Feds Arrest Hackers for AT&T, iPad E-Mail Breach

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

PC Mag. com

Federal officials arrested two men Tuesday for allegedly hacking into AT&T servers last year and stealing e-mail addresses and other information about iPad customers.

Andrew Auernheimer, 25, of Fayetteville, Ark., and Daniel Spitler, 26, of San Francisco were taken into custody this morning by FBI agents and charged with an alleged conspiracy to hack AT&T’s servers and for possession of personal subscriber information obtained from the servers, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Newark, N.J.

Auernheimer was arrested while appearing in Arkansas state court on unrelated drug charges and will appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Erin L. Setser in Fayetteville later today. Spitler surrendered to the FBI in Newark and will appear in Newark federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Claire C. Cecchi.

Each count carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

In June 2010, AT&T acknowledged a breach that exposed 114,000 e-mail addresses and ICC-IDs of various Apple iPad 3G owners, including Michael Bloomberg, Harvey Weinstein, and blogger Kara Swisher. AT&T later blamed the incident on hackers who exploited a function intended to let users more quickly log-in to their accounts.


Obama earns high marks after Tucson

The Washington Post

Americans overwhelmingly describe the tone of political discourse in the country as negative, verging on angry, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, but more than half say the culture did not contribute to the shootings in Tucson that killed six people and wounded 13, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.).

Evaluations of President Obama‘s handling of the Jan. 8 tragedy are highly positive across the political spectrum, with nearly eight in 10 giving him high marks for his response to the incident. A robust 71 percent of Republicans say they approve of his leadership following the shootings.

The strong reviews of the president’s response to the Arizona incident – which included giving a prime-time eulogy at a memorial service for the victims – have helped boost Obama’s overall approval rating to its highest point since last April. Fully 54 percent of all Americans now approve of the way he is handling his job as president, while 43 percent disapprove.

After calls from leaders in both major parties to temper the discourse after the shootings, Americans are hopeful that Obama and the Republicans in Congress will be able to work together this year on important issues. In the new poll, 55 percent said they are optimistic that the two sides will do so, up seven percentage points from an ABC News-Yahoo News survey taken just before the massacre.

This Post-ABC poll started the evening after Obama’s Arizona speech, and the numbers show a big shift among Republicans. In early October, as a heated midterm election campaign entered its final month, GOP approval of Obama dipped to 8 percent. It is now 22 percent. Most Republicans still strongly disapprove of the president’s job performance, but at 53 percent, such intense disapproval is down 10 points since December. It is now lower than at any point since the summer of 2009.  More…

Keith Olbermann Special Comment: 9 Days Have Passed & The Willful Blindness Hasn’t Even Slowed Down

This comment is chock filled with surprising information about the attempt to “tone down” the harsh rhetoric on the bloghosphere, television and radio.


Finally tonight, as promised, a Special Comment on the nine days since Tucson. That awful night, I said this: We need to put the guns down. Just as importantly we need to put the gun metaphors away and permanently. Left, right, middle — politicians and citizens —  sane and insane.

This age in which this country would accept “targeting” of political opponents and putting bullseyes over their faces, and of the dangerous blurring between political rallies and gun shows, ended.

I cited seven examples of violent rhetoric from the right; and only one from the left — my own. Because the point of that Comment and this one was not that the right pulled the trigger in Tucson but that we as citizens must stop the next Loughner, and the only way to potentially do this is to accept personal responsibility and to pledge — as I said that night — that “violence, or the threat of violence, have no place in our Democracy, and I apologize for and repudiate any act or any thing in my past that may have even inadvertently encouraged violence.”

This afternoon, former President Clinton issued a statement honoring what would have been Dr. King’s 82nd birthday:

“…we’d all do well to heed this message. While no one intends their words or actions to incite the violence we saw in Tucson — and it’s wrong for anyone to suggest otherwise – we live in a world where what we say and how we say it can be read, heard, or seen by those who understand exactly what we mean and by those whose inner demons take them to a very different place.

“That’s not an argument against free speech, but a reminder that, as with all freedoms, its use carries with it responsibility. Therefore, we should follow the example Dr. King set and exercise our freedom of speech in ways that both clarify our honest differences and nurture the best of us rather than bring out the worst.”


Yet the response?

To date, only one commentator or politician has expressed the slightest introspection, the slightest self-awareness, the slightest remorse, the slightest ownership, of the existence of the fantasy dream cloud of violent language by which we are now nearly blinded.

“Our political discourse,” John McCain wrote in an otherwise steaming serving of Washington Post Op-Ed partisan flab, “should be more civil than it currently is, and we all, myself included, bear some responsibility for it not being so.”

That’s it.

