Thursday, June 30, 2011

YouTube - ‪Colbert: I Am a Super PAC!‬‏

YouTube - ‪Colbert: I Am a Super PAC!‬‏

Georgia Representative Rick Golick Rewrites History to defend Arizona-style anti-immigration law - Arizona Hispanic Republicans

Georgia Representative Rick Golick Rewrites History to defend Arizona-style anti-immigration law - Arizona Hispanic Republicans

Our immigration problem goes much deeper than lack of adequate enforcement. Our system simply hasn’t kept up with our demographics. The last major overhaul of immigration was in 1965, but since then far more Americans are well educated, our population has doubled, and our economy quintupled. Enforcement-only strategies will only cause hardship, not only for immigrants but businesses who have a hard time finding workers for low or unskilled jobs, particularly in agriculture, meat packing, and other hard physical work. The unfolding economic disaster in Georgia’s agriculture industry underlines that enforcement only will not work.

Humana won't hire smokers in Arizona - USATODAY.com

Humana won't hire smokers in Arizona - USATODAY.com

The health insurer said Wednesday that it will no longer hire workers in Arizona who smoke or use other tobacco products, part of a trend of employers who are cracking down on tobacco use among workers.

To enforce the tobacco ban that starts Friday, Humana will test new employees for nicotine use during a pre-employment urine drug screen.

Humana representatives say it makes sense for a company in the health-care field to lead by example. Smoking's harmful effects on human health are well-documented, and Humana seeks to promote health and wellness — starting with its workers.

Are WE, caught in the middle of this pissing contest ? ?

'Slash And Burn': Chuck Schumer Accuses Republicans Of Sabotaging The Economy To Hurt Obama

Republicans may be slowing the recovery on purpose to hurt President Obama's reelection chances in 2012, Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer said in a speech on Thursday.

The speech made explicit a message Democrats have been hinting at for weeks: Republicans are hurting the recovery with their focus on spending cuts, and it may be an attempt to slow "down the recovery on purpose for political gain in 2012."

"Now it is becoming clear that insisting on a slash-and-burn approach may be part of this plan -- and it has a double-benefit for Republicans," Schumer (D-N.Y.) said. "It is ideologically tidy and it undermines the economic recovery, which they think only helps them in 2012."

As proof, Schumer referenced remarks by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who said last year his main aim was to make Obama a one-term president.

Stephen Colbert takes case for Super PAC to FEC - CBS News

Stephen Colbert takes case for Super PAC to FEC - CBS News

Stephen Colbert delights in lampooning politicians on his Comedy Central show, but he plans to raise some serious issues about public disclosure of corporate campaign contributions before the Federal Election Commission on Thursday.

Colbert, who plays a conservative TV pundit on "The Colbert Report," wants to launch Colbert Super PAC, a type of political action committee that would allow him to raise unlimited amounts of money from corporations, unions and individuals to support or oppose candidates in the 2012 elections through independent expenditures such as TV ads.

Why is Congress a millionaires club? - Political Hotsheet - CBS News

Why is Congress a millionaires club? - Political Hotsheet - CBS News

The evidence is clear: Americans overwhelmingly disapprove of Congress and don't believe their representatives share their priorities.

There's plenty of room for debate over whether Congress shares voters' priorities on political and policy issues. But when it comes to personal priorities, at least, voters have good reason to be skeptical of Congress. Most members of Congress simply don't share in the average American experience.

National unemployment has lingered above 8 percent for longer than 28 straight months. Congress, meanwhile, is a club that consists of 245 millionaires. Based on 2009 data, there are currently 66 in the Senate and 179 in the House (among current voting members). So while just 1 percent of Americans are millionaires, 66 percent of senators are millionaires, as are 41 percent of House members

Senate to skip vacation to work on deficit reduction - CNN.com

Senate to skip vacation to work on deficit reduction - CNN.com

The Senate will forgo its scheduled recess for the week of July 4 to work on cutting the deficit, Sen. Harry Reid said Thursday.

Both parties are trying to strike a deal on raising the federal government's current $14.3 trillion debt ceiling by the start of August.

President Barack Obama has urged leaders of both parties to negotiate in good faith to reach a deal.

"This is urgent," he said Wednesday.

Top economic analysts have warned of potentially catastrophic repercussions if the ceiling is not raised by August 2, including skyrocketing interest rates and a plummeting U.S. dollar.

Skype for Android gets video calling | The Digital Home - CNET News

Skype for Android gets video calling | The Digital Home - CNET News

Video chatting has made its way to Skype's Android app, the VoIP provider announced today.

Video is extremely important in the Skype ecosystem. At any given time, there are 30 million concurrent users on Skype, according to Skype vice president and general manager of product and marketing, Neil Stevens. At its peak, Skype sees 500,000 simultaneous video calls across its service.

When users download the free Skype for Android 2.0, they'll find that they can place or receive video calls with owners of other Android handsets, as well as those who use the platform on their iPhone, Mac, Windows PC, or television. According to Skype, users can have video chats over both Wi-Fi and 3G.

As Profits Rise at BigLaw, Pro Bono Plunges - Law Blog - WSJ

As Profits Rise at BigLaw, Pro Bono Plunges - Law Blog - WSJ

It’s the stuff of cynicism.

Many corporate law firms justifiably tout their commitment to providing free legal aid to the poor.

But last year, as AmLaw 100 firms enjoyed solid profitability growth overall, their pro bono output declined.

Many lawyers, it appears, were too busy representing paying clients to counsel non-paying ones. That is the conclusion drawn by the American Lawyer magazine in its just-released July pro-bono issue, which can be viewed (click on link to view).

Charity was in relatively short supply last year, according to AmLaw, which reports a 10.8% decline in the average number of hours lawyers at the 100 highest-grossing law firms spent on pro bono work. The plunge reverses a decade of steady growth in pro bono output among those firms.

“The fact is that associates do the heavy pro bono lifting at big firms, and those [associates] who survived the recession layoffs found themselves loaded up with paid work in last year’s turnaround,” said AmLaw editor Robin Sparkman.

Jerry Brown vetoes farmworkers' bill - latimes.com

Jerry Brown vetoes farmworkers' bill - latimes.com

Reporting from Sacramento -- Gov. Jerry Brown, whose signature more than three decades ago gave agricultural workers the right to unionize by secret ballot, vetoed a bill Tuesday that would have made it easier for farm laborers to organize.

The proposal has been the top legislative goal for years for the United Farm Workers, whose founder, Cesar Chavez, had strong ties to Brown. It would have allowed the union to bargain for employees without holding an election — by simply collecting signatures from a majority of workers on cards saying they wanted representation.

TSA’s machine mentality: If you don't like it, don't fly [Most commented] - latimes.com

TSA’s machine mentality: If you don't like it, don't fly [Most commented] - latimes.com

The Transportation Security Administration's invasive pat-downs and daunting full-body scanners remove human judgment from airport security, Op-Ed columnist Jonah Goldberg argues Tuesday. One of the latest such lapses was when 95-year-old Jean Weber, dying of leukemia, was reportedly asked by a TSA agent to remove her adult diaper during a body search. Goldberg also cites the example of Drew Mandy, a 29-year-old mentally disabled man who was forced to throw away the 6-inch plastic toy hammer he had been carrying for the last 20 years.

Readers are likening the United States to a police state, blaming conservatives for getting us in this "hyper-secure" but terribly flawed mess. A few, however, are saying that those who don't want to deal with security should stay out of the air.

GOP presidential race is beginning to sort itself out - latimes.com

Doyle McManus: GOP presidential race is beginning to sort itself out - latimes.com

A few weeks ago, the race for the Republican presidential nomination was a jumble of candidates, none of whom seemed to be winning the party's hearts or minds: Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich. For a moment, some GOP voters even pinned their hopes on pizza magnate Herman Cain, mostly because he didn't sound — or look — like the others.

But now, if you talk with Republican political professionals, the GOP race has suddenly settled into a contest among only two or three potential nominees.

There's Romney, still the front-runner, stolidly running a cautious and conventional campaign.

There's Michele Bachmann, the "tea party" insurgent, who jumped into the first tier with a crisp performance at the June 13 debate in New Hampshire.

And waiting in the wings, there's Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, who is considering a run for the White House.

Univision: Randy Falco named CEO of Univision - latimes.com

Univision: Randy Falco named CEO of Univision - latimes.com

Univision Communications Inc. has installed veteran television executive Randy Falco as its new chief executive, with the task of capitalizing on the growth of the U.S. Latino population to steer the Spanish-language media company into the mainstream.

