6 July 2009 – Brief

RobertMcNamara55
Robert Strange McNamara
1916—2009

WATCH: The Fog of War
On His Passing
You Decide, Where Does He Go heaven or hell

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jwboothTraitors
Health Care Industry Spending Over $1.4M A Day On Lobbying
Familiar Players in Health Bill Lobbying
The nation’s largest insurers, hospitals and medical groups have hired more than 350 former government staff members and retired members of Congress in hopes of influencing their old bosses and colleagues, according to an analysis of lobbying disclosures and other records

The tactic is so widespread that three of every four major health-care firms have at least one former insider on their lobbying payrolls, according to The Washington Post’s analysis.

Nearly half of the insiders previously worked for the key committees and lawmakers, including Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), debating whether to adopt a public insurance option opposed by major industry groups. At least 10 others have been members of Congress, such as former House majority leaders Richard K. Armey (R-Tex.) and Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.), both of whom represent a New Jersey pharmaceutical firm.

The hirings are part of a record-breaking influence campaign by the health-care industry, which is spending more than $1.4 million a day on lobbying in the current fight, according to disclosure records. And even in a city where lobbying is a part of life, the scale of the effort has drawn attention. For example, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) doubled its spending to nearly $7 million in the first quarter of 2009, followed by Pfizer, with more than $6 million.

The push has reunited many who worked together in government on health-care reform, but are now employed as advocates for pharmaceutical and insurance companies. more
Health Care Cartel

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Italy!

italy flag

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note

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Formaldehyde in China-made clothes confirmed
VietNamNet Bridge – The Hanoi Market Control Sub-agency has affirmed that China-made clothes contain formaldehyde, a substance which is harmful to human skin, with the content ratio of less than 2 percent. No official conclusion has been released because no regulation covers this issue.

Trinh Ba Quang, Senior Official from the Hanoi Market Control Sub-agency, said that the sub-agency joined forces with the Standard Measurement and Quality Department (STAMEQ) to take clothes samples from markets for testing and found that all the samples contained formaldehyde.

Quang said that all the samples were taken from Hoan Kiem street, a wholesale centre from which clothes are sent to many places.

However, no official conclusion has been issued.

“There are no concrete regulations about the safety level of products and the allowed levels of substances, including formaldehyde, which has created difficulties for government management agencies,” Quang said.

“We are still awaiting instructions from a higher level. If there were clearly stipulated standards for product quality, clothes that did not meet the required standards would be seized and demolished,” Quang added.

Meanwhile, when talking to local newspaper VnExpress, Tran Van Vinh, Deputy General Director of STAMEQ, said that as Vietnam is now a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Vietnam will consider the quality standards set by the countries from which it imports products.

In this case, the clothes are imported from China, so Vietnam will refer to Chinese standards to reach a conclusion about the safety line for consumers.

The information about the toxic China-made clothes was spread in Vietnam on May 28 after Chinese press agencies reported that 1/3 of the products for children’s use made in Guangdong, China contained substances harmful to human skin. The information immediately shocked Vietnamese consumers because the majority of clothes available in Vietnam’s market are from China.

check the lable

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McKinney
McKinney Released From Israeli Jail

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. one&other

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chinaflag
Ethnic Clashes in Western China
The Chinese state news agency reported Monday that at least 140 people were killed and 816 injured when rioters clashed with the police in a regional capital in western China after days of rising tensions between Muslim Uighurs and Han Chinese.

The casualty toll, if confirmed, would make this the deadliest outbreak of violence in China in many years.

The rioting broke out Sunday afternoon in a large market area of Urumqi, the capital of the vast, restive desert region of Xinjiang, and lasted for several hours before riot police officers and paramilitary or military troops locked down the Uighur quarter of the city, according to witnesses and photographs of the riot.

At least 1,000 rioters took to the streets, throwing stones at the police and setting vehicles on fire. Plumes of smoke billowed into the sky, while police officers used fire hoses and batons to beat back rioters and detain Uighurs who appeared to be leading the protest, witnesses said.

The casualty numbers appeared to be murky and shifting on Monday. A one-line report by Xinhua, the state news agency, giving the estimate of 129 dead and 816 injured attributed the numbers to the regional police department, but did not quote officials by name and did not have any details. Earlier, Xinhua had reported that three civilians and one police officer had been killed. more

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Capt. Kirk Does You Tube

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Welcome To Tehran

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Social Security Numbers Can Be Guessed
Researchers have found that it is possible to guess many — if not all — of the nine digits in an individual’s Social Security number using publicly available information, a finding they say compromises the security of one of the most widely used consumer identifiers in the United States.

