Tuesday, October 05, 2010

‘U.S.’ Chamber Of Commerce Running Partisan Attack Foreign-Funded !

The largest attack campaign against Democrats this fall is being waged by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a trade association organized as a 501(c)(6) that can raise and spend unlimited funds without ever disclosing any of its donors.

The Chamber has promised to spend an unprecedented $75 million to defeat candidates like Jack Conway, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Jerry Brown, Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA), and Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA). As of Sept. 15th, the Chamber had aired more than 8,000 ads on behalf of GOP Senate candidates alone, according to a study from the Wesleyan Media Project.

The Chamber’s spending has dwarfed every other issue group and most political party candidate committee spending. A ThinkProgress investigation has found that the Chamber funds its political attack campaign out of its general account, which solicits foreign funding. And while the Chamber will likely assert it has internal controls, foreign money is fungible, permitting the Chamber to run its unprecedented attack campaign. According to legal experts consulted by ThinkProgress, the Chamber is likely skirting longstanding campaign finance law that bans the involvement of foreign corporations in American elections.

In recent years, the Chamber has become very aggressive with its fundraising, opening offices abroad and helping to found foreign chapters (known as Business Councils or “AmChams”). While many of these foreign operations include American businesses with interests overseas, the Chamber has also spearheaded an effort to raise money from foreign corporations, including ones controlled by foreign governments.

These foreign members of the Chamber send money either directly to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, or the foreign members fund their local Chamber, which in turn, transfers dues payments back to the Chamber’s H Street office in Washington DC. These funds are commingled to the Chamber’s 501(c)(6) account which is the vehicle for the attack ads:

– The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has created a large presence in the small, oil-rich country of Bahrain. In 2006, the Chamber created a local affiliate called the “U.S.-Bahrain Business Council” (USBBC), an organization to help businesses in Bahrain take advantage of the Chamber’s “network of government and business relationships in the US and worldwide.”

As the USBBC’s bylaws state, it is not an actual separate entity, rather it is simply an office of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s 501(c)(6) trade association. Many of the USBBC’s board members are Bahrainian, including Aluminum Bahrain, Gulf Air, Midal Cables, the Nass Group, Bahrain Maritime & Mercantile International, the Bahrain Petroleum Company (state-owned), Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company, and First Leasing Bank. With each of these foreign board members to the USBBC contributing at least $10,000 annually, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce raises well over $100,000 a year in money from foreign businesses through its operation in Bahrain.

Notably, the membership form provided by the USBBC directs applicants to send or wire their money directly to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The membership form also explicitly states that the foreign-owned firms are welcomed.

– Like the Chamber’s involvement in Bahrain, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce operates in India through a group called “U.S.-India Business Council” (USIBC), which has offices around the world but is headquartered in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Dozens of Indian businesses, including some of India’s largest corporations like the State Bank of India (state-run) and ICICI Bank, are members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce through the USIBC.

Annual membership dues range from $7,500 to $15,000 or more, and the money is given directly into the Chamber’s 501(c)(6) bank account. Like the USBBC, the USIBC generates well over $200,000 a year in dues for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce from foreign businesses. On the USIBC website, many of the groups lobbying goals advocate changing American policy to help businesses in India.

Under the manufacturing policy goal, USIBC boasts that it “can play a helpful role in guiding U.S. companies to India, while supporting various policy initiatives that will enhance India’s reputation as a major manufacturing and investment hub.”

– Many foreign “AmChams” or Business Councils operate outside the direct sphere of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce but nonetheless send dues money back to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. For instance, the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt is a separate entity based in Cairo that raises hundreds of thousands of dollars from both Egyptian firms and American businesses. However, the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt calls itself “the most active affiliates of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in the” Middle East. Another foreign chamber, like the Abu Dhabi AmCham, which includes American firms and Esnaad, a subsidiary of the state-run Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, claims that it is a a “dues paying member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and part of the global network of American Chambers of Commerce.” In Russia, the relationship between the American Chamber of Commerce there and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce here is opaque. This might be because many of the dues-paying members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia are Russian state-run companies, like VTB Bank, and controlled by the Russian government. Asked by ThinkProgress if the Russian Chambers pay dues back to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Ksenia Forsheneva, the membership development manager at the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia, replied, “Unfortunately the information that you require is closed for the public.”

Previously, it has been reported that foreign firms like BP, Shell Oil, and Siemens are active members of the Chamber. But on a larger scale, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce appears to rely heavily on fundraising from firms all over the world, including China, India, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Russia, and many other places. Of course, because the Chamber successfully lobbied to kill campaign finance reforms aimed at establishing transparency, the Chamber does not have to reveal any of the funding for its ad campaigns. Dues-paying members of the Chamber could potentially be sending additional funds this year to help air more attack ads against Democrats.

