Contact Me By Email

Contact Me By Email

Atlanta, GA Weather from Weather Underground

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Oklahoma's affirmative action fight - One Republican lawmaker in Oklahoma is apologizing for her horrible racially-charged remarks as voters get ready to take up the issue of affirmative action. Melissa Harris-Perry discusses the politics of race.

Rolling Snake Eyes: Trump's First Casino Partners Had Alleged Mob Ties

Donald Trump & Melania enter the Oscar De LA R...Image via WikipediaRolling Snake Eyes: Trump's First Casino Partners Had Alleged Mob Ties

NEW YORK -- For years, Donald Trump has boasted that his casinos are free of the taint of organized crime, using this claim to distinguish his gambling ventures from competitors. But Trump's casinos turn out not to be so squeaky clean.

One of his prime Atlantic City developments, the Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino, relied on a partnership with two investors reputedly linked to the mob, prompting New Jersey regulators to force Trump to buy them out. And he employed a known Asian organized crime figure as a vice president at his Taj Mahal casino for five years, defending the executive against regulators’ attempts to take away his license, according to law enforcement officials.

As the famously brash developer now considers a run for the presidency, this history could complicate his efforts to project an image of a trusted power in the business world. It exposes a seamy underside to Trump's rise to fortune -- one that involved intimate links to unsavory characters.

As voters learn more about such links between Trump and reputed organized crime figures, "it will get more difficult for him," says John Geer, a political science professor at Vanderbilt University. "Under that withering examination, his past associations and troubles will all emerge and could make it tough in a Republican primary."

In his 2000 book, “The America That We Deserve,” released to coincide with an earlier prospective presidential campaign, Trump boasted:

“One thing you can say about Trump, as the holder of a casino gaming license, is that I’m 100 percent clean -- something you can’t say with certainty about our current group of presidential candidates.”

Trump has sought to lean on such claims while sometimes intimating that industry competitors are themselves tainted by mob associations -- in order to saddle them with restrictions on their casino licenses.

On Oct. 5, 1993, Trump told a Congressional panel examining the rise of Indian casinos -- then, a rapidly emerging threat to Atlantic City -- that the proprietors were vulnerable to organized crime.

It is “obvious that organized crime is rampant,” Trump told the panel, according to a transcript, drawing a direct contrast to his own operations. “At the Taj Mahal I spent more money on security and security systems than most Indians building their entire casino, and I will tell you that there is no way the Indians are going to protect themselves from the mob.”

That broadside garnered Trump a reprimand from then-House Interior Committee Chairman George Miller, a California Democrat, who complained that he had never heard more irresponsible testimony. But Trump continued, predicting that Indian casinos would spawn “the biggest crime problem in the nation’s history.”

Trump’s neglected to mention that his initial partners on his first deal in Atlantic City reputedly had their own organized crime connections: Kenneth Shapiro was identified by state and federal prosecutors as the investment banker for late Philadelphia mob boss Nicky Scarfo according to reports issued by New Jersey state commissions examining the influence of organized crime, and Danny Sullivan, a former Teamsters Union official, is described in an FBI file as having mob acquaintances. Both controlled a company that leased parcels of land to Trump for the 39-story hotel-casino.

Trump teamed up with the duo in 1980 soon after arriving in Atlantic City, according to numerous news reports and his real estate broker on the deal, Paul Longo. The developer seized on a prime piece of property and partnered with Shapiro and Sullivan, but the state’s gambling regulators were concerned enough about Shapiro and Sullivan’s mob links that they required Trump to end the partnership and buy out their shares, according to several Trump biographies.

Trump's office did not respond to requests for comment. Both Sullivan and Shapiro died in the early 1990s.

Trump later confided to a biographer that the twosome were “tough guys,” relaying a rumor that Sullivan, a 6-foot, 5-inch bear of a man, killed Jimmy Hoffa, the Teamsters boss who disappeared in July 1975.

“Because I heard that rumor, I kept my guard up. I said, ‘Hey, I don’t want to be friends with this guy.’ I’ll bet you that if I didn’t hear that rumor, maybe I wouldn’t be here right now,” Trump told Timothy L. O’Brien, the author of “TrumpNation” and current national editor of The Huffington Post.

Trump told a different story to casino regulators who were deciding whether to grant him the lucrative gambling license.

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with these people,” he said about Shapiro and Sullivan during licensing hearings in 1982, according to "TrumpNation." “Many of them have been in Atlantic City for many, many years and I think they are well thought of.”

