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United Airlines Reports Man For Suspected Child Trafficking Because His Skin is Darker Than Daughter’s

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Osvaldo Maciel
Obviously, Osvaldo Maciel might be a child trafficker, as he’s male, Mexican, and with a child, muses United Airlines flight attendants.

It was a tough choice between the title above and, “United Airlines Hits Bottom, Digs.”  A week after losing close to a billion dollars in share value after forcing a ticketed, seated passenger to get off a plane such that one of their own staff could take his seat, via police who caused enough injury to require hospitalization in the process, and 2 weeks after they denied 2 middle school girls boarding under a sexist dress code policy they apply to family members of United employees, you might think that United would be on their best behavior.

“Hold my beer,” United CEO Oscar Munoz can metaphorically (if not literally) be heard shouting across the terminal.

Earlier this week, a New York mom reported that she was required to go to the U.S. Customs & Border Patrol office at Newark Airport to pick up her husband and young daughter, on vacation in Mexico for a week, because a passenger presenting no reason other than the daughter’s skin color was lighter than the father’s told a United flight attendant that she found the pair to be suspicious, and United, apparently agreeing, had federal law enforcement meet the plane.  Mom is of Irish descent, and dad, Mexican, and this by itself is enough to get dragged off the flight upon arrival, assuming you were allowed to fly in your own seat in the first place:

After our 3-year-old snoozed on her father’s lap for most of the flight, the plane landed. He texted me to tell me they had arrived. When the plane taxied to the gate, however, a number of officers from the Port Authority and Customs and Border Patrol boarded the plane, approached my husband and instructed him to grab his carry-ons and follow them. He and our daughter were escorted out of the plane before anyone else could get off.

The passenger who shared her “concern” with the flight attendants had been sitting next to my husband. According to him, she had been friendly throughout the flight, but my husband noticed her strange obsession with our daughter, sometimes throwing her body over his to try to engage my daughter.

As compensation for this “re-accommodation,” as surely Mr. Munoz would call it, United offered the family a $100 travel voucher.

I think what is even more surprising to me is that the commentary on even the strongly left-leaning Huffington Post, who appears to have broke the story, contained a plethora of comments defending the actions of the passenger, flight attendants, and CBP, because it’s always “better to be safe than sorry” (just as they would assuredly dismiss the TSA touching your genitals with “anything to keep us safer”).  (Click the little thought bubble on the left to read)

Alexis Nola, for example, is a fan of “see something, say something…”

alexis-nola-lookscount

…and pay no mind to the fact that she was sitting peacefully with her father for the whole flight, because she may have been too drugged to express her situation, even though she could walk on and off the plane…

alexis-nola-drugged

Kimberly Ziegelheafer wants us to know that child trafficking is “running rampant” and, apparently, stopping every adult/child pair who does not look alike (er, let’s be real here, it’s only a father/child pair who would encounter this form of discrimination), dragging them into the back room of a CBP office, and not releasing them until someone female alleges that she is the mother and all is well…

kimberly-zeigelheafer-allthetime

Carolyn Sue Greig alleges she would have baked cookies for these assholes, had it been her husband and child…

carolyn-sue-greig-howwouldyoufeel

But I assume the white woman from Texas with 2 first names has probably never experienced discrimination in her life and does not understand that yes, this is a big deal.  There are millions of children in this country with step-parents who look nothing like their child, and they don’t deserve to be dragged off of flights.  It’s traumatizing to the child and, frankly, to the adult as well.  It also doesn’t take more than a cursory search of the Internet to find that fathers alone with child are regularly given extra scrutiny, whether it’s at the playground or, apparently, simply traveling home.

United Airlines had no business reporting this incident to the police absent the suspecting passenger being able to articulate some reason for her suspicion beyond the color of their skin (the same goes for Muslim-looking men who are dragged off of planes after purely imagined suspicious behavior).  This family is owed much more than a $100 voucher, and I, for one, hope to see Mr. Munoz given the boot after another billion gets wiped off their market cap.














