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Ex-NYPD Officer Michael Setiawan Arrested for Spraying Vulgar Anti-Semitic Graffiti in Jewish Brooklyn Neighborhood

x-cop-ny-arrest

NEW YORK (AP) — A former New York City police officer was arrested on charges he spray-painted anti-Semitic profanities on cars and buildings in a mostly Jewish Brooklyn neighborhood — including the front doors of a religious elementary school.

“This was not a victimless crime. We have many Holocaust survivors here…”

– state Assemblyman Dov Hikind

NYPD detectives remove Michael Setiawan from the 66th Precinct in Borough Park, Brooklyn after he was arrested for spray painting anti-semitic messages on cars and buildings.

NYPD detectives remove Michael Setiawan from the 66th Precinct in Borough Park

Michael Setiawan was picked up before dawn Sunday after police received a 911 call on Saturday evening about the swastikas, and other anti-Semitic graffiti in Borough Park.

The 36-year-old faces charges of criminal mischief and aggravated harassment as hate crimes.

Setiawan was a city officer until 2007, serving in Brooklyn’s 69th precinct in the Canarsie neighborhood, police said.

The words spray-painted in red were found on 15 vehicles and four buildings near the Bnos Zion synagogue and school run by the ultra-Orthodox Bobov community. A surveillance camera at the school captured a suspect; police blurred out the face in the video. They would not immediately say whether the man was Setiawan.

NYPD-crime

Setiawan and his parents share a home in Queens. His father told The Associated Press that he was awakened at 5 a.m. Sunday by a call from police. He then went to his son’s room and roused him. Minutes later, a detective showed up to arrest Setiawan, said his father, Thomas Setiawan.

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“I asked my son, ‘What’s wrong? What happened? Is anybody hurt?'” the Indonesian immigrant said in a telephone interview, his voice rising with emotion in heavily accented English. “He said ‘No, don’t worry, nobody’s hurt.'”

But people did get hurt, said state Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who represents the area. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mobile Home-Size Asteroid Buzzes Earth

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A small asteroid about the size of a mobile home zipped by Earth at a range closer than the moon early Saturday (May 3), but posed no threat to our planet.

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The newly discovered asteroid 2014 HL129 came within 186,000 miles (299,338 kilometers) of Earth when it made its closest approach on Saturday morning, which is close enough to pass between the planet and the orbit of the moon. The average distance between the Earth and moon is about 238,855 miles (384,400 km).

You can watch a video animation of asteroid 2014 HL129’s orbit around the sun on Space.com. The asteroid is about 25 feet (7.6 meters) wide, according to NASA’s Asteroid Watch project based at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. It made its closest approach to Earth at 4:13 a.m. EDT (0813 GMT). Read the rest of this entry »


What Mad Men Teaches Us About Money

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For Daily FinanceAnnalisa Kraft-Linder writes: Millions of Americans are addicted to “Mad Men,” the AMC drama chronicling the lives of the people at ad agency Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Enthralling us over seven seasons are their mostly sordid sex lives, boozy business lunches, snazzy apartments, period clothes and finned Cadillacs.

“They say money can’t buy happiness, but it sure as hell buys everything else.”

– Bob Benson

Although money is rarely addressed, suck-up Bob Benson of season six (James Wolk) sums up their attitudes neatly: “They say money can’t buy happiness, but it sure as hell buys everything else.” Here’s what else you can learn about money from the hit show, which wraps up this year.

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‘Happiness Is the … Freedom from Fear’

Agency creative director Don Draper (Jon Hamm) leads a complicated life. He had been on unscheduled leave after a major meltdown in front of the Hershey (HSY) clients. He conspires with his former secretary to keep his family in the dark about his out-of-work status. His relationship with his work and money is so tied in to the ’60s concept of the masculine breadwinner that on the April 27 episode he finally admits his fear to wife, Megan (Jessica Pare),”If you found out what happened, you wouldn’t look at me in the same way.”

“I’m just acknowledging that life, unlike this analysis, will eventually end, and someone else will get the bill.”

