Thursday, September 18, 2008

FBI, Secret Service Investigate Hacking of Palin’s E-mail

The FBI and Secret Service have launched a joint investigation into the apparent hacking of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s private e-mail account after a widely-read Web site published screen grabs from it on Wednesday.

The article posted on revealed snapshots of e-mail exchanges the Alaska governor had with colleagues as well as private family photos. The gossip site says the email account has since been shut down.

Rick Davis, campaign manager for John McCain, released a statement Wednesday calling the publication a “shocking invasion of the governor’s privacy and a violation of law.”

“The matter has been turned over to the appropriate authorities and we hope that anyone in possession of these e-mails will destroy them. We will have no further comment,” Davis said.

An FBI spokesman in Alaska later confirmed, “We are going to be working a joint investigation with Secret Service on this.”

The Secret Service contacted The Associated Press and asked for copies of the leaked e-mails, which circulated widely on the Internet. The AP did not comply.

The Gawker article boasts about the lengths to which the reporter went to verify the account, saying he or she even called a phone number listed for Palin’s teenage daughter, Bristol, which apparently went to her voicemail. The site also listed dozens of contact e-mails from the account.

“Here are the screenshots of the emails saved before the account went dark, along with the contact list. It’s newsworthy and we will not be taking it down!” the site declares.

Both WIRED and Gawker reported that members claiming to be with a group known as Anonymous took credit for hacking into Palin’s account. Screen grabs were published on other Web sites and then deleted, Gawker reported.

The hacking took place on a Yahoo e-mail account Palin uses — separate from another private account that was publicized in The Washington Post last week.

One person whose e-mail to Palin apparently was among those disclosed, Amy B. McCorkell, declined to discuss her correspondence. “I do not know anything about it,” McCorkell said. “I’m not giving you any comment.” said McCorkell later confirmed that she did send the e-mail to Palin.

Another e-mail apparently revealed Wednesday was an exchange in July with Alaska Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell discussing a talk show host who had been critical of Parnell. Parnell declined to discuss the matter.

Gawker complained that Palin has since “deleted” the account, and suggested she was trying to “destroy evidence.”

It wasn’t immediately clear how hackers broke into Palin’s Yahoo! account, but it would have been possible to trick the service into revealing her password knowing personal details about Palin that include her birth date and ZIP code. A hacker also might have sent a forged e-mail to her account tricking her into revealing her own password.

Palin has faced scrutiny for using her private account to do government business. The Washington Post reported last week that a local Republican activist is trying to get Palin to release more than 1,100 e-mails she withheld from a public records request. The appeal reportedly questions why Palin and her aides shift between public and private e-mail accounts.

A spokeswoman in the governor’s office in Alaska declined to comment Wednesday, referring questions from to the McCain-Palin campaign.

“Primarily we’re referring people to the campaign because honestly people wouldn’t be asking these questions if she wasn’t a candidate for [vice president],” spokeswoman Kate Morgan said.

The Palin family was subjected to intense scrutiny after she was selected as John McCain’s running mate on Aug. 29. Reporters descended on her home town of Wasilla, Alaska, as the media focused on her unwed teenage daughter’s pregnancy.

Palin’s hacked email account — what’s next?

The news buzz last night was all about Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s hacked email account.

Palin’s personal Yahoo account was apparently plundered late Tuesday evening and the contents of the account — personal emails, email addresses of her parents, children and friends, private family photos, and phone numbers — were published all over the Internet Wednesday.

Shocking invasion

News of the break-in received a harsh response from the McCain campaign.

“This is a shocking invasion of the governor’s privacy and a violation of law,” McCain’s campaign manager said. “The matter has been turned over to the appropriate authorities, and we hope that anyone in possession of these e-mails will destroy them.”

Those appropriate authorities are the FBI and the Secret Service as they’ve teamed up to investigate the breach.

Yeah, but…

The hacking community however isn’t really in to the “authority thing.”