Sullivan's unsavory reputation did not stop Trump from later arranging for him to be hired as a labor negotiator for the Grand Hyatt, a hotel project on Manhattan’s East Side, according to People magazine and the Los Angeles Times. Trump also introduced Sullivan to his own banker at Chase, though he declined to guarantee a loan to Sullivan, reported the L.A. Times.

Longo, the real estate broker Trump used in Atlantic City on the Trump Plaza deal, says he wasn’t aware of Shapiro or Sullivan having any mob ties, and insisted Trump didn’t have any problems at all obtaining his gaming license. “In AC, you always had to be careful who you were dealing with, but Donald did things on the level,” Longo told The Huffington Post.

But Wayne Barrett’s biography, “Donald Trump: The Deals and the Downfall,” alleges Trump considered using Shapiro as a go-between to deliver campaign contributions to Atlantic City mayor Michael Matthews, in violation of state law.

Casino executives are prohibited from contributing to Atlantic City political campaigns in New Jersey. Sullivan later claimed that he was present when Trump proposed funneling contributions through Shapiro. Trump denied the allegation in an interview with O’Brien. Matthews, who was later forced out of office and served time in prison for extortion, did not return calls from HuffPost.

Barrett also reported that Trump once met Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno, front boss of the Genovese crime family, at the Manhattan townhouse of their mutual lawyer -- infamous J. Edgar Hoover sidekick Roy Cohn. The author explained that Salerno’s company supplied all the concrete used in the Trump Towers in New York.

At the time of its publication, Trump slammed Barrett's book as “boring, nonfactual and highly inaccurate.”

Barrett's book prompted New Jersey casino regulators to investigate some of its allegations, but the state never brought any charges.

"If there had been a provable charge, they would have brought it,” said former casino commission chairman Steven P. Perskie.

While Trump was making his bold statements about the integrity of the Taj Mahal at the 1993 congressional hearing on Indian gaming, a reputed organized crime figure was running junkets for the hotel, bringing in well-heeled gamblers from Canada. Danny Leung, the hotel’s former vice president for foreign marketing, was identified by a 1991 Senate subcommittee on investigations as a member of the 14K Triad, a Hong Kong group linked to murder, extortion and heroin smuggling, according to the New York Daily News.

Canadian police testified at a 1995 hearing before New Jersey’s casino commission that they observed Leung working in illegal gambling dens in Toronto alongside Asian gang leaders. Leung, who denied any affiliation with organized crime, had his license renewed by the commission over the objection of the Division of Gaming Enforcement.

Back in the early 1980s, just as Trump was dipping his toes into Atlantic City real estate, the developer did express concern to the FBI that his casino ventures might expose him to the mob and “tarnish his family’s name.” He even offered to place undercover FBI agents in his casinos, according to an FBI memo uncovered by TheSmokingGun.com. When Trump asked one of the agents his “personal opinion” on whether he should build in Atlantic City, the agent replied that there were “easier ways that Trump could invest his money.”

That proved prescient: In early 2009, Trump’s casino company in Atlantic City filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, just days after Trump resigned from the board.

What Donald Trump Done To African Americans - This is great stuff. I am also reading Manning Marable's book on Malcolm X. This video reflects exactly how I feel!

Lawrence O’Donnell Hammers NBC; Demands They Reveal Trump’s Future Plans. O'Donnell challenges his own employer. This is courage. This is what a true patriot does instead of a weak and mealy mouthed response.

MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell Lambastes Orly Taitz, Ends Interview- This is how to handle a birther. Confront them, Confront them Confront them!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Donald Trump: Obama Wasn't Qualified For Ivy League - More Trump Racism! He attacks Obama even though Obama graduated from Harvard magna cum laude!


Donald Trump enters the Oscar De LA Renta Fash...Image via WikipediaDonald Trump: Obama Wasn't Qualified For Ivy League

NEW YORK — Real estate mogul Donald Trump suggested in an interview Monday that President Barack Obama had been a poor student who did not deserve to be admitted to the Ivy League universities he attended. Trump, who is mulling a bid for the Republican presidential nomination, offered no proof for his claim but said he would continue to press the matter as he has the legitimacy of the president's birth certificate.

"I heard he was a terrible student, terrible. How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard?" Trump said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I'm thinking about it, I'm certainly looking into it. Let him show his records."

