Monday, October 31, 2011

M.E.D. - Blaxican (Official Video HD)

Boots Riley: Occupy Oakland Unrest in the streets-General Strike

Unidentified Berkeley Police at Occupy Oakland

The Face of Imperialism-Michael Parenti

KKKop on KKKop crime

Anonymous hackers threaten Mexican drug cartel in retaliation over kidnapping

The hacking group Anonymous has threatened to expose allies of Mexico's Zetas drug cartel this week unless the gang frees a kidnapped member of the international hacker movement known as "Anonymous."Anonymous hackers threaten Mexican drug cartel in retaliation over kidnapping

The message, posted in English and Spanish in an online video, says Anonymous knows of police officers, journalists, taxi drivers and others working with the Zetas. It says Anonymous is "tired of the criminal group the Zetas, which is dedicated to kidnapping, stealing and extortion."
Referring to an unidentified person kidnapped in the coastal city of Veracruz, the video warns: "You have made a great mistake by taking one of us. Free him."
"We cannot defend ourselves with weapons, but we can with their cars, houses, bars," the message adds, apparently alluding to properties owned by cartel supporters. "It's not difficult. We know who they are and where they are found."
It says the hackers group will act on Friday if the kidnapped activist is not freed or is harmed.
Three people have been killed recently in the northern states of Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas by suspected Zetas who apparently believed the victims used the Internet to spread information about the gang.
The new message is presented by someone wearing a mask and speaking for Anonymous in "Veracruz, Mexico, and the world." It was apparently uploaded to websites early this month, but there is no way to authenticate its origin. It was first reported Friday on the website of the global intelligence think tank Stratfor.
An official with the Veracruz state attorney general's office, who would not allow his name to be used, said the office had not confirmed the video's authenticity.
Stratfor, in its analysis of the video, said anyone exposed by Anonymous as a Zetas collaborator - accurately or not - would surely be targeted by rival gangs and the Zetas could respond by attacking internet activists even if they are not affiliated with Anonymous.
This is at least the second example of high-profile online resistance to the Zetas, who have been blamed for a dramatic upsurge in violence along Mexico's Gulf coast.
In July, a group of men dressed in paramilitary gear and heavily armed posted a video calling themselves the "Zeta Killers." They later claimed responsibility for the murder of Zetas members, but authorities have insisted the group is simply a rival cartel.

This Is Wrong: Trigger Happy Cops Scare And Overkill Small Cow

We Wear the Mask

Big Bank Law Firm Mocks Foreclosed Homeowners on Halloween

There’s an important op-ed this week in the New York Times that marks the first anniversary of one of the most tasteless Halloween stunts in recent memory. Last year, employees from the New York law firm of Steven J. Baum — which represents the country’s top lenders, including Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo — openly mocked families facing foreclosures for which their clients were directly responsible.
The tastelesness in question was the “foreclosed homeowner” party that the firm’s employees held last year. Apparently, it’s an annual affair. Joe Nocera of the Times recently published six pictures sent to him by a tipster, who says the party is an annual event. The photos show the alleged employees dressed as homeless people on the street, holding signs bemoaning their lost homes. They’re awful, and you can all of them here.
The tipster says they worked for firm. Nocera has more:
When we spoke later, she added that the snapshots are an accurate representation of the firm’s mind-set. “There is this really cavalier attitude,” she said. “It doesn’t matter that people are going to lose their homes.” Nor does the firm try to help people get mortgage modifications; the pressure, always, is to foreclose. I told her I wanted to post the photos on The Times’s Web site so that readers could see them. She agreed, but asked to remain anonymous because she said she fears retaliation.
Let me describe a few of the photos. In one, two Baum employees are dressed like homeless people. One is holding a bottle of liquor. The other has a sign around her neck that reads: “3rd party squatter. I lost my home and I was never served.” My source said that “I was never served” is meant to mock “the typical excuse” of the homeowner trying to evade a foreclosure proceeding.
A second picture shows a coffin with a picture of a woman whose eyes have been cut out. A sign on the coffin reads: “Rest in Peace. Crazy Susie.” The reference is to Susan Chana Lask, a lawyer who had filed a class-action suit against Steven J. Baum — and had posted a YouTube video denouncing the firm’s foreclosure practices. “She was a thorn in their side,” said my source.
No word on if the firm’s Halloween party took place this year. They’re currently under investigation by the state attorney for shady business practices. They also got word that the New York Times was publishing a piece about them last week.

