Researchers, as part of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) under the Department of Homeland Security, are trying to come up with a way to better predict where and when terrorist attacks would happen on U.S. soil.To start, the researchers from the University of Maryland and University of Massachusetts-Boston mapped all events considered terrorism since 1970 to 2008 in the United States (below). This established areas they deemed terrorism “hot spots” but also revealed that terrorism is actually “widely dispersed”. So widely dispersed that every state has experienced some act of terrorism in some form, according to the report. The report defines a hot spot as an area where more than the average number of terrorist attacks have taken place — the average for the U.S. is six. Source!
From Byron, the nuclear reactor at the northern Illinois plant shut down Monday after losing power, and steam was being vented to reduce pressure, according to officials from Exelon Nuclear and federal regulators.
Unit 2 at Byron Generating Station shut down at 10:18 a.m. after losing power, Exelon officials said. Diesel generators began supplying power to the plant, and operators began releasing steam to cool the reactor from the part of the plant where turbines are producing electricity, not from within the nuclear reactor itself, officials said.
The steam contains low levels of tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen, but federal and plant officials insisted the levels were safe for workers and the public.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission declared the incident an "unusual event," the lowest of four levels of emergency. Commission officials also said the release of tritium was expected. Source!
Two bioethicists — one from Duke University, the other from the National Institute of Health — bring up the question “What makes killing wrong?” in the latest issue of the Journal of Medical Ethics. Using their definition of killing, the authors conclude if the person is “universally and irreversibly disabled” and has “no abilities to lose” then killing them to take organs for donation in order to save the lives of others should not be considered morally wrong.
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, a professor of practical ethics from Duke, and Franklin Miller, a senior faculty member in the NIH Department of Bioethics, state in their abstract ”What makes an act of killing morally wrong is not that the act causes loss of life or consciousness but rather that the act causes loss of all remaining abilities.“ They argue that if no abilities remain then the ”dead donor rule,” which is the ethical practice that a person must be declared dead before removing vital organs, should apply to patients whose hearts have stopped and are being removed from a respirator. Source!
Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) said Saturday President Barack Obama and other liberals should "get the hell out of the United States of America." (AP) Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) had a strong message Saturday for President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz: “Get the hell out.”
West made the comments during a speech at a Palm Beach County GOP event in West Palm Beach.
“This is a battlefield that we must stand upon. And we need to let President Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and my dear friend, chairman of the Democrat National Committee, we need to let them know that Florida ain’t on the table,” West said.
The audience was booing by the time West got to Pelosi’s name.
“Take your message of equality of achievement, take your message of economic dependency, take your message of enslaving the entrepreneurial will and spirit of the American people somewhere else,” he continued. “You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America.”
As the audience cheered and many rose to their feet, West added, “Yeah I said ‘hell.’”
“This is not about 1 percent or 99 percent. This is about 100 percent. It’s about 100 percent America. And I will not stand back and watch anyone defame, degrade or destroy that which my father fought for, my older brother, my father-in-law, myself, my nephew and all my friend still in uniform,” he said.
“I will not allow President Obama to take the United States of America and destroy it. If that means I’m the No. 1 target for the Democrat Party, all I got to say is one thing: Bring it on, baby.” Video!
Why would atheists be using a music video that celebrates the burning of churches and bloodied crosses to promote an upcoming music festival?
While a viable answer to this question is hard to fathom, this is exactly what’s going on as non-believers prepare for “Rock Beyond Belief,” a massive Army-sponsored music festival occurring at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Source!
Sweeping protests around the world made it an extremely difficult year for the media, and tested journalists as never before, the annual report into press freedom reveals.
The annual report by Reporters Without Borders has been released, showing the United States fell 27 points on the list due to the many arrests of journalists covering Occupy Wall Street protests.
The slide in the United States places it just behind Comoros and Taiwan in a group with Argentina and Romania.
Reporters Without Borders said the heightened unrest around the world resulted in a significant shake-up of the group's annual Press Freedom Index, which assesses governments' commitment to protecting media freedoms.
The Paris-based non-governmental Reporters Without Borders has named “crackdown” the word of 2011 in an assessment of global media freedom during a year in which journalists covering sweeping protests were tested as never before.
The non-governmental organisation seeks to defend journalists’ freedom to work and combat censorship internationally. Source!
Today on "Hardball" Andrea Mitchell said, “And looking ahead to the next primary in Florida, 30 percent of the Hispanic community is Cuban-American. That’s a smaller proportion, and so the Hispanic community there is different. And they are less prone to be susceptible to Mitt Romney’s really hard line on immigration, more prone to the Newt Gingrich approach to immigration. The other interesting little fact is about the Mexican Romneys, those looking back at all of those records say that Mitt Romney should look back at the records because the Romneys that came back from Mexico to the United States, they crossed the border illegally.” Source with video!
