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Doug Stephan Coffee
Doug Stephan Coffee
July 25, 2014

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Posted by Ken at 4:50 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

Gov. Rick Perry deploying up to 1,000 National Guard troops to border
Gov. Rick Perry deploying up to 1,000 National Guard troops to border
July 22, 2014

Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, announced Monday that he is activating up to 1,000 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border as he accuses the federal government of offering "lip service" on border security.

The announcement comes as the Obama administration is still struggling to deal with the influx of more than 50,000 unaccompanied minors, most from Central America, who have crossed into the United States in the past year. The additional resources are not aimed at the children themselves, Perry said, describing them instead as a "force multiplier" to help the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) "combat the brutal Mexican drug cartels that are preying upon our communities."

"I will not stand idly by while our citizens are under assault and little children from Central America are detained in squalor. We are too good of a country," Perry said.

The troops could detain people if asked, Texas Adjutant General John Nichols said at the press conference with Perry, but they are planning to play a "referring and deterring" role by deterring cartels with their visible presence and referring any immigrants suspected of being in the country illegally to DPS.

Perry argued that the elevated response at the border by DPS personnel has already has already acted as a deterrent force and reduced apprehensions. That operation comes at a cost of $1.3 million per week. A state memo obtained by the McAllen Monitor, which first reported Perry's plan to deploy the National Guard, indicated the new efforts will cost the state of Texas $12 million per month.

Perry said he expects the federal government to eventually reimburse the state of Texas for the costs it has incurred protecting the southern border.

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Pennsylvania will now shame convicted lawmakers with plaques that note their crimes
Pennsylvania will now shame convicted lawmakers with plaques that note their crimes
July 22, 2014

Portraits of four Pennsylvania lawmakers that hang in the State Capitol building in Harrisburg will now indicate they were convicted of a crime.

"There was a question: 'Do you remove the portraits or do you do something else?'" said Stephen Miskin, a spokesman for House Speaker Sam Smith, a Republican from Punxsutawney. "You can't change history, whether you like it or not. There was a feeling you should keep the portraits out there and let people make up their own mind."

The lawmakers' criminal activity will now be inscribed on a plaque that identifies their portraits, and is a result of several members concern over what to do following the two most recent convictions in 2011 and 2012.

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Kerry lashes out at Russia over downed jet
Kerry lashes out at Russia over downed jet
July 21, 2014

There's no shortage of evidence that shows pro-Russian rebels shot down a Malaysian jet in Ukraine last week, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 fell from the sky in Donetsk on Thursday, killing all 298 people aboard.

There's video of a launcher with one surface-to-air missile missing, imagery showing the firing and intercepted calls with rebels claiming credit for the strike, Kerry said.

"We know from intercepts ... that those are in fact the voices of separatists," he told CNN's State of the Union on Sunday. "And now we have a video showing a launcher moving back through a particular area there out into Russia with at least one missing missile on it."

Kerry accused Russia of backing the separatists.

"This is the moment of truth for Russia. Russia is supporting these separatists. Russia is arming these separatists. Russia is training these separatists. And Russia has not yet done the things necessary in order to try to bring them under control," he said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron didn't mince words either on who was to blame. In an op-ed in The Sunday Times, he called the plane crash and its aftermath "an outrage made in Moscow."

Russian President Vladimir Putin fired back with a video statement posted on the Kremlin's official website early Monday, arguing that his country has been pushing for peace in Ukraine.

"We have repeatedly called on all parties to immediately stop the bloodshed and to sit down at the negotiating table. We can confidently say that if June 28 fighting in eastern Ukraine did not resume, this tragedy most likely would not have happened," he said. "However, no one should have the right to use this tragedy to achieve selfish political objectives. Such events should not divide but unite people."

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Dream Big America - This Week's Contestants!
Dream Big America - This Week's Contestants!
July 18, 2014

Here are this week's contestants for Dream Big America...

Kerry Rodriguez from Quantuminds Baby Powder Wipes

Rachel Crawford from Teamotions Tea

Mike Buckler from Village X Inc

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Posted by Ken at 4:50 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

Free E-Book From Cindy and Traveling Mom.com
Free E-Book From Cindy and Traveling Mom.com
July 18, 2014

Do you always forget to photograph these things? (Tips 2, 16)

Ever use these tricks to make your kids more helpful? (Tips 25, 29)

Did you think to pack THESE? (Tips 45, 52)

Why would you EVER travel without THIS? (Tip 79)

You spend a whole year looking forward to your family vacation. Don't waste a minute or miss a beat with these tips from the TravelingMom Family Travel Experts. Have more fun, get your kids more involved, and save more money.

Click below to get your FREE 101 Family Travel Tips eBook today!

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Ex-dictator Manuel Noriega sues Activision over 'Call of Duty' game
Ex-dictator Manuel Noriega sues Activision over 'Call of Duty' game
July 16, 2014

Former Panama dictator Manuel Noriega is suing the Santa Monica video game publisher Activision Blizzard Inc. for depicting him and using his name without his permission in one of the fastest-selling video games.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Noriega alleges that "Call of Duty: Black Ops II" portrays him as "a kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state." This was done "to heighten realism in its game," which "translates directly into heightened sales" for Activision, the lawsuit states.

Noriega, 80, is seeking lost profits as well as damages.

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E-Cigarettes Are Pulling an Uber on the Tobacco Industry
E-Cigarettes Are Pulling an Uber on the Tobacco Industry
July 16, 2014

Big Tobacco is scared. Not, you know, because they've spent decades selling and marketing a lethal product while spending billions to silence their critics. But because of good old-fashioned disruption.

E-cigarettes are poised to do to the tobacco industry what Uber is doing to the taxi industry, writes Steven Davidoff Solomon in DealBook. Which is why Reynolds American and Lorillard, the second- and third-largest tobacco companies in America, are in talks to merge. With their combined power, the two companies would be a "front-runner in e-cigarette technology," thanks to Lorillard's ownership of Blu eCigs, which controls 40 percent of the U.S. e-cigarette market. And it would give both companies a fighting chance at winning the future.

"A giant tobacco merger would not be that much different from Facebook's $16 billion acquisition of WhatsApp or Google's $3.2 billion deal for Nest Labs," Davidoff Solomon writes. And except for, well, the whole "killing more than 5 million people a year" thing, he's right. E-cigarettes aren't a good example of classic, Christensen-style disruptive innovation (since they're aimed at the top end of the cigarette market), but they are innovative, and they will cannibalize the traditional tobacco market if left unchecked.

One of the reasons e-cigarettes have an advantage in the tobacco market is their health claims - which are still a subject of debate among researchers, but clearly existent. But a far bigger advantage, where Big Tobacco executives are concerned, is that while cigarette ads haven't appeared on television or radio since the 1970s, there are still no laws preventing e-cigarette companies from marketing their products in the mainstream media. By investing in e-cigarettes, Reynolds American and Lorillard are making a regulatory arbitrage play - if you're not allowed to market your products, buy something you are allowed to market.

To return to the taxi example, it's as if Uber were allowed to put up huge billboards proclaiming its greatness anywhere it wanted to, and yellow cab operators were legally prohibited from doing anything to promote their cars. To keep its profit engines running, Big Tobacco has to seduce another generation of smokers. And given the ease of marketing e-cigarettes (for now), it's no surprise that the largest tobacco companies are piling in. So while the CEOs involved in the merger may talk up the health advantages of vaping over smoking, don't be fooled: This merger is about exploiting a gap in regulatory treatment, not necessarily a vote of confidence for e-cigarettes themselves.

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Posted by Ken at 1:43 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

'24: Live Another Day' season finale recap: Time runs out
'24: Live Another Day' season finale recap: Time runs out
July 15, 2014

Jack Bauer is a machine. He's a loner, a rebel and often ruthless when it comes to taking down his enemies. One could argue he's that way because of how much he's lost over the years, though the show doesn't spend much time analyzing these moments. When a new terrorist is always waiting in the wings, there isn't a ton of time to reflect. That changed, however briefly, in Monday night's season finale when Kate called Jack with devastating news: Audrey was dead.