Obama graduated from Columbia University in New York in 1983 with a degree in political science after transferring from Occidental College in California. He went on to Harvard Law School, where he graduated magna cum laude 1991 and was the first black president of the Harvard Law Review.

Obama's 2008 campaign did not release his college transcripts, and in his best-selling memoir, "Dreams From My Father," Obama indicated he hadn't always been an academic star. Trump told the AP that Obama's refusal to release his college grades were part of a pattern of concealing information about himself.

"I have friends who have smart sons with great marks, great boards, great everything and they can't get into Harvard," Trump said. "We don't know a thing about this guy. There are a lot of questions that are unanswered about our president."

Katie Hogan, a spokeswoman for Obama's re-election campaign, declined to comment.

Trump, a wealthy businessman and reality TV host, has risen to the top of many polls in part by his outspoken call for Obama to release his long form birth certificate. The state of Hawaii has released a certificate of live birth indicating Obama was born there on August 4, 1961, but that has not quelled critics who believe Obama was born outside the United States and is therefore not qualified to be president.

The so-called "birther" controversy has dominated the early stage of the 2012 GOP nominating contest, with Trump leading the charge.

"I have more people that are excited about the fact that I reinvigorated this whole issue," Trump said, adding "the last guy (Obama) wants to run against is Donald Trump."

Trump is scheduled to travel to the early primary states of New Hampshire and Nevada this week and said he will make a final decision about a presidential bid by June.

Also in the AP interview, Trump:

_ Said Republicans had made a mistake by embracing a budget proposal crafted by Wisconsin GOP Rep. Paul Ryan that included deep cuts in Medicare. "The seniors are afraid. The plan Paul Ryan put forth has made the Democrats so happy," Trump said.

_ Declined to disclose his net worth, saying he'll do so if he decides to run. "You'll see what it is, possibly, very likely, in the next 4 weeks. I don't want to say because I don't want to ruin the press conference," he said.

_ Expressed surprise that the 2008 GOP nominee, John McCain, had suggested Trump's effort was a publicity stunt. "I congratulate him for getting the attention he's getting," McCain told NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday.

Trump said he had been a big supporter of McCain. "I would find it hard to believe he would say anything bad because I raised a fantastic amount of money for him," Trump said.

Related articles




Sunday, April 24, 2011

Interview With the Rev. Franklin Graham, Birther Espousing Lying Preacher.




Proof of Graham's outright lies concerning Obama's religious faith on top of his lies about Obama's birth certificate.

President Obama published 1/23/2008

"I am a Christian, and I am a devout Christian. I believe in the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe that that faith gives me a path to be cleansed of sin and have eternal life. But most importantly, I believe in the example that Jesus set by feeding the hungry and healing the sick and always prioritizing the least of these over the powerful. I didn't 'fall out in church' as they say, but there was a very strong awakening in me of the importance of these issues in my life. I didn't want to walk alone on this journey. Accepting Jesus Christ in my life has been a powerful guide for my conduct and my values and my ideals."
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/januaryweb-only/104-32.0.html?start=2

None of this discussion about birtherism or Obama's religion have anything to do with his place of birth or his religion.  It is all about his racist.  Evangelical Christianity and anti-black racism have walked together from their beginnings.  The largest evangelical denomination,  the "Southern Baptists" were born out of their break with the northern Baptists who believed American slave system which treated humans as animals, not human beings was incompatible with Christianity.

Evangelicals were the last Christians to accept civil rights for African Americans.  It took the Southern Baptists to 1998 to do this.  The Mormons were even worse.  Racism is embedded in the very core doctrines of their fait.

If people were truly inspired by God would they not have led the way towards justice as Jesus did?  Some thoughts to ponder on the Easter Sunday.  

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Senator Al Franken wants answers from Apple CEO Steve Jobs on reports that the devices can track users’ location. Google Android Phones Apparent track and receive transmissions of data from Android devices.



I am actually not very concerned about tracking accept when it is being used for marketing purposes. Google has a direct pecuniary interest in mining this data while Apple's interest is a good bit more murky plus there is no evidence that Apple is actually being transmitted this data where Google is being transmitted this data.

iPhone & Android Tracking - Senator Al Franken wants answers from Apple CEO Steve Jobs on reports that the devices can track users’ location. Technology expert Daniel Sieberg joins The Last Word with more.