During the last year, Univision patched up its relationship and extended its partnership with Grupo Televisa and restructured its debt. Now the New York company is looking to capture a larger audience by expanding its digital offerings and perhaps even reaching out to English-speaking viewers.

"We are absolutely looking at that," Falco said. "But we are going to experiment with what our audience will allow. Over time we will assess what appetite our audience has for English on Univision."

Internet sales tax: Online retailers to start collecting sales taxes in California - latimes.com

Internet sales tax: Online retailers to start collecting sales taxes in California - latimes.com

Shopping at Amazon.com Inc. and other major Internet stores is poised to get more expensive.

Beginning Friday, a new state law will require large out-of-state retailers to collect sales taxes on purchases that their California customers make on the Internet — a prospect eased only slightly by a 1-percentage-point drop in the tax that also takes effect at the same time.

But those taxes may come with a price. Amazon and online retailer Overstock.com Inc. told thousands of California Internet marketing affiliates that they will stop paying commissions for referrals of so-called click-through customers.

Both Amazon in Seattle and Overstock in Salt Lake City have told affiliates that they would have to move to another state if they wanted to continue earning commissions for referring customers.

405 closure: LAPD seeks celebrities' Twitter help to put out word on 405 closure - latimes.com

405 closure: LAPD seeks celebrities' Twitter help to put out word on 405 closure - latimes.com

The Los Angeles Police Department on Wednesday said it has requested that celebrities with large Twitter followings —actors, musicians and professional athletes — send out messages helping authorities get the word out. Officials want the celebrities not only to urge their followers to avoid a 10-mile stretch of the roadway the weekend of July 15 but to encourage them to stay close to home.

The LAPD said it is making contact with representatives for Lady Gaga (nearly 11.3 million followers), Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore (7 million and 3.7 million respectively) and Kim Kardashian ( 8 million followers). None of the celebrities have sent out warning tweets yet, but officials hope they will do so closer to the closure dates.

"The whole idea is just to re-message the theme of avoiding the 405 area and that it's going to be a mess if people don't stay away," said Lt. Andy Neiman, an LAPD spokesman. "The other message is to take advantage of this weekend to shop, meet some neighbors you never met before, finish that home improvement project you never got around to finishing or have a block party."

Milwaukee schools to lay off 354 teachers - CNN.com

Milwaukee schools to lay off 354 teachers - CNN.com

In a budget-cutting move likely to be echoed around the country, Milwaukee Public Schools said Wednesday it will lay off 519 staff members -- including 354 teachers -- because of $84 million in state cuts and the system's efforts to control costs.

Superintendent Gregory Thornton also said schools will likely see larger class sizes and the continued use of older textbooks. The state budget cut means $200 less per child, officials said.

The layoffs are effective Friday, the beginning of the third quarter, when cash-strapped state and local governments are forecast to shed up to 110,000 jobs, according to IHS Global Insight.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Joe Lieberman, Tom Coburn Plan To Slash Medicare Gets Cold Reception

Joe Lieberman, Tom Coburn Plan To Slash Medicare Gets Cold Reception

A new plan unveiled by Sens. Joe Lieberman and Tom Coburn to slash costs in Medicare is getting a cold reception on Capitol Hill.

The new effort aimed at bridging the partisan divide over debt reduction aims to cut more than $640 billion from Medicare over the next 10 years, largely by raising deductibles and other costs for beneficiaries.

It would require wealthier Americans to pay the full cost of their Medicare premiums, raise the eligibility age to from 65 to 67, create a minimum out-of-pocket deductible of $550 and raise premiums, among other changes.

In return for paying more and giving up benefits, seniors would get a cap on out-of-pocket expenses at $7,500 to ensure bankruptcy was less of a threat.

Walmart Stores Cutting Gas Prices By 10 Cents For 3 Months

Walmart Stores Cutting Gas Prices By 10 Cents For 3 Months

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is cutting gas prices by 10 cents a gallon for three months to help consumers worried about their spending amid a sputtering economy and busy summer travel season.

"Our customers have told us that high gas prices are a top budget concern, nearly as large an expense to their households as food and groceries," Chief Marketing Officer Stephen Quinn said in a statement.

Wal-Mart is well aware that rising gas prices and other household costs are squeezing shoppers' budgets, reporting at its annual shareholders meeting earlier this month that shoppers appear to be focusing on groceries and little else.

Latino Education: The Key Role of Parents | PowerfulLatinas.com | PowerfulLatinas.com#comment-229

Latino Education: The Key Role of Parents | PowerfulLatinas.com | PowerfulLatinas.com#comment-229

Six children who were crammed into a small home, who didn’t have private bedrooms, or desks, or even typewriters (forget computers). Six children who didn’t drive cars and didn’t dress in fancy clothes.

The family was barely surviving, doing the best they could in Pasadena, California, far from their native base of support. Sounds like the classic profile of immigrant families so far.

Yet this is who the children were, from eldest to youngest: (1) the school’s valedictorian and Student Government President who won a scholarship to UC Berkeley, (2) Senior Class President, star athlete, and another scholarship winner, (3) Class Officer, honor student, and member of the editorial staff of the school’s publications, (4) cheerleader and honor student,…and so on.

To a person, the six children distinguished themselves, were highly popular and respected on campus, and they all went to college. They defied the odds

Medicare Proposal Could Stress Strapped Seniors : Shots - Health Blog : NPR

Medicare Proposal Could Stress Strapped Seniors : Shots - Health Blog : NPR

Can seniors afford to pay more for Medicare?

Medicare patients would pay more — in some cases much more — under a bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate today. But can they really afford it?

Sens. Tom Coburn (R-OK) Joe Lieberman (I-CT) say the savings to be realized from their bill would both help reduce the nation's debt and shore up Medicare's shaking financial situation.

Among other things their bill would combine the current separate deductibles for Medicare's Part A (hospital and inpatient care) and Part B (physician and outpatient care) into one single deductible. Because so few Medicare patients actually use hospital care each year, that would have the effect of raising out-of pocket spending for the majority of people on the program.

San Francisco: The city's latest silly notion is to ban sales of pets - latimes.com

San Francisco: The city's latest silly notion is to ban sales of pets - latimes.com

Honestly, it's not that we go out of our way to razz San Francisco as the home of nutty ideas. It's just that lately, the city has been making it hard to do otherwise, giving unexpectedly serious consideration to a series of odd proposals: The November ballot measure that would ban male circumcision of children, which isn't expected to pass. The Happy Meal ban, which did pass. And now, the goldfish ban.

Actually, it's not just a goldfish ban. The measure being pushed by San Francisco's Animal Control and Welfare Commission would ban all sales of all pets: kittens, snakes, hamsters, goldfish. Rats!

Common thread present in immigration law challenges - CNN.com

Common thread present in immigration law challenges - CNN.com

Anti-illegal immigration measures have been passed in Arizona, Utah, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Alabama. Parts of those laws have been suspended in four of those states, pending resolutions to the lawsuits. The American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama has vowed to file a lawsuit against the immigration law in that state, which is slated to go into effect in September. The ACLU has also said it will challenge the South Carolina law.

Some parts included in all four of the laws that have been challenged have been struck down in those states.

One measure that has met challenges at every turn has been the one allowing police to inquire about immigration status when questioning suspects. Opponents have said that this will lead to racial profiling, and federal judges have agreed.

Under the Georgia law, police are allowed to inquire about immigration status when questioning suspects in certain criminal investigations. A federal judge blocked that provision.

The Arizona law stipulated that police officers have the authority to check a person's immigration status if officers have a "reasonable suspicion" that the individual is in the country illegally. That, too, was blocked by a federal judge, and upheld by a three-judge panel at the appeals level.

California lawmakers pass budget deal - CNN.com

California lawmakers pass budget deal - CNN.com

The deal, brokered by the governor and Democratic leaders over Republican objections, calls for massive cuts: $5 billion to health and human services, $1 billion to the corrections department, $650 million to the University of California system, another $650 million to the California State University system and hundreds of millions to the court system, officials said.

Brown warned it contains "tough decisions," but said "we have a very good plan for the budget."

The proposal also assumes $4 billion in additional revenue from a rebounding economy. That estimate is based on the state seeing that amount of additional revenue in the fiscal year ending this month, Brown said.