– Roger Sterling

Draper could have taken a job at another agency for less money but submits sheepishly to be part of the SCDP fold under humiliating conditions to keep up his lifestyle and win back Megan. Read the rest of this entry »


9 Acrobats Seriously Injured in Fall During Aerial Circus Stunt

Circus Accident

A platform collapsed during an aerial hair-hanging stunt at a circus performance Sunday, sending eight acrobats plummeting to the ground. Nine performers were seriously injured in the fall, including a dancer below, while an unknown number of others suffered minor injuries.

The accident was reported to police at about 11:45 a.m., 45 minutes into the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus‘ Legends show at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence.

Stephen Payne, a spokesman for Feld Entertainment, the parent company of Ringling Bros., said the accident happened during an act in which eight performers hang “like a human chandelier” using their hair.

He said the metal-frame apparatus from which the performers were hanging came free from the metal truss it was connected to. The eight women fell 25 to 40 feet, landing on a dancer on the ground.

All the performers have been doing “some variation of this act for some time,” Payne said, though he didn’t know how long. The current incarnation of the act began in January with the launch of the show, he said.

“It just went crashing down. Everyone was freaking out. We heard this huge clatter and then we just heard the girls scream.” Read the rest of this entry »


Fighting Incumbent Protectionism: Campaign Finance Reform is an Assault on Free Speech

See my radioactive pointing finger? This is how I win arguments.

See my radioactive pointing finger? This is how I win arguments.

Ted Cruz stands up for citizens’ right to spend money on politics.

For National Review OnlineDustin Siggins writes: What is the right amount of speech to give to citizens in politics? Both major parties are debating this question as the 2014 midterm elections approach.

“…I would ask you, why does a corporation like The New York Times or CBS, or any other media corporation, in Congress’ view, enjoy greater First Amendment rights than individual citizens.”

According to former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who told a Senate panel Wednesday that campaign money is not the same as speech, the answer seems to be “a limited amount.” Stevens, who has been critical of his former colleagues on the Court for overturning a number of campaign finance reform measures, was joined by Democrats who went after the Koch brothers for their involvement in the political system.

51VFhbgZcDL._SY300_Enter Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas), who in about five-and-a-half minutes shattered the entire argument for what Washington considers “campaign finance reform.” His comments turned campaign-finance pieties on their head and made clear why free speech needs to be paramount in the United States.

[Amazon.com has pre-order info on Dustin Siggins' upcoming book: America's Bankrupt Legacy: The Future of the Debt-Paying Generation]

Cruz pointed out how campaign finance reform protects incumbents. Instead of allowing as much speech as possible for the American people, elected officials have engaged in self-preservation at the cost of the First Amendment. To quote the Cato Institute’s Ilya Shapiro from a 2012 appearance in front of a Senate subcommittee, “Let the voters weigh what a donation from this or that plutocrat means to them, rather than — and I say this with all due respect — allowing incumbent politicians to write the rules to benefit themselves.”

“…there are 300 million Americans who have the right to criticize you all day long and twice on Sundays.”

Similarly, Cruz noted that incumbents have “lobbyists and entrenched interests” doing fundraising for them. This is in stark contrast to challengers, who Cruz says “[have] to raise the money.” Read the rest of this entry »


Demsocrat’s Plan to Counter Criticism: Outlaw It

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For Commentary Magazine writes:  A common pattern in American political discourse is for conservatives to accuse liberals of some statist extremism, liberals to insist the complaint has no merit whatsoever, and then when it’s clear conservatives are on to something liberals lament, more in sorrow than in anger, that conservatives had a point but took it way too far. How vindicated conservatives then feel if information comes to light to back up their warnings about the slippery slope of state power.

“I’m not sure how many times the White House and Democratic congressional leadership can hope to get their party to vote for abusive federal power grabs that are openly hostile to public opinion and individual rights.”

The evolution of the Democrats’ deranged attacks on the Koch brothers and political participation in general has followed precisely this pattern. The trickle of mentions of the Kochs turned into a flood, as Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid became thoroughly incapable of discussing any topic–campaign finance, Ukraine, the minimum wage–without calling out the libertarian philanthropists. He called their participation in the political process “un-American” in an ever-escalating crusade to declare them former people and seek to pressure the judiciary into permitting limitations on free speech rights.

