Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Platinum Girl Celebrity Blog | Relationship Love Gossip Rumors ...

Welcome to the

Celeb Romance Roundup ?

Nothing but who?s kissing who in Hollywood! No reports on who wore Spanx, got Botox, shopped at Whole Foods, or gasp, arrived in an airport! Just important celeb love highlights and tidbits for your gossiping (or snarking) pleasure! HEATHER LOCKLEAR OUT WITH MAN SHE MET ON A BLIND DATE!
I love seeing women who take control of their love lives. Even though I'm not a big fan of blind dates (I prefer a man seeing a woman from across the room and having to have her), when you're Heather, it's probably a viable option. Anyway, she was headed to her birthday dinner with her new guy, Larry Porush, a technology employee. She's been single since November 2011 so it sounds like she took a year to focus on herself. This is great, best of luck with the new guy and happy birthday!

A couple of days ago, I wrote a post about how Cameron isn't infatuated with Tom in the way he is with her. Yesterday, Tom's rep released a statement saying he isn't dating her. Well, yeah, that's what the tabloids are saying -- that they aren't dating because she's not all that interested. It's almost preemptive of Tom, i.e. it's a mutual decision to not date or Tom doesn't want to. I don't have much stock in reps anyway. They aren't exactly known for being pinnacles of honesty.

And just in time for the Twilight premier. Supposedly, the reports are their Los Feliz home is off the market and a lot of bustling by way of moving trucks is happening outside. Aside from a U-Haul truck (right, like Kristen and Rob with all of their money would move stuff themselves), no other photos have been taken. We'll see what happens. If this is all true, I had a feeling it was all going to play out this way. I presume they will not make any red carpet appearances together until the premier and won't be seen out unless maybe accidentally. Otherwise, there won't be as much need for all of us viewers to see how they handle the red carpet, right? So convenient. Everyone benefits.

While not a marriage license, it seems there is some evidence that Ashton and Demi were married. In Touch magazine found a quitclaim deed where Demi gives up her claim to a piece of property in Los Angeles. On this deed, they are named as spouses. A part of me is thinking, "well, this is just a quitclaim deed. Does this mean they were really married?" On the other hand, they wouldn't lie, right? There can't be any confusion that just because you're married under Kabbalah that's it's a legal marriage. If they are married, then why haven't they divorced yet??

So says Justin's NSync ex band mate, Joey Fatone. This made my favorite of the day because it's sweet to see a man openly supporting another man when it comes to relationships and marriage. The way Joey sees it, Justin is very focused on everything he does which will bring out his best. Joey's been with his wife, Kelly Baldwin, for 18 years and advised Justin to make the most of his time with future wife, Jessica Biel. He said, "life goes by way too fast." Very true, indeed it does. Were I Justin, I'd take Joey's advice. Being with someone almost twenty years means he's probably learned a thing or two.

And there you have it! I've corralled today's best celebrity romance stories in my roundup!

Until next time...

Shine like Platinum!



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US Cellular expands its Windows Phone catalog with the ZTE Render for $80

Most Windows Phone enthusiasts have their sights set on large trophy-like targets, but if you have more modest goals in mind, then US Cellular's latest acquisition might be just what the doctor ordered. If the device pictured above looks familiar, that's because it should. Rebranded as the Render, most of you know this handset as the ZTE Orbit, an entry-level device that features a 4-inch 800 x 480 display, a 1GHz Qualcomm processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, a 5-megapixel camera and Windows Phone 7.5 Tango. So, if US Cellular is your wireless carrier of choice and you're seriously crushing on Windows Phone, the ZTE Render will run you $80 after a $100 mail-in rebate.

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US Cellular expands its Windows Phone catalog with the ZTE Render for $80 originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 29 Sep 2012 12:13:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Saturday, September 29, 2012


  • On AirLoading

    Michelle Materre's professional background spans more than 25 years in television, film and video with a concentration on independent film. She has worked in a myriad capacities and is here to discuss how she got her start.

  • At only 20 years old, J. Anton Boykin is already affectionately known as the "Sax Sensation." Since the age of eight he has been mastering the craft of music. Come listen to him talk about what inspires him.

  • EGH Media presents Rowan Galagher who is The Mad Pride. A singer, songwriter and instrumentalist who doesn't read music and also successfully controls Tourette?s syndrome.

  • Helen Yoest, award winning lifestyle writer and stylist whose work has appeared in Better Homes & Gardens, Traditional Home, Martha Stewart Living & Fine Gardening magazines joins us to discuss her new book "Gardening With Confidence"

  • MGN Radio welcomes Author Ngozi Achebe to discuss her new book, Onaedo - The Blacksmith's Daughter on our show. Her debut novel has already been nominated for several literary awards.

  • The Gridiron Chefs with TP Tymless and James Greenwood break down the weeks games in the NFL, the pressing topics around the league and listener questions.

  • If you want to know who the ?real? Mitt Romney is, tune in this Saturday at Noon ET to hear from Dr. Dane Bryant, a lifelong friend of the GOP candidate.

  • This week Tim and Jill will finish the discussion on LGBT and Marriage Equality, this is a hot topic that has been trending on social networks and is an important issue for voters as we near election time.

  • Francy and Friends will be LIVE from The Days of Terror Convention, be sure to tune in as they will be meeting some of the biggest names in horror films. You never know who you might run into.

  • It's open-wheel racing and NASCAR on this episode, as Dustin Parks will be joined by guest co-host Glenn Locke. These two always bring great conversation, and this will be no different.

  • Grab your Saturday morning coffee and tune into "Those Diner and Motorcycle Guys" hosted by those eggs over easy riders Garrison Leykam and Scot Doane. "Those Diner and Motorcycle Guys" radio was never like this!

  • The Bad Seed and Nadine Michel welcome Krayz Drayz of the legendary hip hop group; Das Efx, to the show. Krayz Drayz stops by to discuss the origon of the "iggedy" style that blew up all over the world.

  • BGE Radio welcomes Playboy Model Crissy Henderson to the show. Crissy is an actress, model and philanthropist. Tune in as she speaks about her life and upcoming work.

