Monday, January 31, 2011

Save Olvera Street

Posted By: Olvera Street

To: Members in Save Olvera Street

Celebration of La Candelaria

Wednesday, February 2 · 7:00pm - 10:00pm

La Placita Olvera

Los Angeles, CA

Olvera Street Merchants Association Foundation Presents:

Celebration of La Candelaria

Join us for the final traditional event of the season when the Virgin of the Candelaria presents the Baby Jesus (niño) at the temple. Participants bring their gaily dressed niño to be blessed. Winner of the best dressed niño will receive a prize.

Live entertainment, complimentary champurrado and pan dulce will be served

FEBRUARY 2 at 7 pm

Acompáñenos a la procesión de la Virgen de la Candelaria celebrando el día en que la “ Virgen de la Candelaria.” Presenta al niño Jesús al templo. Traiga a su niño Jesús a la bendición. Se premiara al niño mejor vestido.

Habrá entretenimiento en vivo y se ofrecerá pan dulce y champurrado.

For more information visit or call (213) 625-7074 or (213) 485-8372

These events are still being brought to you 100% by volunteer lavor and donations. Olvera Street merchants are still facing eviction and are in negotiation.

Join us publicly to show your support.

5 Things We Would Lose If Congress Repealed Health Reform

Off the Charts Blog Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Blog Archive 5 Things We Would Lose If Congress Repealed Health Reform

Below are five of its provisions that are already having an impact. As the list shows, repealing health reform would make it harder for many Americans to get insurance, harder for families and seniors with coverage to afford the care they need, and harder for small businesses to provide insurance for their employees:

1. Insurance coverage for young adults.
2. Free preventive care.
3. Protections for children and adults with serious illnesses.
4. More affordable prescriptions for seniors.
5. Tax credits to help small businesses buy coverage for their employees.

Arizona: Breaking down when we should rebuild

Arizona: Breaking down when we should rebuild - Arizona Daily Wildcat - Perspectives

The reality is that we all lost something on Jan. 8. We lost the lives of our neighbors and we lost our assurance in ourselves. We lost confidence that we were reasonable people living in a reasonable and healthy environment where we could all feel safe and treat each other with respect and kindness. It is in times like these that our seemingly never-ending battle with one another has to stop. If you want to stand up for what you believe in, fine, but getting aggressive is not the answer. Maybe Dupnik spoke out of turn, maybe he was right. Maybe we are just incessantly confrontational, looking for the next big issue to fight. Who knows, but going after him right now is certainly not going to bring us together.

Those of us living in this community have felt the political pressures of S.B. 1070, the elections, budget deficits and this traumatic shooting. Before we reach for our protest signs, we ought to re-evaluate ourselves and how our community got to this boiling point. Having lived here for only a short period of time, I know that Tucson is not truly lost, but, if we insist upon relentless bickering and tremendous efforts to make life in this community more difficult, we will get nowhere. There will be things we disagree on, but when times like this are upon us, we all need to reach out and pull together. The answer can't simply be "not a chance." If we respond like that we will we lose the lesson, toil away and allow ourselves to brand our community as one always needing something to squabble about.

Mayor Bloomberg Announces Results of Undercover Investigation Into Firearms Sales at Arizona... -- NEW YORK, Jan. 31, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --

Mayor Bloomberg Announces Results of Undercover Investigation Into Firearms Sales at Arizona... -- NEW YORK, Jan. 31, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --

Click on link for report

An Industry , that's above the law

New York City Investigates Arizona Gun Show -

“The background check system failed in Arizona, it failed in Virginia and it fails in states around the country,” said John Feinblatt, an adviser to Mr. Bloomberg. “If we don’t fix it now, the question is not whether another massacre will occur, but when.”

Private, unlicensed sellers are not required to run federal background checks, but it is a violation of federal law to sell guns to people if sellers suspect they are felons or mentally ill or are otherwise prohibited from buying. In the case of Jared L. Loughner, who is accused of opening fire on the crowd in Tucson on Jan. 8, the gun used in the shootings was bought at a licensed gun dealer, and he passed a background check, the authorities said.

In two instances, the New York undercover officers specifically said before buying a gun, “I probably couldn’t pass a background check,” but were still sold guns, city officials said.

In a third case, an investigator bought a Glock pistol and two high-capacity magazines like the ones used in the Tucson shooting. Such purchases were made without any background check but were perfectly legal.

The Koch brothers

With his brother Charles, who is seventy-four, David Koch owns virtually all of Koch Industries, a conglomerate, headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, whose annual revenues are estimated to be a hundred billion dollars. The company has grown spectacularly since their father, Fred, died, in 1967, and the brothers took charge. The Kochs operate oil refineries in Alaska, Texas, and Minnesota, and control some four thousand miles of pipeline. Koch Industries owns Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups, Georgia-Pacific lumber, Stainmaster carpet, and Lycra, among other products. Forbes ranks it as the second-largest private company in the country, after Cargill, and its consistent profitability has made David and Charles Koch—who, years ago, bought out two other brothers—among the richest men in America. Their combined fortune of thirty-five billion dollars is exceeded only by those of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

The Kochs are longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry—especially environmental regulation. These views dovetail with the brothers’ corporate interests. In a study released this spring, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute named Koch Industries one of the top ten air polluters in the United States. And Greenpeace issued a report identifying the company as a “kingpin of climate science denial.” The report showed that, from 2005 to 2008, the Kochs vastly outdid ExxonMobil in giving money to organizations fighting legislation related to climate change, underwriting a huge network of foundations, think tanks, and political front groups. Indeed, the brothers have funded opposition campaigns against so many Obama Administration policies—from health-care reform to the economic-stimulus program—that, in political circles, their ideological network is known as the Kochtopus. Read more

Look-out Arizona, there's another idiot comming thru !

Connecticut recently became the latest state to tackle the Obama "birther" issue, as a GOP state senator introduced a piece of legislation that would require potential presidential and vice-presidential candidates to provide the secretary of state with an "original birth certificate" in order to run.

Similarly worded bills have cropped up around the country in the current legislative session, albeit in conservative bastions. A Republican state representative in Arizona recently reintroduced a previously failed bill that would require Obama to provide a copy of his birth certificate in order to be placed on the ballot in the state. A state lawmaker in Texas is also seeking to advance a similar bill, while a number of other states are also expected to push their own versions of "birther" legislation following the growth of Republican power that took place in many state legislatures last November.

RUBIO: Tell me who your friends are and I'll tell you who you are.

Rubio has turned down “hundreds” of national media interview requests (including one for this article) since he was elected in November and instead has engaged only local press, according to sources close to the Florida Republican.