Occupy Oakland-Nov 2 General Strike

On Wednesday, November 2nd as part of the Oakland General Strike, we will march on the Port of Oakland and shut it down. We will converge at 5pm at 14th and Broadway and march to the port to shut it down before the 7pm night shift. We are doing this in order to blockade the flow of capital on the day of the General Strike, as well as to show our commitment to solidarity with Longshore workers in their struggle against EGT in Longview, Washington. EGT is an international grain exporter which is attempting to rupture longshore jurisdiction. The driving force behind EGT is Bunge LTD, a leading agribusiness and food company which reported 2.4 billion dollars in profit in 2010; this company has strong ties to Wall Street. This is but one example of Wall Street’s corporate attack on workers.
The Oakland General Strike will demonstrate the wide reaching implications of the Occupy Wall Street movement. The entire world is fed up with the huge disparity of wealth caused by the present system. Now is the time that the people are doing something about it.The Oakland General Strike is a warning shot to the 1% – their wealth only exists because the 99% creates it for them.

Off-duty Santa Ana officer fatally shoots person in Lakewood

An off-duty Santa Ana police officer fatally shot and killed someone in Lakewood on Monday morning.
Officials at the Los Angeles County sheriff's headquarters bureau said the shooting occurred at 6:30 a.m. in the 20700 block of Studebaker Road but had no further information.
Sheriff's investigators were en route to the scene.
A spokesman for the Santa Ana Police Department could not be immediately reached.

Capital Vultures Operating in Plain Sight!

A vicious cycle in the used-car business

Sign, drive, default, repossess and resell — that's the game at Buy Here Pay Here dealerships.

Camacho Auto Sales' mascot, a lion known as "The King of Credit," waves at traffic on Sierra Highway in Lancaster.

Tiffany Lee wanted a car. She was weary of the two-hour bus ride to her job at a UCLA Health System clinic. She hated having to ask friends to drive her 7-year-old son to his asthmatreatments.

But as a single mother with three children, bad credit and a $27,000-a-year salary, she couldn't find a bank or dealership willing to give her a loan.

Then a friend steered her to Repossess Auto Sales in Hawthorne.

Another buyer might have balked at the deal she was offered. Lee figured she had no choice. She put $3,000 down and drove off in a 2007 Ford Fusion, agreeing to pay $387 a month for four years. The interest rate: 20.7%, nearly triple the national average for a used-car loan.

A year and a half later, Lee fell behind on her payments and filed for bankruptcy. So she was relieved when the dealership called and offered to make her loan more affordable. The sales manager even promised to throw in a free smog check. Lee, 35, drove back to Repossess Auto on a rainy Monday evening, handed the keys to an attendant and sat down with the manager.

Moments later, she said, employees parked four cars tightly around the Ford, blocking it in.

There would be no new deal. Lee's car was being repossessed. She and her children waited in the rain until a friend could drive them home.

Lee, who described that night as “one of the worst experiences of my life,” had stumbled into the bare-knuckle world of Buy Here Pay Here used-car sales.

In this little-known but fast-growing corner of the auto market, dealers command premium prices for road-worn vehicles and finance the sales at interest rates that can top 30%.

In a kind of financial alchemy, they have found a way to turn clunkers into cash cows and make money off the least creditworthy customers: the millions of Americans who are stuck in low-paying jobs, saddled with debt and unable to qualify for conventional auto loans.

For most of those people, having a car is the only way to stay employed, and they'll accept almost any terms to get one.

Buy Here Pay Here lots sold nearly 2.4 million cars nationwide last year, up from 1.3 million a decade ago, according to CNW Marketing Research.

CNW estimates that there are more than 33,000 such lots nationwide, compared with about 20,000 dealerships selling new cars. Buy Here Pay Here dealers make $80 billion in loans every year, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Although dealers are loath to open their books, profit margins average nearly 40%, according to a trade group, the National Alliance of Buy Here Pay Here Dealers. That's twice what new-car dealers make.