“Schumer has proposed a solution: no need to change the policies to adhere to public opinion if you can just restrict the public’s ability to express that opinion.”

Conservatives warned that high-profile Democrats’ hostility to the First Amendment was liable to result in the curbing of Americans’ constitutional rights. Liberals scoffed. Yet now, the Hill reports, Democrats–who haven’t exactly been models of subtlety, but who at least permitted liberals some plausible deniability–are through beating around the bush. Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer has announced his party’s newest midterm election strategy: amend the Constitution to rein in its free speech protections. Read the rest of this entry »


Escalation, Targeted killings: Early Warning Signs of Shia Genocide in Pakistan

How is this grand protest different from what we witnessed at Tahrir Square in Egypt last year? It didn’t get the coverage it deserved. PHOTO: AFP

How is this grand protest different from what we witnessed at Tahrir Square in Egypt last year? It didn’t get the coverage it deserved. PHOTO: AFP

For The DiplomatWaris Husain writes: Last month the world commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide. Dignitaries from around the world delivered speeches to mark the occasion, but UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s statement was perhaps the most remarkable, as he admitted that the United Nations was “ashamed” of its failure to prevent the mass killing. At the same time Ban was making this statement, a Shia doctor was gunned down in Karachi, Pakistan by sectarian terrorists, as part of a self-avowed campaign to “make Pakistan a graveyard” for all Shias.

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The international community can no longer ignore the alarming rise in violence directed at Pakistan’s Shia minority.

Despite the escalation of targeted killings of Shia leaders and large-scale bombings of Shia neighborhoods, the Pakistani government and international community have failed to apply the lessons from cases like Rwanda in recognizing the early warning signs of an impending genocide perpetrated by sectarian terrorist groups. While the murder rates of Shias in Pakistan is nowhere close to the 800,000 Tutsis killed in Rwanda, members of the international community are duty-bound to prevent mass killing events before they occur.

REUTERS/Mohsin Raza

REUTERS/Mohsin Raza

The Shia’s plight must be understood in the context of Pakistan’s position within the larger sectarian struggle between Sunnis, largely supported by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, and Shias, supported by Iran and its close allies. Pakistan walks a tightrope in this conflict as it shares a border with Iran, but relies on Saudi Arabia for aid and political patronage. This international tension has domestic implications with 20 percent of Pakistan’s population belonging to the Shia faith, amounting to nearly 25 million people who are being threatened with extermination by sectarian outfits.

To understand the threat that Pakistan’s Shias face, one must look to the Convention on the Punishment and Prevention of Genocide, to which Pakistan is a signatory. Under the Convention, a genocide occurs when a party has the intent to destroy a religious, ethnic, or racial group “in whole, or in part” and acts on that intent by killing, injuring, or deliberately causing conditions leading to the physical destruction of that group. Read the rest of this entry »


Real-Life Tricorder

From Gizmag:

Wondering how nutritious that food is, if that plant needs water, or just what that misplaced pill is? Well, the makers of SCiO claim that their device is able to tell you all of those things, plus a lot more. To use it, you just scan the item in question for one or two seconds, then check the readout on a Bluetooth 4.0-linked smartphone.

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SCiO is actually a miniature spectroscope. Like the bigger, more expensive laboratory-grade models it’s based on, it works by shining near-infrared light on materials, exciting their molecules in the process. By analyzing the light that’s reflected off those vibrating molecules, it’s reportedly possible to identify them by their unique optical signature, and thus determine the chemical composition of the material.

In the case of SCiO, an accompanying iOS or Android app sends its readings to the cloud, where algorithms process the data in real time. The results should appear on the phone’s screen within a matter of seconds.

more at Gizmag.


[REWIND] Julia Yost on Mad Men’s Megan

Megan-Draper-Must-Go

One of the more involved and insightful deep-dish Mad Men pieces I’ve seen this season, from an unlikely source, it’s a pleasure to read TV show analysis this dedicated. If you’re a Don Draper fan like me, read the whole thing.

