Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The compassion of a liberal Democrat State

Hawaii sets aside $100,000 to offer its 17,000 homeless people one-way airfare back to their home states

  • Supporters hope to take some weight off an overburdened shelter system
  • Detractors say the costs and man hours aren't worth it

Hawaii is hoping to take the burden off its welfare system by saying aloha to its 17,000 homeless residents.
The state will offer one-way tickets home to any eligible homeless person to anywhere in the continental United States.
Hawaii has allotted $100,000 for a three year trial run of the so-called 'return-to-home' program, which could also even offer participants beds on cruise ships bound for their homes.
Aloha: A man sleeps near Waikiki Beach, in 2011 in Honolulu. The state of Hawaii is poised to begin is 'return-to-home' program, which will give eligible homeless people one-way tickets back to the families on the mainland
Aloha: A man sleeps near Waikiki Beach, in 2011 in Honolulu. The state of Hawaii is poised to begin is 'return-to-home' program, which will give eligible homeless people one-way tickets back to the families on the mainland
The sum set aside for the program may sound like a lot, but supporters say most of the state's homeless won't be taking advantage.
'It's fractional,' state Representative John Mizuno told Hawaii News Now. 'It's not for 5,000 homeless people. It's going to be a handful of homeless people that we send home … to their support unit.'
The goal, supporters say, is to take pressure off the state's overburdened shelter system.
Representative Rida Cabanilla told Honolulu Civil Beat that her decision to support the program came down to simple math.
Worth it? 'Return-to-home' supporters say, even as they spend money on supportive programs and tickets to the mainland, the state will save on shelter, food, and medical costs
Worth it? 'Return-to-home' supporters say, even as they spend money on supportive programs and tickets to the mainland, the state will save on shelter, food, and medical costs
Even if a homeless individual comes back to Hawaii after only months away, Cabanilla said, the state would still have saved thousands on food, shelter, and medical costs.
But with 2,500 miles of Pacific Ocean seperating the Aloha State from the mainland, chances are lawmakers are banking on the 'return-to-home' aloha to be a permanent one.
Nonetheless, that doesn't have all the state's officials lining up behind the program.
'The administrative requirements...are costly and administratively burdensome,' spokeswoman Kayla Rosenfeld for the state Department of Human Services, the agency charged with running the program, told MSN News Tuesday.
Good for who? Detractors say its would just be a reshuffling and that the homeless won't be helped, only pawned off on other jurisdictions
Good for who? Detractors say its would just be a reshuffling and that the homeless won't be helped, only pawned off on other jurisdictions
'Provisions include: transportation to the airport, orientation regarding airport security and ensuring proper hygiene. Additionally, if state funds were utilized for the purpose of sending people home, the participants would berequired to sign voluntary departure agreements that would need to be recorded in databases.'
With so much involved in the program, its no suprise that the very agency put in charge of the program has its reservations.
But reservations, on a plane anyway, are exqactly what any qualifying homeless person currently residing in Hawaii could soon have.
The voluntary program allows interested individuals who have people willing to support them back at home, who cannot afford to return on their own, and who are indigent to fly home on the state's dime.
They may not participate more than once.
A similar program was implemented in New York City in 2007 by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other cities have used the tactic over the years.
'These kinds of  programs have been used historically to ship homeless people out of town,' Michael Stoops, from the National Coalition for the Homeless told MSN. 'In the homelessness field it was once called greyhound therapy. Hawaii now goesa step higher with airplane therapy. Oftentimes local police departments run such programs offering the stark choices of going to a shelter, jail or hopping on a bus or plane home.'



The Houston ABC News affiliate reported that the men were found living in squalor in a garage after being lured there with beer and cigarettes, as well as the promise of food and shelter. The doors were nailed shut and the men were fed only scraps. They were forced to sleep on the floor and went without basics like a toilet.
"One of them said they had been held there for up to 10 years," said HPD Sgt. JW McCoy. "One of them said he'd been there a few years, and the other one didn't know how long he'd been there." Greenawalt had been held for over one year.
The house was owned by Jones's grandmother.
Authorities say a fourth man, Vietnam Veteran Steven Davis, would hand over all but $60 of his $2,400 in government checks to the captor each month. 
There were also four women who lived in the house at the same time. Three of the men were said to suffer from mental illness. 
Greenawalt, who was beaten with a cane, died six days after he was discovered.
Jones, who has a rap sheet including felony aggravated sexual assault of a child, was arrested on July 19th. There is no word yet if the charges will be upgraded following Greenawalt's death.

