Guess Who Leads the Bribery World?
The USA is the most corrupt country in the world and I have 10,000 posts that point heavily to that fact…

Kindle Fire’s challenge to Apple and Google | Dan Gillmor September 28, 2011

When Apple introduced its second-generation iPad earlier this year, then-CEO Steve Jobs used the word “flummoxed” to describe his company’s erstwhile competitors in the tablet market. He was right; the competition has been scattered, and mostly inept.

Until now? Perhaps so, with Wednesday’s launch of the Kindle Fire, Amazon’s entry into the market. But this device, at just under $200, is to the iPad (about $500 in its least expensive version) as a cheap sedan is to a Lexus SUV: functional and useful, but nowhere near as elegant or powerful.

Indeed, the Fire, Amazon’s first effort in this genre, is plainly not intended to compete head-to-head with the iPad. It’s smaller, much less capable in terms of features and hardware – and 60% cheaper. [For the sake of disclosure: I own some Amazon shares.]

The Fire is just one of several devices Amazon announced at a New York event. But it’s by far the most important, for what it says about the tablet marketplace. The market, at least for the time being, is bifurcating between the luxury models (iPad and, in distant runner-up position, high-end Android tablets), which can do many things well, and utilitarian models (such as Fire, running a modified version of Google’s Android, and a number of other, pure-Android devices), which are intended mainly as media-consuming devices.

I haven’t gotten my hands on the Fire, but I have no immediate plans to buy one. Not quite a year ago, I purchased a Samsung Galaxy Tab with a 7-inch screen. It has become my main mobile media device, for getting news, reading books (including Kindle files), and watching movies in particular, plus as an occasional email and social-media connector. It has a camera and microphone I hardly ever use. (The Android operating system needs updating, yet Samsung and its telecom partner for the one I bought, T-Mobile, have declined to provide the update – a classic demonstration of vendor contempt for customers.) The Tab, still relatively expensive, was grossly overpriced at the time I bought it – curse of the early adopter – but it’s still working well enough for now.

For my purposes, the 7-inch size is ideal. That’s why I believe Amazon is doing the right thing with its first tablet by keeping it small, especially given that Amazon’s major goal is to have customers use it as a media consumption device, which also runs Android games and other apps. I will also take bets that Apple, despite Jobs’s pronouncement that he would never sell a tablet of that size, will reconsider and do so at some point; the value proposition is too obvious.

The Fire’s relatively low price reflects Amazon’s business model, and the company’s insistence that the devices should be seen as one element in a larger collection of services. It has a growing collection of media it can sell or rent to its customers. To some degree, Apple’s media sales and rentals are aimed at selling expensive hardware, but Amazon’s experience with the Kindle has been more about selling cheap hardware to sell more books. (The word “sell” is questionable in digital media, which so often comes, as on the Kindle, with severe restrictions on what a customer can do with it after “buying” the media file.)

The big loser in the Amazon announcement could be Barnes Noble, which should have been the major competitor to Apple. The Nook Color, a 7-inch tablet launched last year by the bookstore chain, costs a competitive $250 and has decent hardware for the price. Yet Barnes Noble made strategic error. Even though the Nook Color – created by a talented Silicon Valley team the company assembled – runs on Android, the operating system was deliberately crippled, preventing it from running a customer’s choice of Android apps.

I would guess – Barnes Noble has declined to discuss its reasoning – that the Android Kindle app was uppermost in the minds of the corporate strategists who made this decision. Users quickly found ways to hack the Nook Color to turn it into a for-real Android tablet, but Barnes Noble should never have forced them into this position.

Amazon has also heavily modified Android, and like Barnes Noble, it’s telling customers to use its own app store. This is regrettable, but Amazon may get away with it, having created a fairly robust store and having tons of available media – not to mention gazillions of customers, all of whom have stored credit-card information with Amazon, for the many other products it sells.

Other 7-inch tablets are on the market and on the way, and none looks very competitive with the Fire, at the moment. It’s probably too late for Barnes Noble to try, but if I had the ear of the company’s executives, I would suggest opening up the upcoming second-generation Nook Color, lowering the price and positioning it as a Fire alternative that shows more respect for customer choice.

The Amazon moves are also a problem for Google. By creating what software developers call a “fork” – a version of the open-source Android that is plainly moving down a different road – Amazon is challenging Google’s primacy with the OS it originally developed. Google cannot be happy about this, but all it can do – until someone hacks the Fire to free it from Amazon’s restrictions – is keep its own apps and app marketplace off the devices, which is counterproductive in its own way.

If the Fire pre-empts the non-iPad competition, as it may, might Google feel obliged to create its own branded tablet? I would not bet against it.

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NM Wildfire, Grows, Forcing Shutdown of Famed Los Alamos Nuke Lab June 28, 2011

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. — A fast-moving wildfire forced officials at the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory to close the site Monday while stirring memories of a devastating blaze more than a decade ago that destroyed hundreds of homes and buildings in the area.

More than 100 residents evacuated their homes as the fire swelled Monday to 68 square miles and loomed just a mile southwest of the nation’s pre-eminent nuclear lab. Overnight winds from the northwest kept the blaze from moving onto lab property, though forecasts called for a change in wind patterns by midday.

The famed northern New Mexico lab, where scientists developed and tested the first atomic bomb during World War II, activated its emergency operations center overnight and cut natural gas to some areas as a precaution.

Officials said all hazardous and radioactive materials were being protected.

The lab was closed Monday, and Los Alamos and nearby White Rock were under voluntary evacuation orders.

About 100 residents from the rural towns of Cochiti Mesa and Las Conchas were evacuated after the fire started Sunday afternoon. In nearby Santa Fe, emergency officials were preparing to provide a shelter for evacuees.

The blaze started on private land about 12 miles southwest of Los Alamos. Flames and smoke could be seen from the outskirts of Albuquerque, about 80 miles away.

On Monday morning, the Pajarito plateau upon which the lab sits was awash in a thick haze, while a charred stench permeated the area. On the southwestern edge of the plateau, white smoke filled the canyons above Cochiti reservoir and on the north end heavy black columns of smokes were rising in the air.

Cars headed down the two-lane highway that snakes from Los Alamos to Pojoaque were stuffed with belongings as residents fled the blaze.

The fire was eerily similar to one of the most destructive fires in New Mexico history. That fire, the Cerro Grande, burned some 47,000 acres — 73 square miles — in May 2000 and caused more than $1 billion in property damage. About 400 homes and 100 buildings on lab property were destroyed in that fire.

That blaze also raised concerns about toxic runoff and radioactive smoke, although lab spokesman Kevin Roark said no contaminants were released in the Cerro Grande fire.

Environmental specialists from the lab were mobilized and monitoring air quality on Monday, he said, but the main concern was smoke.

Still, there were questions about whether firefighters would be prepared if the fire moved into main areas of the lab.

In 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy’s inspector general issued a report that said Los Alamos County firefighters weren’t sufficiently trained to handle the unique fires they could face with hazardous or radioactive materials at LANL.

Lab and fire department officials at the time said the report focused too much on past problems and not enough on what had been done to resolve them. Some problems also were noted in previous reports.

Greg Mello, with the anti-nuclear watchdog Los Alamos Study Group, said the group doesn’t have enough information “to formulate any views on safety at this point.”

“It is important to remind ourselves that the site has natural hazards … and Murphy’s Law is still about the best enforced law in the state,” he said.

Meanwhile, the biggest blaze in Arizona history was 82 percent contained after burning through 538,000 acres in the White Mountains in northeast Arizona. The fire started May 29 and has destroyed 32 homes. It’s believed to have been caused by a campfire.

And in Colorado, about 100 firefighters are battling a wildfire that broke out in a canyon northwest of Boulder.

Fire officials have put 340 homeowners on standby to evacuate. No structures are immediately threatened by the fire.

In southern Colorado, hot, windy weather has caused a wildfire that’s been burning since June 12 to spread. The Duckett fire grew by about 400 acres over the weekend but it’s not threatening any homes. Most the growth has been in a steep, rugged terrain in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

The fire is burning on seven square miles and is 80 percent contained.

© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Census Shows Whites Lose US Majority Among Babies June 23, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) — For the first time, minorities make up a majority of babies in the U.S., part of a sweeping race change and growing age divide between mostly white, older Americans and predominantly minority youths that could reshape government policies.

Preliminary census estimates also show the share of African-American households headed by women — made up of mostly single mothers — now exceeds African-American households with married couples, a sign of declining U.S. marriages overall but also continuing challenges for black youths without involved fathers.

The findings, based on the latest government data, offer a preview of final 2010 census results being released this summer that provide detailed breakdowns by age, race, and householder relationships such as same-sex couples.

Demographers say the numbers provide the clearest confirmation yet of a changing social order, one in which racial and ethnic minorities will become the U.S. majority by midcentury.

“We’re moving toward an acknowledgment that we’re living in a different world than the 1950s, where married or two-parent heterosexual couples are now no longer the norm for a lot of kids, especially kids of color,” said Laura Speer, coordinator of the Kids Count project for the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation.

“It’s clear the younger generation is very demographically different from the elderly, something to keep in mind as politics plays out on how programs for the elderly get supported,” she said. “It’s critical that children are able to grow to compete internationally and keep state economies rolling.”

Currently, non-Hispanic whites make up just under half of all children 3 years old, which is the youngest age group shown in the Census Bureau’s October 2009 annual survey, its most recent. In 1990, more than 60 percent of children in that age group were white.

William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution who analyzed the data, said figures in the 2009 survey can sometimes be inexact compared with the 2010 census, which queries the entire nation. But he said when factoring in the 2010 data released so far, minorities outnumber whites among babies under age 2.

The preliminary figures are based on an analysis of the Current Population Survey as well as the 2009 American Community Survey, which sampled 3 million U.S. households to determine that whites made up 51 percent of babies younger than 2. After taking into account a larger-than-expected jump in the minority child population in the 2010 census, the share of white babies falls below 50 percent.

Twelve states and the District of Columbia now have white populations below 50 percent among children under age 5 — Hawaii, California, New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Florida, Maryland, Georgia, New Jersey, New York and Mississippi. That’s up from six states and the District of Columbia in 2000.

At current growth rates, seven more states could flip to “minority-majority” status among small children in the next decade: Illinois, North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, Connecticut, South Carolina and Delaware.

By contrast, whites make up the vast majority of older Americans — 80 percent of seniors 65 and older and roughly 73 percent of people ages 45-64. Many states with high percentages of white seniors also have particularly large shares of minority children, including Arizona, Nevada, California, Texas and Florida.

“The recent emergence of this cultural generation gap in states with fast growth of young Hispanics has spurred heated discussions of immigration and the use of government services,” Frey said. “But the new census, which will show a minority majority of our youngest Americans, makes plain that our future labor force is absolutely dependent on our ability to integrate and educate a new diverse child population.”

Kenneth Johnson, a sociology professor and senior demographer at the University of New Hampshire, noted that much of the race change is being driven by increases in younger Hispanic women having more children than do white women, who have lower birth rates and as a group are moving beyond their prime childbearing years.

Because minority births are driving the rapid changes in the population, “any institution that touches or is impacted by children will be the first to feel the impact,” Johnson said, citing as an example child and maternal health care that will have to be attentive to minorities’ needs.

The numbers come amid public debate over hotly contested federal and state issues, from immigration and gay marriage to the rising cost of government benefits such as Medicare and Medicaid, that are resonating in different ways by region and demographics.

Alabama became the latest state this month to pass a wide-ranging anti-immigration law, which in part requires schools to report students’ immigration status to state authorities. That follows tough immigration measures passed in similarly Republican-leaning states such as Georgia, Arizona and South Carolina.

But governors in Massachusetts, New York and Illinois, which long have been home to numerous immigrants, have opted out of the federal Secure Communities program that aims to deport dangerous criminals, saying it has made illegal immigrants afraid of reporting crimes to police. California may soon opt out as well.

States also are divided by region over old-age benefits and gay marriage, which is legal in five states and the District of Columbia.

Among African-Americans, U.S. households headed by women — mostly single mothers but also adult women living with siblings or elderly parents — represented roughly 30 percent of all African-American households, compared with the 28 percent share of married-couple African-American households. It was the first time the number of female-headed households surpassed those of married couples among any race group, according to census records reviewed by Frey dating back to 1950.

While the number of black single mothers has been gradually declining, overall marriages among blacks are decreasing faster. That reflects a broader U.S. trend of declining marriage rates as well as increases in non-family households made up of people living alone, or with unmarried partners or other non-relatives.

Female-headed households make up a 19 percent share among Hispanics and 9 percent each for whites and Asians.

Other findings:

—Multigenerational households composed of families with grandparents, parents and children were most common among Hispanics, particularly in California, Maryland, Illinois, Nevada and Texas, all states where they represented nearly 1 in 10 Latino households.

—Roughly 581,000, or a half percent, of U.S. households are composed of same-sex unmarried couples, representing nearly 1 in 10 households with unmarried partners. Unmarried gay couples made up the biggest shares in states in the Northeast and West, led by the District of Columbia, Oregon, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont. The largest numbers were in California and New York, which is now considering a gay marriage law.

—Minorities comprise a majority of renters in 10 states, plus the District of Columbia — Hawaii, Texas, California, Georgia, Maryland, New Mexico, Mississippi, New Jersey, Louisiana and New York.

Tony Perkins, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council, a conservative interest group, emphasized the economic impact of the decline of traditional families, noting that single-parent families are often the most dependent on government assistance.

“The decline of the traditional family will have to correct itself if we are to continue as a society,” Perkins said, citing a responsibility of individuals and churches. “We don’t need another dose of big government, but a new Hippocratic oath of ‘do no harm’ that doesn’t interfere with family formation or seek to redefine family.”

© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Winds to Challenge Crews Battling AZ, NM Wildfires June 21, 2011

PHOENIX (AP) — Extremely high winds are expected to challenge firefighters trying to protect homes threatened by a pair of fires in southern and eastern Arizona on Sunday.

The small New Mexico town of Luna is in the path of the massive Wallow Fire burning in eastern Arizona’s Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. Fire breached a containment line along Highway 180 on Saturday and about 200 residents were ordered to evacuate and remained out of their homes Sunday.

The evacuation order came on the same day that some other residents displaced by the fire that began May 29 were allowed to return home.

The threat to Luna lessened late Saturday but was expected to return Sunday afternoon as wind gusts of 40 to 50 mph were expected to drive the flames.

Only about half the town’s residents actually left, and the rest have been told to stay off the roads so they don’t get in the way of fire crews, Catron County Undersheriff Ian Fletcher said Sunday. Few people went to a Red Cross shelter set up in Reserve, N.M.

“If the fire comes back around or things change where they have to get out, we still have an egress point, so we will still escort them out of town,” Fletcher said. “We’re expected high winds this afternoon — we’re preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.”

The blaze has consumed nearly 800 square miles, a little more than 511,000 acres, and more than 3,500 firefighters were trying to stop its advance. The blaze is larger than a 2002 fire that burned 732 square miles and destroyed 491 buildings that had been the largest in state history. Despite its size, the latest fire has destroyed just 32 homes and four rental cabins. Containment rose to 44 percent Sunday.

In southern Arizona, a wildfire south of Sierra Vista remained 27 percent contained at about 21,000 acres, or nearly 33 square miles. About 44 home already have been destroyed by the Monument fire and about 2,600 homes were evacuated.

Fire information officer Bill Paxton said high winds Sunday morning grounded tankers that have been dropping slurry on the fire. Winds were blowing steadily at about 30 mph with gusts on the ridges of about 50 mph. About 1,000 firefighters were on the lines, and hundreds of state and local police and firefighters were helping in the area.

With summer rains still weeks away, forecasters said fire crews across the region would likely have little relief from the hot, windy weather that has dogged them for days.

Residents of Alpine, Ariz., were allowed to return to their homes Saturday morning after being forced out by the Wallow Fire for more than two weeks, but residents of the resort town of Greer still remained evacuated.

U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, who owns a home in Greer, toured the fire area Saturday along with Sen. John McCain and Arizona congressmen Jeff Flake and Paul Gosar.

“Seeing a terrible fire like this is always a wakeup call,” Flake, a Republican who represents Arizona’s 6th district, said in a statement. “Our forest health policies need an overhaul. … In the short term, we need to address regulations that hamper timber salvage in the burnt areas. In the long term, we need to enter into public-private partnerships in order to improve the health of these forests by thinning them.”

Meanwhile, the remaining evacuations from a fire burning on both sides of the New Mexico-Colorado border were lifted Saturday morning for residents of communities outside of Raton, N.M.

Containment on the nearly 28,000-acre Track Fire jumped to 80 percent Sunday morning and fire officials said existing fire lines were holding despite strong winds in the area.

Investigators from New Mexico State Forestry and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway said Saturday that fire apparently was started June 12 by engine exhaust from an all-terrain vehicle.

They said the rider was trespassing onto land owned by BNSF railway through access from nearby private property. The Colfax County Sheriff’s Department was seeking information on the person or persons riding or operating ATVs near the origin of the fire.

Another wildfire in Cochise County, Ariz., called the Horseshoe Two was 75 percent contained after charring about 210,000 acres — nearly 330 square miles.

A fire burning 9 miles north of Santa Fe, N.M., had burned about 900 acres by Sunday morning and was being driven northeast into the Pecos Wilderness, U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Alberta Maez said. The fire broke out Saturday and was not threatening any structures, but hikers and residents In the Santa Fe Ski Basin, Aspen Basin, Aspen Vista, and Big Tesuque were told to be ready to leave is necessary.

U.S. Forest Service chief Tom Tidwell visited the Arizona fire operations Saturday to assess the progress.

All of the Arizona wildfires are believed to be human caused. Investigators believe a campfire was the most likely cause of the Wallow fire.

Authorities in southern New Mexico were also looking for “persons of interest” as they searched for the cause of a fire that burned several homes in the wooded community of Ruidoso.

Also around the West, fires still were burning near Yakima, Wash., and in southern Colorado. A wildfire near St. George, Utah, was fully contained after scorching more than 1,000 acres of federal and stare rangelands.

© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Army Ditches Black Berets in Favor of Caps June 15, 2011

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — It’s hot, it doesn’t keep the sun out of your eyes, and you need two hands and a mirror to make sure it’s on straight. After 10 years of complaints, the Army is all but ditching the black wool beret and allowing soldiers to go back to the old brimmed patrol cap for their everyday duties.

“It’s the military equivalent of being able to wear a baseball cap to work,” said Col. Pete Brooks of the South Carolina Army National Guard. “Wearing the beret in 100-degree South Carolina heat was like wearing a wet piece of black wool on your head.”

Army Secretary John McHugh ordered the change to take effect Tuesday, the service’s 236th birthday.

Elite units in the 1.1-million-member Army will continue to wear their colored berets as a mark of honor — green for Special Forces, tan for Rangers, maroon for airborne troops. But from now on, other soldiers will have to pull out the black beret only for special events, such as change-of-command ceremonies. Soldiers, of course, will still wear their helmets in combat.

“This just makes things a little bit easier for us,” said Staff Sgt. Mylinda DuRousseau, who works with the 3rd Army at nearby Shaw Air Force Base. She said working as a cook meant she had to keep her shoulder-length hair tied back in a bun, which couldn’t fit under the tight beret.

And then there was the three-step process of putting the thing on right: First, adjust the blue patch over the left eye; next, use two hands to straighten it; then, pull it on far enough so it stayed put, DuRousseau said.

In fact, the Army had to install mirrors at entries and exits so soldiers could be sure they had it on properly.

As for the patrol cap — a soft, 50-50 cotton-nylon blend that looks like a flat-top baseball hat in camouflage green — “you could reach in your pocket and flip it on, and just keep moving,” Brooks said.

The change is one of several new uniform adjustments, including allowing soldiers to either sew or use Velcro to attach insignia and nametags. In the past, badges had to be pinned on, a lengthy process that required the use of a ruler to keep everything lined up. Another switch will be a return to dressier uniforms for Army men and women inside the Pentagon, a step ordered to spiff up the Army’s image.

The uniform changes — especially the dropping of the beret — were popular on the Army’s Facebook page, which registered at least 3,000 “likes” after the switch was made.

The black beret became standard a decade ago, introduced in a surprise move by then-Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki as a “symbol of unity” and a morale booster. But elite units that were distinguishable by their berets resented the change.

Lt. Col. Jeff Hannon, who works for the Army chief of staff in the Pentagon, had mixed feelings about the dropping of the beret.

“Under some circumstances it is clearly a good-looking piece of headgear” and more formal than the cap, he said.

But Hannon and others said the cap is more utilitarian because it affords protection against the sun when troops are out in the field. Hannon was showing his wife and young sons around the Pentagon on Tuesday amid the Army’s birthday celebration.

“I actually liked the beret,” said Hannon’s wife, Katherine. “I thought it looked so much better than the cap, a little more sophisticated.”


Pauline Jelinek in Washington contributed to this story.

Susanne M. Schafer can be reached at

© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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NAACP Tells Obama: Focus on Jobs June 14, 2011

It’s not just those on the right who are criticizing President Barack Obama for lack of action to create more jobs. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) says both the Obama administration and Congress must do more, with unemployment at 9.1 percent, The Hill reports.

NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous

“We first and foremost want them to pay attention to the economy and the high rates of joblessness in the black community,” NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous told reporters last week. “It is unacceptable for us to be 2½ years into a recession and still be fighting for Congress to accept responsibility to get working-class people back into this economy.” 

As for Obama, “The sense on the street, and I just came back from meeting folks in Harlem for instance, the sense on the street is that the administration should be harder and more aggressive on this,” he said.

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Alabama Passes Tough Illegal-immigration Law June 10, 2011

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama vaulted past Arizona on Thursday with what is being called the most restrictive law in the nation against illegal immigration, requiring schools to find out if students are in the country lawfully and making it a crime to knowingly give an illegal immigrant a ride.

Advocacy groups promised to challenge the sweeping measure, which like Arizona’s law also allows police to arrest anyone suspected of being an illegal immigrant if the person is stopped for some other reason. In addition, it requires all businesses to check the legal status of workers using a federal system called E-Verify.

“It is clearly unconstitutional. It’s mean-spirited, racist, and we think a court will enjoin it,” said Mary Bauer, legal director for the Southern Poverty Law Center.

It takes effect Sept. 1.

Republican Gov. Robert Bentley, who signed it into law on Thursday, expressed confidence it would withstand any legal challenges.

“We have a real problem with illegal immigration in this country,” he said. “I campaigned for the toughest immigration laws, and I’m proud of the Legislature for working tirelessly to create the strongest immigration bill in the country.”

Alabama has an estimated 120,000 illegal immigrants, a nearly fivefold increase from a decade ago, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. Many of them are believed to be working on farms, at chicken processing plants and in construction.

One of the legislation’s sponsors, GOP Sen. Scott Beason, said it would help the unemployed by preventing illegal immigrants from getting jobs in the state. Alabama’s unemployment rate stood at 9.3 percent in April, the most recent figures available.

“This will put thousands of Alabamians back in the work force,” Beason said.

The measure instantly puts Alabama at the forefront of the immigration debate. Organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center agreed that it is the nation’s toughest crackdown on illegal immigration.

Linton Joaquin, general counsel for the National Immigration Law Center in Los Angeles, said the Alabama law covers all aspects of an immigrant’s life.

“It is a sweeping attack on immigrants and people of color in general. It adds restrictions on education, housing and other areas. It is a very broad attack,” Joaquin said.

Among other things, the law makes it a crime for landlords to knowingly rent to an illegal immigrant.

Another provision makes it a crime to transport a known illegal immigrant. Arizona’s law appears narrower: It includes language against human smuggling and makes it illegal to pick up laborers for work if doing so impedes traffic.

Alabama’s law also goes further in requiring schools to check the immigration status of their students. The measure does not prohibit illegal immigrants from attending public schools; lawmakers said the purpose instead is to gather data on how many are enrolled and how the much the state is spending to educate them.

Jared Shepherd, an attorney for the ACLU, warned that because of that provision, some immigrant parents may not send their children to school for fear of arrest or deportation.

Activists such as Shay Farley, legal director of Alabama Appleseed, an immigrant advocacy group, said the bill invites racial profiling not only by law enforcement officers but by landlords and employers.

“It’s going to make us profile our neighbors and our church brothers and sisters,” Farley said.

Alabama’s Hispanic population more than doubled between 2000 and 2010 to 186,000, or 3.9 percent of the state’s nearly 4.8 million people, according to the Census.

Some farmers and other small businesses had hoped to be exempted from having to verify the immigration status of employees, fearing the database would be too costly and add too much red tape. Georgia’s recently passed immigration law, for instance, exempts businesses with fewer than 10 employees from using the database.

Alabama’s measure was modeled on Arizona’s. A federal judge blocked the most controversial parts of Arizona’s law last year after the Justice Department sued.

That includes the provision that required police to check people’s immigration status while enforcing other laws if there was reason to believe the person was in the country illegally. The case appears headed for the U.S. Supreme Court.

A less restrictive law in Utah also was blocked after a lawsuit was filed.

Civil liberties groups have also sued to try to block Georgia’s law cracking down on illegal immigration.

© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Few States Make Progress on Obamacare June 7, 2011

Less than a quarter of the states have taken necessary steps to create health insurance marketplaces, a key feature of Obamacare, while 43 states have made new cuts to Medicaid. Taken together, the two trends highlight the challenges facing healthcare reform at the state level, The Washington Post reported.

States must have exchanges in place by 2014. Seven states have adopted laws establishing the exchanges that are designed to make it easier for people to compare health plans and create enough customers to slow rising prices. Those states are California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia, the Post reported.

Two other states, North Dakota and Virginia, have passed laws saying they will form exchanges. An additional seven states have accepted federal money to set up the exchanges but have not passed legislation.

However, nearly a dozen states have defeated or allowed to expire measures that would have set up exchanges and another 13 have not even considered such proposals. Louisiana has told the federal government it will not set up an insurance marketplace, the Post reported.

Health and Human Services’ Paul Dioguardi told the Post he was confident states that have not acted will do so.

Also starting in 2014, the federal law will expand Medicaid to Americans with incomes higher than most states have allowed until now, putting further strain on a system already struggling as a result of the poor economy, the Post reported.

In Maryland, Medicaid enrollment has grown by 11 percent in the past year to nearly 920,000 participants. The General Assembly has just ordered cuts to the program’s $7 billion budget totaling about 1 percent, according to the Post.

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This Bud’s for You — Even With Foreign Owners June 4, 2011

All-American beer brands that foreign companies now own, such as Budweiser, have defied expectations of marketing experts and continued to exploit patriotic emotions and imagery to sell their products, reports Ad Age.

Belgian-Brazilian adult-beverage giant InBev bought Budweiser parent company Anheuser-Busch in 2008 for $52 billion. InBev is now a subsidiary of the rechristened Anheuser-Busch InBev.

“It could be a disaster,” one advertising insider told Ad Age at the time of the merger.

Budweiser, though, has maintained its red, white, and blue color scheme, as well as strong sales. It even issued a limited-time American-flag can during Memorial Day weekend. It also has launched a program to raise funds for veterans that will feature happy-hour specials on Flag Day.

“The average consumer has a short memory,” Harry Schuhmacher, editor of Beer Business Daily, told Ad Age. “The fact that Anheuser-Busch was bought by a foreign company was all over the news . . . but then it died down and people went about their business.”

Consumers were upset about the merger, with some starting a website to “fight the foreign invasion.” But the furor soon died down, and Americans went back to their beer-swilling ways without much concern about who was producing their suds.

“Consumers drink beer, they don’t obsess over who owns what,” beer historian Maureen Ogle told Ad Age. “Once the emotion was over, well, life goes on.”

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Hi everyone! I am a typical American… June 3, 2011

Hi everyone! I am a typical American.

I graduated high school but didn’t want to go to university or study foreign languages.
I demand to be able to own a home on a cul-de-sac for a very low price and very low property taxes
But I expect full services from my community and no one can build unless I say I like the color.
I demand to be HOME by five and lifetime employment earning more than my neighbors.
I don’t know anything about the web, computers, engineering, operations, but I can do touch type.
I don’t want to further my education with all that hassle.
I know a 5th grade Chinese kid knows more about math and geography than I do.
I never read. It is cable T.V. for me. Because I can learn a lot from local news and CNN.
I love low prices. I can get more.
I have two children from three possible fathers.
I think I have a right to .50 cent gasoline that never changes.
I want a new car every two years and a big home with a five car garage.
I go to the salon every week but I am 250 lbs and never go to the gym
I don’t deserve what I get , didn’t earn it, but if I don”t get it I will raise hell if I can remember to vote.
I like to have totally free medical care with a private room, specialists, and free pharmaceuticals of the latest kind and a second opinion.
But if it doesn’t work out I will sue for billions.
I get weird diseases like neck pain, back pain, carpal tunnel , and fibromyalgia even though I can’t prove it.
I want the first parking spot and no waiting at any location or restaurant.
The weather should always be 70 degrees
I should have a 2%30 year fixed mortgage but want a 25% for a risk free CD at the bank every three months.
I want a smartphone and I like to text while driving.
I deserve six weeks vacation from my job paid + 12 weeks paid for FMLA plus free daycare.
I should not have to push hard or feel stress.
If it was a good idea I would have had it already.
I am an American and these are the privileges I expect. If I don’t get it I will be mad.
I like 20 times income of my neighbors but no inflation.
I don’t understand why why why I have to pay anything for medical care.
I should pay 5 dollars a year on my home insurance but get 150 % full replacement for all my undocumented belongings and rebuild of my home if there is trouble.
Air fares should be no more than 50 dollars and I should be able to take 10 bags for a weekend trip.
My husband should get 125% of his pay even if the company fails for a period of 10 years taxes paid.
Cable TV should be 3 dollars a year.
I don’t want to understand how my taxes work.
After I retire, I should get 20,000 dollars a month from the government social security and pay no taxes plus continue on with free, unlimited medical care with no copay’s and no limits.
I demand to spend 10,000 dollars for Xmas.
I don’t have a passport and can’t speak English well or write.
There should be no waiting at the grocery store and the butcher should have my order ready.
I think I should be able to mail anything of any weight for 41 cents.
Other people should pay for power plants and pollution control but not me.
My electric bill is 5 dollars a year
I should earn 250,000 dollars and work 35 hours a week + I want overtime because I am non-exempt
I don’t like competition. It’s not fair because I cannot pass even the SAT.

That about covers 90% of all Americans. The rest of us are working hard and busting hump.


Coffee Talk!

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Man Who Gave Trooper the Finger Has Charge Dropped May 28, 2011

DENVER (AP) — A harassment charge has been dropped in the case of a 35-year-old Colorado man who faced prosecution for displaying his middle finger to a Colorado State Patrol trooper.

The State Patrol said in a statement late Friday that it asked that the case be dropped.

The American Civil Liberties Union had argued that while the gesture may be have been rude, it amounted to protected free speech.

According to the ACLU, Shane Boor was driving to work in April when he saw a trooper pull over a car. As Boor passed by, he extended his middle finger in the trooper’s direction.

Boor was later stopped and received a criminal summons ordering him to appear in court to answer a criminal charge of harassment, which carries a possible six-month jail term.

© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Would-be pot shops face stringent rules in Arizona May 23, 2011

Tucson pharmacist Greg Rogan envisioned simply adding pot to his shop. Patients with chronic diseases such as cancer and AIDS could come in for medical marijuana and learn how to safely ingest it.

But Rogan canceled that plan soon after the Arizona Department of Health Services released official rules for the 125 medical marijuana dispensaries it intends to license statewide. Would-be pot shop owners are to apply next month.

“It’s so prohibitive and financially demanding, I’m kind of surprised anyone is going for it,” said Rogan, who owns a Tucson pharmacy, The Medicine Shoppe.

Arizona’s rules are among the most stringent in the country regulating the production, sale and use of medical marijuana, which passed in Arizona in November with just 51 percent of the vote.

Fourteen other states and Washington, D.C., have approved medical marijuana.

Among other rules for those seeking dispensary licenses in Arizona: They must employ a licensed physician as a medical director and provide that person’s license number to the department, obtain a letter from their local town or city saying that they’re in compliance with zoning rules, and submit a business plan that shows they will operate as a nonprofit. They also have to prove they’ve lived in Arizona the past three years and haven’t been convicted of a violent crime.

They must also know where their dispensary will be located and provide the physical address in their application, meaning those who don’t own a space will either have to buy one or make a financial agreement with a property owner without knowing whether they’ll be approved.

Not to mention the $5,000 application fee, only $1,000 of which is refundable if they’re turned down.

And on top of all that?

Additional preference for the limited dispensary slots will be given to applicants who can prove they have $150,000 in the bank, aren’t in default on loans from the government, don’t owe child support and haven’t declared bankruptcy.

Still, the relatively small number of licenses sets the stage for a tough competition among would-be owners. Some will likely be turned down even if they meet all the requirements. Compare the 125 slots to hundreds of dispensaries in California, where pot shops can open across the street from each other, and the 800 dispensaries in Colorado. In Denver, the proliferation has prompted rampant “Mile High City” puns.

The $150,000 contingent was the biggest sticking point for Rogan.

“To have $150,000 available to qualify to have a dispensary is a little absurd in my mind,” he said. “I didn’t have to have $150,000 for my pharmacy. I just need a pharmaceutical license and a business license.”

Arizona’s rules are “very strict,” but appropriate, said Morgan Fox, a spokesman for the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, which funds efforts to pass medical marijuana measures in states and advocates for legalized marijuana nationwide.

Fox said New Mexico’s medical marijuana program is stricter than Arizona’s, and pointed to California as having the most relaxed rules.

Meanwhile, federal authorities have conducted raids on pot shops in Montana and Washington as they try to get a handle on dispensaries proliferating with little regulation. In the Montana raids in March, agents with guns drawn burst into up to a dozen medical marijuana operations across the state.

Fox said states that have better regulation likely will avoid such federal raids.

Two medical marijuana providers in Montana are accusing the federal government of civil rights violations in what may be the first lawsuit of its kind. The providers claim the raids were unconstitutional, exceeded the government’s authority and pre-empted the state’s medical marijuana law.

Fox said Arizona should be able to avoid such problems with its heavy regulation.

Tom Salow, an Arizona Department of Health Services manager who was in charge of writing the rules for dispensaries, said the requirements aren’t too tough, but that they’re “necessary.”

“Keep in mind when comparing this to other states, they did this differently. Some states it was a free-for-all,” Salow said. Arizona’s “is a comprehensive rule package that we think you have to abide by, and if you can’t, then save your $5,000 application fee and don’t apply.”

David Grandon of Flagstaff will be among those applying to open a dispensary.

He, his wife and another couple want to open the Grassroots Wellness Center in a former coffee shop in east Flagstaff.

He’s got a medical director lined up, paid a $3,500 security deposit to the property owner to hold the space, is able to prove he has $150,000 in the bank and is ready to pay the $5,000 application fee.

“My neck’s out,” he said. “Do I think it’s fair? No. Do I think it’s worth it? Yes. It’s such an exciting industry.”

He wants his dispensary to have a hip interior design and a pastry case with items that have been baked with marijuana. He wants a dietitian, a naturopathic doctor, massage therapists and possibly yoga instructors to work there.

Patients who want medical marijuana in Arizona must have cancer, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C and other specified chronic or debilitating diseases. Approved patients will be allowed to buy 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana every two weeks or grow a limited number of plants themselves if they live 25 miles from a dispensary.

The health department has approved 2,486 patients, or 93 percent of all applications thus far. Of those who applied, 1,849 asked to grow their own marijuana.

Approval for dispensary applicants will begin in August, and patients likely can begin buying medical marijuana at pot shops in late summer or early fall.


Follow Amanda Lee Myers on Twitter at

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Saudi denies Texas terror charges March 29, 2011

Mr Aldawsari, 20, came to the US on a student visa in 2008

A Saudi student has pleaded not guilty to charges he sought to make a bomb and planned terror attacks in the US.

Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, 20, is charged in Texas with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. If convicted, he faces life in prison.

His list of targets allegedly included the house of former President George W Bush in Texas.

Prosecutors say Mr Aldawsari bought a gas mask, hazardous materials suit and toxic chemicals for use in bomb-making.

Mr Aldawsari is in the US legally on a student visa, and was studying business at South Plains College near Lubbock in Texas, the justice department said.

A jury trial is due to begin in federal court in Lubbock on 2 May.

Investigators said in February Mr Aldawsari had ordered the toxic chemical phenol, which can be used to make explosives, telling the supplier he wanted it for “off-campus, personal research”.

The supplier became suspicious and reported the contact to the FBI; Mr Aldawsari later cancelled the order, the justice department said.

Mr Aldawsari succeeded in purchasing 30 litres (6.6 gallons) of concentrated nitric acid and 11 litres of concentrated sulphuric acid, prosecutors said.

He planned to use a mobile phone as a remote detonator and purchased other items to assist with bomb-making – a gas mask, hazardous materials suit, soldering iron, glass beakers and a stun gun, the justice department said.

Mr Aldawsari drew up a list of US targets to attack, including Mr Bush’s Dallas residence and 12 reservoir dams in Colorado and California, investigators allege.

Prosecutors have informed US District Judge Sam Cummings they intend to use evidence derived from foreign intelligence operations in the trial.

On 9 March, Judge Cummings ordered attorneys on both sides not to speak to the news media about the case.

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Russia’s Zhirinovsky calls to revoke Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize March 21, 2011

Russia’s head of the Liberal Democratic Party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, has appealed to the Nobel Prize Committee to revoke U.S. President Barack Obama’s Nobel Prize, the party’s press service said in a statement on Monday.

Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 for his commitment to non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

“The situation in Libya is yet another shocking act of aggression by NATO forces and in particular by the United States. This is a clear reflection of colonial policy. This is another crude invasion into the domestic affairs of an independent state. There is only one goal: to take control of Libyan oil and the Libyan regime and not saving the Libyan people,” the press service quoted Zhirinovsky as saying.

The colorful and flamboyant leader of Russia’s LDPR party plans to meet with Libyan Ambassador to Russia Amir al-Arabi on Wednesday to discuss the latest events in the North African country.

Earlier Zhirinovsky called on the Muslim world to support Libyan leader Muammar Kaddafi and sent an official letter to NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen demanding the immediate stop to the military operation in Libya.

A military operation against Libya’s strongman Gaddafi, who has ruled the country with an iron fist for more than 40 years, began on Saturday. On Monday, Western forces launched a second wave of air strikes on Gaddafi’s positions under a UN resolution authorizing military action to protect Libyan civilians.

NATO has so far not indicated if it will participate in the operation.

Libyan television has reported that at least 50 civilians have been killed and over 150 wounded in the UN strikes and that many health and education facilities have been destroyed.