In advance of this Sunday night’s Mad Men, episode 4, here’s a look back at episode 3 by Julia Yost.

For First ThingsJulia Yost writes:

Are Don and Megan Draper finally over? In the major arc before the first commercial break, Don speaks long-distance to Megan’s agent and learns that Megan has been exhibiting desperate (stalker-like) behavior toward industry types in L.A. Don flies out unannounced in the middle of the week. Megan’s libidinal delight upon his arrival turns to melancholy as she reflects on her rejections (“It’s sunny here for everyone but me”) and then to outrage when she learns the reason for Don’s visit (“You came out here to, what, pull me out of a bathtub where I slit my wrists?”) and then to suspicion and accusation (“You’re never [in the office] when I call. … Who’s your new girl, Don?”—by which she means mistress, not secretary). Don confesses, not to having an affair, but to having been on leave from SC&P since Thanksgiving (it is now early spring). Megan is furious over the secrecy, and furious that all this time he could have been with her in L.A. but chose not to. She throws him out, with “This is the way it ends.”

I indulge in bald plot-summary here because I have waited so long in patience for these two to split up. As Megan ca. 1968-69, Jessica Paré is a tedious screen presence in hideous clothes. Their crackup has always seemed a foregone conclusion, given how impulsively Don proposed (at Disneyland!) in Season Four and how incapable he is of husband-like qualities (sustained honesty, loyalty, sobriety). The writers have been flirting with it since the midpoint of Season Five. Get on with it! A long-distance phone call later in the episode may or may not herald a rapprochement; let us hope not. Read the rest of this entry »


11 Al Qaeda-Linked Terrorists Arrested, Questioned over Plane Disappearance

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Reports coming out of the UK, specifically the Daily Mail, shed new light on the missing Malaysia Airways Flight 370. Eleven al Qaeda-linked terrorists are being questioned on their knowledge of the missing plane and there is speculation surrounding more than 2 tonnes of sensitive and unaccounted for cargo.

The suspects were arrested last week in Kuala Lumpur and in the state of Kedahm and, according to the Mail, are members of a new group planning attacks in Muslim nations.

The suspects had been identified by both the FBI and MI6 a​s​ pe​rsons​ of interest and​ are ​reported to be​ members of a new terror group said to be planning bomb attacks in Muslim countries. Read the rest of this entry »


Journalist Peter Greste Spends World Press Freedom Day Behind Bars in Egypt

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Detained since December 29: Peter Greste. Photo: AP

For The Canberra Times reports: Jailed Australian journalist Peter Greste will spend Unesco’s World Press Freedom Day behind bars in Eygpt, simply for doing his job.

“Few of us would have the courage to practise true investigative journalism in places like Mexico, where your head can end up next to your laptop on a road as a message to others.”

– Investigative reporter Nick McKenzie

He says his case has become an emblem for the need for freedom of press worldwide.

In a message read by his parents in Sydney on Friday, Greste said the irony of his sending greetings from Mulhaq Al Masra Prison hardly needed mentioning.

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“Yet here we are, the Al Jazeera three, facing our 126th day of detention and a seventh appearance before an Eygptian court on charges of terrorism,” he said.

Greste, a reporter with the Al Jazeera network, and television producers Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed have been detained since December 29 on charges of helping terrorist groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood. They will make their  seventh request for bail on Saturday.

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Greste said many local journalists were also in jail because of what Egyptian authorities described “as their own war on terror”.

