it (though he's not admitting it), Morgan accepted Lee's offer.

Morgan then proceeded to talk even more smack, this time directing it at Lee ahead of their match-up.

In the end, the TV host got whacked with three balls, bowled once, and fell over once. He claims his ego isn't bruised, however, he left with a cracked wrist, bruised rib, and massive egg on the back of his head. BuzzFeed reports the speed of the balls at around 90mph.

Full injury list post @ showdown - cracked wrist, bruised rib, and massive egg on back of head from...the throw-down guy.Amazing courage from @ to face a full over against @ at 90mph, doing himself and the club proud!Also for the record, @ bowled 6 (big) no-balls and 5 bouncers. Otherwise, I'd have battered him.So, for your viewing pleasure, here is Piers Morgan getting pelted with a 90mph cricket ball over, and over'...and over:

(H/T: Guyism)

''

VIDEO-Hillary Clinton, Chris Christie Run Neck And Neck In 2016 Poll

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Sat, 28 Dec 2013 22:07

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) would be nearly tied if they were running against each other in the 2016 presidential race, a new CNN/ORC poll finds.

According to the survey, 48 percent of registered voters would back Christie, while 46 percent would vote for Clinton -- a difference that falls within the survey's margin of error.

Christie polled far better than any other potential GOP candidate included in the poll, largely because he was able to attract a majority of independents, suburban residents and older voters, according to CNN.

While polling on a potential race between Christie and Clinton showed her ahead earlier in the year, the results have tightened significantly since autumn. Christie edged out Clinton by 1 to 3 percentage points in three of the four polls testing the match-up this December, while Clinton was ahead by 1 point in the fourth.

HuffPost Pollster's average, combining all publicly available polling, gives Christie 45 percent to Clinton's 43 percent.

Clinton led handily against the other Republicans in CNN's poll, beating former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush by 21 points, Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.) by 19 points, Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) by 18 points, Texas Gov. Rick Perry by 17 points, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee by 15 points, Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) by 13 points, and Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.) by 8 points.

As CNN pollster Keating Holland notes, surveys taken this early in the election cycle rarely predict the winners and the results often have as much to do with which politicians are better known as anything else.

The CNN/ORC poll surveyed 950 voters between Dec. 16 and Dec. 19.

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