Many numbers could be guessed at by simply knowing a person’s birth data, the researchers from Carnegie Mellon University said.

The results come as concern grows over identity theft and lawmakers in Washington push legislation that would bar businesses from requiring people to supply their Social Security number when purchasing a good or service.

“Our work shows that Social Security numbers are compromised as authentication devices, because if they are predictable from public data, then they cannot be considered sensitive,” said Alessandro Acquisti, assistant professor of information technology and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, and a co-author of the study.

A Social Security Administration spokesman said the government has long cautioned the private sector against using a Social Security number as a personal identifier, even as it insists “there is no fool proof method for predicting a person’s Social Security Number.”

“For reasons unrelated to this report, the agency has been developing a system to randomly assign SSNs,” which should make it more difficult to discover numbers in the future, Mark Lassiter, a spokesman for the Social Security Administration, said by e-mail.

Introduced in the 1930s as a way to track individuals for taxation purposes, Social Security numbers were never designed to be used for authentication. Over time, however, private and public institutions began keeping tabs on consumers using the numbers, requiring people to present them as proof of identity, such as when applying for loans, new employment, or health insurance.

Concern over the privacy of those numbers has grown in the wake of hundreds of data breaches reported by businesses, governments and educational institutions, breaches that have exposed millions of consumer records — including SSNs.

In recent years, a number of states have passed legislation to redact or remove the numbers from public documents, such as divorce and property records, and bankruptcy filings. In addition, legislation introduced this year by Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) would prohibit the display, sale, or purchase of Social Security numbers without consent, and would bar businesses from requiring people to provide their number.

The researchers at Carnegie Mellon set out to see if they could discover people’s numbers by first exploiting what is publicly known about how the numbers are derived.

The Social Security number’s first three digits — called the “area number” — is issued according to the Zip code of the mailing address provided in the application form. The fourth and fifth digits — known as the “group number” — transition slowly, and often remain constant over several years for a given region. The last four digits are assigned sequentially.

As a result, SSNs assigned in the same state to applicants born on consecutive days are likely to contain the same first four or five digits, particularly in states with smaller populations and rates of birth.

As it happens, the researchers said, if you’re trying to discover a living person’s SSN, the best place to start is with a list of dead people — particularly deceased people who were born around the time and place of your subject. The so-called “Death Master File,” is a publicly available file which lists SSNs, names, dates of birth and death, and the states of all individuals who have applied for a number and whose deaths have been reported to the Social Security Administration.

CMU researchers Acquisti and Ph.D student Ralph Gross theorized that they could use the Death Master File along with publicly available birth information to predict narrow ranges of values wherein individual SSNs were likely to fall. The two tested their hunch using the Death Master File of people who died between 1972 and 2003, and found that on the first try they could correctly guess the first five digits of the SSN for 44 percent of deceased people who were born after 1988, and for 7 percent of those born between 1973 and 1988.

Acquisti and Gross found that it was far easier to predict SSNs for people born after 1988, when the Social Security Administration began an effort to ensure that U.S. newborns obtained their SSNs shortly after birth.

They were able to identify all nine digits for 8.5 percent of people born after 1988 in fewer than 1,000 attempts. For people born recently in smaller states, researchers sometimes needed just 10 or fewer attempts to predict all nine digits.

Records of an individual’s state and date of birth can be obtained from a variety of sources, including voter registration lists and commercial databases. What’s more, many people now self-publish this information as part of their personal profiles on blogs and social networking sites. Indeed, the researchers tested their method using birthdays and hometowns that CMU students published on social networking sites, with similar results.

Privacy and security experts praised the Carnegie Mellon study, saying it should be a wake-up call to policy makers and industry leaders, many of whom have resisted switching to a more secure consumer authentication system due to the sheer cost of changing the current system.

“We can’t pretend anymore that SSNs can be kept secret,” said Peter Swire, a law professor at Ohio State University and chief counselor for privacy during the Clinton administration. “This report puts a nail in that coffin. We’ll need new approaches, and it will cost money for the government and the private sector to build the new approaches.”