  • Source:

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    It's Flu Shot Season in Oklahoma

    When the crimson and cream and orange and black pom poms begin to flutter, many an Oklahoman's mind and heart is turned to football. Football season is also flu season, and time for Oklahoma residents and the rest of the nation to prepare for the upcoming influenza season by getting their flu vaccine.

    Influenza Vaccine Availability in Oklahoma

    The Oklahoma City/County Health Department and Tulsa County Health Department will begin providing flu shots on Monday, Oct.1. Cleveland County Health Department officially begins influenza vaccinations also on Oct. 1, but will do so in its Norman and Moore clinics on a walk-in basis on Fridays only, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Some other county health departments, such as Cherokee County, have not yet received their supply of the vaccines, but will notify the community when they become available. Many pharmacies throughout the state also offer the flu vaccine.

    Cost of Flu Shots

    The cost of flu shots this year remain $25, except for the high-dose vaccine, which is $27. For individuals on Medicare or SoonerCare, or insurance that covers such preventive care, there is no charge.

    The local health departments around the state also cover the flu vaccination fees for people whose income is 185 percent below the federal poverty level, for children who have no insurance or whose insurance doesn't cover the vaccine, children who are Native American or Alaskan natives, or people who are enrolled in HealthChoice or the Oklahoma Public Employees Health and Welfare plans, explained the Oklahoma State Department of Health. Cash, check or credit cards are acceptable forms of payment.

    Those people with insurance or public assistance need to show their cards at time of service.

    Who Should Get the Flu Shot?

    Both the Oklahoma State Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are advising that everyone age six months and older should receive the flu vaccine this year. If immunized last year against the flu, a flu shot this year is still needed. The influenza vaccine for the 2012-13 flu season contains protection against H1N1, as did last year's vaccine, but also provides protection against two other virus strains that are likely to be prevalent in this new season.

    Pregnant women, health care workers, caregivers and family members in a household with an infant under six months old are strongly advised to take the flu vaccine. People with chronic illnesses such as asthma, diabetes, COPD, or heart disease should also get the vaccine.

    Smack dab in the middle of the baby boomer generation, L.L. Woodard is a proud resident of "The Red Man" state. With what he hopes is an everyman's view of life's concerns both in his state and throughout the nation, Woodard presents facts and opinions based on common-sense solutions.


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    Friday, September 28, 2012

    Netanyahu's 'red line': Does drawing a line actually work?

    Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu literally drew a 'red line' on a simple diagram of Iran's nuclear program. How have red lines worked out in the past?

    By Robert H. Reid,?Associated Press / September 28, 2012

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu draws a red line on a graphic of a bomb as he addresses the 67th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York.

    REUTERS/Lucas Jackson


    In a dramatic gesture, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drew a "red line" on a diagram of Iran's nuclear program and called on the world to do the same to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons ? a step the Iranians insist they don't intend to take.

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    Red lines, Netanyahu declared, "don't lead to war." Instead, he argued Thursday before the U.N. General Assembly that "red lines prevent war" by making clear the limits of international tolerance.

    Eytan Gilboa, an expert on U.S.-Israel relations at Bar Ilan University, said red lines are considered less severe a warning than an ultimatum, which includes a threat of consequences.

    History shows that the effectiveness of such warnings often depends on a country's resolve to follow through and accept the consequences.

    Line in the sand

    On August 2, 1990, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein sent soldiers and tanks into neighboring Kuwait and annexed the tiny, oil-rich nation as Iraq's 19th province. Six days later, President George H. W. Bush told Americans that "a line in the sand has been drawn" and ordered U.S. troops to Kuwait's neighbor Saudi Arabia.

    Armed with a U.N. Security Council resolution and congressional authorization to use force, U.S. and allied jets launched air attacks on Baghdad and other Iraqi targets. The ground assault began Feb. 24 and within days the Iraqis had been driven out of Kuwait. Iraq accepted a cease-fire on March 3 and Kuwaiti sovereignty was restored.

    Cuban missile crisis

    One of history's most dangerous red-line moments came in October 1962 when U.S. President John F. Kennedy revealed to the world that the Soviet Union had been installing missile sites in Cuba, and demanded that Premier Nikita Khrushchev remove them. For 13 tense days, the world seemed headed for nuclear war. Kennedy declared a quarantine on all offensive military equipment headed for Cuba ? effectively a "red line" around the Caribbean island nation ? and threatened to turn back any ships carrying armaments. For their part, the Soviets tested a 300-kiloton hydrogen bomb as a reminder of Moscow's military might.


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    Tigers take AL Central lead, Rays & Angels win

    Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera, left, and Prince Fielder (28) celebrate their 5-4 win over the Kansas City Royals in a baseball game in Detroit, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

    Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera, left, and Prince Fielder (28) celebrate their 5-4 win over the Kansas City Royals in a baseball game in Detroit, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

    Chicago White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper, left, talks with catcher A.J. Pierzynski, center, and relief pitcher Nate Jones during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians in Chicago, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

    Los Angeles Dodgers' Matt Kemp points to the heavens as he approaches home plate after hitting a two-run home run against the San Diego Padres during the sixth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012 in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

    Los Angeles Angels' Torii Hunter, center, and teammates celebrate Hunter's RBI single during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners in Anaheim, Calif., Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012. The Angels won 4-3. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    Tampa Bay Rays closer Fernando Rodney (56) celebrates with teammates after they defeated the Boston Red Sox 4-2 in a baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Here's how the pennant races look with exactly one week to go:

    ? TIGERS ROAR: The AL Central has a new leader, with Detroit moving past Chicago for the first time since July 23. Andy Dirks' hard slide to break up a double play sent the Tigers past Kansas City 5-4. The White Sox have dropped seven of eight, and fell one game back with a 6-4 loss to Cleveland.

    ? POOL PLAY: Tampa Bay has won seven straight, and hasn't lost since manager Joe Maddon challenged them to run the table like pool hustler Minnesota Fats. The Rays are three games out in the AL wild-card race.

    ? FLYING HIGH: The Angels have won five in row and now trail by just two games in the AL wild-card chase.