Here’s how it works. Regular dues from American firms to the Chamber can range from $500 to $300,000 or more, depending on their size and industry, and can be used for any purpose deemed necessary by the Chamber leadership. For example, the health insurance giant Aetna has reported that it paid $100,000 in annual dues to the Chamber in the past. But for specific advocacy or advertising campaigns, corporations can hide behind the label of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and give additional money. Last year, alongside their regular dues, health insurance companies like Aetna secretly funneled up to $20 million to the Chamber for attack ads aimed at killing health reform (publicly, health insurance executives claimed they supported reform). Last week, Politico reported that News Corporation, the parent company of Fox News, gave an extra $1 million to the Chamber for its election season attack campaign.

There are many reasons foreign corporations are seeking to defeat Democratic candidates this November. The Chamber has repeatedly sent out issue alerts attacking Democratic efforts to encourage businesses to hire locally rather than outsource to foreign counties. The Chamber has also bitterly fought Democrats for opposing unfettered free trade deals. To galvanize foreign businesses, the Chamber has commissioned former Ambassador Frank Lavin — who served as the McCain-Palin Asia campaign director and has appeared on television multiple times recently saying a Democratic Congress is bad for business — to speak before various foreign Chamber affiliates to talk about the stakes for the 2010 midterm elections.

Because campaign finance laws prohibit foreign entities from contributing to political races here in America, we asked the Chamber to defend the legality of its fundraising operation. We have yet to receive a response. But as word of our investigation began to leak out yesterday, the Chamber informed Politico’s Mike Allen that it is now “preparing a response.”

Update The US Chamber of Commerce has responded to this post in a statement to the Politico's Ben Smith. The Chamber's Tita Freeman did not dispute that the Chamber's 501(c)(6) organization running attack ads receives foreign funds, and simply claimed, "We have a system in place" to prevent foreign funding for the Chamber's "political activities."


Tennessee Family's Home Burns to the Ground as Firefighters Stand and Watch

Tenn. Family Missed a 'Pay to Spray' Fee, So Firemen Refused to Act

Firefighters aren't afraid to break down windows and doors to douse flames, but a Tennessee family's failure to pay a $75 fee stopped firefighters dead in their tracks last week as a home burned to the ground.

South Fulton, Tenn., firefighters stood on the sidelines, watching as flames engulfed Gene Cranick's Obion County home. They refused to help because Cranick had not paid an annual "pay to spray" subscription fee.

"I just forgot to pay my $75," homeowner Gene Cranick said. "I did it last year, the year before. ... It slipped my mind."

Watch "World News with Diane Sawyer" for more on this story tonight on ABC.

The city of South Fulton charges that $75 fire protection fee to rural residents who live outside the city limits. When a household has not paid the fee, firefighters are required by law to not respond.

"We have to follow the rules and the ordinances set forth to us, and that's exactly what we do," said Jeff Vowell, South Fulton city manager.

In fact, in Cranick's case, officials said that fire trucks didn't even show up until a neighbor who did pay the subscription fee called 911 to protect his home from the growing fire.

It's infuriating to Cranick, who is now left to clean up the charred remains of decades' worth of family heirlooms and other belongings.

"My neighbor called [the fire department], saying whatever it takes, we want them to put it out, we'll pay $500," said Cranick. "They told us, 'It's too late.'"

'Pay to Spray' Fees Common in Rural Areas
South Fulton has had the "pay to spray" policy in place for more than 20 years, and the fees -- which often cover police services, too -- are fairly common in rural areas. Without implementing complex tax arrangements to cover cash-strapped city budgets, there are simply few other options.

"If the city starts fighting fires in the homes of people outside the city who don't pay, why would anyone pay?" said Jacqueline Byers with the National Association of Counties.

As Firefighters Standby, Home Burns to the Ground
Still, it was small comfort to the Cranick family. Gene Cranick's son, Tim Cranick, was reportedly so upset by the fire department's actions that he went to the station and assaulted the fire chief. The younger Cranick was arrested and released on $5,000 bond, charged with aggravated assault.

"I don't know that there is a good situation when things like this happen," said Vowell. "It's regrettable. Tough for everyone involved."

2010 ABC News


Poll: two thirds haven't heard of Pledge to America

News of Republican congressional candidates' "Pledge to America" has not broken though, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Only about a third of Americans are familiar with the new GOP document; fully two-thirds express no knowledge of the conservative framework that proposes to reduce the size of government and reform Congress.

In a memo sent out to candidates today, former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich cites the Pledge as a central component to the GOP's closing argument in the campaign's final weeks.

Yet, only 37 percent of Republicans and 35 percent of conservatives say they've heard of the 21-page policy agenda, which was rolled out with some fanfare two weeks ago. More college educated Americans, 53 percent, are familiar with it.

In the fall of 1994, when Gingrich and congressional Republicans released the "Contract with America," an October Pew poll showed it registering with 29 percent of the country.