Just last week, Rubio drew mention in news reports about the launch of the Senate Tea Party Caucus because of his decision not to immediately join the small band of lawmakers considered heroes by the grass-roots movement.

But advisers and former colleagues said his decision to shun national exposure is unlikely to hurt the freshman Senator with those who supported him during the campaign.

“The most important thing for grass-roots tea party members is how you vote, it’s not what caucus you join or what TV shows you are on or what speeches you give,” Rubio adviser Todd Harris said. “The tea party as a movement is into changing the way politicians in Washington vote and make decisions.”

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) told Roll Call that Rubio’s decision to step back from the glare of the Washington-driven spotlight was very much in line with the former state lawmaker’s personality and legislative style.

“If anyone who supported him thought that they were electing a show horse they were wrong; he’s a workhorse,” Diaz-Balart said. “A show horse without substance fizzles away fairly quickly.”

Our Future in their hands ?

RANCHO MIRAGE, CA — A phalanx of sheriff’s deputies with riot gear fended off protestors and blocked all access to one of southern California’s most luxurious resort hotels on Sunday as more than 200 conservative donors gathered inside to plot political strategy and raise an estimated $30 million for the 2012 election.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was among several members of Congress who flew in for the two-day event, a semi-annual meeting of political high-rollers sponsored by Charles and David Koch, the billionaire owners of Koch Industries, the giant, privately held oil firm based in Wichita, Kan. The Koch brothers, strong economic libertarians, have become two of the country’s biggest donors to conservative political groups and think tanks.

Cantor, who declined to speak to reporters while he was there, has been generously backed by Koch

The Koch-sponsored conference at the Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa is the latest sign that the conservative spending blitz that helped propel GOP victories in last year’s election is likely to be continued at an even greater level next year when control of the presidency, as well as Congress, is at stake.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Power of The Internet and Networking

Anonymous Internet Users Team Up To Provide Communication Tools For Egyptian People

"Internet not working, police cars burning," sent out one Egyptian. "Today marks a great day for Egypt," sent out another.

These messages weren't coming from mobile phones or computers, but from an amateur radio sending out Morse Code somewhere amidst the chaos in Egypt.

The Egyptian government's efforts to limit communications within the country has triggered a wave of activism from an international group of free speech activists on the Internet called Telecomix.

Organizing using chat rooms, wikis, and collaborative writing tools, this largely anonymous group has worked to inform Egyptians about their communications options while receiving incoming messages from them.

Telecomix has previously worked on free speech efforts in Tunisia, Iran, China and other countries who have tried to censor or block parts of the Internet.

The Most AMAZING video on the internet #Egypt #jan25

Egyptians Connecting To The Internet Via Modem, Fax, Ham Radio

Egyptians Connecting To The Internet Via Modem, Fax, Ham Radio

Despite Egyptian authorities shutting down access to the internet, protesters in Cairo have been able to get online by some creative methods. Check out the slideshow to see how they're doing it.

(click on link)

Friday, January 28, 2011

TGIF...Take me home, play me on a full screen and close your eyes !

What were you thinking ? =D

Egyptian Protests 2011

Arizona: We like bitting our nose to spite our face !

Talk of Bipartisan Progress Fades in Arizona - Political Memo -

PHOENIX — As the days pass since the Tucson shooting spree, all that talk of bipartisan handholding, toning down the decibel level and working shoulder-to-shoulder for the betterment of the voters is losing some of its edge here as Arizona appears to be slipping back into its old ways.

Outside the Pima County Sheriff’s Department on Friday afternoon, deputies investigating the Jan. 8 shootings will have to pass by demonstrators organized by the Pima County Tea Party Patriots calling for the ouster of Sheriff Clarence Dupnik

Meanwhile, in Phoenix, Republicans introduced controversial legislation on Thursday to restrict citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants, which Andrei Cherny, the newly elected chairman of the Arizona Democratic Party, called “a direct assault on the very idea of America.”

Kyrsten Sinema, a Democratic state senator who opposes both those measures, said she had had better success since the shootings dealing with Republican leaders on procedural matters, like allowing Democrats adequate time to speak out against things they find outrageous. But she said the Tucson tragedy had not caused Republicans to forge a common agenda with Democrats.

“Their opinion is, ‘We don’t really need you guys because we have plenty of votes on our own,’ ” she said.

FBI executes search warrants in probe of pro-WikiLeaks cyber attacks

FBI executes search warrants in probe of pro-WikiLeaks cyber attacks -

FBI agents have executed 40 search warrants throughout the United States as part of an investigation into recent coordinated cyber attacks targeting major companies, the agency said.

The United Kingdom's Metropolitan Police Service executed additional search warrants and arrested five people for their alleged role in the attacks, the FBI said in a statement Thursday.

A group calling itself "Anonymous" has claimed responsibility for the attacks, the FBI said.

Anonymous allegedly makes its attacks not through hacking, but merely by directing a giant traffic surge to the targeted website. That's called a DDoS attack, short for distributed denial-of-service -- and it's hard for most websites to defend against.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Anti-Government Unrest in Egypt Continues as Protests Spread to Yemen

A Response from Canada

Canada Immigration has left a new comment on your post "Born in the USA: Immigration Showdown":

Immigration on a whole is very beneficial to Canada and its residents. History tells repeatedly that it is human kind that loses its previleges. Immigration is good for Canada and its people in any way you consider but the undeue advantage taken by a few people in the name of refugee act bestowed by Canadian government is being highly misused. We have to wait and see how far Canada can allow people in the name of refugees. Of course, humanitarian concerns are to be given the highest priority for human kind’s development and survival but misuse of a syustm is highly deplorable. Let us all pray that the gates of immigration be not closed for all those good people and eligible aspirants just because of the refugees who infiltrate this country and can be a bigger and unsolvable problem. As of now Canada is large in heart and resources.

The Tea Party Caucus...Please ! be my friend

Senate Tea Party Caucus Holds First Meeting -

Some of the Tea Party’s most prominent candidates never made it to Washington (think: Christine “I am not a witch or a senator” O’Donnell of Delaware), but the movement that perhaps best embodied the anti-incumbent sentiment of 2010 nonetheless gained a toehold in the upper chamber of Congress. And on Thursday it became official: Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, the Tea Party patron, and the freshmen senators Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah, held the first official gathering of the Senate Tea Party Caucus.

And the three Republicans quickly picked up a new recruit: Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin.

But other newly elected Republican senators have refused to join, including some who had Tea Party support in the fall campaign, like the senators Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Marco Rubio of Florida and Jerry Moran of Kansas. And other than Mr. DeMint, who has been flirting with the idea of a presidential run, no incumbent senator has signed on.

With its four members, the Tea Party Caucus amounts to fewer than 10 percent of Republicans in the Senate, making it a minority within the minority.