    ? GOING, GOING ... GONE?: The Phillies' playoff run is almost over. After winning the NL East crown the past five years, Philadelphia was pushed to the brink of elimination with an 8-4 loss to new division champion Washington.

    ? NEXT UP: The streaking Rays visit the slumping White Sox. James Shields (15-9) starts for Tampa Bay vs. Jake Peavy (11-12).

    ? CHASE CHATTER: "It just feels good to get a win. That's all that really matters. Right now we have to win out to at least give us a chance to make the playoffs. We can't worry who's in front of us." ? Matt Kemp after homering and driving in four runs to help the Dodgers gain ground on St. Louis for the last NL wild-card spot.

    Associated Press


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    Daily Kos: Is Taxing Capital Income Fair?

    By Mike Konczal, originally posted on Next New Deal.

    Click here to subscribe to the Roosevelt Institute's weekly newsletter.

    In light of Mitt Romney's recent tax returns, the economic blogosphere has been kicking around the issue of capital taxation. Ryan Chittum at Columbia Journalism Review has an excellent overview of what people have been writing with?"The capital gains preference."?This is a response to Dylan Matthews?and Matt Yglesias, who each present arguments from economists that capital gains taxes should be lower than other taxes, even potentially set at zero percent.

    Many economic arguments are about tradeoffs, but the argument for the zero tax rate of savings, also similar to the arguments for a consumption tax, is usually phrased as an argument about fairness.?In order to frame the fairness argument, economists bring up a story of two similar individuals with one as a saver and one as a spender. Yglesias has the framework in his post:

    You imagine two prosperous but not outrageously so working people living somewhere?two doctors, say, living in nearby small towns. They're both pulling in incomes in the low six figures. One doctor chooses to spend basically 100 percent of his income on expensive non-durables. He goes on annual vacations to expensive cities and eats in a lot of fancy restaurants. The other doctor is much more frugal, not traveling much and eating modestly. Instead, he spends a lot of his money on hiring people to build buildings around town. Those buildings become houses, offices, retail stores, factories, etc. In other words, they're capital. And capital earns a return, so over time the second doctor comes to have a much higher income than the first doctor. [...]

    In the world where investment income is taxed like labor income, the first doctor says to the second "man you're a sucker?not only are you deferring enjoyment of the fruits of your labor (boring) but when the money you've saved comes back to you, it gets taxed all over again. Live in the now. ?And the thinking is that world number one where people with valuable skills take a large share of their labor income and transform it into capital goods is ultimately a richer world...

    Taxing savings by having an income tax punishes the Saver Doctor relative to the Spender Doctor. If you just taxed what they consumed, they would be treated equally.

    Yglesias leans on the idea that we'll be a richer world without taxing savings, because people will respond to the incentives against savings here. I don't believe the research bears this out. I'm not an expert, but?I believe the impact, if any, is small.?In their excellent summary book on taxation,?Taxing Ourselves?(2004, 3rd edition),?Joel Slemrod and Jon Bakija conclude that a?"large number of studies have attempted to address these problems to some degree, and they generally come to the conclusion that saving is not very responsive to incentives."

    But if the efficiency argument is weak evidence, the fairness argument is assumed to make the case, and make it for zero percent taxation. It is unfair to tax the Saver Doctor even a penny more than the Spender Doctor. Scott Sumner gives a similar example at The Economist:?"The proper tax rate on capital income is zero [...]?To see why this is so, consider twin brothers who each make $100,000 in wage income. Most people would regard these two people as equally well off, even if one freely chose to consume his income now, while the other chose to consume later. But not advocates of the income tax. They insist the more patient twin brother is 'richer' and deserves to be taxed at a higher income tax rate." Gilles Saint-Paul?argues in?the same forum that fairness requires that we shouldn't "penalise future consumption relative to current consumption."

    In Joanathan Gruber's popular undergraduate textbook?Public Finance and Public Policy,?the two people are actually Homer Simpson and Ned Flanders!

    Consider two individuals, Homer and Ned, who are identical except for their preferences for saving. Both live for two periods, earning $100 in the first period and nothing in the second period. Homer is impatient: he wants to consume his entire income in the first period and nothing in the second period. Ned is more patient; he wants to consume in both periods. Initially, they are both subject to an income tax, which taxes all labor earnings and interest income at 50%.The interest rate earned on savings is 10%. [...] ?In present discounted value (PDV) terms, Homer pays only $50 in taxes across both periods, but Ned pays $51.11. Thus,?savers such as Ned are penalized in an income tax regime.This tax treatment of savings is both horizontally inequitable (because Ned is taxed more simply for making a different choice) and inefficient because it may reduce the incentive to save (because savings leads to higher tax payments).

    Let's stick with Homer and Ned. Is this fairness argument against the "inequitable" treatment of Ned either impressive or conclusive? I'd argue no. I'm going to rely on arguments from Barbara Fried's excellent "Fairness and the Consumption Tax"?for the following to identify some problems, and I'd recommend her essay if you are interested in learning more.

    The first issue is the assumption that Homer and Ned should pay in accordance with their consumption, or that equal spenders should have equal tax burdens, or, technically, that the present value of their tax burdens should be identical. This?presupposes what is up for debate, which is what the appropriate tax base is. If the tax base is explicit wealth, then income from savings should also be taxed. There are significant advantages to owning wealth, including security, peace of mind, power, the ability to direct private investment, political control, and much more. It isn't clear why these shouldn't be part of the tax base.

    A second issue is that it assumes that all income from savings is the result of delayed compensation, when much of it doesn't even come from the individuals themselves. We don't know how much of the United States' capital stock comes from the gifts, bequests, or inheritance that constitute intergenerational transfer,?though averages of studiessay about 50 percent. Fairness arguments become a lot more complicated here.


    A third issue is the assumption that, since Homer and Ned are equally ranked in well-being in a no-tax world, they should be equally ranked after any tax comes into play. This equal ranking is the engine behind a lot of the fairness arguments -- as Gruber says, we don't want to penalize Ned for "making a different choice." Since a tax on savings would fall on Ned the Saver but not Homer the Spender, they would no longer be equally ranked, as Homer would end up better off than Ned with an income tax.?It isn't clear how much savers would be disadvantaged relative to spenders, as some of that tax will fall to borrowers. But the general point remains.


