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Sunday, January 9, 2011

SCARY FREAK ! College Classmate Tells of Shooters Strange, Disruptive Behavior in Class


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01/ 9/2011 
washingtonpost.com 

Jared Loughner's behavior recorded by college classmate in e-mails

In early June, Lynda Sorenson, 52, had gone back to community college in Tucson in hopes of getting back on the job market. One of her classes was a basic algebra class--and one of her classmates was Jared Loughner, now identified by authorities as the man who killed six people and critically wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) in a shooting rampage Saturday. Sorenson's e-mails to friends from last summer, provided to the Washington Post, reveal her growing alarm at Loughner's strange and disruptive behavior in class.


The class's instructor, Ben McGahee, said in an interview Sunday that Loughner had been removed from class in its third or fourth week, because of repeated disruptions.. Click Here to READ the e-mails.

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Hermann Missouri Senior Basketball Standout Shelby Winkelmann Encounters Defensive Shadow

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St. Dominic slows Hermann standout in Prepcasts win

By Jim Faasen  STLhighschoolsports.com www.STLtoday.com
January 8, 2011

The St. Dominic girls basketball team and junior guard Abby Niemeyer knew where Hermann senior standout Shelby Winkelmann was just about every second of Saturday's game at CBC in the Prepcasts Elite Girls Shootout III.
Niemeyer drew the defensive assignment to guard the Winkelmann, who brought a gaudy 29.8 scoring average into the contest. All Niemeyer and her St. Dominic teammates did was hold Winkelmann to seven first-half points and 19 overall in the Crusaders' 54-50 win.
CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE

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Surgeons say Rep. Gabrielle Giffords showing positive signs, able to respond to simple commands


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Surgeons say Giffords showing positive signs

 Associated Press  Posted: Sunday, January 9, 2011

Doctors treating wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords provided an optimistic update Sunday about her chances for survival, saying they are "very, very encouraged" by her ability to respond to simple commands along with their success in controlling her bleeding.
The FBI said law enforcement could bring charges against the gunman as early as Sunday, and House Speaker John Boehner said normal House business this week has been postponed in the aftermath of the shooting.
Surgeons said a bullet went through Giffords' head on the left side of the brain, but she is still able to respond nonverbally to commands such as squeezing a hand or showing two fingers. They credited several reasons for her survival, including good luck and the fact that paramedics got her to surgeons quickly _ in under 40 minutes.
"This is about as good as it is going to get," said Dr. Peter Rhee, a trauma surgeon. "When you get shot in the head and the bullet goes through your brain, the chances of you living is very small and the chances of you waking up and actually following commands is even much smaller than that. Hopefully it will stay that way."
Surgeons worked to reduce pressure from swelling in her head by removing bone fragments, and they also removed a small amount of badly damaged brain. Giffords cannot speak because she is on a ventilator.
Dr. Michael Lemole of the University Medical Center in Tucson would not speculate on her degree of recovery. "We talk about recovery in months to years," he said.
The medical prognosis came as authorities investigated the motivation of a gunman in an attempted assassination of the three-term Democrat and the killing of six people, including a federal judge, an aide to Giffords and a 9-year-old girl who was born on Sept. 11, 2001.

Police say the shooter was in custody, and was identified by the FBI as Jared Loughner, 22. He was described by friends as a pot-smoking loner who was rejected by the Army when he tried to enlist in 2008. He dropped out of a local community college after having five contacts with campus police for classroom and library disruptions last year.
His motivation was not immediately known, but Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik described him as mentally unstable and possibly acting with an accomplice.
Authorities said Giffords, 40, was targeted at a public gathering by a man with a semiautomatic weapon around 10 a.m. Saturday outside a busy Tucson supermarket. Fourteen people were injured.
He also fired at her district director and shot indiscriminately at staffers and others standing in line to talk to the congresswoman, said Mark Kimble, a communications staffer for Giffords.
"He was not more than three or four feet from the congresswoman and the district director," Kimble said, describing the scene as "just complete chaos, people screaming, crying."
One of the victims was Christina-Taylor Green, who was a member of the student council at her local school and went to the event because of her interest in government. She is the grandaughter of former Philadelphia Phillies manager Dallas Green.
She was born on 9/11 and featured in a book called "Faces of Hope" that chronicled one baby from each state born on the day terrorists killed nearly 3,000 people.
The fact that Christina's life ended in tragedy was especially tragic to those who knew her. "Tragedy seems to have happened again," said the author of the book, Christine Naman. "In the form of this awful event."
Authorities said the dead included U.S. District Judge John M. Roll; Greene; Giffords aide Gabe Zimmerman, 30; Dorothy Morris, 76; Dorwin Stoddard, 76; and Phyllis Scheck, 79. Judge Roll had just stopped by to see his friend Giffords after attending Mass.
His office said a man possibly associated with Loughner (pronounced LAWF'-ner) who was near the scene was being sought. Law enforcement released an image of a man photographed by a security camera at the Safeway store. He was described as white with dark hair and 40-45 years old.
FBI Director Robert Mueller said Loughner bought the Glock 9-mm handgun last year.
In one of several YouTube videos, which featured text against a dark background, Loughner described inventing a new U.S. currency and complained about the illiteracy rate among people living in Giffords' congressional district in Arizona.
"I know who's listening: Government Officials, and the People," Loughner wrote. "Nearly all the people, who don't know this accurate information of a new currency, aren't aware of mind control and brainwash methods. If I have my civil rights, then this message wouldn't have happen (sic)."