Robert Reich: Beware the "Middle Ground" of the Great Budget Debate

Robert Bernard Reich, American politician, aca...Image via WikipediaRobert Reich: Beware the "Middle Ground" of the Great Budget Debate

How debates are framed is critical because the "center" or "middle ground" is supposedly halfway between the two extremes.

We continue to hear that the Great Budget Debate has two sides: The president and the Democrats want to cut the budget deficit mainly by increasing taxes on the rich and reducing military spending, but not by privatizing Medicare. On the other side are Paul Ryan, Republicans, and the right, who want cut the deficit by privatizing Medicare and slicing programs that benefit poorer Americans, while lowering taxes on the rich.

By this logic, the center lies just between.

Baloney.

According to the most recent Washington Post-ABC poll, 78 percent of Americans oppose cutting spending on Medicare as a way to reduce the debt, and 72 percent support raising taxes on the rich -- including 68 percent of Independents and 54 percent of Republicans.

In other words, the center of America isn't near halfway between the two sides. It's overwhelmingly on the side of the president and the Democrats.

I'd wager if Americans also knew two-thirds of Ryan's budget cuts come from programs serving lower and moderate-income Americans and over 70 percent of the savings fund tax cuts for the rich -- meaning it's really just a giant transfer from the less advantaged to the super advantaged without much deficit reduction at all -- far more would be against it.

And if people knew that the Ryan plan would channel hundreds of billions of their Medicare dollars into the pockets of private for-profit heath insurers, almost everyone would be against it.

The Republican plan shouldn't be considered one side of a great debate. It shouldn't be considered at all. Americans don't want it.

Which is why I get worried when I hear about so-called "bipartisan" groups on Capitol Hill seeking a grand compromise, such as the Senate's so-called "Gang of Six."

Senator Dick Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, a member of that Gang, says they're near agreement on a plan that will chart a "middle ground" between the House Republican budget and the plan outlined last week by the president.

Watch your wallets.

In my view, even the president doesn't go nearly far enough in the direction most Americans would approve. All he wants to do, essentially, is end the Bush tax windfalls for the wealthy -- which were designed to be ended in 2010 in any event -- and close a few loopholes.

But why shouldn't we go back to the tax rates we had thirty years ago, which required the rich to pay much higher shares of their incomes? One of the great scandals of our age is how concentrated income and wealth have become. The top 1 percent now gets twice the share of national income it took home thirty years ago.

If the super rich paid taxes at the same rates they did three decades ago, they'd contribute $350 billion more per year than they are now -- amounting to trillions more over the next decade. That's enough to ensure every young American is healthy and well-educated and that the nation's infrastructure is up to world-class standards.

Nor does the president's proposal go nearly far enough in cutting military spending, which is not only out of control but completely unrelated to our nation's defense needs -- fancy weapons systems designed for an age of conventional warfare; hundreds of billions of dollars for the Navy and Air Force, when most of the action is with the Army, Marines, and Special Forces; and billions more for programs no one can justify and few can understand.

If Americans understood how much they're paying for defense and how little they're getting, they'd demand a defense budget at least 25 percent smaller than it is today.

Finally, the president's proposed budget doesn't deal with the scandal of the nation's schools in poor and middle-class communities -- schools whose teachers are paid under $50,000 a year, whose classrooms are crammed, that can't afford textbooks or science labs, that have abandoned after-school programs and courses like history and art. Most school budgets depend manly on local property taxes that continue to drop in lower-income communities. The federal government should come to their rescue.

To think of the "center" as roughly halfway between the president's and Paul Ryan's proposals is to ignore what Americans need and want. For our political representatives to find a "middle ground" between the two would be a travesty.

Robert Reich is the author of Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future, now in bookstores. This post originally appeared at RobertReich.org.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

President Obama speaks at the Masonic - Obama spoke at a fundraiser for his re-election campaign at the Masonic in San Francisco.

‘Like’: At Facebook headquarters, Obama on the offense - Former governor of Pennsylvania Ed Rendell joins the Rachel Maddow Show to discuss President Obama’s recent town hall, where the president tackled the subject of tax cuts for the wealthy and keeping Medicare.

Roadblocks to ending Medicare - Paul Ryan and the Republicans who want to end Medicare may have a few obstacles in their way, including 84 percent of the American people. Berkeley professor Robert Reich joins The Last Word.

