22 Nov 2014

Children Strip-Searched At New Philadelphia Family Courthouse

Multiple sources involved in cases in Philadelphia Family Court say sheriff’s deputies improperly strip-searched juveniles in both criminal and DHS custody cases who were appearing at the court for hearings earlier this week.
And once court administrators discovered what was going on, they put a stop to it.
According to multiple sources, juveniles in county custody for both criminal and non-criminal matters who were making courtroom appearances at the new Family Courthouse, at 15th and Arch Streets, were first strip-searched by sheriff’s deputies as a security measure all day Monday of this week and possible part of Tuesday.
These sources say the searches occurred individually and in small groups, and that the juveniles were asked to remove all their clothes, to squat, and to cough.
Multiple sources tell KYW Newsradio that the juveniles complained about the practice and, when court administration learned what was going on, administrative judge Kevin Dougherty put a stop to it.
The new courthouse officially opened on Monday.
A spokesman for Philadelphia Family Court issued a statement today that said, “On Tuesdaymorning of this week, in response to concerns raised by child advocates over allegations of strip searches of juveniles, the leadership of Philadelphia Family Court directed the Sheriff’s Office to cease and desist all strip searches pending further notice. Today, Family Court issued new rules governing the screening and detention of juveniles that the Court developed in collaboration with the Sheriff’s Office.”
Our sources were unable to say how many juveniles were searched and/or whether any practice of this sort was in place at the old courthouse.

Baltimore Police Won't Reveal Cell Phone Tracking Device To Judge

A police officer recently refused to tell a judge about the cell phone tracking technology used by the Baltimore Police Department.
Baltimore Police Detective John Haley refused to answer questions from defense attorney Joshua Insley about how cell phones are tracked by the city.
Instead, Detective Haley cited a "nondisclosure agreement" that the city has with the FBI, noted the Baltimore Sun.
However, Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams informed Detective Haley, "You don't have a nondisclosure agreement with the court."
Judge Williams said he would hold Detective Haley in contempt if he didn't answer, but prosecutors suddenly withdrew their evidence to get the officer off the hook.
Newsweek reported earlier this year that a "growing number of police departments are using tower-mimicking devices, 'stingrays,' to track a cell phone’s location and extract call logs."
In this particular case, cops apparently used cell phone tracking technology to track an alleged robber's cell phone to a house. Officers searched the home where they found the cell phone and a handgun allegedly used in the robbery. However, all of that evidence has been withdrawn by prosecutors.
"You can't contract out of constitutional disclosure obligations," Nathan Freed Wessler, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), told the Baltimore Sun. "A secret written agreement does not invalidate the Maryland public records law [and] does not invalidate due process requirements of giving information to a criminal defendant."

20yr old American jailed for life in Britain for Attempted Murder after flying across the Atlantic to kill a girl he met through online gaming.

An American man has been jailed for life for travelling to the UK in a bid to murder a teenage woman who he had met through online gaming, according to police. Shane Coffey, 20, was ordered to serve a minimum of eight and a half years in prison after he pleaded guilty at Guildford Crown Court to attempted murder and grievous bodily harm.
Coffey, from Boston, Massachusetts, broke into the home of the 19-year-old in Hook Road, Epsom, Surrey, on April 18 and attacked her with a knife before her 23-year-old brother came to her aid. Both siblings suffered serious stab wounds. A Surrey Police spokesman said: "Coffey, who was known to the victims through previous contact via online gaming, was restrained by the family and arrested by officers who attended minutes later."
Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Antony Archibald said: "This case was extremely complex and involved a set of unusual circumstances which could never have been foreseen by the victims. Coffey had previously been in contact with the two victims through online gaming. He persisted in harassing them even after they tried to break off communication and in April travelled to their address from America without their knowledge or invitation.
"This was an extremely frightening incident for the family, carried out by a troubled man who carefully planned the attack with disturbing precision. We have no doubt that Coffey intended to kill that night and he may have done had it not been for the brave and courageous actions of the family members who stopped him and quickly contacted police. 

Parliaments around the world








People's Republic of China (defunct as of 2005)


Cats welcoming soldiers home

21 Nov 2014

Woman who received over $100k in donations after leaving baby in hot car during job interview wasted money on designer clothes and studio time for rapper baby daddy. Lost chance to have charges dropped if money was placed in trust for the kids (

She could have had all of the charges against her dropped — but now, prosecutors have taken back their deal. 
You may remember Shanesha Taylor.
Taylor received $114,000 in donations after people saw her teary mugshot when she was arrested on March 20th — after leaving her two sons in her hot car for about 45 minutes while she interviewed for a job.
Civil rights activitst Rev. Jarrett Maupin, who led the charge to support Taylor following her arrest — now says he’s done.
He says after helping to broker the “deal of a lifetime” with prosectuors — where there would be no charges if Taylor attended drug and parenting classes and put some of the money given to her into a trust for her children, Taylor has not followed through.
Maupin says he lined up numerous job interviews for Taylor in the hotel, restaurant and retail industries. Interviews he says she never showed up for.
“She didn’t go to the interviews, didn’t return calls, wasn’t interested in the kind of jobs we were able to bring to the table for her. This was someone who had no job at all,” Maupin said.
And that’s not all.
Taylor missed the deadline for putting the $40,000 into a trust fund for her children.
So where is the money?
“The money is gone. It’s been spent. It’s been wasted on designer clothes, Michael Kors. We want to see the bank statements because we see her in designer jeans, and we understand that she paid for studio time for her baby daddy’s rap career. I am flabbergasted by that,” Maupin said.
Maupin says they have reports that Taylor spent $6,000 on studio time for the father of her children. He believes that the once-estranged father came back only after Taylor had the donated money.
Maupin says he couldn’t be more disappointed in Taylor.
“I just hope we haven’t spoiled that goodwill throughout the country because there is going to be someone else that is going to need help,” Maupin said.