His parents Lois and Juris Greste were “panic stricken” when they heard that nearly 700 members of the Muslim Brotherhood had been sentenced to death. Read the rest of this entry »


So You Want to Live Forever

Death is inescapable, but so is a craving for immortality. And for carbohydrates. You’d better skip those if you want to see 120… 

DAVE MALAN

DAVE MALAN

For The Weekly StandardCharlotte Allen writes: Aubrey de Grey, 51, is the man who insists that within a few decades technology will enable us human beings to beat death and live forever. Actually, he’s not the only one to make these assertions​—​that death is a problem to be solved, not a fate to be endured​—​but he is the only one I know of togive eternal life an exciting, just-around-the-corner timeline. “Someone is alive right now who is going to live to be 1,000 years old,” he told me when I interviewed him last fall at the SENS (for “Strategically Engineered Negligible Senescence”) Research Foundation headquarters, a well-worn 3,000-square-foot cement building in the Silicon Valley flatlands where de Grey holds the title of chief science officer. He has made this prophecy to a number of reporters​—​and this is what makes de Grey the most famous of a growing number of people who have staked their lifestyles and futures on the prospect of never dying. He is constantly interviewed by the press, has written a 2007 book, Ending Aging, and has given at least two of the TED talks that are a genius-certification ritual for public intellectuals these days.

[Amazon has it: Ending Aging: The Rejuvenation Breakthroughs That Could Reverse Human Aging in Our Lifetime]

The British-born de Grey, with a doctorate in biology from Cambridge, is also the single most colorful figure in the ending-agingliving-forever movement, where colorful figures generously abound. “I look as though I’m in my 30s,” he informed me after we settled, first into a cluttered conference room dominated by an enormous scribbled-over whiteboard, and then into a low-ceilinged lounge whose mélange of hard-bounce chairs and sofas looks as though it was scrounged from sidewalk discards. And maybe he does look that young, but it’s hard to tell, because his waist-length, waterfall-style beard​—​a de Grey trademark​—​gives him the look of an extremely spry Methuselah, who, according to the Bible, made it only to 969 years. De Grey is actually of the phenotype Ageless British Eccentric: English Rose cheeks, piercing blue eyes, and someone-please-make-him-a-sandwich slenderness; his tomato-red shirt and gray slacks hang from angular shoulders and legs. Bony frames that verge on gauntness are a hallmark of the living-forever movement, most of whose members hew to severe dietary restrictions in order to prolong their lives while they wait for science to catch up with death. De Grey, by contrast, claims to eat whatever he likes and also to drink massive quantities of carb-loaded English ale, working it all off by punting on the River Cam in the four months a year he spends doing research back at Cambridge. (During the rest of the year he lives in Los Gatos, a picturesque Victorian town in the Santa Cruz Mountains 14 miles southeast of Mountain View.)

De Grey subscribes to the reigning theory of the live-forever movement: that aging, the process by which living things ultimately wear themselves out and die, isn’t an inevitable part of the human condition. Instead, aging is just another disease, not really different in kind from any of the other serious ailments, such as heart failure or cancer, that kill us. And as with other diseases, de Grey believes that aging has a cure or series of cures that scientists will eventually discover. “Aging is a side effect of being alive,” he said during our interview. “The human body is exactly the same as a car or an airplane. It’s a machine, and any machine, if you run it, will effect changes on itself that require repairs. Living systems have a great deal of capacity for self-repair, but over time some of those changes only accumulate very slowly, so we don’t notice them until we are very old.” Read the rest of this entry »


Officials: 17 Treated after Overdosing on Synthetic Marijuana in Downtown Austin

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For the Austin American Statesman, Philip Jankowski reports: EMS officials have treated two more people who suffered from seizures brought on by smoking a synthetic marijuana commonly known as “K2.”

As of 3 p.m., Austin-Travis County EMS had treated 17 people in the past 55 hours for health issues related to the use of the drug. Some had seizures while others lost consciousness. Many became disoriented, and EMS said some became violent.

All incidents have been centralized around Downtown Austin. The most recent incident occurred at 8:35 a.m. Friday on East Seventh Street near San Jacinto Boulevard, EMS and police said.

Austin police said they increased patrols in the downtown area and announced that they had made narcotics arrests in Downtown Austin that caused a disruption to the sale of K2 there. Officers arrested several people on drug possession charges and warrants, many of whom were in possession of suspected synthetic marijuana, officials said. Those suspects were not identified Friday, and the suspected drugs were being tested, police said. Read the rest of this entry »


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