Invitation to Israeli Leader Puts Obama on the Spot

The Likud Party led by Benjamin Netanyahu wins...Image via Wikipedia
By HELENE COOPER

WASHINGTON — A Republican invitation for Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to address Congress next month is highlighting the tensions between President Obama and Mr. Netanyahu and has kicked off a bizarre diplomatic race over who will be the first to lay out a new proposal to reopen the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

For three months, White House officials have been debating whether the time has come for Mr. Obama to make a major address on the region’s turmoil, including the upheaval in the Arab world, and whether he should use the occasion to propose a new plan for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

One administration official said that course was backed by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the president himself, but opposed by Dennis B. Ross, the president’s senior adviser on the Middle East.

As the administration has been pondering, Mr. Netanyahu, fearful that his country would lose ground with any Obama administration plan, has been considering whether to pre-empt the White House with a proposal of his own, before a friendly United States Congress, according to American officials and diplomats from the region.

“People seem to think that whoever goes first gets the upper hand,” said Daniel Levy, a former Israeli peace negotiator and a director at the New America Foundation. Using Mr. Netanyahu’s nickname, he said: “If Bibi went first and didn’t lay out a bold peace plan, it would be harder for Obama to say, actually, despite what you said to Congress and their applause, this is what I think you should do.”

The political gamesmanship between the two men illustrates how the calculation in the Middle East has changed for a variety of reasons, including the political upheaval in the Arab world. But it also shows the lack of trust and what some officials say is personal animosity between Mr. Obama and Mr. Netanyahu.

White House officials are working on drafts of a possible proposal, but they have not decided how detailed it will be, or even whether the president will deliver it in a planned speech. If Mr. Obama does put forward an American plan, officials say it could include four principles, or terms of reference, built around the final status issues that have bedeviled peace negotiators since 1979.

The terms of reference could call for Israel to accept a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders. For their part, Palestinians would have to accept that they would not get the right of return to land in Israel from which they fled or were forced to flee. Jerusalem would be the capital of both states, and Israeli security would have to be protected.

Mr. Netanyahu has made it clear that he wants Israel’s security needs addressed before any peace deal with the Palestinians. He has become even more concerned about security because shifts in power among Arab states in recent months have weakened Israel’s already fragile relations with its neighbors, particularly Egypt.

The tussling between the Obama administration and the Israeli government reached a peak last week when Mrs. Clinton, in Qatar for a meeting of the U.S.-Islamic World Forum, announced that Mr. Obama would be “speaking in greater detail about America’s policy in the Middle East and North Africa in the coming weeks.”

Her announcement electrified Israeli officials, who quickly got on the phone with American officials and journalists to determine whether Mr. Obama had decided to put an American plan on the table. He had not made such a decision, and White House officials cautioned that the internal debate was still going on.

But two days later, the House speaker, John A. Boehner of Ohio, announced his intention to invite Mr. Netanyahu to address a joint meeting of Congress. “America and Israel are the closest of friends and allies, and we look forward to hearing the prime minister’s views on how we can continue working together for peace, freedom and stability,” Mr. Boehner said in a news release.

Like many other foreign leaders, Mr. Netanyahu has addressed Congress before. He did so in 1996, and four other Israeli prime ministers have over the past 35 years. The platform gives American elected leaders the opportunity to publicly demonstrate their support for Israel before the politically crucial Israel lobby.

Mr. Netanyahu’s address will coincide with the planned meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, arguably the most powerful of the American groups that advocate for Israel.

Brendan Buck, Mr. Boehner’s press secretary, said that staff members had received no pushback from the White House about the invitation to Mr. Netanyahu. “Obviously, it’s a troubled time for the region,” he said. “Our members have been very interested in demonstrating that we stand with Israel.”

Last November, Representative Eric Cantor, Republican of Virginia, told Mr. Netanyahu that the new G.O.P. majority in the House would “serve as a check on the administration,” in a statement that was rare for its blunt disagreement on American foreign policy as conveyed to a foreign leader.

Mr. Cantor put out a statement after a meeting with Mr. Netanyahu saying that he “made clear that the Republican majority understands the special relationship between Israel and the United States, and that the security of each nation is reliant upon the other.”

Brian Katulis, a national security expert with the Center for American Progress, a liberal research organization, said that Republicans were trying to “make Israel a partisan wedge issue.”

“And that’s bad for Israel, and that’s bad for the United States,” Mr. Katulis said. But he added that the administration would never publicly, or even privately, oppose the notion of an Israeli leader addressing Congress.