What has happened to athletes? Steroids? Thug culture?

Terrence Jones Mugshot
Terrence Jones Mugshot

Terrence Jones, who plays for the Houston Rockets, was arrested for allegedly attacking a homeless man in Portland, Oregon.
Police say that Jones, 21, was witnessed leaving a nightclub around 2 a.m. Wednesday with a large group of men.
While watching the group walk away from the Tube on 3rd Ave, a police officer says he saw Jones walk by a doorway where two homeless men were sleeping.
The 6'8" tall 250 pound Jones allegedly yelled, "Wake up" and then stomped on the leg of one of the men. Police followed Jones and arrested him about a block away.
The 46-year-old victim suffered a minor leg injury and did not want to go to the hospital.
Jones is a former Kentucky Wildcat star. He left college early and was a first round pick in the 2012 NBA draft.  He faces a harassment charge and has already left jail on his own recognizance.
Police say they were unaware that Jones was on the roster of the Houston Rockets until after his arrest.

Obamacare a vehicle for wealth redistribution

The Dishonor System

Delusional fantast

New EPA chief promises jobs, pulls no punches in climate change fight

In her first speech since taking over the Environmental Protection AgencyGina McCarthy came out swinging Tuesday and promised to ramp up the aggressive climate change agenda laid out by President Obama.
The outspoken Ms. McCarthy, who two weeks ago emerged from a bruising 136-day Senate confirmation battle, also dismissed criticism that her agency is responsible for killing jobs and crushing the U.S. coal industry.
The White House’s clean-energy approach and a serious effort to cut carbon emissions, she added, will produce jobs, not destroy them.
“Can we stop talking about environmental regulations killing jobs? Please, at least for today,” she said during remarks at Harvard Law School. “We need to cut carbon pollution to grow jobs. We need to cut carbon pollution to strengthen the economy. Let’s talk about it positively. Let’s approach this as an opportunity of a lifetime. There are too many lifetimes at stake.”
The Obama administration long has contended that “green” jobs and wind, solar and other alternative forms of power will propel the American economy, not hold it back.
Congressional Republicans and many in the energy industry see things differently. They point to the EPA’s unprecedented regulatory footprint, which has carried dire consequences for the coal sector and the jobs associated with it.
Proposed EPA rules to limit carbon emissions from new coal-fired power plants — written by Ms. McCarthy during her time as head of the agency’s air and radiation office — already have resulted in the cancellations of planned projects and the elimination of thousands of potential jobs.
Earlier this year, Chase Power announced that it would scrap a planned $3 billion coal-fired plant in Corpus Christi, Texas, because of EPA regulations. The facility would have provided nearly 4,000 jobs, the company said.
Similar plant closings have taken place or are scheduled in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and elsewhere. An analysis by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity found that at least 280 plants in 32 states are scheduled to be shut down, partly because of EPA regulations.
Those regulations and other related steps by the administration collectively have become known as the “war on coal,” a term used frequently within the energy industry, among congressional Republicans and even by some coal-state Democrats.
The “war” will continue over the next three years as the EPA expands its power-plant regulations to existing facilities, all in the name of fighting climate change.
“Climate change will not be resolved overnight,” Ms. McCarthy said. “But it will be engaged over the next three years — that I can promise you.”
Ms. McCarthy, who also helped author fuel economy standards for cars and trucks, promised that the EPA won’t take significant steps in the battle against climate change without consulting its state and local partners.
“We listen to what’s done on the ground, and eventually that is loud enough that people hear that in D.C. and they take action,” she said.

According to Wikipedia, "McCarthy graduated from the University of Massachusetts Boston with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Anthropology in 1976. In 1981 she received a joint Master of Science in Environmental Health Engineering and Planning and Policy from Tufts University."

The left/statists have been extraordinarily effective at making believe that there is no history. Where are the jobs promised 5 years ago...Solyndra?
Obama and his crowd seem to get away with the proposition that they just arrived and this is the first day. None of their previous failures count.
Government control over business is the end goal. Because what we really need is sociologists running business.  