When asked if Loughner had any contact with Giffords in the past, Mueller said the alleged gunman attended a similar event three years ago.


The sheriff said the rampage ended only after two people tackled the gunman. A third person intervened and tried to pull a clip away from Loughner as he attempted to reload, the sheriff said.
. Click Here for more info.

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Secret US Government Grand Jury Subpoenas Google, Facebook, Twitter Accounts Fishing for WikiLeaks Collaborators


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WikiLeaks subpoenas spill out into public realm

By RAPHAEL G. SATTER and PETE YOST, Associated Press Jan. 9, 2011

WASHINGTON – Investigative documents in the WikiLeaks probe spilled out into the public domain Saturday for the first time, pointing to the Obama administration's determination to assemble a criminal case no matter how long it takes and how far afield authorities have to go.
Backed by a magistrate judge's court order from Dec. 14, the newly disclosed documents sent to Twitter Inc. by the U.S. attorney's office in Alexandria, Va., demand details about the accounts of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and Pfc. Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence analyst who's in custody and suspected of supplying WikiLeaks with classified information.
The others whose Twitter accounts are targeted in the prosecutors' demand are Birgitta Jonsdottir, an Icelandic parliamentarian and one-time WikiLeaks collaborator; Dutch hacker Rop Gonggrijp; and U.S. programmer Jacob Appelbaum. Gonggrijp and Appelbaum have worked with WikiLeaks in the past.
Justice Department spokesman Matt Miller declined comment on the disclosure in the case, which intensified following WikiLeaks' latest round of revelations with the posting of classified State Department diplomatic cables. The next day, Nov. 29, Attorney General Eric Holder vowed that anyone found to have violated U.S. law in the leaks would be prosecuted.
Assange said the U.S. move amounted to harassment, and he pledged to fight it.
"If the Iranian government was to attempt to coercively obtain this information from journalists and activists of foreign nations, human rights groups around the world would speak out," he told The Associated Press in an e-mail.
Legal experts have said one possible avenue for federal prosecutors would be to establish a conspiracy to steal classified information.
"They are trying to show that Manning was more than a source of the information to a reporter and rather that Assange and Manning were trying to jointly steal information from the U.S. government," said Mark Rasch, a former prosecutor on computer crime and espionage cases in the Justice Department.
The problem is distinguishing between WikiLeaks as a news organization and those who re-published the same classified information, like The New York Times, said Rasch, director of cybersecurity and privacy consulting at CSC, a Falls Church, Va., technology company.