A Georgia mother who was arrested for allowing her 10-year-old to get a tattoo said she had no idea it was illegal for him to get one, even with her consent.
When Chuntera Napier’s son Gaquan Napier asked her if he could get a memorial tattoo for his 12-year-old brother Malik who died after being hit by a car, Napier was touched by the request.
“My son came to me and said, ‘Mom, I want to get a tattoo with Malik on it, rest in peace,’” she told ABC News’ Atlanta affiliate WSBTV. “It made me feel good to know that he wanted his brother on him.”
When Gaquan Napier was asked why he wanted the tattoo, he said, “Because it represents my brother.”
“What do I say to a child who wants to remember his brother? It’s not like he was asking me, ‘Can I get Sponge Bob?” Napier said. “He asked me [for] something that’s in remembrance of his brother. How can I say no?”
Gaquan got a tattoo on his right arm of his brother’s name and his former basketball jersey number. Napier also has memorial tattoos for her son on her right arm.
When someone at his school noticed the tattoo and contacted authorities, Napier was arrested on Tuesday and charged with misdemeanor cruelty and being a party to a crime, according to WSBTV. Napier bonded out of jail on Wednesday but is shocked that her consent was not enough for her son to get a tattoo.
“I always thought that if a parent gave consent, then it was fine,” she said. “How can somebody else say that it’s not okay? He’s my child, and I have the right to say what I want for my child. I can’t go tell anybody else what I want for their child.”
A Georgia law from 2010 states, “It shall be unlawful for any person to tattoo the body of any person under the age of 18, except a physician or osteopath.” Source!
Illinois has a backlog of more than $4.25 billion in unpaid bills. But Illinois State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka says when one factors in other bills, the figure is closer to around $8.5 billion.
Those other outstanding bills include tax refunds, employee health insurance, and bills that have not yet reached her desk.
Topinka says this is extremely disappointing, since a year ago, the state sharply increased income taxes (by 67 percent) and corporate taxes.
“After the largest tax hike in our history, the state continues to be in this precarious fiscal position with persistent payment delays, and frankly, the situation is unlikely to significantly improve in the near term,” she said.
Some state officials say the solution is more borrowing to pay the bills, but Topinka says the solution is to cut spending.
Compelling new scientific evidence suggests United Nations peacekeepers have carried a virulent strain of cholera -- a super bug -- into the Western Hemisphere for the first time.
The vicious form of cholera has already killed 7,000 people in Haiti, where it surfaced in a remote village in October 2010. Leading researchers from Harvard Medical School and elsewhere told ABC News that, despite UN denials, there is now a mountain of evidence suggesting the strain originated in Nepal, and was carried to Haiti by Nepalese soldiers who came to Haiti to serve as UN peacekeepers after the earthquake that ravaged the country on Jan. 12, 2010 -- two years ago today. Haiti had never seen a case of cholera until the arrival of the peacekeepers, who allegedly failed to maintain sanitary conditions at their base.
What scares me is that the strain from South Asia has been recognized as more virulent, more capable of causing severe disease, and more transmissible," said John Mekalanos, who chairs the Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology at Harvard Medical School. "These strains are nasty. So far there has been no secondary outbreak. But Haiti now represents a foothold for a particularly dangerous variety of this deadly disease." Source!
The Justice Department is defending the legality of President Obama's recent recess appointments, releasing Thursday a 23-page legal opinion that critics say is "unconvincing" and whose timing doesn't coincide with the president's decision.
The memo, justifying appointments made last week while Congress was technically not recessed, concludes what the White House claimed at the time -- that Congress isn't able to do business during "pro forma" sessions so it counts as a break. More!
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., speaking in New Hampshire this morning, reminded her audience of the tragic Tucson shooting last year -- and also insinuated that the Tea Party, which she said regards political opponents as "the enemy," has enhanced divisiveness in Congress and had something to do with the shooting, at least indirectly.
"We need to make sure that we tone things down, particularly in light of the Tucson tragedy from a year ago, where my very good friend, Gabby Giffords -- who is doing really well, by the way, -- [was shot]," Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee chair said during a "Politics and Eggs" forum this morning. "The discourse in America, the discourse in Congress in particular . . . has really changed, I'll tell you. I hesitate to place blame, but I have noticed it take a very precipitous turn towards edginess and lack of civility with the growth of the Tea Party movement."
Having brought up the Giffords attack as a political cudgel, Wasserman Schultz doubled down on that attack. "You had town hall meetings that they tried to take over, and you saw some their conduct at those tea party meetings," Wasserman Schultz said today. "When they come and disagree with you, you're not just wrong, you're the enemy." Source!
Ed: DWS hit the 'Peter Principle' upon receiving her Jr. High diploma.
(A man whose wife died in the deadly Tucson shooting one year ago says Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband makes him want to “vomit.”