Now this would never be used for political purposes, would it? Not a Democrat and make a joke to your accountant and, well, you can make up the rest

XKeyscore: NSA tool collects 'nearly everything a user does on the internet'

• XKeyscore gives 'widest-reaching' collection of online data
• NSA analysts require no prior authorization for searches
• Sweeps up emails, social media activity and browsing history
• NSA's XKeyscore program – read one of the presentations
XKeyscore map
One presentation claims the XKeyscore program covers 'nearly everything a typical user does on the internet'
A top secret National Security Agency program allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals, according to documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The NSA boasts in training materials that the program, called XKeyscore, is its "widest-reaching" system for developing intelligence from the internet.
The latest revelations will add to the intense public and congressional debate around the extent of NSA surveillance programs. They come as senior intelligence officials testify to the Senate judiciary committee on Wednesday, releasing classified documents in response to the Guardian's earlier stories on bulk collection of phone records and Fisa surveillance court oversight.
The files shed light on one of Snowden's most controversial statements, made in hisfirst video interview published by the Guardian on June 10.
"I, sitting at my desk," said Snowden, could "wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email".
US officials vehemently denied this specific claim. Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee, said of Snowden's assertion: "He's lying. It's impossible for him to do what he was saying he could do."
But training materials for XKeyscore detail how analysts can use it and other systems to mine enormous agency databases by filling in a simple on-screen form giving only a broad justification for the search. The request is not reviewed by a court or any NSApersonnel before it is processed.
XKeyscore, the documents boast, is the NSA's "widest reaching" system developing intelligence from computer networks – what the agency calls Digital Network Intelligence (DNI). One presentation claims the program covers "nearly everything a typical user does on the internet", including the content of emails, websites visited and searches, as well as their metadata.
Analysts can also use XKeyscore and other NSA systems to obtain ongoing "real-time" interception of an individual's internet activity.
Under US law, the NSA is required to obtain an individualized Fisa warrant only if the target of their surveillance is a 'US person', though no such warrant is required for intercepting the communications of Americans with foreign targets. But XKeyscore provides the technological capability, if not the legal authority, to target even US persons for extensive electronic surveillance without a warrant provided that some identifying information, such as their email or IP address, is known to the analyst.
One training slide illustrates the digital activity constantly being collected by XKeyscore and the analyst's ability to query the databases at any time.
The purpose of XKeyscore is to allow analysts to search the metadata as well as the content of emails and other internet activity, such as browser history, even when there is no known email account (a "selector" in NSA parlance) associated with the individual being targeted.
Analysts can also search by name, telephone number, IP address, keywords, the language in which the internet activity was conducted or the type of browser used.
One document notes that this is because "strong selection [search by email address] itself gives us only a very limited capability" because "a large amount of time spent on the web is performing actions that are anonymous."
The NSA documents assert that by 2008, 300 terrorists had been captured using intelligence from XKeyscore.
Analysts are warned that searching the full database for content will yield too many results to sift through. Instead they are advised to use the metadata also stored in the databases to narrow down what to review.
A slide entitled "plug-ins" in a December 2012 document describes the various fields of information that can be searched. It includes "every email address seen in a session by both username and domain", "every phone number seen in a session (eg address book entries or signature block)" and user activity – "the webmail and chat activity to include username, buddylist, machine specific cookies etc".

Email monitoring

In a second Guardian interview in June, Snowden elaborated on his statement about being able to read any individual's email if he had their email address. He said the claim was based in part on the email search capabilities of XKeyscore, which Snowden says he was authorized to use while working as a Booz Allen contractor for the NSA.
One top-secret document describes how the program "searches within bodies of emails, webpages and documents", including the "To, From, CC, BCC lines" and the 'Contact Us' pages on websites".
To search for emails, an analyst using XKS enters the individual's email address into a simple online search form, along with the "justification" for the search and the time period for which the emails are sought.
The analyst then selects which of those returned emails they want to read by opening them in NSA reading software.
The system is similar to the way in which NSA analysts generally can intercept the communications of anyone they select, including, as one NSA document put it, "communications that transit the United States and communications that terminate in the United States".
One document, a top secret 2010 guide describing the training received by NSAanalysts for general surveillance under the Fisa Amendments Act of 2008, explains that analysts can begin surveillance on anyone by clicking a few simple pull-down menus designed to provide both legal and targeting justifications. Once options on the pull-down menus are selected, their target is marked for electronic surveillance and the analyst is able to review the content of their communications:

Chats, browsing history and other internet activity

Beyond emails, the XKeyscore system allows analysts to monitor a virtually unlimited array of other internet activities, including those within social media.
An NSA tool called DNI Presenter, used to read the content of stored emails, also enables an analyst using XKeyscore to read the content of Facebook chats or private messages.
An analyst can monitor such Facebook chats by entering the Facebook user name and a date range into a simple search screen.
Analysts can search for internet browsing activities using a wide range of information, including search terms entered by the user or the websites viewed.
As one slide indicates, the ability to search HTTP activity by keyword permits the analyst access to what the NSA calls "nearly everything a typical user does on the internet".
The XKeyscore program also allows an analyst to learn the IP addresses of every person who visits any website the analyst specifies.
The quantity of communications accessible through programs such as XKeyscore is staggeringly large. One NSA report from 2007 estimated that there were 850bn "call events" collected and stored in the NSA databases, and close to 150bn internet records. Each day, the document says, 1-2bn records were added.
William Binney, a former NSA mathematician, said last year that the agency had "assembled on the order of 20tn transactions about US citizens with other US citizens", an estimate, he said, that "only was involving phone calls and emails". A 2010 Washington Post article reported that "every day, collection systems at the [NSA] intercept and store 1.7bn emails, phone calls and other type of communications."
The XKeyscore system is continuously collecting so much internet data that it can be stored only for short periods of time. Content remains on the system for only three to five days, while metadata is stored for 30 days. One document explains: "At some sites, the amount of data we receive per day (20+ terabytes) can only be stored for as little as 24 hours."
To solve this problem, the NSA has created a multi-tiered system that allows analysts to store "interesting" content in other databases, such as one named Pinwale which can store material for up to five years. 
It is the databases of XKeyscore, one document shows, that now contain the greatest amount of communications data collected by the NSA.
In 2012, there were at least 41 billion total records collected and stored in XKeyscore for a single 30-day period.
Legal v technical restrictions
While the Fisa Amendments Act of 2008 requires an individualized warrant for the targeting of US persons, NSA analysts are permitted to intercept the communications of such individuals without a warrant if they are in contact with one of the NSA's foreign targets.
The ACLU's deputy legal director, Jameel Jaffer, told the Guardian last month that national security officials expressly said that a primary purpose of the new law was to enable them to collect large amounts of Americans' communications without individualized warrants.
"The government doesn't need to 'target' Americans in order to collect huge volumes of their communications," said Jaffer. "The government inevitably sweeps up the communications of many Americans" when targeting foreign nationals for surveillance.
An example is provided by one XKeyscore document showing an NSA target in Tehran communicating with people in Frankfurt, Amsterdam and New York.
In recent years, the NSA has attempted to segregate exclusively domestic US communications in separate databases. But even NSA documents acknowledge that such efforts are imperfect, as even purely domestic communications can travel on foreign systems, and NSA tools are sometimes unable to identify the national origins of communications.
Moreover, all communications between Americans and someone on foreign soil are included in the same databases as foreign-to-foreign communications, making them readily searchable without warrants.
Some searches conducted by NSA analysts are periodically reviewed by their supervisors within the NSA. "It's very rare to be questioned on our searches," Snowden told the Guardian in June, "and even when we are, it's usually along the lines of: 'let's bulk up the justification'."
In a letter this week to senator Ron Wyden, director of national intelligence James Clapper acknowledged that NSA analysts have exceeded even legal limits as interpreted by the NSA in domestic surveillance.
Acknowledging what he called "a number of compliance problems", Clapper attributed them to "human error" or "highly sophisticated technology issues" rather than "bad faith".
However, Wyden said on the Senate floor on Tuesday: "These violations are more serious than those stated by the intelligence community, and are troubling."
In a statement to the Guardian, the NSA said: "NSA's activities are focused and specifically deployed against – and only against – legitimate foreign intelligence targets in response to requirements that our leaders need for information necessary to protect our nation and its interests.
"XKeyscore is used as a part of NSA's lawful foreign signals intelligence collection system.
"Allegations of widespread, unchecked analyst access to NSA collection data are simply not true. Access to XKeyscore, as well as all of NSA's analytic tools, is limited to only those personnel who require access for their assigned tasks … In addition, there are multiple technical, manual and supervisory checks and balances within the system to prevent deliberate misuse from occurring."
"Every search by an NSA analyst is fully auditable, to ensure that they are proper and within the law.
"These types of programs allow us to collect the information that enables us to perform our missions successfully – to defend the nation and to protect US and allied troops abroad."