The main target of the prosecutors' document demands is most likely the IP addresses of the Twitter users, said Stanford University law professor Larry Lessig, founder of the Center for Internet & Society, Stanford.
Getting a list of IP addresses — specific numerical address that can identify individual computers as they interact over the Internet — could help prosecutors an effort to draw specific connections between individuals, their computers, and the information they share.
In a statement about the demand to Twitter for information, WikiLeaks said it has reason to believe Facebook and Google, among other organizations, have received similar court orders. WikiLeaks called on them to unseal any subpoenas they have received.
The document demand ordered Twitter to hand over private messages, billing information, telephone numbers, connection records and other information about accounts run by Assange and the others.
A copy of the demand, sent to the AP by Jonsdottir, said the information sought was "relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation" and ordered Twitter not to disclose its existence to any of the targets.
But a second document, dated Jan. 5, unsealed the court order. Although the reason wasn't made explicit in the document, WikiLeaks said it had been unsealed "thanks to legal action by Twitter."
Twitter declined comment on the matter, saying only that its policy is to notify its users, where possible, of government requests for information.
The Obama administration volunteered little new information about its criminal investigation against Assange and WikiLeaks after news of its subpoena leaked. Under rules governing grand jury investigations — in which U.S. prosecutors present evidence and testimony to selected private citizens behind closed doors to seek their approval to formally file charges — government lawyers are not allowed to discuss the case until charges are announced publicly.
It was not immediately clear how the data being requested would be useful to investigators. Twitter's logs could reveal the Internet addresses that Assange and WikiLeaks supporters have used, which could help track their locations as they traveled around the world. The information also might identify others with official access to WikiLeaks' account on Twitter who so far have escaped scrutiny.
Assange's lawyer, Mark Stephens, said targeting Twitter showed how desperate U.S. officials were to pin a crime on the WikiLeaks founder.
Stephens told the BBC it was an attempt to "shake the electronic tree in the hope some kind of criminal charge drops out the bottom of it."
Jonsdottir said in a Twitter message that she had "no intention to hand my information over willingly." Appelbaum, whose Twitter feed suggested he was traveling in Iceland, said he was apprehensive about returning to the U.S.
. Click Here for more info.

WikiLeaks demands Google and Facebook unseal US subpoenas

Call comes after revelation that US has tried to force Twitter to release WikiLeaks members' private details
Peter Beaumont
guardian.co.uk, Saturday 8 January 2011 

WikiLeaks has demanded that Google and Facebook reveal the contents of any US subpoenas they may have received after it emerged that a court in Virginia had ordered Twitter to secretly hand over details of accounts on the micro-blogging site by five figures associated with the group, including Julian Assange.
Amid strong evidence that a US grand jury has begun a wide-ranging trawl for details of what networks and accounts WikiLeaks used to communicate with Bradley Manning, the US serviceman accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of sensitive government cables, some of those named in the subpoena said they would fight disclosure.
"Today, the existence of a secret US government grand jury espionage investigation into WikiLeaks was confirmed for the first time as a subpoena was brought into the public domain," WikiLeaks said in a statement.
The writ, approved by a court in Virginia in December, demands that the San Franscisco-based micro-blogging site hand over all details of five individuals' accounts and private messaging on Twitter – including the computers and networks used.
They include WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Manning, Icelandic MP Brigitta Jonsdottir and Dutch hacker Rop Gonggrijp. Three of them – Gonggrijp, Assange and Jonsdottir – were named as "producers" of the first significant leak from the US cables cache: a video of an Apache helicopter attack that killed civilians and journalists in Baghdad.
The legal document also targets an account held by Jacob Appelbaum, a US computer programmer whose computer and phones were examined by US officials in July after he was stopped returning from Holland to America.
The court issuing the subpoena said it had "reasonable grounds" to believe Twitter held information "relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation".
It ordered Twitter not to notify the targets of the subpoena – an order the company successfully challenged.
The court order crucially demands that Twitter hand over details of source and destination internet protocol addresses used to access the accounts, which would help investigators identify how the named individuals communicated with each other, as well as email addresses used.
The emergence of the subpoena appears to confirm for the first time the existence of a secret grand jury empanelled to investigate whether individuals associated with WikiLeaks, and Assange in particular, can be prosecuted for alleged conspiracy with Manning to steal the classified documents.
The US attorney general, Eric Holder, has already said publicly that he believes Assange could be prosecuted under US espionage laws. The court that issued the subpoena is in the same jurisdiction where press reports have located a grand jury investigating Assange.
It has been reported that Manning has been offered a plea bargain if he co-operates with the investigation.
The emergence of the Twitter subpoena – which was unsealed after a legal challenge by the company – was revealed after WikiLeaks announced it believed other US Internet companies had also been ordered to hand over information about its members' activities.
WikiLeaks condemned the court order, saying it amounted to harassment.
"If the Iranian government was to attempt to coercively obtain this information from journalists and activists of foreign nations, human rights groups around the world would speak out," Assange said in a statement.
Jonsdottir said in a Twitter message: "I think I am being given a message, almost like someone breathing in a phone."
Twitter has declined to comment, saying only that its policy is to notify its users where possible of government requests for information.
The specific clause of the Patriot act used to acquire the subpoena is one that the FBI has described as necessary for "obtaining such records [that] will make the process of identifying computer criminals and tracing their internet communications faster and easier".
The subpoena itself is an unusual one known as a 2703(d). Recently a federal appeals court ruled this kind of order was insufficient to order the disclosure of the contents of communication. Significantly, however, that ruling is binding in neither Virginia – where the Twitter subpoena was issued – nor San Francisco where Twitter is based.
Assange has promised to fight the order, as has Jonsdottir, who said in a Twitter message that she had "no intention to hand my information over willingly".
Appelbaum, whose Twitter feed suggested he was travelling in Iceland, said he was apprehensive about returning to the US. "Time to try to enjoy the last of my vacation, I suppose," he tweeted
. Click Here for more info.

