Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Doctor shows heartless GOP Senate vid of what assault rifles do when the bullet explodes inside you

Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 09:36 AM PDT

Senator Diana Feinstein had a Doctor who witnessed the horror of Sandy Hook testify before the Senate, and he brought a video that every American should see.
This is the difference between a hunting gun and a gun for war.
First, watch the video. They used a test rifle, the Bushmaster, to show how injuries from such a weapon are "unsurvivable"

. . . Here is a short transcript
Sen. Feinstein: "Did you actually treat Sandy Hook victims?" Sandy Hook Doctor:    (((clears throat))) "Yes, I was, I was, I was in the ER that day when the victims came in."
Sen. Feinstein:      "Can you describe the kinds of wounds and the number of bullets in these small bodies?"
Sandy Hook Doctor:      "There's privacy rules that prevent from detailing the type of wounds or, but, most of it, most of them, the victims that actually didn't come in, and we had such horrific injuries to little bodies, that's what happens. They never even make it in the hospital. The coroner from the State of Connecticut, when he did his review, and this is public knowledge, stated that each body had three to eleven bullets, okay, when the child has three to eleven bullets in them and it is an assault type bullet that explodes inside the body, it doesn't go through a straight line, it goes in and then it opens up, that, that, that's not a survivable injury. So, with respect to the families who lost loved ones and had them come into the emergency room for (inaudible) rules I, I, I can't describe the specifics but I hope I have at least painted a picture of what went on."
Sen. Feinstein:     "Thank you very much. Did you have something that you wanted to show us?
Sandy Hook Doctor:     "There was a very brief video, about one minute, and the point of the video is to highlight the difference between a bullet that goes into a body that's from a .22, and I'm not a ballistics expert, but just like basically a handgun versus an assault weapon, and it just highlights the difference in damage inside a person's body, so, if we may . . .
(((Video Begins . . . )))
  Slightly more below the fold . . .
   Here's a thought. If you support the wars and want a gun designed for war join the armed forces, and if you can't do that you are a coward. You can have guns for hunting and guns for self defense, but guns for war are for soldiers and you shouldn't be allowed to play soldier in your backyard while we are fighting the war YOU demanded overseas with someone else's kid in harms way.
    Here's another thought to all those anti-abortion fanatics, if you are brought to tears over a clump of unformed cells but choose your precious gun over someone else's fully formed child you aren't allowed to say shit about abortion anymore.
    And how appropriate that the video ends with Senator Feinstein turning to her side and saying "Um, Senator Graham?"
   I leave the floor to you.
Why we love children...

I was driving with my three young children one warm summer evening when a woman in the convertible ahead of us stood up and waved. She was stark naked! As I was reeling from the shock, I heard my 4-year-old shout from the back seat, "Mom, that lady isn't wearing a seat belt!"

On the first day of school, a first-grader handed his teacher a note from his mother. The note read, "The opinions expressed by this child are not necessarily those of his parents."

A woman was trying hard to get the ketchup out of the jar. During her struggle, the phone rang, so she asked her 5-year-old daughter to answer the phone. "Mommy can't come to the phone to talk right now. She's hitting the bottle."

A little boy got lost at the YWCA, and found himself in the women's locker room. When he was spotted, the room burst into shrieks, with ladies grabbing towels and running for cover. The little boy watched in amazement, and then asked, "What's the matter? Haven't you ever seen a little boy before?"

While taking a routine vandalism report at an elementary school, I was interrupted by a little girl about 6 years old. Looking up and down at my uniform, she asked, "Are you a cop?"

"Yes," I answered, and continued writing the report.

"My mother said if I ever needed help, I should ask the police. Is that right?"

"Yes, that's right," I told her.

"Well, then," she said, as she extended her foot toward me, "would you please tie my shoe?"

It was the end of the day when I parked my police van in front of the station. As I gathered my equipment, my K-9 partner, Jake, was barking, and I saw a little boy staring in at me.

"Is that a dog you got back there?" he asked.
"It sure is," I replied.
Puzzled, the boy looked at me and then towards the back of the van. Finally, he said, "What'd he do?"

While working for an organization that delivers lunches to elderly shut-ins, I used to take my 7-year-old daughter on my afternoon rounds. She was unfailingly intrigued by the various appliances of old age, particularly the canes, walkers and wheelchairs. One day, I found her staring at a pair of false teeth soaking in a glass. As I braced myself for the inevitable barrage of questions, she merely turned, and whispered, "The tooth fairy will never believe this!"

A little girl was watching her parents dress for an elegant party. When she saw her dad donning his tuxedo, she warned, "Daddy, you shouldn't wear that suit."
"And why not, sweetheart?"
"You know that it always gives you a headache the next morning."

While walking along the sidewalk in front of his church, our minister heard the intoning of a prayer that nearly made his collar wilt. Apparently, his 5-year-old son and his playmates had found a dead robin. Feeling that proper burial should be performed, they had secured a small box and cotton batting, then dug a hole, and made ready for the disposal of the deceased.
The minister's son was chosen to say the appropriate prayers, and with sonorous dignity, intoned his version of what he thought his father always said: "Glory be unto the Father, and unto the Son, and into the hole he goes." (I want this line used at my funeral!)

A little girl had just finished her first week of school. "I'm just wasting my time," she said to her mother. "I can't read, I can't write, and they won't even let me talk!"

A little boy opened the big family Bible. He was fascinated as he fingered through the yellowed pages. Suddenly, something fell out of the Bible. He picked up the object, and looked at it. What he saw was an old leaf that had been pressed in between the pages.
"Mama, look what I found," the boy called out.
"What have you got there, dear?"
With astonishment in his voice, the young boy answered, "I think it's Adam's underwear!"