    But even granting this, a new question arises: why do we care about maintaining equal ranking from a "no-tax" world, and why would it be unfair to change it? This is only a claim to fairness if Homer and Ned, or savers and spenders more generally, have a claim to their relative ranking in a "no-tax" world. It's not clear that they do. They certainly don't under an entitlement theory, as the value the saver gets in this example is just the random quirk of his or her preference structure. It also presumes that the ranking in a "no-tax" world was just in-and-of-itself and thus worth preserving, which requires a lot of libertarian heavy lifting.


    It also presumes a myth of ownership, or the idea that you can conceptualize the economy without the government or that tax policy isn't just one of many ways that the government affects interest rates. Sumner and Yglesias, for instance, believe the Federal Reserve should do some major things to raise nominal GDP, which would have a dramatic effect on the relative ranking of savers and spenders compared to a non-Federal Reserve world. How are they any different from this tax policy, other than the fact that they justify it within a larger set of social institutions, especially ones that produce the patterned world?of full employment?


    A?fourth?thing to consider is the issue of generalizing this critique to other examples. Another way of reading the fairness issue in the example is that since both Homer and Ned start off equal, and had equal capability to generate wealth, they should have an equal tax burden, akin to an?endowment or faculty tax.


    If a tax on savings is removed, taxes on wages would have to go up. Now imagine that, in addition to Homer and Ned, there's Barney at time zero. Barney hates working but loves leisure, so he doesn't work at all but enjoys just as much utility as Homer and Ned when they consume their net present value of $100. Raising taxes on wages leaves Homer and Ned equally well off but punishes them both relative to Barney. Should taxes on wages therefore be set to maintain their ordering? Would we have to abolish taxes on consumption then? If so, then it isn't clear we can have a coherent tax policy period.


    But we could have a coherent tax policy, especially if we focus on what kind of economy we want to build and use tax policy as one of many levers, working in concert with all the others, to create it.

    Mike Konczal is a Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute.


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    Thursday, September 27, 2012

    Great Self Improvement Tips That Can Help You Reach Your Goals ...

    It?s smart to help yourself and make proactive choices that can change your life. This can help you think on where to start in making great changes when it comes to your life. All you should know is where to begin to help yourself.

    Understand what you want from your life. Following through is the next step. Not taking action to change your life just means you?ll be stuck with your current one forever. You need to create and implement a plan of action in order to realize your desires.

    TIP! Instead of focusing on your own achievements, ask others about theirs. This gives you an opportunity to find out the talents and achievements of the people around you, and it might help you gain more respect for others as you learn more about their character.

    As you begin your personal development journey, accept that fact that you truly do deserve the best of everything! Know that you owe it to yourself to do your best. When you complete your journey you?ll be secure in the knowledge that you did the best you could and no regrets are necessary.

    One great personal development goal you can set is to practice being more selfless. You can strengthen your inner character by using self-sacrificing behavior, to help better other people?s lives. When you can balance sacrificing for others with meeting your own needs, you will gain the emotional versatility required to become a better person.

    Remaining humble will always benefit you. We are but a cog in our universe. Remember to learn from other people and keep in mind that you don?t know everything. Keep this in mind and open yourself to the ability to learn from others. By keeping an open mind in all situations, you can let others teach you.

    TIP! Take the time to read what has helped others to be who they want to be. Learn from their mistakes and think about following a similar path if your goals correspond to theirs.

    You may find it helpful to discuss your issues with a counselor or other trusted professional, such as your pastor. These professionals are equipped to discuss very deep, emotional issues and often have many years of experience. Counselors and pastors are ready and willing to listen to you and help you work on your problems. By speaking with a professional about your problems, you can lead a much healthier and enjoyable life.

    Overreacting to a situation will cause you unnecessary stress. Relax, sit back and analyze your situation without overreacting. If you make a mistake, you can always fix it or deal with it. When you start feeling anxious about a situation, focus on the positive things, not the negative ones.

    Sexual capitol is a new trait researchers have just discovered, and they feel it is important to have. Sexual capitol does not mean employing your sexuality as a tool in procuring what you want out of life. This means to use charisma instead. While some may not have the best social skills, developing sexual capital will help you in many aspects in your life.

    TIP! Having a degree and the ability to do the job is usually more important than which school you attended. Some places, such as banks and investment firms, actually do care where you got your degree.

    Check out a few popular books on developmental techniques that you find particularly interesting. A really good book on the subject may set you on a course that will change your life. Before you pick a book, read the reviews to make sure that it is worthwhile because some self improvement books are better than others.

    You should feel comfortable in your own skin and being the person that you are. Employ your skills, talents and abilities to make your self improvement program successful. Rather than worrying about the skills you don?t have, concentrate instead on the skills you do possess, and the success you can achieve with them.

    Reduce the stress in your life. Do not over-react to setbacks: this will only cause you more stress. You have to understand things go wrong on occasion when you?re trying to achieve a goal. Instead of freaking out, you should come up with methods of overcoming the obstacle. It?s not the end of the world.

    TIP! When thinking about your personal development goals, set what standards you think constitutes the best. Setting high standards for yourself can help you achieve personal development you desire.

    Avoid shopping as a way to comfort yourself. Instead of shopping, spending money and adding more charges to your credit card bill, keep busy with a hobby. Not only will you have fewer debts to deal with, but your house will be less cluttered with stuff that you do not really need.

    It is essential to have a clearly outlined goal, when working toward improving personal development. Therefore, state a goal for yourself that is detailed and specific. These are the kinds of goals that will get definite results.

    You might?ve heard that listening can be as vital as speaking. This is particularly sage advice if you are working on your personal development. In fact, one of the most important people you should learn to listen to is yourself. Listening to what you tell yourself will help you know what you need and how to best improve yourself.

    TIP! Try new things. Challenging yourself opens up a whole world of possibilities.

