iNPLACENEWS Blog Has MOVED

September 14, 2008

Hey everyone!  From all the staff to all the readers of our blog and the watchers of our live news programming broadcasted live over the internet directly to your desktop, we want to thank you for all your support and participatiion.  We have relocated our blog to iNPLACENEWS.COM.  There you will find all our blogs, including the old posts, your comments you made, the place to download our free desktop player and all of the current news from around the world.  Stay up-to-date on all the current events by watching our broadcasts, reading our blogs, and watching videos-on-demand.  Again, go to iNPLACENEWS.COM for all the newest blogs and the older posts you love to go back to read.  Thank you again for your time, support, and participation.

-iNPLACENEWS


Representative Rangel Under Scrutiny About Beach House

September 5, 2008

Rep. Charles Rangel paid no mortgage interest on a beach resort property for about 15 years, a lawyer for the powerful House committee chairman said Friday.

The New York congressman’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, told The Associated Press that Rangel got his no-interest deal for the villa in the Dominican Republic because he was an original buyer in the resort development.

The Democratic chairman of the Ways and Means tax-writing committee has come under scrutiny for his vacation property and apartments he rents in his home district of Harlem.

Davis said Rangel failed to report rental income from the resort property on his taxes, but didn’t realize it was necessary because of the way the deal was structured.

Davis said it is unlikely the congressman owes any back taxes under the federal tax code, although he may owe a small amount to New York State, on unreported rental income of about $75,000.

“It is my understanding that over the 20-year time period there is not likely to be federal tax liability by Mr. Rangel because of offsetting depreciation expenses and tax credits. Therefore, whatever amendments might be necessary do not involve the federal tax code,” said Davis.

Republicans call Rangel ethically challenged and have sought to censure the 78-year-old lawmaker. Even an unintentional tax error is highly embarrassing for Rangel, since he chairs the committee charged with updating the nation’s complicated tax code.

News of Rangel’s no-interest mortgage comes on the heels of damaging reports that two other powerful figures in Congress, Senators Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and Kent Conrad, D-N.D., got preferential mortgages with lower interest rates through a “VIP” program for friends of former Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo. Dodd heads the Senate Banking Committee.

Rangel bought the beach house 20 years ago for about $80,000, with a down payment of $28,000. Instead of making payments himself for the property, Rangel used his share of collective rental money generated by the resort to pay down the mortgage, according to his lawyer. But in an arrangement with the developer, Rangel and other early buyers, called “Pioneers,” were not charged interest on such debt.

Rental income from the property was used directly to pay the mortgage, so Rangel never made any mortgage payments himself, Davis said. Only once, in 2001, did Rangel receive money directly, when the company mistakenly wired him $2,000 in rental income rather than applying that, as it had before and after, to the mortgage.

The mortgage debt of slightly more than $50,000 was paid off fully in 2003, Davis said, and rental income was also used later to pay for a $22,000 home improvement project. That second loan did include interest payments totaling about $1,100, the lawyer said.

The congressman’s personal finances have come under scrutiny and spawned a House ethics committee inquiry, leading to a showdown last month on the House floor between Rangel and Republicans.

The ethics committee is examining Rangel’s use of four rent-controlled apartments in Harlem, including one that was used for campaign work. This week, the New York Post raised questions about Rangel’s beach villa, which it dubbed his “cash cow.” The New York Times reported Friday that Rangel failed to report rental income on the property.

Rangel’s lawyer said he received no sweetheart deal or favoritism in purchasing or renting out the beach house, because it was essentially a financial investment made in a real estate development project.

Currently, Rangel owes no money on the property and has about a $700 credit, Davis said.

“He invested $100,000 over 20 years with a net return of .7 percent as of June 2008,” said Davis. “Some cash cow.”

Yet by their accounting, Rangel parlayed a $28,000 down payment into a vacation home worth ten times that or more today – not unheard of over a 20-year period of real estate boom-and-bust cycles, but certainly very fortunate.

