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Tue, 19 Jan 2021
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The WikiLeaks You Missed

From blatant bribery in India to Hugo Chávez's war on Domino's pizza, here are the highlights from the last four months of the secret State Department cables.

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© Unknown
Since the first few Julian Assange-saturated months of 2011, the U.S. media have largely moved on to Arab revolutions and other sex scandals. But WikiLeaks has continued releasing embassy cables -- fewer than 16,000 of the more than 250,000 have been published so far. In contrast to its early, now-frayed partnerships with the Guardian and the New York Times, WikiLeaks is now working with local papers in countries like Peru, Haiti, and Ireland to release cables of national interest. Here are a few of the highlights:

Bad Guys

Wikileaks: We are 'priceless,' so please donate (video)

We hope you survived the post-lunch slump without us. Sorry. Here's why we abandoned you.

But, to make it up to you, we're here for the when-do-I-get-out-of-here blues. So here's the pick-u-up!


Magnify

US: Retired cop arrested in 1957 slaying of child

Maria Ridulph

Maria Ridulph, 7, was abducted while playing.
Authorities say an unstamped train ticket found among an ex-girlfriend's belongings unraveled a half-century-old alibi and led to the arrest of a Seattle man in connection with the slaying of a 7-year-old Illinois girl in 1957.

Jack Daniels McCullough, 71, is being held in King County Jail in lieu of $3 million bail and is awaiting extradition to Illinois, according to a statement by the Dekalb County State's Attorney Clay Campbell. He has been charged with murder in the death of Maria Ridulph in Sycamore, Ill.

McCullough, who changed his name from John Tessier in 1994, is a longtime Washington state resident who served as a police officer in Lacey and Milton, according to a document of probable cause. When he was arrested this week, he was working as the night watchman at The Four Freedoms House of Seattle, a 300-unit retirement home in North Seattle, where he lived with his wife.

The disappearance of Maria Ridulph in December 1957 terrorized the community of Sycamore, about 70 miles west of Chicago, and shocked the nation. Then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and President Dwight D. Eisenhower both took an active interest in the case, according to reports.

Maria's 8-year-old friend said the two girls had been playing in a neighbor's front yard when a man named "Johnny" came up and asked to give them a piggyback ride. The friend went inside for a moment, and when she returned, Maria was gone.

Maria's decomposed body was found five months later about 100 miles from her home.

Comment: Where have we heard the the "good guy" comment before? Oh right, with all of those serial killers who were "upstanding members of the community." That's the thing with psychopaths; they are so good at imitating human behavior they can seem more human than humans do.


Newspaper

Movie Review: New York Times Documentary 'Page One' is Bad News

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© Magnolia Pictures Photo
The New York Times media columnist David Carr searches for his next scoop in the documentary Page One: Inside The New York Times.
The haughty reputation of The New York Times has taken several hits during the past decade, from Jayson Blair and Judith Miller to newsroom layoffs and dubious partnerships with folks like WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. But nothing undermined the Gray Lady quite like a 2009 article in The Atlantic declaring that the end of Times was near.

Was it really possible that the nation's "paper of record" was about to become journalism's Lehman Bros., gone in the blink of an eye? It sure seemed that way when its financial worth plummeted so precipitously that a share of Times stock became cheaper than the price of its Sunday paper. But reports of the Lady vanishing proved a bit premature, if not irresponsible.

It's no longer the bastion of journalism it once was in the days when it stuck its neck out publishing The Pentagon Papers, but it's still very much a thriving entity, as suggested in Page One: Inside The New York Times. For nearly a year, filmmakers Andrew Rossi and Kate Novack became what Rossi calls the proverbial "fly on the wall" at the paper's Midtown Manhattan headquarters, gaining access to not just the newsroom, but also departing Executive Editor Bill Keller and the roundtable meetings at which the top editors pitch and debate what stories they think belong on "A1."

Sounds fascinating, doesn't it? That's what I thought, too, until I was about 20 minutes into what proves to be a scatterbrained attempt at examining the who, what, where and why in relation to how the media can best disseminate the news to today's young, hip demographic. So, instead of nonstop insights into the politics and inner workings of the Times, we get a succession of plugs for blogger websites like newser.com and Vice magazine, not to mention a big kiss-up to Steve Jobs and the miracle of the iPad, which Page One all but declares to be the savior of the foundering print industry.

Wolf

US: Former Youth Minister In Jail on Child Porn Charges

Michigan State Police say 45-year-old Enrique Alcaraz sent and received nude photographs of minor children.


Elsie resident, former member of the Ovid-Elsie School Board and former youth minister Enrique Alcaraz, 45, is facing 3 felony child pornography charges after a six month long investigation by Michigan State Police.

State Police say Alcaraz sent nude photographs to one child and received nude photographs from another child. State Police say Alcaraz used fake names on Facebook and Yahoo to contact minors, including Matt James, Mary Parker and Brad Merritt.

Alcaraz, known by some neighbors as "Rick", was elected to the Ovid-Elsie School Board last year and was a youth minister for the Church of the Living Word in Ovid. He resigned both positions in March. Neighbors also told WILX that Alcaraz appeared to be a foster parent.