Many of the lots require customers to return once or twice a month to make loan payments in cash -- hence the term Buy Here Pay Here.

A key reason for the industry's growth in tough times is that dealers can come out ahead whether or not customers keep up with their loan payments.

About 1 in 4 buyers default. In the real estate and credit card industries, that would be bad news. In the world of Buy Here Pay Here, it's just another avenue for profit: The car can be repossessed and put back on the lot for sale in short order. A new buyer makes a down payment, takes on a high-interest loan and the cycle starts anew.

Provided they don't get wrecked, these recycled vehicles just keep paying dividends. At some dealerships, cars have been sold and resold over and over -- three, four, even eight times apiece, motor vehicle records show.
Although little-known outside the auto and finance industries, Buy Here Pay Here dealers are grabbing a bigger share of the market.

What's more, these hand-me-down wheels hold their value remarkably well. The sale price is sometimes higher the second or third time a car is sold, records show -- a testament to the desperation of buyers and the market power of Buy Here Pay Here lots as lenders of last resort.

Default and repossession are so central to the business that many dealers plan on both. They equip cars with hidden GPS devices and remote-control ignition blockers to make the repo man's work easier.

Many pursue their customers for years after they've seized and resold the vehicles. Some keep lawyers on staff, filing dozens of lawsuits each month to recoup unpaid balances and garnish debtors' wages.

One high-volume dealership, Neil's Finance Plaza of Kansas City, Mo., has filed more than 6,000 lawsuits since 1995 through an affiliate, seeking unpaid balances from customers who defaulted, records show. The dealership sells about 1,400 vehicles a year.

Those in the business make no apologies for their practices.

“Our customer doesn't have any money. He doesn't plan for a rainy day,” Chuck Bonanno, a Buy Here Pay Here consultant in Florida, told dealers at a recent industry conference in Las Vegas. “He isn't going to pay unless you make him.”

Dealers say they offer a valuable service, giving people with bad credit access to transportation so they can provide for their families.

They contend that the risks inherent in the business are daunting and that profits can be elusive. After each sale, they watch their investment drive off -- “money on the street,” as dealers put it -- and can only hope the customer doesn't skip town or go broke.

When a buyer defaults, repossessing the merchandise can be a costly hassle, dealers say. Some cars are never found, and others come back so beaten up they have to be junked. Before a repossessed car can go back on the lot, dealers must go through legal formalities such as giving the customer a chance to redeem the vehicle.

Bob Okeley, who owns a chain of Buy Here Pay Here lots in Indiana, sells about 300 cars a month, nearly twice the business he did five years ago. But he said the increased demand isn't entirely the result of hard economic times.

Some of his customers earn as much as $90,000 a year and have college degrees, he said. They're shut out of the conventional loan market not because they're poor but because they can't stay out of debt, he said.

Okeley maintains that by reminding customers to make their payments and badgering those who fall behind, his dealership teaches financial discipline.

“We're helping people manage money that aren't good at doing it on their own,” he said.

Squeezing hefty payments from credit-challenged people is possible because Buy Here Pay Here dealers don't use outside lenders to finance their sales.

In a conventional auto loan, the dealer is a middleman. The purchase money is provided by a bank or finance company.

In a Buy Here Pay Here loan, there is no outside money. The cars are sold on installment plans, an approach once common for big-ticket purchases like refrigerators and still widely used by rent-to-own furniture stores catering to people who don't have credit cards.

The arrangement allows Buy Here Pay Here dealers to make their own rules and set their own interest rates, with far less regulatory scrutiny than mainstream lenders receive.

“This is not the car business. This is the finance business,” said Ken Shilson, an accountant who founded the National Alliance of Buy Here Pay Here Dealers in Houston. “Not everybody has the stomach for it.”

Out of options
Aimee and Chris Cvitanov wound up on a Buy Here Pay Here lot after financial setbacks dented their credit rating.
Chris, 37, was severely burned in a car accident six years ago and hasn't worked regularly since. Aimee, 30, lost her job in the insurance industry in late 2009. The lease on theirChrysler 300 expired soon afterward, and she needed a car quickly to search for work.