Upon word of Davis’s statement, one blogger at said - we think with a touch of sarcasm - “I guess we’ll have to blow up the internet now?”

Ryan Tate over at Gawker doesn’t condone the break-in but said the hacker “succeeded in reviving the unanswered question of why the Alaska governor had two quasi-official email addresses.”

“This use of the accounts is a naked affront to public records laws in Alaska,” Tate writes. “But it’s not exceptional: It’s one battle in a 30-years war between conservatives and civil libertarians over government openness, during which the current presidential administration itself blurred the lines between public and private email. Is there any way to finally stop these hijinks?”

Why use Yahoo?

The topic of whether Palin should be using a personal account for state business has been subject of a lot of talk recently. Two days before the email account was hacked, the Anchorage Daily News discussed it.

“Even before the McCain campaign plucked Palin from Alaska, a controversy was brewing over e-mails in the governor’s office. Was the administration trying to get around the public records law through broad exemptions or private e-mail accounts?” the newspaper asked.


The British IT website The Register published an article early this morning with the wonderfully attractive headline: Memo to US Secret Service: Net proxy may pinpoint Palin email hackers.

Translation? If the feds were to contact an individual named Gabriel Ramuglia they might be able to track down the, as President Bush and Aquaman would say, “evil-doers.”

The 25-year-old webmaster and entrepreneur is the operator of, the browsing proxy service used by the group that hacked into the vice presidential candidate’s personal email account and exposed its contents to the world. While he has yet to examine his logs, he says there’s a good chance they will lead to those responsible, thanks to some carelessness on their part.

“Usually, this sort of thing would be hard to track down because it’s Yahoo email, and a lot of people use my service for that,” he told El Reg in a phone interview. “Since they were dumb enough to post a full screenshot

Act now and save

The article, written by a San Francisco based reporter named Dan Goodin, suggests the law enforcement communities get working now as the logs on the server which house this information expires in seven days.

Ramuglia told The Register he would “probably” comply with requests from law enforcement but has not yet been contacted.

Karl Rove

Former Bush strategist, Karl Rove, gets brought up nearly every time a controversy with a Republican candidate emerges. No different this morning. Farhad Manjoo, over at Slate, this morning says the use of the Yahoo based email is “Rovian” in nature.

“The Yahoo breach does raise a few questions about Palin’s e-mail habits,” Manjoo wrote. “Why was she using Yahoo? Critics say she was taking a page from Karl Rove, who cooked up the idea of using an off-site e-mail address to confound investigations of his activities in the Bush administration.”

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

How to Add Soy-Based Foods to Your Diet

Soy-based foods, such as tofu, tempeh, TVP, soy nuts and soy milk, contain protein and nifty chemicals called isoflavones. These help prevent heart disease; osteoporosis; and breast, ovarian and prostate cancers. Soy foods can also reduce symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes. It is easy to add soy foods to your diet.

Pour soy milk over your morning cereal.

Add texturized vegetable protein (TVP) to spaghetti sauce instead of ground beef.

Combine raisins with roasted soy nuts for a quick trail mix.

Chop firm tofu, then mix it with a chopped hard-boiled egg, chopped celery and mayonnaise for a tofu-salad sandwich.

Dice tempeh and add it to stir-fried vegetables during the last few minutes of cooking.

Substitute mashed soft tofu for ricotta cheese in lasagna and stuffed pasta shell recipes.

Grill soy burgers instead of hamburgers. Enjoy them in a bun with plenty of catsup, onions and lettuce.

Blend a smoothie out of a banana, a handful of frozen blueberries and 1/2 c. soft silken tofu.

Enjoy steamed green soybeans (edamame) in the pods as a snack or appetizer. Look for these fresh and frozen.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

How to Add Fruit to Your Diet

By adding fruit to your diet you'll not only be tapping into a rich source of nutrients, you'll be enjoying some delicious flavors as well. Fruits are terrific sources of vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Blend an instant breakfast out of a frozen banana, a handful of frozen strawberries and a cup of milk.