UC Irvine says cafeteria's fried chicken and waffle dinner on Martin Luther King Jr. Day was insensitive

UC Irvine MLK Day dinner criticized: UC Irvine says cafeteria's fried chicken and waffle dinner on Martin Luther King Jr. Day was insensitive -

A last-minute decision to serve fried chicken and waffles at a campus dining hall in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. was a regrettable choice and lacked sensitivity, UC Irvine officials acknowledged Wednesday.

The meal was served at Pippin Commons on Jan. 17, the first day of UC Irvine's 28th annual Martin Luther King Jr. symposium. The theme of the three-day campus event was "Uniting Our Voice for Change." Past speakers have included Julian Bond, the late Dick Gregory and the late Yolanda King, the civil rights leader's daughter.

The menu and a sign in the dining hall reading "MLK Holiday Special: Chicken and Waffles"

Sheldon :Political correctness and hyper-African-American overreaction to something insignifigant strikes again. The student who whould make such a fuss over the MLK, Jr. birthday meal from the college cafeteria must have just wanted publicity. If he/she had done his/her research, he/she would have known that Dr. King actually loved such delicacies. If the student union should raise hell about the food, there are many homeless, hungry people, including familes and workers left without jobs during this Great Recession, that need to be fed. They would have no objections to that food. What's offensive is knowing kids are going to bed hungry. Do as Dr. King would have liked. Feed and help those in the most need.

Tex Engr :UC is sick. Fried chicken is just fried chiken. Should KFC shut down on MLK day? Hell no. Most blacks are on the dole anyway.

Con Lagrimas

An American missionary was fatally shot in Mexico on Wednesday, police said.

The preliminary investigation indicated that Nancy Davis, 59, and her husband were traveling on a Mexican highway near the city of San Fernando, Mexico, when they were confronted by gunmen in a black pickup, the Pharr Police Department in Texas said in a statement. San Fernando is south of the border city of Reynosa in Tamaulipas state.

"The gunmen were attempting to stop them and the victims accelerated in efforts of getting away from them," the police statement said. "At a certain point the gunmen discharged a weapon at the victim's vehicle and a bullet struck the victim Nancy Shuman Davis on the head."

Davis' husband, identified as Sam Davis by family friends, drove their truck "at high rate of speed" to the Pharr International Bridge, which crosses the Rio Grande. Nancy Davis was taken to a hospital in nearby McAllen, where she was pronounced dead about 90 minutes later.

La verdad acerca de McDonalds

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pearce OKs lawmakers to carry guns in Senate

Pearce OKs lawmakers to carry guns in Senate - KSWT: Local News, Weather, Sports Yuma, AZ El Centro Imperial Valley, CA

PHOENIX (AP) - Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce says it's OK for State Senators to carry guns inside the Senate building.

The Arizona Republic reports the Mesa Republican issued a memo Tuesday to lawmakers clarifying his policy.

Pearce says a member of the Legislature does not lose his or her Second Amendment rights when coming to work each day.

The policy does conflict with state law that prohibits weapons inside the Arizona House and Senate.
Pearce counters that the Arizona Constitution gives him the authority to make the rules within the building.

Arizona tramples on your right to a speedy trial

Arizona declared under judicial emergency -

A judicial emergency is a rarely used tool to suspend the demands of the Speedy Trial Act for 30 days. It was ordered last week by Judge Roslyn O. Silver, Roll's successor as chief judge. It was last used in the Southern District of New York after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"The need to suspend the time limits is of great urgency due to a heavy criminal caseload, a lack of adequate resources, and the tragic death of Chief Judge John Roll," Silver said. The declaration allows courts to take as long as 180 days to bring a defendant to trial, instead of the statutory 70-day limit.

Arizona vigilante killings

Arizona vigilante killings: Mother of Brisenia Flores describes border vigilante killings -

Reporting from Tucson — As her mother tells it, 9-year-old Brisenia Flores had begged the border vigilantes who had just broken into her house, "Please don't shoot me.

"But they did — in the face at point-blank range, prosecutors allege, as Brisenia's father sat dead on the couch and her mother lay on the floor, pretending that she too had been killed in the gunfire.

Even as this city continues to mourn the victims in the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, another tragedy took center stage Tuesday, as opening arguments began in the trial of a member of a Minutemen group accused of killing Brisenia and her father, Raul Flores Jr.

Prosecutors allege that in May 2009, Shawna Forde decided to strike an odd alliance with drug dealers in southern Arizona: Forde would help the traffickers ransack their rivals' houses for stashes of drugs and cash, which could then fund her fledgling group, Minutemen American Defense.

California Incandescent Light Bulb Ban Takes Effect

LOS ANGELES — The brightest bulb in most homes for more than a century is fading toward darkness this year as California turns out the light on the century-old incandescent.

Beginning Jan. 1, the state began phasing out certain energy-sucking bulbs, federal standards the rest of the country will enact next year.

Manufacturers will no longer make the traditional 100-watt bulb and stores will eventually sell out of current supplies. Consumers will have to choose from more efficient bulbs that use no more than 72 watts, including halogen incandescents, compact fluorescents and light-emitting diode, or LED, bulbs.

"These standards will help cut our nation's electric bill by over $10 billion a year and will save the equivalent electricity as 30 large power plants," said Noah Horowitz a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council. "That translates into a whole lot less global warming pollution being emitted."

He's back...Rahm Emanuel

Rahm Emanuel back on the ballot for Chicago mayor -

The Illinois Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked the removal of former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's name from the ballot for Chicago mayor, at least temporarily.

The state's high court issued a stay of Monday's appellate court decision that knocked Emanuel off the ballot on the grounds he was not a resident of Chicago for the last year, as required by Illinois law.

Emanuel served as President Obama's chief of staff until stepping down last fall to seek the Chicago mayor's office. Monday's decision was the first major setback for Emanuel, who has a wide lead over his opponents in fundraising and in polling by the Chicago Tribune.

Toyota announces recalls involving more than 1.5 million vehicles

Toyota on Wednesday announced recalls involving more than 1.5 million vehicles worldwide for issues that could result in fuel leakage, the company said.

One recall involves about 1.2 million units of 16 models -- including the Noah and other models -- within Japan and 140,000 Avensis and Tourer models overseas because of faulty fuel pipes that could cause fuel leakage, according to the company.

A separate recall involves 245,000 2006 through 2007 Lexus GS300/350 vehicles, 2006 through early 2009 Lexus IS250 vehicles and 2006 through early 2008 Lexus IS350 vehicles sold in the United States to inspect the fuel pressure sensor installation, according to a company statement.

"Due to insufficient tightening of the fuel pressure sensor connected to certain engine fuel delivery pipes ... there is a possibility that the pressure sensor could loosen over time," the statement said.