Ross Anderson, a professor of security engineering at Cambridge University, said the findings suggest that businesses using SSNs as a password are being negligent, and should find other ways of verifying the claims to identity that are being made by their customers.

“Sure, the study says that if you were born in a big state on a busy day you’re probably still safe,” from having identity thieves guess your entire SSN, Anderson said. “Still, I think many people would find it unacceptable that a system continues in use which in effect exposes tens of millions of Americans to fraud and other kinds of harm.”

Linda Foley, founder of the Identity Theft Resource Center, a San Diego based nonprofit, cited another potential problem. She said many businesses have errantly rely upon or have moved to redact all but the last four digits of a person’s SSN, the very digits that are most unique to an individual.

“Because of the way the SSN has been designed, asking for the last four numbers of the SSN puts people at risk because those are the only numbers that are unique to you and cannot be guessed easily by someone who might want to use your identity,” Foley said.

The National Science Foundation, the U.S. Army Research Office, Carnegie Melon Cylab, and the Berkman Faculty Development Fund provided support for the research. The study, which will be presented July 29 at the BlackHat 2009 security conference in Las Vegas, is available at this link.
WP

The only people who should have this number is your employer – that’s hard to do with creditor cards a mortgages, but many other vendors have no right to use your number, like utilities companies, universities and even your doctor. Insist on an alternative number or pin and call Congress tell them to stop shopping your identity into head aches and slavery.

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na na na, na na nah, na na, na nah shamon
mj funeral

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How Can YouTube Survive?

youtube.jpg

itty bitty logo-google

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watermelon

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9/10 – 2
9/10 -3.

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CRAZY LIBERAL
soapbox

Prediction – the more Government Worker lay offs, salary and hour cut the faster the economy will fail.

Why? My Argument –  Government is slow to begin with if jobs are cut few if any senior people will be willing to work harder or faster to pick up the slack.

As long as protected employees continue to follow their job descriptions they will never be dismissed. Even if behind the scenes some back room administrative associative is sacked it’s not worth going through the process or money to squeeze such workers out.

What we will see first is the Government Shuffle. The appearance that Administration is doing something to cut budgets when in fact all they will accomplish is the shuffling of people and titles. In the end, costing tax payers more money.

Whole departments will have to be eliminated, but that is a huge process, slow and very cumbersome. Services likely to be cut or reorganized first will be some of the more vital social programs needed in urban centers. Usually the areas with low voter turn out.

Let’s also not forget that even if Government hours are cut those employees are still eligible for unemployment and other Government Assistance Programs such as, housing supplements, health care and food stamps.

Add this new burden to depleting city revenues with now fewer people to handle the overload and the stress will add more weight on to an existing stressed system.

The only thing Governments can do and Unions will negotiate is to offer Government Workers an IOU. However, even that isn’t full proof; massive cuts even in the form of an IOU could turn into massive reaction and political suicide. Government workers have noticed very carefully what has happen in the private sectors when it’s come to employee retirement and pensions.

Example – several local counties made all employees take an unpaid extended vacation – before any board or union approval, within hours, law suits were pending.

If the system doesn’t collapse, in the end the Unions will win; facing higher-ups salaries, not to mention bankers salaries Unions have the upper hand.

Some may think Teacher’s Unions are tough customer, wait until you have to deal with State and Federal Worker Unions.

Let’s face it, a government job is a crappy job, lower than average free market wages, ridiculous hours and more than a number of silly rules employees must abide by and to the minute, but at the end of their 15, 20, 30, 35 years is the big pay off, the envy of all working folk in modern society today and that’s what a good number of people in the private sector want, Government Worker’s payoffs and benefits.

In the old Æsop Fable the Ant and the Grasshopper, this is the Government Worker’s stored savings after a life time of  toil, steady work and the humiliation for being the butt of every postal employee joke their entire career.

Cut Government Workers and their Benefits Now and the system will slow, perhaps come to halt. The largest employer, payer and revenue generator in the United States is Government. If we demand massive and real cuts to Government Workers now within a week marchers will be out in full force.

This is the tactic Progressive should take. Demand a cut to all Government Jobs and Benefits, their Achilles Heel. With the exception of a few; paramedics, fire and no more than a 10% decrees in law enforcement.

Want Real Change? Hit them in their benefits.

Updates
Governments Grab Unused Gift Cards

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