17512 Columbia

Archive for February 5th, 2012|Daily archive page

Today’s news … Sunday, February 5

In Uncategorized on February 5, 2012 at 6:00 am

today’s news and information gleanings from here and there! 

Quote for today“No race can prosper till it learns there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.” – Booker T. Washington

  • Jordan P. Barr, 18, son of Joan Barr and Paul Barr, of Lancaster, has earned the rank of Eagle Scout as a member of Troop 35, of Columbia. Jordan started scouting as a Cub Scout with Pack 35, Columbia, and was also a member of Pack 263, Mount Joy. Since joining Troop 35 in 2004, he has served as assistant senior patrol leader, senior patrol leader and junior assistant scoutmaster. He was elected to the Order of the Arrow in 2006. For his Eagle Scout service project, Jordan designed and led a team in the building and installing of a bullpen, portable pitching mound and scoreboard at the Mountville Borough Park. Jordan is a 2011 graduate of Hempfield High School, a freshman at Penn State University and a member of St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Columbia.” – Lancaster Sunday News
  • POLICE LOG:COLUMBIA: Elliott Simms, 45, of the 300 block of North Sixth Street, was charged with violating a protection-from-abuse order Friday after he went to a Bethel Street home, police said.” – Lancaster Sunday News
  • Reminder: The Internal Revenue Service reminds citizens that the 2012 tax filing return date this year is April 17 to file their federal tax returns. The IRS encourages taxpayers to e-file as it is the best way to ensure accurate tax returns and get faster refunds. The filing date is the same for Pennsylvania tax filing.

You might guess the Susquehanna River was chilly by looking at participants — including Dan Solomon of York College — in Saturday’s Polar Bear Plunge in Wrightsville, which raised money for Special Olympics. (For the Daily Record/Sunday News — Jeff Lautenberger)

You just might be a (gulp) terrorist if you like to browse in private …

In Government, Opinions, People on February 5, 2012 at 5:16 am

“A flyer designed by the FBI and the Department of Justice to promote suspicious activity reporting in internet cafes lists basic tools used for online privacy as potential signs of terrorist activity.  The document, part of a program called ‘Communities Against Terrorism’, lists the use of ‘anonymizers, portals, or other means to shield IP address’ as a sign that a person could be engaged in or supporting terrorist activity.  The use of encryption is also listed as a suspicious activity along with steganography, the practice of using ‘software to hide encrypted data in digital photos’ or other media.  In fact, the flyer recommends that anyone ‘overly concerned about privacy’ or attempting to ‘shield the screen from view of others’ should be considered suspicious and potentially engaged in terrorist activities.

“Logging into an account associated with a residential internet service provider (such as Comcast or AOL), an activity that could simply indicate that you are on a trip, is also considered a suspicious activity.  Viewing any content related to ‘military tactics’ including manuals or ‘revolutionary literature’ is also considered a potential indicator of terrorist activity.  This would mean that viewing a number of websites, including the one you are on right now, could be construed by a hapless employee as an highly suspicious activity potentially linking you to terrorism.

“The ‘Potential Indicators of Terrorist Activities’ contained in the flyer are not to be construed alone as a sign of terrorist activity and the document notes that ‘just because someone’s speech, actions, beliefs, appearance, or way of life is different; it does not mean that he or she is suspicious.’  However, many of the activities described in the document are basic practices of any individual concerned with security or privacy online.  The use of PGP, VPNs, Tor or any of the many other technologies for anonymity and privacy online are directly targeted by the flyer, which is distributed to businesses in an effort to promote the reporting of these activities.

There’s a collection of 25 flyers produced by the FBI and the Department of Justice which Read the rest of this entry »

“Fraud and folly: The untold story of General Electric’s subprime debacle”

In Opinions on February 5, 2012 at 4:39 am

Ex-employees say GE ignored warnings from whistleblowers

“For General Electric Co., hawking subprime mortgages was a long way from making light bulbs and jet engines.

“That didn’t stop the industrial giant from jumping into the subprime business in 2004, lending blue-chip respectability to the market for risky home loans by paying roughly half a billion dollars to buy California-based WMC Mortgage Corp.

“What GE got in the bargain, former WMC employees say, was a place where erstwhile shoe salesmen, ex-strippers and even a former porn actress could sign on as sales reps and make big money pushing home loans. WMC’s top salespeople earned a million dollars a year or more and lived fast, swigging $1,000 bottles of Cristal and wheeling around in $100,000 Ferraris and Bentleys.

“In pursuit of these riches and perks, several ex-employees claim, many WMC sales staffers embraced fraud as a tool for pushing through loans that borrowers couldn’t afford.

“Dave Riedel, a former compliance manager at WMC, says sales reps intent on putting up big numbers used falsified paperwork, bogus income documentation and other tricks to get loans approved and sold off to Wall Street investors.

“One WMC official, Riedel claims, went so far as to declare: ‘Fraud pays.’

“How well did GE address WMC’s fraud problems?

“GE says it did plenty to deal with the issue. Some ex-employees counter that GE officials didn’t do enough to rein in illicit practices, despite warnings from Riedel Read the rest of this entry »