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superiphi
2 days ago
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Strange racism at united. *sigh*
Idle, Bradford, United Kingdom
satadru
7 days ago
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New York, NY
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minderella
3 days ago
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And yet I was mocked for "seeing something saying something" when I pointed out to the airline customer service rep that there was a man waiting to board my plane with a 200' roll of cling wrap hanging out of his carryon --- complete with the 12" serrated blade for cutting the wrap. The stewardess laughed at me... said the man couldn't *possibly* be a terrorist because he was wearing a NY firefighters t-shirt. I had had my fingernail clippers confiscated 20 minutes earlier, but a man wearing a freaking t-shirt that said NY firefighter on it was allowed to carry on a 12" serrated blade because... safety?
satadru
2 days ago
That's when you call an officer to the scene... that's above the airline rep's pay grade.
sirshannon
5 days ago
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Just in case, please report all traveling children to authorities.

Bridgestone's Airless Tires Will Soon Let Cyclists Abandon Their Bike Pumps

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First revealed way back in 2011, Bridgestone’s airless tires use a series of rigid plastic resin spokes to help a wheel keep its shape as it rolls, instead of an inflatable inner tube that can puncture and leak. Military vehicles and ATVs have been some of the first vehicles to adopt the unorthodox design, but Bridgestone will soon be making a version of its airless tires for use on bicycles.

Airless bike tires aren’t a new idea, you can already get wheels made from a solid rubber composite if you’ll be riding on terrain where the risk of punctures and flats is high.

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But Bridgestone’s approach, which replaces the inner tube and a portion of a bicycle wheel’s spokes with thermoplastic resin supports, is better engineered to absorb bumps and provide an overall smoother ride, without ever requiring the rider to have to adjust the air pressure in their tires. More importantly, it will never go flat, or leave a cyclist stranded on the side of the road.

If eventually adopted for cars, airless tires have the potential to improve fuel efficiency since they’ll never deflate or lose their shape over time, but also improve safety, given they also can’t dangerously explode. With bikes, however, it’s more of a convenience thing, since cyclists would no longer have to carry a pump, or wrangle a spare inner tube. Bridgestone is hoping to have its airless bike tires ready for consumers by 2019, just ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, although it remains to be seen if they’ll be approved for official cycling competition in time.

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[Bridgestone via designboom]

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superiphi
2 days ago
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Idle, Bradford, United Kingdom
satadru
6 days ago
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New York, NY
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HarlandCorbin
6 days ago
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But on cars, it is good to be able to manage the air pressure in your tires based on expected road conditions. Maybe a hybrid tire?

TSA Declares All Transgender Passengers Must ‘Pick a Gender’

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In a new video the TSA wants all transgender passengers to know that they care... but not very much, because transgender passengers must pick a gender before going through a nude-o-scope.

Continue reading TSA Declares All Transgender Passengers Must ‘Pick a Gender’...

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superiphi
2 days ago
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Well they need to "pick the gender of the person looking at them" that seems logical
Idle, Bradford, United Kingdom
satadru
4 days ago
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New York, NY
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ryanbrazell
4 days ago
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Sickening.
Richmond, VA

Bernie Sanders, My Autonomy Is Not Negotiable

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As Aphra_Behn reported on Wednesday, Bernie Sanders, in his capacity as co-chair of Democratic outreach, said flatly of Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff: "He's not a progressive," while declaring as "progressive" Nebraska Democrat Heath Mello, despite the fact that Mello has sponsored legislation that would restrict abortion rights.

Yesterday, Sanders defended that position to NPR Politics:
Sanders pushed back against the criticism. "The truth is that in some conservative states there will be candidates that are popular candidates who may not agree with me on every issue. I understand it. That's what politics is about," Sanders told NPR.

"If we are going to protect a woman's right to choose, at the end of the day we're going to need Democratic control over the House and the Senate, and state governments all over this nation," he said. "And we have got to appreciate where people come from, and do our best to fight for the pro-choice agenda. But I think you just can't exclude people who disagree with us on one issue."
This is absolutely incredible. After holding Ossoff to a litmus test on vaguely defined "economic issues," he gives Mello a pass on abortion rights because there are candidates "who may not agree with [him] on every issue."

Economic issues are non-negotiable, but abortion is. It's just "one issue."