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Ex CIA Officer Jeffrey A. Sterling of O’Fallon, Missouri charged in a 10-count indictment Disclosure of National Defense Information



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UPDATED JAN 10, 2011

Ex-CIA officer waives St. Louis hearing on leak case

By Jennifer Mann • post-dispatch.com

ST. LOUIS • Jeffrey A. Sterling, the former CIA officer who has been charged with leaking government secrets to a national newspaper reporter, today waived his right to a detention hearing in federal court here.
Instead, the question of whether the O'Fallon, Mo. man is a flight risk or "a danger to the community," as prosecutors assert, will be decided in Virginia's federal court, where the indictment originated. Sterling is being held until that hearing, which will be scheduled once the government determines it is safe for him to travel, given a recent knee replacement surgery.
Sterling, 43, was charged by a federal grand jury on Dec. 22 with 10 counts related to obstructing justice and disclosing national security information. He was arrested Thursday morning in St. Louis at Wellpoint Inc., where he works as a senior investigator earning $90,000 a year, according to court filings. Sterling was arraigned later that day here.
The alleged leak was reportedly regarding a botched CIA effort aimed at Iran's nuclear program, which the New York Times' James Risen detailed in his 2006 book, "State of War." Risen has not responded to a request for comment.
Sterling's attorney, Edward McMahon, has maintained his client's innocence. He declined comment today when appearing in court briefly with Sterling to waive the hearing.
Sterling, who grew up in Cape Girardeau, worked for the CIA from 1992-2000. From November 1998 to May 2000, he served on the agency's Iranian desk, handling Iranian spies who had defected to the United States.
Sterling was fired by the CIA in October 2001, two months after he filed a civil lawsuit in U.S. District Court in New York City claiming the CIA discriminated against him because he is African-American, according to a People Magazine profile. Federal prosecutors allege Sterling retaliated by leaking the secret government information.


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Department of Justice Press Release
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For Immediate Release
January 6, 2011
U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
Former CIA Officer Arrested for Alleged Unauthorized Disclosure of National Defense Information and Obstruction of Justice