'I felt pure joy': New Jersey Powerball winner confirmed

Pedro Quezada, the winner of the Powerball jackpot, talks to the media during a news conference at the New Jersey Lottery headquarters.

Pedro Quezada, a 44-year-old father of five, has 338 million reasons to smile.
The New Jersey convenience store owner beamed as state lottery officials declared him the winner of the fourth-largest jackpot in Powerball history at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon and presented him with a monster yellow check.
“I felt pure joy,” Quezada said through a translator on Tuesday.
He’s already shut down the store he used to have to wake up at 5 a.m. to open, he said.
A share of his sudden windfall will go toward helping his family, Quezada said.
“My family is a very humble family and we’re going to help each other out,” he said.
“I’m going to help a lot of people, whatever they need,” he told the New York Daily News earlier.
Excitement grew around Quezada’s self-proclaimed win after lottery officials confirmed on Monday that the winning ticket in the $338 million Powerball jackpot was sold at the liquor store in Passaic.
The winners in Saturday night’s drawing were: 17, 29, 31, 52, 53, and the Powerball number, 31.
On Monday, the New Jersey man ran into Eagle Liquors to get his Powerball ticket scanned by store owner Sammy Sethi.
Quezada, who is originally from the Dominican Republic and has been in the United States for 26 years, saw the message come up that people in 42 states were hoping for: “Jackpot!”
The first thing he did was call his wife with the good news.
“I had no words,” she said of hearing her husband had won. “My heart wanted to come out of my chest. I had no words.”
Reporters and photographers packed into Eagle Liquors on Monday after hearing that Quezada was there, even before lottery officials had confirmed the newly minted millionaire, who used to play the lottery two or three times a week.
His life will change “but it will not change my heart,” Quezada said of his new fortune
Quezada lives with his wife and children in an apartment facing a highway. And his neighbors weren’t waiting on state authorities to confirm the news before they started congratulating Quezada.
“This is super for all of us on this block,” neighbor Eladia Vazquez told NBC New York. “They deserve it because they are hardworking people.”

13 key moments in the Supreme Court argument over gay marriage

Ted Olson, representing the plaintiffs in the Prop 8 case, engages in a discussion with Chief Justice Roberts over the term "marriage" as it relates to his clients.

By Erin McClam, Staff Writer, NBC News

The Supreme Court could reshape marriage in the United States with its decision on Proposition 8, the California ban on gay marriage approved by the state's voters in 2008.

Here are 13 key moments from the transcript of Tuesday's arguments before the court.

1. Charles Cooper, the lawyer defending the California ban, summarizes his case:

“The accepted truth that — that the New York high court observed is one that is changing and changing rapidly in this country as people throughout the country engage in an earnest debate over whether the age-old definition of marriage should be changed to include same-sex couples. The question before this court is whether the Constitution puts a stop to that ongoing democratic debate and answers this question for all 50 states.”

2. Justice Sonia Sotomayor asks about gays, discrimination and marriage.

Sotomayor: “Outside of the marriage context, can you think of any other rational basis, reason, for a state using sexual orientation as a factor in denying homosexuals benefits or imposing burdens on them? Is there any other rational decision-making that the government could make? Denying them a job, not granting them benefits of some sort, any other decision?”

Cooper: “Your Honor, I cannot. I do not have any — anything to offer you in that regard.”

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan presses Prop 8 lawyer Charles Cooper on how same-sex marriage would harm the standing of marriages involving opposite-sex couples.

3. Justice Elena Kagan gets to the heart of the case against Proposition 8:

Kagan: “Mr. Cooper, could I just understand your argument. In reading the briefs, it seems as though your principal argument is that same-sex and opposite — opposite-sex couples are not similarly situated because opposite-sex couples can procreate, same-sex couples cannot, and the State's principal interest in marriage is in regulating procreation. Is that basically correct?”

Cooper: “I -- Your Honor, that's the essential thrust of our —our position, yes.”


4. Justice Antonin Scalia, apparently not satisfied with one of Cooper's answers, appears to throw him a lifeline, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg jumps in to argue:

Scalia: “Mr. Cooper, let me — let me give you one — one concrete thing. I don't know why you don't mention some concrete things. If you redefine marriage to include same-sex couples, you must — you must permit adoption by same-sex couples, and there's — there's considerable disagreement among — among sociologists as to what the consequences of raising a child in a — in a single-sex family, whether that is harmful to the child or not. Some States do not — do not permit adoption by same-sex couples for that reason.”

Ginsburg: “California — no, California does.”

Scalia: “I don't think we know the answer to that. Do you know the answer to that, whether it — whether it harms or helps the child?”

Cooper: “No, Your Honor. And there's — there's — ”

Scalia: “But that's a possible deleterious effect, isn't it?”

Cooper: “Your Honor, it — it is certainly among the — ”

Ginsburg: “It wouldn't be in California, Mr. Cooper, because that's not an issue, is it? In California, you can have same-sex couples adopting a child.”

Cooper: “That's right, Your Honor. That is true. And — but — but, Your Honor, here's — here's the point — ”

Scalia: “I — it's true, but irrelevant. They're arguing for a nationwide rule which applies to states other than California, that every state must allow marriage by same-sex couples. And so even though states that believe it is harmful — and I take no position on whether it's harmful or not, but it is certainly true that — that there's no scientific answer to that question at this point in time.”


5. Justice Anthony Kennedy raises a question about the welfare of children of gay couples:

Kennedy: “I — I think there's — there's substantial — that there's substance to the point that sociological information is new. We have five years of information to weigh against 2,000 years of history or more. On the other hand, there is an immediate legal injury or legal -- what could be a legal injury, and that's the voice of these children. There are some 40,000 children in California, according to the Red Brief, that live with same-sex parents, and they want their parents to have full recognition and full status. The voice of those children is important in this case, don't you think?”