More than a dozen conventional dealerships turned the couple down for a loan. Then they heard an ad on the radio for M.K. Auto Inc. near their suburban Sacramento home.

The Cvitanovs said a salesman collected information to check their credit and told them the only car they qualified for was a 2003 Mitsubishi Galant. It had been driven more than 100,000 miles.

The price was $7,999, according to their sales contract -- double the Kelley Blue Book value at the time. The couple said they could manage a $1,000 down payment, and the dealer offered to finance the rest at 25.99%. Their monthly payment would be nearly $290.

The Cvitanovs said they signed the contract, reluctantly, after the dealer promised they could trade it in for something better if they kept up their payments for six months.

When the time came, they exchanged the Mitsubishi for a decade-old Mercedes-Benz E-Class with 80,000 miles, three previous owners and a repossession in its past.

At $13,998, the price was about $5,500 above Blue Book. The balance of the old loan was rolled into a new one, also with an interest rate of 25.99%, according to the new contract. Their payments climbed to $498, stretched out into 2014.

By then, the total cost of the Mercedes with interest would be more than $25,000.

“A couple of years ago, we could have leased a brand-new Mercedes for less money,” Chris Cvitanov said.

The couple made payments on the sedan for six months, trying to renegotiate the loan at the same time.

After those efforts failed, they filed suit in January claiming that they were deceived about the loan terms. The dealership settled two months later. M.K. Auto took the Mercedes back and gave the Cvitanovs a $6,000 credit toward a 2003 Chevrolet Tahoe.

The dealer, Magdi Saad Gendi, did not respond to a request for comment.

Chris Cvitanov, who recently found a job in heating and air conditioning, said he was satisfied with the outcome. He declined to reveal terms of his new loan but said one thing had not changed: Because of his poor credit rating, the interest rate is still high.

A different vibe

At traditional auto dealerships, the buying experience is a well-polished routine. Coffee flows freely, and the salesman may spring for lunch. The car rolls off the lot with a full tank of gas.

It's a different vibe at Buy Here Pay Here lots. Banners promise to “finance anyone” and say that bad credit is “no problema.”

In addition to advertising on radio and TV, dealers buy lists of recent bankruptcy filers to target with mail solicitations and phone calls.

Rarely are prices displayed on car windshields. Instead, negotiations focus on how much the customer can put down upfront and then pay each month.
Many dealers don't worry about buyers' credit scores -- knowing they can't be good -- but they almost always insist on long lists of references so they can pressure friends and family when a payment is missed.

They also frequently help customers apply for the earned income tax credit for low-income workers -- and then offer a loan against the anticipated refund to use as a down payment. Dealers report a surge in sales in the three months leading up to tax day.
Stan Schwarz has frequented Buy Here Pay Here lots for more than a decade, selling “payment devices” such as GPS beacons that can be concealed on cars.

Schwarz recalled the first sale he made to a Buy Here Pay Here dealer, in 1997. “He had a loaded .45 on his desk, a trailer and six cars on a gravel lot,” he said.

Since then, Schwarz's company, PassTime of Littleton, Colo., has sold more than 1 million GPS trackers and remote-control ignition blockers to 3,500 lots. Over the last two years, his company enjoyed a 40% increase in sales.

Like others in the industry, he sees a direct link between Buy Here Pay Here sales growth and the economy.

“Their credit is so bad they can't even get subprime financing, and they're going to be stuck in that hole for years, unable to get out,” Schwarz said of Buy Here Pay Here customers. “That's the profile.”

‘Totally surprised’

Bor Pha bought a 2004 Honda Odyssey with 70,000 miles from Yia's Auto Sales in Sacramento, a Buy Here Pay Here dealership that caters to the Central Valley's Hmong community.

The price was $13,000. The contract, handwritten in English, said she'd pay 12% interest on the loan. Pha said she trusted the dealer because he was a fellow Hmong and had sold her two cars in the past.

Late last year, she tried trading in the van at a different lot. The salesman looked at her contract with Yia's and determined that her monthly payment of $326.43 reflected a 20.3% interest rate, not the much-lower listed rate. The higher rate would cost Pha an additional $3,200 over the five-year term of the loan.