Missouri court rules immigrant's adoption rights terminated illegally

Missouri court rules immigrant's adoption rights terminated illegally -

The Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned a lower court ruling that terminated the parental rights of a Guatemalan woman whose son, the woman says, was adopted without her consent while she was imprisoned following an immigration sting in 2007.

The court ruled that the state violated its laws in terminating the parental rights of Encarnacion Bail Romero, but the supreme court sent the case back to the lower court for retrial rather than return the boy to his biological mother.

"The trial court plainly erred by entering judgment on the adoption petition and terminating Mother's parental rights without complying with the investigation and reporting requirements ... ," Judge Patricia Breckenridge wrote in the court's principle opinion.

"The trial court's judgment terminating Mother's parental rights, allowing the adoption to proceed without Mother's consent to the adoption, and granting of the adoption, although supported by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence on the record, is reversed. The cause is remanded for a new trial in which Adoptive Parents and Mother will have the opportunity to present evidence on all claims in all counts of the petition that pertain to Mother."

Watch President Obama Deliver Full 2011 State of the Union Address

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Arizona violates tacos...unforgivable !

Lion Taco Plan Scrapped by Arizona Restaurant Boca Tacos y Tequila After Threats - ABC News

Bryan Mazon, owner of Boca Tacos y Tequila, a Tucson Tex-Mex joint that in the past has served alligator, python and turtle tacos, announced via Facebook that the restaurant will pull the plug on a planned February promotion to sell tacos made from farm-raised African lions.

Sssnap !....Rahm Emanuel Gets Refresher In Chicago Politics

Anyone who believes in the Chicago political machine's omnipotence may want to revise their theories on how the world works.

After all, if Mayor Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emanuel, the man who would be mayor, were in such control, how'd they wind up on the losing end of the Illinois appellate court decision that will keep the latter man off the Feb. 22 primary ballot?

Unless, that is, the Illinois Supreme Court reverses the lower court. Emanuel's lawyers, on Tuesday, took the case to Illinois' highest court.

Because we're talking Chicago politics, there always must be intrigue. And here's some; the two judges who ruled against Emanuel are linked, if indirectly, to one of his rivals for mayor, Gery Chico.

Not that the two judges made their decision unfavorable to Emanuel because of that. But it is an intriguing piece of history, you must admit.

Yo...Taco Bell, where's the beef ?

When you stop at Taco Bell’s drive-thru window, do you really know what you are eating? One Alabama law firm says some ingredients are unacceptable.

The fast food restaurant giant is being sued for false advertising when referring to using "seasoned ground beef" or "seasoned beef" in its food products.

Police fear 'war on cops'

Police fear 'war on cops' after 11 shootings - U.S. news - Crime & courts -

A spate of shooting attacks on law enforcement officers has authorities concerned about a war on cops.

In just 24 hours, at least 11 officers were shot. The shootings included Sunday attacks at traffic stops in Indiana and Oregon, a Detroit police station shooting that wounded four officers, and a shootout at a Port Orchard, Wash., Wal-Mart that injured two deputies. On Monday morning, two officers were shot dead and a U.S. Marshal was wounded by a gunman in St. Petersburg, Fla.

On Thursday, two Miami-Dade, Fla., detectives were killed by a murder suspect they were trying to arrest.

"It's not a fluke," said Richard Roberts, spokesman for the International Union of Police Associations. "There's a perception among officers in the field that there’s a war on cops going on."

Critics slam Georgia paper for doctored photo of governor as Nazi

Critics slam Georgia paper for doctored photo of governor as Nazi -

A Spanish-language newspaper in Georgia has drawn bipartisan criticism for publishing a doctored photograph depicting the state's new governor as a Nazi.

El Nuevo Georgia Editor Rafael Navarro said the picture was meant to call attention to Hispanic issues -- and grab the attention of residents and politicians who often ignore the Hispanic community.

"Americans don't read our paper because they can't read Spanish. They don't read our news, our editorials and the opinion of the community. But if they see a picture, they'll get it," he said.

Dem Reps. Back Scalia's Attendance At Tea Party Constitution Event | TPMDC

Dem Reps. Back Scalia's Attendance At Tea Party Constitution Event TPMDC

Critics of conservative Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia were quick to raise red flags Monday after he emceed a member seminar on the Constitution at the behest of Tea Party caucus leader Michele Bachmann. MSNBC hosts Lawrence O'Donnell and Rachel Maddow, in particular, suggested his visit was a symptom of the increasing politicization of the Court -- particularly among its conservative members.

But Monday evening, two progressive members who attended the seminar vouched for Scalia and the event, and dispelled the notion that anything untoward happened.

According to Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), who addressed reporters just outside the forum, the event was "incredibly useful, partly just to get the sense of Justice Scalia as an individual."

Monday, January 24, 2011

Los Angeles, anti-small business ?

If you want a rough approximation of hell on earth, try opening a restaurant in the City of Los Angeles. It’s not just the dozen or more government agencies that need to sign off on a project—or the lack of communication between the Building and Safety guy who says that the electrical outlets are fine and the Fire Department guy who says that they have to be replaced. It’s not even the intramural squabbling between the Planning Department and the Area Planning Commission over whether to require six or eight parking spaces. What makes L.A.’s system so horrible—often dragging out approvals for a year or longer—is an institutional disregard for anyone running a business. In this world, bureaucracy is what rules, and if you don’t like it, well, tough.

When a small business owner is held up by nonsensical regulations, the fallout can be considerable, not just for him or her but for the entire L.A. economy. The business loses out on thousands of dollars in potential sales, which means that people aren’t hired, suppliers don’t get work, and the city doesn’t receive tax revenues—no small matter given an escalating budget deficit. If business owners have to pay rent while waiting for all the city permits to clear, they could be hard-pressed to make up for the losses once the operation finally does open. Sometimes the cash runs out before the permits are in hand. Sometimes an owner pulls up anchor and moves to a more accommodating area. “Los Angeles is one of the most hostile cities for entrepreneurship and small business that we’ve come across,” says Michael Bindas

Check out this great MSN video: More death panels in Arizona

Check out this great MSN video: More death panels in Arizona

Arizona tries new approach to get by federal Medicaid rules

Republican efforts to repeal or limit the reach of the new health-care law took a new direction last week when Arizona lawmakers approved a novel and controversial attempt to cut Medicaid for 280,000 of the state's poor.

The bill, requested and signed by Gov. Jan Brewer (R), empowers her to make a formal request, most likely this week, for a federal waiver to avoid complying with provisions of the law that prohibit states from tightening their eligibility requirements for Medicaid.

Twenty-nine Republican governors, including Brewer, have signed a letter calling on President Obama and congressional leaders to remove the provision from the law.

