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April 12, 2009

Florida Sues Man For Making Bad Toys

The Florida State attorney general's office sued a company that made "Caylee" and Michael Vick toys and misled customers to believe profits would be donated to various charities, CNN reports.

The suit claims that Showbiz Promotions made false claims about charitable donations, lied about manufacturing the toys in the United States, and received customer complaints about delivery delays, AP reports.

Intentionally leading customers to believe they are donating to a charitable cause is reprehensible, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum said in a statement.

"It is disgusting that a company would exploit a tragic situation for personal gain," McCollum said.

The company president, Jaime Salcedo, has said the doll was meant to be a "tribute." He also claimed that his company donated $5000 to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, of which only $10 can be verified.

The effort is outrageous, the president of NCEMEC said in a statement.

"NCMEC does not and will not ever be associated with any attempt to commercialize or raise money in connection with the victimization of any child," Ernie Allen said.

April 2, 2009

Orthodox Jews Host Amish Walking Tour of NYC

Orthodox Jews in New York City took Pennsylvania Amish on a walking tour of their world Tuesday, AP reports.

Orthodox Jews in New York City said that the two groups share a similar-simple lifestyles based of the bible's teachings.

"It's reinforcing to the Amish community to see us Jews living the way the Bible says Jews are supposed to live, and have lived since the time of Moses and Abraham," said Yisroel Ber Kaplan, program director for the Chassidic Discovery Center in Brooklyn.

The orthodox Jews showed the Amish around the predominant-Jewish community of Crown Heights, where, similar to the Amish, residents limit travel and electricity use on the sabbath.

The similarities between the group was so prominent that some residents of Crown Heights even mistook the Amish for Jews. However their skin is a little more tan an rugged from working in the sun.

Although similarities were apparent, substance may have been lacking, according to John Lapp and his wife Priscilla.

"In some things we are alike, like our clothing and our traditional beliefs," Lapp said. Priscilla Lapp said, "And in some things we are not. The biggest thing is that Jesus is our savior."

March 28, 2009

Notre Dame's Invitation to Obama Stirs Controversy Amongst Catholics

Notre Dame's decision to invite President Barack Obama to speak at the university's commencement later this year has caused controversy amongst some Catholic communities, AP reports.

Catholic communities across the country are criticizing the Catholic university Notre Dame for inviting Obama saying that his views on stem cell research and abortion are in opposition the church's teachings.

Notre Dame has a traditionally invited newly elected presidents to speak at the university inculding Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush. Obama's invitiation is not the first time a presidents invitation has caused controversy.

Students wore white arm bands in protest of George W. Bush speaking at the university.

Groups like the Pro-Life Action League and the Cardinal Newman Society do not agree with the university's choice saying that it gives a platform to those who disagree with the church's teaching.

Others groups like Catholics United are saying that it this view is too narrow.

"Millions of American Catholics continue to lose their jobs, go without health care, and wonder how they will pay for their children's higher education," Chris Korzen, executive director of Catholics United, said to U.S. News. "This is what Catholics are truly concerned about, and this is the real outrage."

March 11, 2009

Madoff Expected to Plead Guilty

Former Wall Street financier Bernard Madoff is expected to plead guilty to 11 counts of fraud that caused over $50 billion in losses worldwide, his lawyers said to the BBC.

Prosecutors seek a jail sentence of 150 years for Madoff, 70.

Madoff has been under house arrest since December when he was arrested for running a Ponzi scheme in which early investors are paid off with new clients investments.

No agreement has been made to co-operate with authorities, but but Madoff is "trying to get some leniency from the judge without being forced to turn on family members and associates," said John Hueston, partner at law firm Irell & Manella.

Many victims of Madoff's scheme are troubled by the possible guilty plea, Reuters reports.

Investors said in telephone interviews to Reuters that they want more details about the scheme and where the money went.

Madoff will not face a jury trial, where details concerning his co-conspirators and financial crimes could be made apparent.

Victims of Madoff's scheme come from North and South America as well as Europe, including hedge funds, banks, individuals, retirees and several charities.

March 4, 2009

Democrats Help Republicans Apologize to Limbaugh

Democrats launched a Web site Wedneday that mocks the Republican leaders who recently apologized to talk show host Rush Limbaugh for criticizing or disagreeing with him, reports the CNN.

The Web site allows for visitors to send fill-in-the-blank type apologies to Limbaugh on behalf of Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Georgia; South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford; or Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.

The website gives anyone the chance to apoligize to "Leader Rush," Jennifer Crider, Communications Director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committe, host of the Web site, told the New York Daily News.

