Wednesday, January 29, 2014

12 Ridiculous Government Regulations That Are Almost Too Bizarre To Believe

12 Ridiculous Government Regulations That Are Almost Too Bizarre To Believe


Norwegian MPs nominate Snowden for Nobel Peace Prize

Norwegian MPs nominate Snowden for Nobel Peace Prize

In July, the German branch of Transparency International also awarded Snowden its Whistleblower Award. That same month, a Swedish sociology professor also nominated NSA leaker Snowden for the Nobel Peace Prize for his “heroic effort at great personal cost.”

Professor Stefan Svallfors said giving Snowden the Nobel nod could “save the prize from the disrepute incurred by the hasty and ill-conceived decision” to give the 2009 award to Barack Obama.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Happy 40th birthday, Dungeons & Dragons!

Happy 40th birthday, Dungeons & Dragons!


Edward Snowden tells German TV that NSA is involved in industrial espionage

Edward Snowden tells German TV that NSA is involved in industrial espionage

The National Security Agency is involved in industrial espionage and will take intelligence regardless of its value to national security, the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has told a German television network.

In a lengthy interview broadcast on the public broadcaster ARD TV on Sunday, Snowden said the NSA did not limit its espionage to issues of national security and cited the German engineering firm Siemens as one target.

“If there’s information at Siemens that’s beneficial to US national interests – even if it doesn’t have anything to do with national security – then they’ll take that information nevertheless,” Snowden said in the interview conducted in Russia, where Snowden has claimed asylum.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Game Player's Encyclopedia of Nintendo Games: Volume 2

Game Player's Encyclopedia of Nintendo Games: Volume 2


Watchdog Report Says N.S.A. Program Is Illegal and Should End

Watchdog Report Says N.S.A. Program Is Illegal and Should End



An independent federal privacy watchdog has concluded that the National Security Agency’s program to collect bulk phone call records has provided only “minimal” benefits in counterterrorism efforts, is illegal and should be shut down.

Brevard County deputy shoots, kills dog in front of toddler, family says

Brevard County deputy shoots, kills dog in front of toddler, family says

According to the sheriff’s office, the dog was acting aggressive when the deputy approached the young boy, but family members say Brownie, a 5-year-old female pit bull, has always been protective of all 5 kids, especially the youngest, who witnesses say was just feet from where the deputy fired his shots.

When the deputy arrived, witnesses said the deputy walked up to the home with his gun drawn and fired two shots at Brownie, feet from where they 2-year-old boy was sitting in his stroller.

“The dog’s first thought is hey you’re walking up to me with a gun and the dog growls. The dog didn’t lunge at him, the dog didn’t do anything. The dog just growled and then he put two bullets in him,” said family member Robert Gringas.

The family says they’re relieved the toddler wasn’t injured, but are left wondering why the deputy felt he needed to pull the trigger, killing their family pet.

JPMorgan Chase CEO denounces bitcoin as ‘terrible,’ predicts its downfall

JPMorgan Chase CEO denounces bitcoin as ‘terrible,’ predicts its downfall

Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase - which has $2.509 trillion in total assets - told CNBC that the cryptocurrency does not have much staying power because the hurdles it faces are insurmountable.

“It’s a terrible store of value. It could be replicated over and over,” he said. “It doesn’t have the standing of a government.”

Bitcoin proponents say that the currency’s ability to exist without any centralization is what makes it so appealing. It is a peer-to-peer payment system that is formulated when computers compete with each other to “mine,” or solve cryptographic problems, and are assigned bitcoins as a reward.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

MegaCon 2004 - Superhero Cosplay

MegaCon 2004 - Superhero Cosplay 

Superhero cosplay at MegaCon 2004.


Insurers downgraded on ObamaCare fears

Insurers downgraded on ObamaCare fears

Moody’s announced Thursday it was downgrading its outlook for health insurers from stable to negative based on uncertainty related to ObamaCare.

The credit rating agency cited an unstable environment because of the healthcare law’s difficult rollout, and projected that insurers would earn 2 percent less than forecast in 2014.

“While we’ve had industry risks from regulatory changes on our radar for a while, the ongoing unstable and evolving environment is a key factor for our outlook change,” Moody’s Senior Vice President Stephen Zaharuk said in a statement. “The past few months have seen new regulations and announcements that impose operational changes well after product and pricing decisions were finalized.”

The Moody’s report also cites the slow enrollment of young people into ObamaCare as a reason for the downgrade.