But Arizona is the first state to, in effect, play chicken with the Obama administration by directly requesting a reprieve and daring Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to refuse.

Arizona's move reflects two pressing realities: Many states face large budget shortfalls because of continuing economic difficulties, and Republican governors point to Medicaid cuts as one of the most logical ways to balance those budgets.

NEWS UPDATE - More Info On Russian Suicide Attack At Moscow Airport; 35 ...

Postal Service Eyes Closing Thousands of Post Offices -

Postal Service Eyes Closing Thousands of Post Offices -

The U.S. Postal Service plays two roles in America: an agency that keeps rural areas linked to the rest of the nation, and one that loses a lot of money.

Now, with the red ink showing no sign of stopping, the postal service is hoping to ramp up a cost-cutting program that is already eliciting yelps of pain around the country. Beginning in March, the agency will start the process of closing as many as 2,000 post offices, on top of the 491 it said it would close starting at the end of last year. In addition, it is reviewing another 16,000—half of the nation's existing post offices—that are operating at a deficit, and lobbying Congress to allow it to change the law so it can close the most unprofitable among them. The law currently allows the postal service to close post offices only for maintenance problems, lease expirations or other reasons that don't include profitability.

Explosion rocks Moscow's Domodedovo Airport: At least 31 reported dead in suspected suicide bombing

Explosion rocks Moscow's Domodedovo Airport: At least 31 reported dead in suspected suicide bombing

A suicide bomber staged a massacre at Moscow's busiest airport Monday with a blast that killed more than two dozen people and wounded more than 100.

Blood and body parts littered a airport luggage area at Domodedovo Airport in the aftermath of the explosion as Russian rescue workers searched through the smoke for survivors amid the carnage.

Moscow's chief prosecutor called it a terrorist attack and suspicions immediately fell on Chechen rebels who have been waging a bloody independence campaign for several years.

Domodedovo was packed with travelers at 4:37 p.m. local time when an explosion ripped through the international baggage claim area, Russian media reported.

AT&T's novel claim to the Supreme Court of 'corporate personal privacy'

AT&T's novel claim to the Supreme Court of 'corporate personal privacy' -

In a case that could erect new barriers to public access to government information, the Supreme Court this week was asked to hold that corporations have a right to "personal privacy." Fortunately, justices from across the ideological spectrum appeared skeptical that such a counterintuitive concept could be found either in the law or in a dictionary.

AT&T is claiming the "personal privacy" protection in connection with a settlement it reached with the FCC over possible overbilling for work on a communications technology program for schools. A trade association representing some of AT&T's competitors is seeking the information.

Unlike last year's Citizens United ruling, this case doesn't deal with whether corporations have constitutional rights. The issue instead is whether the courts should award corporations an exemption to the Freedom of Information Act that Congress didn't see fit to grant them.

Nor should it have: Corporations already receive protection in the form of an exception for trade secrets, and individual employees can invoke the personal privacy exception. That wasn't enough for AT&T, whose lawyer told the court that a ruling for the FCC might lead to the release of embarrassing e-mails disparaging customers or government regulators.

For some purposes, corporations have been considered "persons" under the law. But AT&T's argument that that theory should be extended to grant "personal" privacy rights to companies is unpersuasive. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. offered several examples of situations in which a noun and the adjective based on its root had different meanings. "You have 'craft' and 'crafty,' " he said. "Totally different."

Orange County-California's Lil Arizona

Orange County officials decry hateful graffiti, threats to kill Jerry Brown L.A. NOW Los Angeles Times

Orange County officials are decrying a string of hateful graffiti, including some that threatened to kill Gov. Jerry Brown on Valentine's Day.

"Every community experiences some form of graffiti," said Anaheim Police Sgt. Rick Martinez, "but to see hateful messages like this is rare, especially when you're dealing with the message of killing added to religion, ethnicities and now aimed at a politician."

"It's more than just a little graffiti," said Rusty Kennedy, executive director of the Orange County Human Relations Committee. "This is graffiti that has the intent of terrifying and scaring a specific group of people. ... It's being targeted at people in an effort to pick them out and bully them."

In addition to the Jerry Brown graffiti, Orange County cities have seen a spate of graffiti calling on people to kill Catholics, blacks, Asians and Latinos in recent weeks.

Jack LaLanne, Fitness Pioneer, Dies At 96

Before Jazzercise, before spinning, before kettle bells, Pilates, Wii Fit, Zumba or the Shake Weight, there was Jack LaLanne. The seemingly tireless fitness guru who taught the world how to get in shape for nearly 80 years died on Sunday afternoon at his home in Morro Bay, California, due to respiratory failure resulting from pneumonia. He was 96.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Editorial Cartoon-LA Times

Visitors say L.A. is the rudest city in America. Do you agree?

Maybe it's all those frustrated people stuck on the freeways -– honking horns and flipping the bird. Or maybe it's the notoriously annoying lines through security and customs at LAX. Whatever the reason, visitors voted Los Angeles the rudest city in America, according to a recent Travel & Leisure magazine survey.

Yup, that's right. Ruder than New York.

Graffiti death threats made against Gov. Jerry Brown

The first reports came in early last week. Someone had scrawled a death threat to parishioners on the walkway of a Catholic church in Irvine. Just miles away in Anaheim, a similar message was painted on a sidewall at St. Boniface Catholic Church.

For two weeks, Orange County cities have seen a spate of graffiti calling on people to kill Catholics, blacks, Asians and Latinos. Then, on Thursday someone painted graffiti in Santa Ana threatening to kill Gov. Jerry Brown on Valentine's Day.

(Click on map to inlarge)

Arizona GOP to Vote on Earlier Presidential Primary

RealClearPolitics - Arizona GOP to Vote on Earlier Presidential Primary

Just when presidential political operatives were beginning to rejoice over the February start of the 2012 GOP presidential primary contests, Arizona is getting ready to throw a wrench in that plan.

The Arizona Republican Party is preparing to pass a resolution Saturday that would bump its primary date to February, when traditional early states like Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and now, Nevada, will hold their nominating contests. The move could touch off a scramble for the early states to go even earlier.

The Republican National Committee passed a new set of rules at its summer meeting in August that set up a tiered system for the primary process and would punish states that try to buck it. States other than the first four would suffer a penalty by holding contests before March 1, 2012.

But the Arizona GOP is willing to suffer the consequences.

"We should go early because we're a good bellwether of the country," Mecum said. "We're willing to break the rules to go early."

The resolution's language reflects that belief and suggests that Arizona's diverse population "deserves to play a meaningful role in the selection of the Republican Party's nominee in 2012." It goes on to note that the state's Republican voters "have a distinguished history of representing the best of Republican values" and calls on GOP Gov. Jan Brewer "to proclaim that Arizona's next presidential preference election shall occur on the first Tuesday in February of 2012."