Two American officials, speaking on condition of anonymity out of diplomatic caution, said they thought that if Mr. Netanyahu intended to make a bold proposal for a peace deal with the Palestinians, he would do so before his own people in the Knesset.

“Instead of focusing on peace-making, everybody seems to be focused on speech-making,” said Martin S. Indyk, vice president for foreign policy at the Brookings Institution and a former United States ambassador to Israel. “And unless the speeches generate peace negotiations, making speeches will not generate peace.”

Much of the debate is taking place under a pending deadline of the United Nations General Assembly meeting scheduled in September, when the Assembly is expected to broadly endorse Palestinian statehood in a vote that could prove deeply embarrassing to Israel and the United States, which are both expected to vote against it.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Why David Barton matters - In an exclusive interview, Msnbc’s Lawrence O’Donnell talks to Peter Montgomery, the author of the People For the American Way report on why conservatives flock to this historian.

GOP back-tracking on deficit? - Melissa Harris-Perry, Princeton professor and msnbc analyst, joins The Last Word with more on the GOP’s reaction to the S&P report and the on-going deficit problem.

Dropbox hits 25 million users, talks branded gear | Electronista

Dropbox hits 25 million users, talks branded gear | Electronista
Image representing Dropbox as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase
Dropbox has just announced that it reached a milestone 25 million users for its cloud-based storage service that lets users stream their own music from the web. The service is available in 175 countries and Monday also marks its newfound availability in Spanish, German, French and Japanese in addition to English. The company grew significantly since just four million subscribers one year and three months ago.

The company's founders also plan to bring out Dropbox-branded hardware over the course of the next 12 months. While nothing is set, the gadgets that could make the most of the Dropbox service include printers, scanners, cameras and TVs.

Dropbox offers a free service that includes storage of up to 2GB, while $20 per month allows 100GB of file storage. Ease of use is a big reason for the growing popularity, Dropbox believed, as it mainly involves dragging and dropping files.

Dropbox is available for Windows, Linux and OS X platforms as well as BlackBerry, Android and iOS phones and portable devices. [via SeattlePI]

Access Dropbox here

Apple sues Samsung for 'copying' smartphones, tablets | Apple Talk - CNET News

Apple sues Samsung for 'copying' smartphones, tablets | Apple Talk - CNET News

Samsung's Galaxy Tab stacked on top of Apple's first-generation iPad.

Apple has filed a lawsuit against Samsung, alleging that the consumer electronics giant has violated Apple's intellectual property in the design of its mobile devices.
The suit, which was filed last week and picked up on by The Wall Street Journal, takes aim specifically at the Galaxy series of smartphones and tablets, as well as other Samsung smartphones, for "copying" Apple's user interface and design features. In it, Apple--the maker of the trend-setting iPhone and iPad--claims Samsung is infringing on its patents and is practicing unfair competition.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment, though an Apple representative told AllThingsD: "It's no coincidence that Samsung's latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging," adding that "this kind of blatant copying is wrong, and we need to protect Apple's intellectual property when companies steal our ideas."

In a statement e-mailed to CNET, a Samsung representative said this: "Samsung's development of core technologies and strengthening our intellectual property portfolio are keys to our continued success. Samsung will respond actively to this legal action taken against us through appropriate legal measures to protect our intellectual property."
The lawsuit is of special interest given the relationship between the two companies. Samsung is the supplier of components in a handful of Apple devices, including part of Apple's A4 and A5 processors, which can be found in the company's iOS devices as well on the Apple TV product. Findings by AnandTech from earlier this morning also suggest that Apple has moved away from Toshiba to Samsung as the provider for solid-state storage in its MacBook Air notebooks.
Apple invested $100 million in Samsung back in 1999 to help boost the company's production of flat-panel displays. Even so, the two companies have traded blows at one another publicly. In 2005 Samsung promised to knock Apple from its top spot with the iPod, launching a massive ad campaign the following year. More recently, during Apple's iPad 2 unveiling, Apple CEO Steve Jobs knocked Samsung's tablet efforts, misquoting Samsung vice president Lee Young-hee as saying that sales of the company's 7-inch Galaxy Tab tablet had been "small."