    Always do the best you can. You should always want to be the best you can be. You will never be number one at anything, but we can try to be great. Try boosting your worth inside your field so that you can boost your self-esteem as well.

    Organization is key if you expect to keep track of your progress. You can stay on track if you tackle small things first. A daily planner, online organizational software, or written journal can all provide great methods for tracking personal development goals.

    Do not overdo it when you are trying to achieve your personal development goal. It is just as important to know when to stop as it is to try your hardest. You should take care of yourself when you are working towards a goal. Short-changing your body in order to meet personal development goals is a terribly counter-productive form of self-improvement.

    TIP! Examine your inner self instead of your external appearance. It really does not matter what expensive clothing you wear, or if you look like someone from a magazine shoot.

    The principles you believe in need to be put into practice. Every person?s identity rests on a set of beliefs that are vital to them. When your system is woven together with integrity, your confidence will rise when you put it into action. This also helps to make you a consistent person. This is an essential character trait.

    So, as you have seen, it is true that self help requires research, work, and effort to start making changes that you can keep applying to your life. Personal development is a lifelong project that you can and should continue to enjoy. By using the tips from this article, you too can achieve a better life

    Failure can be devastating to one?s ego when one is trying to better oneself through personal development. Treat failure as a chance to learn and grow. Failure is just one more way to become cognizant of your weaknesses and strengths. So, each failure needs to be a proud moment to you, as you now have another piece to your personal puzzle.


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    Goldman to pay $12 million to settle "pay-to-play" probe

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group Inc will pay about $12 million to settle charges it violated "pay-to-play" rules, in a case involving campaign contributions to ex-Massachusetts state treasurer, Timothy Cahill, who was a candidate for governor in the state, U.S. securities regulators said on Thursday.

    Neil Morrison, a former vice president in Goldman's Boston office, worked extensively on Cahill's 2010 campaign while also soliciting underwriting business from the Massachusetts treasurer's office, the Securities and Exchange Commission said.

    Pay-to-play refers to cash or other contributions made to officials to influence the award of lucrative public contracts.

    In what the SEC described as its first "pay-to-play" case involving contributions other than cash, Goldman settled without admitting or denying the charges.

    The SEC also charged Morrison, and the case against him continues.

    A Goldman spokesman, Michael DuVally, said in a statement that the firm had detected Morrison's activities, fired him, and cooperated with regulators.

    "We accept responsibility for the consequences of his unauthorized actions under the terms of the settlements announced today and are pleased to resolve these investigations," DuVally said.

    A lawyer for Morrison did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    The case has drawn Goldman into the legal morass that has surrounded Cahill since he lost his gubernatorial bid to incumbent Deval Patrick.

    In April, Cahill was indicted on criminal public corruption charges for allegedly using the state's taxpayer-funded lottery advertising budget to boost his sagging campaign.

    An attorney for Cahill, Jeffrey Denner, said he had not reviewed the SEC documents, and would have no comment since the order did not directly name Cahill as a defendant.


    The case describes how Morrison conducted campaign activities for Cahill, including fundraising, drafting speeches, and speaking to reporters, and how some of this work was done from Goldman's offices during business hours.

    During the 13 months through October 2010, Morrison sent at least 364 campaign-related emails using his Goldman Sachs email account.

    The campaign work gave Morrison access to Cahill and his staff, who provided him internal information about the underwriter selection process, the SEC said.

    Morrison also directly discussed his campaign work in relation to securing business for Goldman Sachs in emails, according to SEC documents.

    "From my standpoint as an advisor/consultant/friend, I am saying, PLEASE don't give these (underwriter) slots away willy-nilly," Morrison wrote in one email to an official in Cahill's office. "You are in the fight of your lives and need to reward loyalty and encourage friendship."

    That work also disqualified Goldman from bidding for municipal underwriting business with certain issuers in the state. But Goldman went on to participate in 30 prohibited underwritings, earning it more than $7.5 million in fees, the SEC said.

    Robert Khuzami, who heads the SEC's enforcement division, said in a statement: "The "pay-to-play" rules are clear: Municipal finance professionals that use their firm's resources to campaign on behalf of political candidates compromise themselves and the firms that employ them."

    The SEC has undertaken a broader crackdown of "pay-to-play" practices in recent years. In 2010, it adopted new measures that target activities of investment advisers who seek out contracts to manage public pension plans and other types of investment accounts.

    (Additional reporting by Karey Wutkowski; Editing by Bernadette Baum)


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    NAACP takes bid to ensure US ex-con voting to UN

    GENEVA (AP) ? The NAACP is taking to the U.N. its effort to ensure that all former convicted felons in the United States can vote.

    A delegation from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was holding meetings Tuesday at the United Nation's Geneva office in part to press the world body to send observers to the U.S. for this year's elections.

    The diplomatic push comes against the backdrop of a related ? and vigorous ? debate about requirements in some states for would-be voters to provide proper identification before they can cast ballots.

    The NAACP says nearly 6 million U.S. citizens are barred from voting because of previous felony convictions. According to The Sentencing Project, an advocacy group that seeks policies to make it easier for felons to vote, the United States has the world's largest prison population ? 2.2 million ? and more than 60 percent of inmates are ethnic or racial minorities.

    In a statement, the NAACP said it sent a first delegation to the U.N. Human Rights Council in March "in the face of a mounting attack on voting rights in the United States." This week's visit followed up on that trip.

    Hilary Shelton, a NAACP vice president, said the issue of voting rights could affect the outcome of the election between President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

    "The reality is that you're seeing two candidates who are going back and forth with slim leads between each other," he told The Associated Press in a vast conference hall. "A voting bloc like those who are formerly incarcerated ? like racial and ethnic minorities ? can make a tremendous difference."

    According to the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures, most states and the District of Columbia automatically restore the right to vote to felons once their sentences are finished. Five states either require a waiting period or require ex-detainees to apply to recover their voting rights.

    Four states ? Florida, Iowa, Kentucky and Virginia ? bar former felons from voting for life unless they receive pardons from the governor, said the NCSL. Maine and Vermont don't strip voting rights from felons at all.