Cooper: “Your Honor, I certainly would not dispute the importance of that consideration. That consideration especially in the political process, where this issue is being debated and will continue to be debated, certainly, in California. It's being debated elsewhere. But on that — on that specific question, Your Honor, there simply is no data.”


6. Justice Stephen Breyer takes issue with Cooper's argument that procreation is a purpose of marriage:

Breyer: "Now, what happens to your argument about the institution of marriage as a tool towards procreation? Given the fact that, in California, too, couples that aren't gay but can't have children get married all the time.”

Cooper: “Yes, Your Honor. The concern is that redefining marriage as a genderless institution will sever its abiding connection to its historic traditional procreative purposes, and it will refocus, refocus the purpose of marriage and the definition of marriage away from the raising of children and to the emotional needs and desires of adults, of adult couples.”


7. A lighthearted moment as Kagan continues the questioning on marriage and procreation. Scalia mentions the late South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond, who lived to 100 and fathered children as late as 73:

Kagan: “Because that's the same state interest, I would think, you know. If you are over the age of 55, you don't help us serve the government's interest in regulating procreation through marriage. So why is that different?”

Cooper: “Your Honor, even with respect to couples over the age of 55, it is very rare that both couples — both parties to the couple are infertile, and the traditional — ”


Kagan: “No, really, because if the couple — I can just assure you, if both the woman and the man are over the age of 55, there are not a lot of children coming out of that marriage.”


Cooper: “Your Honor, society's — society's interest in responsible procreation isn't just with respect to the procreative capacities of the couple itself. The marital norm, which imposes the obligations of fidelity and monogamy, Your Honor, advances the interests in responsible procreation by making it more likely that neither party, including the fertile party to that — ”

Kagan: “Actually, I'm not even — ”

Scalia: “I suppose we could have a questionnaire at the marriage desk when people come in to get the marriage — you know, are you fertile or are you not fertile?”


Scalia: “I suspect this court would hold that to be an unconstitutional invasion of privacy, don't you think?”

Kagan: “Well, I just asked about age. I didn't ask about anything else. That's not -- we ask about people's age all the time.”

Cooper: “Your Honor, and even asking about age, you would have to ask if both parties are infertile. Again — ”

Scalia: “Strom Thurmond was — was not the chairman of the Senate committee when Justice Kagan was confirmed.”


Cooper: “Very few men — very few men outlive their own fertility.”


8. Theodore Olson, arguing against Proposition 8, summarizes his case:

“I thought that it would be important for this court to have Proposition 8 put in context, what it does. It walls-off gays and lesbians from marriage, the most important relation in life, according to this court, thus stigmatizing a class of Californians based upon their status and labeling their most cherished relationships as second-rate, different, unequal, and not OK.”


9. Justice Scalia asks a question about history, and Olson answers with a question of his own:

Scalia: “I'm curious, when did — when did it become unconstitutional to exclude homosexual couples from marriage? 1791? 1868, when the 14th Amendment was adopted? Sometimes — some time after Baker, where we said it didn't even raise a substantial federal question? When — when — when did the law become this?”

Olson: “When — may I answer this in the form of a rhetorical question? When did it become unconstitutional to prohibit interracial marriages? When did it become unconstitutional to assign children to separate schools?”


10. Chief Justice John Roberts explores the meaning of the word “marriage” — and the meaning of friendship:

Roberts: “So it's just about — it's just about the label in this case.”

Olson: “The label is — ”

Roberts: “Same-sex couples have every other right, it's just about the label.”

Olson: “The label ‘marriage’ means something. Even our opponents — ”

Roberts: “Sure. If you tell — if you tell a child that somebody has to be their friend, I suppose you can force the child to say, this is my friend, but it changes the definition of what it means to be a friend. And that's it seems to me what the — what supporters of Proposition 8 are saying here. You're — all you're interested in is the label and you insist on changing the definition of the label.”

Olson: “It is like you were to say you can vote, you can travel, but you may not be a citizen. There are certain labels in this country that are very, very critical.”


11. Justice Sotomayor pushes Olson on the slippery slope argument, a favorite of conservatives.

Sotomayor: If you say that marriage is a fundamental right, what state restrictions could ever exist?

Olson: "Well, you've said -- you've said in the cases decided by this Court that the polygamy issue, multiple marriages raises questions about exploitation, abuse, patriarchy, issues with respect to taxes, inheritance, child custody, it is an entirely different thing. And if you -- if a State prohibits polygamy, it's prohibiting conduct. If it prohibits gay and lesbian citizens from getting married, it is prohibiting their exercise of a right based upon their status."

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy questions Tuesday's Prop 8 hearing and refers to the case as "uncharted waters." Prop 8 plaintiff lawyer Ted Olson responds to Kennedy's question.

12. Kennedy worries about a decision that goes too far.

Kennedy: “The problem — the problem with the case is that you're really asking, particularly because of the sociological evidence you cite, for us to go into uncharted waters, and you can play with that metaphor, there's a wonderful destination, it is a cliff. Whatever that was. (Laughter.) But you're — you're doing so in a — in a case where the opinion is very narrow. Basically that once the state goes halfway, it has to go all the way or 70 percent of the way, and you're doing so in a case where there's a substantial question on — on standing. I just wonder if — if the case was properly granted.”

Olson: “Oh, the case was certainly properly granted, Your Honor. I mean, there was a full trial of all of these issues. There was a 12-day trial, the judge insisted on evidence on all of these questions. This — this is a — ”

Kennedy: “But that's not the issue the Ninth Circuit decided.”