Article by Devlin Barrett

iNPLACENEWS

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Rage Against The Machine Protests Republican National Convention

September 5, 2008

I think this is a good sign that the fight left in this country is not gone.  Founded on the principles of freedom and individual rights, peaceful ptotest should never be ceased.  In St. Paul, the police pulled the plug on a Rage Against The Machine concert meant to act as a protest to the Republican National Convention.  As you will see in this video, the crowd supports the band as they opt to do an accapella version of a song as a continuation of their right to peaceful protest.  This is America?  Should the state or its police be using tax payers’ dollars to shut down peaceful protest?  NO

Listen to iNPLACENEWS’ exclusive interview with Rage Against The Machine guitarist and founder, Tom Morello, HERE


Plastic Bottles Still Cause Major Safety Concerns

September 4, 2008

The National Toxicology Program (NTP), of the U.S. Deptartment of Health and Human Services, released a final report yesterday about the chemical compound bisphenol A (BPA), which is used in hard plastic products, including baby bottles and other baby products. The government indicates that there is still “some concern” that the plastic chemical may cause problems with development and health.

Bisphenol A is a chemical compound used in the production of polycarbonate, a type of hard plastic. The BPA chemical helps prevent the plastic from shattering, which many argue is a necessary safety feature.

In recent years, concerns have emerged about the health risk this plastic bottle chemical may pose to the general public, and particularly young children and infants who are still developing.

BPA has been suspected of having adverse effects on reproductive health as it is an estrogen agonist and mimics the action of the body’s own natural hormone, estrogen. It is also an endocrine disruptor and may cause malfunctioning of the hormonal system if the body is exposed to low doses of BPA over a long period of time.

Animal studies between 1997 and 2005 have shown changes in the genital tract, a decline in testicular testosterone, decreasing maternal behaviors and changes in breast tissue, predisposing it to carcinogens. Though these findings have not been conclusively established, it is thought that low doses of BPA absorbed into the body over a long period of time may cause chronic toxicity in humans.

The NTP report does not call for a ban of the plastics chemical, but states that further investigation and testing of BPA in human studies is needed. It rated their level of concern as “some concern”, which falls in the middle of a five level scale of concerns which ranged from “negligible concern” to “serious concern.”

Earlier this year, the FDA took a controversial position when they indicated that BPA was safe to use in feeding bottles, and that they had no reason to believe the chemical should be banned. However, the FDA is holding an advisory panel meeting of independent experts on September 16, 2008 to discuss the issue further.

There have been movements in several states to ban the use of the BPA plastic bottle chemical, and law makers in Canada announced their intention to ban BPA in baby bottles in April 2008. U.S Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) has introduced legislation banning BPA in infant products throughout the United States. In addition, a number of large retailers, including Wal-Mart and Toys “R” Us, have stopped selling any baby bottles that contain the BPA chemical.

In June 2008, a plastic baby bottle class action lawsuit was filed against five companies who manufacture and sell baby bottles that contain BPA, including Evenflo Co., Avent America, Inc., Handicraft Co., Playtex and Gerber Novartis. The lawsuit alleges that the manufacturers failed to adequately disclose the health risks associated with the plastic bottle chemical.

Article courtesy of AboutLawsuits.com

iNPLACENEWS


Lawsuit: Give Me My Fake Leg Back

September 4, 2008

After being shot five times, a western Nebraska man had to go to court to get his prosthetic leg back from prosecutors.

The Box Butte County Attorney’s office gave Val McCabe’s leg back Wednesday after a judge ordered it returned.

McCabe’s prosthetic left leg had been held since Friday’s shooting because prosecutors wanted to run tests on it and a bullet lodged inside.

The 58-year-old McCabe, who lost his leg below the knee in a railroad accident roughly 30 years ago, filed his lawsuit Tuesday.

McCabe lawyer argued it wasn’t practical for him to replace the specially built, $28,000 prosthesis.

