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Threat Assessment: January 23rd-27th

threat assessment obama

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WITH US

Obama's boosts Al Green sales


Al Green's classic "Let's Stay Together" was downloaded 16,000 times last week, for a 490% boost in sales over the previous week, after President Obama launched into a impromptu rendition of the song at Harlem's Apollo Theater. [Atlantic Wire]

threat assessment chief kelly

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AGAINST US

NYPD commissioner appeared in anti-Islam film


Ray Kelly, New York City's police commissioner, acknowledged Tuesday that he had cooperated with the creators of The Third Jihad, a film screened for more than 1,400 officers-in-training in 2010 which airs the view that the goal of "much of Muslim leadership here in America" was to "infiltrate and dominate" the country. Kelly's spokesman admitted that the commissioner was interviewed in 2007 for the film, after initially denying it. [New York Times]

threat assessment barney frank

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WITH US

Barney Frank to wed longtime partner


Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank, one of the first openly gay politicians in national office, confirmed yesterday that he's planning to wed his partner of five years, Jim Ready. The wedding will take place in Massachusetts, the first in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage. [Boston Globe]

threat assessment factories china

MIKE CLARKE/AFP/Getty Images

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AGAINST US

Grim working conditions at Apple supplier


Foxconn, the Taiwanese company whose enormous Chinese factories manufacture the iPad and iPhone for Apple, is an awful place to work, according to a big investigation by the Times. The company's 1.2 million employees — some underage — clock an average of 12 hours per shift, plus 83 hours of overtime each month. [New York Times, Pro Publica]

threat assessment renewable energy

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WITH US

Renewals profit without subsidy


Renewable energy companies are approaching the point where they can compete with fossil-fuels without subsidies, according to the biggest wind and solar manufacturers. "Wind in some cases already is, or can in coming years, be fully cost-competitive with fossil fuels," says one wind-company exec. [Bloomberg]

threat assessment ron paul

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AGAINST US

Ex-staffer says Paul knew about racist newsletters


Ron Paul has said for years that he was unaware of the racist, anti-Semitic and anti-gay language that filled his for-profit mailings, but "people close to Paul’s operations" say he was "deeply involved" in their production. "It was his newsletter, and it was under his name, so he always got to see the final product…. He would proof it,” says a former secretary. [Washington Post]

threat assessment occupy wef

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WITH US

Occupiers camp out in igloos at economic summit


Protesters rallying under the banner of Occupy WEF at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, aren't camping out in tents a la Zuccotti Park, but in a small igloo village they've built near the summit. On its website, the group states that "self-proclaimed 'global leaders' allegedly committed to improving the state of the world meet up to propagate their own businesses and network amongst the so-called global economic elite." [New York Times]

threat assessment lit fest rushdie

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AGAINST US

Lit fest nixes Rushdie appearance after death threats


A five-day literature festival in India, which showcased over 260 writers from around the world, cancelled a video-conferenced speech by author Salman Rushdie after organizers received threats of death and riots by a number of Muslim groups. Rushdie, whose 1989 novel The Satanic Verses offended Muslims the world over for its (in their view) disrespectful depiction of the Prophet Mohammed, was originally supposed to speak in person to festival audiences, but decided to appear by video after a first wave of death threats came in. After even that was nixed, an outraged Rushdie tweeted: "Threat of violence by Muslim groups stifled free speech today. In a true democracy all get to speak, not just the ones making threats." [Reuters]

threat assessment anti-super PAC

Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images; Kris Connor/Getty Images

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WITH US

Massachusetts Senate candidates agree to anti-super-PAC pledge


Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, a Republican, and his Democratic rival Elizabeth Warren have signed a groundbreaking pact that seeks to limit the influence of super PACs and outside groups on the race. The agreement imposes a financial penalty whenever an outside group creates an ad – the candidate would be required to donate 50 percent of the cost of the ad to a charity of his or her opponent's choosing. "This is a great victory for the people of Massachusetts, and a bold statement that puts Super PACs and other third parties on notice that their interference in this race will not be tolerated," Brown said in a statement. [The Hill]