Jack dropped the phone, slid to the floor and pulled out his gun. Cheng had made good on his promise to kill Audrey if Jack came after him. Another woman in Jack's life had been brutally murdered and it was, at least somewhat his fault. He pulled out his gun and for a second seemed to think about pulling the trigger. There was never really a moment when I believed Jack would end it all (it's not his style) but the moment (played brilliantly by Kiefer Sutherland) added some much-needed pathos to what would go on to become a very grim finale.

Once he snapped out of it, Jack was back in all his former glory. Taking out Cheng's goons with everything from bullets to meat cleavers. It all led to an epic showdown between Cheng and Bauer, in which they beat each other bloody until Jack was able to give President Heller the proof he needed to dissuade China from going to war with America. Once the Chinese government was made aware of the evidence, Jack wasted no time disposing of his enemy, using his sword to decapitate Cheng and granting Audrey's final wish.

The high from avoiding war was short-lived. Heller was informed of his daughter's death and immediately collapsed. When we saw him next, it was nearly 12 hours later, the season's first and only time jump. He was boarding Air Force One with Audrey's casket. Right before the plane left London, Heller confessed that his only solace was knowing that his Alzheimer's would take over soon and he'd forget all about his grief and, sadly, about Audrey as well. The now-widowed Mark suffered a dark fate, too. He was arrested for treason and carted to America, where he will be put to trial and undoubtedly found guilty.

Perhaps the only character who saw even a glimmer of hope was Kate Morgan. The anguish she felt over Audrey's death was clear. She'd spent most of the season doubting her role as a CIA agent, constantly working to prove to herself and those around her that she could be an asset. While she was able to take out the sniper trained on Audrey, she hadn't considered the possibility of a second shooter and watched in horror as the president's daughter died in her arms. With a dead husband, a distaste for rules and some heavy survivor's guilt weighing her down, it's clear why many fans thought of her as the female Jack Bauer. By episode's end, she did something Jack no longer can; she left her badge and gun on her desk and left the CIA.

Giving up the life hasn't been an option for Jack in many years. He may have flirted with the option when Heller offered him immunity earlier in the season, but when Chloe was kidnapped by the Russians while he took down Cheng, he decided to make the ultimate sacrifice. Both Jack and Chloe spent the season working to right the wrong choices they made. For Chloe, they were trusting the wrong man and creating a device that could have spelled disaster for the world. For Jack, it was about saving the lives of people he used to call his friends. With Audrey gone and Heller's health deteriorating, there was no way he was letting Chloe go.

As he traded his life for hers, he got to say some final words to his partner in crime, namely that she was his best friend. They grasped hands briefly before he boarded the helicopter with the Russians, who promised he was "really going to like Moscow." As the helicopter took off, we had another quiet moment with our hero. He wasn't desperate or depressed like before, rather he almost seemed at peace. Jack may have lost the woman he loved, but the country isn't at war, multiple terrorists were thwarted, his daughter and his best friend both got to live another day. This served as a comfort to our hero who seemed to accept the bleak, violent future awaiting him.

For Jack Bauer, it was a small price to pay.

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Israel accepts Egyptian proposal for cease-fire; Hamas rejects it
Israel accepts Egyptian proposal for cease-fire; Hamas rejects it
July 14, 2014

Israel has accepted an Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire. But with Hamas' military wing rejecting the gesture outright, there may be little hope of seeing an end to the near constant exchange of fire that has so far killed more than 190 Palestinians in Gaza.

The Israeli Security Cabinet met early Tuesday morning and reached a decision to halt aerial strikes beginning at 9 a.m. (2 a.m. ET).

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, even with the development, Israel wasn't letting its guard down.

"If Hamas rejects the Egyptian proposal and the rocket fire from Gaza does not cease -- and that appears to be the case -- we are prepared to continue and intensify our operation and protect our people," Netanyahu said three hours after the cease-fire began.

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