Bernie Sanders does not have the right to casually negotiate away my bodily autonomy. But he believes he does—no less under the auspices of centering economic issues as paramount, despite the fact that control over our reproduction is a crucial economic issue for women. Indeed, our self-determination regarding reproductive choices is the key indicator of women's financial security.

That Sanders fails to regard reproductive rights as a central economic issue is perfectly, terribly reflective of his comprehensive failure of intersectional analysis and policy.

That is the problem that I, and many others, have had with Sanders all along.

This isn't just an issue of Sanders prioritizing reproductive rights over economic issues: It's an issue of Sanders failing to understand, or acknowledge, that reproductive rights is a key economic issue.

Either he doesn't understand that, or he simply doesn't care, because it isn't a key economic issue for (cis) men.

And if Sanders were just another old dosey relic quickly approaching the end of an inglorious political career, we wouldn't be having this conversation. But he isn't. He is operating in an official Democratic Party capacity (a decision by the Democrats almost as inexplicable as allowing him to run as a Democrat in the first place).

Further to that, he has positioned himself as the arbiter of What Is Progressive. And treating women's autonomy, agency, consent, and very equality under the law as negotiable is a colossally retrogressive position. It is the opposite of progressive.

I am angry that Sanders is obliging me to fight against his profoundly unprogressive ideas, when I've got enough to fucking worry about fighting against Trump and the rest of the dirtbags in the Republican Party.

And I am angry that the Democrats, in continuing to give a platform to these garbage ideas, is shitting all over the work Hillary Clinton busted her ass doing to activate 10 million new Democrats who I'm guessing won't compromise on women's personhood, since they supported the candidate who was vocal and unyielding in her support of reproductive rights.

Any movement that wants to redefine "progressive" in a way that deprioritizes women's personhood is a movement of which I want no part.

Bernie Sanders' "progressivism" is toxic. The Democratic leadership needs to wake up to that reality, and fast.
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superiphi
2 days ago
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That's the kind of things that happen when you elevate an elderly white man as the pinnacle of progressive
Idle, Bradford, United Kingdom
Technicalleigh
3 days ago
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SF Bay area, CA (formerly ATL)
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Frost leaves vines ‘looking like dried tobacco’

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Winemakers across France and also parts of Germany, Italy and Switzerland are counting the cost of frost damage in their vineyards after several nights that felt more like January than late April.

frost in vines
Wine producer Reinhard Loewenstein from the vineyard Heymann-Loewenstein regards the frost damage his vines suffered in Winningen, Germany.
  • Winemakers lament ‘black Thursday’

  • Patchy but serious damage across France, from Loire to Languedoc, and in Germany, Italy, Switzerland

  • Vine shoots were left looking like ‘dried tobacco’ – French winemaker

Champagne vineyard managers were among the first to raise the alarm over frost last week, but it has emerged that many regions suffered damage.

The Aude region around Narbonne in Languedoc has been dramatically affected, according to Frédéric Rouanet, president of Vignerons de l’Aude. He told Decanter.com that a ‘large part of the vineyard area was damaged in the Aude. Some vines are totally destroyed’.

In Jura, Hervé Ligier, president of AOC Arbois, estimated that between 30% and 90% of vines suffered damage in the appellation, even in the AOC Château-Chalon.

‘With -2°C, buds have not resisted,’ he said.

In Pouilly-sur-Loire, temperatures fell to -5 ° C for six hours. After being hit by frost in 2016, the region is now, once again, affected. The first estimates suggested it would mean a 30% decrease in the size of the 2017 vintage.

In Montlouis, in Loire Valley, winemakers clubbed together faced with plunging temperatures.

‘The winemakers have lost three out of five crops in previous years and they have decided to mobilise themselves,’ said Guillaume Lapaque, director of the Federation des Associations Viticoles d’Indre-et-Loire et de la Sarthe.

They launched seven helicopters into the skies to ‘dry out the air and raise temperatures’, to stop the vineyard from freezing.

In AOC Chinon in the Loire Valley, early estimates suggested 20% of vines had been affected.

However, official damage estimates everywhere were still being refined and calculated.