But if the recession-stressed economy falters and those revenues don't materialize over the next year, additional cuts will be enforced -- including eliminating a week from the school year and cutting the state funding for local school busing programs, according to Alicia Trost, press secretary for Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

J&J Recall Watch: Extra-Strength Tylenol Pulled Due to Smell - Health Blog - WSJ

J&J Recall Watch: Extra-Strength Tylenol Pulled Due to Smell - Health Blog - WSJ

Johnson & Johnson can’t seem to shake the “musty, moldy odor” that has prompted a series of product recalls.

Today it was Extra-Strength Tylenol caplets. J&J’s McNeil Consumer Healthcare division is pulling one lot, or 60,912 bottles, of the painkiller in the U.S. following “a small number of odor reports.” The smell has been linked to trace amounts of a chemical that’s a byproduct of a preservative sometimes applied to wooden pallets used in storage and transportation. It’s not toxic but can cause GI upset.

It’s also been blamed for stinking up the antipsychotic Risperdal, HIV/AIDS drug Prezista, different types of Tylenol and two lots of the anti-epilepsy drug Topamax.

Congress pays $6.1 million in bonuses as it debates spending cuts - CNN.com

Congress pays $6.1 million in bonuses as it debates spending cuts - CNN.com

Members of both political parties reported bonuses, though Democrats outspent Republicans, with up to $3.1 million in staff bonuses compared with $908,000 for GOP members. The remaining $2.1 million CNN found was disbursed by committees. Committee spokesmen did not respond or were not able to delineate between Democratic and Republican staff members.

Staff bonuses are not a new phenomenon on Capitol Hill, but only in the past year and a half have salaries and other House expenses been released in a single online report.

The bonuses come as lawmakers on all sides demand spending cuts and belt-tightening from government. The millions in bonuses are a tiny fraction of the roughly $1.5 trillion deficit, but are a symbol of congressional spending at a time of economic struggle.

Wyoming House Provides Business Haven For 2,000 Companies

Wyoming House Provides Business Haven For 2,000 Companies

A Reuters investigation has found the house at 2710 Thomes Avenue serves as a little Cayman Island on the Great Plains. It is the headquarters for Wyoming Corporate Services, a business-incorporation specialist that establishes firms which can be used as "shell" companies, paper entities able to hide assets.

Wyoming Corporate Services will help clients create a company, and more: set up a bank account for it; add a lawyer as a corporate director to invoke attorney-client privilege; even appoint stand-in directors and officers as high as CEO. Among its offerings is a variety of shell known as a "shelf" company, which comes with years of regulatory filings behind it, lending a greater feeling of solidity.

YouTube - Bachmann: Flake Question

YouTube - Bachmann: Flake Question

Michele Bachmann: Review minimum wage - Alexander Burns - POLITICO.com

Michele Bachmann: Review minimum wage - Alexander Burns - POLITICO.com

Michele Bachmann left the door open to cutting the minimum wage in an interview Tuesday morning, telling ABC's "Good Morning America" that "all regulations" should be subject to review — and elimination.

George Stephanopoulos asked Bachmann to back up a proposal she floated in 2005, when she said taking "away the minimum wage ... could potentially wipe out unemployment because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level."

Continue Reading

Bachmann didn't exactly defend that idea, but she didn't back away from it either, telling Stephanopoulos: "What I'm saying is that I think we need to look at all regulations. Whatever ones are inhibiting job growth."

Asked if "the minimum wage is one of them," Bachmann was noncommittal, repeating that "all regulations" ought to be on the chopping block.

Bachmann's minimum wage remarks are only the beginning of a massive quote file from her time in Congress and the Minnesota legislature. And the stronger she looks in the GOP primaries, the harder it will be for Bachmann to keep sidestepping questions about controversial statements like this one.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Janeane Garofalo Talks Tea Party, Larry Sanders Show & Jason Bateman With Keith Olbermann (VIDEO)

Janeane Garofalo Talks Tea Party, Larry Sanders Show & Jason Bateman With Keith Olbermann (VIDEO)

Another candidate bites the dust ?

Herman Cain Frustrated by ‘Nitpicky Reporters’ and ‘Idiotic’ Press Corps - The Note

At one point during a speech Friday to a ‘Right to Life’ convention in Jacksonville, Florida, he said some “nitpicky reporters” were going to call him out about his historical knowledge and then later he said during his speech “My challenge to you is, we cannot just push back, we have got to fight back. It’s that serious” followed by “now another reporter is going to say ‘he’s advocating violence’” – and went on to explain that he people need to fight with their voices and votes.

On Wednesday at a campaign stop in Iowa Falls, Iowa, the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO called reporters “idiotic” for taking him seriously about only signing three page bills.

Last weekend after a speech at the RightOnline Conference in Minneapolis, Cain raised his voice when responding to a reporter’s follow-up question about his stance on appointing Muslims to his cabinet.

“If you’re trying to make me lose my cool, you’ve almost succeeded,” Cain said, before yelling, “I never said I would use any special precautions” when appointing a Muslim to his cabinet

Robert Creamer: GOP Willing to Create Economic Catastrophe to Protect Tax Loopholes for CEO's Who Fly Corporate Jets

Robert Creamer: GOP Willing to Create Economic Catastrophe to Protect Tax Loopholes for CEO's Who Fly Corporate Jets

Last week Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor walked out of the negotiations aimed at preventing America from defaulting on its debt and pushing the country back into economic free fall. What was the impass that lead him to take such a "principled" and risky stand?

The Republican leadership refuses to even discuss eliminating tax loopholes for CEO's who fly corporate jets.

That's right, the GOP - that claims to stand up for the everyday Tea Party activist - is willing to risk the jobs of millions of Americans because they won't give an inch when it comes to massive tax benefits for the wealthy.

Instead, the Republicans have proposed eliminating Medicare and raising annual out-of-pocket health care costs for seniors - who have an average annual income of $19,000 a year - by $6,000 per person.

Foreclosed homes: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac hold summer clearance sales - latimes.com

Foreclosed homes: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac hold summer clearance sales - latimes.com

Looking for a deal where the home seller pledges in advance to contribute potentially thousands of dollars to your closing costs? If so, check out the summer sale terms available from two of the largest and most motivated sellers of foreclosed homes in the country — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Fannie and Freddie both are offering to pay up to 3.5% of the price of the house toward buyers' closing costs, plus they'll hand over a bonus of $1,200 to participating real estate agents. Fannie's program covers properties on which contracts are accepted and close no later than Oct. 31. Freddie's sale requires contracts no later than July 31 and closings by Sept. 30.

Fannie's program even offers mortgage money to help finance these purchases, sometimes with as little as a 3% down payment.

Illegal immigration: Government alters Secure Communities deportations - latimes.com

Illegal immigration: Government alters Secure Communities deportations - latimes.com

In response, U.S. Homeland Security officials announced Friday that the department had issued new guidelines in an effort to stop immigration officers from deporting people who were arrested while reporting a crime, or who were witnesses in a potential criminal investigation or trial. The guidelines also give prosecutors more discretion on whom to deport.

The White House, which has rejected Republican charges that it is too lax on immigration enforcement, also has been attacked in recent months by traditional political allies — Democratic governors of Massachusetts, New York and President Obama's home state of Illinois, as well as some Democrats in Congress.

Republicans seek to roll back discretion in immigration cases - latimes.com

Republicans seek to roll back discretion in immigration cases - latimes.com

Smith's bill, called the HALT Act, would strip the administration's power to defer deportation of immigration violators, grant work authorization or grant temporary protected status to immigrants who are fleeing a disaster.

The bill is aimed only at the Obama administration: In the proposed legislation, the executive powers would be restored at the end of this presidential term.

"Because of the Obama administration's record, it cannot be trusted with these powers," said Smith in a letter dated June 23 encouraging other House members to sponsor the bill with him.

The bill has little chance of becoming law. Even if the bill passed the House, it probably would not pass the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Ridiculous ?

TSA stands by officers after pat-down of elderly woman in Florida - CNN.com

Sunday, June 26, 2011

If Georgia Drives Away Immigrant Workers, Will Its Economy Suffer? | Mother Jones

If Georgia Drives Away Immigrant Workers, Will Its Economy Suffer? | Mother Jones

Republican Gov. Nathan Deal—who spearheaded the immigration crackdown and put the issue at the heart of his 2010 campaign—has put a few potential solutions on the table, including a dubious-sounding proposal that my colleague Lauren Ellis covered earlier this month in which farmers would hire 2,000 unemployed convicts who are free on probation to work on the farms instead.