One individual assumed any personal responsibility for any of it, besides me: John McCain.  Not Palin, not Beck. Not Limbaugh, not West. Not Kanjorski, not Malloy. Not O’Reilly, not Angle. Not Jesse Kelly, not President Obama.

It’s me and John McCain.

I assume he’s like me, not sure whether to laugh, cry, or be proud of that. So what did everybody else say?

They said it was everybody else’s fault. And they often said it with more violence than before.
In approximate chronological order:

Last Monday, while most on both sides were looking askance at the wealth of bogus documents that now traditionally follow these things, a writer at the discredited Breitbart site posted the headline, “Whoops! This Changes Things — Loughner’s Hero Was Barack Obama.”

Jim Hoft breathlessly cited a reference on the ‘Free Republic’ site to a Facebook page supposedly belonging to Jared Lee Loughner, complete with references to the quote “racist Tea Party” and “fight the Right,” and identifying his ” heroes” as Obama, Chavez, Che Guevara, and Saul Alinsky.

Mr. Hoft never noticed that on the alleged Loughner facebook page, the word “tyrrany” is misspelled and so is the name Loughner.

Last Monday a conservative radio host in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, complained about the coverage of the Giffords shooting by The New York Times, Bob Durgin said “Somebody ought to burn that paper down. Just go to New York and blow that sucker right out of the water.”

Mr. Durgin’s supervisor, one R.J. Harris, then improbably claimed “we do not advocate violence, period. That’s why this whole outcry over the shootings in Tucson being linked to talk radio is just crazy.”

Last Monday, another radio announcer named Rush Limbaugh dismissed Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik as a “liberal,” even though last August Fox News was proud to host Dupnik as he rescinded his opposition to the Arizona Papers-Please Law once its racial-profiling was toned down; and the year before Dupnik criticized as “catering to illegals.”

Limbaugh in fact blamed Dupnik for the shootings and added, “My guess is the sheriff wouldn’t mind if the shooter was acquitted.” Mr. Limbaugh also said, “I would wager that the sheriff knew of this shooter long before this event,” which was brave of Mr. Limbaugh, considering the sheriff had said as much two days previously.

Last Monday, Glenn Beck posted what he claimed was a call for non-violence on his Website alongside a shot of him posing with a gun. His pledge was a labyrinthine demand that everyone renounce violence, provided that liberals renounced a 78-year old woman named… named… well, what’s the difference? She’s just the latest target of a man enjoying a sequence of paranoid delusions — he’ll be obsessed with somebody else within the week.

On Tuesday, Republican Congressman Peter King of New York offered a limited, but useful prohibition against carrying weapons within a thousand feet of federally elected officials. But the leader of his party in the House, Speaker Boehner, immediately rejected it, out of hand, without public comment, or any hearing.

On Tuesday, another radio announcer, Mark Levin, wrapped up the case for his audience: “We all know without question that the murderer in Tucson was mentally ill, a liberal pothead and all the rest of it. We know this for a fact.” On Tuesday, after Mr. Levin and yet another radio announcer, Michael Savage, were decried for using violent rhetoric, Mr. Savage called this a  “blood libel” and threatened to sue, seemingly as much for having been linked to Mr. Levin, as for having been linked to violent rhetoric.

On Tuesday, Congressman West of Florida said he had “no regrets” for any of the violent rhetoric he had used in his campaign. Mr. West did not address why **after** the Tucson shootings this video of his first choice to be his Chief of Staff, Joyce Kaufman, had been pulled from You Tube (since, restored):

“I am convinced that the most important things the Founding Fathers did to insure my first amendment rights was to give me a second amendment. And if ballots don’t work, bullets will.”

Mr. West did say he was concerned about “the political opportunism that has come out of this.” He observed that pointing fingers about violent rhetoric was “kind of deplorable and unconscionable this is not the time to start looking for, you know, grandstanding and things of that nature.”

On Wednesday, a high school friend of Jared Laughner’s said, “he did not watch TV. He disliked the news. He didn’t listen to political radio.”


Blogger Hoft of the Breitbart site thereupon called for Sheriff Dupnik’s resignation, ignoring the rather obvious fact that there is a way one can avoid radio or television and still be extremely political. It’s called “the Internet” and is popular with bloggers, like Mr. Hoft.

Later, a high school girlfriend would say Loughner was “strongly opinionated” and would be set off by “things about the government, things about politics… anything that pretty much had to do with the government.”  On Wednesday, conservative blogger John Hawkins announced this was all a liberal plot: “Keith Olbermann, Kos, David Brock. All of them are thrilled Gabrielle Giffords was shot. They couldn’t be happier about it. How bout that?”