WASHINGTON—A former CIA officer was arrested today on charges that he illegally disclosed national defense information and obstructed justice, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Jeffrey Alexander Sterling, 43, of O’Fallon, Missouri, was charged in a 10-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia on Dec. 22, 2010, and unsealed today. The indictment charges Sterling with six counts of unauthorized disclosure of national defense information and one count each of unlawful retention of national defense information, mail fraud, unauthorized conveyance of government property, and obstruction of justice. Sterling was arrested today in St. Louis and is expected to make his initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Terry I. Adelman in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.
According to the indictment, Sterling was employed by the CIA from May 1993 to January 2002. From November 1998 through May 2000, he was assigned to a classified clandestine operational program designed to conduct intelligence activities related to the weapons capabilities of certain countries, including Country A. During that same time frame, he was also the operations officer assigned to handle a human asset associated with that program. According to the indictment, Sterling was reassigned in May 2000, at which time he was no longer authorized to receive or possess classified documents concerning the program or the individual.
In connection with his employment, the indictment alleges that Sterling, who is a lawyer, signed various security, secrecy, and non-disclosure agreements in which he agreed never to disclose classified information to unauthorized persons, acknowledged that classified information was the property of the CIA, and also acknowledged that the unauthorized disclosure of classified information could constitute a criminal offense. According to the indictment, these agreements also set forth the proper procedures to follow if Sterling had concerns that the CIA had engaged in any "unlawful or improper" conduct that implicated classified information. These procedures permit such concerns to be addressed while still protecting the classified nature of the information. The media, according to the indictment, was not an authorized party to receive such classified information under such circumstances.
The indictment alleges that Sterling, in retaliation for the CIA’s refusal to settle on terms favorable to him in the civil and administrative claims he was pursuing against the CIA, engaged in a scheme to disclose information concerning the classified operational program and the human asset—first, in connection with a possible newspaper story to be written by an author employed by a national newspaper in early 2003 and, later, in connection with a book published by the author in January 2006.
"The indictment unsealed today alleges that Jeffrey Sterling violated his oath to protect classified information and then obstructed an investigation into his actions. Through his alleged actions, Sterling placed at risk our national security and the life of an individual working on a classified mission," said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer. "Those who violate the law, and the trust placed in them by the U.S. government to keep our national security information secure, must be held accountable."
"Our national security requires that sensitive information be protected," said U.S. Attorney MacBride. "The law does not allow one person to unilaterally decide to disclose that information to someone not cleared to receive it. Those who handle classified information know the law and must be held accountable when they break it."
The indictment alleges that Sterling took a number of steps to facilitate the disclosure of the classified information, including:
  • stealing classified documents and other information from the CIA and unlawfully retaining those documents without the authority of the CIA;
  • communicating by telephone, via e-mail and in person with the author in order to arrange for the disclosure of or to disclose classified information to the author;
  • meeting with the author in person to orally disclose classified information to the author and to provide documents containing classified information to the author for review or use;
  • characterizing the classified information in a false and misleading manner as a means of inducing the author to write and publish a story premised on that false and misleading information;
  • deceiving and attempting to deceive the CIA into believing that he was a former employee adhering to his secrecy and non-disclosure agreements; and
  • deliberately choosing to disclose the classified information to a member of the media, knowing that such an individual would not reveal his identity, thereby concealing and perpetrating the scheme.
Specifically, the indictment alleges that beginning in August 2000, Sterling pursued various administrative and civil actions against the CIA concerning alleged employment-related racial discrimination and decisions made by the CIA’s Publications Review Board regarding Sterling’s efforts to publish his memoirs. According to the indictment, on Feb. 12, 2003, the CIA rejected Sterling’s third offer to settle his discrimination lawsuit, which was ultimately dismissed by the court.
The indictment alleges that beginning a few weeks later, in February and March 2003, Sterling made various telephone calls to the author’s residence, and e-mailed the author a newspaper article about the weapons capabilities of Country A. According to the indictment, while the possible newspaper article containing the classified information Sterling allegedly provided ultimately was not published in 2003, Sterling and the author remained in touch from December 2003 through November 2005 via telephone and e-mail. The indictment alleges that in January 2006, the author published a book which contained classified information about the program and the human asset.
The indictment also alleges that Sterling obstructed justice when, between April and July 2006, he deleted the e-mail he had sent to the author concerning the weapons capabilities of Country A from his account. According to the indictment, Sterling was aware by June 2003 of an FBI investigation into his disclosure of national defense information, and was aware of a grand jury investigation into the matter by June 2006, when he was served a grand jury subpoena for documents relating to the author’s book.
The charges of unauthorized disclosure and retention of national defense information each carry maximum penalties of 10 years in prison. The charge of mail fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The charge of unauthorized conveyance of government property carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. The charge of obstruction of justice carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Each of these charges also carries a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the loss or gain associated with the offense.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.
This case is being prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel William M. Welch II of the Criminal Division, Trial Attorney Timothy J. Kelly of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Senior Litigation Counsel James L. Trump of the Eastern District of Virginia. The case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, with assistance in the arrest from the FBI’s St. Louis Field Office.
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Missouri Attorney General Koster calls on Mediacom to compensate consumers appropriately - says consumers unfairly hurt in dispute between Mediacom and KOMU


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Attorney General's News Release

January 7, 2011

Attorney General Koster says consumers unfairly hurt in dispute between Mediacom and KOMU -- calls on Mediacom to compensate consumers appropriately --