The dilemma facing Georgia's largest industry makes it clear that state legislators didn't think through the serious ramifications of their sweeping new immigration law. Like it or not, immigrants are an integral part of the workforce in Georgia, as elsewhere, and simply trying to cast them out without making further adjustments to the labor market and economy can have unintended consequences.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Bill would freeze Obama admin's power to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants - TheHill.com

Bill would freeze Obama admin's power to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants - TheHill.com

The Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee is crafting a bill that would temporarily freeze the Obama administration’s power to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants.

The measure is in response to a memo issued by the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) last week that approved a broader breadth of discretion for agency officials when considering whether to deport someone through the Secure Communities program.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), who is sponsoring the legislation, blasted the memo. He said that under the new guidelines ICE agents could defer the deportations of “millions of deportable illegal and criminal immigrants.”

Libya Resolution: House Rejects Measures To Authorize Libya Mission, Cut Off Funding

Libya Resolution: House Rejects Measures To Authorize Libya Mission, Cut Off Funding

Challenging presidential power, a defiant U.S. House voted overwhelmingly Friday to deny President Barack Obama the authority to wage war against Libya. But Republicans fell short in an effort to actually cut off funds for the operation in a constitutional showdown reflecting both political differences and unease over American involvement.

In a repudiation of their commander in chief, House members rejected a measure to authorize the Libya mission for a year while prohibiting U.S. ground forces in the North African nation, a resolution Obama had said he would welcome.

The vote was 295-123 with 70 Democrats abandoning the president just one day after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had made an unusual appeal to rank-and-file members.

Tea Party Splits On Libya Funding In House Vote

Tea Party Splits On Libya Funding In House Vote

"We have no congressional authorization for military action in Libya, but our brilliant GOP leadership did not cut off funding," wrote Judson Phillips on a blog for one group, Tea Party Nation. "Could they possibly be any more gutless?"

Stephen Colbert To Take On The FEC

Stephen Colbert To Take On The FEC

Comedy Central's tongue-in-cheek commentator Stephen Colbert is expected to raise serious questions at next week's meeting of the Federal Election Commission.

"The Colbert Report" star is launching a political action committee, Colbert Super Pac, which will allow him to raise unlimited amounts of money from corporations, unions and individuals so he can support causes and candidates heading toward the 2012 elections.

When the FEC meets on June 30, Colbert plans to ask whether airtime and other costs associated with his show would need to be publicly disclosed as in-kind contributions from Comedy Central's parent company, Viacom Inc., when he talks about Colbert Super PAC on the show itself.

"The Colbert Report" has lampooned campaign finance rules in the wake of a Supreme Court that paved the way for super PACs.

Journalist Reveals He Is an Illegal Immigrant | Video - ABC News

Journalist Reveals He Is an Illegal Immigrant | Video - ABC News

Law defunding Ind. Planned Parenthood blocked - CBS News

Law defunding Ind. Planned Parenthood blocked - CBS News

The state of Indiana is not allowed to cut off most of Planned Parenthood's state and federal public funding solely because the organization also provides abortions, a federal judge said Friday in blocking part of the state's tough new abortion law.


U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt granted Planned Parenthood of Indiana's request for preliminary injunction on the state's move to defund the organization. Her ruling sides with federal officials who said states cannot disqualify Medicaid providers merely because they also offer abortions or restrict Medicaid recipients' freedom to choose their health care provider.

Kan. abortion clinic denied license, may close - CBS News

Kan. abortion clinic denied license, may close - CBS News

A Kansas City area clinic has been denied a state license that would allow it to continue performing abortions and will probably close, the clinic's attorney said Friday.


Kansas enacted a law earlier this year establishing a special licensing process for abortion providers, and the state's three abortion clinics must either get licenses or stop offering the procedure on July 1.


An attorney for the Aid for Women clinic said it received a notice that its application for a license had been denied by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment without an inspection, and she was looking at its legal options. But Cheryl Pilate also said the clinic would have to close, at least temporarily.

Peter Falk, TV's "Columbo," is dead at 83 - Celebrity Circuit - CBS News

Peter Falk, TV's "Columbo," is dead at 83 - Celebrity Circuit - CBS News

A family spokesman confirmed to CBS News that actor Peter Falk died at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif., Thursday night. He was 83.

China's "Born in the USA" Frenzy - TIME

China's "Born in the USA" Frenzy - TIME

Giving birth to a child abroad is not a privilege reserved to the stars and the very wealthy. An increasing number of expectant middle-class parents also fancy giving their children passports that they can feel proud of. "The return on investment is higher than robbing a bank," the consultancy agent tells women such as Liu. When Chinese children are born in America, they automatically become U.S. citizens. Once they reach 21, their parents will be able to apply for green cards and emigrate.

Those who would prefer a closer destination can go to Hong Kong, whose passport gives access to more than 120 countries without the need of a visa. Advantages include the fact that children will receive bilingual education (which will give them a foothold in the international world), and the fact that they will also enjoy the preferential policies for going to Chinese universities.

New York governor signs same-sex marriage bill into law - CNN.com

New York governor signs same-sex marriage bill into law - CNN.com

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the state's marriage equality bill hours after it passed the Republican-controlled Senate on Friday night, making it the sixth state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage.

Cuomo said it would grant same-sex couples equal rights to marry "as well as hundreds of rights, benefits and protections that are currently limited to married couples of the opposite sex."

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Associated Press: US judge blocks state's new immigration law

The Associated Press: US judge blocks state's new immigration law

A federal judge blocked parts of the state of Indiana's new immigration law Friday, saying the law was the latest failed effort of states to deal with a primarily federal issue.

U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker granted a request for an injunction blocking two provisions of the law, which was approved this year by Republicans who control the Statehouse.

Barker wrote in the ruling that Indiana's law — as well as laws enacted in several other states — is an attempt to deal with what is seen as a failure of the federal government to deal with illegal immigration. She said the two provisions of Indiana's effort to deal with immigration "have proven to be seriously flawed and generally unsuccessful."

TGIF: Psst ! time to forget the BS, and have some fun tonight =D

Google Antitrust Inquiry: Microsoft's History Looms Large

Google Antitrust Inquiry: Microsoft's History Looms Large

Is Google the next Microsoft?

The question, which has been asked most often in regard to Google's ability to innovate, takes on new significance amid reports that the Federal Trade Commission is on the cusp of launching a wide-ranging antitrust investigation into the Internet company.

Exactly two decades after the FTC launched an inquiry into Microsoft's competitive practices, opening up a slew of regulatory actions, the Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, reports the FTC is now preparing to serve Google with subpoenas and will probe whether the company has abused its dominance in the search market to unfairly promote its own services at the expense of rival offerings.

A Google spokesperson declined to comment on the reports.

Robert Benmosche, CEO Of Bailed-Out AIG, Calls For Self-Regulation (VIDEO)

Robert Benmosche, CEO Of Bailed-Out AIG, Calls For Self-Regulation (VIDEO)

In the aftermath of the financial crisis, American International Group was bailed out by the federal government. But evidently, that truth hasn't stopped their current CEO from arguing that the company should be allowed to regulate itself.

Libya Resolution: House Rejects Measure To Authorize Libya Mission In Rebuke To Obama

Libya Resolution: House Rejects Measure To Authorize Libya Mission In Rebuke To Obama

The House has voted down a measure giving President Barack Obama the authority to continue the U.S. military action against Libya.

The vote was 295-123 on Friday. The congressional action has no immediate effect on American involvement but represents a repudiation of the commander in chief.

The vote marks the first time since 1999 that either House has voted against a military operation. The last time was over President Bill Clinton's authority in the Bosnian war.

Young Latinos Want To Consume Bilingual Content | NewsTaco

Young Latinos Want To Consume Bilingual Content | NewsTaco

A new study found that Latino youth, meaning ages 14-34, like consuming content in bilingual, bicultural ways. “The Maximo Report” was sponsored by the network Tr3s, Motivo Insights, LLC and the New Generation Latino Consortium and had some interesting findings. I think what sticks out the most to me is the fact that young Latinos, my generation, don’t want to have to choose an either/or identity — Latino or “American” — but rather, they want to have both.

Latino officials see big Hispanic vote in 2012 - CNN.com

Latino officials see big Hispanic vote in 2012 - CNN.com

The largest gathering of Latino elected officials in the United States projects a record number of Hispanic voters in next year's election.

The National Association of Elected and Appointed Officials kicked off Thursday with the release of the groups' projections of Latino participation in the 2012 elections. The group expects 12.2 million Hispanic Americans will go to the polls, which would be an increase of 25% from 2008.