Stir applesauce into hot oatmeal.

Choose an orange instead of potato chips with lunch.

Add bananas to vanilla yogurt for an afternoon snack.

Try some less-familiar fruits like guava, star fruit and kumquats.

Keep dried dates, apricots or cranberries in your desk for snacks.

Mix diced mango with red onion and cilantro for a fruit salsa.

Serve fruit salad for dessert.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

How to Add Fining Material to Wine

Fining material is used to remove yeast, bacteria and other substances suspended in wine. If you buy a wine-making kit from a wine-making supply shop, it should include fining materials and directions. Follow the instructions below when using gelatin as a fining material.

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Before adding fining material, add 1 1/4 tsp. tannin for every 5 gallons of wine. Stir and let sit for 24 hours.

Add 1 tsp. gelatin fining material to 1/2 c. cold water and let soak for 1 hour.

Stir vigorously.

Bring to a boil, either on the stove or in a microwave, then remove from heat.

Stir into wine and let stand for 10 to 15 days.

Rack the wine to remove the sediment at the bottom. (See "How to Rack Wine" in the Related eHows.)

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Friday, August 15, 2008

How to Buy Tea

Tea has moved beyond the white-gloved pinky-high party scene. With one-half to one-third less caffeine than coffee, it's steeped with cancer-fighting antioxidants and is the beverage of choice for much of the world. While selecting and appreciating tea can be a life's work on its own, there are a few general tips for grabbing the right leaf.

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Look for loose and bagged tea in grocery stores, tea shops and specialty stores, ranging from $5 to $35 or more for a quarter of a pound.

Find out your regional preference. This is difficult to do because you may enjoy darjeeling tea from India and pu erh from China. But most countries have a few teas that are specific to their region. Understanding the area where the leaf was grown is important. The three biggest are India, China and Sri Lanka, but Japan is also known for its sencha. Still, there are seemingly countless teas from a number of regions. These are just good starting points.

Learn about tea varieties. Green, black and white teas are basics. But there are some hybrid teas (in appearance) that exist as their own category. Black teas generally have more caffeine, but not always. They are richer and malty in texture, and often earthy in taste. Green teas are typically a bit milder with a fragrant aroma and nutty taste. More specific black teas like oolong and darjeeling have a floral taste and are found somewhere between greens and blacks in terms of texture. Darjeeling, a delicate, clear-brewing black tea, is often called the "champagne teas" because of its high quality. White teas tend to be delicate and smooth, light as they go down. To be certain, there are degrees of this. Silver needle, a white tea from China, is lighter in color than White Peony, which also a subtle fragrance--a bit stronger than silver needle.

Try something knew each time. Tea is a bit easier to distinguish in taste and texture than coffee. For this reason, it's easier to branch out. Once you know you have a preference for white tea, try different flavors and leaves. Given the array of teas, though, you're not likely to be pinned down by one type or one region.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

How to Buy Rocky Mountain Oysters

Take the bull by the horn: Instead of the tenderloin, why not try the tendergroin? Also known as calf fries, Rocky Mountain oysters are the testicles of cows, buffalo, pigs, lamb, sheep or turkey. They can certainly humble even the brawniest group of guys.

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Ask your butcher a week in advance if he or she can order Rocky Mountain oysters. In the ranching communities of the West and Midwest (especially Montana, Wyoming and Colorado), tendergroin is easy to procure from butchers and meat shops.

Try specialty meat producers. One company that sells Rocky Mountain oysters to restaurants all over the country is Exotic Meats (, for $10.95 per lb. Or try Fairbury Lockers ( in Nebraska.

Look for pale, whitish-tan oysters that have been shipped frozen and vacuum-packed or stored cold at your butcher.

Remove the thick muscle surrounding the oyster with a sharp paring knife. Cut larger portions in half or quarters, and keep them wrapped in the refrigerator until you're ready to fry them up.

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