Jefferson City, Mo. - Attorney General Chris Koster today sent a letter to Mediacom Communications Corp. expressing his concern for mid-Missouri subscribers caught in the dispute between the cable company and KOMU-TV. In the letter, Koster calls on Mediacom to fairly compensate consumers, including rebates for the time the NBC-affiliate is missing from the cable line-up.
Koster said while he is not taking sides in the dispute, he is concerned that consumers signed contracts with the cable provider and now are not getting what they had thought they were paying for.
"It is just plain wrong to think that you can drop one of the major networks, like NBC, and maintain that the contract between the provider and the consumer hasn't materially changed to the detriment of the consumer," Koster said.
Koster's letter asks Mediacom to confirm the substitute programming Mediacom is providing its customers, and that it will provide On-demand boxes to those without digital cable so they can receive the substitute programming. Further, the Attorney General asks Mediacom to evaluate their ability to provide pro-rata service credit to all mid-Missouri Mediacom subscribers based on the length of time the NBC affiliate is off-the-air for customers.
At the same time, the Attorney General cautions consumers before canceling with Mediacom to carefully review their commitment term.  It may not be in consumers' best interest to cancel their service.  Most Mediacom customers are not committed to a long-term contract with corresponding early terminations fees.  If a consumer with month-to-month Mediacom service cancels, they will likely be forced to enter into a long-term contract with another carrier.  If a consumer with a long-term Mediacom contract cancels, they will likely be charged a large early termination fee.
"Consumers may wish to cancel their service with Mediacom, but they should think carefully before doing so and make sure it is the right choice for them," Attorney General Koster said.
If, during the period of the black-out, a consumer wishes to watch local NBC news and weather, syndicated programming, or live NBC national programming, such as the upcoming weekend NFL football games, they should consider purchasing a digital antenna.  If a consumer does not have a digital television, they will also need to purchase a digital converter. 
View Koster's letter to Mediacom.
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Livestreaming Video of Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas


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 CNET Live
Live daily coverage from 2011 International CES

CNET Live is livestreaming during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
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Watch live streaming video from cnetlive at livestream.com
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Explorers Discover Spectacular Giant Cave in Vietnam 'Hang Son Doong' VIDEO INCLUDED

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By Brett Michael Dykes

Explorers discover spectacular caves in Vietnam

For decades, geologists have known that Vietnam is home to some of the world's most spectacular caves, many of them largely unexplored. Now husband-and-wife cavers have documented perhaps the world's largest: Hang Son Doong, big enough in places to accommodate a New York City block of skyscrapers.
The cave in the Annamite Mountains contains a river and jungle (its name translates to "mountain river cave") and even its own thin clouds, and its end remains out of sight. It's part of a network of about 150 caves in central Vietnam near the Laotian border
Click here to see more photos of the giant cave


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Lost In Space: 8 Biggest Space Misfires of 2010 Plus Top 7 Space Stories of 2010

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Lost In Space: 8 Biggest Space Misfires of 2010
By Mike Wall
and Tom Chao


While 2010 saw many historic successes in spaceflight and space science, plenty of things went wrong, too.
For example, several rockets failed to deliver their scientific payloads, Japan's Venus probe Akatsuki missed the planet entirely, and a NASA balloon crashed spectacularly in the Australian desert, destroying its telescope payload and smashing into a parked car.
Here's a rundown of 2010's space mishaps and - for one intrepid Mars rover - a stationary fate:

8. Rocket launch failures
2010 saw many failures in the launch and deployment of payloads, and the problems had a real international flavor.
On Dec. 5, for example, an overfueled Russian-built Proton rocket failed to put three new Glonass-M navigation satellites into orbit; they crashed into the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii. India had troubles of its own, with back-to-back failures of its Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, in April and on Christmas Day.
In late October, the European communications satellite Eutelsat W3B launched cleanly and made it to orbit. But the satellite's fuel tank developed a sizable leak, and engineers soon declared the craft a total loss.
The United States had some problems, too. In April, the Pentagon lost contact with a hypersonic glider test vehicle shortly after launch. And NASA's prototype solar-sail satellite, NanoSail-D, apparently failed to eject from its mothership satellite as planned in early December.

7. NASA balloon wipes out SUV
In a highly visible blunder, a huge NASA balloon crashed in central Australia before it could lift a $2 million telescope to its high-altitude observation station.
On April 29, the 400-foot (121-meter) balloon carrying the Nuclear Compton Telescope, a gamma-ray instrument, blew sideways instead of lifting up. A NASA investigation later cited human complacency as the accident's cause.
The pricey payload dragged along the ground. It disintegrated spectacularly and smashed through a fence, narrowly missing several spectators and heavily damaging a private vehicle parked nearby. A YouTube video of the mishap drew over 160,000 views.