    "Our overall end goal is that there is really no good reason to strip the vote away from anyone," the NAACP's Shelton said. "We have some shining examples of states in the United States that don't take your vote away at all when you're in prison."


    Suzanne Gamboa contributed reporting from Washington.


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    Battling Your Online Addiction - Tony Schwartz - Harvard Business ...

    How much time do you spend each day responding to email, checking Facebook, sending and reading Tweets, aimlessly surfing your favorite websites and buying things you don't need? How much time, in other words, do you spend doing stuff online that doesn't add much value in your life, or in anyone else's?

    Too much, I'm going to guess.

    I let it happen to me when I woke up Sunday morning, got on my laptop and started reading the New York Times. Ninety minutes later, I was still surfing from one bookmarked website to the next, vaguely aware that there were other things I wanted to do and that none of what I was taking in was very nourishing. And yet I remained narcotically glued to that screen ? a baby bird with its mouth open, forever eager to be fed.

    "There are few things ever dreamed of, smoked or injected that have as addictive an effect on our brains as technology," writes Stanford psychologist Kelly McGonigal in her terrific book The Willpower Instinct.

    "The definitive Internet act of our times," she adds, "is a perfect metaphor for the promise of reward. We search. And we search. And we search some more ... clicking that mouse ... looking for the elusive reward that will finally feel like enough."

    Or, as Nobel Prize winner Herbert Simon put it way back in 1978: "A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention." And retention. Taking in endless bits and bytes of information is akin to pouring water into a glass already full ? in this case our severely limited working memory.

    A growing body of research suggests that up to 95 percent of our behaviors occur on automatic pilot, out of habit or in reaction to an external demand or stimulus. We spend a crazily disproportionate amount of time seeking the next source of instant gratification, rather than pursuing the more challenging goals that ultimately deliver more long-term value and greater satisfaction.

    It's not about summoning the strength to say "no." Each time we intentionally forgo something desirable, we deplete our already limited reservoir of will and discipline. When was the last time you resisted the seductive ping of an incoming email?

    So how, then, to withstand this Pavlovian pull? And how, in turn, to take back control of your attention, so you can put it to better and richer use?

    A few suggestions:

    1. Lead yourself not into temptation. Instead, consciously choose times to turn off your technology entirely. The best time of all is at the start of your day, when you've typically got the most energy. Specifically, that's the best time to take on your most important and challenging tasks, without interruption, for anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes.

    2. Carry a notebook with you throughout your workday. Download any ideas that come to you as quickly as possible ? not just to ensure you'll remember them, but also to clear space in your working memory for whatever comes at you next. Alternatively, type the ideas into a memo pad on your smart phone.

    3. Between meetings and obligations, take some time to breathe deeply ? in through your nose to a count of three, out through your mouth to a count of six. In as little as one minute, you can completely clear your bloodstream of the stress hormone cortisol. You'll feel calmer, and you'll be better able to focus.

    4. Take a 15- to 20-minute nap between 1 and 4 p.m. ? especially on days when you've not gotten sufficient sleep and you find yourself dragging. Even a very short nap can dramatically increase your alertness and your productivity over the subsequent several hours. (This assumes, of course, than you can get your boss on board. Make the case that it'll improve your productivity.)

    5. Designate and put in your calendar specific times each week to think reflectively, creatively, and/or strategically. Get up from your desk and take a walk outside, or find a comfortable, relaxing place to hang out. Leave your smart phone at your desk. The idea is to give the verbal left hemisphere of your brain a rest from its usual overload ? and to rely instead during these periods on the more visual, imaginative right hemisphere of your brain. You'll know you're doing the right thing if you lose track of time.


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    Wednesday, September 26, 2012

    What Do You Know About Emotional Web Design?Web Unlimited ...

    Houston Web DesignersProducts and services promoted through the internet must have something that speaks to the core of potential buyers; seeing items on a monitor must capture interest and elicit an emotional response. In short, the design must provide a user with an exceptional experience that touches their emotions. This is what Houston web designers aim to do ? create an emotionally functional and efficient layout to establish a connection between potential buyers and the website.

    Emotional web design is a hot issue right now and the subject of discussion among various web developers. Following is some information about what this means and why it is important in an SEO process.

    Pleasing and Appealing

    People are born to be interactive; a large portion of the decision-making process is irrational and based on compulsion and emotion. So a website must be aesthetically pleasing and provide users with a good experience that is emotionally appealing.

    Usability and functionality is not enough to make a business successful in the online arena; it must go beyond that. An affectionate response should be triggered so potential consumers will want to continue to interact with that website. It must be attention-grabbing, make items being looked for findable, and meet purchasing needs that will allow for a trusting and lasting relationship to be established, one that will make customers want to return and share the site with other consumers.


    Some designers can?t get beyond designing a website for usability and functionality, which is only half of the process. The other half is establishing an attachment and connection with visitors that reaches out and creates a bond that is a strong influencing factor for users to choose a product. Web design must consider user feelings about the items and provide a pleasurable and unforgettable experience. In fact , this is more essential than aesthetics.

    Almost ninety percent of buying decisions are driven by emotions; because of this, a website layout must be intuitive and not contain any unnecessary information to distract surfers. It must provide relevant and informative content and make buyers feel secure, comfortable, and happy. This is a strong means of creating and establishing a long-lasting consumer relationship.

    Cultivating feelings that will influence visitors buying decisions is a good strategy for increasing successful business online. By establishing an emotional connection, a company can entice visitors to become actual buyers by providing them with a feeling of security when using the website. Hopefully, they will be happy and satisfied with the products and services. By allowing Houston web designers to use emotional web design, conversion rates can be increased, bounce rates can be lowered, and business can be more productive. With an emotional design strategy, a site can establish strong consumer desire, engagement, and trust for a successful business operation!

    Call Web Unlimited When You Want The Best Houston Web Designers!

    Do you know where to look to find the best Houston web designers? Call the experts at Web Unlimited at (888) 516-0172 so your web design project will be exactly what you and your potential customers want!