White House rejects review board finding that NSA data sweep is illegal

White House rejects review board finding that NSA data sweep is illegal

The White House on Thursday disputed the findings of an independent review board that said the National Security Agency’s mass data collection program is illegal and should be ended, indicating the administration would not be taking that advice.

“We simply disagree with the board’s analysis on the legality of the program,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

MegaCon 2004 - Lost In Space

MegaCon 2004 - Lost In Space

From the program:

Question and answer panel. Angela Cartwright, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, June Lockhart, Bob May and Bill Mumy will be on hand to answer questions about the tremendously popular TV series Lost in Space.


Antic: The Atari Resource, January 1987

Antic: The Atari Resource, Volume 5, Number 9, January 1987


Maybe the Most Orwellian Text Message a Government's Ever Sent

Maybe the Most Orwellian Text Message a Government's Ever Sent

“Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”


IP address does not prove online piracy, US judge says in landmark ruling

IP address does not prove online piracy, US judge says in landmark ruling

The studio argued that “the defendants either (a) downloaded the pirated film themselves, or (b) permitted, facilitated, or promoted the use of their Internet connections by others to download the film,” according to TorrentFreak.

Washington District Judge Robert Lasnik said this week that the rationale is insufficient, in part because it begins with the assumption of guilt. Ruling on a motion to dismiss the claim, Lasnik sided with the defendants because the conditions described in complaint section b were overly vague.

“[The movie studio] has actually alleged no more than the named defendants purchased Internet access and failed to ensure that others did not use that access to download copyrighted material,” the judge wrote.

Lasnik also said that there was no proof that the person who could wind up facing a lawsuit was in fact the person who chose to download the copy of ‘Elf Man.’

“Simply identifying the account holder associated with an IP address tells us very little about who actually downloaded ‘Elf Man’ using that IP address,” he wrote. “While it is possibly that the subscriber is the one who participated in the BitTorrent swarm, it is also possible that a family member, guest, or freeloader engaged in the infringing conduct.”

Earth to Bill Maher: Edward Snowden Isn't the Crazy One

Earth to Bill Maher: Edward Snowden Isn't the Crazy One

Libertarians don’t believe that the people who work for the government are evil. It’s the institution of government itself, a monopoly on the use of force that can martial the resources of the entire nation. That kind of power is dangerous even when used by good people with good intentions.

This isn’t some new age idea cooked up by pot-smoking libertarians in the 1970s. It’s a founding American principle and the reason for the entire Bill of Rights. It was summed up best by Thomas Paine in the pamphlet credited with convincing most American colonists to support independence from Great Britain:

“Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamities is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.”

Record 20% of Households on Food Stamps in 2013

Record 20% of Households on Food Stamps in 2013


Wall Street adviser: Actual unemployment is 37.2%, 'misery index' worst in 40 year

Wall Street adviser: Actual unemployment is 37.2%, 'misery index' worst in 40 year

Don’t believe the happy talk coming out of the White House, Federal Reserve and Treasury Department when it comes to the real unemployment rate and the true “Misery Index.” Because, according to an influential Wall Street advisor, the figures are a fraud.

In a memo to clients provided to Secrets, David John Marotta calculates the actual unemployment rate of those not working at a sky-high 37.2 percent, not the 6.7 percent advertised by the Fed, and the Misery Index at over 14, not the 8 claimed by the government.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

MegaCon 2004 - Introduction to Prop and Costume Construction

MegaCon 2004 - Introduction to Prop and Costume Construction 

From the program:

Presented by members of the 501st Legion and rebel Legion costuming groups, this informative panel will offer aspiring prop and costume makers an overview of the materials and tools needed to create realistic looking movie memorabilia. Learn how to build a hardware store blaster, make a droid from storage bins, and create costumes from existing clothing. you'll also see a demonstration of the vacuuforming process for creating your own armor and helmets. Drop in for an informative presentation that will introduce you to this fun and exciting hobby.


Panzer Dragoon Orta

Panzer Dragon Orta from Girls of Gaming, Volume 1.

Obama’s proposed NSA reforms prove he doesn’t understand checks and balances

Obama’s proposed NSA reforms prove he doesn’t understand checks and balances

President Obama delivered a speech on Friday outlining his plans to address the widespread outrage over the domestic surveillance activities of the National Security Agency. However well-intentioned, the president’s proposals indicate he just doesn’t get the constitutional notion of delegated powers.

Implicit in the Fourth Amendment is the principle that the government should remain powerless unless and until an individual is reasonably suspected of having committed a crime. It isn’t even allowed to search one’s person or papers (viz. phone records, emails) to collect the proof it needs until it persuades a judge that it has probable cause.

...

All of these checks rest upon the assumption that power will be abused if it is not forcibly limited. In the president’s own words, “it is not enough for leaders to say: Trust us.”

These checks and balances don’t exist under current FISA law. The FISA court operates in secret, so the people aren’t there to verify directly that they administer justice properly. Neither can they see for themselves that the executive actually carries out the court’s instructions.

President Obama’s reforms at the NSA won’t protect Americans’ privacy from continued government intrusion

President Obama’s reforms at the NSA won’t protect Americans’ privacy from continued government intrusion

When we learned the National Security Agency (NSA) was collecting the phone data of every American last June, it posed a serious constitutional question: Do we no longer have a Fourth Amendment?

On Friday, Jan. 17, President Barack Obama essentially responded, “No, we really don’t.”

Run, November/December 1992

Run, Issue Number 94, November/December 1992


Monday, January 20, 2014

MegaCon 2004 - Anime Costume Contest (part 2)

MegaCon 2004 - Anime Costume Contest (part 2)

Anime costume contest presented by Anime Sush @ MegaCon 2004 in Orlando, Florida.

part 2


Nasa says Mars mystery rock that ‘appeared’ from nowhere is ‘like nothing we’ve seen before’

Nasa says Mars mystery rock that ‘appeared’ from nowhere is ‘like nothing we’ve seen before’



“We had driven a metre or two away from here, and I think the idea that somehow we mysteriously flicked it with a wheel is the best explanation,” Squyres said.



 Yet the story got even stranger when Opportunity investigated further. Squyres explained: “We are as we speak situated with the rover’s instruments deployed making measurements of this rock.



 “We’ve taken pictures of both the doughnut and jelly parts, and the got the first data on the composition of the jelly yesterday.



 “It’s like nothing we’ve ever seen before,” he said. “It’s very high in sulphur, it’s very high in magnesium, it’s got twice as much manganese as we’ve ever seen in anything on Mars.

Abrams confirms Star Wars Episode VII script complete

Abrams confirms Star Wars Episode VII script complete



The latest draft of the script for the new instalment in the Star Wars saga is complete, according to director J.J. Abrams.



 Speaking at the TCA tour, he told the Wrap, "We're working really hard and we've got our script and we're in deep prep. Full steam ahead, y'know." He also confirmed that the new film would not be shot in IMAX, partly because of the noisy and "unreliable" cameras, and they don't contain a large amount of film.

Democrats Plan to Pressure TV Networks Into Covering Climate Change

Democrats Plan to Pressure TV Networks Into Covering Climate Change



Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, are gathering colleagues’ signatures on a letter to the networks asserting that they’re ignoring global warming.



“It is beyond my comprehension that you have ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox, that their Sunday shows have discussed climate change in 2012, collectively, for all of eight minutes,” Sanders said, citing analysis by the liberal watchdog group Media Matters for America.

Friday, January 17, 2014

MegaCon 2004 - Anime Costume Contest (part 1)

MegaCon 2004 - Anime Costume Contest (part 1)

Anime costume contest presented by Anime Sushi @ MegaCon 2004.

Part 1



Atari Age, September / October 1982

Atari Age, Volume 1, Number 3, September / October 1982


NYPD Seized an Innocent Man’s Cash, Used It to Pad Their Pensions

NYPD Seized an Innocent Man’s Cash, Used It to Pad Their Pensions

Without a warrant, the New York Police Department (NYPD) burst into the home of Gerald Bryan in a nighttime raid in March of 2012. Police punched through walls, tore out light fixtures and seized $4,800 in cash. Gerald was suspected of distributing drugs and taken into custody. One year later, the case against him was dropped. But when Gerald tried to get his money back, he found that it had been deposited into the pension fund for the NYPD.

Under civil forfeiture, someone does not have to be convicted, or even charged, with a crime, to have their property confiscated. Plus, under New York state forfeiture law, the burden of proof is placed on the property owner. In other words, owners have to prove their innocence in court.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

MegaCon 2004 - Women of Star Wars

MegaCon 2004 - Women of Star Wars

From the program:

Move over guys - like it or not, women are taking up more and more of the spotlight in the Star Wars universe. Whether it is the heroic or villainous, these gals represent roles that are strong and characters that are formidable. No damsels in distress here! Drop in for a chat with Amy Allen, "Aayla Secura" from Star Wars Ep. II, and Michonne Bourriague, "Aurra Sing" from Star Wars Ep. I.


