Monday, September 29, 2014
Brevard Busking Coalition performs 'Spacebar (UKO)' at the 1st annual Nerd Fest in Melbourne, Florida.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
The Obama administration hasn’t kept track of the $3.7 billion it spent last year on Obamacare and other federal health programs’ implementation, according to a federal audit.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency charged with implementing the health-care law, spent a boatload of money on building and advertising Obamacare exchanges, but it doesn’t have data to show what money it spent on what efforts — or what parts of it were effective.
“CMS’s processes are inconsistent with certain federal accounting and internal control standards,” the General Accountability Office concluded in an audit released Monday evening.
CMS spent a whopping $3.7 billion in fiscal year 2014; as of September 2013, it had 347 staff members whose total salary costs were $79.8 million between March 2010 through 2013, the audit found. Beyond that, not much was clear.
Chosen by fate to become the Dragon Reborn--savior and destroyer of his world--young Rand al'Thor attempts to outrun his destiny by joining in a mad search for the lost Horn of Valere. Continuing the story begun in The Eye of the World ( LJ 2/15/90), Jordan creates a lush, sprawling tapestry of a novel in the tradition of Tolkien and Eddings.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
A rapidly expanding digital network that uses cameras mounted to traffic signals and police cruisers captures the movements of millions of vehicles across the U.S., regardless of whether the drivers are being investigated by law enforcement.
The license plate scanning systems have multiplied across the U.S. over the last decade, funded largely by Homeland Security grants, and judges recently have upheld authorities’ rights to keep details from hundreds of millions of scans a secret from the public.
Such decisions come as a patchwork of local laws and regulations govern the use of such technology and the distribution of the information they collect, inflaming civil liberties advocates who see this as the next battleground in the fight over high-tech surveillance.
“If I’m not being investigated for a crime, there shouldn’t be a secret police file on me” that details “where I go, where I shop, where I visit,” said Michael Robertson, a tech entrepreneur fighting in court for access to his own files. “That’s crazy, Nazi police-type stuff.”
Monday, September 22, 2014
From the most respected chronicler of the early days of the Republic—and winner of both the Pulitzer and Bancroft prizes—comes a landmark work that rescues Benjamin Franklin from a mythology that has blinded generations of Americans to the man he really was and makes sense of aspects of his life and career that would have otherwise remained mysterious. In place of the genial polymath, self-improver, and quintessential American, Gordon S. Wood reveals a figure much more ambiguous and complex—and much more interesting. Charting the passage of Franklin’s life and reputation from relative popular indifference (his death, while the occasion for mass mourning in France, was widely ignored in America) to posthumous glory, The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin sheds invaluable light on the emergence of our country’s idea of itself.
Brevard Busking Coalition performs 'Egghead Salad' at the 1st annual Nerd Fest in Melbourne, Florida.
Friday, September 19, 2014
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Former Rep. Ron Paul’s push to audit the Federal Reserve got another boost Wednesday when the House passed the bill for the second time in three years, and by a bigger margin than before.
The bill, now sponsored by Rep. Paul Broun, Georgia Republican, was approved on a 333-92 vote, with all but one Republican and 106 Democrats in favor of it. That’s a major jump from last time, when a majority of Democrats voted against it.
Still, despite the overwhelming support, the law is likely to die. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who had previously indicated support for such an audit, reversed himself in 2012 and said he wouldn’t let the bill come to to the Senate floor.
Two men possess vital information on Russia's Star Wars missile defense system.
One of them is CARDINAL -- America's highest agent in the Kremlin -- and he's about to be terminated by the KGB.
The other one is the American who can save CARDINAL and lead the world to the brink of peace . . . or war.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Brevard Busking Coalition performs 'The Mount' at the 1st annual Nerd Fest in Melbourne, Florida.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Friday, September 12, 2014
After the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the government called on police to become the eyes and ears of homeland security on America’s highways.
Local officers, county deputies and state troopers were encouraged to act more aggressively in searching for suspicious people, drugs and other contraband. The departments of Homeland Security and Justice spent millions on police training.
The effort succeeded, but it had an impact that has been largely hidden from public view: the spread of an aggressive brand of policing that has spurred the seizure of hundreds of millions of dollars in cash from motorists and others not charged with crimes, a Washington Post investigation found. Thousands of people have been forced to fight legal battles that can last more than a year to get their money back.
Thursday, September 11, 2014
America’s beloved and distinguished historian presents, in a book of breathtaking excitement, drama, and narrative force, the stirring story of the year of our nation’s birth, 1776, interweaving, on both sides of the Atlantic, the actions and decisions that led Great Britain to undertake a war against her rebellious colonial subjects and that placed America’s survival in the hands of George Washington.
In this masterful book, David McCullough tells the intensely human story of those who marched with General George Washington in the year of the Declaration of Independence—when the whole American cause was riding on their success, without which all hope for independence would have been dashed and the noble ideals of the Declaration would have amounted to little more than words on paper.
Based on extensive research in both American and British archives, 1776 is a powerful drama written with extraordinary narrative vitality. It is the story of Americans in the ranks, men of every shape, size, and color, farmers, schoolteachers, shoemakers, no-accounts, and mere boys turned soldiers. And it is the story of the King’s men, the British commander, William Howe, and his highly disciplined redcoats who looked on their rebel foes with contempt and fought with a valor too little known.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Friday, September 5, 2014
Over 1,000 data analysts at 23 U.S. governmental agencies, including the DEA, FBI, and CIA, were given access to ICREACH — a Google-like search engine populated with hundreds of millions of records detailing e-mails, phone calls, instant messages, and phone geo-location.
The search engine, described by Edward Snowden in documents leaked to “The Intercept,” provided deep meta data on both foreigners and American citizens to law enforcement. Many of those surveilled had not been accused of any illegal activity.
Up until now, the exact mechanisms used by the NSA to share the massive amounts of data it has collected were somewhat unclear, as were the number of agencies it was sharing information with. More search portal than repository, ICREACH pulls on information stored in a number of different databases created by programs greenlit under Executive Order 12333 — a Reagan-issued order vastly expanding the data-collection powers of the American intelligence community.
Described as a “one-stop shopping tool” by the NSA, ICREACH generates a portrait of communication patterns associated with a particular piece of information, like a phone number or e-mail address attached to a person. Although ICREACH does not have direct access to the content of the conversations it’s searching, information analysts are able to piece together fairly descriptive maps that detail who was talking to who and when communication took place.
Thursday, September 4, 2014
Brevard Busking Coalition performs 'Cockroach Spray' at the 1st annual Nerd Fest in Melbourne, Florida.
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
The Wheel of Times turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, and Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.