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FL-2012 Primary: 39% Romney, 31% Gingrich, 15% Santorum, 11% Paul (PPP 1/28-30)

Public Policy Polling (D)
1/28-30/12; 1087 likely Republican primary voters, 3.0% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
PPP release


2012 President: Republican Primary
39% Romney
31% Gingrich
15% Santorum
11% Paul

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Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/30/fl-2012-primary-39-romney_n_1243131.html

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Romney credits change in tactics for Florida surge

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney throws bags of chips at traveling reporters on his campaign charter plane in Jacksonville, Fla., Monday, Jan. 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney throws bags of chips at traveling reporters on his campaign charter plane in Jacksonville, Fla., Monday, Jan. 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, with his wife Callista, campaign at The Villages, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012, in Lady Lake, Fla. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney campaigns at Ring Power Lift Trucks in Jacksonville, Fla., Monday, Jan. 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Residents arrive in golf carts for a campaign event by Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, at the The Villages, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012, in Lady Lake, Fla. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(AP) ? Looking for a convincing win, a confident Mitt Romney said Monday the Florida primary is breaking his way and urged voters to send Newt Gingrich "to the moon." Gingrich claimed he's gaining ground and will stay in the race until summer.

"You can sense that it's coming our way," Romney told reporters. The former Massachusetts governor was already looking ahead, making plans to stop in Minnesota on his way to Nevada on Wednesday, the day after Florida votes.

A day before the voting, Romney ridiculed Gingrich, his chief rival here: "Send him to the moon," Romney said at a rally early Monday, repeating an audience member's comment and using it to poke fun at Gingrich's claim to build a moon colony as president. Romney also scoffed at "the idea of the moon as the 51st state" as "not one that's come to my mind."

Gingrich countered that Romney is "pretending he's somebody he's not" and linked Romney to Obama, calling them the "twins of the establishment." Gingrich's allies, meanwhile, urged Rick Santorum to get out of the race to clear the way for conservatives to consolidate support behind the former House speaker.

In the final hours before Tuesday's critical primary, Romney sustained his barrage against Gingrich. He said he believes he bounced back from a tough South Carolina loss by aggressively answering Gingrich's attacks and hitting him for his ties to the government-backed, mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

Gingrich threatened a long slog. "I think he's going to find this a long campaign," Gingrich said.

"That's why they're trying to carpet-bomb us here in Florida," said former Gingrich aide Rick Tyler, who runs the pro-Gingrich political action committee Winning Our Future. "They're trying to end this thing. But it's not going to end."

Tyler visited the first of three rallies Romney had planned Monday to rail against Romney and urge Santorum to leave the race.

"I'm here to get as many cameras and microphones so I can talk about Mitt Romney's incessant failure to tell the truth," Tyler said, echoing Gingrich's recent claims about Romney's character. Tyler called Romney "despicable" and "disgraceful."

He also called on Santorum to leave the race to clear the way for Gingrich. "I think it would give us Mitt Romney, and I think Rick would hurt himself" by staying in, Tyler said.

Speaking to reporters, Romney said Gingrich's threats indicated desperation. "That's usually the case when you think you're going to lose," he said. "Everybody has a right to stay in as long as they think" they should, Romney said.

Gingrich kept up his attacks, saying Monday that on the big, philosophical issues, Romney "is for all practical purposes a liberal. I am a conservative."

"It's closing here in Florida," Gingrich said, "and I think the next 24 hours in going to make a big difference."

Gingrich also defended his ties to President Ronald Reagan after Romney supporters questioned Reagan's rapport with the former speaker. "Mitt Romney may not know about the Reagan years because he was not there," Gingrich told supporters in Pensacola.

Polls showed Romney running ahead of Gingrich in the state. Romney earned positive reviews after two debates last week and has put the former House speaker on the defensive over his ethics and ties to Freddie Mac.

But instead of stepping back and refocusing on President Barack Obama ? as he did in Iowa when it became clear that Gingrich had lost ? Romney is ratcheting up his rhetoric and attacking until the very end. He hopes to close the Florida campaign strongly to push Gingrich as far back as possible.

Gingrich said Monday he was closing the gap with Romney in Florida. He said the Republican Party needed a "clear conservative" to run against Obama in the fall, and that there was very little difference between Obama and Romney when it came to their policies and politics, such as health care.

"Mitt Romney will have a very, very hard time trying to differentiate himself," Gingrich said.

In what has become a wildly unpredictable race, the momentum has swung back to Romney, who was staggered by Gingrich's victory in South Carolina on Jan. 21. Romney has begun advertising in Nevada ahead of caucuses there next Saturday, illustrating the challenge ahead for Gingrich.

An NBC News/Marist poll published Sunday showed Romney with support from 42 percent of likely Florida primary voters, compared with 27 percent for Gingrich.

Santorum, trailing in Florida by a wide margin, skipped campaigning to be with his 3-year-old daughter, Bella, who was hospitalized. He planned to campaign Monday in Missouri and Minnesota.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who has invested little in Florida, also looked to Nevada. The libertarian-leaning Paul is focusing more on gathering delegates in caucus states, where it's less expensive to campaign. But securing the nomination only through caucus states is a hard task.


Associated Press writer Shannon McCaffrey in Pensacola, Fla., contributed to this report.

Associated Press

Source: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/89ae8247abe8493fae24405546e9a1aa/Article_2012-01-30-GOP-Campaign/id-73af817bdf8640e29690ac1a89ee1309

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Nickelback goes after haters on Twitter

Chris Pizzello / AP

Canadian rock act Nickelback are mad as heck and they're not going to take it any more ... so they're firing back at anti-fans on Twitter.

By Randee Dawn

Hating Canadian rockers Nickelback has almost become a competitive sport.

Sure,?they have loads of fans. Nickelback's last album, 2011's "Here and Now," hit No. 2 on Billboard's Top 200.

But a sort of viral dislike for the band blossomed properly on the Internet in 2010 when a woman founded a Facebook page called "Can this pickle get more fans than Nickelback." She won.

More recently, Detroit Lions fans were incensed that the band would play the halftime performance during the Thanksgiving Lions-Green Bay Packers game, and got over 55,000 signatures to prevent it from happening. They lost.

And earlier this January, the drummer for The Black Keys told Rolling Stone that the band is essentially killing rock music, calling it "watered-down, post-grunge crap."

That seemed to be the straw that broke the Nickel's back: Suddenly, the band's official Twitter account was reaching out, and on Jan. 5 they tweeted, "Thanks to the drummer in the Black Keys calling us the Biggest Band in the World in Rolling Stone. Hehe."

Well, they are Canadian. The stinging insults are going to naturally be a bit softer.

But starting about a week ago, things stepped up a little more -- and someone behind the band's Twitter account got busy, tweeting personal responses to individual attacks, which were compiled on BuzzFeed. Among some of the zappers:

Sedated_Nights: "My stereo turned itself back on again, to nickelback AGAIN. DOES IT KNOW I F------ HATE THEM WITH A FIREY BURNING PASSION?"

Nickelback: "@Sedated_Nights that makes your stereo excellent. Enjoy the flames"


Mybueno: "I blame Nickelback"

Nickelback: "@mybueno we blame you. Not sure for what, but it was definitely you."


@HistoryClassPro: "So Pandora thought it would be cool and skip over some music that I wanted to hear, then played Nickelback..."

Nickelback: "@HistoryClassPro isn't it amazing when they get it so right?"

On the one hand, exhibiting a sense of humor in light of such public ribbing is worth a thumbs up. But on the Internet, poking the trolls is something of a risky business: Trent Reznor got into a battle with some of his Twitter followers and deleted his account in 2009. (He did ultimately return.)

For now, Nickelback is keeping it interesting ... but based on their anti-fans' vitriol, they may need to hire someone to tweet full-time pretty soon.

Are you a Nickelback fan, a hater, or indifferent? Take our poll, and tell us on Facebook.

Nickelback is ...


Related content:

Source: http://entertainment.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/01/30/10270436-nickelback-goes-after-haters-on-twitter

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Steve Jobs Emailed Eric Schmidt and Told Him to Stop Stealing Employees. And Schmidt Obliged. [Crime]

Remember that civil lawsuit looming over the heads of some of the top Silicon Valley companies for conspiring not to poach each other's employees? The latest juicy tidbit to leak from that involves Steve Jobs sending Eric Schmidt an email demanding that Google stop stealing. More »

Source: http://feeds.gawker.com/~r/gizmodo/full/~3/2MUI-7SSi1k/steve-jobs-emailed-eric-schmidt-and-told-him-to-stop-stealing-employees-and-schmidt-obliged

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GOP candidates' pitch to voters: I'm your leader (AP)

WASHINGTON ? The pitch from the Republican presidential contenders to voters sounds a lot like the children's game of follow the leader.

When Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich aren't puffing up their own leadership credentials, they're running down the leadership skills of one another and of President Barack Obama.

If anyone missed Monday's conference call from the Romney campaign about Gingrich's record as a "failed leader," not to worry. They could have tuned in to Tuesday's conference call. Or Wednesday's. Or Thursday's. Or checked out the "unreliable leader" banner splashed across a Romney news release that labeled Gingrich "unhinged."

Romney's political biography, meanwhile, is all about his leadership as a businessman, Massachusetts governor and savior of the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.

It's hard to miss Gingrich's frequent broadsides at Romney for failing to provide consistent, visionary leadership. Or the former House speaker's pronouncements that he, by contrast, offers "exactly the kind of bold, tough leader the American people want." Or Gingrich's descriptions of all that was accomplished in his four years as speaker in the 1990s.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, trailing in the polls, keeps trying to muscle his way into the conversation by offering himself as the steady bet who can be counted on to offer more reliable conservative leadership than "erratic" Gingrich or "moderate" Romney.

In a race where all the candidates are trying to out-conservative one another, stressing leadership credentials gives the GOP rivals a way to try to distinguish themselves. In a year when Obama's own leadership skills are seen as one of his weakest qualities, it gives the Republicans one more arrow in their quiver as they argue over who would be most electable in a matchup with Obama come November.

Leadership is always a part of the equation in presidential elections. In 2008, for example, the candidates all were abuzz with claims that they offered "transformational" leadership.

"I want to transform this country," Obama said when he announced he was running.

This year, leadership is getting an extra dose of attention, perhaps because of statistics such as this: The share of Americans viewing Obama as a strong leader slipped from 77 percent at the start of his presidency to 52 percent in a Pew Research Center poll released this month. Among Republicans, only about one-fourth of those surveyed in the most recent poll said Obama was a strong leader, compared with 80 percent of Democrats.

At a campaign debate last week in Tampa, Fla., Gingrich and Romney both turned a question about electability into an answer about the L-word.

"This is going to come down a question of leadership," Romney said. Then the former Massachusetts governor recited his track record as a leader in business and government and took a dig at Gingrich for having to "resign in disgrace" when he was speaker in the 1990s.

Gingrich, answering the same question, aligned himself with the leadership record of conservative hero Ronald Reagan and offered himself as someone "prepared to be controversial when necessary" to bring about great change.

The answers offer a window into how differently the two candidates define leadership: Romney more as a manager with business school credentials, Gingrich more as a big-thinking visionary.

The leadership argument is a particularly potent campaign weapon for Romney because a number of Republicans who served in Congress with Gingrich have been happy to describe his shortcomings in running the House.

"If you were somebody trying to serve with him, you were always sort of left standing with your hands empty in terms of moving forward with an actual plan or putting a plan to paper," Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif., said of Gingrich on a Romney campaign conference call Thursday. "So for me, it's an example that he's just not an effective leader. I think Mitt has the temperament and the ability to lead."

Gingrich, who resigned after a spate of ethics problems and a poor showing for House Republicans in the 1998 elections, managed to turn even his resignation as speaker into evidence that he's a strong leader.

"I took responsibility for the fact that our results weren't as good as they should be," he said in the Tampa debate. "I think that's what a leader should do."

As for the turbulence of his tenure as speaker, Gingrich casts that, too, as evidence of his bold leadership.

"Look, I wish everybody had loved me, but I'd rather be effective representing the American people than be popular inside Washington," he said earlier in the campaign.

Stephen Wayne, a presidential scholar at Georgetown University, said the harsh judgment of Obama's presidential leadership by Republicans and even some Democrats in part is due to the high hopes that he raised during the 2008 campaign. Obama the president has been measured against the words of Obama the candidate ever since.

Now that it's campaign season again, says Wayne, "he's not competing against his own image, he's competing against a real life person that has frailties. ... In a sense, that lowers the bar for Obama."


AP Deputy Polling Director Jennifer Agiesta contributed to this report.


Follow Nancy Benac at http://www.twitter.com/nbenac

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/topstories/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20120128/ap_on_el_pr/us_gop_follow_the_leader

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Need for courtroom artists fade as cameras move in

This Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012, photo, shows courtroom sketch artist Carol Renaud in her Chicago home studio. Artists have drawing legal proceedings since the Salem witch trials to the recent corruption trial of impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich, but their ranks are thinning as states lift courtroom camera ban. Just 14 states still have prohibitions in place, amd three of those states, Minnesota, South Dakota and Illinois, recently moved to end theirs. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

This Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012, photo, shows courtroom sketch artist Carol Renaud in her Chicago home studio. Artists have drawing legal proceedings since the Salem witch trials to the recent corruption trial of impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich, but their ranks are thinning as states lift courtroom camera ban. Just 14 states still have prohibitions in place, amd three of those states, Minnesota, South Dakota and Illinois, recently moved to end theirs. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

This 2009 sketch of Bolingbrook police officer Drew Peterson by courtroom artist Carol Renaud is seen at her Chicago home on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012. Artists have drawing legal proceedings since the Salem witch trials to the recent corruption trial of impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich, but their ranks are thinning as states lift courtroom camera ban. Just 14 states still have prohibitions in place, and three of those states, Minnesota, South Dakota and Illinois, recently moved to end theirs. (AP Photo/Carol Renaud)

This Dec. 7, 2011 file courtroom sketch by artist Tom Gianni shows former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, left, speaking before U.S. District Judge James Zagel at his sentencing hearing at federal court in Chicago. Sketch artists have been drawing legal proceedings since the Salem witch trials to the recent corruption trial of impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich, but their ranks are thinning as states lift courtroom camera ban. Just 14 states still have prohibitions in place, and three of those states, Minnesota, South Dakota and Illinois, recently moved to end theirs. (AP Photo/Tom Gianni, File)

FILE - In this May 14, 2008 file photo, courtroom sketch artist Andy Austin poses at Chicago's Federal Plaza with one of her works from the corruption trial of Conrad Black. Austin has worked as a court artist for 40 years. Artists have been drawing legal proceedings since the Salem witch trials to the recent corruption trial of impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich, but their ranks are thinning as states lift courtroom camera bans. Just 14 states still have the prohibitions in place, though three of those states, Minnesota, South Dakota and Illinois, recently moved to end theirs.(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

This May 20, 2008 file courtroom sketch by artist Lou Chukman shows R&B singer R. Kelly, right, watching in court as prosecutors played the sex tape at the center of his child pornography trial in open court in Chicago. Artists have drawing legal proceedings since the Salem witch trials to the recent corruption trial of impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich, but their ranks are thinning as states lift courtroom camera bans. Just 14 states still have prohibitions in place, and three of those states, Minnesota, South Dakota and Illinois, recently moved to end theirs. (AP Photo/Lou Chukman, File)

(AP) ? One marker in hand and one in his mouth, Lou Chukman glances up and down from a sketchpad to a reputed Chicago mobster across the courtroom ? drawing feverishly to capture the drama of the judge's verdict before the moment passes.

Sketch artists have been the public's eyes at high-profile trials for decades ? a remnant of an age when drawings in broadsheet papers, school books or travel chronicles were how people glimpsed the world beyond their own.

Today, their ranks are thinning swiftly as states move to lift longstanding bans on cameras in courtrooms. As of a year ago, 14 states still had them ? but at least three, including Illinois this month, have taken steps since then to end the prohibitions.

"When people say to me, 'Wow, you are a courtroom artist' ? I always say, 'One day, you can tell your grandchildren you met a Stegosaurus," Chukman, 56, explained outside court. "We're an anachronism now, like blacksmiths."

Cutbacks in news budgets and shifts in aesthetic sensibilities toward digitized graphics have all contributed to the form's decline, said Maryland-based sketch artist Art Lien.

While the erosion of the job may not be much noticed by people reading and watching the news, Lien says something significant is being lost. Video or photos can't do what sketch artists can, he said, such as compressing hours of court action onto a single drawing that crystallizes the events.

The best courtroom drawings hang in museums or sell to collectors for thousands of dollars.

"I think people should lament the passing of this art form," Lien said.

But while courtroom drawing has a long history ? artists did illustrations of the Salem witch trials in 1692 ? the artistry can sometimes be sketchy. A bald lawyer ends up with a full head of hair. A defendant has two left hands. A portly judge is drawn rail-thin.

Subjects often complain as they see the drawings during court recesses, said Chicago artist Carol Renaud.

"They'll say, 'Hey! My nose is too big.' And sometimes they're right," she conceded. "We do the drawings so fast."

Courtroom drawing doesn't attract most aspiring artists because it doesn't afford the luxury of laboring over a work for days until it's just right, said Andy Austin, who has drawn Chicago's biggest trials over 40 years, including that of serial killer John Wayne Gacy.

"You have to put your work on the air or in a newspaper whether you like it or not," she said.

The job also involves long stretches of tedium punctuated by bursts of action as a witness sobs or defendant faint. It can also get downright creepy.

At Gacy's trial, a client asked Austin for an image of him smiling. So, she sought to catch the eye of the man accused of killing 33 people. When she finally did, she beamed. He beamed back.

"The two of us smiled at each other like the two happiest people in the world until the sketch was finished," Austin recalled in her memoirs, titled "Rule 53," after the directive that bars cameras in U.S. courts.

There's no school specifically for courtroom artists. Many slipped or were nudged into it by circumstance.

Renaud drew fashion illustrations for Marshall Field's commercials into the '90s but lost that job when the department store starting relying on photographers. That led her to courtroom drawing.

Artists sometime get to court early and sketch the empty room. But coming in with a drawing fully finished in advance is seen as unethical.

Some artists use charcoal, water colors or pungent markers, which can leave those sitting nearby queasy. Most start with a quick pencil sketch, then fill it in. Austin draws right off the bat with her color pencils.

"If I overthink it, I get lost," she said. "I have a visceral reaction. I just hope what I feel is conveyed to my pen."

These days, Chukman and Renaud fear for their livelihoods. They make the bulk of their annual income off their court work. Working for a TV station or a newspaper can bring in about $300 a day. A trial lasting a month can mean a $6,000 paycheck. Chukman does other work on the side, including drawing caricatures as gifts.

Austin is semiretired and so she says she worries less. She also notes that federal courts ? where some of the most notorious trials take place, like the two corruption trials of impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich ? seem more adamant about not allowing cameras.

Still, though Rule 53 remains in place, federal courts are experimenting with cameras in very limited cases.

"If federal courts do follow, that will be the end of us," Austin said.

Renaud holds out hope that, even if the worst happens, there will still be demand from lawyers for courtroom drawings they can hang in their offices. Lien plans to bolster his income by launching a website selling work from historic trials he covered, including of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

Chukman, a courtroom artist for around 30 years, jokes that if asked for his opinion, he'd have told state-court authorities to keep the ban in place a few more years until he retires.

"I recognize my profession exists simply because of gaps in the law ? and I've been grateful for them," he said wistfully. "This line of work has been good to me."

Associated Press

Source: http://hosted2.ap.org/apdefault/3d281c11a96b4ad082fe88aa0db04305/Article_2012-01-28-Camera%20in%20Courts-Sketch%20Artist/id-25f27af7ccf040ff81e5339a7bbe83eb

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Santorum defends Romney, Gingrich on wealth attack

(AP) ? Presidential candidate Rick Santorum is defending rival Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich on attacks from each other on their wealth.

Santorum says Romney is, in his words, "a wealthy guy because he worked hard." He is also defending Gingrich by saying Gingrich's work advising companies after leaving government is not the worst thing in the world.

Santorum says Romney's and Gingrich's attacks on each other distract from bigger issues and that they should focus on policy differences.

Gingrich says he believe his wealth should be a non-issue but says he must defend himself from attacks.

Associated Press

Source: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/89ae8247abe8493fae24405546e9a1aa/Article_2012-01-26-GOP-Debate-Wealth/id-7b0eaf8cbe42420182ab85cc84d1d687

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Robert Hegyes, played Epstein on 'Kotter,' dies (AP)

METUCHEN, N.J. ? Robert Hegyes, the actor best known for playing Jewish Puerto Rican student Juan Epstein on the 1970s TV show "Welcome Back Kotter" has died. He was 60.

The Flynn & Son Funeral Home in Fords, N.J., said it was informed of Hegyes' death Thursday by the actor's family.

A spokesman at JFK Medical Center in Edison, N.J., told the Star-Ledger newspaper that Hegyes, of Metuchen, arrived at the hospital Thursday morning in full cardiac arrest and died.

Hegyes was appearing on Broadway in 1975 when he auditioned for "Kotter," a TV series about a teacher who returns to the inner-city New York school of his youth to teach a group of irreverent remedial students nicknamed the "Sweathogs." They included the character Vinnie Barbarino, played by John Travolta.

The show's theme song, performed by John Sebastian, became a pop hit.

Hegyes also appeared on many other TV series, including "Cagney & Lacey."

He was born in Perth Amboy and grew up in Metuchen, the eldest child of a Hungarian father and Italian mother.

He attended Rowan University, formerly Glassboro State College, in southern New Jersey, before heading to New York City after graduation. He returned to Rowan on several occasions to teach master classes in acting, a university spokesman said Thursday.

"He was a good friend to the university," spokesman Joe Cardona said.

Hegyes continued to act after "Kotter" and was a regular on "Cagney & Lacey." He also guest-starred in shows including "Diagnosis Murder" and "The Drew Carey Show."

On his website, Hegyes wrote that he was inspired by Chico Marx, whom he had played in a touring production of a show about the Marx Bros. He also recalled how his mother encouraged him to get involved in theater as a teen.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/celebrity/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20120127/ap_en_ce/us_obit_robert_hegyes

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SwitchMe brings makeshift guest account to Android root users

SwitchMe brings makeshift guest account to Android root users, so lend that weirdo your phone
Wouldn't it be absolutely splendid if you could hand your phone over to a friend (or complete stranger) without fear of them mucking up your system or digging into your personal bits? Yes, we'd absolutely love to see guest accounts become standard issue on all handsets, but until that day arrives, a new application called SwitchMe will work in a pinch. Word of caution, this app requires root privileges, which may deter many folks.

Rather than allowing multiple sessions to run simultaneously, as you'd expect on a desktop computer, SwitchMe lets users to easily jump between different installations of Android -- they exist separately and don't talk to each other. Naturally, this also allows hobbyists to easily jump between their favorite ROMs, and gives developers clean sandboxes for app testing. The first hit is free, but if you want to manage more than two installations, you'll need to buy the unlock key for $1.98. Still, those who find the SwitchMe useful should consider tossing the developer a few bones.

Update: As a commenter pointed out, multiple ROMs are not supported at this time. The developer has verified this, stating that any content inside /system cannot be changed. Bummer.

[Thanks, Alan]

SwitchMe brings makeshift guest account to Android root users originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 26 Jan 2012 21:27:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://feeds.engadget.com/~r/weblogsinc/engadget/~3/FBBGmRxyWlQ/

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Analysis: For Obama 2012, it's all about the 99 percent (Reuters)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) ? President Barack Obama threw red meat to his political base on Tuesday with a promise to do the nearly impossible: solve the problem of widening U.S. income inequality.

Faced with the very real possibility of losing the White House in November, Obama used his State of the Union address to demand a tax increase for millionaires and launch an aggressive campaign arc built upon economic fairness.

"No debate is more important," Obama said early in his hour-long speech before a joint session of Congress.

"We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well while a growing number of Americans barely get by, or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules."

In recent months, Obama had made clear he would mine the vein of resentment in America over the growing income gap, the source of inspiration for last year's Occupy Wall Street movement that highlighted the concentration of wealth among 1 percent of the population.

But by choosing to make it the cornerstone of his annual speech to the nation, he cemented the theme of working for the 99 percent as his campaign battlecry for the next 10 months.

He could not have chosen a better day to contrast his populist ideas with his possible Republican challenger.

Mitt Romney, one of the wealthiest presidential candidates in history, released tax returns on Tuesday that showed he and his wife paid an effective tax rate of 13.9 percent in 2010 and expect to pay a 15.4 percent effective tax rate for 2011.

Obama proposed a minimum tax rate of 30 percent for people who make $1 million or more a year, a clear shot at his would-be rival, even though he was unnamed in the speech.

"I think it's one of the best cards he can play, especially given that Mitt Romney released his tax returns today," said

Henry Brady, dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley.

"People are worried about fairness in the tax code. So it seems to me that this is something where he has the rhetorical advantage."

Senior administration officials said the 30 percent figure was established long before Romney's tax rate was made public.

One noted, however, that not all wealthy people kept their money in accounts on the Cayman Islands, a dig at the former Massachusetts governor, whose advisers said his holdings included amounts in funds based in the Cayman Islands and other overseas entities.


Obama's tax reform proposal, made on one of the biggest campaign stages of the year, is the latest in a series of moves the president has made to appeal to the middle class and to present a populist message.

The president's fall deficit reduction proposals and recent appointment of a director to lead the consumer financial protection agency that is unpopular with Republicans have raised the temperature and highlighted the contrasts between him and the opposition party.

Nevertheless, the president knows he has almost no chance of getting his millionaire tax proposal through a divided Congress.

But the issue gives him a strong talking point to energize his political base, much of which has been disenchanted with his record.

"It's a great issue for President Obama. It's something that his base has been waiting for," said Democratic strategist Bud Jackson. "He has started to move to a more combative approach in terms of contrasting himself with Republicans ... and I also think that dovetails nicely with Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich or whoever the nominee will be."

The president will take the message on a five-state, three-day trip beginning on Wednesday.

The state choices are not coincidental. He is going to Iowa, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, and Michigan - all battlegrounds that could help decide the general election.

Officials said he would release more details about his business, energy, and college affordability proposals during the trip.

Supporters are eager to have more details - and more red meat.

"I did particularly like that he described income inequality and the support of the middle class as the defining issues of our time," said James Catalano, 51, of Tampa, Florida, who attended a party with other Democrats to watch the speech.

"I thought it was really moderate and reasonable, which was a little frustrating."

(Additional reporting by Patricia Zengerle; editing by Mary Milliken and Eric Beech)

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/obama/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20120125/pl_nm/us_obama_campaign

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The Obama Jobs Record In One Graph (OliverWillisLikeKryptoniteToStupid)

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বুধবার, ২৫ জানুয়ারী, ২০১২

Romney defends investments, readies tax returns (AP)

WASHINGTON ? Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has criticized rival Newt Gingrich for earning more than $1.6 million in consulting fees from Freddie Mac even though he has as much as $500,000 invested in the U.S.-backed lender and its sister entity, Fannie Mae.

A day before Romney planned to release his income tax returns, his old investments in two controversial government-backed housing lenders stirred up new questions at the same time his campaign targeted Gingrich for his work for Freddie Mac.

The dimensions and the sources of Romney's wealth, which he has estimated to be as much as $250 million, have become pivotal issues in the roiling GOP primary campaign. For months, Romney dismissed calls to release his personal income tax records. But after mounting criticism from his rivals and others, coupled with his stinging weekend loss to Gingrich in the South Carolina primary, Romney agreed to release his 2010 return and 2011 estimate.

Romney's most recent financial disclosure report listed several investments in U.S.-backed lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Romney, Gingrich and other GOP critics repeatedly have all singled out the two quasi-government entities as prime villains in the housing crisis that played a central role in the nation's long and deep recession.

While continuing to hammer Gingrich for his consulting work for Freddie Mac, the Romney campaign sought to deflect questions about the former Massachusetts governor's investments. They include a mutual fund worth up to $500,000 that includes assets from both lenders among other government income, and separate investments in each of the lenders in Romney's individual retirement account, each worth between $100,000 and $250,000.

Romney campaign officials said Monday that a trustee handles the investments and that Romney had no role in choosing or managing them.

The tax returns Romney planned to release Tuesday could provide new details about his investments and his annual take as founder of the Bain Capital private equity firm. Gingrich released his own 2010 federal tax return last weekend, during a South Carolina GOP debate, and his campaign said he would disclose his full contracts with Freddie Mac on Monday night just before the debate in Tampa, Fla.

Romney's tax returns are likely to sketch out critical information about the tax strategies he employs. Tax experts said these likely include his use of a low 15 percent capital gains rate to reduce the taxes he pays on dozens of large investments that flow into his blind trust, charitable donation strategies that benefit philanthropies but also further reduce his tax burden and investments routed through offshore affiliates that could help him defer some tax payments.

Romney already has acknowledged that his current tax rate is about 15 percent, a level far lower than standard rates for high-income earners and similar to the capital gains rate. But some tax law and tax policy experts suggest that Romney likely has paid similarly low rates throughout his Bain years, continuing through the 13 years since he left the firm.

Joseph Bankman, a Stanford University business and law professor who has testified before Congress on the taxes paid by private equity firms like Bain, said Romney's background as a financier, coupled with his growing wealth and ability to use sophisticated tax tactics, makes it highly likely that he has paid taxes at the capital gains rate for most of his career.

"There is no reason to believe that Romney ever paid more that the going rate for capital gains," Bankman said.

The current lowest rate for long-term capital gains is 15 percent, but a higher rate of 20 percent had been in effect since 1981 until President George W. Bush signed into law a massive tax cut program in 2001.

Romney's 2010 return and 2011 estimate, Bankman said, could detail whether he continues to make any "carried interest," a lucrative investment arrangement typical among private equity managers that earns at least 20 percent of an investment fund's profits. The bulk of Romney's profits from his "carry," as the maneuver is often called in the private equity world, came during his tenure as Bain's founder and managing director in the 1980s and 1990s, but reportedly continued in the years after he left the firm.

At least six of Romney's investments, worth between $5 million and $25 million, were made in funds that have offshore affiliates based in the Cayman Islands, a well-known haven for companies seeking to attract foreign and non-profit investors. One of those funds, which is invested in Romney's retirement IRA, could be used to defer some of his tax payments, Columbia University law professor Michael Graetz said. It is uncertain if any offshore accounts would be identified in Romney's new tax disclosures.

Romney's vast investments contain other funds than the ones he profited from as a Bain Capital executive. But it was unclear Monday whether he had any direct role in handling the investments in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that appear on his 2012 presidential disclosure.

One investment, listed as a "Federated Government Obligation Fund" and worth between $250,000 and $500,000, was a mutual fund that included both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac assets among a larger pool that included other government securities.

The holding was not listed in Romney's blind trust, which led some Democratic Party activists to suggest that the investment was under his direct control.

"He is relentlessly attacking Newt Gingrich over his ties to Freddie Mac despite the fact that he personally invested up to a half a million dollars in both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac," said Ty Matsdorf, a senior adviser with American Bridge 21st Century, a PAC associated with Democratic Party and liberal causes.

Former GOP Rep. J.C. Watts, a Gingrich supporter, said Monday that Romney was on a slippery slope calling his opponent a lobbyist and raising doubts about Gingrich's work for Freddie Mac. But he did not directly address Romney's investments with the lender or with Fannie Mae.

"Some might see it as splitting hairs. But Newt Gingrich was not walking the halls of House and Senate," Watts said on a conference call arranged by the campaign. "He was never doing the hand-to-hand combat doing the lobbying, consulting, whatever you want to call it."

A Romney campaign official who insisted on anonymity to discuss that investment in greater detail said that Romney's trustee had bought the government investment fund in 2007, before the housing crisis broke.

The Romney official said that the government fund was purchased through a charity trust that does not appear in Romney's presidential disclosure but will show up on his income tax return for 2010. That trust, called a Charitable Remainder Unitrust, is a standard tax strategy among the wealthy that provides investors with a fixed payout each year. What remains in the account at a later date, or when the investor dies, is turned over to charity, the official said.

Romney does not directly control the investment account, Romney campaign senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom said earlier on Monday. "His investments are controlled by a trustee," Fehrnstrom said.

Separately, Romney's IRA retirement account lists both a Fannie Mae and a Freddie Mac security, each worth between $100,000 and $250,000. But because those are in Romney's IRA, they also appear to be under control of the trustee.

Tax experts said Romney's income tax returns may contain other charity structures and tax strategies designed to both boost his income and charity donations, while minimizing his involvement because of his presidential ambitions.

Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center, a branch of the nonpartisan Urban Institute in Washington, said much can be gleaned by looking at Romney's sources of income and his itemized deductions. The latter would include Romney's 10 percent annual tithing to the Mormon Church, which would lower his tax liability and counteract higher taxes he would otherwise pay on non-investment income, like speaking fees.

An annual study of charity giving by the ultra-rich has shown that tax strategies are only one of several motivations, said Una Osili, a professor of economics and philanthropic studies at Indiana University. The most recent 2010 study of "high net-worth philanthropy" found that religious ties and volunteer and donor relationships are also important, said Osili, director of research for the studies.

Osili noted that more than 90 percent high net-worth donors tend to make donations in either cash or checks. But Romney's own family charitable foundation, the Tyler Charitable Fund, has showed signs that Romney has also donated stock investments to charity ? and his 2010 returns could provide more evidence of that trend.


Associated Press writers Kasie Hunt and Brian Bakst in Tampa contributed to this report.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/gop/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20120124/ap_on_el_pr/us_romney_s_wealth

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মঙ্গলবার, ২৪ জানুয়ারী, ২০১২

Acer X1261P

The Acer X1261P ($415 street) is a highly portable budget data projector, easy to set up and run. It has few frills and limited connection options, but its image quality is adequate for typical business presentations, and the projector supports the display of 3D content to boot.

The projector has XGA (1,024 by 768) native resolution, which translates to a 4:3 aspect ratio conducive to data presentations. It has a rated brightness of 2,700 lumens. These are the same basic specs as another budget data projector, the InFocus IN114($399 direct, 3.5 stars), which is comparable in image quality but with a longer warranty and more connection choices.

The X1261P, black with rounded corners, is quite compact at 3.1 by 10.6 by 7.6 inches (HWD) and lightweight? at 4.9 pounds, making it very easy to tote around. It comes with a soft carrying case with pouch, to help you in that endeavor. You will need to bring your computer with you, as there is no USB port to let you run a presentation directly from a USB thumb drive.

The only controls on the projector itself are the on-off button and the focus and zoom wheels; settings and functions are adjusted using a tiny, rectangular remote. There?s a slot on top of the projector that fits the remote?a good thing, because you really don?t want to lose it. The projector has a sparse selection of ports: VGA-in; VGA-out for connecting to a monitor; an RCA video jack; RS232; S-Video; and audio-in.

Data and Video Image Quality

The X1261P was able to project a 65-inch diagonal image to fill our test screen while standing up well to ambient light. In data image testing using the DisplayMate ?suite, the X1261P?s image quality was typical of a low-priced XGA-resolution projector: adequate for typical business presentations, though not without flaws.

Some bright areas in data images showed slight yellow or bluish tints, and color fringing was often evident where bright areas met dark backgrounds. Though colors in general looked rich, some yellows appeared dull and mustardy. In our text tests, black on white text looked good, though white on black text showed some blur at the two smallest sizes. (Most XGA projectors I?ve tested only show blur at the smallest size.)

All DLP projectors are potentially subject to the rainbow effect, in which light areas appear broken down into their component colors to form rainbow glints when either one?s head or the image moves. People vary in their sensitivity to this effect (I seem to be of average sensitivity). With the X1261P, such rainbow glints were apparent in certain data images portraying bright zones against black backgrounds, and could be distracting to people who are sensitive to the effect. Between the rainbow effect and slightly fuzzy text, one is probably better off avoiding white-on-black data presentations with this projector.

In video testing, the X1261 proved up to showing short video clips as part of a presentation, though I?d hesitate in using it for longer clips, let alone movies. Colors were rich, though at times they seemed a bit too saturated, and there was some loss of detail in brighter areas. The rainbow effect in video images was typical of a DLP projector; it could be distracting to people who are sensitive to it.

Other Issues

The projector?s single 2-watt speaker produces audio of decent volume and quality, and should be fine for use in smaller classrooms or conference rooms.

The X1261P is 3D-ready, compatible with DLP Link as well as Nvidia 3D Vision systems, though you need 3D glasses and, in the case of Nvidia, a PC with a compatible Nvidia GeForce graphics card to avail yourself of it.

The Acer X1261P is a very portable XGA data projector with a bargain price and few frills. It?s up to providing suitable image quality for basic business or classroom presentations at a fixed location or on the road. The InFocus IN114 provides a few extras at a similar price. If you need higher brightness and still more features, the Editors? Choice Epson PowerLite 1880 MultiMedia Projector ($1,399 direct, 4 stars) fits the bill, as does the highly portable NEC NP64 ($1,099 direct, 4 stars).

More Projector Reviews:

??? Acer X1261P
??? NEC NP-V260
??? NEC NP-V260X
??? Epson EX5210 Multimedia Projector
??? Optoma HD8300
?? more

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ziffdavis/pcmag/~3/2eHKqLm7s8k/0,2817,2399279,00.asp

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Paterno could be last of ilk in college football

BC-FBC--Paterno-Long-Term Coaches, 2nd Ld-Writethru,824Paterno could be last of ilk in college footballAP Photo PAGP124, PAGP219Eds: Adds Beamer quote. With AP Photos.By RALPH D. RUSSOAP College Football Writer

There will never be another coaching career like Joe Paterno's.

His time at Penn State started long before coaches were pulling down multimillion dollar salaries, before fire so-and-so.com web sites and win-now-or-else attitudes at programs that have rarely contended for championships.

No Division I coach won more games (409) or had a longer run at one school than Paterno.

It's hard to fathom a coach staying at a power program such as Penn State for even 20 years these days, let alone the 46 seasons Paterno led the Nittany Lions.

Coaches who come to define not just a team but a school, Hall of Famers such as Bear Bryant, Tom Osborne, Bo Schembechler, Bobby Bowden and Paterno, seem to be going the way of the wishbone and tear-away jerseys in college football.

"Look what's happening," Bowden told The Associated Press on Sunday, hours after Paterno died at the age of 85. "Coaches getting fired in two years. Coaches making a million dollars here and they get $2 million and they leave. They break a five-year contract. You've got unloyalty at both ends."

The 82-year-old Bowden was nudged into retirement two years ago after 34 seasons at Florida State. Paterno was fired during a chaotic week in November after his former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, was charged with sexually abusing children.

He found out about Paterno's death when he arrived home Sunday morning after coaching a charity game between former Florida State and Miami players. Former Hurricanes coach Howard Schnellenberger, who retired from Florida Atlantic after this past season at the age of 77, was coaching the Miami squad.

Bowden and Paterno became friends over the years partly because, as they grew older, they could relate to each like few other coaches could.

"We'd sit and talk and discuss a lot of NCAA questions," Bowden said. "Those were great memories. My wife Ann and Sue (Paterno's wife) got along real good together too."

Bowden said he'd written a letter to Paterno "not too long ago," but hadn't spoken with him for some time.

"Bobby always thought so much of Joe," Ann Bowden said. "He was just a unique character. Joe was very strong and outspoken. He and Bobby were different in a lot of respects. He'd been there a longer time and he was stronger, more forceful, said what he thought. Bobby guards himself a little bit when he says something."

With Schnellenberger's retirement, Kansas State's 72-year-old Bill Snyder is the oldest active coach in major college football.

Snyder has spent 21 seasons with the Wildcats, but even that was interrupted by a three-year retirement when he hit a rough patch.

After Paterno was fired, Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer became the longest-tenured coach working in the highest level of Division I football.

"College football will miss Joe Paterno," said Beamer, who is 65 and has been leading the Hokies since 1987.

The next-longest continuous tenure among current coaches belongs to 60-year-old Mack Brown, who has been at Texas since 1998.

"I think that the changes in communications and media (changes that of course accelerated Joe's termination once the grand jury indictments were issued) create a level of scrutiny and pressure that will make 10 years at the same FBS school rare," Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick said in an email.

Some of Notre Dame's greatest coaches (Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian and Lou Holtz) only lasted around a decade, but lately the storied program has been emblematic of the revolving door many schools have on the football coach's office.

Brian Kelly is Notre Dame's fourth head coach since 1997; its fifth if you count the days-long tenure of George O'Leary. As for Kelly, Notre Dame is his third job since 2004, though he was climbing the ladder from Central Michigan to Cincinnati to one of the most celebrated football schools in the country.

Even elite top-notch programs get used as steppingstones these days.

Alabama's Nick Saban left Michigan State for LSU, where he won a national title in 2003. He then bailed on the Tigers for the Miami Dolphins before landing at Alabama and winning two national championships for the Tide in five seasons.

"I think the cycles for head coaches will be shorter, much as we've seen in pro sports," West Virginia Athletic Director Oliver Luck said.

At 60, Saban looks as if he could easily put in another 10 years in Tuscaloosa. But with a salary approaching $5 million, why would he want to? Paterno only ever made about $1 million a year, by the way, relatively modest by today's standards.

"Coaches are making so much money that if they're successful they can retire early in life and if they're not successful the school is going to get rid of them real quick," Bowden said. "It's not likely we're going to see anybody last as long as Joe and myself."


Associated Press Writer Brent Kallestad in Tallahassee, Fla., contributed to this report.

Associated Press

Source: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/347875155d53465d95cec892aeb06419/Article_2012-01-22-Paterno-Long-Term%20Coaches/id-4c775a5ba3924ed49c8b9da48442ae6f

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সোমবার, ২৩ জানুয়ারী, ২০১২

Extraordinary Gingrich comeback also vindication (The Arizona Republic)

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Greystar buys Bennett Lumber site in Uptown - Finance & Commerce

Posted: 4:19 pm Fri, January 20, 2012
By Burl?Gilyard
Tags: apartment vacancy, Bennett Lumber, commercial real estate, Community Planning and Economic Development, Greystar Real Estate Partners, Park Place Apartments, Sherman Associates

The former home of Bennett Lumber in south Minneapolis has long been eyed for redevelopment. An out-of-town buyer has now purchased the 5.6-acre site. (Staff photo: Bill Klotz)

Firm manages, develops apartments

Greystar Real Estate Partners, a large national apartment owner and developer, has paid $5.65 million for the vacant former home of Bennett Lumber in the Uptown area of south Minneapolis.

The site?s previous local owners outlined plans for up to 710 apartments for the site, which stretches across three blocks along the northern edge of the Midtown Greenway.

The Charleston, S.C.-based Greystar is involved in multifamily investment, development and property management. According to its website, the company manages more than 180,000 apartments in more than 100 U.S. markets.

A representative of Greystar did not return phone calls seeking comment on the deal.

Despite its national presence, Greystar is a new player in the Twin Cities market. In late August, the company paid $54.7 million for the 500-unit Park Place Apartments in Plymouth, one of the largest local apartment deals in several years.

But the company clearly will build, as well as buy, projects. In the Dallas, Texas, suburb of Lakewood, Greystar is building a 435-unit Class A apartment complex.

A certificate of real estate value (CRV) for the Bennett Lumber deal was filed on Friday with Hennepin County. The document did not indicate the closing date of the transaction. The listed buyer was Uptown Joint Venture LLC. The LLC?s address matches an address for Greystar?s office in Houston, Texas.

The land was previously owned by two local groups: Uptown Aurora Properties LLC and JPG-OFG LLC. Records show that the properties sold for $3.75 million in 2006.

James Gearen, a local commercial real estate executive who was part of the previous ownership group, did not return a call seeking comment about the transaction.

The site includes several parcels, but the main addresses include:

  • 2828 Emerson Ave. S.
  • 2828 Dupont Ave. S.
  • 2836 Colfax Ave. S.

The city of Minneapolis assembled an environmental assessment worksheet (EAW) for the proposed redevelopment of the 5.6-acre site. In May, the City Council voted that a more in-depth environmental impact statement (EIS) would not be required.

Hilary Dvorak, a senior planner with the city?s Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED) department, said that developers previously secured city approvals for 217 apartments on the easternmost parcel. No plans have been submitted for the other two parcels.

The Bennett Lumber site has been eyed for redevelopment for years. During the condo boom, Minneapolis-based Sherman Associates envisioned a plan for 150 to 170 units on the site, but that plan never moved forward.

In the current climate of continued uncertainty in the housing market, apartment vacancy has tightened significantly. At the end of September, Minneapolis-based Marquette Advisors reported apartment vacancy across the Twin Cities at 2.3 percent.

The Uptown area has been a draw for apartment developers. Marquette Advisors reported a vacancy rate of 1.8 percent for southwest Minneapolis at the end of the third quarter.

Minneapolis-based Greco is wrapping up work on Flux, a market-rate apartment complex with 216 units at 2838 Fremont Ave. S. in Minneapolis, just west of the Bennett Lumber site. Plymouth-based Dominium is under way on a conversion of the Lehmann Center building at 1006 Lake St. W., where plans call for 136 affordable apartments. That project is on the other side of the Midtown Greenway from the Bennett Lumber property.

There are other plans on the books. Greco has also proposed approximately 170 market-rate apartments at 2900 Lyndale Ave. S., a vacant corner lot.

Source: http://finance-commerce.com/2012/01/greystar-buys-bennett-lumber-site-in-uptown/

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রবিবার, ২২ জানুয়ারী, ২০১২

AP: Prof to seek dismissal of NJ child porn case (AP)

EAGLESWOOD TOWNSHIP, N.J. ? An architecture professor arrested after firefighters battling a blaze at his Jersey shore home found a 1970s magazine depicting naked prepubescent girls plans to seek dismissal of the child endangerment charge though a pretrial intervention program, his lawyer said Friday.

Attorney Hal Haveson told The Associated Press that Gamal El-Zoghby acknowledges the magazine found by firefighters Tuesday was his. But the 76-year-old professor at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y., bought it decades ago and hasn't looked at it since, the attorney said.

"It was stuff he had discarded from his mind, just not from his home," Haveson said.

El-Zoghby is charged with child endangerment as a result of the discovery of the magazine in question.

It is but one of a collection of 60 or 70 adult magazines found by firefighters who responded to a blaze at El-Zoghby's waterfront home just before noon Tuesday, Haveson said. State police said only one magazine contained images of naked prepubescent girls.

The vast majority of the magazines were Playboy and Hustler magazines from the 1970s, which the attorney said are much tamer than what is generally considered to be pornography today.

"And the fact that it was all from the 1970s reinforces my client's contention that this is stuff he hadn't seen in decades," Haveson said. "If this were someone who was into this, you'd expect to find a lot more, newer stuff."

The attorney wouldn't directly address why El-Zoghby had originally obtained the magazine in question, other than to say, "He had a reasonable, non-prurient explanation for that. It was not because he enjoyed child pornography." He declined to comment further.

The lawyer also said he's not sure that what's in the magazine meets the legal definition of child pornography. A lot depends on whether the images are intended to appeal to prurient or sexual interests, he said.

"My client doesn't know because he hasn't seen this in decades," he said.

The architect had intended for years to throw away the magazine but never did, his attorney said.

El-Zoghby is due in Eagleswood municipal court on Wednesday for a brief hearing, at which the judge is expected to refer the case to state Superior Court, Haveson said.

Ultimately, El-Zoghby will apply for New Jersey's pretrial intervention program, which lets certain first-time offenders charged with nonviolent crimes have their criminal record wiped clean if they complete the program and stay out of trouble. Prosecutors would have to agree to let him enter the program in order to avoid a trial.

El-Zoghby's request to enter the program is not expected to be made until the case reaches the Superior Court level.

The professor is on a leave of absence at Pratt while the school investigates. A spokeswoman said Friday his status had not changed.

"This is all stuff from the 1970s; that's really important," Haveson said. "What someone does in their younger years does not define the man. He is not a collector of child pornography. My client had not paid any attention to this in decades."

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/us/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20120120/ap_on_re_us/us_fire_child_pornography

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Cougars extinct in East? No, say those who spot them

Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

This June 2011 photo by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection shows a worker examining a dead mountain lion, or cougar, at the Sessions Woods Wildlife Center in Burlington, Conn. Tests determined that the cat, which was struck by a car, had traveled all the way from South Dakota.