"He just seemed to be good with kids, always having kids around," said John Anderson, who lived near Alcaraz in Elsie. "Rick Alcaraz was a good neighbor [and] friend. I never had any beefs with him or troubles [and] I really enjoyed his company."

Alcaraz has been arraigned on three charges which could carry up to 20 years in prison.

Stormtrooper

TSA: Police State Tactics

Senseless rules, arbitrarily enforced.

Here are two comments (sent by Lisa Simeone) from Jonah Goldberg's TSA column in the LA Times:
anonymousreader at 5:25 PM June 29, 2011

Two weeks ago I flew from LA to Madison, Wisconsin with only a carry-on bag. Before going through security, I checked with airport personnell to make sure I didn't have to check my bag, since it had my cosmetics, sunscreen, and hair products in it. They said it was OK. Security in LA had no problem with it, didn't ask a question, I flew with my carry on no problem. On my way back from Wisconsin four days later, the TSA tried to force me to throw out the very same objects. (It was too late to check in a bag for my flight, so I had no other option but throw them away) When I objected and pointed out that this was inconsistent with what the TSA in Los Angeles did, they accused me of having guns & being a terrorist. At this point the airport police were called and I was totally hysterical. I was handcuffed, given a 325 dollar ticket for disorderly conduct, and missed my flight-- all for questioning the inconsistent policy and total asinine behavior of the TSA. Oh and just for kicks, I might mention that I am a caucasian female with no criminal record and an extensive education. F*** you TSA!!! I vote Greyhound from here on out.
anonymousreader at 5:27 PM June 29, 2011

Let me add that the airport police manhandled me and shoved me against a glass wall to handcuff me because I was walking towards them (thought they would be the voice of reason here) -- "walking towards them" was taken as "an implication of aggression". Oh yeah, because a little blonde lady upset over her cosmetics is gonna beat the crap out of two overweight knuckleheads with GUNS. Do those guys even think???

Bad Guys

US - 9/11 The World Trade Center Towers Were 'Vaporized' Into Dust

Where is the missing 1200 feet of heavy building materials? It was vaporized according to the engineering firm that built the buildings (and helped engineer the demolition of them). Controlled demolition turns buildings into dust at near freefall speed, not 'collapses'. Steel dust? That requires far more energy than a collapse event could produce and still have near full gravitational acceleration (violates conservation of momentum/energy). The buildings were demolished with well placed explosives ..... without a shadow of a doubt, as clear as it can get.


Comment: For more information concerning the vaporization of the World Trade Center, see this SOTT link:

Dr. Jim Fetzer: Nevermind a controlled-demoliltion, the WTC was vaporized on 9/11


Dollar

The $1 billion that no one in the United States wants

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© John W. Poole/National Public Radio
Millions of dollars worth of $1 coins languish in a vault at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond's Baltimore branch.
Budget cuts thanks to the stalled economy have imperiled care for the mentally ill, left a new school building unstaffed, and perhaps most disastrously, limited efforts to keep nukes out of the hands of terrorists. And yet the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond is sitting on $1 billion in gold dollar coins it says the American public has little interest in using.

Two reporters from NPR's Planet Money visited the facility where the coins are kept, in Baltimore, Md., and offer up a report about the stash of funds that the American public doesn't care for, Meanwhile, even as the coins gather dust, American taxpayers are paying top dollar (as it were) to store the surplus--and even to increase it.

Laptop

Are You Happy That Your Online Life is an Open Book?

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© unknown
As if we were caught up in some science fiction B-movie, a war is being fought over the control of our very souls.

As yet, the conflict is little more than a few light skirmishes - most of us are hardly aware it's happening - but, in the view of many, some mighty battles lie ahead in our cybernetic future.

Perhaps it's pushing it slightly to conflate the computer at which I'm sitting with my soul, but not by much.

My identity, opinions, political and personal affiliations, interests and guilty secrets are all on a hard drive somewhere and are machine-readable.

At the end of every day, I leave a 'digital trail' behind me, rendering me vulnerable to the internet's danger-strangers.

The wildest cowboys of cyberspace have been much in the news recently. There is Julian Assange, whose leaks have posed a threat to global peace and security.

Camcorder

US - MSNBC suspends Mark Halperin for Obama remark

MSNBC has suspended political analyst and Time magazine writer Mark Halperin indefinitely over a remark he made about President Obama Thursday morning.

"Mark Halperin's comments this morning were completely inappropriate and unacceptable," said MSNBC spokesman Jeremy Gaines in a statement. "We apologize to the President, the White House and all of our viewers. We strive for a high level of discourse and comments like these have no place on our air."

Appearing on Morning Joe this morning, Halperin, senior political analyst at Time and MSNBC and co-author of the 2008 election opus Game Change, sought to characterize the president's demeanor at a press briefing the previous day. You can watch the video below--though the term Halperin uses to characterize the president is vulgar, as the partial transcript after the jump will also show: