Thursday, December 29, 2011

CHP crackdown includes drivers who eat behind the wheel - latimes.com

CHP crackdown includes drivers who eat behind the wheel - latimes.com

As part of a crackdown on distracted drivers, the California Highway Patrol is not just looking for people illegally talking or texting on their cellphones.

Officials also will be on the lookout for those who are eating while driving. And if you're reading magazines or applying makeup, they'll also be looking for you.

From 6 a.m. Friday until 6 a.m. Saturday, the CHP is having a “zero tolerance” cellphone enforcement day.

http://www.latimes.com/videogallery/67036380/News/CHP-Crack-Down-on-Distracted-Drivers

Blue Shield to pay $2 million over dropping of policyholders - latimes.com

Blue Shield to pay $2 million over dropping of policyholders - latimes.com

More than a year after the healthcare reform law sought to prevent sick patients from losing medical coverage, insurers are still paying for their alleged abuses.

Blue Shield has agreed to pay $2 million to resolve accusations that the company improperly dropped policyholders after they got sick and needed expensive treatment.

Obama administration sets up new hotline for immigration detainees - CNN.com

Obama administration sets up new hotline for immigration detainees - CNN.com

In the latest volley between the federal government and states pushing anti-illegal-immigration laws, the Obama administration announced Thursday it was establishing a new hotline for immigration detainees who feel they "may be U.S. citizens or victims of a crime."

The 24-hour-a-day, 7-days-a-week hotline is part of a "broader effort to improve our immigration enforcement process and prioritize resources to focus on threats to public safety, (on) repeat immigration law violators, recent border entrants, and immigration fugitives while continuing to strengthen oversight of the nation's immigration detention system and facilitate legal immigration," a news release from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said.

The hotline number is 855-448-6903.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Iran Threatens to Block Oil in Reply to Sanctions - NYTimes.com

Iran Threatens to Block Oil in Reply to Sanctions - NYTimes.com

A senior Iranian official on Tuesday delivered a sharp threat in response to economic sanctions being readied by the United States, saying his country would retaliate against any crackdown by blocking all oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, a vital artery for transporting about one-fifth of the world’s oil supply.

Statement from Save Ethnic Studies attorney Richard Martinez on ruling today - Three Sonorans

Statement from Save Ethnic Studies attorney Richard Martinez on ruling today - Three Sonorans

No one should be surprised by the ALJ decision released today affirming John Huppenthal’s Finding against the TUSD Mexican American Studies program.

Latinos in Arizona are well aware that their role has been marginalized and future under the present regime nonexistent. That compartmentalization is not only discriminatory, but based upon a hollow foundation. The future Latinos enjoy in Arizona will be that which they create irrespective of what other non-Latinos think, desire or arguably permit.

The Acosta plaintiffs are in federal district court because they knew long ago the ALJ process was a dead end processes; no Latino in Arizona can expect the state of Arizona to protect their rights or treat them as full and equal citizens. To the likes of Huppenthal, Brewer and Arpaio, Mexicans are just a disposable commodity to be tolerated as a source of cheap labor when needed. To others we are just the source of a vote when needed to win an election when needed. (And most of the time they figure they can win without our votes.)

Tucson ethnic-studies program violates Arizona law, judge says - latimes.com

Tucson ethnic-studies program violates Arizona law, judge says - latimes.com

The Tucson school district's Mexican American studies program violates state law, an Arizona administrative law judge ruled Tuesday, paving the way for the possible demise of the program.

The judge affirmed a prior decision by the state's schools chief that the Tucson Unified School District's program violates a law that aims to outlaw divisive ethnic studies classes.

In June, John Huppenthal, the state superintendent of public instruction, had deemed the program to be in violation of the law. That law, among other things, bans classes primarily designed for a particular ethnic group or that "promote resentment toward a race or class of people."

The colors of a family - latimes.com

The colors of a family - latimes.com

"He's so cute," the woman said. "Whose baby is he?"

The question shocked me.

I was holding my 1-year-old, ambling about downtown with some friends. White friends. She must have thought my boy belonged to one of them.

There's a simple explanation: I'm black but my son, Ashe, is white. At least he looks it.

This surprised us. When Ashe was born, one of the first things I said to Vanashree was, "Honey, he's so light!" We chuckled, poking fun at our assumptions.

We had thought our newborn would have skin more like mine. We also figured I would teach him the lessons my parents taught me as I grew up in the 1960s and '70s: Be proud of being black; but be ready, because you will always have to find a way around barriers large and small.

My son won't need those lessons.

He'll have what I can only imagine: white privilege.

That means in most of America, most of the world, when he walks into a room filled with strangers, he'll have nothing to prove. He will be assumed to be smart, trustworthy and reasonable.

It's different for me. Take a look at recent studies of our subconscious attitudes about race. (The University of Chicago's Shooter Test or Harvard's Implicit Association Test are two examples.)

We've obviously come a long, long way when it comes to this, but when I meet strangers, most of the time I have to prove myself. Am I smart, trustworthy, reasonable? That's not necessarily assumed. It's the same, I dare say, for all black people.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas =D

THE DIGITAL STORY OF THE NATIVITY - YouTube

Arpaio's goons doing what they do best

MCSO Video of Ernest "Marty" Atencio in Custody (Raw) - YouTube

Department of Justice objects to South Carolina's voter law - CNN.com

Department of Justice objects to South Carolina's voter law - CNN.com

The Department of Justice on Friday deemed South Carolina's new law requiring voters to present a state or federal photo ID "legally unenforceable," arguing that it could be discriminatory against minorities in violation of the Voting Rights Act.

The proposed law, signed by Gov. Nikki Haley in May, would require voters wishing to vote in person to present one of five forms of photo identification. The current law, in effect since 1988, does not require a photo ID. The stated intention in changing the law was to reduce voter fraud caused by someone impersonating another voter.

Existe un documental inédito de Fidel Castro - CNNMéxico.com

Existe un documental inédito de Fidel Castro - CNNMéxico.com

Click on link to view video

TwitWipe Gives You a Fresh Start by Deleting All Your Tweets

TwitWipe Gives You a Fresh Start by Deleting All Your Tweets

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wal-Mart pulls formula after baby death - CNN.com

Wal-Mart pulls formula after baby death - CNN.com

Wal-Mart says it has recalled a quantity of infant formula this week after a baby died in Missouri.

"We extend our deepest condolences to this baby boy's family as they try to come to grips with their loss," said Dianna Gee, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman. " As soon as we heard what happened, we immediately reached out to the manufacturer of the formula and to the Department of Health and Senior Services to provide any information we may have to help with the investigation."

Wal-Mart said it is pulled a batch of Enfamil from its stores nationwide that matched the size and lot number of the formula that may have sickened the baby in Missouri, Gee said.

In Kansas, Gov. Sam Brownback puts tea party tenets into action with sharp cuts - The Washington Post

In Kansas, Gov. Sam Brownback puts tea party tenets into action with sharp cuts - The Washington Post

If you want to know what a Tea Party America might look like, there is no place like Kansas.

In the past year, three state agencies have been abolished and 2,050 jobs have been cut. Funding for schools, social services and the arts have been slashed. The new Republican governor rejected a $31.5 million federal grant for a new health-insurance exchange because he opposes President Obama’s health-care law. And that’s just the small stuff.

Brownback, 55, declined to be interviewed for this article but has said he wants to turn his small farming state into a national showcase for the virtues of limited government.

His administration has acquired a reputation for engaging even the smallest critics. The governor’s aides grabbed national attention after they went after a teenager who tweeted derogatory comments about Brownback during a visit to the statehouse. The governor later apologized for their behavior.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bank Of America Countrywide Settlement: Bank To Pay $335 Million To Settle Discriminatory Lending Claims

Bank Of America Countrywide Settlement: Bank To Pay $335 Million To Settle Discriminatory Lending Claims

Bank of America agreed to pay $335 million to resolve allegations that its Countrywide unit engaged in a widespread pattern of discrimination against qualified African-American and Hispanic borrowers on home loans.

The settlement with the U.S. Justice Department was filed Wednesday with the Central District court of California and is subject to court approval. The DOJ says it's the largest settlement in history over residential fair lending practices.

According to the DOJ's complaint, Countrywide charged over 200,000 African-American and Hispanic borrowers higher fees and interest rates than non-Hispanic white borrowers with a similar credit profile. The complaint says that these borrowers were charged higher fees and rates because of their race or national origin rather than any other objective criteria.

The God Song

The God Song

It may be one of the most touching holiday “songs” you’ll hear. It’s called The God Song. And no one knows who recorded it or where it came from.

The background of the song is back in 1984, one week before Christmas, an audio tape labeled “From God” was left at the door of a radio station. After listening to it, the station’s staff at the time decided to play it on the air and got a huge reaction from it.

House Republicans Reject Payroll Tax Cut Deal - NYTimes.com

House Republicans Reject Payroll Tax Cut Deal - NYTimes.com

After defiantly rejecting a Senate compromise to extend a payroll tax break and jobless pay, Speaker John A. Boehner stood before the television cameras on Tuesday enveloped by scores of House Republicans. Even as a group, they seemed very much alone.

By turning down a bill that was overwhelmingly supported by both parties in the Senate as well as the White House, the conservative House majority that has spent the year inciting combative legislative showdowns is now staring over the brink, standing fast against legislation with significant financial consequences for nearly every American household.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Kim Jong Il's Death Sends Jitters Across Northeast Asia - TIME

Kim Jong Il's Death Sends Jitters Across Northeast Asia - TIME

On Monday afternoon, a black-clad newscaster in Pyongyang, sitting in front of a bucolic backdrop of pine trees and snow-capped mountains, was barely able to get out the news. North Korea's longtime leader Kim Jong Il, she managed to say between sobs, had died on Dec. 17 of a sudden illness. "We make this announcement with great sorrow," she said, weeping.

The abrupt absence of a leader in one of the world's most unpredictable nations — though it wasn't entirely unexpected, given Kim's visibly declining health in recent years — sent a chill through Northeast Asia's corridors of power. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak convened an emergency security meeting and put the nation's military on highest alert.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Arpaio's too-Wild-West ways - latimes.com

Arpaio's too-Wild-West ways - latimes.com
Joe Arpaio likes to call himself America's toughest sheriff. But the Department of Justice reached a different conclusion last week about the lawman from Arizona's Maricopa County: He helped nurture a "culture of bias" in his department, it reported after a three-year investigation, that led to discriminatory behavior and "unconstitutional policing" that routinely violated the rights of Latinos.

The findings are hardly news to Latinos in that state, who were up to nine times more likely to be pulled over by deputies while driving than non-Latinos. The federal probe, first launched under President George W. Bush, concluded that Arpaio and his deputies illegally arrested and jailed Latinos and initiated immigration sweeps in response to complaints that simply referred to people with "dark skin" but made no mention of an actual crime. The report also said that in its zeal to prosecute immigrants, the sheriff's office may have failed to properly investigate 432 cases of sexual assault and child molestation.

But Arpaio is hardly the victim of a conspiracy. The Justice Department's scathing report makes that clear. An expert hired by the department said this case involves "the most egregious racial profiling in the United States" that he has ever seen in the course of his work, according to the report. On Arpaio's watch, deputies went unchecked. One officer used his patrol car to intentionally hit and drag a Latino man and then instructed other deputies to "leave him there," investigators said. A Latino motorist was incarcerated for 13 days for failing to use his turn signal.

We understand that Americans are frustrated by an immigration system that fails everyone. But Arpaio's supporters should think hard about what his true legacy will be. He can't be America's sheriff if he can't play by the rules.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

GOP Moves to Require Pee Tests and GEDs for Unemployed | Mother Jones

GOP Moves to Require Pee Tests and GEDs for Unemployed | Mother Jones

It's a difficult time to be unemployed in America. But congressional Republicans seem determined to make it even more difficult.

On Tuesday, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed HR 3630, a bill extending President Barack Obama's 2 percent payroll tax cut. But the tax cut, which was set to expire on January 1 and will save the average American family an estimated $1,000 next year, is just about the only candy cane in this holiday stocking. The rest of HR 3630 is bursting at the seams with conservative goodies, including—get this—drastic changes to the unemployment insurance system that could force unemployed Americans to undergo drug tests, require them to get GEDs, and greatly reduce the time they're able to receive benefits.

Monday, December 12, 2011

SNL Spoofs Greta Van Susteren, Donald Trump Debate (VIDEO)

SNL Spoofs Greta Van Susteren, Donald Trump Debate (VIDEO)

Florida law results in more denials of unemployment benefits - latimes.com

Florida law results in more denials of unemployment benefits - latimes.com

The denials in those three months will save the state $10.85 million, the agency said.

Florida's tougher unemployment law requires those claiming benefits to report online each week five jobs they've applied for or to meet with a state jobs counselor. The law also aims to keep workers with job performance issues from claiming benefits.

Claims and job-search information must be submitted online; there's no telephone option.

"They discourage you from collecting," said Dominick DeLuccia, a West Palm Beach resident who recently lost his job as a driver and says he doesn't have the computer skills to file online. "It's very frustrating," he said.

President Obama: The full "60 Minutes" interview - 60 Minutes Overtime - CBS News

President Obama: The full "60 Minutes" interview - 60 Minutes Overtime - CBS News

Click on link to view interview

High court may look at Ariz. immigration law - CBS News

High court may look at Ariz. immigration law - CBS News

The Obama administration is waging a furious legal fight against a patchwork of state laws targeting illegal immigrants, and on Monday the Supreme Court has its first chance to jump into the fray.

Arizona is asking the justices to allow the state to begin enforcing measures that have been blocked by lower courts at the administration's request. Among those provisions is one that requires police, while enforcing other laws, to question a person's immigration status if officers suspect he is in the country illegally.

Similar laws in Alabama, South Carolina and Utah also are facing Obama administration lawsuits. Private groups are suing over immigration measures adopted in Georgia and Indiana.

Occupy movement to block West Coast ports | abc7.com

Occupy movement to block West Coast ports | abc7.com

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Lemon Juice: 20 Unusual Household Uses (PHOTOS)

Lemon Juice: 20 Unusual Household Uses (PHOTOS)

Juicy, aromatic and highly acidic, lemons bring out the flavor in sweet and savory foods but they nearly always play a supporting role in the kitchen. Stop relegating them to the rim of your glass and give these winter citrus fruits their due -- because they're serious cleaning and freshening powerhouses.

These 20 unusual uses for lemon juice will make your home look and smell fresh, brighten your laundry, and improve your hair, nails and skin.

Hangover Help: The next time you're groaning in pain the morning after enjoying just a tad too much alcohol, try drinking a little lemon juice squeezed into warm water or tea. Not only does it help you re-hydrate, but the lemon juice can reportedly help balance the pH levels in your body and replace the vitamin C lost in the binge.

Insect Deterrent: Many insects are highly sensitive to smell, including spiders, ants, fleas and typically so-hardy-they're-almost-alien cockroaches. Squirt lemon juice in windowsills, the thresholds of doors, along baseboards and into any cracks where insects might get into the house. Add lemon juice to your floor wash for even more insect-repelling action.

Click on link to view complete slide show

Ford Recalls 129,000 Fusions and Mercury Milans After Studs Fracture on Steel Wheels - NYTimes.com

Ford Recalls 129,000 Fusions and Mercury Milans After Studs Fracture on Steel Wheels - NYTimes.com

Ford is recalling almost 129,000 of its 2010-11 Ford Fusions and Mercury Milans because the wheel studs on vehicles equipped with 17-inch steel wheels could break, potentially leading to a wheel coming loose and falling off.

Ford told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the recall in a report (PDF) filed Friday on the agency’s Web site.

Vehicles with alloy wheels are not affected.

Friday, December 9, 2011

California ethics agency loosens rules on gifts to lawmakers - latimes.com

California ethics agency loosens rules on gifts to lawmakers - latimes.com

Reporting from Sacramento— State lawmakers and city council members can accept expensive gifts from lobbyists without disclosure if they are dating, and can receive meals and lodging in lobbyists' homes without telling the public, under rules approved Thursday by the state ethics agency.

AFP: Alabama farmers look to replace migrants with prisoners

AFP: Alabama farmers look to replace migrants with prisoners

Alabama farmers have proposed using prisoners to work their fields to replace migrants who fled the state after it passed the country's harshest anti-immigration law, officials said Tuesday.

The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industry officials met Tuesday in Mobile with farmers to discuss their proposal, a spokeswoman for the department told AFP.

"The suggestion to use prisoners who are eligible for work release programs was made as a way to help farmers fill the gap and find sufficient labor," said Amy Belcher.

A statement by the department said the meeting with the farmers was convened "to help solve the chronic labor shortages created by Alabama's new immigration law."

N.J. Indonesian immigrants facing deportation for overstaying tourism visas | NJ.com

N.J. Indonesian immigrants facing deportation for overstaying tourism visas | NJ.com

Tuwo and Pauned are Indonesian immigrants who have lived in the United States for more than a decade — working, paying taxes and raising their two American-born daughters.

But according to the U.S. government, their home is 10,000 miles away in Indonesia, and they must leave this country.

Tuwo and Pauned are among roughly 60 Indonesians in New Jersey who are facing deportation in the next few months for overstaying their tourism visas years ago.

"We love this country," Tuwo said. "I know I made a mistake. I overstayed. But not everyone is the same."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sheriff Arpaio Showdown: Resignation Demands Grow Amid Child Sex Crimes Debacle

Jeff Biggers: Sheriff Arpaio Showdown: Resignation Demands Grow Amid Child Sex Crimes Debacle

A self-proclaimed hardliner who relishes the media attention for his anti-immigrant sweeps, his pink-underwear-wearing Tent City inmates and reality TV exploits, Arpaio is no stranger to controversy.

Among the 432 ignored reports of rape, child molestations and sex crimes, as Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts noted, was "a 2-year-old taken to the hospital with vaginal pain and bruising after a stint with a babysitter."

Earlier today at the Arizona State Capitol, Hobbs was joined by state Rep. Ruben Gallego, a ranking member of the Military Affairs & Public Safety committee, who declared Arpaio had dedicated his time to "investigating his own political enemies, avoiding internal investigations on the officers who botched the cases, misspending $100 million, and ignoring 40,000 outstanding felony arrest warrants for violent criminals," among other diversions.

Is GOP race turning into a circus? - CNN.com

Is GOP race turning into a circus? - CNN.com

But the very fact that the nation's pre-eminent carnival barker, political charlatan and bona fide "birther" has somehow re-injected himself into the GOP race tells us something about the contest itself: It's descended into complete chaos.

Not that a little chaos isn't a good thing in presidential races. After all, no one is supposed to be appointed nominee. We like a good race, and we love it when voters engage. But this is starting to look more like a bad game show than a good argument about who is best qualified to become the leader of the free world.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Racism in the NYPD Seeped onto Facebook - National - The Atlantic Wire

Racism in the NYPD Seeped onto Facebook - National - The Atlantic Wire

Some New York police officier really didn't like being assigned to Brooklyn's West Indian American Day Parade, so much so that they vehemently vented their frustrations on Facebook.

The racism in some of the Facebook posts seems pretty blatant, but we'll let you judge for yourself:

"I say have the parade one more year, and when they all gather drop a bomb and wipe them all out."

"Welcome to the Liberal NYC Gale,” said another, “where if the cops sneeze too loud they get investigated for excessive force but the ‘civilians’ can run around like savages and there are no repercussions."

"Why is everyone calling this a parade. It’s a scheduled riot."
"Bloodbath!!! The worst detail to work."

They can keep the forced overtime," adding that the safety of officers comes “before the animals.”

"Hearing New York police officers speak publicly but candidly about one another and the people they police is rare indeed, especially with their names attached."

"We were widely outnumbered. It was an eerie feeling knowing we could be overrun at any moment."

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Martin Bashir: Herman Cain Should Resign From His Church Over Affair Allegations (VIDEO)

Martin Bashir: Herman Cain Should Resign From His Church Over Affair Allegations (VIDEO)

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Three Alleged Mortgage Scammers Arrested In California

Three Alleged Mortgage Scammers Arrested In California

Unsavory mortgage practices have become widespread since the onset of the housing crash, which has left countless homeowners trying to stay one step ahead of foreclosure -- presenting a prime opportunity for scammers who claim they can lower homeowners' payments.

And such practices are exactly what a new government task force, announced earlier this week, is aiming to stamp out.

The task force, a collaboration between SIGTARP, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Treasury Department, will investigate people and companies suspected of trying to take advantage of homeowners seeking mortgage modifications.

A consumer fraud alert issued by SIGTARP this week notes that such guarantees are almost always a red flag for a scam, since third-party companies can't actually promise that a loan will be modified. Those decisions are only made by mortgage servicers.

Why some Democrats oppose Obama’s jobs bill - The Washington Post

Why some Democrats oppose Obama’s jobs bill - The Washington Post

After some public wavering by several of those Democrats, only two bucked the president and voted against the measure — Sens. Jon Tester (Mont.) and Ben Nelson (Neb.).

The defections allowed Republicans to label opposition to the president “bipartisan,” but the small number let Democrats claim that their caucus stood behind the president.

One of the Senate’s most conservative Democrats, Nelson has worked especially hard to show his independence from the party.

In a statement, he rejected the jobs package’s underlying premise, indicating that he could not support the bill because it includes billions in higher spending and tax increases.

“I simply can’t support raising taxes so Washington can spend more,” he said.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Honda recalling cars to fix airbags that can kill drivers - latimes.com

Honda recalling cars to fix airbags that can kill drivers - latimes.com

Honda Motor Co. plans to recall 273,000 Honda and Acura vehicles because of an airbag problem that can kill drivers.

It will also inspect an additional 603,000 vehicles to see if the same defective parts that cause the problem were sold to repair autos that have been in accidents. Honda said it doesn’t know how many of those vehicles might have been repaired with the defective parts.

In the recalled vehicles, the driver’s side airbag can deploy with too much force in an accident, causing a metal inflator casing -- the part that holds and channels explosive propellant -- to rupture

Honda has had four previous recalls dealing the same issue, which with this latest expansion includes more than 2.5 million vehicles in the U.S. The problem does not affect any vehicles newer than the 2003 model year

The latest recall now includes certain 2001 and 2002 Accord, 2001 to 2003 Civic, 2001 to 2003 Odyssey, 2002 and 2003 CR-V, 2003 Pilot, 2002 and 2003 Acura 3.2 TL and 2003 Acura 3.2 CL vehicles.

Honda will begin sending recall notices to owners of these vehicles later this month.

It also said the Honda owners can go to www.recalls.honda.com or call (800) 999-1009 and select option 4; Acura owners can go to www.recalls.acura.com or call (800) 382-2238 and select option 4 to get more information.

Newt GIngrich Slams Poor Kids - YouTube

Newt GIngrich Slams Poor Kids - YouTube

Payroll Tax Cut Extension Rejected In Senate Vote

Payroll Tax Cut Extension Rejected In Senate Vote

The Senate failed Thursday to pass an extension of a payroll tax cut, leaving in limbo a break that saved working class households about $1,000 a piece this year.

Democrats sought to extend and expand the break, while paying for it with a 3.25 percent surtax on incomes over $1 million. Just one Senate Republican, Maine's Susan Collins, voted for the middle class break, which died 51 to 49 in a filibuster. Three Democrats opposed the bill.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church Bans Interracial Couples

Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church Bans Interracial Couples

The Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church in Pike County, Kentucky has voted not to accept interracial couples as members or allow them to take part in some worship activities.

Melvin Thompson, a minister at the church, explained to the Lexington Herald-Leader that the resolution “is not intended to judge the salvation of anyone, but is intended to promote greater unity among the church body and the community we serve.”

Thompson issued the ban in August after Stella Harville played the piano and her fiancé Ticha Chikuni (both pictured) sang. Harville grew up in the church and was baptized there, but she is not a member. Chikuni is a native of Zimbabwe.

The decision has caused sharp reaction and disapproval.

Extreme Anti-Immigrant Laws Tear Families Apart and Create Fear, Not Jobs | First Focus Campaign for Children

Extreme Anti-Immigrant Laws Tear Families Apart and Create Fear, Not Jobs | First Focus Campaign for Children

Last week, I traveled with several of my House of Representatives colleagues to Birmingham, Ala., to speak out against HB56, a deeply regressive and dangerous law that threatens the livelihood and civil rights of citizens, visitors, and especially immigrants, whether documented or undocumented.

The law doesn’t just require police who “reasonably suspect” someone of being an undocumented immigrant to check their status. It also directs school districts to check the immigration status of every student at every level of education. It even prohibits landlords from renting to someone who may be an undocumented immigrant. It creates an intentional climate of fear well beyond any attempt to make the community safer or more prosperous. It’s already tearing the state apart.

At a field hearing in Birmingham, my colleagues and I heard testimony from Mayor William Bell, Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale, and Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Craig Witherspoon, as well as a local civil rights advocate, a teacher from a local high school, a concerned parent, an undocumented immigrant from Tuscaloosa, a 17-year-old student with undocumented parents, and a local business owner. They told us one thing, loud and clear: Alabama won’t survive if it goes much further down this path.

'Austerity' policy: Low-paid foot the bill - CNN.com

'Austerity' policy: Low-paid foot the bill - CNN.com

The United Kingdom was the first country laid across the lap of fiscal austerity. Conservatives in Britain argued that government deficits could be solved by slashing public spending quickly and severely. They got what they wanted, including a particularly drastic set of cuts affecting the country's poor and unemployed. But despite the cuts, Britain's economy has not recovered.

This week, Britain announced it was lowering its economic growth estimates yet again and the multinational Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) projects Britain will enter a recession next year. In other words, England was the pilot test for austerity measures, and the pilot test has failed.

140 mph gusts cause damage, outages, delays in California - CNN.com

140 mph gusts cause damage, outages, delays in California - CNN.com

As of 10 a.m. PT (1 p.m. ET), Southern California Edison was reporting more than 210,000 households without power. The hardest hit areas in the utility's service area include San Gabriel, San Bernardino, Alhambra, Altadena, Arcadia, El Monte, La Canada Flintridge, Monrovia and Sierra Madre.

The Los Angeles Department of Water of Power reported that, as of that same time, about 129,000 of its 1 million customers did not have electricity. The department added, in a press release, that it has more than 100 crews responding to more than 1,000 incidents thought to be responsible for the outages

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Perry says will deport all detained illegal immigrants | Reuters

Perry says will deport all detained illegal immigrants | Reuters

The Texas governor has faced criticism from Republican rivals like Mitt Romney for being "soft" on illegal immigrants, because those who live in Texas can attend state universities at the same cost as other Texas residents.

Perry, who made the remarks while campaigning in New Hampshire with a controversial Arizona sheriff, said that if elected he would immediately order the deportation of any illegal immigrant detained in the United States.

"My policy will be to detain and deport every illegal alien who is apprehended in this country," Perry said. "And we'll do it with an expedited hearing process so that millions of illegal aliens are not released into the general population with some hearing date down the road."

Russell Pearce: Anatomy of a Recall (video) - Tucson Progressive

Russell Pearce: Anatomy of a Recall (video) - Tucson Progressive

Debate over obese children vs. parental rights - CBS News

Debate over obese children vs. parental rights - CBS News

The case of an 8-year-old Cleveland Heights boy taken from his family because he weighs more than 200 pounds has renewed a debate on whether parents should lose custody if a child is severely obese.

The boy was removed from his family and was placed in foster care in October after county case workers said his mother wasn't doing enough to control his weight. The boy, at his weight, is considered at risk for developing such diseases as diabetes and high blood pressure. Government growth charts say most boys his age weigh about 60 pounds.

Roughly 2 million U.S. children are extremely obese — weighing significantly more than what's considered healthy.

Cuyahoga County removed the boy because case workers considered the mother's inability to get his weight down a form of medical neglect. The county's Children and Family Services agency said Monday it stood by its custody move, which was approved by a judge.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The New Yorker Thanksgiving Cover Takes On Immigration

The New Yorker Thanksgiving Cover Takes On Immigration

No stranger to controversial cover art, The New Yorker Thanksgiving issue depicts a gaggle of pilgrims scampering under a starry sky.

A woman crawls under a barbed-wire fence that could be the U.S.-Mexico border. Two men, sweat dripping from their hats, sprint across the barren landscape.

The illustration is entitled "Promised Land."

Cash-Strapped Americans Largely Swallow Price Hikes During Holidays

Cash-Strapped Americans Largely Swallow Price Hikes During Holidays

McDonald's, Nike, Starbucks and other companies initially worried that customers would run the other way when they started raising prices to offset their higher costs for ingredients, fuel and packaging. But so far, cash-strapped Americans largely have swallowed the price spikes. And they're continuing to do so during this holiday shopping season.

The prices Americans pay for food, travel and other things have steadily risen this year, according to government data.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Brazil suspends Chevron's drilling rights | Reuters

Brazil suspends Chevron's drilling rights | Reuters

The Brazilian government on Wednesday suspended Chevron Corp's drilling rights in Brazil until it clarifies the causes of an offshore oil spill, the latest twist in a political firestorm threatening the U.S. company's role in Brazil's oil bonanza.

The decision was announced as the chief executive of Chevron's Brazilian unit was testifying before the Brazilian Congress, where he publicly apologized for the November 8 spill that leaked about 2,400 barrels of oil into the ocean off the coast of Rio de Janeiro.

Newt Gingrich won't appear on Missouri ballot - latimes.com

Newt Gingrich won't appear on Missouri ballot - latimes.com

Newt Gingrich may be a top-tier contender in the latest polls, but he won't be contending at all in Missouri's Republican presidential primary in February.

The former House speaker, who is putting a campaign organization together on the fly, failed to qualify for the contest in the Show Me State.

According to the Missouri Secretary of State's office, Gingrich did not file the necessary papers as of Tuesday's 5 p.m. deadline. That means his name will not be on the Feb. 7 ballot.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

"One of Alabama's Worst Times Since Jim Crow." - YouTube#at=39#!

"One of Alabama's Worst Times Since Jim Crow." - YouTube#at=39#!

Daily Kos: Backsliding into Jim Crow in Alabama

Daily Kos: Backsliding into Jim Crow in Alabama

When I see the words "Jim Crow," I think of the south, of segregation, of black codes, of a minstrel show song.

When I think of Alabama and segregation those images run the gamut of violence—little girls in a bombed church in Birmingham, Bull Connor, marchers being hosed.

They are stark images, in black and white.

The people are black and white as well.

It seems that we have slid backwards to those days in Alabama—except perhaps we should reference "Juan Crow" now, instead of Jim.

When I think of Alabama's racial history, and those who tilled its soil in the past, first as enslaved people and then after emancipation as sharecroppers, it is yet another study in black and white: (Click on link for full story)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Survey finds ethnic divide among voters on DREAM Act - latimes.com

Survey finds ethnic divide among voters on DREAM Act - latimes.com

Many Californians worry that they are being priced out of the state's public university systems, and they object to allowing illegal immigrants the same financial aid that U.S. citizens can receive at the campuses, a new poll has found.

COMMENTS:

MayIseeyourID: They are foreign national, just the same as their illegal parents. Anchor babies are stealing from Americans just as fast, if not faster, than the average illegal alien, because we let them, by pretending they are American citizens simply because they were birthed here.

1Summerstar: Illegal aliens continue to keep having kids although they can't afford them. Why because they receive welfare either directly or indirectly.

Marlena53: Many others will use this aid but eventually drop out once they are knocked up and produce anchors that will support them. This is just dead wrong giving these people any type of taxpayer assistance.

Lawsuit: Alabama immigration law stops home permits | GadsdenTimes.com

Lawsuit: Alabama immigration law stops home permits | GadsdenTimes.com

MONTGOMERY — A new federal lawsuit was filed Friday challenging a section of Alabama’s immigration law that civil rights groups say makes it impossible for those who can’t prove U.S. citizenship or lawful immigration status to legally keep their manufactured homes.

The lawsuit was filed Friday in federal court in Montgomery by two immigrants in Elmore County named in the lawsuit only as “John Doe No. 1” and “John Doe No. 2.” They are challenging a section of the law that prohibits most contracts where one party is an illegal immigrant.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs say that provision is being used by state revenue officials to keep illegal immigrants from paying an annual registration fee and obtaining a decal that by law must be displayed on manufactured homes. State law requires the registration to be renewed by Nov. 30.

One of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, Mary Bauer, legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, said that without the permit some people may be forced to abandon their homes and left homeless.

“It’s a flagrant violation of the Fair Housing Act and the United States Constitution,” Bauer said.

Alabama House Majority Leader Micky Hammon credits new immigration law with lowering state unemployment | al.com

Alabama House Majority Leader Micky Hammon credits new immigration law with lowering state unemployment | al.com

A sponsor of Alabama's tough new immigration law on Friday credited the law with the steep drop in the state's jobless rate.

"Despite how desperately illegal immigrant sympathizers have tried to portray this law as somehow harmful to our state's economy, the truth is more Alabamians are working today thanks in part to our decision to crack down on illegal immigration," Alabama House Majority Leader Micky Hammon, R-Decatur, said in a statement.

Hammon pointed to Marshall County, which he called "a known hotbed for illegal immigrant labor." He said the rate there was 8.1 percent for October, down from 8.8 percent in September and 10 percent in June, when the immigration law was signed.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Deportation Cases of Illegal Immigrants to Be Reviewed - NYTimes.com

Deportation Cases of Illegal Immigrants to Be Reviewed - NYTimes.com

The accelerated triage of the court docket — about 300,000 cases — is intended to allow severely overburdened immigration judges to focus on deporting foreigners who committed serious crimes or pose national security risks, Homeland Security officials said. Taken together, the review and the training, which will instruct immigration agents on closing deportations that fall outside the department’s priorities, are designed to bring sweeping changes to the immigration courts and to enforcement strategies of field agents nationwide.

The policy, described in a June 17 memorandum by John Morton, the director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, suggested that the Obama administration would scale back deportations of illegal immigrants who were young students, military service members, elderly people or close family of American citizens, among others. While the announcement raised excited expectations in Latino and other immigrant communities, until now the policy has been applied spottily, deepening disillusionment with President Obama in those communities.

Administration officials have flexibility to transform immigration court procedures because those courts are part of the Justice Department in the executive branch, not part of the federal judiciary. Central to the plan is giving more power to immigration agency lawyers — the equivalent of prosecutors in the federal court system — to decide which deportation cases to press.

GOP leaders weigh changes to Alabama immigration law | TuscaloosaNews.com

GOP leaders weigh changes to Alabama immigration law | TuscaloosaNews.com


MONTGOMERY | Legislative leaders may be at odds with some rank-and-file senators over changing the state’s controversial illegal immigration law.

The Republican-controlled Legislature passed the law this spring. The law took effect in September amid protests from civil rights groups that contend the new law is unconstitutional and unduly harsh on Hispanic residents. But the law has also elicited complaints from businesses, law enforcement and government officials and other citizens because of its burdensome regulatory requirements, and that has some GOP senators contemplating changes.

Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, said he is working with a few other senators to modify the law without weakening it.

Beason’s fall from power » Editorials » CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

Beason’s fall from power » Editorials » CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

Scott Beason’s fall from power in the Alabama Senate was overdue after his degrading comments about black citizens.

As the powerful chairman of the Rules Committee in the Senate, Beason had every reason to conduct business with the highest respect toward all citizens. But he didn’t, and that’s why his own party chose to strip him of his duties as the head of the agenda-setting committee.

Many Alabama leaders, in both political parties, has worked hard to overcome the state’s segregation-era reputation. The open racism that once dominated life in Alabama was swept away in the Civil Rights movement. Avoiding even a hint of a return to the prevailing politics of that time would be disastrous for the state, which has made tremendous strides in creating a new image and recruiting overseas investors.

Interestingly, Beason was also one of the leaders in passing the state’s maligned immigration law. The negative glare of national and international scorn for the tone and impact of the bill has been relentless.

Skype desktop app now makes Facebook video calls | The Download Blog - Download.com

Skype desktop app now makes Facebook video calls | The Download Blog - Download.com

With the just announced Skype 5.4 Beta for Mac and Skype 5.7 Beta for Windows, you can initiate a Facebook video call without having to open up your browser and log in to the social networking site. Just connect your Facebook account to Skype, select a Facebook friend and hit the Skype video call button. Your friend picks up the call directly from within Facebook. While the feature isn't exactly a game-changer, we do think it's super convenient. Since you can already see your Facebook Wall, update your status, and make comments from within the Skype interface, it only makes sense to be able to initiate Facebook video calls from there as well.

But Skype's news for today doesn't end there. The company claims to have improved its video rendering, giving all users a smoother video experience. Also, Windows users with a Premium subscription now get the Group Screen Sharing feature, which was previously only available to Mac users.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Buffett: I beg you to raise my taxes - Politico Staff - POLITICO.com

Buffett: I beg you to raise my taxes - Politico Staff - POLITICO.com

Warren Buffett, the third wealthiest man in the world with a net worth of about $80 billion, is demanding the U.S. government make the rich like him pay higher taxes and says they should no longer be protected like endangered “spotted owls.”

“While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks,” he wrote.

“These and other blessings are showered upon us by legislators in Washington who feel compelled to protect us, much as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species. It’s nice to have friends in high places.”

"Stop Cuddling The Rich"....http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/15/opinion/stop-coddling-the-super-rich.html

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

BofA, Others Quietly Boosting Fees In Wake Of Debit Fee Debacle

BofA, Others Quietly Boosting Fees In Wake Of Debit Fee Debacle

Most banks may have backed away from the debit fee idea, but they're still nickle and diming customers in other ways.

Banks such as Bank of America, U.S. Bancorp and TD bank are quietly quietly upping various fees on mobile deposits, lost debit cards and other services, The New York Times reports. The banks' focus on fees is an effort to recoup an estimated $12 billion a year that disappeared as result of financial reform legislation curbing overdraft charges and swipe fees, according to the NYT.

MALDEF's misstep - latimes.com

MALDEF's misstep - latimes.com

On Tuesday, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or MALDEF, will hold its annual awards gala and fundraiser in downtown Los Angeles. The awardees include such indisputable worthies as Linda Ronstadt and former MALDEF leader Antonia Hernandez. The real awardee, though, should be MALDEF itself, whose decades of civil rights litigation have yielded significant gains for Latinos. I haven't always agreed with all of its actions, but I generally find myself cheering it on (as I do its current campaign to create a second Latino-majority district on the L.A. County Board of Supervisors).

There's just one problem with this gala. Front and center on the invitation are the words: "Gala Chair: Wal-Mart."

Wal-Mart may be giving money to MALDEF, but it isn't a friend to Latinos, and most definitely not here in Southern California.

Monday, November 14, 2011

No more free lunch for California state senators - latimes.com

No more free lunch for California state senators - latimes.com

Reporting from Sacramento— Under fire for spending $111,316 in taxpayer funds to feed themselves this year, state senators have decided to end the practice.

All members of the upper house will be billed $2,000 a year to pay for stocking the coffee room and to cover their meal expenses when sessions extend into the lunch or dinner hour, said Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento).

This year's expenditures were 10% more than last year's, even as lawmakers approved a 6% cut in the budget for services to Californians.

Lew Uhler, head of the California-based National Tax Limitation Committee, had criticized the meals spending as double dipping, because senators also get $143 per day, tax free, for expenses such as meals and lodging while they are in Sacramento.

Former porn star's role in school's reading program upsets parents - latimes.com

Former porn star's role in school's reading program upsets parents - latimes.com

 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Arizona's victory against hate - CNN.com

Arizona's victory against hate - CNN.com

After all the bad laws and bad publicity, Arizona got some good news this week when Senate President Russell Pearce was toppled in a special election.

Citizens for a Better Arizona, a group led by community organizer Randy Parraz, needed 7,756 signatures to put on the ballot the question of whether Pearce should be recalled. It submitted about 17,000.

Arguably the most powerful politician in the state and certainly the most divisive, Pearce was handily defeated in his suburban Phoenix district by fellow Republican Jerry Lewis -- 53% to 46%. According to the Arizona Republic, this marks the first time a state lawmaker has been recalled in Arizona and the first time a state Senate president has been recalled anywhere in the United States.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Foreclosed Homeowners Could Receive Small Checks Under Big Bank Settlement

Foreclosed Homeowners Could Receive Small Checks Under Big Bank Settlement

Foreclosed borrowers abused by their lenders won't get their homes back, but they could get a little cash from a settlement under negotiation between state officials, the Obama administration, and the nation's biggest banks.

A coalition of attorneys general led by Iowa AG Tom Miller and federal housing chief Shaun Donovan is currently pushing for a $25 billion settlement with Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank, and Ally Financial (formerly known as GMAC). At issue is bad mortgage servicing and fraudulent foreclosure paperwork.

DU: No water or power for illegal immigrants - Decaturdaily.com

DU: No water or power for illegal immigrants - Decaturdaily.com

Decatur Utilities now prohibits illegal immigrants from obtaining electric, gas, water or sewer service, an official said Friday.

Stephen Pirkle, DU business manager and chief financial officer, said DU previously required residents seeking utilities to provide identification, but their immigration status was not relevant.

“We did not document or confirm whether or not they were citizens or aliens here legally,” Pirkle said. “Because of the new law, we are now going through the process to confirm that they are either a citizen or an alien here legally.

“If not, we will deny them service.”

Same in Huntsville

Huntsville Utilities also has instituted a policy of denying service to illegal immigrants, said Bill Yell, its communications director.

COMMENTS


PEGGY wrote:
There's no room for anyone that would break the laws of this country.

tbone from wrote:
why did,nt we do this all the time ? sure have made our neighborhood a lot quieter and less crowded and less crime

SVIVAR9087 wrote:
Hate is never the solution !

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Civil rights monitors sent to five states for elections - CNN.com

Civil rights monitors sent to five states for elections - CNN.com

Federal civil rights officials announced Monday they have sent election observers to locations in five states to keep an eye out for potential trouble at the polls Tuesday.

The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division dispatched 11 staff attorneys along with 85 trained election observers from the Office of Personnel Management to watch activities at the polls and report any irregularities.

The Justice Department sent election monitors to 11 Mississippi counties for the primary elections in August.

The Justice Department has also assigned monitors to Lorain County, Ohio, to protect the rights of Spanish-speaking voters.

In Alameda County, California, the U.S. will monitor voting following an agreement between federal officials and the county in July. The agreement requires Alameda County to provide election materials and information in Spanish and Chinese.

In Jasper, Texas, racial tensions have run high over the recall election for three African-American city council members responsible for the hiring of the city's first black police chief.

In Springfield, Massachusetts, activists claim minorities were turned away at the polls in the September primary, and said there was no Spanish-language assistance for voters.

Cain must confront sex harassment issue - CNN.com

Cain must confront sex harassment issue - CNN.com

Herman Cain and his campaign chief of staff, Mark Block, cannot go on as they have. There has been a pattern now that is both unhealthy for our politics and unhealthy for our polity.

Four women are not an insignificant number. One or two anonymous charges, perhaps. Three anonymous charges (where, as I understand the story, Cain knows of at least two of the women) plus one woman who went very public and opened herself up to all manner of investigation are a lot. It is no longer insignificant. Neither is it insignificant that the Cain campaign discounted the charges in the initial stories, saying they were based on anonymous sources, only to make a mockery by blaming other campaigns with less substantiation than the original stories.

If Herman Cain wants to be taken seriously as a public advocate for anything, never mind running for the chief executive and commander in chief of the most powerful and important and blessed country in the world, he needs to give a full press conference dedicated exclusively to this issue and these allegations.

Monday, November 7, 2011

RIP Joe Frazier /News from The Associated Press

News from The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Joe Frazier, the former heavyweight champion who handed Muhammad Ali his first defeat yet had to live forever in his shadow, died Monday night after a brief final fight with liver cancer. He was 67.

Highland Park, Michigan Tearing Out Its Streetlights To Cut Costs

Highland Park, Michigan Tearing Out Its Streetlights To Cut Costs

Highland Park, Michigan, a city in the greater Detroit area, is the latest town to implement dramatic austerity measures, according to the Associated Press.

With $58 million in municipal debt and a $60,000 monthly electric bill that it can't pay, Highland Park has elected to remove 1,000 of its 1,500 streetlights -- not just turning the power off, but tearing the poles themselves out of the ground.

It's a strategy that's unlikely to fix most of Highland Park's economic woes. The town's unemployment rate is 22 percent -- more than twice the national rate -- and 42 percent of residents live below the poverty line.

Mississippi 'Personhood' Law Could Cause Legal Mayhem, Experts Warn

Mississippi 'Personhood' Law Could Cause Legal Mayhem, Experts Warn

If Mississippians vote to pass an unprecedented initiative on Tuesday that would declare a fertilized egg a legal person under the state Constitution, nobody -- including the authors of the initiative -- knows exactly how that law would be interpreted and enforced. But legal and medical experts are concerned that the "personhood" amendment could spur a litany of expensive court battles, bogus lawsuits and moral and political conundrums beyond the scope of women's choice.

The somewhat vague question facing Mississippi voters at the ballots is: Should an undeveloped embryo have the same legal rights as a person? If the people answer yes, then state lawmakers will be faced with the challenge of figuring out what Proposition 26 means for practical purposes and how to implement it.

Alcalde de Los Angeles dice que 'estos son los peores tiempos para un inmigrante en EU' - Univision Noticias

Alcalde de Los Angeles dice que 'estos son los peores tiempos para un inmigrante en EU' - Univision Noticias

El alcalde de la ciudad de Los Ángeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, consideró que el antagonismo contra los inmigrantes hispanos en Estados Unidos ha alcanzado un nivel que nunca antes había atestiguado.

“Estos son los tiempos peores para un inmigrante que he visto en mi vida”, dijo el político demócrata nieto de inmigrantes mexicanos y para quien la situación ha alcanzado ya niveles inaceptables.

Fourth Woman Accuses Herman Cain of Sexual Harassment - ABC News

Fourth Woman Accuses Herman Cain of Sexual Harassment - ABC News

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Foreclosure-Mocking Law Firm Apologizes For Inappropriate Halloween Party

Foreclosure-Mocking Law Firm Apologizes For Inappropriate Halloween Party












Buy Here Pay Here alternatives - latimes.com

Buy Here Pay Here alternatives - latimes.com

About 160 charitable groups in the U.S., from Maine to Hawaii, help needy people get affordable cars. Programs vary—some sell cars at cost, others provide cars for free, and still others arrange low-interest loans. California has four, all in the Bay Area. Read more: Is there a better way for the working poor to find wheels?

(click on link to access interactive map with non-profit organizations)

Alabama's attorney general balks at giving feds school data - CNN.com

Alabama's attorney general balks at giving feds school data - CNN.com

Montgomery, Alabama (CNN) -- Alabama's attorney general questioned Wednesday whether the federal government has the legal right to ask for data from school districts in the state, which has recently passed controversial legislation intended to reduce illegal immigration.

In a letter sent Wednesday, Attorney General Luther Strange said he was "perplexed and troubled" about a request from the Justice Department for information about Alabama's schools.

The Justice Department issued the letter Tuesday to Alabama school districts to ensure they are complying with federal law, which declares that a child may not be denied equal access to schools based on his or her immigration status.

Strange's letter noted that the law was still being litigated.

Strange set a Friday noon deadline for Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general for DOJ's civil rights division, to provide the legal authority for his request.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Foreclosure; robo-signing; mortgage servicers; settlement; banks - latimes.com

Foreclosure; robo-signing; mortgage servicers; settlement; banks - latimes.com

Aggrieved homeowners ensnared by a foreclosure system riddled with misconduct and error are set to get their first shot at winning some cash back from the banks.

Under orders from federal regulators, 14 mortgage servicers on Tuesday began mailing out 4.3 million letters to potential victims of wrongful foreclosure practices. The letters will invite borrowers to submit their cases for a free review by independent consultants that are funded by the lenders but vetted by regulators.

Borrowers may be compensated if the reviewers and regulators find that the homeowners were harmed financially.

"These requirements help ensure that the servicers provide appropriate compensation to borrowers who suffered financial harm as a result of improper practices," said John Walsh, acting comptroller of the currency, whose agency regulates the nation's largest banks. The Federal Reserve has also issued the enforcement orders.

L.A. votes to impose fines for excessive dog barking - latimes.com

L.A. votes to impose fines for excessive dog barking - latimes.com

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to amend the city's barking law, imposing fines on the owners of dogs that bark excessively — even if the canines are not licensed by the city.

Under the changes, dog owners would face fines starting at $250 for a first offense, $500 for a second and $1,000 for a third if a hearing conducted by the Department of Animal Services determines that a dog barks too much.

But exactly how much barking is too much?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Michele Bachmann Wouldn't Do 'Anything' To Help Children Of Undocumented Immigrants

Michele Bachmann Wouldn't Do 'Anything' To Help Children Of Undocumented Immigrants

Michelle Bachmann said Saturday she would not help children of immigrants who come to the U.S. illegally.

At a campaign stop in Iowa, a Latino college student asked the presidential hopeful what she would do to the children of undocumented immigrants. Bachmann reiterated her hard-line stance that the federal government should not grant them citizenship and said she "would not do anything" for them.

"Their parents are the ones who brought them here ... they did not have the legal right to come to the United States," she said. "We do not owe people who broke our laws to come into the country. We don't owe them anything."

When the subject turned to immigration at another campaign stop that day, Bachmann suggested passing a law that would bar citizenship to children born in the U.S. to parents who are undocumented immigrants. "We've got to end this anchor baby program," she said.

Anonymous Veracruz copia - YouTube

Anonymous Veracruz copia - YouTube

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Irv Chase's promoter blames the "dirty Mexicans" in Downtown Santa Ana | New Santa Ana

Irv Chase's promoter blames the "dirty Mexicans" in Downtown Santa Ana | New Santa Ana

Cultural diversity forum addresses tensions in Santa Ana - latimes.com

Cultural diversity forum addresses tensions in Santa Ana - latimes.com

On Thursday, it was Alvarez who was helping lead a forum on cultural diversity to examine issues of hate that have cropped up not just in Santa Ana but throughout Orange County.

The invitation-only event quickly underscored the anger and frustration still being felt.

"How is this going to help anything?" one woman asked.

Said another: "Our civil rights are being violated, and it is kind of a secret thing to get rid of the Mexican community in downtown Santa Ana."

This all comes at a difficult time for the city, which could see a $30-million deficit in the next fiscal year. As of Sept. 30, there was only $313,000 on hand in the General Fund, said Francisco Gutierrez, the city's finance director. However, Santa Ana is still expecting revenue from sales and property taxes before the end of the year.

The battle by Latino business owners against a special property tax, which is what led to Alvarez's Hitler comment, looms large in Santa Ana, where 78% of the 324,000 residents are Latino. Some contend that the tax money benefits businesses that don't cater to families or the Latino clientele.

Halloween Light Show 2011 - This Is Halloween - YouTube

Halloween Light Show 2011 - This Is Halloween - YouTube

The Koch Brothers - People & Power - Al Jazeera English

The Koch Brothers - People & Power - Al Jazeera English

Thursday, October 27, 2011

GOP offering to supercommittee calls for deep cuts, no new taxes - latimes.com

GOP offering to supercommittee calls for deep cuts, no new taxes - latimes.com

Republicans on the deficit-reduction supercommittee have proposed steep spending cuts and no new taxes as a counter-offer to the nearly $3 trillion "grand bargain" Democrats put on the table as the committee shows little sign of compromise.

A GOP aide said the proposal offers new revenues without imposing tax hikes, but the offer was roundly dismissed by Democrats. One Democratic aide called it "a joke."

"That doesn't sound like anything that would even be in the league," said Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the minority leader.

Republicans similarly rejected the Democratic proposal for a mix of tax hikes and spending cuts as not serious.

The public airing of the closed-door talks can be taken as either the first signs of serious negotiations or a rerun of the partisan stalemate that blocked deficit reduction efforts this year.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mike Lee, Tea Party Senator, Wants A Super PAC For His Leadership PAC

Mike Lee, Tea Party Senator, Wants A Super PAC For His Leadership PAC

Freshman Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), a member of the Tea Party Caucus, is pushing the boundaries of campaign finance law by seeking to open a super PAC account within his leadership PAC. Having two separate, segregated accounts under the banner of his Constitutional Conservatives Fund would allow Lee to accept unlimited contributions from corporations, unions and individuals.

Earlier this month, the Federal Election Commission announced that most political action committees may open a separate, segregated account to accept such unlimited contributions -- "soft money" -- so long as the funds are spent solely on independent expenditures, campaign ads and materials. Groups with the double accounts are known as hybrid PACs. The FEC issued the ruling after it reached an August consent judgment on the same issue in the case of Carey v. FEC.

The question that Lee raises is whether this new rule applies to leadership PACs, which are created by a lawmaker.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Anonymous atacó 40 sitios webs de pornografía infantil

Anonymous dejó por un momento sus ataques a empresas y gobiernos para apuntar a los sitios que publican pornografía infantil. La agrupación de hackers anunció que atacó un gigantesco servidor que contenía material pornográfico de 40 de estos sitios. El servidor pertenece a Freedom Hosting y entre las webs que aloja se encuentra Lolita City, que contendría más de 100 gigabytes de material pornográfico de menores, informó el portal Fayerwayer. Los servidores dejaron de funcionar solo por un breve tiempo.

Obama Offers Mortgage-Relief Plan: ‘We Can’t Wait’ for Congress - ABC News

Obama Offers Mortgage-Relief Plan: ‘We Can’t Wait’ for Congress - ABC News

“I’m here to say that we can’t wait for an increasingly dysfunctional Congress to do its job. Where they won’t act, I will,” Obama told the crowd gathered outside the house of Jose and Lissette Bonilla in Las Vegas. Nevada is the state hardest hit by the housing crisis.

Calling the housing bubble “the single greatest cause of the financial crisis and this brutal recession,” Obama promoted his administration’s plan to make it easier for homeowners to refinance their mortgages and avoid foreclosure.

“There are still millions of Americans who have worked hard and acted responsibly, paying their mortgage payments on time. But now that their homes are worth less than they owe on their mortgage, they can’t get refinancing,” Obama said.

The new rules, announced this morning by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, include removing caps for “underwater” borrowers and cutting the costs of refinancing. “If you meet certain requirements, you will have the chance to refinance at lower rates, which could save you hundreds of dollars a month, and thousands of dollars a year in mortgage payments,” Obama said.

Steve Jobs, part 1 - 60 Minutes - CBS News

Steve Jobs, part 1 - 60 Minutes - CBS News


Click on onlink for part 2 (trouble uploading)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Google Pays $100M for New California Office

Google Pays $100M for New California Office

The Googleplex is spreading with Google’s $100 million purchase of a 240,000 square-foot office center in Mountain View, Calif.

The acquisition, reported in the Mercury News and confirmed by Google, is Google’s largest property purchase in Silicon Valley this year. The property, called The Landmark at Shoreline, will house about 960 workers.

Google, which added 2,600 employees in its most-recent quarter, bringing its total workforce up to 30,000, has spent $225 million in 2011 alone buying 15 properties in Mountain View, according to the Mercury News. Last year, Google also bought a 2.9 million square-foot office building in New York City.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Buy a US Home, Get a Visa— But There's a Catch - CNBC

Buy a US Home, Get a Visa— But There's a Catch - CNBC

Investors are buying up the distressed inventory at a fast clip, but not fast enough.

So why not try to get more?

That's precisely what a bipartisan team of Senators, Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Mike Lee (R-UT) are proposing. The last section of a their new immigration bill is titled, "Increasing Home Ownership by Priority Visitors." It would offer non-immigrant visas to foreigners who buy at least $500,000 worth of residential US real estate. Unfortunately, there are a whole lot of caveats that will limit the scope of that potential buying population.

First and foremost, this is not a work visa, and the buyer has to live in the residence for at least six months (not necessarily consecutive) out of the year. That means said buyer would not be able to work in the US for half the year; translation, said buyer would have to be really rich. The buyer would of course have to go through the standard criminal background checks that any US residence visa requires, but they can bring the spouse and kids. The homeowner could not receive any US government benefits, and once they sell the house, they have to leave the country.

Moammar Khadafy's final bloody moments - NYPOST.com

Moammar Khadafy's final bloody moments - NYPOST.com

Strapped ranchers abandon horses - Home

Strapped ranchers abandon horses - Home

TUCSON (KGUN9- TV) - Horse rescues are asking for a leg up, as more people can no longer afford to care for their animals. Some people have even resorted to turning their horses loose in the desert to die.

Heart of Tucson horse rescue owner Judy Glore says she is doing all she can to help the growing problem. Their ranch is full, with 26 horses, and 15 more in foster care.

"There's a lot more horses that are being dumped out in the desert. We're getting lots of calls on horses. People wanting us to take the horses in," she said, "but the problem is we're full."

Part of the reason is because filling up the horses can be costly. The rescue spends $4 thousand a month, mostly on food. The price of ha bale of hay has doubled in the past year, from $9 to $18. It's expected to keep rising.

As a result, some horse owners are having trouble caring for their own, often times neglecting the problem until it's too late.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Another L.A. city employee found preying on immigrants - latimes.com

Another L.A. city employee found preying on immigrants - latimes.com

Eun Chavis seemed like the perfect answer. She was smart, a veteran city employee and a Korean American who spoke the only language Lim's mother, the manager of his building, understood.

But instead of bringing the building into compliance, Chavis used her position at the Los Angeles Housing Department's Koreatown office to collect $16,000 in payoffs from Lim and his family, according to criminal court records, police reports and interviews.

By the time she was arrested, Chavis had allegedly demanded $27,000 from other victims who spoke limited English and were trying to navigate the city bureaucracy.

Republicanos recurren a políticos hispanos para buscar votos - AOL Noticias

Republicanos recurren a políticos hispanos para buscar votos - AOL Noticias

ALBUQUERQUE, Nuevo México, EE.UU. .- La gobernadora de Nuevo México Susana Martínez, el gobernador de Nevada Brian Sandoval y el senador de Florida Marc Rubio, aunque son relativamente nuevos en el mundo de la poítica, son populares en varios estados importantes de la contienda presidencial estadounidense. Esas estrellas nacientes republicanas son además hispanos, algo que el partido dice abiertamente que espera capitalizar durante las elecciones nacionales del año próximo.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Around the World, Protests Against Economic Policies - NYTimes.com

Around the World, Protests Against Economic Policies - NYTimes.com

Buoyed by the longevity of the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Manhattan, a wave of protests swept across Asia, the Americas and Europe on Saturday, with hundreds and in some cases thousands of people expressing discontent with the economic tides in marches, rallies and occasional clashes with the police.

At least 74 people were arrested in New York, including 24 accused of trespassing in a Greenwich Village branch of Citibank and 45 during a raucous rally of thousands of people in and around Times Square.

Other than Rome’s, the demonstrations across Europe were largely peaceful, with thousands of people marching past ancient monuments and gathering in front of capitalist symbols like the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. Similar scenes unfolded across cities on several continents, including in Sydney, Australia; Tokyo; Hong Kong; Toronto; Chicago; and Los Angeles, where several thousand people marched to City Hall as passing drivers honked their support.

Newsy: Cain's 999 plan


Tax Cuts For Wealthy Americans Cost Treasury $11.6 Million Every Hour: Report

Tax Cuts For Wealthy Americans Cost Treasury $11.6 Million Every Hour: Report

Tax cuts for America’s top earners are costing everyone, every hour of every day, a new report from the National Priorities Project finds.

Tax cuts for the wealthiest five percent of Americans cost the U.S. Treasury $11.6 million every hour, according to the National Priorities Project. America’s top earners will get an average tax cut of $66,384 in 2011, while the bottom 20 percent will get an average cut of $107.

The report comes as party leaders wrangle over the best way to curb the nation’s budget deficit, protesters around the world demonstrate against income inequality and corporate greed and Republican presidential candidates offer their economic plans to voters.