Apple has been a large customer of Samsung's over the years, working with the company to buying up large orders of flash memory for use in devices like the iPhone. In February the two companies were said to be working on a contract agreement with one another worth $7.8 billion, yielding parts like processors, flash memory, and LCD panels for future devices.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Expert: Despite Japanese Gov't Claims of Decreasing Radiation, Fukushima a "Ticking Time Bomb"

Expert: Despite Japanese Gov't Claims of Decreasing Radiation, Fukushima a "Ticking Time Bomb"

Trumps's Stumbles And Slurs

Ariz. Legislature OKs Presidential 'Birther' Bill : NPR

Scanned image of Barack Obama's Birth Certific...Image via WikipediaAriz. Legislature OKs Presidential 'Birther' Bill : NPR

The Arizona Legislature gave final approval late Thursday night to a proposal that would require President Barack Obama and other presidential candidates to prove they are U.S. citizens before their names can appear on the state's ballot.

Arizona would become the first state to require such proof if Gov. Jan Brewer signs the measure into law.

Republican Rep. Carl Seel of Phoenix, the author of the bill, said the bill wasn't about opposition to Obama. "This bill is about the integrity of our elections," Seel said.

Thirteen other states have considered similar proposals this year. The proposals were defeated in Arkansas, Connecticut, Maine and Montana.

The bill won final approval from the state House in a 40-16 vote.

So-called "birthers" contend since the last presidential election that Obama is ineligible to hold the nation's highest elected office because, they argue, he was actually born in Kenya, his father's homeland. The Constitution said a person must be a "natural-born citizen" to be eligible for the presidency.

Hawaii officials have repeatedly confirmed Obama's citizenship, and his Hawaiian birth certificates have been made public. Even though the courts have rebuffed lawsuits challenging Obama's eligibility, the issue hasn't gone away.

"It's a fringe issue in my view, and it's going to cause people to look again at Arizona and say what's all this craziness going on there," said Democratic Rep. Daniel Patterson of Tucson, an opponent of the bill.

The Arizona proposal would require political parties and presidential candidates to hand in affidavits stating a candidate's citizenship and age and to provide the candidate's birth certificate and a sworn statement saying where the candidate has lived for 14 years.

If candidates don't have a copy of their birth certificates, they could meet the requirement by providing baptismal or circumcision certificates, hospital birth records and other documents.

If it can't be determined whether candidates who provided documents in place of their birth certificates are eligible to appear on the ballot, the secretary of state would be able to set up a committee to help determine whether the requirements have been met.

The names of candidates can be kept off the ballot if the secretary of state doesn't believe the candidates met the citizenship requirement.

Pat Buchanan Defends Trump's Remarks About "The Blacks"



These Republicans are just plain dumb, ignorant bigots! Pat Buchanan has always been in a racist. Donald Trump has always shown racists tendencies. It time for decent Americans to stand up against these Republicans including Palin and the rest of the Tea Party crowd. Unfortunately most of America remains silent. We cannot sit back and take this!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Taking on G.O.P., Obama Unveils Debt Relief Plan - NYTimes.com

Taking on G.O.P., Obama Unveils Debt Relief Plan - NYTimes.com

By MARK LANDLER and MICHAEL D. SHEAR
WASHINGTON — President Obama made the case Wednesday for slowing the rapid growth of the national debt while retaining core Democratic values, proposing a mix of long-term spending cuts, tax increases and changes to social welfare programs as his opening position in a fierce partisan budget battle over the nation’s fiscal challenges.

After spending months on the sidelines as Republicans laid out their plans, Mr. Obama jumped in to present an alternative and a philosophical rebuttal to the conservative approach that will reach the House floor on Friday. Republican leaders were working Wednesday to round up votes for that measure and one to finance the government for the rest of the fiscal year.

Mr. Obama said his proposal would cut federal budget deficits by a cumulative $4 trillion over 12 years, compared with a deficit reduction of $4.4 trillion over 10 years in the Republican plan. But the president said he would use starkly different means, rejecting the fundamental changes to Medicare and Medicaid proposed by Republicans and relying in part on tax increases on affluent Americans.

The president framed his proposal as a balanced alternative to the Republican plan, setting the stage for a debate that will consume Washington in coming weeks, as the administration faces off with Congress over raising the national debt ceiling, and into next year, as the president runs for re-election.

Mr. Obama named Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to lead the negotiations with Congress, which the administration hopes will produce the outlines of a deal by the end of June, though a detailed agreement might have to await the outcome of the 2012 election. Mr. Biden played a similar role in talks that averted a government shutdown at the 11th hour, over issues far less thorny than those on the table now.