Orange County census: Orange County remains a bastion of conservative family values - latimes.com

Orange County census: Orange County remains a bastion of conservative family values - latimes.com

Orange County, home to 3 million people, has the lowest percentage of single-parent households of any county in Southern California, according to a Times analysis of U.S. Census Bureau figures, as well as the lowest percentage of households occupied by opposite-sex unmarried couples.

"Change is happening, just at a slower pace," said Edward Flores, the project manager with the population dynamics research group at USC.

The result is a pervasive sense of tradition in some pockets of the county — which certainly exists in other areas of the region, but exists more in Orange County, proportionally and statistically speaking.

Problems with CA405frwy closure

Los Angeles News, Southern California News - L.A. NOW - latimes.com

There hasn’t been sufficient efforts to ensure hospital employees will be able to get to work in a timely or predictable fashion during the closure, a problem that could seriously endanger patients, said Posie Carpenter, chief administrative officer at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center.

Carpenter was one of about 100 people who attended a community meeting on the closure held at the Skirball Cultural Center in West Los Angeles.

The freeway will be closed for 53 hours beginning the evening of July 15 and ending early July 18 to allow crews to demolish the south side of the Mulholland Drive Bridge. They will then spend about 11 months doing bridge reconstruction on the south side, and after that they will demolish the north side of the bridge -- which will require another extended freeway closure.

DETAILS: See planned closure and alternative routes

The affected area includes the southbound 405, which will be closed for four miles between the 101 Freeway and the Getty Center Drive exit, and the northbound 405, which will be closed for 10 miles between the 10 and 101 freeways.

LulzSec releases documents

##################### CHINGA LA MIGRA BULLETIN #1 6/23/2011 ####################

We are releasing hundreds of private intelligence bulletins, training manuals,
personal email correspondence, names, phone numbers, addresses and passwords
belonging to Arizona law enforcement. We are targeting AZDPS specifically
because we are against SB1070 and the racial profiling anti-immigrant police
state that is Arizona.

The documents classified as "law enforcement sensitive", "not for public
distribution", and "for official use only" are primarily related to border
patrol and counter-terrorism operations and describe the use of informants to
infiltrate various gangs, cartels, motorcycle clubs, Nazi groups, and protest
movements.

Every week we plan on releasing more classified documents and embarassing
personal details of military and law enforcement in an effort not just to reveal
their racist and corrupt nature but to purposefully sabotage their efforts to
terrorize communities fighting an unjust "war on drugs".

Hackers of the world are uniting and taking direct action against our common
oppressors - the government, corporations, police, and militaries of the world.
See you again real soon! ;D

Click on link to view full report

Oil prices sink as U.S. and allies agree to tap stockpiles - latimes.com

Oil prices sink as U.S. and allies agree to tap stockpiles - latimes.com

A surprise move to tap government oil reserves could slash painfully high gasoline prices this summer and give the U.S. economy a much-needed boost, but the rare action underscores the challenge posed by the weakening recovery.

The price of oil tumbled Thursday after the U.S. and other industrialized countries, citing the loss of oil from Libya, said they would release 60 million barrels of crude from emergency stockpiles and sell it on the energy markets over the next 30 days. Half of the oil is to come from the U.S. government's Strategic Petroleum Reserve on the Gulf Coast.

2012 candidates react to Obama's speech on Afghanistan - CNN.com

2012 candidates react to Obama's speech on Afghanistan - CNN.com

Candidates seeking the 2012 GOP nomination for president responded to President Obama's Wednesday night speech on Afghanistan troop withdrawals.

-- Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman
"With America mired in three expensive conflicts, we have a generational opportunity to reset our position in the world in a way that makes sense for our security as well as our budget.

-- Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney
"We all want our troops to come home as soon as possible, but we shouldn't adhere to an arbitrary timetable on the withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan. This decision should not be based on politics or economics. America's brave men and women in uniform have fought to achieve significant progress in Afghanistan, some having paid the ultimate price. I look forward to hearing the testimony of our military commanders in the days ahead."

-- Businessman Herman Cain
"President Obama's statement tonight is a stark reminder that while one might campaign in poetry, one must govern in prose.....

-- Former Sen. Rick Santorum
"President Obama speaks of winding down our engagement in Afghanistan, but he does not emphasize the need for victory. Every American wants our brave men and women home safely, but we cannot let those who've given the last full measure die in vain by abandoning the gains we've made thus far. We must be squarely focused on succeeding in Afghanistan rather than on politically motivated troop withdrawals. Sadly, President Obama doesn't seem to share that commitment."

Two men charged with plan to attack military recruiting station - CNN.com

Two men charged with plan to attack military recruiting station - CNN.com

Two U.S. citizens from Seattle and Los Angeles -- described as "would-be terrorists" by the FBI -- have been arrested and charged with plotting to kill Americans enlisting in the armed forces in Seattle, federal officials announced Thursday.

The men were identified as Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, (also known as Joseph Anthony Davis), 33, of Seattle; and Walli Mujahidh, (also known as Frederick Domingue Jr.) 32, of Los Angeles.

"Driven by a violent extreme ideology, these two young Americans are charged with plotting to murder men and women who were enlisting in the armed forces to serve and protect our country," said a top counter-terrorism official at the Justice Department.

Hacker group targets Arizona law enforcement - CNN.com

Hacker group targets Arizona law enforcement - CNN.com

The hacker group LulzSec has alarmed police in Arizona this week after releasing sensitive information about officers.

The group said they posted the information in response to Arizona's controversial immigration law.

"We are releasing hundreds of private intelligence bulletins, training manuals, personal email correspondence, names, phone numbers, addresses and passwords belonging to Arizona law enforcement," the group said in a statement. "We are targeting AZDPS (Arizona Department of Public Safety) specifically because we are against SB 1070 and the racial profiling anti-immigrant police state that is Arizona."

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Achievement Gap: Why Hispanic Students Are Still Behind - TIME

The Achievement Gap: Why Hispanic Students Are Still Behind - TIME

A newly released report on student achievement finds that members of the nation's second largest ethnic group are still woefully underperforming their white counterparts. The report, issued June 23 by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) shows that while scores have gone up for both groups, Hispanic students lag by the same amount today as they did in 1990, which means that the achievement gap between Hispanic and white students has been largely unchanged for the past two decades.

The report analyzes tests given to fourth and eighth graders in math and reading in 2009. Overall, on a national level, Hispanic students scored about 20 points — or two whole grade levels — lower on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scale. (A common rule of thumb among education advocates is that 10 points on the NAEP scale is equivalent to one grade level.)

Major League Baseball and the Dodgers: Rejection of TV deal may doom Frank McCourt as owner - latimes.com

Major League Baseball and the Dodgers: Rejection of TV deal may doom Frank McCourt as owner - latimes.com

The fate of Frank McCourt, the beleaguered owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, got bleaker Monday when Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig rejected a proposed $1-billion-plus deal between Fox and the Dodgers for television rights.

McCourt, who has struggled to make his last five Dodgers payrolls, saw that deal as manna from heaven — a way to assure future payrolls and the club's financial health for a while, as well as solving his personal money problems. The deal was worth an estimated $1.7 billion to $3 billion over 17 years. McCourt was counting on a $385-million upfront advance against the agreement, which wouldn't even take effect for two years. Out of that money, McCourt and his ex-wife, Jamie, had agreed Friday to put $235 million into the Dodgers. The remainder would have covered lawyers' fees, the debts on various McCourt companies — and themselves.

State properties: Caltrans-owned homes get costly new roofs - latimes.com

State properties: Caltrans-owned homes get costly new roofs - latimes.com

The roof on the three-bedroom Pasadena rental where Don Jones used to live seems unremarkable until he hands over the invoice showing what it cost: $103,443.

Fortunately for Jones, he didn't have to pay that. His landlords, California taxpayers, footed the bill.

The state Department of Transportation, which bought the houses on Jones' block decades ago to bulldoze for an extension of the 710 Freeway, also spent $103,472 to replace a roof across the street and $80,606 to install the one next-door, agency records show. On a nearby avenue, a once-grand house, now dilapidated, sports a $171,508 roof that was put on in 2006 even though nobody lived there.

Document: Caltrans' bill for new roofs (Click on link to view)
The prices are four to five times what most homeowners could expect to pay for a new roof on a similar house in the area, said Kim Smith, a contractor at J.N. Davis Roofing who said he has been fixing roofs in Pasadena for nearly 30 years.

"This is such a waste," Smith said.