MOSCOW, March 21 (RIA Novosti)

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Free Cell Phones for the Poor? – Major Study to Detail Economic Impact of Lifeline Wireless on Poor & Near Poor Americans… February 8, 2011


Data to Detail Hundreds of Millions of Dollars in Personal Income Lost in States – Including CA, CO, HI, MT, NE, ND, OK, SD, VT and WY – Without Access to Program for Their Poorest Citizens.

WASHINGTON, D.C.//NEWS ADVISORY///A groundbreaking study of more than 5,000 poor and near-poor Americans already benefiting from the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline Assistance program, to be released Thursday (February 10, 2011), will show how many additional billions of dollars in personal income could be generated if federally subsidized cell phone service was made more widely available to the millions of eligible Americans not yet participating in it.

Based on a major national survey of Lifeline users by Infogroup/Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) International and released by the independent New Millennium Research Council (NMRC), the new study by telecommunications access expert Nicholas P. Sullivan is a first-of-its-kind effort to evaluate the Lifeline Assistance program’s current and potential economic benefits (including the ability to find and keep jobs) in the context of wireless operators providing free cell phone service to eligible individuals who cannot afford them.

The Sullivan report gauges how much personal income poor and near-poor Americans who cannot afford cell phones are losing in the 15 states – including California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming — not yet open to free Lifeline-eligible wireless service. Speakers on the phone-based news event at 1:30 p.m. EST on February 10, 2011 will be:

* Nicholas P. Sullivan, fellow at the Center for Emerging Market Enterprises at the Fletcher School, co-chair of The Fletcher School Leadership Program for Financial Inclusion, and author of You Can Hear Me Now: How Microloans and Cell Phones are Connecting the World’s Poor to the Global Economy (2007).

* Samuel A. Simon, senior fellow, New Millennium Research Council; and * Graham Hueber, senior project manager, ORC International. Nicholas Sullivan authored the March 2008 NMRC-published report, “Cell Phones Provide Significant Economic Gains for Low-Income American Households,” which concluded that providing cell phones to the 38 percent of America’s 45 million poorest households now without them — including millions of seniors, Hispanics, African-Americans and rural residents — could help them get work or make money worth $2.9 billion or more.

TO PARTICIPATE: You can join this live, phone-based news conference (with full, two-way Q&A) at 1:30 p.m. EST on Thursday, February 10, 2011 by dialing 1 (800) 860-2442 in the U.S. Ask for the “Lifeline economic impact report” news event.

CAN’T PARTICIPATE?: A streaming audio recording of the news event will be available on the Web as of 5 p.m. EST on February 10, 2011 at

CONTACT: Ailis Aaron Wolf at (703) 276-3265 or

Launched in 1999, the New Millennium Research Council is a Washington, D.C. think tank. The work of NMRC focuses primarily on the fields of telecommunications and technology. The contributors to NMRC reports develop workable, real-world solutions to the issues and challenges confronting policymakers. For more information, please visit on the Web.

Coffee Talk!

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Wikileaks Mirrors… December 8, 2010

Wikileaks Mirrors

Wikileaks is currently under heavy attack.

In order to make it impossible to ever fully remove Wikileaks from the Internet, you will find below a list of mirrors of Wikileaks website and CableGate pages.

If you want to add your mirror to the list, see our Mass Mirroring Wikileaks page

Mirror List

Wikileaks is currently mirrored on 1241 sites (updated 2010-12-08 14:25 GMT) ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6… ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 wikileaks.0× ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 wikileaks.socialismsocialismsocialism.or… ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6 ipv6

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Being Patriotic… October 21, 2010

Ron Paul, member of the United States House of...
Ron Paul…

Being patriotic in America means being devoted to the Constitution, if not the natural rights philosophy that motivated much of it. Since neither of the major political parties has any interest whatsoever in enforcing the constitutional limitations on the state, they are all traitors to the Constitution (with one lone exception, Congressman Ron Paul).

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How is That War We Won in Iraq? August 25, 2010

40 killed in Iraq blasts

Tags: Iraq, World, News, Iraq, Society
25.08.2010, 16:21

40 people were killed and at least 200 injured in a series of blasts which hit Iraq on Wednesday.In Baghdad, a suicide car blast killed 13 and injured dozens.

Several blasts hit al-Ramadi city, the center of the Anbar province.Insurgents also attacked a police station in the central Karbala province.

Looks good Huh…

Coffee Talk!

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We Are Really A Sick Country…

Funny Money...

Icon of U.S. currency.

The Obama bill anchors their sweeping concept for redesigning U.S. banknotes, which also includes plastering a tepee on the five, the Bill of Rights on the 10, and FDR on the 100 — each in its own technicolor hue. The impetus: The greenback has an image problem. It has come to represent everything that’s wrong with the American economy, and worse, with its cartoonish graphics and vaguely sinister styling, it actually looks the part. Dowling Duncan’s scheme, though purely hypothetical (it’s an entry in the The Dollar ReDe$ign Project competition) is about imbuing U.S. currency with sunny new meaning. Their bills are designed to be educational, intuitive, and, to put it plainly, make America feel like it sucks a little bit less.


Actually I think that America would feel like they had been put in the gutter and trash can with crap like this. Americans do not suck it is the trash that we have for a government that sucks…

Coffee Talk!

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Collecting rainwater now illegal in many states July 28, 2010

Many of the freedoms we enjoy here in the U.S. are quickly eroding as the nation transforms from the land of the free into the land of the enslaved, but what I’m about to share with you takes the assault on our freedoms to a whole new level. You may not be aware of this, but many Western states, including Utah, Washington and Colorado, have long outlawed individuals from collecting rainwater on their own properties because, according to officials, that rain belongs to someone else.

Coffee Talk!

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