On Wednesday, former Governor Palin of Alaska seemingly destroyed whatever her career was with an opportunistic video in which she identified the real victim here: herself.

She too invoked a  “blood libel,” possibly as a dog-whistle to the ultra-religious right. And she almost literally said that while her words could not have caused violence, words critical of her words, they could cause violence.

On Wednesday, Arizona Congressman Trent Franks determined that the tragedy was that there just weren’t more bullets flying in that Tucson parking lot. “I wish there had been one more gun there that day in the hands of a responsible person, that’s all I have to say.”

Representative Franks was apparently unaware that there was “one more gun there that day.” A man named Joe Zamudio was carrying, and walked into the carnage. He saw another man with a gun in his hands, and was, by his own calculation, one second away from drawing his own and firing. That’s when he realized the man had taken the gun away from the shooter. Mr. Zamudio had nearly shot one of the heroes. As Mr. Zamudio put it “I was really lucky.”

On Thursday after President Obama’s remarks at the Tucson Memorial, Breitbart’s Mr. Hoft, shaking off his embarrassment over quoting the fake Loughner Facebook page, returned for more.  “Oops!…It Looks Like Obama Fibbed About Giffords “Opening Her Eyes For the First Time.”

Then Giffords’ physicians confirmed, yes, the Gillibrand/Pelosi/Wasserman-Schultz visit was the first time the Congresswoman had opened her eyes spontaneously or at length. She had previously only done so, and only done so briefly, when prodded by doctors.

Doubling down, Hoft then claimed there was an applause sign flashed during the president’s remarks. In fact it was the closed-captioning on the arena video screen, informing the hearing-challenged that there had been applause.

On Friday, Bill Kelly of The Washington Times, took to heart the message in Mr. Obama’s comments to heart. “With the monolith of hooting fans, it wouldn’t surprise me that Obama supporters were actually bussed in for the memorial. Were they union employees or members of ACORN used to pepper the crowd to ensure conformity?”

Mr. Kelly then used the “blood libel” line himself and added “I’m not going to have my words, idioms, or expressions censored by the left because they see, in this crisis, a political opportunity to advance their agenda.”

On Friday, the former counsel to President Clinton, Lanny Davis, now reduced to being a paid contributor to Fox News, explained what he took away from this president’s remarks: that Mr. Obama should now publicly ask me to stop attacking Bill O’Reilly.

On Friday, Tucson Tea Party co-founder Trent Humphries explained the Giffords shooting to the English newspaper “The Guardian.”  “It’s political gamesmanship. The real case is that she had no security at this event.”

James Eric Fuller, one of those wounded at this event, himself a traumatized Vietnam vet, referred to the  “Tea Party crime syndicate” and said he believed that in the Giffords shooting, it had claimed its  “first target.”

On Saturday, in a decision smacking of the tawdriness of the Maury Povich Show, Mr. Fuller was seated in the first row of an ABC News Town Hall in Tucson — with Mr. Humphries of the Tea Party on the stage.  When Humphries suggested talk of gun control be deferred until after all the victims were buried,  Mr. Fuller stood up and started to shout at Humphries, “You’re dead.” Mr. Fuller was, quite appropriately, arrested, and removed for psychological evaluation. He has today apologized, and Mr. Humphries has said he does not feel threatened necessarily and wants Fuller to get psychological help.

On Saturday, Michael Carroll, State Assemblyman of the 25th District of New Jersey, wrote an op-ed rebutting President Obama: “An armed populace is the greatest bulwark of freedom. Our framers understood that, and envisioned a society akin to Switzerland, in which every citizen is armed and responsible for his own defense, and that of the state.”

Assemblyman Carroll not only responded to President Obama’s remarks by painting an America with a gun under every bed. He also — of course — compared Obama to the Nazis: “Germany elected Hitler, who seized all private firearms to consolidate his murderous tyranny.”

And lastly, on Saturday, five days after the blogger Hoft scrubbed the post about the fake Facebook Loughner page with “Loughner” misspelled as “Laughner,” Doug Giles of TownHall.com cited it as gospel, as if it hadn’t been utterly discredited: “Loughner’s  ‘hero list’ (according to Facebook) includes Barack Obama.”

Two days later, Giles’ claim still sits, uncorrected, on that Website.

Nine days have passed, and the willful blindness hasn’t even slowed down yet. Besides the total absence of even the glimmer of personal responsibility that Senator McCain and I have evinced, we learn from all this that the right lives in a perpetual state of victimhood.

We learn that the right doesn’t even recognize the irony of its claim of being unfairly blamed for the violence of others, when it has spent the last several years doing exactly that to Muslims — particularly American Muslims.  We also learn that the right can simultaneously insist no political party or inclination can be blamed for Tucson — while it itself blames the Democratic party and the left, for Tucson.