Speaking to the Arizona Republic, 77-year-old George Morris, a survivor of the shooting, blames Mark Kelly for the death of his wife and five others for not taking extra precautions to protect Giffords after she had been receiving death threats.)
Freedom of speech might allow journalists to get away with a lot in America, but the Department of Homeland Security is on the ready to make sure that the government is keeping dibs on who is saying what.
Under the National Operations Center (NOC)’s Media Monitoring Initiative that came out of DHS headquarters in November, Washington has the written permission to retain data on users of social media and online networking platforms.
Specifically, the DHS announced the NCO and its Office of Operations Coordination and Planning (OPS) can collect personal information from news anchors, journalists, reporters or anyone who may use “traditional and/or social media in real time to keep their audience situationally aware and informed.”
According to the Department of Homeland Security’s own definition of personal identifiable information, or PII, such data could consist of any intellect “that permits the identity of an individual to be directly or indirectly inferred, including any information which is linked or linkable to that individual.” Previously established guidelines within the administration say that data could only be collected under authorization set forth by written code, but the new provisions in the NOC’s write-up means that any reporter, whether someone along the lines of Walter Cronkite or a budding blogger, can be victimized by the agency. Source!
In a scathing letter sent to Barack Obama, Senator Marco Rubio said that under the President’s first term in office, “more and more people have come to believe that America is becoming a deadbeat nation.”
Rubio went on to pledge that he would challenge any further increase in the debt ceiling, arguing that “we [Congress] need to make it routine to actually spend no more than we take in.” In the letter obtained by HUMAN EVENTS, the Florida Senator said that President Obama’s upcoming request to increase the debt ceiling by a whopping $1.2 trillion will cause the nation’s public debt to surpass the $16 trillion mark.
“I will oppose your request to continue borrowing and spending recklessly.”
President Obama is expected to request the new borrowing power from Congress once the Senate and House return from their holiday recess.
The president must notify Congress when the debt closes within $100 billion of the ceiling, according to the Budget Control Act passed in August. This triggers for Congress their only available option to block an increase, in this case $1.2 trillion, by passing legislation. However, even if the House and Senate do that, the president can still veto their objections. In short, there is very little Republicans can do in a Democratic-controlled Senate to block an increase.
If President Obama led the charge to reduce the country’s unsustainable debt in mid 2011 rather than punt the enterprise to a “Super Committee,” asserted Rubio, we’d already be on a pathway toward economic growth and prosperity. "Unfortunately, the first three years of your presidency have been a profile in leadership failure." Source!
Microsoft has been granted a patent for its “avoid ghetto” feature for GPS devices.
A GPS device is used to find shortcuts and avoid traffic, but Microsoft’s patent states that a route can be plotted for pedestrians to avoid an “unsafe neighborhood or being in an open area that is subject to harsh temperatures.”
Created for mobile phones, the technology uses the latest crime statistics and weather data and includes them when calculating a route. More!
Staff of Florida Social Security office not informed of drill, Homeland Security officials refused to talk to media!
Residents of Leesburg, Florida were shocked to see their local Social Security office turned into a random Homeland Security checkpoint Tuesday morning, as DHS officers armed with semiautomatic rifles and accompanied by sniffer dogs checked identifications of locals.
“With their blue and white SUVs circled around the Main Street office, at least one official was posted on the door with a semiautomatic rifle, randomly checking identifications. And other officers, some with K-9s, sifted through the building,” reports the local media.
The activity was part of Operation Shield, an unannounced drill conducted by the DHS’ Federal Protective Service centered around “detecting the presence of unauthorized persons and potentially disruptive or dangerous activities.” More!