6. Zombie satellite is born
On April 5, the Intelsat Galaxy 15 communications satellite started acting like a juvenile delinquent — it stopped responding to commands and started wandering out of its assigned orbit, threatening other satellites. The satellite may have been knocked out of commission by a massive solar eruption, according to its manufacturer, Orbital Sciences Corp. of Virginia.
Strangely, the C-band telecommunications payload aboard the satellite kept working, transmitting signals that threatened to interfere with those of nearby satellites.
However, this story has a happy ending: On Dec. 23, Galaxy 15's onboard battery became drained of all power, and the satellite automatically reset itself as it was designed to do. Zombiesat no more!

5. Mars rover stops roving, goes silent
In January, NASA engineers consigned the Mars rover Spirit to a fate stuck in deep Martian sand. The rover, which had rolled for six years over the Red Planet's surface, became mired in a location called Troy in May 2009. Spirit's controllers prepared the vehicle to weather another harsh Martian winter, but it went into hibernation March 22 and has not responded to signals since.
Mission scientists still hold out hope that Spirit may come back to life in March 2011, when sunlight to power its solar arrays will shine strongest on Mars. But while it remains unresponsive today, Spirit can hardly be considered a failure. The rover and its twin, Opportunity, far outlasted their original 90-day missions. And Opportunity is still going strong.

4. Space station cooling system fails
On July 31, an ammonia coolant pump on the International Space Station failed, knocking out half of the station's cooling system. Astronauts were forced to halt some experiments, and turn off some systems and leave others without backups, to keep the station from overheating.
The problem turned out to be a major technical malfunction, but not a catastrophe. At the time, NASA called it the one of the most challenging repairs for the International Space Station ever attempted.
Astronauts fixed things during three separate spacewalks, removing the faulty pump and replacing it with one of four spares stored on the station's exterior. By Aug. 17, the crew had begun reactivating some of the systems and bringing the station back up to normal operations.

3. NASA's space exploration plan meets backlash
In 2010, President Obama's new vision for NASA called for the space agency to abandon its moon-oriented Constellation program and focus on getting humans to an asteroid by 2025, and to Mars by the mid-2030s.
The plan also relies on foreign spacecraft to resupply the space station shortly after NASA's space shuttle program retires in 2011. The longer-term goal is to encourage the development of American commercial space capabilities, allowing private companies to eventually shoulder much of the load.
While many have lauded NASA's new direction, others have assailed it on several fronts. Some, for instance, don't want to see Constellation get the ax. In late December, the House of Representatives passed a short-term appropriations bill, H.R. 3082, prohibiting NASA from initiating new programs and requiring the agency to continue funding Constellation.
Some lawmakers are also upset about the looming reliance on foreign spacecraft. And some congressmen — as well as seasoned NASA astronauts such as Neil Armstrong, Gene Cernan and Jim Lovell — have publicly stated that they have safety concerns about NASA's future reliance on private spaceships.

2. Shuttle Discovery runs into delays
2010 was a frustrating year for the space shuttle Discovery.
It was slated to make its last-ever flight in November, to deliver a storage room and a humanoid robot called Robonaut 2 to the space station. However, engineers discovered cracks in parts of the shuttle's external fuel tank shortly before launch. While they investigated the cause of the cracks, they pushed Discovery's launch back, first to December and then to early next year.
As it stands, Discovery will launch no earlier than Feb. 3, 2011.  The latest inspection of the shuttle has revealed a new set of cracks on the external tank which NASA is now analyzing as well, the pace agency announced Thursday (Dec. 30).

1. Japan probe misses Venus entirely
In the saddest space misfire of 2010, the Akatsuki probe failed in its mission to enter Venus orbit. After more than six months of interplanetary travel, the $300 million Japanese spacecraft — which was to study Venus' atmosphere and weather in unprecedented detail — sailed past the planet on the night of Dec. 6.
Akatsuki's thrusters were supposed to fire for 12 minutes to slow the craft down enough for Venus' gravity to snag it. But an investigation determined that an unexpected pressure drop in the spacecraft's fuel line caused the engines to conk out after only 2.5 minutes.
Akatsuki's failure made Japan 0-for-2 in interplanetary missions; its only previous effort, the Nozomi mission to Mars, was declared a loss in 2003.
Akatsuki is now in orbit around the sun. Mission scientists plan to try another orbital insertion when the probe gets close enough to Venus again — likely sometime between November 2016 and January 2017.

Click Here for The Top 7 Space Stories of 2010
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