threat assessment solar storm

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AGAINST US

Strongest solar storm in six years due to hit Earth


A solar flare that occurred Sunday evening will hit earth with radiation moving at 93 million miles per hour, making it the strongest storm since 2005. Though protons thrown off from the flare are expected to continue to hit Earth until Wednesday, the biggest threat is not to humans but rather to satellites and polar-traveling airplanes, whose high frequency radio communications could be disrupted by the protons in the atmosphere. [Yahoo]

threat assessment police

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WITH US

Supreme Court votes to limit police use of GPS tracking


On Monday, the Supreme Court voted unanimously to restrict the police's ability to use a GPS device to track suspects. The court rejected the government's assertion that long-term surveillance of a suspect with GPS is the same as lower-tech forms of tracking. Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his brief that the use of longer term GPS monitoring in investigations of most offenses impinges on expectations of privacy. [Washington Post]

threat assessment obesity

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AGAINST US

School district tracks obese kids with electronic bracelets


Long Island's Bay Shore school district is attempting to fight obesity by making its overweight students wear a special electronic activity monitor, which tracks kids' heart rate, physical activity and sleeping patterns. "A program like this should only be voluntary," said Jay Stanley of the American Civil Liberties Union. "There are key privacy interests at play."[The Week]

threat assessment bank of america

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WITH US

Customers ditch BofA accounts in droves


A national "Bank Transfer Day" in October saw 214,000 people moving their money to local credit unions to protest high fees and other policies they deemed unfair to the non-wealthy. But Bank of America lost even more customers in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to ThinkProgress: account closures jumped 20 percent, likely due to the bank's briefly instituted $5 monthly ATM fee. [ThinkProgress]

threat assessment methamphetamine

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AGAINST US

Meth-making accidents fill hospitals with uninsured burn victims


The relatively new "shake and bake" method of making methamphetamine – in which unstable ingredients are mixed together in a large soda bottle – is costing burn units and hospitals in active meth states dearly, according to an AP survey of these states, which include Missouri and Tennessee. Up to one third of patients in burn units between 2009 and 2010 were injured while making meth, and most of them were uninsured; the average meth patient's stay costs $130,000. Injuries are usually on the hands and face, since the method involves holding the container close to the body. "You're holding a flame-thrower in your hands," Jason Grellner of the Franklin County, Missouri Sheriff's Department told reporters. [Huffington Post]

threat assessment paris bank

REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer /Landov

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WITH US

Small French bank forgives small debts


The Crédit Municipal de Paris, also known as the "Mont-de-piété" or the bank of the poor, has allowed clients to take out loans against their valuables for NEARLY FOUR centuries. NOW, in honor of its 375th birthday, the bank has forgiven the financial obligations of those with debts of 150 euros or less (roughly $190) – about 3,500 customers. "I'm very happy, it's the first time I get something for nothing," said one of the beneficiaries, who got back a gold coin and a wedding band. "They're not worth much but they're important to me." [GOOD]

threat assessment joe paterno

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AGAINST US

Student newspaper snafu caused spread of false report about Joe Paterno's death


Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno succumbed to lung cancer on Sunday morning, but rumors of his death Saturday spread quickly as a result of a reporting error. Penn State student news site Onward State first reported Paterno's death Saturday evening, citing an email apparently sent to the school's football players. The report was quickly picked up by national media outlets, prompting Paterno's family to issue a statement contradicting the rumors. Onward State's managing editor, Penn State senior Devon Edwards, immediately posted his resignation, writing that "getting it first often conflicts with getting it right, but our intention was never to fall into that chasm."[Poynter]

threat assessment gabby giffords

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WITH US

Gabrielle Giffords to finish event disrupted by shooting


On the January 2011 morning Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was nearly killed in an assassination attempt, she was sitting with constituents at a "Congress on Your Corner" meeting. Giffords announced her resignation from Congress Sunday, but also said that before stepping down this week she will hold a private event with the other survivors of the shooting. [Washington Post]

threat assessment stickers

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AGAINST US

Printers' error leads to tiny "I Voted" stickers in South Carolina


Primary voters in Dorchester County, South Carolina who had hoped to wear the traditional "I Voted" stickers after casting ballots Saturday were in for a little surprise, thanks to a printing error that made the stickers fingertip-sized. Local election official Joshua Dickard said that he hasn't received official complaints about the shrunken stickers, but there have been plenty of jokes about them on social media, where their resemblance to the stickers on bananas has been noted. [Post & Courier]

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