“I was totally surprised,” Pha, a factory worker, said through a translator. “I believed what the contract said.”

Another Hmong woman in Sacramento, Nou Lee, signed a similar contract, with a stated interest rate of 12%, but her payments reflected a 21.2% rate.

The two women sued Yia's in March, alleging that hundreds of other customers signed similar contracts. The dealership, in court filings, has denied knowingly misleading buyers. The suit is pending.

Daniel Costa, an attorney for Yia's, said some buyers may have been overcharged by mistake. He said the lot's owner, Yia Yang, is reviewing all sales from the last five years and will return any overpayments, with interest. Costa declined to say how many erroneous contracts had been identified.

“He has pledged to the community to make good,” he said.

There have been some crackdowns on Buy Here Pay Here dealerships. In 2004, an Ohio chain settled a federal class action for $21.8 million, paying up to $500 each to 123,000 customers who alleged they were misled about their loans. In 2006, the Kentucky attorney general reached a $7.4-million settlement with the nationwide J.D. Byrider chain to settleclaims that it used deceptive sales practices, among other violations.

But such actions are rare.

Because Buy Here Pay Here businesses are both auto dealers and consumer lenders, it's not always clear who has authority over them.

Many don't bother to register their lending operations with state authorities. Last year, Massachusetts regulators sent notices to 33 dealers, citing them for lending without a license.
The Federal Trade Commission has not prosecuted a major auto lending case in more than a decade, said Reilly Dolan, an assistant director of the FTC's division of financial practices.

“That hasn't been our focus, because it has been more of a problem for the states,” Dolan said.
Although Congress last year granted the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau authority over consumer lenders and specifically included Buy Here Pay Here dealers, the agency has given no indication it will focus on auto loans.

“Nobody ever goes after these dealers,” said Rosemary Shahan, president of the advocacy group Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, which helped draft California's Car Buyers Bill of Rights. “They do whatever they want without fear of rebuke.”

Some dealers purposely structure deals with a high likelihood of default, assigning payments that exceed what the borrower can pay, consumer attorneys say.

When the customer defaults, it's common for the dealer to repossess the car, declare a loss for tax purposes, and put the vehicle up for sale again.

“Once they get payment from the first buyer, everything else is gravy,” said Dale Irwin, a Kansas City, Mo., attorney who concentrates on auto fraud cases. “They can collect $25,000 on a $2,500 car.”

A Times review of motor vehicle records in three states where the Buy Here Pay Here business is thriving found that repeat sales of the same car, a practice called “churning,” is common.

In California, Repossess Auto in Hawthorne and a sister lot have sold more than 130 vehicles at least three times each since July 2008, according to state Department of Motor Vehicles records.

Midwestern Auto Sales Inc. of Middletown, Ohio, has sold at least 250 cars twice or more each since January 2008, state records show.

Neil's Finance Plaza in Kansas City has sold nearly 900 cars at least three times each since 2006. Four of them have been sold eight times apiece.

‘King of Credit’

Gustavo “Gus” Camacho, who runs four Buy Here Pay Here lots in the Antelope Valley, says most dealers try to do right by their customers.

Camacho's customers are drawn from the dusty streets of Palmdale and Lancaster, where the median household income is nearly $9,000 below the statewide median of $60,392. Many of his customers have checkered financial histories: repossessions, foreclosures, missed child support payments, unpaid medical bills.

The 24% interest he charges is triple the going rate for conventional used-car loans, but Camacho said it's necessary to compensate for the high risk of default. He prides himself on fully disclosing the terms.

After a deal is signed, the salesman takes the buyer on a tour of the collections department, “so we're all on the same page,” Camacho said. Account managers get off the phone long enough to explain that payments are due every two weeks.

A running tally on the wall shows that delinquency rates on the 100 or so new loans issued by Camacho Auto every month are just below 20%, better than the industry average of nearly 25% reported by the National Alliance of Buy Here Pay Here Dealers.

Camacho, who took over the business from his father, calls himself the “King of Credit” in high-energyTV commercials. “My goal is to be fair and give people a second chance,” he said.

Tiffany Lee, the single mother who works for the UCLA Health System, went to Repossess Auto in 2009 seeking a second chance of her own.