Police removed the bullet from the leg before returning it. No arrests had been made by Wednesday.

Article courtesy of Associated Press

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Study Shows No Decrease In Illicit Drug Use in US Adults

September 4, 2008

Cocaine and methamphetamine use among young adults declined significantly last year as supplies dried up, leading to higher prices and reduced purity, the government reports. Overall use of illicit drugs showed little change.

About one in five young adults last year acknowledged illicit drug use within the previous month, a rate similar to previous years. But cocaine use declined by one-quarter and methamphetamine use by one-third.

Drug use increased among the 50-59 age group as more baby boomers joined that category. Their past month drug use rose from 4.3 percent in 2006 to 5 percent in 2007.

“The baby boomers have much higher rates of self-destructive behavior than any parallel age group we have data from,” said John Walters, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Walters, 55, is a boomer himself.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health, being released Thursday by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, is based on interviews with about 67,500 people.

Overall, about 20 million people 12 or older reported using illicit drugs within the past month. Marijuana was the most popular by far, with 14.4 million acknowledging use of marijuana in the past month.

Among adolescents, age 12 to 17, drug use dipped from 9.8 percent in 2006 to 9.5 percent last year, continuing a five-year trend. Their use of alcohol and cigarettes also fell during the same period.

“The earlier you use drugs, alcohol and cigarettes, the more likely you are to have a lifelong problem,” Walters said.

Much of the progress in curbing drug use occurred between 2002 and 2005. Critics of the nation’s drug policies warned not to read too much into the latest numbers.

“Use of marijuana and other drugs naturally fluctuates and if you look at long-term trends, current rates are smack in the middle of the range they’ve been in for decades,” said Bruce Mirken of the Marijuana Policy Project, which advocates the decriminalization of marijuana. “There is simply no evidence that current policies … have made any difference.”

A World Health Organization survey of 17 countries this year showed that people in the U.S. were more likely than people elsewhere to have tried illicit drugs. The U.S. tied New Zealand for the highest rate of marijuana use and far outpaced other countries on cocaine use, the survey found.

The U.S. report measured drug use over the past month, while the WHO’s looked at drug use over a lifetime.

The WHO survey concluded: “The use of drugs seems to be a feature of more affluent countries. The U.S., which has been driving much of the world’s drug research and drug policy agenda, stands out with higher levels of alcohol, cocaine, and cannabis, despite punitive illegal drug policies as well as a higher minimum legal alcohol drinking age than many comparable developed countries.”

More than half the people who tried drugs for the first time in 2007 used marijuana, according to the U.S. survey. The rate of new marijuana users came to about 6,000 people a day.

The overall rate of illicit drug use dropped from 8.3 percent of those 12 and older to 8.0 percent in 2007.

Walters also acknowledged concern about nonmedical use of prescription pain relievers among young adults. He urged parents to have more awareness of where they keep their prescriptions and to throw them away when the drugs are no longer needed.

The survey, which also examined mental health, indicated that 24.3 million people 18 or older experienced “serious psychological distress over the past year.” It stressed the link between mental health and substance abuse, noting that adults experiencing depression within the past year were more than twice as like to have tried illicit drugs during that time than other adults.

Article by Kevin Freking

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Selling Stolen Bras On EBay Is Not Legal According to NY Police

September 3, 2008


A New York man has been charged with selling $80,000 worth of stolen Victoria’s Secret bras online. Prosecutors say 41-year-old George Tutaya was arraigned Tuesday on charges of possessing stolen property. He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted. A telephone call to his attorney hasn’t been returned. Prosecutors say Tutaya used eBay auction and PayPal payment accounts to sell the brassieres for about $25 each. The bras retail for $40 to $80. Prosecutors say records recovered at Tutaya’s home in Queens link him to the sale of more than 2,000 bras. They say another 650 stolen bras were recovered in his home.

Article from Associated Press

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