Agriculture and immigration policy: A hard row to hoe | The Economist

Agriculture and immigration policy: A hard row to hoe | The Economist

Nathan Deal, Georgia’s governor, who signed the immigration bill into law, came up with a novel solution on Tuesday: give the jobs—of which there are around 11,000, according to farmers who responded to a survey by Georgia’s agriculture department—to unemployed probationers. How that will work in practice remains unclear. Nobody can force farmers to hire felons. And people on probation must seek work but can decline job offers, such as those requiring hard physical labour in the sweltering midsummer. As for the departing workers, Bryan Tolar, who heads the Georgia Agribusiness Council, says, “I don’t know if they were legal. All I know is they were working.”

US farms at risk as workers flee immigration law

US farms at risk as workers flee immigration law

Low-skilled, undocumented workers, who for years have formed the backbone of this southern state's farming economy, have bolted in the lead-up to the law taking effect on July 1, fearing deportation if caught working here.

The measure's mainly Republican supporters argue that the state needs to enforce immigration laws in the absence of effective federal action, saying schools, jails and hospitals are overburdened by illegal aliens.

But as the full cost of the immigration reform emerges in the form of an estimated millions of dollars worth of crops rotting in fields, it could alarm other states that have passed or are considering similar strict measures.

So, who will pick the fruit? | Local news, sports, weather, blogs, opinion, crime, obituaries, business, directory, marketplace, education, high school, family, shopping, arts, entertainment, movies, books, cooking, auto, real estate, jobs, classifieds, photos, videos, comics, contests, and mountain pass webcams from Wenatchee, East Wenatchee, Chelan, Leavenworth, Waterville, Cashmere, Quincy, Entiat, North Central Washington newspaper

So, who will pick the fruit? | Local news, sports, weather, blogs, opinion, crime, obituaries, business, directory, marketplace, education, high school, family, shopping, arts, entertainment, movies, books, cooking, auto, real estate, jobs, classifieds, photos, videos, comics, contests, and mountain pass webcams from Wenatchee, East Wenatchee, Chelan, Leavenworth, Waterville, Cashmere, Quincy, Entiat, North Central Washington newspaper

The governor suggests farmers hire out-of-work criminal probationers, as there are several thousand sitting around. Advocates for the probationers (there are always advocates) say you can’t make them take those lousy jobs. Crops will be lost.

This should give us some idea of what happens when we pursue an enforcement-only approach to immigration, without regard to the consequences. If you kick out the immigrants and leave it at that, as many want us to do, you will find out why those people were here in the first place. They came to work, inhaled by the economic vacuum to do jobs the rest of us don’t need or want. A lot of those involve harvesting the food we eat.

Blaming farmers and “big agriculture” and telling them to keep raising wages until they attract workers is excruciatingly naive. Farmers don’t set the price for their product. Higher wages have to come out of their profits, such as they are. There are limits and most farmers are probably pretty close to the edge already. Not even in America can we pay workers more than the economic value their labor produces, not for long anyway.

North Carolina hearing explores history of forced sterilization - CNN.com

North Carolina hearing explores history of forced sterilization - CNN.com

"A social worker convinced my mom to sign for me to undergo an operation that would prevent me from getting pregnant, not knowing all the while that I was being set up to be sterilized like I was some kind of animal."

Eugenics is the process of selectively breeding humans and animals to rid the population of "unfit" characteristics. In 1933, North Carolina passed a revised eugenics law. The law established the North Carolina Eugenics Board, which largely targeted low-income females for sterilization procedures.

After World War II, most states abolished their eugenics programs when it became clear that Nazi's used similar practices to further their ideals of racial purity. But the number of sterilizations in North Carolina peaked between 1950-1960, according to state records. Though the eugenics board was abolished in 1977, the law remained a general statute until 2003.

In 2003, North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue established the Governor's Eugenics Compensation Task Force to research and provide recommendations for possible compensation for victims. The task force has an August 1 deadline to submit a proposal to the governor.

State representatives considered offering $50,000 in compensation to victims, but legislators deemed the amount too high. Now they are considering whether to offer $20,000 or to pay for medical services.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ag Chief: Mixed results for ex-cons on farms | 11alive.com

Ag Chief: Mixed results for ex-cons on farms | 11alive.com

Black said one of the farms reported a crew of 11 probationers reported to work on Saturday morning. One of them left after 45 minutes. At the end of the day, only eight were left. On Monday, only five returned to the farm to work another day.

"You can dice those numbers," Black said. "But the issue is, will it be a solution for some? Can we find something like this that would work for some of those people who need a job and for the producers that have the jobs to offer?"

Black released a survey last week that showed a labor shortage of more than 11,000 workers on Georgia farms, commissioned after the state approved a controversial immigration crackdown.

Oil Companies, Refiners Investigated For Possible Market Manipulation

Oil Companies, Refiners Investigated For Possible Market Manipulation

This would help to explain those high gas prices.

Late Monday, federal regulators announced an investigation into whether oil companies and refiners have manipulated markets, raising oil prices to their benefit, according to a letter released by the Federal Trade Commission to the Senate yesterday and cited by The Hill.

The Federal Trade Commission plans to investigate why some oil refineries were shut down for maintenance, which can lead to higher oil prices, according to The Wall Street Journal. It is also investigating whether refiners engaged in other anti-competitive practices or provided misleading information to federal officials, the FTC letter said.

Payroll tax cuts rob Social Security to benefit the rich - latimes.com

Payroll tax cuts rob Social Security to benefit the rich - latimes.com

Make no mistake: This is a bipartisan effort. It started back in December, when President Obama capitulated to the GOP on a budget deal by cutting the payroll tax, which funds Social Security. Advocates for the program pointed out then the shortcomings of this approach: It was targeted inefficiently and unfairly, skewing to the upper middle class and hurting lower-income families in comparison with the Making Work Pay tax credit it replaced.

Even more troubling, it blew a hole in the financing mechanism for Social Security by reducing payroll tax revenue by roughly $110 billion for the year. It was plain then, as it is now, that once you've cut a tax, it's ever harder to restore it.

Putting Social Security's income stream on the negotiating table for the first time in more than half a century simply provided a new opportunity for attacks on the program's stability from those who would love to see it disappear — to be replaced, no doubt, by a privatized investment program that would profit Wall Street hucksters at the expense of everyone else.

Chris Weitz's 'Better Life' shines light on illegal immigrant issues

Chris Weitz's 'Better Life' shines light on illegal immigrant issues

The truck theft is the kind of infuriating but minor crime most people would handle with a call to the police and an insurance agent. But one of the central themes of "A Better Life," which premieres Tuesday at the Los Angeles Film Festival and opens in limited release on Friday, is that those kind of easy options aren't available to illegal immigrants. People like Galindo may collectively sustain the mansions of Los Angeles, "A Better Life" argues, but individually they are as vulnerable as a house of cards.

California lawmakers' pay to be docked over budget, Chiang says - latimes.com

California lawmakers' pay to be docked over budget, Chiang says - latimes.com

The impact on legislators' wallets could be severe. Until they approve a budget that Chiang deems balanced, rank-and-file lawmakers, who are paid at the end of each month, will be docked about $400 a day. That sum is the daily portion of their $95,291 salary plus a $142 per diem allowance.

ATF acting director may resign over Fast and Furious program - CNN

ATF acting director may resign over Fast and Furious program - CNN

The operation has come under intense criticism since the December killing of a U.S. Border Patrol officer.

Operation Fast and Furious was "a colossal failure of leadership," Peter Forcelli, a supervisor at the bureau's Phoenix field office, said recently.

The program focused on following people who legally bought weapons that were then transferred to criminals and destined for Mexico. But instead of intercepting the weapons when they switched hands, Operation Fast and Furious called for ATF agents to let the guns "walk" and wait for them to surface in Mexico, according to a report by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The idea was that once the weapons in Mexico were traced back to the straw purchasers, the entire arms smuggling network could be brought down. Instead, the report argues, letting the weapons slip into the wrong hands was a deadly miscalculation that resulted in preventable deaths, including that of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

Feds nab 2,400 in illegal immigrant sting - CNN.com

Feds nab 2,400 in illegal immigrant sting - CNN.com

Federal officials announced Tuesday the arrests of more than 2,400 illegal immigrants in a seven-day crackdown targeting those who are convicted criminals.

The operation, called Cross Check, was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs officials in May, federal officials said in a press release.

"The results of this operation underscore ICE's ongoing focus on arresting those convicted criminal aliens who prey upon our communities, and tracking down fugitives who game our nation's immigration system," ICE Director John Morton said in a statement. "This targeted enforcement operation is a direct result of excellent teamwork among law enforcement agencies who share a commitment to protect public safety."