In Alsace, Gérard Schaffar said that he had never seen frost of such magnitude. The vineyard of Turckheim-Wintzenheim is among the worst affected within the sector of Sigolsheim, Bennwihr and the Harth in Colmar.

‘The most advanced Gewurztraminer with promising shoots is completely grilled. It’s unfortunate to say, but it looks like dried tobacco,’ said Schaffar.

Olivier Humbrecht posted on his Facebook account, ‘Black Thursday!’. He posted a picture of Herrenweg de Turckheim.

The cold has not only affected France. The Valais region of Switzerland also saw temperatures drop well below freezing. Five-hundred-and-fifty hectares were affected, more than in 2012, with ‘significant damage’, said Pierre-André Roduit, of the Valais wine office.

More stories like this:

 

The post Frost leaves vines ‘looking like dried tobacco’ appeared first on Decanter.

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superiphi
2 days ago
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Idle, Bradford, United Kingdom
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How Cybercrooks Put the Beatdown on My Beats

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Last month Yours Truly got snookered by a too-good-to-be-true online scam in which some dirtball hijacked an Amazon merchant’s account and used it to pimp steeply discounted electronics that he never intended to sell. Amazon refunded my money, and the legitimate seller never did figure out how his account was hacked. But such attacks are becoming more prevalent of late as crooks increasingly turn to online crimeware services that make it a cakewalk to cash out stolen passwords.

The elusive Sonos Play:5

The elusive Sonos Play:5

The item at Amazon that drew me to this should-have-known-better bargain was a Sonos wireless speaker that is very pricey and as a consequence has hung on my wish list for quite some time. Then I noticed an established seller with great feedback on Amazon was advertising a “new” model of the same speaker for 32 percent off. So on March 4, I purchased it straight away — paying for it with my credit card via Amazon’s one-click checkout.

A day later I received a nice notice from the seller stating that the item had shipped. Even Amazon’s site seemed to be fooled because for several days Amazon’s package tracking system updated its progress slider bar steadily from left to right.

Suddenly the package seemed to stall, as did any updates about where it was or when it might arrive. This went on for almost a week. On March 10, I received an email from the legitimate owner of the seller’s account stating that his account had been hacked.

Identifying myself as a reporter, I asked the seller to tell me what he knew about how it all went down. He agreed to talk if I left his name out of it.

“Our seller’s account email address was changed,” he wrote. “One night everything was fine and the next morning our seller account had a email address not associated with us. We could not access our account for a week. Fake electronic products were added to our storefront.”

He couldn’t quite explain the fake tracking number claim, but nevertheless the tactic does seem to be part of an overall effort to delay suspicion on the part of the buyer while the crook seeks to maximize the number of scam sales in a short period of time.

“The hacker then indicated they were shipped with fake tracking numbers on both the fake products they added and the products we actually sell,” the seller wrote. “They were only looking to get funds through Amazon. We are working with Amazon to refund all money that were spent buying these false products.”

As these things go, the entire ordeal wasn’t awful — aside maybe from the six days spent in great anticipation of audiophilic nirvana (alas, after my refund I thought better of the purchase and put the item back on my wish list.) But apparently I was in plenty of good (or bad?) company.

The Wall Street Journal notes that in recent weeks “attackers have changed the bank-deposit information on Amazon accounts of active sellers to steal tens of thousands of dollars from each, according to several sellers and advisers. Attackers also have hacked into the Amazon accounts of sellers who haven’t used them recently to post nonexistent merchandise for sale at steep discounts in an attempt to pocket the cash.”

Perhaps fraudsters are becoming more brazen of late with hacked Amazon accounts, but the same scams mentioned above happen every day on plenty of other large merchandising sites. The sad reality is that hacked Amazon seller accounts have been available for years at underground shops for about half the price of a coffee at Starbucks.

The majority of this commerce is made possible by one or two large account credential vendors in the cybercrime underground, and these vendors have been collecting, vetting and reselling hacked account credentials at major e-commerce sites for years.

I have no idea where the thieves got the credentials for the guy whose account was used to fake sell the Sonos speaker. But it’s likely to have been from a site like SLILPP, a crime shop which specializes in selling hacked Amazon accounts. Currently, the site advertises more than 340,000 Amazon account usernames and passwords for sale.