In a 44-minute speech to an audience at George Washington University that included Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, the author of the Republican plan, Mr. Obama was often combative and partisan, saying the Republican approach would hurt the elderly by driving up the cost of medical care, deprive millions of health insurance and starve the nation of investments in its future.

“These are the kind of cuts that tells us we can’t afford the America that I believe in,” he said. “I believe it paints a vision of our future that’s deeply pessimistic.”

“There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires,” the president continued, as Mr. Ryan sat stone faced. “There’s nothing courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill.”

Yet Mr. Obama acknowledged that the rising medical costs and the mounting debt required action. And he warned Democrats that his administration would have to cut cherished programs and strictly limit the growth of Medicare and Medicaid. “If we truly believe in a progressive vision of our society,” he said, “we have the obligation to prove that we can afford our commitments.”

Mr. Obama said he would meet his $4 trillion deficit-reduction target by cutting spending across a range of government programs, from farm subsidies to federal pension insurance.

He called for cutting $400 billion more in military spending — twice what his defense secretary, Robert M. Gates, told Congress was the largest cut he could recommend.

In a sign of the tensions the plan may cause within the administration, officials at the Pentagon said Mr. Gates was not told of Mr. Obama’s proposal until Tuesday. In a statement, a Pentagon spokesman, Geoff Morrell, said that “further significant defense cuts” would reduce the military’s capability. “It is important that any reduction in funding be shaped by strategy and policy choices, and not be a budget math exercise,” Mr. Morrell said.

Republicans criticized the plan, both for the cuts in military spending and for what they said was an overall lack of detail.

“Republicans, led by Chairman Ryan, have set the bar with a jobs budget that puts us on a path to paying down the debt and preserves Medicare and Medicaid for the future,” Speaker John A. Boehner said in a statement. “This afternoon, I didn’t hear a plan to match it from the president.”

Mr. Boehner repeated a threat to refuse to raise the $14.3 trillion ceiling on the national debt, which the government is likely to breach in early July, unless the administration agrees to rein in spending and deficits. The administration has sought to keep the debt ceiling issue separate from the broader budget debate, and Mr. Obama addressed it only indirectly on Wednesday.

“If our creditors start worrying that we may be unable to pay back our debts,” Mr. Obama said, “that could drive up interest rates for everyone.”

Still, in what some analysts said was a gesture to Republicans, Mr. Obama said his plan would contain a trigger to require across-the-board spending cuts if, by 2014, the federal debt was still projected to be rising as a percentage of the total economy.

The trigger would apply not only to spending but also to what the administration calls “tax expenditures” — essentially payments to taxpayers for deductions for charitable donations or home mortgages.

The use of the phrase “tax expenditures” allows the administration to lump tax-related issues into the spending category. Mr. Obama was more direct in his call for allowing the Bush-era tax cuts for higher-income Americans to expire in 2012.

The president agreed to extend the cuts last December, as part of a budget deal with the newly elected Republican majority in the House. Now, with the economy getting back on its feet, Mr. Obama attacked the demand by Republicans to make the lower tax rates permanent as emblematic of their plan to enrich the wealthy on the backs of the elderly and poor.

“They want to give people like me a $200,000 tax cut that’s paid for by asking 30 seniors to each pay $6,000 more in health costs? That’s not right, and it’s not going to happen as long as I am president,” Mr. Obama said, his only line that drew applause.

While Mr. Obama’s plan does not detail specific cuts, analysts said it offered enough detail to set off a substantive debate with Republicans. Some said the proposal for capping the annual cost increase in Medicare and Medicaid to just above the economic growth rate was surprisingly conservative. Others said they were pleased that Mr. Obama had called for overhauling Social Security, even if he was vague and said it was not a leading culprit for the deficit.

“It looks like Ryan smoked him out, so to speak,” said Rudolph G. Penner, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute.

Mr. Penner said Mr. Obama’s plan hewed closely to the recommendations of his commission on deficit reduction. Mr. Obama did not explicitly endorse those recommendations when the commission submitted its report in December — a decision that fueled criticism from Republicans and some Democrats that he was not facing up to the tough choices in the budget debate.

The co-chairmen of that commission — Erskine B. Bowles, who was a chief of a staff to President Bill Clinton, and former Senator Alan K. Simpson — were in the audience Wednesday, along with Mr. Biden. At one point, Mr. Biden appeared to nod off, closing his eyes for 30 seconds.

Jackie Calmes, John Harwood and Thom Shanker contributed reporting.