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Limbaugh is an American embarrassment

CEO shake-up at Google: Page replaces Schmidt | Relevant Results - CNET News

Google shook up its ruling triumvirate today, announcing that CEO Eric Schmidt would be taking the role of executive chairman, while co-founder Larry Page will become CEO. Sergey Brin, who has also shared power with the two others, will work on "strategic projects," Google said.

Schmidt, who was hired by the co-founders to be Google's CEO in 2001, will focus on external partnerships and business deals starting on April 4, when Page will take over the day-to-day management role. Schmidt said in a blog post that Page, "in my clear opinion, is ready to lead."

Vegas Hosts Largest Gun Convention Since Tucson

U.S. Expands Crackdown on Employers of Illegal Workers

The Obama administration plans to intensify a crackdown on employers of illegal immigrants with the establishment of an audit office designed to bolster verification of company hiring records.

In an interview, John Morton, chief of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a unit of the Department of Homeland Security, said the Employment Compliance Inspection Center would "address a need to conduct audits even of the largest employers with a very large number of employees." The office would be announced Thursday, he said.

In the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2010, ICE conducted audits of more than 2,740 companies, nearly twice as many as the previous year. The agency levied a record $7 million in civil fines on businesses that employed illegal workers.

Enforcement activity during the Bush administration focused on high-profile raids in which thousands of illegal immigrants were arrested and placed in deportation proceedings. Relatively few companies and their executives were prosecuted.

In contrast, the Obama administration has made employers the center of its immigration policy with "silent raids." Critics say the policy has penalized small employers while failing to target larger employers.

The 10 Most Overlooked Tax Deductions

Don't overpay taxes by overlooking tax deductions. See the most common errors taxpayers make on their tax returns, so you don't make the same mistakes.

Update 2010: Get your share of more than $1 trillion in deductions

The most recent numbers from 2007 show that more than 48 million of us itemized deductions on our 1040s—claiming $1.26 trillion dollars’ worth of deductions. That’s right: $1,260,000,000,000! Another 92 million taxpayers claimed more than 699 trillion dollars’ worth of standard deductions. Some of those who took the easy way out probably shortchanged themselves. (If you turned age 65 in 2010, remember that you deserve a bigger standard deduction than younger folks.)

Here are our 10 most overlooked tax deductions. Claim them if you deserve them, and keep more money in your pocket.

(Click on link to view list)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Love this guy !

Health Care Repeal....Let the games begin !

Health Care Repeal Vote Passes House

WASHINGTON -- House Republicans voted unanimously on Wednesday to fully repeal health care reform, though Senate leaders have said they will not take up the lower chamber's bill. Instead, the fight will move to the less glamorous arenas of funding and rule writing. The vote was 245-189, with three Democrats -- Dan Boren (D-Okla.), Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), and Mike Ross (D-Ark.) -- voting for repeal.

The health care bill that the House would repeal allows parents to keep children on their health plans until the age of 26, bars insurers from denying service due to preexisting conditions, expands Medicaid funding dramatically and extends coverage to some 30 million uninsured Americans by 2019. It's the largest piece of social policy the Democratic Party has enacted in decades.

Arizona...Business as usual

WTF !...State senators get new wheels

State senators get new wheels [Updated] PolitiCal Los Angeles Times

It was the state Senate’s turn Tuesday to roll out its fleet of new cars purchased for lawmakers.

A week after The Times reported that the Assembly had spent $259,000 in taxpayer funds on new SUVs and other vehicles for themselves in the last year, the Senate released documents showing that its members have received four new cars costing a total of $155,900 in the last 12 months.

Sen. Tom Harman (R-Huntington Beach) received a 2010 Chrysler 300S costing $39,458, while newly elected Sen. Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles) is driving around in a 2011 Buick LaCrosse that cost $39,109.

The legislative cars are bought separately from the purchases in the main state vehicle fleet, which numbers 13,600 vehicles. Gov. Jerry Brown has called for the main fleet to be reduced.

At a time when the state is facing a $25-billion budget shortfall and is about to ask voters to approve more taxes, the purchase of the new cars for lawmakers has sparked criticism from Marcia Fritz, head of the the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility. "It looks like they are not looking hard enough for places to cut the budget," Fritz said, suggesting lawmakers should drive their personal cars and be reimbursed for mileage.

Compton elections:It's hard to let go of power !

Compton elections: Judge declines to delay the April primary and June general election -

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge has denied a request to delay Compton's municipal elections until a trial determines whether the city's at-large elections violate the civil rights of Latinos by diluting their voting power.

In a tentative ruling hashed out with attorneys Tuesday, Judge Ann I. Jones said the plaintiffs, three Latina residents, had not presented enough evidence to warrant postponing Compton's April primary and June general election. Jones said she would take the matter under submission, before issuing a definitive judgment within the week.

FULL SHOW: The Congresswoman and the Astronaut

GE is looking for new ideas

LAS VEGAS--General Electric today said the next phase of its $200 million entrepreneurship challenge will focus on home energy management.

GE at the Consumer Electronics Show said that the contest, called "Ecomagination Challenge: Powering Your Home," will begin January 18 and run through to March 1.

In July, GE launched the first phase of the contest with four venture capital companies to seek out business ideas for modernizing the grid from the general public. In November, it said it will provide grants or invest directly in several power grid-related companies, covering everything from way-out ideas such as solar-powered roadways to software to make data centers more efficient.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Eight States Running Out Of Homebuyers

1. Michigan
>Vacancy Rate: 15.98% (9th Worst)
>Unemployment: 12.4% (Tied for 2nd Worst)
>Population Change (2005-2010): -2.05% (Worst)

2. Nevada
> 2010 Foreclosures: 9.42% (Worst)
> Unemployment: 14.3% (Worst)
> Decrease in Building Permits 2006 to 2010: -84.39 (Worst)

3. Arizona
> Vacancy Rate: 17.3% (5th Worst)
> 2010 Foreclosures: 5.73% (2nd Worst)
> Decrease in Building Permits 2006 to 2010: -81.36% (4th Worst)

4. California
> 2010 Foreclosures: 4.08% (4th Worst)
> Unemployment: 12.4% (Tied for 2nd Worst)
> Decrease in Building Permits 2006 to 2010: -74.7% (6th Worst)

5. Illinois
> 2010 Foreclosures: 2.87% (9th Worst)
> Decrease in Building Permits 2006 to 2010: -81.32% (5th Worst)
> Population Change: 1.23% (8th Worst)

6. Georgia
> 2010 Foreclosures: 3.25% (6th Worst)
> Unemployment: 10% (9th Worst)
> Decrease in Building Permits 2006 to 2010: -82.29% (2nd Worst)

7. Oregon
> Unemployment: 10.6% (Tied for 5th Worst)
> Decrease in Building Permits 2006 to 2010: -74.08% (7th Worst)
> # of Listings With Price Reductions (Portland): 35% (Tied for 8th Worst Among 50 Largest US Cities)

8. Florida
> Vacancy Rate: 21.03% (2nd Worst)
> 2010 Foreclosures: 5.51% (3rd Worst)
> Decrease in Building Permits 2006 to 2010: -81.37% (3rd Worst)

Ay Sarah !