* Corporation for Public Broadcasting Subsidy -- $445 million annual savings. * Save America 's Treasures Program -- $25 million annual savings. * International Fund for Ireland -- $17 million annual savings. * Legal Services Corporation -- $420 million annual savings. * National Endowment for the Arts -- $167.5 million annual savings. * National Endowment for the Humanities -- $167.5 million annual savings. * Hope VI Program -- $250 million annual savings. * Amtrak Subsidies -- $1.565 billion annual savings. * Eliminate duplicative education programs -- H.R. 2274 (in last Congress), authored by Rep. McKeon, eliminates 68 at a savings of $1.3 billion annually. * U.S. Trade Development Agency -- $55 million annual savings. * Woodrow Wilson Center Subsidy -- $20 million annual savings. * Cut in half funding for congressional printing and binding -- $47 million annual savings. * John C. Stennis Center Subsidy -- $430,000 annual savings. * Community Development Fund -- $4.5 billion annual savings. * Heritage Area Grants and Statutory Aid -- $24 million annual savings. * Cut Federal Travel Budget in Half -- $7.5 billion annual savings * Trim Federal Vehicle Budget by 20% -- $600 million annual savings. * Essential Air Service -- $150 million annual savings. * Technology Innovation Program -- $70 million annual savings. * Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Program -- $125 million annual savings. * Department of Energy Grants to States for Weatherization -- $530 million annual savings. * Beach Replenishment -- $95 million annual savings. * New Starts Transit -- $2 billion annual savings. * Exchange Programs for Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Their Historical Trading Partners in Massachusetts -- $9 million annual savings * Intercity and High Speed Rail Grants -- $2.5 billion annual savings. * Title X Family Planning -- $318 million annual savings. * Appalachian Regional Commission -- $76 million annual savings. * Economic Development Administration -- $293 million annual savings. * Programs under the National and Community Services Act -- $1.15 billion annual savings. * Applied Research at Department of Energy -- $1.27 billion annual savings. * FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership -- $200 million annual savings. * Energy Star Program -- $52 million annual savings. * Economic Assistance to Egypt -- $250 million annually. * U.S. Agency for International Development -- $1.39 billion annual savings. * General Assistance to District of Columbia -- $210 million annual savings. * Subsidy for Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority -- $150 million annual savings. * Presidential Campaign Fund -- $775 million savings over ten years. * No funding for federal office space acquisition -- $864 million annual savings. * End prohibitions on competitive sourcing of government services. * Repeal the Davis-Bacon Act -- More than $1 billion annually. * IRS Direct Deposit: Require the IRS to deposit fees for some services it offers (such as processing payment plans for taxpayers) to the Treasury, instead of allowing it to remain as part of its budget -- $1.8 billion savings over ten years. * Require collection of unpaid taxes by federal employees -- $1 billion total savings. WHAT THE HECK IS THIS ABOUT? * Prohibit taxpayer funded union activities by federal employees -- $1.2 billion savings over ten years. * Sell excess federal properties the government does not make use of -- $15 billion total savings. * Eliminate death gratuity for Members of Congress. WHAT??? * Eliminate Mohair Subsidies -- $1 million annual savings. * Eliminate taxpayer subsidies to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- $12.5 million annual savings WELL ISN'T THAT SPECIAL * Eliminate Market Access Program -- $200 million annual savings. * USDA Sugar Program -- $14 million annual savings. * Subsidy to Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) -- $93 million annual savings. * Eliminate the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program -- $56.2 million annual savings. * Eliminate fund for Obamacare administrative costs -- $900 million savings. * Ready to Learn TV Program -- $27 million savings.. WHY????? * HUD Ph.D. Program. * Deficit Reduction Check-Off Act. * TOTAL SAVINGS: $2.5 Trillion over Ten Years
My question is, what is all this doing in the budget in the first place?
Tragically, 2011 (a year already scarred by the worst riots Britain has witnessed for 30 years) draws to a close against a backdrop of appalling violence.
The babysitter knifed to death in front of her own baby nephew and niece ... the brilliant Indian student executed in cold blood ... the teenager stabbed to death in broad daylight on London’s busiest shopping street in a fight between rival gangs ...
A visitor to this country over the Christmas period – during which, as we coldly document on pages 20 & 21, there were 14 killings – could be forgiven for wondering whether they had stepped into a land where there is no respect for the law, or even human life.
Thankfully, the overwhelming majority of Britons are still law-abiding people who abhor the barbarity of this week and the nihilism of the August riots.
But, equally, questions must be asked about what has gone so dreadfully wrong in a country that, only a few short decades ago, would have considered the events of recent days and months utterly unthinkable.
As this paper has long argued, much of the blame rests with the liberal policies which, over the past 30 years, have undermined the fabric of our society.
By introducing fiscal policies which favour single motherhood over marriage, the political class has incentivised the growth of single parent households which, as the Mail revealed this week, one in five children now grows up in – more than any other major European country.
Unsurprisingly, a burgeoning and deeply dangerous gang culture has all too often filled the void left by the absence of strong families. Discipline has been largely eradicated from schools and bad behaviour has been permitted by liberal teachers afraid of being considered judgmental.
Meanwhile, unprecedented levels of immigration have placed huge strain on our social structures. Multiculturalism meant that asylum seekers arriving from often brutal, wartorn parts of the world were encouraged to live in isolation rather than to share traditional, peaceful British values.
Most shockingly, we now have a justice system that appears unable to understand the deterrent effect of harsh punishments.
Consider how 50 people every day are being attacked by convicts given risible community punishments instead of jail.
Or consider today’s revelations that – far from receiving draconian sentences – thugs involved in the August riots were permitted to escape with slap-on-the-wrist cautions for burglary, knife possession and even arson.
Fixing what David Cameron has called ‘broken Britain’ will be a huge challenge, which is likely to take many years.
But one thing his government can do immediately is toughen our hopelessly lax sentencing laws.
For one thing that is still certain is that criminals who are behind bars cannot riot, or murder members of the public. Source!