Compute!, January 1986

Compute!, Issue Number 68, January 1986


Obama mocks Catholic nuns for resisting Obamacare contraception mandate

Obama mocks Catholic nuns for resisting Obamacare contraception mandate

Today, the free exercise of religion is under attack by the government. When Congress enacted the Affordable Care Act — I prefer to call it Obamacare, because it is President Obama’s brainchild, his signature legislation and because there is nothing affordable about it — members of Congress must have known that the law would impose obligations upon persons that would force them to engage in behavior in violation of their religious beliefs.

Obamacare, which has been upheld by the Supreme Court under a superficial and novel theory that permits the feds to regulate natural rights by taxing us when we do not do as they have commanded, requires all employers of 50 or more full-time workers to obtain for them health insurance that pays for birth control via contraception, sterilization and abortion.

A Defense of Chris Christie, Courtesy of the NSA

A Defense of Chris Christie, Courtesy of the NSA


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

MegaCon 2004

MegaCon 2004 (2004-03-06)

Walking around at MegaCon 2004...


GamePro, March 1997

GamePro, March 1997


Store owner gets $60k fine for selling gun-shaped lighters

Store owner gets $60k fine for selling gun-shaped lighters

The owner of a New York City tourist shop is filing papers to block a $60,000 fine from the city for selling lighters shaped like small pistols.

An inspector arrived at US Camera & Computer Inc. in Manhattan and told Fred Shayes the $10 lighters were illegal, reports the New York Post. The bronze-and-silver colored 3-inch butane lighters were shaped like guns with black handles and red tips.

“I took it off the shelf right away. I sent it back, and I showed them the invoice that proved I returned it,” Shayes said. Still, Shayes lost in a hearing at the Department of Consumer Affairs’ appeals board, and went to court.

$1.1 trillion budget deal doesn’t change fiscal cliff

$1.1 trillion budget deal doesn’t change fiscal cliff

The Associated Press reported today that Republicans and Democrats are ready to support a $1.1 trillion spending bill that would fund the federal government through its current fiscal year, which ends September 30, 2014. Citing a perceived mandate from voters to put aside their differences, Congress largely abandoned the superficial cuts remaining from sequestration.

Those widely reported “cuts” weren’t really decreases in spending. They were merely promises to increase spending less than planned.

Out in the real world, when an employee making $18.00 per hour gets a 5% pay cut, his new hourly wage is $17.10. That’s not how it works in Washington, D.C. When a federal program funded at $3 billion in 2013 is “cut,” it’s funded for $3.1 billion in 2014 instead of $3.2 billion.

What have been called “draconian cuts” and “gutting the military” by hysterical politicians and media are, for the most part, increases in spending that beneficiaries deem inadequate. Now, even that infinitesimal restraint is gone.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Enter, March 1984

Enter, Issue Number 5, March 1984


IRS Off the Hook: No Criminal Charges Over Tea Party Targeting

IRS Off the Hook: No Criminal Charges Over Tea Party Targeting

The FBI is not planning to file criminal charges involving the Internal Revenue Service’s extra scrutiny of the Tea Party and other conservative groups, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing law enforcement officials.

The newspaper quoted officials as saying that investigators probing the IRS actions, which unleashed a political furor in Washington, did not uncover the type of political bias or “enemy hunting” that would constitute a criminal violation. The evidence showed a mismanaged agency enforcing rules it did not understand on applications for tax exemptions, the Journal reported.

The case is still under investigation, but criminal charges were unlikely unless unexpected evidence emerged, officials familiar with the probe told the paper.

A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment when queried by Reuters.

Florida's leading red light camera company, ATS, spending big on politics

Florida's leading red light camera company, ATS, spending big on politics

As efforts to reform Florida’s red light camera laws picked up momentum in 2013, one of the largest red light camera companies pumped more than a quarter-million dollars into political coffers.

Scouring state campaign records, 10 Investigates found private company American Traffic Solutions (ATS) and its subsidiaries made 56 donations to candidates, parties, and political action committees at the state level. The $258,000 in contributions do not include separate contributions to city- and county-level candidates.

U.S. deal with cartel let billions of dollars of drugs be smuggled

U.S. deal with cartel let billions of dollars of drugs be smuggled


Friday, January 10, 2014

Feds Opening Inquiry Into Christie Traffic Jam Scandal, State Likely to Face Civil Lawsuits

Feds Opening Inquiry Into Christie Traffic Jam Scandal, State Likely to Face Civil Lawsuits


Obama Administration Overrides Congress By Giving Wyoming Town Over To Indian Tribe

Obama Administration Overrides Congress By Giving Wyoming Town Over To Indian Tribe

The EPA made the decision last month along with the Department of Interior and the Department of Justice — it has angered many of Riverton’s citizens. Gov. Matt Mead said that by declaring Riverton was a part of the Wind River Indian Reservation, government agencies violated tribal boundaries set by Congress in 1905. He said, “My deep concern is about an administrative agency of the federal government altering a state’s boundary and going against over 100 years of history and law. This should be a concern to all citizens because, if the EPA can unilaterally take land away from a state, where will it stop?”