Olson: “The issue — yes, the Ninth Circuit looked at it and decided because of your decision on the Romer case, this Court's decision on the Romer case, that it could be decided on the narrower issue, but it certainly was an appropriate case to grant. And those issues that I've been describing are certainly fundamental to the case. And -- and I don't want to abuse the Court's indulgence, that what I — you suggested that this is uncharted waters. It was uncharted waters when this Court, in 1967, in the Loving decision said that interracial — prohibitions on interracial marriages, which still existed in 16 states, were unconstitutional.”

Kennedy: “It was hundreds of years old in the common law countries. This was new to the United States.”

Olson: “And — and what we have here — ”

Kennedy: “So — so that's not accurate.”

Olson: “I — I respectfully submit that we've under — we've learned to understand more about sexual orientation and what it means to individuals. I guess the — the language that Justice Ginsburg used at the closing of the VMI case is an important thing, it resonates with me, ‘A prime part of the history of our Constitution is the story of the extension of constitutional rights to people once ignored or excluded.’”


13. Roberts questions Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, arguing for the Obama administration against Proposition 8. The chief justice wonders about the scope of the court’s ruling:

Roberts: “I don't want to — I want you to get back to Justice Alito's other points, but is it the position of the United States that same-sex marriage is not required throughout the country?”

Verrilli: “We are not — we are not taking the position that it is required throughout the country. We think that that ought to be left open for a future adjudication in other states that don't have the situation California has.”

Laughter can be heard coming from the crowd gathered at the Supreme Court Tuesday during an exchange involving Prop 8 lawyer Charles Cooper, Justice Elena Kagan and Justice Antonin Scalia.

Pedro Quezada, the winner of the Powerball jackpot, talks to the media during a news conference at the New Jersey Lottery headquarters, Tuesday, March 26, 2013, in Lawrenceville, N.J.  (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Pedro Quezada, the winner of the Powerball jackpot, talks to the media during a news conference at the New Jersey Lottery headquarters, Tuesday, March 26, 2013, in Lawrenceville, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

7 money tips for Powerball lotto winner

Possibly the worst thing to happen to a lotto winner is what’s happened to New Jersey Powerball winner, Pedro Quezada: Fame. Few lotto winners, sports or music stars still have their money even five years after hitting the jackpot, and much of the drain comes from family, friends, charities, businesses, and unsavory types looking for their piece of the pie. To help this money last  and even have a bit left once you pass, read on, Pedro. Y, vaya con Dios!

1)  Don’t do ANYTHING…
…except think.  This is not the time to spend money, pick up the phone, read email or watch the news.  The first several days will be an onslaught of distraction.  However, keeping your winnings actually winning will be all about having the right mindset—strong and clear.
To build that mindset, sit with yourself and think hard about what you want this money to do for you.  Do you really want it to last?  How ‘big’ do you want your life vs. how small and maybe quiet.  Surely, you’ll want to help family and community but you’ll need to focus on yourself and your needs first, or, else you’ll be sucked dry all too soon.  Write down what you want your life to look like twenty years from now. That’s your goal to keep in mind every day from now on, to keep you focused on the long-term and make the money last.
And pledge to make no home or real estate purchases for at least a year. You need time to do all of the following before you make any million-dollar decisions.

2)  Appoint one person as your personal representative.
Who of your family or friends has never done you wrong?  Who has kept every word and is not easily swayed by others?  And does this person live within his or her means?
This person needs to be the one fielding all calls (making no commitments for a long while), inquiries and requests. Just have her take notes for now, acting as a protector and assistant all at once. Of course, you’ll compensate this person but make no promises yet. One of the biggest ways lotto winners (and athletes, musicians, etc.) lose money is trying to satisfy the family and friends who surface asking for money, a job, or for you to fund their business. Not yet.

3)  Plan a splurge (or two) for yourself for now.
You’re human and have been living a solidly middle class life. Of course you want to go out and buy something, big! Hold off on big and instead think of just two things that would make you and your immediate family very happy, and set a budget.
This may be a good time to take that vacation to not only relax, but lay low for a while. Maybe you’ll get some clothes and luggage. But keep yourself at or around $10,000 or less total. What you’re doing is releasing some pent-up pressure to do something with the money without totally opening up the floodgates. Set limits; don’t deviate beyond 10%-15%.  And avoid buying a flashy car just yet. It will draw too much attention to you at a time when you don’t need any more.
Should you be a church-goer, consider giving a small gift now, but within that budget.

4)  Move, and protect yourself.
If I were you, I’d put myself in my own witness-protection program, just telling your trusted rep where you are. Should you need to keep the kids in local schools, rent a furnished home a couple towns over and have someone drive them door-to-door.
Not to be alarmist, but money makes people crazy, so this is a good time to hire real, certified security. One for your home, 24/7, another to be with our kids at school. Not all millionaires do this, but not all millionaires end up on the cover of newspapers!  Check out security firms at and no hiring family for this one–licensed, well-reviewed strangers only.

5)  Don’t give anything over $1,000 for at least 4 to 6 months.
Who knew your grandfather had another family?  Or, did he?  Financial requests from family and community will now come to you nonstop. Maybe at some point you can help, but for now, do only two things:  Make a list of your closest ten family members in need and give them each $1,000.  No more.
Add to this a script you can lean on as the requests continue, such as, “I look forward to talking to you more about how I can share in the future.  Now, however, I need to focus on a plan to make this wealth last for many years to come.”  It’s the same advice I give parents looking to spend or borrow too much for their kids:  Oxygen mask on you first, then your kids. You can’t help others until you truly help yourself.