The price is about USD $2.50 per credential pair. Buyer scan select accounts by balance, country, associated credit/debit card type, card expiration date and last order date. Account credentials that also include the password to the victim’s associated email inbox can double the price.

The Amazon portion of SLILPP, a long-running fraud shop that at any given time has hundreds of thousands of Amazon account credentials for sale.

The Amazon portion of SLILPP, a long-running fraud shop that at any given time has hundreds of thousands of Amazon account credentials for sale.

If memory serves correctly, SLILPP started off years ago mainly as a PayPal and eBay accounts seller (hence the “PP”). “Slil” is transliterated Russian for “слил,” which in this context may mean “leaked,” “download” or “to steal,” as in password data that has leaked or been stolen in other breaches. SLILPP has vastly expanded his store in the years since: It currently advertises more than 7.1 million credentials for sale from hundreds of popular bank and e-commerce sites.

The site’s proprietor has been at this game so long he probably deserves a story of his own soon, but for now I’ll say only that he seems to do a brisk business buying up credentials being gathered by credential-testing crime crews — cyber thieves who spend a great deal of time harvesting and enriching credentials stolen and/or leaked from major data breaches at social networking and e-commerce providers in recent years.

SLILPP's main inventory page.

SLILPP’s main inventory page.

Fraudsters can take a list of credentials stolen from, say, the Myspace.com breach (in which some 427 million credentials were posted online) and see how many of those email address and password pairs from the MySpace accounts also work at hundreds of other bank and e-commerce sites.

Password thieves often then turn to crimeware-as-a-service tools like Sentry MBA, which can vastly simplify the process of checking a list of account credentials at multiple sites. To make blocking their password-checking activities more challenging for retailers and banks to identify and block, these thieves often try to route the Internet traffic from their password-guessing tools through legions of open Web proxies, hacked PCs or even stolen/carded cloud computing instances.

PASSWORD RE-USE: THE ENGINE OF ALL ONLINE FRAUD

In response, many major retailers are being forced to alert customers when they see known account credential testing activity that results in a successful login (thus suggesting the user’s account credentials were replicated and compromised elsewhere). However, from the customer’s perspective, this is tantamount to the e-commerce provider experiencing a breach even though the user’s penchant for recycling their password across multiple sites is invariably the culprit.

There are a multitude of useful security lessons here, some of which bear repeating because their lack of general observance is the cause of most password woes today (aside from the fact that so many places still rely on passwords and stupid things like “secret questions” in the first place). First and foremost: Do not re-use the same password across multiple sites. Secondly, but equally important: Never re-use your email password anywhere else.

Also, with a few exceptions, password length is generally more important than password complexity, and complex passwords are difficult to remember anyway. I prefer to think in terms of “pass phrases,” which are more like sentences or verses that are easy to remember.

If you have difficult recalling even unique passphrases, a password manager can help you pick and remember strong, unique passwords for each site you interact with, requiring only one strong master password to unlock any of them. Oh, and if the online account in question allows 2-factor authentication, be sure to take advantage of that.

I hope it’s clear that Amazon is just one of the many platforms where fraudsters lurk. SLILPP currently is selling stolen credentials for nearly 500 other banks and e-commerce sites. The full list of merchants targeted by this particularly bustling fraud shop is here (.txt file).

As for the “buyer beware” aspect of this tale, in retrospect there were several warning signs that I either ignored or neglected to assign much weight. For starters, the deal that snookered me was for a luxury product on sale for 32 percent off without much explanation as to why the apparently otherwise pristine item was so steeply discounted.

Also, while the seller had a stellar history of selling products on Amazon for many years (with overwhelmingly positive feedback on virtually all of his transactions) he did not have a history of selling the type of product that thieves tried to sell through his account. The old adage “If something seems too good to be true, it probably is,” ages really well in cyberspace.

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superiphi
5 days ago
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I have reported a few of these to Amazon - accounts selling gaming laptops at too good to be true prices, but requesting an outside-amazon contact to sort out order details. When I looked at seller history, they had good ratings selling unrelated products. Amazon didn't care.
Idle, Bradford, United Kingdom
denubis
5 days ago
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Sydney, Australia
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