The announcement comes after ICE announced key reforms to its Secure Communities program, which had been criticized by community activists and state officials.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The cost of war...California's contribution

Steve Lopez: Southern California fighting battles, from our backyards to abroad - latimes.com

Go to costofwar.com, and you'll find that, by the website's calculations, Los Angeles city taxpayers have put up $12.9 billion of the $1.2 trillion spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. Residents of L.A. County have coughed up $38 billion, and in Orange County, the meter is running at $15.9 billion.

Is there anyone out there who CAN'T think of better uses for all that dough?

Taxpayers in California, the state that can't close a $10-billion budget deficit, have kicked in $153 billion for the war in the last 10 years.

Alabama's harsh immigration reform law [Most Commented] - latimes.com

Alabama's harsh immigration reform law [Most Commented] - latimes.com

It’s clear that contention over immigration has moved beyond the coasts and border states. Alabama’s new law concerning illegal immigrants is one of the harshest enacted thus far in the U.S. and brings the legal status of schoolchildren, and their parents by extension, into the debate. The editorial board weighed in Friday on the side of the kids, calling the failed attempts to implement comprehensive national immigration policy unacceptable.

Readers are at odds about Alabama’s law and whether it unfairly criminalizes illegal immigration or is a positive step toward curbing a serious problem:

"It’s not fair for legal citizens to foot the bill for illegal immigrants"

"It’s one thing to be an illegal immigrant; quite another to be a criminal"

"Americans deserve the jobs that illegal alien workers get"

"Don’t blame Alabama for putting kids in the crossfire; blame their parents"

"I’m Mexican, and I agree with these comments"

McCain and wildfires: He says illegal immigrants are partly to blame

McCain and wildfires: He says illegal immigrants are partly to blame - latimes.com

Reporting from Sierra Vista, Ariz.— Sen. John McCain on Monday defended a statement he made over the weekend that there was "substantial evidence" that illegal immigrants were partly responsible for wildfires in the state.

Fire officials say three major blazes were started by people, but they didn't know any more details.

Costa Mesa: Costa Mesa police chief steps down; calls City Council majority 'unethical and immoral' - latimes.com

Costa Mesa: Costa Mesa police chief steps down; calls City Council majority 'unethical and immoral' - latimes.com

Costa Mesa's police chief resigned abruptly Monday, leaving behind a blistering four-page memo that calls the City Council majority "unethical and immoral" and accuses them of manufacturing a fiscal crisis in order to slash the city's workforce by nearly half.

By day's end, Costa Mesa City Manager Tom Hatch announced he had already hired a replacement for Chief Steve Staveley and angrily condemned the departing chief's memo as "unprofessional" and "potentially libelous."

Staveley's departure marks a significant ratcheting up of tensions at City Hall, where municipal leaders have pledged to cut payroll and pension costs by laying off workers and contracting out municipal services. The city's hard-line approach has drawn national attention and is being watched by political and labor interests throughout the state. "Tea party" conservatives have called Costa Mesa "ground zero" for similar action in other cities.

"They have pushed finance and the budget process around to get the kind of numbers that benefit their position," Staveley wrote. "They have, in essence, lied as they create the appearance of crisis in order to appear as the white knight to a narrow band of political followers."

Why I'm suing Georgia over immigration law - CNN.com

Why I'm suing Georgia over immigration law - CNN.com

Many are surprised to learn that a conservative Republican mayor like me is involved in a class-action civil-rights lawsuit against my state. And yet, I'm proud to participate in this challenge to Georgia's harsh "papers please" law, which runs counter to America's greatest values and threatens to run my town's economy to the ground.

This law strikes fear in all skilled laborers and anyone associated with them. It will allow officers untrained in immigration issues to detain and investigate anyone they choose. It threatens to tear families apart -- citizen spouses and children will risk permanent separation from undocumented loved ones; grandparents will lose their grandchildren if a family feels forced to leave Georgia.

The people who are challenging this law come from all walks of life, but we all believe that we must fight this broad attack on our basic freedoms and local economies.

A farming couple in Graham is sleepless with worry about not being able to repay the federal loan to start their berry business. They fear they won't have workers to pick their berries, a job machines can't do.

Supreme Court rules for Wal-Mart in massive job discrimination lawsuit - CNN.com

Supreme Court rules for Wal-Mart in massive job discrimination lawsuit - CNN.com

Monday, June 20, 2011

Microsoft makes SkyDrive storage faster, cleaner | Microsoft - CNET News

Microsoft makes SkyDrive storage faster, cleaner | Microsoft - CNET News

Microsoft is updating its SkyDrive cloud-based storage service, providing a zippier experience by using HTML5 technology as well as hardware acceleration.

The software giant boasts that common tasks, such as clicking on folders and navigating photo albums, will take 100 to 300 milliseconds, down from as long as nine seconds in the earlier version. And by powering the site with HTML5, Microsoft is able to include HTML5 Video, CSS3, and client rendered experiences.

John McCain Takes Heat for Arizona Fire Remark | Video - ABC News

John McCain Takes Heat for Arizona Fire Remark | Video - ABC News

Harvard\'s Partnership Support Young Latino Leaders Gains Momentum - Hispanically Speaking News

Harvard\'s Partnership Support Young Latino Leaders Gains Momentum - Hispanically Speaking News

The Center for Public Leadership (CPL) at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) has announced that increased support will enable a 40% increase in the number of participants in the second installment of its Latino Leadership Initiative (LLI). Forty college students from seven universities across the country will take part this month in the second LLI, helping prepare the rising generation of Latino leaders for the opportunities and challenges they will face in the coming decades.

John McCain: Illegal Immigrants Caused Arizona Wildfires

John McCain: Illegal Immigrants Caused Arizona Wildfires



"It's easier to fan the flames of intolerance, especially in Arizona"

Congress to Vote on Financing for U.S. Role in Libya - NYTimes.com

Congress to Vote on Financing for U.S. Role in Libya - NYTimes.com

The House appears likely to vote this week on a measure that would limit financing for the American military efforts in Libya, using the chamber’s appropriations power to push back against the White House, which did not seek Congressional authorization for the mission.

U.S. Companies Press for Repatriation Holiday - NYTimes.com

U.S. Companies Press for Repatriation Holiday - NYTimes.com

Corporations and their lobbyists say the tax break could resuscitate the gasping recovery by inducing multinational corporations to inject $1 trillion or more into the economy, and they promoted the proposal as “the next stimulus” at a conference last Wednesday in Washington.

“For every billion dollars that we invest, that creates 15,000 to 20,000 jobs either directly or indirectly,” Jim Rogers, the chief of Duke Energy, said at the conference. Duke has $1.3 billion in profits overseas.

But that’s not how it worked last time. Congress and the Bush administration offered companies a similar tax incentive, in 2005, in hopes of spurring domestic hiring and investment, and 800 took advantage.

Though the tax break lured them into bringing $312 billion back to the United States, 92 percent of that money was returned to shareholders in the form of dividends and stock buybacks, according to a study by the nonpartisan National Bureau of Economic Research.

A Pentagon terror scare and a media taboo. - WSJ.com

Losing His Religion - WSJ.com

We learn from the CBS story that Melaku is a lance corporal in the Marine Reserves. The Associated Press adds that he is a naturalized American citizen, originally from Ethiopia. CBS also reports that "Melaku was carrying a notebook that contained the phrases 'al Qaeda,' 'Taliban rules' and 'Mujahid defeated croatian forces' when he was detained," but "that the suspect is not thought to have been involved in a terrorist act or plot."

All of which raises an obvious question--but one that goes unanswered in the reports from CBS and AP, as well as others from ABC News and the Washington Post. We could only find one news organization that had the answer: Fox News Channel, which reports that Maliku is Muslim.

Now, it's possible that Fox simply got a scoop here, but our guess is that this fact was omitted from the other reports because of the politically correct taboo against making a connection between Islam and terrorism. It's analogous to the case we cited Monday in which the Chicago Tribune refused to mention the race of the members of "groups of youths" who had been attacking people in a downtown neighborhood, but it's worse. Whereas race is not necessarily relevant to the motive of the Chicago attacks, religion almost always is when a Muslim commits an act of terrorism or a related crime.

These politically correct strictures are not applied in a consistent or reciprocal fashion. If Maliku were a Christian and had been arrested outside an abortion clinic, you can bet his religion would have been widely reported. And the press sensationalizes "hate crimes" by whites against blacks or non-Muslims against Muslims...