6)  You’re not a businessman, but a business… man!
This much money means you are a personal business.  You’re going to need a solid, trusted team of professionals to help you manage and protect this money.  Find a fee-based, preferably independent financial planner. Research at or Interview at least five or six people with great reviews, references and credentials.  This person is hopefully going to be working for you for a very long time.
You’ll also need an estate attorney who can set up wills and trusts to protect you and your family, as well as help you with tax laws. You’ll also need a great CPA (accountant). Keep in mind, every check drawn and going out should go by you and your pen. And do not give anyone power of attorney. You want to keep control to decrease the likelihood of being swindled.
Also, beware funding or investing in any other business until your own personal business is up and secure.

7)  Protect your other wealth; your health.
As all too many know the hard way, the greatest riches we all hold is our health. One accident, one major illness and your winnings can disappear all too quickly. Beware the temptation to indulge too much, becoming overweight or crossing a tipping point of drinking or smoking.  Research and make appointments with the highest-ranked and best-regarded physicians for a full physical, annual check ups, and referrals to specialists to keep an eye on any illnesses that run in the family (such as cancers).  Preventing illness will keep you not only in better health to enjoy your winnings but will keep more money in your pockets.
And of course, a huge factor in health is stress.  Counteract your new stressors with whatever gives you mental and spiritual solace. It could be prayer, meditation, simply a quiet escape or daily rituals.
All the money in the world can’t calm a troubled soul. But it can afford you the freedom and ability to truly find joy in doing good deeds and creating a legacy for generations to come.

North Korea puts rocket units on 'highest alert,' issues new threats against US

It was announced that North Korea has now ordered rockets and long-range artillery units to be targeted towards U.S. military bases on Guam, Hawaii and the mainland. Analysts believe the threats are only to bolster the appearance of power for new leader Kim Jong Un.

North Korea stepped up its aggressive rhetoric on Tuesday, ordering its rocket and long-range artillery units to be combat ready and on the "highest alert" and issuing new threats against U.S. bases on Hawaii, Guam and mainland America.
Pyongyang warned that U.S. facilities would be "reduced to ashes and flames the moment the first attack is unleashed," according to a military order issued by the pariah state’s military "supreme command."
It comes in response to joint military drills by U.S. and South Korean forces which began in the area early this month and which have seen U.S. bombers flying sorties threatening the North.

Rodong Sinmun via EPA
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects an army landing exercise on Monday.
South Korea's defense ministry said it saw no sign of imminent military action by North Korea Tuesday, according to Reuters.
The announcement marked a further increase in military rhetoric from Pyongyang, and followed a threat last week that it would attack U.S. bases in the Pacific if its "enemies … make even the slightest movement."
It came as South Korea marked the third anniversary of the sinking of one its navy vessels, blamed on North Korea, which left 46 sailors dead.
Pyongyang previously threatened nuclear attack on the United States and South Korea, although it is not believed to have the capability to hit the continental United States with an atomic weapon. However, Reuters reported that U.S. military bases in the Pacific area are in range of its medium-range missiles.
The isolated nation has threatened to attack American military bases in Japan and Guam in retaliation for the U.S. conducting military exercises with South Korea. On Wednesday, major South Korean banks and media companies were hacked.
The military statement, also posted on the KCNA website, said: "From this moment the… supreme command will put on the highest alert all the field artillery units including strategic rocket units and long-range artillery units which are assigned to strike bases of the U.S. imperialist aggressor troops in the U.S. mainland and on Hawaii and Guam and other operational zone in the Pacific as well as all the enemy targets in south Korea and its vicinity."
Voice of America’s Northeast Asia bureau chief, Steve Herman, quoted South Korean radio station MND saying Tuesday’s announcement is the first time North Korea has referred to "Il-ho" — its highest level combat readiness posture.

Steve Herman @W7VOA
MND tells VOA this is 1st time for military to refer to "Il-ho" (1st or highest level) combat readiness posture.

North Korea has said it has abrogated an armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War and threatened a nuclear attack on the United States.
The youngest son of Kim Jong Il succeeded his late father in 2011, becoming the third member of his family to rule the unpredictable and reclusive communist state.

PhotoBlog: Combat ready? Kim Jong Un inspects troops as N. Korea issues new threats
South Korea on alert after hackers strike banks, broadcasters
US Capitol in flames? North Korea dreams of nuclear strike
UN passes sanctions despite North Korea threat of 'pre-emptive nuclear attack'

Italy court: Amanda Knox to be retried for Meredith Kercher murder

In an unexpected decision, the Italian supreme court in Rome is overturning Amanda Knox's acquittal, saying she will stand trial again for the murder of roommate Meredith Kercher. NBC's Michelle Kosinski reports and Italian legal expert Praxilla Trabattoni discusses the case.

