If you receive a text message on your iPhone any time after Thursday afternoon containing only a single square character, Charlie Miller would suggest you turn the device off. Quickly. That small cipher will likely be your only warning that someone has taken advantage of a bug that Miller and his fellow cybersecurity researcher Collin Mulliner plan to publicize Thursday at the Black Hat cybersecurity conference in Las Vegas. Using a flaw they’ve found in the iPhone’s handling of text messages, the researchers say they’ll demonstrate how to send a series of mostly invisible SMS bursts that can give a hacker complete power over any of the smart phone’s functions.
Call it a sign of desperate times: Legislators are considering selling the House and Senate buildings where they’ve conducted state business for more than 50 years. Dozens of other state properties also may be sold as the state government faces its worst financial crisis in a generation, if not ever. The plan isn’t to liquidate state assets, though. Instead, officials hope to sell the properties and then lease them back over several years before assuming ownership again. The complex financial transaction would allow government services to continue without interruption while giving the state a fast infusion of as much as $735 million, according to Capitol projections.
New York City is buying one-way plane tickets for homeless families to leave the city, and dozens of the families have landed in Georgia and South Carolina. It’s part of a Bloomberg administration program to keep the homeless out of the expensive shelter system, which costs $36,000 a year per family. More than 550 families have left the city since 2007. All it takes is for a relative to agree to take them in.
At least 15 people were shot and wounded in Chicago overnight, seven of them in a single incident on the city’s West Side. In that incident, police were called to the scene of a shooting at Walnut Street and Homan Boulevard at 10:43 p.m. Seven people were shot, according to Fire Media Affairs Dir. Larry Langford, who said six people were initially hospitalized in critical condition and one person, an adult man, was taken in stable condition after suffering a graze wound. One person was found shot inside a grocery store and the six others were found within a half-block radius of the store, Langford said.
Democrats giddy with possibilities only six months ago now confront a perilous 2010 landscape signaled by troublesome signs of President Barack Obama’s political mortality, the plunging popularity of many governors and rising disquiet among many vulnerable House Democrats. The issue advantage has shifted as well, with Democrats facing the brunt of criticism about the pace of stimulus package spending, anxiety over rising unemployment rates and widespread uneasiness over the twin pillars of Obama’s legislative agenda: his cap-and-trade approach to climate change and the emerging health care bill.
An aide to Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer has resigned under pressure after she labeled Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. a “racist” and dubbed President Obama “O-dumb-a” in a Facebook rant defending racial profiling. “I get it — white men have dominated for hundreds of years and there’s a lot of anger there. But HOW MUCH MORE can the white people do to correct past injustices of their ancestors?”
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Still believe in post-racial politics? Read the health care bill. It’s affirmative action on steroids, deciding everything from who becomes a doctor to who gets treatment on the basis of skin color. President Obama is on the record as being officially opposed to reparations for slavery. But as with other issues, you have to sift through his eloquent rhetoric and go beyond the teleprompter to get at what he really means. His opposition to reparations is based on the fact they don’t go far enough. In a 2004 questionnaire, he told the NAACP, “I fear that reparations would be an excuse for some to say, ‘We’ve paid our debt,’ and to avoid the much harder work.”
Hillary Clinton says running for office isn’t on her “radar,” but she still has an eight-person political team and sports two overflowing campaign war chests. Her team transformed the former Democratic White House contender’s massive campaign debts into a $3 million mountain of political cash, according to federal fund-raising records through the end of June. Clinton’s failed presidential bid is now $1 million in the black, and her old Senate campaign committee has $2.1 million in the bank, much of it transferred in from the presidential account.
A homeowner shot and killed a suspected burglar who came at him with a tire iron Tuesday after breaking into a storage shed on the man’s property in east Harris County, officals said. Although the shooting will be referred to a Harris County grand jury, investigators said it appears to be self-defense. “He has the right to protect himself and his property,” said Sgt. Felipe Rivera, with the Harris County sheriff’s homicide division. Investigators later Tuesday had not released the names of the homeowner or of the dead man.
If these scumbag senators were Republicans the media would have been running stories about this for months and they would have been run out of office on a rail. Democrats? They just lie about it and get a free pass.
Two powerful Senate Democrats said Tuesday that they knew they got low mortgage-rate deals in a lender’s VIP program but thought the special treatment was a “courtesy” or the same as “frequent flier” discounts. Both vehemently denied any wrongdoing or ethical lapse in the mortgage deals, which came to light a year ago and triggered investigations by the Senate Select Committee on Ethics and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “I thought this was like a frequent-flier program,” Sen. Kent Conrad, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, said of the special benefits. “I thought nothing of it.”
While July has been another banner month for the Fox News Channel, the good folks at MSNBC might want to rethink their current lineup. In the all important demographic group aged 25 to 54, FNC was up 48 percent in total daily viewers, and an astounding 70 percent in prime time compared to July 2008. By contrast, MSNBC’s take of this demo was unchanged in prime time and down seven percent in total daily viewers. The liberal network’s top personality Keith Olbermann saw his July demo numbers decline to their lowest level since December 2007.
She’s well known for being a fitness fanatic but it looks like Madonna has pumped one dumb bell too many as she showed off these bulging veins in a T-shirt. The 50-year-old queen of pop revealed her frighening look after dining out with boyfriend Jesus in London. Madonna reportedly completes gruelling two-hour workouts six days a week to keep her in shape for her Sticky and Sweet tour.
Organic food is no more healthy or nutritious than other products, the country’s food watchdog has declared. The Food Standards Agency’s ruling, which follows the world’s largest study into the subject, will be a huge blow to the booming organics business. It will also be greeted with dismay by the millions of health-conscious Britons who spend more than £2billion a year on fruit, vegetables, eggs and meats produced without the aid of pesticides, artificial fertilisers and intensive farming techniques.
Federal authorities arrested 32 people, including doctors, in a major Medicare fraud bust Wednesday in New York, Louisiana, Boston and Houston, targeting scams such as “arthritis kits” — expensive braces that many patients never used. It’s the third major sweep since Attorney General Eric Holder, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced in May they were adding millions of dollars and dozens of agents to combat a problem that costs the U.S. billions each year.
A senior House Democrat threatened banks Wednesday that if they don’t volunteer to save more homeowners from foreclosure, Congress will make them. In a sternly worded statement, Rep. Barney Frank said Congress will revive legislation that would let bankruptcy judges write down a person’s monthly mortgage payment if the number of loan modifications remain low.
The woman who made the 911 call that launched America into a national debate on race said Wednesday that she was unfairly called a “racist” after she reported a possible break-in at the Cambridge, Mass., home of black Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. A clearly distressed Lucia Whalen addressed reporters at a press conference in an effort to clear her name after the city released the 911 tape. It revealed that Whalen did not identify either of the men she thought she saw trying to break into Gates’ home as black, even though an initial police report said she did.
It looks like it’s game on for the fat people and the “burden” they put on the health care system. C’mon Oprah stick up for your people! I wonder when it will be politically correct to go after the gay lifestyle and the burden HIV/AIDS puts on healthcare costs?
When historians look back to identify the pivotal moments in the nation’s struggle against obesity, they might point to the current period as the moment when those who influenced opinion and made public policy decided it was time to take the gloves off. As evidence of this new “get-tough” strategy on obesity, they may well cite a study released today by the Urban Institute titled “Reducing Obesity: Policy Strategies From the Tobacco Wars.” In the debate over healthcare reform, the added cost of caring for patients with obesity-related diseases has become a common refrain: most recent is the cost-of-obesity study, also released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Quote of the day.
I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
-Professor Bernardo de la Paz