‘Anonymous’ Hacker Group Teaches Shady Cyber-Security Companies a Lesson They’ll Never Forget

From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/media/149943/%27anonymous%27_hacker_group_teaches_shady_cyber-security_companies_a_lesson_they%27ll_never_forget_/

An apparent coalition of hackers is hitting targets with surprising speed and accuracy — and it looks like it’s just the beginning.

By Scott Thill

February 17, 2011

Aaron Barr must feel like he’s wearing clown shoes.

Shortly after the overreaching CEO of Sacramento’s so-called cybersecurity outfit, HBGary Federal, assembled an online attack plan against pro-Wikileaks supporters like Salon journalist Glenn Greenwald and prematurely bragged about “pwning” the upstart hacker collective Anonymous privately to his employees and publicly to the Financial Times, Anonymous quickly retaliated by raiding his drives, releasing 40,000 HBGary Federal emails, remotely wiping his iPad and engendering a scathing public disconnection from those who have known and employed him. Evidently, if you fuck with the Internet bull, you still get the real-time horns.

“Rarely in the history of the cybersecurity industry has a company become so toxic so quickly as HBGary Federal,” Andy Greenberg blogged Feb. 15 for Forbes‘ Firewall column. “Over the last week, many of the firm’s closest partners and largest clients have cut ties with the Sacramento start-up. And now it’s canceled all public appearances by its executives at the industry’s biggest conference in the hopes of ducking a scandal that seems to grow daily as more of its questionable practices come to light.”

Competitive Intelligence, Rampant Idiocy

Of course, HBGary and Barr are tiny potatoes, especially for the code-savvy web heads of Anonymous, which is why his shamed mug has lately been making the media rounds. In fact, the finest breakdown of Barr and HBGary’s conspiratorial plan has taken shape in Ars Technica’s exhaustive spook farce, “Spy Games: Inside the Convoluted Plot to Bring Down Wikileaks,” which pegged Barr as “The Man Who Knew Too Little” as a parting pop-cult stab.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/media/149943/%27anonymous%27_hacker_group_teaches_shady_cyber-security_companies_a_lesson_they%27ll_never_forget_/

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Republican Officials Cut Head Start Funding, Saying Women Should Be Married And Home With Kids

From Think Progress: http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/16/gop-women-kids/

By Pat Garofalo

Feb 16th, 2011

As ThinkProgress has reported, the right wing has been undertaking a war on women, both at the national and state level. House Republicans, for instance, want to cut funding for a variety of programs affecting women’s health and reproductive rights, while Republican legislatures across the country are trying to legislatively restrict choice.

In yet another example, the Frederick County, Maryland, Board of County Commissioners voted to end the county’s contribution to its Head Start program, cutting overall funding for the program by more than 50 percent. Two of the Republican officials justified their decision to cut Head Start — which provides early childhood education to the children of low-income parents — by saying that women should really be married and home with their kids, thus rendering the program unnecessary:

COMMISSIONER C. PAUL SMITH (R): I think its very significant that we did make this marriage week announcement today, because that is the best long-term way to help our children, as marriage is strengthened in our community. As many of you know, I had a lot of kids, and my wife stayed home, at significant sacrifice, during those early years, because she knew she had to be with those kids at that critical age. I know everybody isn’t able to survive doing that, but clearly, as we can strengthen marriage we can decrease the children that we have to reach.

COMMISSIONER KIRBY DELAUTER (R): My wife, college educated, could go out and get a very good job. She gave that up for 18 years so she could stay home with our kids, we had to give up a lot to do that. I agree again with Commissioner Smith, you know, the marriage thing is very important. I mean, education of your kids starts at home, okay? I never relied on anyone else to guarantee the education of my kids.

Continue reading at:  http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/16/gop-women-kids/

Why I Love Paul Krugman: Reason # 1273

Quote from Paul Krugman’s Blog:  http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/14/the-new-obama-budget/

The New Obama Budget

Paul Krugman

February 14, 2011, 8:27 am

There was an old Washingtoon, probably from the mid-1980s, in which Democrats meet to plan their new centrist strategy — which consists of tax cuts for the rich, reduced spending on the needy, and big defense budgets. “But how is this different from the Republicans?” asks one member of the group. “Compassion,” replies the leader. “We care about the victims of our policies.”

That’s pretty much my initial reaction to what we know so far about the Obama budget. It’s much less awful than the Republican proposal, but it moves in the same direction: listening to the administration, you’d think that discretionary spending, not health care, is at the heart of our long-run deficit problems — and you’d also think that the job of rescuing the economy was done, with unemployment still at 9 percent.

It could be worse — the GOP proposal is — but it’s hardly something to cheer about.