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    Start A Craft Day | (in)courage

    One of the ways I?ve gotten to know new people in my town is through craft day.? I?d love to take the credit for it but, my talented friends Reeve and Angela are the brains behind it, I?m just the one who is too lazy to leave the house so I?ve been the host. So really?? They?ve done all the hard work. And if you ask them, they probably don?t even think it?s hard.

    Here?s why we started a craft day:

    1. we love to do little crafts

    2. we wanted to be together

    3. we each had some crafty friends and thought it would be fun to introduce them all

    It was Reeve?s idea to invite me and Angela to join in a Crafty Day Pinterest board.?? This was SO SMART because we could easily pin potential craft day ideas and then when it was time to decide which ideas we actually wanted to consider, we could all pick our top two or three ideas from the craft board and talk about what would work for a group.? Sometimes we met for coffee and made a decision, sometimes we just emailed.

    Here?s how craft day works:

    There are three of us who plan it and we each have a job that we like:

    Reeve sent out the emails (OK, so she went all out and made invitations because she?s awesome, but you don?t have to do fancy invites) email is fine?just have someone in charge of that part who is organized.

    Angela usually taught the craft.? She?s really good at explaining things so it worked out well.

    I usually hosted and bought the supplies because I like to stay home but when I am out, I?m usually at craft store.? Sometimes we would all go together to get supplies if we had time, that part was really fun too.

    Last winter and fall we had craft day once a month (it works best to have it on the same day?like the 3rd Monday or something) and a few weeks before craft day the three of us would decide on the craft and Reeve sent out the invites.? We?d get a rough count of how many would be there (usually 6-8) but an exact number didn?t matter (like when we did the doily bowls, we had some extra doilies just in case).

    I?d buy whatever supplies we needed (usually it was pretty cheap) and fix some food because food fixin? is one of my spiritual gifts and I like doing that.? We?d keep a jar out for anyone who came who could to put $5 in for the supplies.? We didn?t keep track or anything and it always worked out fine.

    Angela would explain the craft and demonstrate and we?d all talk and laugh and eat and hot glue off our fingerprints.

    It was a great excuse to get together and it?s so nice to have something to keep your hands busy while you are meeting new people.? Crafts are a great ice breaker and such a low commitment?you could just have a one time craft day for your neighborhood if you want to meet some new people.?? Or maybe you and two friends just want to have a great excuse to get together, you don?t have to invite a bunch of people you don?t know.

    I wrote about three of our craft days, check them out for more photos and ideas:

    Craft Day :: Finger Knitting

    Craft Day :: Pom Poms

    Craft Day :: Doily Bowls

    Sign up for free email updates and be entered to win our monthly giveaway of over $100 in beautiful product!

    The Nester, who writes anonymously, is a home stager, redesigner and design school drop-out. She and her husband and their three boys have moved 14 times in 16 years of marriage and they are...


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    Tuesday, September 25, 2012

    MIT's real-time indoor mapping system uses Kinect, lasers to aid rescue workers

    MIT's realtime indoor mapping system uses Kinect, lasers to aid rescue workers

    We've seen the Kinect put to use to help you find your groceries, but the sensor's image processing capabilities have some more safety-minded applications as well. The fine minds at MIT combined the Kinect with a laser range finder and a laptop to create a real-time mapping rig for firefighters and other rescue workers. The prototype, called SLAM (for Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) received funding from the US Air Force and the Office of Naval Research, and it stands out among other indoor mapping systems for its focus on human (rather than robot) use and its ability to produce maps without the aid of any outside information, thanks to an on-board processor.

    Continue reading MIT's real-time indoor mapping system uses Kinect, lasers to aid rescue workers

    Filed under:

    MIT's real-time indoor mapping system uses Kinect, lasers to aid rescue workers originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 25 Sep 2012 13:16:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

    Permalink ZDNet UK  |  sourceMIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab  | Email this | Comments


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    Obama damns Israel with faint praise. (Powerlineblog)

    Share With Friends: Share on FacebookTweet ThisPost to Google-BuzzSend on GmailPost to Linked-InSubscribe to This Feed | Rss To Twitter | Politics - Top Stories News, RSS Feeds and Widgets via Feedzilla.


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    NY a busy battleground of competitive House races

    FILE - In this May 24, 2011, file photo, then-Democratic candidate for the 26th District Congressional seat, Kathy Hochul arrives at a campaign stop at a restaurant in Amherst, N.Y. New York state may provide the paradigm test this election of the staying power of Republicans who rode a tea party wave to a House majority two years ago _ and for Democrats striving to regain control. The big money involved in the contests reveals the GOP?s intent on preserving its foothold in the heavily Democratic state. The National Republican Congressional Committee said that it had reserved $5.25 million for TV time in New York, more than half to defend three freshmen. The rest is going to three districts held by Democrats, including the Buffalo area seat won by Kathy Hochul in a special election upset last year. (AP Photo/David Duprey, File)

    FILE - In this May 24, 2011, file photo, then-Democratic candidate for the 26th District Congressional seat, Kathy Hochul arrives at a campaign stop at a restaurant in Amherst, N.Y. New York state may provide the paradigm test this election of the staying power of Republicans who rode a tea party wave to a House majority two years ago _ and for Democrats striving to regain control. The big money involved in the contests reveals the GOP?s intent on preserving its foothold in the heavily Democratic state. The National Republican Congressional Committee said that it had reserved $5.25 million for TV time in New York, more than half to defend three freshmen. The rest is going to three districts held by Democrats, including the Buffalo area seat won by Kathy Hochul in a special election upset last year. (AP Photo/David Duprey, File)

    FILE - In this Sept. 3, 2008, file photo, Chris Collins of Buffalo, N.Y., speaks at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. New York state may provide the paradigm test this election of the staying power of Republicans who rode a tea party wave to a House majority two years ago _ and for Democrats striving to regain control. The big money involved in the contests reveals the GOP?s intent on preserving its foothold in the heavily Democratic state. The National Republican Congressional Committee said that it had reserved $5.25 million for TV time in New York, more than half to defend three freshmen. The rest is going to three districts held by Democrats, including the Buffalo area seat won by Kathy Hochul in a special election upset last year. Collins is challenging for her seat. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds, File)

    (AP) ? New York state's congressional elections are testing the staying power of Republicans who rode a tea party wave to a House majority two years ago ? as well as the resilience of Democrats striving to regain control.