She said she was thrilled to have a car and kept up on her payments for 17 months. Then she ran into trouble. After missing a third payment on her 2007 Ford Fusion, she filed for personal bankruptcy, which barred the dealer from repossessing the car. The $17,000 loan balance was her largest debt, according to her court filing.
Soon after, the dealership lured Lee back to the lot with the promise of easier loan terms, only to seize the car.

“One of our collectors tricked Ms. Lee to come into the dealership,” head collections manager Shirley Hampton-Crittenden later wrote in a court filing.
Better Business Bureau files show that over the last three years, eight other buyers have complained that the Hawthorne dealership used a similar ruse to repossess their cars.

In sworn declarations, Lee said that when employees blocked the Ford in with parked cars, two of her children were trapped in the vehicle for 30 minutes, “becoming increasingly panicked.”

The dealership responded in court papers that no one was in the Ford when it was repossessed.

Ali Awad, president of Repossess Auto's parent company, did not return calls seeking comment.

Lee got the car back after her attorney complained to the Bankruptcy Court. She also sued the dealership seeking at least $250,000 in damages.

The dispute was settled last week. Lee returned the car, and Repossess Auto forgave her loan. It also agreed to pay Lee an undisclosed sum, her attorney said.

Lee is now looking for another car, but said she'll steer clear of Buy Here Pay Here lots.

“I needed a car no matter what,” she said. “They took advantage of that.”,0,5689256.story


Protesters surround Denver Police who retaliate with pepper spray

Ohio Univ. Activist Explains ‘We’re a Culture, Not a Costume’ Campaign

General Strike Oakland Nov.2

Friday, October 28, 2011

Brazil Amazon campaigners occupy Belo Monte dam

Caiapo indigenous men demonstrating on the road leading to the construction site of the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam
Hundreds of campaigners occupied the construction site of the Belo Monte dam project in the Brazilian Amazon.
The protesters want work on the multi-billion dollar dam stopped, arguing that it will displace thousands of indigenous people and damage the environment.
The protesters, many from indigenous groups, left the site after several hours following a judge's order.
The government says the project is crucial to meeting energy needs.
The Indian Missionary Council (Cimi), an organisation backed by the Catholic Church, said more than 600 Indians, fishermen and locals occupied the site and the road leading to it.
Cimi called on the government to send representatives to negotiate with the indigenous groups, who they say would suffer from the building of the dam.
"In the face of the government's intransigence and its insistence on disrespecting us, we now occupy the Belo Monte construction site and block access to it from the Transamazon highway," Cimi said on its website.
A judge subsequently issued an order for the demonstrators to leave, which they agreed to respect.
"We left as peacefully as we entered. It was a peaceful protest to draw attention to this project that spells death for the Amazon," Cimi spokesman Eden Magalhaes told the AFP news agency.
Legal battle
Building work on the dam was halted last month after a judge ruled against it on environmental grounds, but the construction of accommodation blocks for the project's workers was allowed to continue.
Judge Carlos Castro Martins barred any work that would interfere with the natural flow of the Xingu river.
He ruled in favour of a fisheries group which argued that the Belo Monte dam would affect local fish stocks and could harm indigenous families who make a living from fishing.
Judge Martins barred the Norte Energia company behind the project from "building a port, using explosives, installing dikes, building canals and any other infrastructure work that would interfere with the natural flow of the Xingu river, thereby affecting local fish stocks".
He said the building of canals and dykes could have negative repercussions for river communities living off small-scale fishing.
The consortium behind the project is expected to appeal against the decision.
In June, the Brazilian environment agency backed the construction, dismissing concerns by environmentalists and indigenous groups who argue that it will harm the world's largest tropical rainforest and displace tens of thousands of people.
The agency, Ibama, said the dam had been subjected to "robust analysis" of its impact on the environment.
The 11,000-megawatt dam would be the third biggest in the world - after the Three Gorges in China, and Itaipu, which is jointly run by Brazil and Paraguay.
Map showing Belo Monte dam proposals

L.A. mayor's ex-chief of staff has stayed on payroll

Jeff Carr has drawn pay for months after announcing his departure, even after his replacement was hired. He's just the latest official in the Villaraigosa administration to get a lucrative send-off.