Meet the Fortune 500 Companies Funding the Political Resegregation of America

Over the past four to five years, the United States has been resegregated—politically. In states where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans and presidential races can be nail-biters, skillful Republican operatives have mounted racially-minded gerrymandering efforts—the redrawing of congressional and state legislative districts—that have led to congressional delegations stacked with GOP members and yielded Republican majorities in the state legislatures.
In North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, to name just three, GOPers have recast state and congressional districts to consolidate black voters into what the political pros call "majority-minority districts" to diminish the influence of these voters. North Carolina is an especially glaring example: GOP-redistricting after the 2010 electionsled to half the state's black population—1.1 million people—being corralled into one-fifth of the state legislative and congressional districts. "The districts here take us back to a day of segregation that most of us thought we'd moved away from," State Sen. Dan Blue Jr., who was previously North Carolina's first black House speaker,told the Nation in 2012.
A major driving force behind this political resegregation is the Republican State Leadership Committee, a deep-pocketed yet under-the-radar group that calls itself the "lead Republican redistricting organization." The RSLC is funded largely by Fortune 500 corporations, including Reynolds AmericanLas Vegas SandsWalmart,Devon EnergyCitigroupAT&TPfizerAltria GroupHoneywell International,Hewlett-Packard. Other heavyweight donors not on the Fortune 500 list include Koch Industries, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and the US Chamber of Commerce. At the same time these big-name firms underwrite the RSLC's efforts to dilute the power of black voters, many of them preach the values of diversity and inclusion on their websites and in corporate reports.
As part of its Redistricting Majority Project—which, tellingly, is nicknamed REDMAP—the RSLC, starting in 2010, poured tens of millions of dollars into legislative races around the country to elect new GOP majorities. Next it provided money and expertise to state officials redrawing political boundary lines to favor the Republican Party—and to shrink the clout of blacks, Hispanics, and other traditionally Democratic voters. Unlike its Democratic equivalent, the RSLC has vast sums at its disposal, spending $30 million during the 2010 elections, $40 million in 2012, and $22 million in 2014.
Here is a partial list of RSLC donors—how much they donated to the group in the past four years and what they each have had to say about their own efforts to foster diversity. (All the companies on this list did not respond to requests for comment except for Altria Group, Citigroup, and Reynolds American, which declined to comment.)
Altria Group
"[W]e foster diversity and inclusion among our workforce, consistent with our leadership responsibilities and core values." (Source)
"AT&T’s 134-year history of innovation is a story about people from all walks of life and all kinds of backgrounds coming together to improve the human condition. It is our diversity, coupled with an inclusive culture that welcomes all points of view, which makes us who we are: a great place to work, a desired business partner and a committed member of the communities we serve." (Source)
Blue Cross/Blue Shield
"Let's get there together—with one perspective we can go far, with many perspectives we can move beyond all limits. Join an organization that values diversity." (Source)
"We see diversity as a source of strength." (Source)
"We recognize, celebrate, and support diversity and inclusion, which is at the very heart of our culture." (Source)
Devon Energy
"Devon believes diversity, the collective mixture of similarities and differences of our employees, is a valued asset." (Source)

Admiral Admits This Country Could Take Down U.S. Power Grid

China and "probably one or two other" countries have the capacity to shut down the nation's power grid and other critical infrastructure through a cyber attack, the head of the National Security Agency told a Congressional panel Thursday.

Admiral Michael Rogers, who also serves the dual role as head of U.S. Cyber Command, said the United States has detected malware from China and elsewhere on U.S. computers systems that affect the daily lives of every American.

"It enables you to shut down very segmented, very tailored parts of our infrastructure that forestall the ability to provide that service to us as citizens," Rogers said in testimony before the House Intelligence Committee.
Rogers said such attacks are part of the "coming trends" he sees based on "reconnaissance" currently taking place that nation-states, or other actors may use to exploit vulnerabilities in U.S. cyber systems.

A recent report by Mandiant, a cyber-security firm, found that hackers working on behalf of the Chinese government were able to penetrate American public utility systems that service everything from power generation, to the movement of water and fuel across the country. 

"We see them attempting to steal information on how our systems are configured, the very schematics of most of our control systems, down to engineering level of detail so they can look at where are the vulnerabilities, how are they constructed, how could I get in and defeat them," Rogers said. "We're seeing multiple nation-states invest in those kinds of capabilities."

Admiral Rogers declined to identify who the other countries, beside China, because of the classified nature of their identities. Russia is generally regarded as also having an aggressive cyber program.
In addition to nation-state actors, Admiral Rogers noted the increasing presence of "surrogate" criminal actors in cyberspace that serve to obscure the hidden hand of criminal activity done on behalf of formal nation-states.

"That's a troubling development for us," Rogers said.

Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, the retiring chairman of the committee, called the groups "cyber hit men for hire" for nation-state actors in cyberspace.
The testimony also comes in the wake of a report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project that cited a prediction by technology experts that a catastrophic cyber-attack that causes significant losses in life and financial damage would occur by 2025.

Read more:http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/20/politics/nsa-china-power-grid/index.html

An Inside Look At Zoos From Around the World (36 pics)