    Democrats are targeting four of the five Republicans who took New York congressional seats away from them in 2010. Two more of the most contested House races in New York are in heavily Republican districts where Democrats won special elections.

    Included in the mix are three rematches of contests decided by paper-thin margins last election, making New York a busy House battleground for both parties.

    The big money involved in the contests reveals the GOP's intent on preserving its foothold in the heavily Democratic state. The National Republican Congressional Committee said it had reserved $5.25 million for TV time in New York, more than half to defend three freshmen. The rest is going to three districts held by Democrats, including the Buffalo area seat won by Kathy Hochul in a special election upset last year.

    Democratic spending indicates President Barack Obama's party is equally committed to gaining influence as part of the party's drive to add 25 seats and reclaim the House majority. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said it has spent or reserved $1.02 million for TV time in two New York races.

    Hochul made national headlines by pioneering the strategy of casting the race as a referendum on the GOP plan to transform Medicare, authored by Rep. Paul Ryan, now the party's vice presidential candidate.

    It's not clear whether that strategy will work against Hochul's new Republican challenger, Chris Collins. In a recent interview, the former Erie County executive refused to give an opinion on the plan.

    "I'm someone who looks forward and not backward," Collins said. "And the Ryan budget is in the past."

    That may be wishful thinking, but there's no doubt that New York ? like California and Illinois ? is critical to the battle for control of the House. While Democratic leaders express optimism about their chances, analysts generally forecast Republicans holding onto a slimmer majority.

    New York lost two of its 29 seats in the House to redistricting for the 2010 Census population changes. Despite the GOP election gains in 2010, Democrats still overwhelmingly dominate ? 21-8 ? the state's House delegation.

    The battle in Hochul's district, which stretches between the Buffalo and Rochester suburbs, is one of the nation's most closely watched House races. A Siena College poll last month showed a statistical dead heat.

    Collins has spent most of his adult life as a businessman. He ran the county with a sharp eye on the bottom line, alienating some lawmakers, and has promoted a waste-cutting managerial philosophy during public appearances.

    Hochul also is well-known locally as the former Erie County clerk. While Republicans have a 40 percent to 32 percent enrollment edge in the district, Hochul has shown she can pull support from across the aisle.

    "Being a Democrat in the most Republican district in the state, I actually can just ignore party labels and be laser focused on what's best for the district," Hochul said.

    A bit east, near Syracuse, Democrats hope Dan Maffei can win back the seat he lost to Republican Ann Marie Buerkle by just 648 votes in 2010. Buerkle, the only New York representative to score a perfect 100 on last year's American Conservative Union legislator rankings, is running in a newly drawn district with nearly even numbers of Republicans and Democrats.

    The DCCC said it has spent or reserved $361,616 in TV ad time for the race, a fraction of the $1.19 million reserved by the National Republican Congressional Committee.

    It's one of two New York seats both committees are pumping money into for TV. In eastern New York, the NRCC has reserved $1.32 million for freshman Rep. Chris Gibson, who is being challenged by Democrat Julian Schreibman. The DCCC has spent or reserved $681,481 for TV ads there.

    "The tea party wave of 2010 has receded and left New York's House Republicans high and dry with no cover to hide their toxic voting records and no way to defend their votes to end Medicare to pay for tax breaks for millionaires," said Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., chairman of the DCCC.

    Nathaniel Sillin, a spokesman for the NRCC, characterized Israel's claims as "ridiculous" and noted the GOP is aggressively pursuing opportunities in the state.

    "Republicans continue to be on offense in New York because Democrats are running on more of the same failed tax-and-spend economic policies that have stifled economic recovery," Sillin said.

    Two other races provide second chances to Republican challengers who just fell short in 2010.

    In northern New York, Democratic Rep. Bill Owens is defending his seat again against Republican businessman Matt Doheny, who narrowly lost in 2010 when a third Conservative Party candidate took thousands of votes. This time, Doheny has both the Conservative and Republican lines on the ballot. In New York, a candidate can accept the nomination of more than one party and reap all votes combined.

    On eastern Long Island, Republican businessman Randy Altschuler is trying unseat five-term incumbent Democratic Rep. Timothy Bishop. Altschuler came within 593 votes of defeating Bishop two years ago and this time, he has the third-party Independence Party line, which was worth 7,370 votes for Bishop when he had the line in 2010.

    "Super" PACs on both sides are spending money on the race, including the Karl Rove-backed Crossroads GPS, which started an ad critical of Bishop on cable TV last week. The ad focuses on Bishop's role helping get a fireworks permit for a Hamptons bar mitzvah at the request of a businessman who was later solicited by the campaign and donated $5,000. Bishop has said he did nothing wrong in helping a constituent.

    The NRCC is spending TV money on both rematches.

    In Staten Island, Republican freshman and former FBI agent Michael Grimm is dealing with a potentially much larger issue as he faces a challenge from Democrat Mark Murphy.

    The FBI is probing money donated to Grimm's 2010 campaign by followers of an Israeli rabbi. Agents last month arrested an Israeli businessman with links to the adult entertainment industry who had helped Grimm raise hundreds of thousands of dollars from the rabbi's followers in New York.

    Some donors have said they broke campaign finance law by donating more money than allowed, or by funneling donations from foreigners who aren't legally allowed to give to U.S. candidates.

    Grimm repeatedly has denied knowledge of any improper donations or any other illegal activity.

    Associated Press


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    Monday, September 24, 2012

    First four iPhone 5 TV ads hit the airwaves

    Not that it's really necessary to gin up more enthusiasm for the iPhone 5, but here they go: four television ads for the new phone have hit the airwaves and Apple's YouTube channel. The ads feature a different voiceover actor than previous iPhone spots and have a somewhat jovial tone; the Panorama highlight ad, "Cheese," is particularly cute.

    Got a favorite? Let us know. All four ads are embedded below the poll.

    [hat tip Macgasm]



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