October 29, 2011
Nearly four months after he announced his departure, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's top manager has stayed on the city payroll, drawing pay at the same rate as his old $194,000 salary — even after another chief of staff was hired to take his place.

Former chief of staff Jeff Carr has been working at home on select initiatives, including installation of a security fence at Getty House, the mayor's mansion in Windsor Square, Villaraigosa officials said.

Carr, whose last day is Monday, declined comment. But Villaraigosa aides said Carr worked on other issues, such as improvement of city golf courses and a plan to consolidate activities handled by personnel officials.

Deputy Mayor Sarah Sheahan said in a statement that Carr took on projects he was already handling as chief of staff — a move that allowed his replacement, Gaye Williams, to focus on "the mayor's core agenda," including job creation and public transit.

City Councilman Dennis Zine, who is running for city controller, questioned the arrangement, saying he thought Carr had gone "off the payroll and on to other activities" months ago. Zine also said he did not understand why, in a budget crisis, such a highly paid official would be assigned to deal with the fence.

"I find it very … puzzling, as to why they would assign that type of work to an individual of that rank and pay structure," he said.

Department of Recreation and Parks general manager Jon Kirk Mukri said he was unclear on how much time Carr had devoted to the golf course issue since announcing he was stepping aside. Over the past four months, Carr asked three times about the completion of a consulting report on the topic.

"I only received two emails and a phone call," Mukri said.

Carr, who resides in Glassell Park, is only the latest high-level city official during the Villaraigosa administration to secure a lucrative send-off. Two years ago, Department of Water and Power general manager H. David Nahai left his post under fire yet received a three-month, $82,000 consulting contract to help with the transition.

Gloria Jeff, who was fired in 2007 from her job running the Department of Transportation, was given a $95,000 payout from the council. That same year, Emergency Services Department general manager Ellis Stanley took a $60,000 consulting gig on his way out the door.

In the mayor's office, the twin salaries have begun to add up. Carr earned more than $59,000 between June 3, the week he announced his departure, and Oct. 22, according to City Controller Wendy Greuel's office. Carr's replacement earned more than $44,000 over the same period.

Carr was hired as the mayor's "gang czar" in 2007 and elevated to chief of staff two years later. He announced his resignation after months of tension with other Villaraigosa aides, including Chief Deputy Mayor Jay Carson, who stepped down after only one year in his post.

In July, Carr disputed claims that he was pushed out and in recent weeks, Villaraigosa praised Carr as a "great manager." But others said Villaraigosa lost confidence in Carr after being advised by two subordinates — deputy chiefs of staff Matt Szabo and Janelle Erickson — to make the change.

Erickson, with the mayor's blessing, met personally with Carr on July 1 to tell him that it was time to go, said four people familiar with the situation, all of whom sought anonymity either because they were not authorized to speak or feared retaliation. That meeting was also attended by one of the mayor's lawyers.

After Erickson left, those sources said, Carr began calling Villaraigosa to demand a one-on-one meeting. The mayor could not immediately provide one because he was at the Aspen Institute's Ideas Festival in Colorado.

Villaraigosa met with Carr at Getty House on July 5 but still agreed with the notion of a change in management, three of the sources said. When The Times called Carr that same day to ask him if he was leaving, Carr said he did not know how to answer the question.

Villaraigosa disputed the version of events described by the four sources, calling it "incorrect." He did not provide further explanation."I'm actually a very big fan of Jeff Carr," he added.

Jeff Carr
Former chief of staff Jeff Carr has been working at home on select initiatives, including installation of a security fence at Getty House, the mayor’s mansion in Windsor Square, officials said. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times / August 27, 2009)

How Facebook Ticker exposing your information and behavior without your knowledge

Nelson Novaes Neto, a Brazilian (independent) Security and Behavior Research have analyze a privacy issue in Facebook Ticker that allows any person chasing you without your knowledge or consent . He explain that this is not a code vulnerability, but here the whole issue is related to users privacy.

Nelson said on his blog "This tool - monitor others began to run when it introduced a new feature called Ticker. This new feature (Ticker) does not respect the privacy settings and it now Comments (updates), add friends, likes and can be seen by others (friend *) anyone without your permission. * You really know a friend tell me if it is real or fake profile - cloned?"