Amanda Knox was ordered to stand trial again for the murder of her roommate by Italy's top criminal court on Tuesday, but there appeared to be little the country could do to force her to return for the new hearings.
The Court of Cassation, Italy's final court of appeal, overturned the acquittals of both Knox and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito over the 2007 killing of British student Meredith Kercher.
In a statement responding to the decision, Knox slammed prosecutors and vowed to fight on.
"It was painful to receive the news that the Italian Supreme Court decided to send my case back for revision when the prosecution's theory of my involvement in Meredith's murder has been repeatedly revealed to be completely unfounded and unfair,” said Knox, who is now aged 25 and living in the Seattle area.
“I believe that any questions as to my innocence must be examined by an objective investigation and a capable prosecution,” she added. “The prosecution responsible for the many discrepancies in their work must be made to answer for them, for Raffaele's sake, my sake, and most especially for the sake of Meredith's family. Our hearts go out to them.”
Theodore Simon, one of Amanda Knox's attorneys, discusses the Italian supreme court's stunning decision to overturn her acquittal saying "we fully expect she will be exonerated."
Knox said that she and her family would “face this continuing legal battle as we always have, confident in the truth and with our heads held high in the face of wrongful accusations and unreasonable adversity."
Kercher, 21, died from knife wounds in an apartment that she shared with Knox in Perugia, Italy.
Prosecutors argued that Knox and Sollecito killed her after a drug-fueled sexual assault in a case that drew worldwide attention.
Young, attractive and with a seemingly bright future, the prosecution’s allegations suggested Knox’s outward appearance belied a secret, more sinister nature.
Knox was routinely referred to by a nickname “Foxy Knoxy” in newspapers as every detail of her life was examined.
She and Sollecito, who turned 29 on Tuesday, were prosecuted and found guilty of killing Kercher. Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison, while Sollecito got 25, but they were acquitted after serving four years.
Small-time drug dealer Rudy Hermann Guede, who knew Knox, was convicted and given a 16-year sentence.

Ted S. Warren / AP, file
Amanda Knox, seen in October 2011 in Seattle shortly after her release, will now be retried in Italy for the murder of Meredith Kercher.

Meredith’s sister Stephanie Kercher, 29, told Britain's ITV News that the family welcomed the court's decision to retry Knox and Sollecito "in the sense that we hope to find the answers.”
“We are never going to be happy about any outcome because we have still lost Meredith, but we obviously support the decision and hope to get answers from it,” she said. "There are still so many unanswered questions, all we have ever wanted to do is do what we can for Meredith and to find out the truth of what happened that night."
"Rudy Guede's conviction was on the basis that there was more than one person there so that is something that needs to be looked into,” she added.
Francesco Maresca, a lawyer representing Kercher's family, said in a statement on Monday that the acquittals were "defective" and "lacked transparency," Reuters reported.
TODAY's Matt Lauer talks to Amanda Knox's father, Curt, who says his daughter is currently focused on being with her friends, many of whom have stayed her friend while she was in prison.
"There was a lot of external pressure and the judge showed a will from the start to acquit," Maresca said.
Italian law cannot compel Knox to return to Italy and she could be tried in absentia.
Knox’s attorney, Theodore Simon, told TODAY that the student and her family were confident her acquittal would be upheld.
He characterized the outcome of Tuesday’s court decision as a “revision” of the case, as opposed to a retrial, saying: “Merely because they have sent it back for revision does not mean that anything else will happen other than she will be recognized as not guilty and the same thing will happen again.”
“From what I understand, [Court of Cassation judges] have sent [the case] back for revision and reconsideration. They will review it. They may simply affirm that there was a ‘not guilty’ before and it should remain the same. They may seek to take some further evidence, but nothing has really changed.”
Simon said there was no reason for Knox to have to return to Italy, saying her presence was “no issue” in Tuesday’s ruling.
The Italian appellate court hearing the case could declare her in contempt of court but that carries no additional penalties.
"If the court orders another trial, if she is convicted at that trial and if the conviction is upheld by the highest court, then Italy could seek her extradition," another of Knox's lawyers, Carlo Dalla Vedova, told The Associated Press.
Since her release from prison in 2011, Knox has resumed her studies in Seattle.
Knox's book about the case is due to be released in April.
Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report. ITV News is the U.K. partner of NBC News.
Oli Scarff / Getty Images
The long legal saga of Amanda Knox, an American student accused of the violent death of her roommate, British student Meredith Kercher, has made headlines around the world since it began in Perugia, Italy, in late 2007.

Revealed: Why court cleared Amanda Knox
Report: Amanda Knox 'loves Italy' and might return
Italian judge slams Amanda Knox prosecutors

An Italian court on Tuesday ordered the retrial of Amanda Knox, the American college student jailed for four years for killing her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, but acquitted after an appeal. Here are some questions and answers arising from the decision:

What just happened here?
The Court of Cassation, the Italian equivalent of the Supreme Court, overturned the acquittals of Knox and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, and ordered them to stand trial again before an appeals court in Florence.
They had been convicted in 2009 when Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison and Sollecito got 25 years. An appeals court freed both of them when it overturned the convictions in 2011, ruling that prosecutors had provided faulty DNA evidence, no murder weapon and otherwise insufficient proof.

What was the basis for Tuesday's court ruling?
We don’t know yet. Italian law gives the court three months to explain its decision. In the American system, an appeals court would generally explain itself upon issuing the ruling.

Any idea what they might be thinking?
Prosecutors have filed 16 points of appeal — essentially disputes over how the law was applied at trial, not over the facts of the case. Among other points, prosecutors question the appeals court’s ruling that DNA testing was faulty and that certain witnesses were unreliable.

This sounds an awful lot like double jeopardy.
Italian law prohibits a version of double jeopardy — being tried anew for a crime for which you have already been cleared, said Praxilla Trabattoni, an Italian lawyer who was followed the case. This case is technically different.
Trabattoni said that the Supreme Court was essentially saying that "when the appeals court was evaluating whether she did it or didn’t, the appeals court did that on the basis of evidence that shouldn’t have been admitted.”
Italian law says that a judgment is not definitive until it’s cleared every degree of trial, Trabattoni said, and the Supreme Court is considered the third degree of trial, after the lower court and the appeals court. If the Supreme Court had upheld the acquittal and then prosecutors had brought a new case entirely, that would be considered double jeopardy under the Italian system, Trabattoni said.

What happens next?
After the Supreme Court issues its explanation, an appeals court in Florence gets the case. A retrial probably would not begin until late this year or early next year.