We learn that the Right does not understand that if you — if we— foment a political environment in which politics are to be settled by violence, or the threat of violence, or in a rhetorical tide of violent imagery, it no longer matters what those politics specifically are, or if the hearer even understands your politics or agrees with your politics — he may hear only the permission to be violent.

And ultimately we learn — especially from Mrs. Palin’s foolishness — this template of what the right would do in an actual open-and-shut slam dunk case in which a partisan of the right attempted to kill one of the left. The right would blame that victim blame him or her for not having brought enough security.  Or for not having brought a gun.


The Constitution and its worshippers

Never in the history of the Congress has the Constitution been read on the floor of the HouseNever in the history of our Congress has there been classes held to learn the Constitution.  It appears that with the onslaught of new Tea Partiers who have been elected to the House, comes severeal remedial steps to bring them up to par.

It seems to me that those same people who revere the Constitution so much and speak of it’s priveleges with ardor and determination, don’t have a damned clue about the document.  Like robots, they mention (not quote) the 1st and 2nd amendments in almost every grievance.  Yet it appears from what the House has done so far to bring them up to speed, that those folks have a lot of catching up to do!

The New Yorker


At some forty-four hundred words, not counting amendments, our Constitution is one of the shortest in the world, but few Americans have read it. A national survey taken this summer reported that seventy-two per cent of about a thousand people polled had never once read all forty-four hundred words.   This proves no obstacle to cherishing it; eighty-six per cent of respondents said that the Constitution has “an impact on their daily lives.” The point of such surveys is that if more of us read the Constitution all of us would be better off, because we would demand that our elected officials abide by it, and we’d be able to tell when they weren’t doing so and punish them accordingly.

“This is what happens when our Constitution starts shaking her fist,” Sarah Palin tweeted in October, about calls for an end to federal funding for National Public Radio, which she charged with violating the First Amendment by firing the commentator Juan Williams. “The American people’s voice was heard at the ballot box,” Boehner said on Election Night, and what the American people want is “a government that honors the Constitution.”

 Rand Paul thanked his parents, in his victory speech, “for teaching me to respect our Constitution.” Michelle Bachmann told ABC News that she plans to offer Constitution classes in the House.

Glenn Beck asked his listeners to urge their representatives to join Bachmann’s constitutional caucus. Sharron Angle said that she took comfort in the knowledge that Harry Reid carries a copy of the Constitution in his breast pocket: “We want our senator to remember our Constitution, to read our Constitution, and to consider every bill that he votes for in light of that Constitution.” The Tea Party’s triumph, she said, amounts to this: “We’ve inspired a nation to take a look at that document and begin to read it.” Last week, when new lawmakers were sworn in, the Constitution was read out loud in the House of Representatives. It is the first time this has ever happened.     More…

A Livid Sarah Palin Preaches To The Choir (But No One Else) On Tucson Massacre (Video)

Just as she did in her now infamous video where she addressed only her base, Sarah Palin has once again ignored everyone else and spoke soley to her base via Fox News’ Sean Hannity Show.  

If Palin and Hannity thought that appearing on his show would somehow exhonerate Palin for her faux pas-filled video last Wednesday, they were mistaken.  More questions were raised than answered.  Her defiant stance remained throughout the garbled and quite incomprehensive answers in the  interview.


Sarah Palin may be known as “Mama Grizzly,” a political lightning rod, a published author, and a reality TV star, but tonight on Hannity she was a woman scorned. Pupils shaking and voice struggling to remain steadfast, the former Alaska governor gave defending herself post-Tucson (and post-controversial video response) to Sean Hannity the old college try, but at some point it was hard to remember whether it was Palin or Rep. Gabrielle Giffords who took bullets two weeks ago.

In contrast to the more serene Palin that addressed the nation in her online video earlier this week, the Palin that met Sean Hannity tonight appeared flustered and personally injured. While she insisted repeatedly that “my defense wasn’t self-defense,” she continually noted the threats against her and her family, defended her words personally, and ended her last segment, defiantly, “I’m not going to sit down; I’m not going to shut up.” Even when discussing deranged killer Jared Loughner, she described him as “left-leaning” (Loughner’s only political views, other than loving Mein Kampf and The Communist Manifesto, appear to be anti-grammar), and, catering to her fans, repeatedly mentioned Providence and quoted the Bible, and made a cringe-worthy attempt at tying in Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to her own plight. She went through a timeline of the Tucson murder as experienced by the Palin household, and, in defense of her use of the phrase “blood libel,”noted that others in the media had used it, too. Hannity, to his credit, pushed her on this point, but she held on to that defense.    More…