By Jim Gold, msnbc.com

Cougar sightings persist in the East nearly a year after the big predators were declared extinct in the region, a determination that some don't believe. Others want to make cougars' presence a big reality.

Just this month Gary Sanderson, sports editor at the Greenfield, Mass.-based Recorder newspaper, reported?cougar sightings on a farm near the Vermont border, by an Amtrak engineer who claimed his train's video captured images of the creatures?near Leverett, and from readers in the region who claim to have pictures of cougars.

"I've been besieged" with sightings ever since writing a column 10 years ago about hunting with a trapper who became a believer in?cougars' presence?after finding a footprint way too large to be a bobcat in Conway, along the Deerfield River, Sanderson told msnbc.com.

Sanderson said?he has since written 50 columns devoted to cougar sightings and has been told by wildlife officials he was irresponsible to promote the notion of their presence.

With rare exception, there is?no credible evidence of cougars living in the wild?east of the Mississippi River, government and private researchers told msnbc.com.

In Connecticut this week, a CBS radio report and a Greenwich Time newspaper story both cited the growth of cougar sightings since last spring. That's when a cougar first spotted in Greenwich on June 5 was killed by a car six days later in nearby Milford. NBC Connecticut reported at the time that scientists studying the 140-pound animal's DNA concluded the?cougar had?wandered about 1,800 miles east, all the way from the Black Hills of South Dakota through Minnesota and Wisconsin before finding its way to Greenwich, about 70 miles outside New York City.

Even though he is a?state away, Sanderson said, "I felt vindicated" when the news emerged about the cougar in Milford. "I didn't think they would admit that it was wild."

A Connecticut group called Cougars of the Valley?has an online petition with about?250 signatures asking the state General Assembly to hold a hearing on cougars, also known as mountain lions, pumas and panthers. The group's website also hosts a map of Connecticut cougar sightings and comments from readers?claiming authorities disparaged their reports about seeing cougars.

No evidence?
Mark McCollough, an endangered species specialist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Orono, Maine, field office, was the lead scientist in the agency's study declaring the Eastern cougar extinct. (See full study report here.)

McCollough told msnbc.com that there is no scientific evidence that Eastern cougars have somehow survived?150 years after being driven from the region. The last known real Eastern cougar was shot dead in 1938 in Maine, he said.

"That's not to say they don?t show up from time to time," McCollough said of cougars, but most reports of sightings are misidentfications, such as coyotes or bobcats, which are about one-fourth the size of cougars.

Officials have documented 110 cougars loose?in the Eastern United States and Canada since 1900, he said.?They come from two main sources:

  • Escaped pets: At least 1,000 cougars are known to be held in captivity in the East, he said, and many that have turned up loose have been genetically traced to South American ancestry, indicating they were part?of?the exotic pet trade. "They didn?t walk here," McCollough said.
  • Dispersers: Like the wandering cougar killed in Connecticut, some head east from the West and north from Florida, home to about 150 panthers.?Cougars?regularly?show up?on?trail cameras set up privately across the country, McCollough said, but they're not on cameras in the East.

One cougar from Florida, where about 150 panthers live in the wild, was killed in Georgia in 2008. That same year, police shot?a cougar that wandered into Chicago's North Side.

But there is no scientific evidence, no scat (droppings), no confirmed sightings that cougars are establishing homes and breeding east of the Mississippi and?north of Florida, McCollough?said.

Courtesy of The Cougar Network

Green: established populations
Blue = Class I Confirmation
Red = Class II Confirmation

A map by The Cougar Network, a non-profit research group,?shows only a few?confirmed sightings of cougars in the?East since 1990.

"We just don't take those kinds of sightings seriously anymore," said Mark Dowling, a leader of the network. Pictures turn out to be house cats or even golden retrievers.

Cougars couldn't go undetected, he said. "They betray their presence readily," he said, by becoming road kill or chasing people's pets.

The Midwest is seeing a resurgence, he said, including?new populations?in South Dakota, North Dakota and Nebraska. Individual dispersing animals have been seen?in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and Louisiana.

Christopher Spatz, a southern New York resident who is president of the Cougar Rewilding Foundation, told msnbc.com that?wandering cougars are young males looking for females and needing to get away from their fathers' territories before their fathers kill them.

"Young cats out on their own are troublemakers," said Spatz, an advocate for reintroducing cougars into the wilds of the East.

"We need them everywhere. Big predators help regulate ecosystems,"Spatz said.

After wolves were reintroduced at Yellowstone National Park in 1995, elk?stopped?eating cottonwoods and aspens, Spatz said. Vegetation came back, and biodiversity, including beavers, birds and fish, expanded.

Without cougars and other predators, there is an overabundance of whitetail deer in the East, resulting in lack of understory.

Live Poll

Should cougars be recolonized in the East?

  • 173858

    Yes, they will help the ecosystem; we can learn to coexist with the cats.


  • 173859

    No, the predators are too dangerous to people, pets and livestock.


  • 173860

    Not sure.


VoteTotal Votes: 3288

"Cougars' presence would change the way deer browse," Spatz said. "They would keep moving; you would see regeneration of your understory."

Cougars are not a threat to people, pets and livestock, he said. California, where there are an estimated 5,000 to 6,000?cougars and no hunting allowed, proves "we can coexist."

McCollough, the wildlife biologist, and Dowling, from the Cougar Network, which doesn't take a stand on repopulation, said chances of recolonization efforts in the East?are remote, as people likely won't want large predators living near them.

Cougars, which can leap 30 feet and reach speeds of 50 mph, are carnivores whose usual diet consists mainly of deer, elk, turkey rabbits porcupine, coyote and other small mammals, according to The Cougar Fund, a non-profit trying to protect cougars. But the animals?do prey on people, pets and livestock. Since 1890, "only 20 people"?have been killed by cougar attacks, says the group, which also offers tips on how to fight off cougars and guidelines to keep children and pets safe. Several non-fatal mauling attacks on people are reported yearly.?

'They are here'
But one cougar advocate, Bill Betty of Matunuck, R.I., said people in the Northeast already coexist with cougars, because, he said, they are present and?breeding.

"Every state in the East will eventually acknowledge?they are here," Betty told msnbc.com. He said he has?had 14 daytime encounters as close as 10 feet with cougars -- and nine family members have had 30 encounters.

"I've chased mountain lions away from kids," he said.

Betty lectures all over the country about mountain lions and has a 90-minute slideshow and other show-and-tell items such as a skull, scat samples and photos. He said he knows what a cougar looks like.

At a lecture in Somers, Conn., he said, 37 people raised their hands when asked if they'd seen a cougar.

"They are here," he said. "Those who say they are not are lying."

"Mature, responsible adults and schoolchildren?can tell the difference between a cougar and?a big yellow dog," he said.

Officials say they still don't believe Betty and that he does not use scientific data in his presentations.

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Source: http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/01/21/10195024-cougars-extinct-in-east-no-way-say-those-who-claim-sightings

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