Where is Amanda Knox these days?
She is a student at the University of Washington, where she stayed up until at least about 2 a.m. Pacific time to learn her fate, one of her lawyers, Carlo Dalla Vedova, told reporters, according to The Associated Press. Now 25, she has a memoir, “Waiting to Be Heard,” coming out April 30, for which publisher HarperCollins reportedly paid her $4 million.
In a statement Tuesday, she said: “No matter what happens, my family and I will face this continuing legal battle as we always have, confident in the truth and with our heads held high in the face of wrongful accusations and unreasonable adversity.”

Does she have to go back to Italy for the retrial?
No. And it appears unlikely that she will. Knox spent almost four years behind bars after her original arrest and conviction, before the appeals court reversed it. The retrial can go forward without Knox being present.
“It simply will proceed, it will be strenuously defended, and we fully expect she will be exonerated,” one of her lawyers, Theodore Simon, told NBC News.

What happens if the conviction is reinstated? Does she get sent back to jail in Italy?
We’re several big steps away from that, but it’s possible. First, Knox would have to be convicted by the appeals court. Then the Italian Supreme Court would have to uphold that verdict. Then Italy would have to seek Knox’s extradition from the United States.
The United States and Italy have an extradition treaty under which the U.S. would be bound to send Knox back, said Juliet Sorensen, who teaches international criminal law at the Northwestern University School of Law.
Such a decision would risk a political furor here at home. Knox has been portrayed by the American media as someone caught up in a hopelessly dysfunctional Italian legal system.
Still, if the conviction is reinstated, “I expect that Italy will make that request because it’s a serious crime,” Sorensen said. “At the end of the day, if she’s convicted of murder, I don’t foresee the Italian authorities letting it drop.”

And Meredith Kercher’s family? What do they make of this?
Kercher’s sister Stephanie, 29, told ITV News, the British partner of NBC News, that all the family ever wanted was the truth about the night of Nov. 1, 2007.
“We are never going to be happy about any outcome because we have still lost Meredith, but we obviously support the decision and hope to get answers from it,” she said.

What became of Sollecito, the boyfriend?
He released his own book last year: "Honor Bound: My Journey to Hell and Back with Amanda Knox." In it, he reportedly wrote that police slapped and stripped him during an interrogation, and that they tried to get him to save himself by turning on Knox.
These days he is 29 and studying in Verona, according to British newspaper reports.
Giulia Bongiorno, one of his lawyers, stressed that the Supreme Court ruling was not the same as a conviction.
“Unfortunately we have to continue the battle,” she told reporters, according to Reuters. “This is a sentence that says, with regards to the acquittal, that something more is needed.”
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

North Dakota governor signs toughest anti-abortion package in US

North Dakota’s governor signed the nation’s strictest anti-abortion measures into law Tuesday, including one statute that would ban most abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple authorized three bills previously passed by state legislators, the most controversial of which prohibits abortion procedures once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can happen early in the first trimester.
The Republican governor also approved a measure that restricts abortions based on gender selection and genetic abnormalities, such as Down syndrome.
The measures may set the stage for a legal challenge from abortion-rights advocates who consider the prospective laws challenges to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which legalized abortion up until a fetus is viable – typically at 22 to 24 weeks.
Dalrymple addressed the potential legal battle in a statement released after he signed off on the bills.
“Although the likelihood of this measure surviving a court challenge remains in question, this bill is nevertheless a legitimate attempt by a state legislature to discover the boundaries of Roe v. Wade,” Dalrymple said in the statement.
Legislators in the state House endorsed three other anti-abortion measures last Friday that are pending Dalrymple's signature. Two of the three prospective laws would ban abortions after 20 weeks, except in medical emergencies, and require doctors performing abortion procedures to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.
State House representatives also approved a ballot referendum that would let voters declare that life begins at conception. However, the referendum doesn't need Dalrymple's signature and will be part of the state's 2014 general election ballot.
The Red River Women's Clinic in Fargo, North Dakota's sole abortion provider, said state legislators' hospital provision "is clearly intended to regulate abortion out of existence in North Dakota."
"Admitting privileges are not easily come by under any circumstances, but more importantly, such a requirement gives hospitals the power to decide whether abortion is even available in the state," the clinic said in a statement.
Rep. Vernon Laning, a Republican from Bismarck, defended the hospital measure as a safeguard for women who have complications during their pregnancies.
"It ensures the physician is well-qualified to address the problem," Laning said on the House floor. "I certainly think a woman undergoing a procedure would want as many safety precautions as possible."
Rep. Kylie Oversen, a Democrat from Grand Forks, said House Republicans had taken a giant step toward making North Dakota the most dangerous state in the U.S. for pregnant women, NBC station KMOT of Minot reported.
"As a young woman who has not yet had the privilege of becoming a mother, I want to know that when I make a decision to do so, any already difficult decision that I must face with my physicians and my family will not be complicated by legal matters, by an overreach of state government," Oversen said.

Supreme Court hints that it won't issue sweeping ruling on same-sex marriage

By Tom Curry, National Affairs Writer, NBC News

In a historic oral argument on a challenge to state laws that limit marriage to heterosexual couples, the Supreme Court indicated Tuesday that it might not strike down such laws.

The justice whom many observers view as the swing vote in the case, Justice Anthony Kennedy, voiced worry at one point during the argument that proponents of same-sex marriages were asking the court to issue a decision that would “go into uncharted waters.”

After the oral argument, Pete Williams of NBC News reported that it seemed “quite obvious that the U.S. Supreme Court is not prepared to issue any kind of sweeping ruling” declaring that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.

Williams said there seemed to be “very little eagerness” from any of the justices to “embrace that broad a ruling.”