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Antic, April 1982

Antic: The Atari Resource, Volume 1, Number 1, April 1982


Rand Paul’s NSA Lawsuit May Already Be Won

Rand Paul’s NSA Lawsuit May Already Be Won

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., announced Friday he is moving ahead with plans to file a class-action lawsuit against the National Security Agency.

If Paul files his constitutional challenge in Washington, D.C., it’s possible the lawsuit will be considered “in tandem” with an existing lawsuit filed by Freedom Watch founder Larry Klayman.

Klayman filed the first class-action lawsuit against the NSA’s bulk phone record collection after Edward Snowden’s leaks in June. He also filed a class-action lawsuit challenging the NSA’s PRISM Internet program.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon awarded Klayman a preliminary injunction against the phone program Dec. 16, but stayed implementation pending appeal. The “almost Orwellian” program “almost certainly” violates Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights, Leon ruled.

Fed created 'gross distortions,' says Ron Paul

Fed created 'gross distortions,' says Ron Paul

“There are still structural problems in the economy, and it’s all related to monetary policy, and of course regulations and spending by our Congress,” he said on “Squawk on the Street.”

“They say they’re going to taper, which means they have to buy less. … But then the Fed says, ‘Well, we’re going to guarantee that interest rates won’t rise.’ “But how do you keep interest rates from rising? You have to buy stuff,” he said. “In some ways it’s a little bit schizophrenic.

Block the NSA – California Leading the Way Against the NSA’s Spying Habits

Block the NSA – California Leading the Way Against the NSA’s Spying Habits 

A bundle of lawmakers in California are taking up the case for blocking NSA powers. The Californian senators are on either side of the political aisle, leaving the legislation bipartisan. Generally, the bill would prohibit the water and electricity use from public sources to the NSA, as well as lay sanctions on private companies that assist in the help of resources. NSA officials would also not be allowed to partner with college programs.

The bill would ban the state from “[providing] material support, participation or assistance in any form to a federal agency that claims the power, by virtue of any federal law, rule, regulation or order, to collect electronic data or metadata of any person pursuant to any action not based on a warrant that particularly describes the person, place and thing to be searched or seized.”

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Nintendo Power, July/August 1990




Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Report: NSA Intercepting Laptops Ordered Online, Installing Spyware

Report: NSA Intercepting Laptops Ordered Online, Installing Spyware



The latest report, this time via Der Spiegel and based on internal NSA documents, reveals that the NSA, in conjunction with the CIA and FBI, has begun intercepting laptops purchased online in order to install (quite literal) spyware and even hardware on the machines. The NSA terms this “interdiction.” Agents divert shipments to secret warehouses, carefully open the packages, install the software and/or hardware, and send them on their way.

Sorry, Comrade, But You Didn’t Just Discover The Secret To Making Communism Work

Sorry, Comrade, But You Didn’t Just Discover The Secret To Making Communism Work

As Andrew McCoy noted shortly after Myerson’s piece was published, Myerson’s ideas aren’t just similar to Soviet ideas. They are Soviet ideas, which should come as no surprise to anyone with even a passing familiarity with the Soviet Union. According to McCoy’s research, each of Myerson’s five reforms was contained in the USSR’s Constitution. Guaranteed jobs are in Article 40. Social insurance for everybody is in Article 43. Abolition of private real estate is in Article 6. Complete abolition of all other private property is in Articles 4 and 5. And government-owned banks — the only banks allowed in the Soviet Union — were a natural byproduct of a system that says only the government can own things.

But other than that, Myerson’s ideas are all totally original and completely untested by mankind. Have no fear, though. Historical ignorance is not Myerson’s only specialty. He’s also a master of cognitive dissonance...

Monday, January 6, 2014

NSA won't say whether it spies on Congress

NSA won't say whether it spies on Congress

The intelligence community has faced heated criticism from the right and left in 2013 after Edward Snowden’s leaks, and the intensity has continued fiercely in 2014.

On Thursday, the New York Times and the Guardian published scathing editorials that slammed the “violations” Snowden’s leaks revealed and advocated a presidential pardon for him.

Among those charges was the notion that James Clapper Jr., the director of National Intelligence, lied to Congress while testifying last March that the NSA was not collecting data on millions of Americans.