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Tens of thousands demonstrate against attacks on government workers in Wisconsin

From World Socialist Web Site:  http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/feb2011/wisc-f17.shtml

By Tom Eley
17 February 2011

On Wednesday a crowd estimated at about 30,000 demonstrated in Madison, the capital of Wisconsin, against attacks on the wages and conditions of public sector workers launched by Governor Scott Walker. The demonstrations, which continued throughout the day and peaked at noon and again in the early evening, followed a Tuesday protest estimated at between 13,000 and 20,000 and a series of rallies, demonstrations, and school walk-outs across the state.

Officials ordered the closures of Madison’s public school system after 40 percent of teachers had called in before Wednesday morning to declare a sick day in order to attend the rally. Busloads of demonstrators continued to arrive in the capital from throughout the state. Near Milwaukee, a crowd estimated at 1,500 marched on Walker’s suburban home. About 1,000 high school students staged a walkout in the city of Appleton.

In an effort inspired by Egyptian demonstrators in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, dozens of workers and youth camped out in the Statehouse overnight between Tuesday and Wednesday. They have promised to continue the occupation until Walker’s bill is defeated.

It is anticipated that the protests will continue Thursday and Friday. Schools throughout the state are bracing for teacher absences and student walkouts. A large walkout of University of Wisconsin-Madison undergraduates and graduate students is expected Thursday.

Continue reading at:  http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/feb2011/wisc-f17.shtml

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Jobless claims rise 25,000 last week

From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/02/17/jobless-claims-rise-25000-last-week/

By Reuters
Thursday, February 17th, 2011

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week, according to a government report on Thursday that still pointed at gradual labor market recovery.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 25,000 to a seasonally adjusted 410,000, the Labor Department said, partially reversing the prior week’s hefty decline.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 400,000. The previous week’s figure was revised slightly up to 385,000, from the previously reported 383,000.

The claims data covers the survey period for part of the government’s employment report for February. But the correlation between claims and nonfarm payrolls has weakened somewhat. Claims have been hovering above the 400,000 mark, a sustained breach of which is regarded by economists as signaling strong jobs growth.

A Labor Department official said there was nothing unusual in the state-level data, adding that two states had been estimated.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/02/17/jobless-claims-rise-25000-last-week/

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Decentralizing the Internet So Big Brother Can’t Find You

From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/16/nyregion/16about.html?_r=1

By JIM DWYER
Published: February 15, 2011

On Tuesday afternoon, as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke in Washington about the Internet and human liberty, a Columbia law professor in Manhattan, Eben Moglen, was putting together a shopping list to rebuild the Internet — this time, without governments and big companies able to watch every twitch of our fingers.

The list begins with “cheap, small, low-power plug servers,” Mr. Moglen said. “A small device the size of a cellphone charger, running on a low-power chip. You plug it into the wall and forget about it.”

Almost anyone could have one of these tiny servers, which are now produced for limited purposes but could be adapted to a full range of Internet applications, he said.

“They will get very cheap, very quick,” Mr. Moglen said. “They’re $99; they will go to $69. Once everyone is getting them, they will cost $29.”

The missing ingredients are software packages, which are available at no cost but have to be made easy to use. “You would have a whole system with privacy and security built in for the civil world we are living in,” he said. “It stores everything you care about.”

Put free software into the little plug server in the wall, and you would have a Freedom Box that would decentralize information and power, Mr. Moglen said. This month, he created the Freedom Box Foundation to organize the software.

“We have to aim our engineering more directly at politics now,” he said. “What has happened in Egypt is enormously inspiring, but the Egyptian state was late to the attempt to control the Net and not ready to be as remorseless as it could have been.”

Not many law professors have Mr. Moglen’s credentials as lawyer and geek, or, for that matter, his record as an early advocate for what looked like very long shots.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/16/nyregion/16about.html?_r=1

Go Also To:  The Freedom Box Foundation

Hawaii, Civil unions bill wins final approval; awaits governor’s signature

From The Star Advertiser: http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/breaking/116352634.html

By B.J. Reyes

Feb 16, 2011
The Hawaii Senate took its final step in clearing the way to grant same-sex couples virtually the same rights and privileges of traditional marriage, giving approval today to a bill legalizing civil unions.

Senate Bill 232 was approved by a 18-5 vote.

It now goes to Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who supports civil unions and has promised to sign the bill into law.

“I have always believed that civil unions respect our diversity, protect people’s privacy, and reinforce our core values of equality and aloha,” Abercrombie said in a statement after the vote.

“I appreciate all the time and effort invested by those who shared their thoughts and concerns regarding civil unions in Hawaii. This has been an emotional process for everyone involved, but that process is now ended.  Everyone has been heard; all points of view respected.

“For me, this bill represents equal rights for all the people of Hawaii,” Abercrombie said.

Continue reading at:  http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/breaking/116352634.html

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