LISTEN: Audio of the oral arguments

Hollingsworth v. Perry
Docket Number: 12-144
Date Argued: 03/26/13
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At issue Tuesday was California’s Proposition 8, the state constitutional amendment enacted by voters in 2008 that limits marriage to one man-one woman couples. Those seeking to have the court strike down Proposition 8 argue that the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment includes a right for same-sex couples to marry.

Williams said that both the liberal and the conservative justices seemed wary of issuing a decision that would apply to any state outside of California.

It seemed possible the court would not issue any ruling on marriage at all – deciding instead that it had made a mistake in even agreeing to hear the case since the plaintiffs, supporters of Proposition 8, might lack the legal standing to bring the suit.

“I just wonder if the case was properly granted,” Kennedy said at one point to attorney Theodore Olson who was representing those challenging the California law.

And a few justices seemed to imply that it might be prudent for the court to step back and allow the states to assess what the effects of same-sex marriages might be.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor said at one point, “If the issue is letting the states experiment and letting the society have more time to figure out its direction, why is taking a case now the answer?”

Along similar lines, Justice Samuel Alito said “there isn't a lot of data” about the social effects of the institution of same-sex marriage.

“And it may turn out to be a good thing; it may turn out not to be a good thing, as the supporters of Proposition 8 apparently believe,” Alito said to Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, who was arguing for the Obama administration, as a friend of the court, in opposition to Proposition 8.“But you want us to step in and render a decision based on an assessment of the effects of this institution which is newer than cell phones or the Internet?”

NBC's Pete Williams reports on the latest from the Supreme Court hearing. The New Republic's Jeffrey Rosen joins the conversation to talk about the potential outcome of the case.

Alito added, “On a question like that, of such fundamental importance, why should it not be left for the people, either acting through initiatives and referendums or through their elected public officials?”

Kennedy, while expressing those same concerns, also noted, “On the other hand, there is an immediate legal injury or legal -- what could be a legal injury, and that's the voice of these children. There are some 40,000 children in California…that live with same-sex parents, and they want their parents to have full recognition and full status.”

It is possible that a majority of the justices could support a ruling that applies only to California – or one that applies only to California and several other states which allow domestic partnerships that are almost identical to marriage in all but name.

During the argument, Justice Antonin Scalia was the one justice who voiced the most skepticism about the argument that limiting marriage to heterosexual couples is a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

He said to Olson, “I'm curious, when did it become unconstitutional to exclude homosexual couples from marriage? 1791? 1868, when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted? Was it always unconstitutional?”

Olson replied that “when we as a culture determined that sexual orientation is a characteristic of individuals that they cannot control” then at that point limiting marriage became unconstitutional.

Scalia then asked, “When did that happen?”

Olson responded, “There's no specific date in time. This is an evolutionary cycle.”

At another point Chief Justice John Roberts asked Olson whether those seeking to strike down Proposition 8 were interested only in the label “marriage,” since the state of California already grants same-sex couples almost all the legal protections and rights provided to heterosexual married couples.

“So it's just about the label in this case,” Roberts said.

“The label "marriage" means something,” Olson answered.

NBC's Pete Williams reports from outside the Supreme Court on the impending decision on Proposition 8, saying that it doesn't seem likely that there will be a "sweeping ruling" on gay rights from the justices.

But Roberts then observed, “If you tell a child that somebody has to be their friend, I suppose you can force the child to say, ‘this is my friend,’ but it changes the definition of what it means to be a friend.”

Court observers caution that one should not read too much into the questions the justices ask and the comments they make during oral argument since they don’t necessarily reflect how any particular justice would ultimately vote in the case.

Charles Cooper, who served in the Reagan administration as assistant attorney general in charge of the Office of Legal Counsel, argued the case Tuesday for supporters of Proposition 8.

Although the justices are deciding a constitutional question, the argument is taking place as polls indicate that public opinion is shifting toward acceptance of same-sex marriage.

More elected officials, such as Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., on Sunday and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, last week, are personally endorsing same-sex marriage, but it remains to be seen whether the justices will be influenced by public opinion.

In recent years, nine states, either through court rulings, legislation, or ballot measures, have redefined marriage to include same-sex couples. But most states have laws or constitutional provisions that define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

On Wednesday the court will hear oral arguments in a related case: a challenge to one section of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which for purposes of federal regulations and benefits, defines marriage as “a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.”

Supreme Court limits drug-sniffing dog use

Alan Diaz / AP file
Miami-Dade narcotics detector canine Franky, who came out of retirement to give a demonstration, sniffs for marijuana in Miami on Dec. 6, 2011.

The use of a drug-sniffing dog by police outside of a home where they suspected drugs were being grown constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment, the Supreme Court said in a decision handed down Tuesday.
The case, Florida v. Jardines, dealt with whether police could use trained canines to investigate the immediate surroundings of a home for drugs they suspected were being grown inside, but could not see.

Officers from the Miami-Dade Police Department approached Joelis Jardines’ home with a drug dog in 2006 after receiving a tip that marijuana was being grown in the house. The animal alerted officers to the presence of marijuana in the house, after which officers obtained a search warrant and discovered the plants.
The justices affirmed the Supreme Court of Florida’s decision to suppress the evidence by a 5-4 vote. Justice Antonin Scalia delivered the court’s opinion.
“To find a visitor knocking on the door is routine (even if sometimes unwelcome); to spot that same visitor exploring the front path with a metal detector, or marching his bloodhound into the garden before saying hello and asking permission, would inspire most of us to – well, call the police,” Scalia wrote.
This is the second of two police dog cases the court has delivered opinions on this term, both originating in Florida. In a February decision in the other case, Florida v. Harris, the court ruled that an alert by a trained police dog gave police officers probable cause to further search a vehicle.