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Wednesday Night Jam: Monarchy and Dita Von Teese - Disintegration

Possibly NSFW
Music • Views: 26,181

This may not be safe for work, depending on where you work.

Chinese Hackers Attack the New York Times

Cyber war
Technology • Views: 21,766

Welcome to the new front: Chinese Hackers Infiltrate New York Times Computers.

SAN FRANCISCO — For the last four months, Chinese hackers have persistently attacked The New York Times, infiltrating its computer systems and getting passwords for its reporters and other employees.

After surreptitiously tracking the intruders to study their movements and help erect better defenses to block them, The Times and computer security experts have expelled the attackers and kept them from breaking back in.

The timing of the attacks coincided with the reporting for a Times investigation, published online on Oct. 25, that found that the relatives of Wen Jiabao, China’s prime minister, had accumulated a fortune worth several billion dollars through business dealings.

Security experts hired by The Times to detect and block the computer attacks gathered digital evidence that Chinese hackers, using methods that some consultants have associated with the Chinese military in the past, breached The Times’s network. They broke into the e-mail accounts of its Shanghai bureau chief, David Barboza, who wrote the reports on Mr. Wen’s relatives, and Jim Yardley, The Times’s South Asia bureau chief in India, who previously worked as bureau chief in Beijing.

“Computer security experts found no evidence that sensitive e-mails or files from the reporting of our articles about the Wen family were accessed, downloaded or copied,” said Jill Abramson, executive editor of The Times.

The hackers tried to cloak the source of the attacks on The Times by first penetrating computers at United States universities and routing the attacks through them, said computer security experts at Mandiant, the company hired by The Times. This matches the subterfuge used in many other attacks that Mandiant has tracked to China.

The attackers first installed malware — malicious software — that enabled them to gain entry to any computer on The Times’s network. The malware was identified by computer security experts as a specific strain associated with computer attacks originating in China. More evidence of the source, experts said, is that the attacks started from the same university computers used by the Chinese military to attack United States military contractors in the past.

#TGDN: A Firehose of Hate Against the President of the United States

Popular right wing Twitter hashtag filled with hatred and threats
Wingnuts • Views: 23,512

Previously, we have featured The Godwins of TGDN and Calls to Overthrow the Government by TGDN, and The Scammers of TGDN.

There are three recurring memes that show up over and over. One is GUNZ!1! One is Benghazi!1! and the most disturbing is the deranged hate directed against the President of the United States.

Ever since we first noticed this:

The repeated threats and demonization of the democratically elected leader of the free world inside a closed group of deranged fanatics, WITH A BUNCH OF GUNS, should be closely monitored.

I hope the Secret Service is paying attention.

Much more from the #TGDN hashtag in the comments below…

NRA’s Wayne LaPierre Misrepresents Study on Effectiveness of Assault Weapons Ban

Obfuscation and outright lies are his game plan.
US News • Views: 23,187

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the NRA and Wayne LaPierre in particular are lying about facts or statistics, and flip-flopping on what should otherwise be agreement to get universal background checks.

LaPierre’s a shill for the firearms industry, so anything that cuts to the bottom line would not pass muster. So that means lying and obfuscating information and in particular mischaracterizing a study that assesses the federal assault weapons ban and its impacts on gun markets and gun violence from 1994 to 2003 (and yes, that’s the link to the actual study for you to read through). His claims, along with those of law professor David Kopel, are at odds with the results of criminologist Christopher Koper, the lead investigator who carried out the study for the University of Pennsylvania.

LaPierre and Kopel went on at length about how the study proved that the assault weapons ban (AWB) was a total failure.

The fact is that the study reached no such conclusion. The biggest problem with the study was that it was inconclusive in several areas. But even then, key parts refute LaPierre and Kopel:

If you listened to the testimony today of Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the NRA, or David Kopel, a law professor and researcher at the libertarian Cato Institute, the study’s findings were unequivocal.

‘Independent studies, including a study from the Clinton Justice Department, proved that ban had no impact on lowering crime,’ LaPierre said. A footnote in his prepared testimony indicated he was referring to the Koper study.

Cato’s Kopel dwelled on the study at length, spending several minutes discussing its history and findings. ‘We do not have to speculate about whether ‘assault weapon’ bans do any good. A Department of Justice study commissioned by the Clinton administration found that they do not,’ he explained. ‘The study found the [Sen. Dianne] Feinstein ban to be a complete failure.’