Nelson Give Proof of Concept with a very creative real life scenario. Check out a live demonstration, where a "novel" explains how the issue of privacy (you can use any browser to play it).

Description: This is a scenario where your online behavior can be exposed without their knowledge through the new tool in Facebook called Ticker. I used four Facebook profiles to create this POC (proof of concept), where a woman was cheating on her husband on Facebook.

Synopsis: A couple are a Facebook user, each with its own profile. One day her husband found his wife adding her ex-boyfriend as a friend and started talking to him. After her husband's become really angry, removed his wife's ex-boyfriend's profile.

The wife also discovered that all comments (updates), added Likes and friends were available in your profile (Wall - Wall) and visible to everyone her friend. She then removed all the updates (updates) and blocked new updates to be published automatically on your profile (Wall). Thus, her husband, so it could not be updated of their shares of his wife.

After Facebook launched this new tool called Ticker, a friend of the couple (as have the two friends) saw that updates the wife of his friend appear in real time ticker, and told him his wife again added the ex-boyfriend and I was talking to him, writing in his posts and vice versa. The husband checked the profile of the wife, but found nothing there. His friend said that this new tool (Ticker) lets you see updates from anyone on your list of friends, as well as users that have been noted for his friends.

What is happening? As the husband could not see anything (updates it) in the profile of his wife, but your friend can see everything from this thing called Ticker?

The issue is now public , because according to Nelson, he reported this privacy issue to Facebook Secutiry team a few months ago and until now he haven’t get any positive response from facebook. He said "Considering I respect some code of ethics (that protect society, commonwealth and infrastructure.) I think it was going completely against users desires and worth to be shared with everyone."

Radicals have descended on Oakland

California DUI Checkpoint Locations-Los Angeles

California DUI Checkpoint Locations

Date Time Agency / City Location
‎10/28/11 8:00 pm to 2:00 am LAPD / Los Angeles Ventura Blvd. and Big Oak Dr.
10/28/11 8:00 pm to 2:00 am LAPD / Los Angeles Sunset Blvd. and Bronson Ave.
10/28/11 8:00 pm to 2:00 am LAPD / Los Angeles Ventura Blvd. between Colfax and Tujunga

Date Time Agency / City Location
10/29/11 8:00 pm to 2:00 am LAPD / Los Angeles Sunset Blvd. and Bronson Ave.

Videos spark scrutiny of Pasadena youth boot camp

Pasadena boot campSeveral teen boot camp instructors in Pasadena have come under scrutiny after two videos surfaced showing harsh treatment of participants.
The videos, obtained by the Pasadena Star-News, were created about two years ago.
One shows Kelvin “Sgt. Mac” McFarland forcing children to drink a lot of water. Several are seen vomiting as a result.
The other video shows a boy crying as he carries a truck tire around his shoulders. McFarland and three other instructors are shown screaming at the boy and teasing him to say he “loves his sergeant.”
At least one of the instructors was reportedly on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps at the time, according to the Star-News.
McFarland was arrested May 27 and charged with kidnapping, child abuse, false imprisonment, extortion and unlawful use of a badge after a truant student was allegedly handcuffed in Pasadena, according to court records.
McFarland then allegedly told the girl’s family he would take her to a juvenile detention center if the family did not enroll her in his Family First Growth Camp, according to court records.

McFarland, a Monrovia resident, told the Star-News that he was not in either video.
He acknowledged they existed, but said the instructor involved was Keith “Sarge” Gibbs, who operates another Pasadena boot camp called Sarge’s Community Base/Commit II Achieve Boot Camp.
Gibbs is not seen in either video, but his voice is heard off camera in one recording, the Star-News reports.
Gibbs denies being present during the filming. The rival boot camp operators, who both have served in the military, used to work together.
They parted ways in 2009, when McFarland failed to pass a background check and was accused of inappropriate training tactics, Gibbs said.

Cops Caught Planting Drugs To Make Quotas

DEFCON 19: How To Get Your Message Out When Your Government Turns Off The Internet

Woman Considers Suing Sioux City Police After Getting Manhandled During Arrest! [Caught On Tape]