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sean Hannity

" I say why isn't Iraq paying us back with oil, and paying every American family and their soldiers that lost loved ones or have injured soldiers -- and why didn't they pay for their own liberation? For the Kuwait oil minister -- how short his memory is. You know, we have every right to go in there and frankly take all their oil and make them pay for the liberation."

(Click on link to view video)

Sarah Palin a Saint ?

Rudolf Elmer Hands Over Swiss Bank Account Details to WikiLeaks

Rudolf Elmer Hands Over Swiss Bank Account Details to WikiLeaks - ABC News

Former Swiss banker Rudolf Elmer handed over two computer discs detailing thousands of offshore bank accounts to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange today, claiming that they contain evidence of massive potential tax evasion and other potentially illegal activity by banks.

Standing next to Assange, Elmer said that he had tried to hand the data over to tax authorities and members of the media.

"WikiLeaks is my only hope to get society to know what's going on," Elmer said.

The discs are full of details about the Swiss bank accounts belonging to more than 2,000 American, European and Asian individuals and multinational companies, Elmer has said. Among them, are some 40 politicians, as well as business leaders, celebrities, organized crime leaders and three major financial institutions. One of those banks is Bank Julius Baer, the former employer of Elmer.

Ricky Gervais' funniest Golden Globes jokes

Haiti: Jean-Claude 'Baby Doc' Duvalier Returns from Exile - TIME

Haiti: Jean-Claude 'Baby Doc' Duvalier Returns from Exile - TIME

In the past 12 months, Haiti — already the western hemisphere's economic basket case — has suffered an epic earthquake that according to latest estimates killed more than 250,000 people and leveled the country's infrastructure, a cholera epidemic that has claimed thousands more lives and a powder-keg political crisis tied to the fraud-tainted Nov. 28 presidential election. (See pictures of Haiti's cholera outbreak.)

All the country needed now was the return of a brutal exiled dictator.

"I came to help my country," the 59-year-old former despot declared as some 2,000 of his supporters met him at the airport. But it's hard to imagine how Duvalier's reappearance, which Haitian officials insist took them by surprise, could do anything more than throw Haiti into even deeper turmoil as it tries to rebuild after last year's disaster. (See TIME's exclusive pictures from the Haiti earthquake.)

The question now is, Who if anyone in this standoff benefits from the sudden presence of Duvalier? Some Haitian pundits on Sunday said it might be meant to compel Préval to acquiesce to international demands to sacrifice Célestin. But it's hard to believe, even under Sarkozy, that France and the international community would stoop so low diplomatically as to encourage Duvalier to return to Haiti for that purpose. Others suggested that Duvalier's return instead gives Préval leverage by showing the international powers how much more turbulent things can get if they keep messing with the Haitian President. But again, could even Préval be cynical enough to open the door to one of the 20th century's most notorious dictators for that kind of political gain? Either way, sources close to Duvalier told reporters Sunday that he'd entered Haiti on a diplomatic passport — but if so, it was unclear which country had issued it to him. (See the early days of Baby Doc's life in exile in France.)

MLK Day Legacy of Service - 25th Anniversary

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Reince Priebus Elected RNC Chairman

OXON HILL, Md. — The national Republican Party, coming off huge election victories but facing a $22 million debt and an internal war over identity, ousted chairman Michael Steele Friday and chose Wisconsin party chief Reince Priebus to lead in the run-up to the 2012 presidential race.

The embattled Steele dropped his re-election bid halfway through an afternoon of balloting when it became clear he could not win another two-year term after a first marked by verbal missteps and financial woes.

The new chairman's name is pronounced Ryns Pree'-bus.

Friday, January 14, 2011

TGIF ! !...What a week all I can say is

Children !

WASHINGTON — Despite President Barack Obama's appeal for civility, history suggests any move toward cooler political rhetoric after the Arizona shootings will soon fade. An early test will come Jan. 25, when some lawmakers are asking Democrats and Republicans to sit side by side for Obama's State of the Union speech, rather than splitting the House chamber by party as usual.

Initial reactions to that idea on Capitol Hill were not encouraging, especially from the Republican side. A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said House members may "sit where they choose."

Sarah Palin To Headline Gun Rights Convention

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin recently announced plans to deliver a keynote speech later this month at a marquee gun rights event in Reno, Nevada.

Palin is set to speak at a Safari Club International convention on January 29, a gathering put on by a group that calls itself "the leader in protecting the freedom to hunt and promoting wildlife conservation worldwide."

Politico reports that Palin will address a sold-out crowd of 20,000 attendees from around the world with a speech based on "her past hunting experiences and how politics affect the current state of hunting and fishing," according to a Safari Club website.

Arizona Is Drowning in a Sea of Extremism | | AlterNet

Arizona Is Drowning in a Sea of Extremism AlterNet

The social fabric of Arizona seems to be deteriorating as fast as the state's population grows, driving the state to the brink of dysfunction. The shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killing of U.S. District Court Judge John Roll and several other innocent bystanders by a lone gunman have brought Arizona's crisis to the fore, prompting Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik to aptly declare Arizona "the mecca for prejudice and bigotry."......Click on link, worth the time !

Russian reporter claims Tucson shootings the result of American freedom « Hot Air

Russian reporter claims Tucson shootings the result of American freedom « Hot Air

“[M]any people outside would also say — and the quote, unquote “freedom” of a deranged mind to react in a violent way is also American.” Sitov called it “the reverse side of freedom, unless you want restriction, unless you want a bigger role for the government in their lives.”

“No, no, I would disagree vehemently with that,” shot back Gibbs. He went on with considerable force.

“There are — there is nothing in the values of our country, there’s nothing on the many laws on our books that would provide for somebody to impugn and impede on the very freedoms that you began with by exercising the actions that that individual took on that day. That is not American. There are — I think there’s agreement on all sides of the political spectrum: Violence is never, ever acceptable. We had people that died. We had people whose lives will be changed forever because of the deranged actions of a madman. Those are not American. Those are not in keeping with the important bedrock values by which this country was founded and by which its citizens live each and every day of their lives in hopes of something better for those that are here.”