So is that what the study said? No, according to the author of the study himself. I emailed Koper, now at George Mason University, after the hearing to note that I had a fairly different reading of his paper from that of LaPierre and Koper, and asked if he could sort it out.

‘I agree with your reading of our 2004 study,’ Koper replied. You can read the full study for yourself here and see that while it was not a ringing endorsement of the assault weapons ban, as many gun control advocates had hoped, it hardly ‘proved’ the law to be a failure, as LaPierre claims. To the contrary, it found some encouraging signs, like an average 40 percent drop in the number of assault weapons used in crimes (some cities saw a drop of over 70 percent) and some benefit from the ban on high-capacity magazines.

But mostly, the study was inconclusive. Not enough time had passed for the ban’s effect to be fully felt and there were too many loopholes to get a good read on its effect. For instance, the number of high-capacity magazines in the country actually increased during time of the ban because it was still legal to import magazines made in other countries before the law went into effect. Meanwhile, numerous other variables contributed to the drop in crime during that decade, including better policing and the end of the crack epidemic.

In his testimony, Cato’s Kopel zeroed in on this passage from the study: ‘We cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence.’

By the same token, the study didn’t rule out the ban as a contributor to the drop in crime. Just because something can’t be proven does not mean that the opposite is automatically true.

Inconclusive is not the same as a failure. It means that there’s need for follow up and additional study, as well as addressing issues that have occurred since the AWB sunset.

There are so few studies on firearms precisely because the NRA has done a tremendous disservice to the American public and public health in general by cutting off funding for the very kinds of studies that could delve in to the subject of firearms safety, health harms from firearms, mental health and firearms, and any number of related issues.

Jon Stewart on Glenn Beck’s Planned Marxist Utopia

Now with more freedom
Humor • Views: 22,033

Breaking: Shooting With Multiple Victims Reported at Phoenix Business Complex

And again
Crime • Views: 20,921

Not many details available yet, but another mass shooting is being reported in Phoenix, Arizona: Shooting With Multiple Victims Reported at Phoenix Business Complex.

PHOENIX — Police have responded to reports of a shooting with multiple victims at a business complex near 16th Street and Glendale Avenue in Phoenix.

The suspect reportedly fled from the scene and a search is under way.

Aerial video shows police cars, ambulances and fire engines at the scene.

UPDATE at 1/30/13 11:21:34 am

More details are emerging: Three Critically Wounded in Shooting at Phoenix Office Complex.

Three people were critically wounded Wednesday, one of them with life-threatening injuries, when a gunman opened fire at a Phoenix office complex, fire officials told NBC News.

Authorities said the gunman was not in custody. NBC station KPNX of Phoenix reported on air that authorities were believed to be seeking a man who fled in a white vehicle.

Three other people sustained minor injuries in the incident at a complex near 16th Street and Glendale Avenue, Phoenix fire Capt. Scott McDonald said.

Yes, the Father of a Murdered Newtown Child Was Heckled by Gun Nuts

Right wingers jump to defend loathsome behavior
Wingnuts • Views: 17,607

I’m not always a fan of Lawrence O’Donnell, but he gets it exactly right in this clip.

The right wing pro-gun cult swung into high gear yesterday to defend the hecklers at that Newtown hearing; practically every wingnut blogger was shouting in unison that there was no “heckling” — the people who interrupted Neil Heslin’s testimony were simply “answering his question.” They’ve actually managed to bully some media people into swallowing this line of BS:

But in a hearing like this, it’s common knowledge that the audience is not supposed to shout at speakers — and when the hecklers shouted “SECOND AMENDMENT” at Heslin, the chairperson admonished them not to interrupt. Watch the longer clip of Heslin’s statement above; he was asking rhetorical questions, not telling these loons it was OK to shout.

The fact is that despite the right wing’s attempt to defend this horrific behavior, it exactly fits the dictionary definition of “heckling:”

heckle |ˈhekəl| verb

1. interrupt (a public speaker) with derisive or aggressive comments

And the state of Connecticut’s rules for hearings like this one also make it very clear that this heckling behavior was out of order:

Decorum: A hearing is an important step in the process of making law, so it is a formal occasion. Please give your courteous attention to other speakers, regardless of their views. Don’t applaud or indicate pleasure or displeasure with anyone’s remarks.

I’m no longer surprised when the right stands up and defends truly awful viewpoints and behavior. In this case they’re defending the heckling of a father who is still grieving for his murdered son, and although it’s not surprising, it definitely is repulsive.

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 Frank says:

Not a speck of cereal.