New cars sold without spare tires: Automakers sell more cars without spare tires - latimes.com

New cars sold without spare tires: Automakers sell more cars without spare tires - latimes.com

That spare tire in your trunk may be going the way of the typewriter and transistor radio.

Automakers are selling more cars without an extra wheel to trim weight, boost gas mileage and shave a few bucks off of their costs.

What happens if you get a flat? Some manufacturers equip cars with run-flat tires, while others are putting flat-fixing repair kits in the trunk.

The no-spare club includes the Hyundai Elantra and Chevrolet's Cruze and Malibu, three of America's top-selling sedans. Buick's 2012 Regal GS and upcoming hybrid versions of its Regal and LaCrosse sedans will be sans spare, as will some versions of next year's Kia Optima.

Obama administration extends National Guard deployment at southwest border - latimes.com

Obama administration extends National Guard deployment at southwest border - latimes.com

The Obama administration has extended the deployment of National Guard troops along the southwest border for an additional three months, said Department of Homeland Security spokesman Matthew Chandler Friday.

The 1,200 National Guardsmen sent to assist the Border Patrol in August 2010 were scheduled to stand down at the end of June, but have been ordered to remain in place until Sept. 30.

National Guard troops are not authorized to stop smugglers or make arrests, and instead have acted as lookouts for Border Patrol and provided logistical and intelligence support, freeing up more frontline law enforcement officers to stop cross-border traffic.

DHS is spending part of that cash infusion on new mobile camera towers, fencing and increasing the number of surveillance drone flights along the southwest border.

Illegal immigration: Government alters Secure Communities deportations - latimes.com

Illegal immigration: Government alters Secure Communities deportations - latimes.com

The Secure Communities program, which was intended to identify and deport convicted felons, wound up also ensnaring minor offenders, victims of domestic abuse and other crimes, as well as witnesses to crimes and people who were arrested but not convicted of offenses.

In response, U.S. Homeland Security officials announced Friday that the department had issued new guidelines in an effort to stop immigration officers from deporting people who were arrested while reporting a crime, or who were witnesses in a potential criminal investigation or trial. The guidelines also give prosecutors more discretion on whom to deport.

"We are listening to those concerns and addressing them head on today," John Morton, director of ICE, told reporters in a conference call Friday.

Under the new guidelines, he said, immigration officers will be instructed not to deport individuals who are victims of a crime or witnesses in a criminal case. Particular care will be taken to ensure that victims of domestic abuse are not being deported after reporting abuse to police, he said.

Real estate agents and social media: More real estate agents turning to social media - latimes.com

Real estate agents and social media: More real estate agents turning to social media - latimes.com

Gardner, with Prudential Malibu Realty, is among the growing legion of real estate agents who have begun making broader use of the Web. More than half of the National Assn. of Realtors' member agents reported using social networking sites last year, compared with a little more than a third in 2009. Nearly two-thirds have a website and 1 in 10 has a blog.

McCain blames some Arizona wildfires on illegal immigrants - CNN

McCain blames some Arizona wildfires on illegal immigrants - CNN

U.S. Sen. John McCain is blaming illegal immigrants for starting some of the wildfires that have scorched hundreds of thousands of acres in Arizona.

"There is substantial evidence that some of these fires have been caused by people who have crossed our border illegally," McCain, R-Arizona, said Saturday at a press conference. "The answer to that part of the problem is to get a secure border."

The Arizona senator, however, did not say what the evidence is, prompting a swift rebuke from Latino civil rights advocates.

Opposing sides set to square off over Georgia immigration law - CNN.com

Opposing sides set to square off over Georgia immigration law - CNN.com

Supporters and critics of Georgia's controversial new immigration law will face off in federal court Monday.

Several immigrant and civil rights organizations say the law, which aims to crack down on illegal immigration, is unconstitutional. They filed a class-action lawsuit earlier this month, asking a federal judge to stop the law before it goes into effect July 1.

The law, commonly known as HB 87, allows police to ask about immigration status when questioning suspects in certain criminal investigations.

It also allows the imposition of prison sentences for people who knowingly transport illegal immigrants during the commission of a crime and says that workers convicted of using fake identification to get jobs could be sentenced to 15 years in prison and fined $250,000.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Super PACs Find New Way To Hide Money

Super PACs Find New Way To Hide Money

Independent political committees that can accept unlimited funds from corporations and individuals, or Super PACs, are receiving contributions from non-profit organizations that do not have to disclose their donors to the public, according to a new report .

The report, released Friday by Center for Responsive Politics, underscores the expanding catalog of loopholes groups can now use to hide money spent on campaigns and elections.

From the Center for Responsive Politics report: Click on link to view report

Jeff Biggers: Did Arizona Education Chief Huppenthal Commit a Felony in Growing Ethnic Studies Scandal?

Jeff Biggers: Did Arizona Education Chief Huppenthal Commit a Felony in Growing Ethnic Studies Scandal?

While the occasional spasms of extremist rhetoric and legislative initiative are often dismissed as nutty episodes in Arizona Gone Wild politics, some observers are wondering if state Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal crossed the line of lawlessness in his latest Ethnic Studies bombshell announcement.

In short: Did Huppenthal commit a felony at his extremely odd press conference this Wednesday at the Arizona Department of Education in Phoenix if he knowingly presented the results of an independent audit of Tucson's Ethnic Studies/Mexican American Studies Program in a false manner, in order to justifying his ruling that the program was out of compliance with the state's controversial Ethnic Studies ban?

Despite Huppenthal's charges to the contrary, the 120-page audit concluded: "During the curriculum audit period, no observable evidence was present to suggest that any classroom within Tucson Unified School District is in direct violation of the law A.R.S. 15-112."

Libya Advice From Justice Department, Pentagon Lawyers Reportedly Was Overruled By Obama

Libya Advice From Justice Department, Pentagon Lawyers Reportedly Was Overruled By Obama

President Barack Obama decided he could continue the air war in Libya without congressional approval despite rulings to the contrary from Justice Department and Pentagon lawyers, according to published reports.

The president relied instead on the opinions of other senior administration lawyers that continuing U.S. participation in the air operations against the regime of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi did not constitute "hostilities," triggering the need for Congressional permission under the War Powers Resolution, the New York Times reported in its online edition Friday night.

Target Workers In New York Vote Against Joining Retail Union

Target Workers In New York Vote Against Joining Retail Union

Workers at a Target store in New York voted against joining the country's largest retail union Friday night, but the union said it would press on and broaden its push to represent the company's workers nationwide.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500 also said it would contest the results and ask the federal government to order a new election, alleging that Target illegally intimidated workers. Target denied the union's allegations.

Both sides said the workers at Target's Valley Stream store voted 137-85 against unionization. A "yes" vote would have made the store the first of the company's 1,700 locations to bring in organized

Mexican Antitrust Authority Fines Telmex, Calls It Repeat Offender - WSJ.com

Mexican Antitrust Authority Fines Telmex, Calls It Repeat Offender - WSJ.com

MEXICO CITY (Dow Jones)--Mexico's antitrust commission said Wednesday it has fined fixed-line phone operator Telefonos de Mexico (TMX), or Telmex, marking yet another regulatory jab at billionaire Carlos Slim's communications empire.

The Federal Competition Commission, or CFC, said it has fined Telmex 91.5 million pesos ($7.9 million) after determining that the carrier denied interconnection services to an affiliate of Spain's Telefonica (TEF).

Telmex is a former government monopoly that controls around 80% of Mexico's fixed phone lines.

The fine comes on the heels of the Mexican Communications and Transport Ministry's denial last week of authorization for Telmex to offer television alongside its phone and Internet service.

Additionally, the CFC recently fined Telmex's parent company, mobile operator America Movil (AMX), $1 billion for anticompetitive practices involving mobile termination rates. And Mexico's Supreme Court ruled that America Movil must accept lower interconnection rates set by the country's telecommunications regulator.

Telmex Says Mexico Rural Rules to Cut Investments, Plans Appeal - Bloomberg

Telmex Says Mexico Rural Rules to Cut Investments, Plans Appeal - Bloomberg

Telmex and its parent company, billionaire Carlos Slim’s America Movil SAB, are contending with a series of government decisions to reduce their dominance of Mexico’s phone market. The telecommunications commission in March more than halved the fees America Movil can charge rivals to complete calls to its Mexican wireless unit.

“We can’t invest just to lose money,” Arturo Elias, Slim’s son-in-law and Telmex’s communications director, said on the conference call. The government-set fee “is way, way below our costs,” he said.