Delincuentes mexicanos disparan a obreros de EU en la frontera con Texas

Delincuentes mexicanos disparan a obreros de EU en la frontera con Texas - CNNMé

CIUDAD JUÁREZ, Chihuahua (CNNMéxico) — Un grupo de trabajadores estadounidenses que realizaban labores de mantenimiento en carreteras y puentes en la zona fronteriza de Hudspeth, Texas, fueron atacados a tiros por parte de personas armadas que se encontraban de lado mexicano sin resultar heridos, informó el sheriff Arvin West.

Los trabajadores pertenecían al Departamento de Caminos y Carreteras del gobierno texano y explicaron que "un grupo de pistoleros que estaban de lado mexicano de la frontera en el Valle de Juárez dispararon sus armas de alto poder al momento en que realizaban obras de mantenimiento en la carpeta asfáltica", según dijo el responsable de la seguridad en el Condado de Hudspeth, ubicado a 25 millas al este de Forth Hancock, Texas.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Rush Limbaugh's Tucson Billboard (PHOTO)

Brazil flood deaths rise to 400; rescuers struggle

Rescue workers dug desperately for survivors on Thursday and struggled to reach areas cut off by raging floods and landslides that have killed at least 400 people in one of Brazil's deadliest natural disasters in decades.

Torrents of mud and water set off by heavy rains left a trail of destruction through the mountainous Serrana region near the city of Rio de Janeiro, toppling houses, buckling roads and burying entire families as they slept.

"It's like an earthquake struck some areas," said Jorge Mario, the mayor of the Teresopolis, where at least 175 people were killed in the flooding.

"There are three or four neighborhoods that were totally destroyed in rural areas. There are hardly any houses standing there and all the roads and bridges are destroyed."

The mudslides swept away the homes of rich and poor alike in and around Teresopolis and other towns, likely causing billions of dollars in damage. But the brunt of the disaster was borne by poorer rural residents in houses built in risky areas without formal planning permission.

A Message from Senator Franken

Gun sales rising in Arizona

South Korea Reportedly Buries 1.4 Million Pigs Alive To Combat Foot And Mouth Disease

South Korea's decision to bury 1.4 million pigs alive in an effort to curb the spread of the highly contagious foot and mouth disease (FMD) has sparked the ire of international animal activists.

According to reports, the first case of FMD -- which affects all cloven hoofed animals including pigs, goats and cattle -- was confirmed in November in Andong city of North Gyeongsang province, and has since spread quickly. Officials began embarking on a mass cull of roughly 12 percent of its swine population to combat the disease, primarily because it affects the nation's ability to export meat, Food Safety News is reporting.

As part of the process, officials are said to be piling the pigs on top of each other in large trucks, dumping thousands of them into mass graves, and burying them alive.

Where's the tears now John ?

John Boehner, House speaker, picks RNC cocktail party over Tucson, Arizona shooting memorial

House Speaker John Boehner is taking heat from some Democrats after skipping out on Wednesday's memorial service for the shooting victims in Arizona and instead hosting a cocktail party for the Republican National Committee.

The Ohio Republican turned down President Obama's invitation to travel on Air Force One to Tucson, Politico reported.

"It is disrespectful for Speaker Boehner to skip joining the President's and bipartisan congressional delegation to the Tucson Memorial so he could host a Washington D.C. cocktail party for RNC members," a Democratic leadership aide told the political website.

Which Is More "Gangsta," 50 Cent's Twitter Stock Pitch or Goldman's Facebook Deal?

Richard (RJ) Eskow: Which Is More "Gangsta," 50 Cent's Twitter Stock Pitch or Goldman's Facebook Deal?

Music was Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson's second career. News reports say he began dealing crack at the age of twelve, after the murder of his coke-dealer mother. Early tracks like "Ghetto Quran" and "How to Rob" reflect a brutal, street-hustling life, and Jackson has the bullet wounds to match. He's talented, wildly successful, and I sure wouldn't mess with him.

But when he starts mixing social media with pumped-up investment pitches, 50 Cent is moving into Goldman Sachs territory. "Fitty" reportedly earned millions for touting a stock on Twitter, without disclosing that he owned shares in the company. How does that stack up against Goldman's own social media deal with Facebook? When you move into the stock market, you're going where the real gangstas roll.

With 'Blood Libel,' The 2012 Campaign Has Begun

With 'Blood Libel,' The 2012 Campaign Has Begun

WASHINGTON -- Sarah Palin has just proven again that she has only one gear -- forward -- and only one mode -- attack.

The 2012 presidential campaign has begun, not in Iowa or New Hampshire, but in the bloody streets of Tucson.

After a litany of other Republicans, from Roger Ailes to Ari Fleischer, suggested that calmer rhetoric is warranted in the aftermath of Tucson, Palin -- after remaining essentially silent for three days -- amped up the rhetoric in a pointed counterattack, accusing "journalists and pundits" of manufacturing a "blood libel" against her by suggesting that she somehow is to blame for the toxic political atmosphere in Arizona.

There are few more freighted phrases in the history of hate than "blood libel," which is the ancient and false accusation that Jews secretly murder Christian children as part of their religious rituals.

This anti-Semitic attack has resulted in countless pogroms and massacres through the ages.

Saint Sarah, it seems, is now comparing herself to one of those martyrs.

What is wrong with us ?

Founder of 'Civility Project' Calls It Quits -

Just as Americans are debating whether untamed political rhetoric inspired the shooting of a congresswoman in Arizona, the founder of a project to promote civility in politics is calling it quits because only three elected members of Congress agreed to sign a rudimentary “Civility Pledge.”

Mark DeMoss, a Republican and a prominent evangelical Christian who runs a public relations firm in Atlanta, initiated in January 2009 because of alarm over what he saw as the increasingly vicious tone in American politics. He asked his friend, Lanny J. Davis, a Jewish Democrat and a lobbyist who worked for President Bill Clinton, to join the effort.

They sent out 585 letters asking every sitting governor and member of Congress to sign a pledge that said:

I will be civil in my public discourse and behavior.
I will be respectful of others whether or not I agree with them.
I will stand against incivility when I see it.

“The worst e-mails I received about the civility project were from conservatives with just unbelievable language about communists, and some words I wouldn’t use in this phone call,” he said. “This political divide has become so sharp that everything is black and white, and too many conservatives can see no redeeming value in any liberal or Democrat. That would probably be true about some liberals going the other direction, but I didn’t hear from them.”

Mr. DeMoss said he was not convinced that there is a link between vicious political attacks and violent acts, but he added, “Whether or not there’s violence, whether or not incivility today is worse than it’s been in history, it’s all immaterial. It’s worse than it ought to be.”