"If you're one of the growing number of Republicans who need a quick and easy way to apologize to Rush Limbaugh after you cross him, look no further than ImSorryRush.com," Crider said.

Limbaugh was unapologetic about his "I hope Obama fails," comments made late last year.

"What is so strange about being honest and saying, I want Barack Obama to fail if his mission is to restructure and reform this country so that capitalism and individual liberty are not its foundation?" Limbaugh told Republican leaders at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington D.C. late February.

Democratic Nation Committee Chairman Tim Kaine told CNN that Limbaugh is a leading force in the Republican Party and is an obstruction to President Obama's agenda.

Democrats hope by linking congressional and state Republican leaders to Limbaugh, voters will be turned off by the talk radio host's polarizing and incendiary commentary.

February 27, 2009

Daughter, Mother Plot to Kill Dad

A man's wife an daughter were arrested Wednesday on charges of soliciting a hit man to kill the man, reports ABC News.

Tammy Lewis, 31, conspired with her mother, Shirley Hughes, 56, of Garland, Texas to hire a hit man to kill Kenneth Hughes, reports MSNBC.

Police investigators told MSNBC that Lewis met with an undercover officer in a Wal-Mart parking lot.

According to ABC News Lewis gave the officer a pistol and asked him to shoot her father and offered him $25,000 for the job.

The two planned to collect Hughe's $500,000 insurance policy after he died according to ABC News.

The two women are in jail on charges of criminal solicitations to commit capital murder. They are being held on $100,00 bond. If convicted the two could serve up to life in prison.

February 20, 2009

Eric Holder Calls Nation

Attorney General Eric Holder is receiving criticism for calling the United States cowards when it comes to race relations, reports CBS News.

"Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards," Holder said in a speech he delivered as part of Black History Month, reports CNN.

Conservatives in America are criticizing Holder's remarks as incendiary and divisive.

Talk radio host Rush Limbaugh said America has shed more blood than any other nation in abolishment of slavery and advancement of civil rights, and that Holder's comments were inexcusable.

Holder said in his speech that issues like affirmative action should be openly debated in a nuanced, principled and spirited.

February 11, 2009

Marijuana Advocates Boycott Kellogg

Advocates of marijuana have called for a boycott of Kellogg Co. after Kellogg Co. cut ties with Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps following a pot smoking incident, AP reports.

The leader of the Marijuana Policy Project is calling Kellogg Co.'s split with Phelps hypocritical.

Rob Kampia said smoking pot is a safer alternative to beer and that dropping Phelps because of it is a dangerous message to send to young people.

"Kellogg's had no problem signing up Phelps when he had a conviction for drunk driving, an illegal act that could actually have killed someone" said Kampia, the group's executive director.

Other groups who have joined the boycott include the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, and the Drug Policy Alliance.

Kellogg Co. announced last week that their contract with Phelps ended in February and their choice not to renew was a business decision. No official statement has been made concerning the boycott.

February 6, 2009

AP Seek Componsation for Hope Poster

The Associated Press is seeking compensation for the use of an image used to create the Barack Obama hope poster, the BBC reports.

Shepard Fairey acknowledged he created the image based upon an original picture taken by Mannie Garcia for the AP. The image has since been placed upon a variety of consumer goods and is now in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington.

Paul Colford, AP's director of media relations, said the the use of the image required permission.

"AP safeguards its assets and looks at these events on a case-by-case basis," he said, "We hope for an amicable solution."

Fairey's lawyer, Anthony Falzone, said that the picture is protected under fair-use laws, allowing the public to copy an author's work for the purpose of criticism, parody, or educational use without permission.

Georgetown University law professor Rebecca Tushnet said the Fairey work only copies the characteristics of Obama's face which does not have a copyright.

January 27, 2009

RIAA Sues Woman Without Computer

The Recording Industry Association of America is suing a woman who said she did not own a computer at the time she was accused of committing the crime, the New Hampshire Union Leader reports. The RIAA accuses the woman of downloading and sharing a total of 216 songs on April 24, 2007. The woman, Mavis Roy of New Hampshire, claims to have not owned a computer on the day in question. The RIAA has filed other cases under similar circumstances, according to Techdirt.
Roy is fighting the allegations. She has hired New Hampshire's Franklin Pierce Law school to represent against the RIAA.
"For many months she thought it was just a scam," her defense said. "She vehemently denied having anything to do with file sharing."(Union Leader)
The RIAA plans to end their lawsuits against Internet users. It will now focus upon convincing Internet service providers to police themselves. The RIAA will pursue cases that are currently in litigation, like Roy's.