Overall, 23 percent of those now familiar with the pledge say it makes them more likely to support Republican candidates this fall; in fact, 29 percent say it will make them less likely, and 45 percent say it will make no difference in their vote.

Among partisans who have heard about the pledge, half of Republicans say it will make them more likely to vote Republican, while nearly the same proportion of Democrats say it will make them less likely to support the GOP. About half of independents, 51 percent, who have heard about the pledge say it won't make a difference to their vote, with the rest tilting negative (30 percent are less apt to vote GOP as a result; 17 percent moreso).

Even half of those Americans who have heard of the Pledge and who think the stimulus spending was wasted say the conservative framework will have no impact on their vote in November.

Q. Did you happen to hear about Republican congressional candidates signing something called a "Pledge to America" that pledges them to keep certain campaign promises if they are elected, or haven't you heard about this?

Heard Didn't hear No opin.
All 34 66 *
Republicans 37 63 *
Conservatives 35 64 *
College grad 53 47 *
Q. Does this pledge make you more likely to vote for Republican candidates this fall, less likely to vote for Republican candidates this fall, or doesn't it matter to you?

Asked of those aware of the Pledge

More Less Doesn't matter No opinion
All 23 29 45 3
Republicans 50 2 47 1
Democrats 9 52 33 6
Independents 17 30 51 1
Stimulus wasted 32 15 50 2

I can't make this up! Where is the proud Daddy! Ohio Mom Sentenced for Burglaries With Kids in Car

Ohio woman sentenced for burglarizing homes while pregnant with children waiting in car

An Ohio woman who authorities say burglarized homes while her children waited in her car and used her 5-year-old son to help with break-ins has been sentenced to four years in prison.

A Hamilton County Common Pleas judge sentenced 26-year-old Samantha Brewer on Tuesday in Cincinnati, saying she might be allowed early release for drug rehabilitation.

Brewer pleaded guilty Tuesday to attempted burglary. She pleaded guilty in June to burglary, attempted burglary and child endangering.

Brewer blames the burglaries this spring in Harrison on an addiction to pain medication. She was pregnant at the time of the burglaries and gave birth to a girl while in jail in June.

Authorities say Brewer stole jewelry and other items that could be pawned easily.

The Associated Press


Limbaugh Calls President Obama a 'Jackass'

Derision of the president on his program is nothing new, but Rush Limbaugh’s tone today may have struck the ears of regular listeners as particularly disdainful, taking his contempt of the president to a new level.

The nation’s preeminent conservative talk radio host referred to Mr. Obama as a “jackass,” an “economic illiterate” and an “idiot, where capitalism is concerned.”

The rough stuff came during a monologue on the president’s position on extending the Bush tax cuts to all but the top two percent of wage earners.

Obama, Limbaugh says, is an "economic ignoramus" for not understanding how a "tax increase" on the wealthy won't stimulate growth.

Quoting an AP article from yesterday, Limbaugh pointed out Obama’s remarks at a meeting of his Economic Recovery Advisory Board that the wealthy would “take our ball and go home” if their tax cuts aren’t extended.

Limbaugh then addressed the following line to the president directly:

“Mr. Obama, our imam-child, they have already taken their trillion dollar ball home, and they’re sitting on it, you jackass.”

(Limbaugh’s been calling the president “Imam Obama” for several months now.)

"Extend the tax cut to everybody, and you'll inspire confidence," Limbaugh argued, saying that added degree of certainty would free business to spend some of the capital they’re holding onto and hire people, “which, once upon a time, we were told, was Obama’s top priority.”

For not getting this, "He's a jackass. He's an economic illiterate. He's an economic ignoramus.”
“And that's being charitable,” Limbaugh said.

Cue commercial.

DO wonder WHY? The BLOODSUCKERS will never stop profiting on the sick. GOD BLESS AMERICA.

Health Insurers Sending their Money to GOP

A Capitol Hill police officer stands between protesters for and against the health care reform bill as the House prepares to vote on the bill in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Sunday, March 21, 2010.

The health insurance industry this year has been rerouting its financial support from Democrats to Republicans, according to reports -- a move that mirrors the industry's transformation from a backer of President Obama's health care reforms to an adversary.

The nation's five largest insurers and the industry's lobbying arm have this year given three times more money to Republican politicians and political action committees than to Democrats, the Los Angeles Times reports. The industry is also reportedly spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on Washington lobbyists with ties to Republicans.

The insurance industry initially cooperated with the president to try to bring down health care costs. However, at the height of the intense partisan debate that erupted in August of 2009 over health care reform, the partnership between Democrats and the industry broke down. Insurance companies began urging their employees and customers to oppose the reforms, while Democrats began casting the industry as the enemy.

That turning point also marks the point at which the industry began consistently donating more to Republicans than Democrats, Politico reports. In the two years prior to that point, Democrats had reportedly received the bulk of the industry's donations.

Health professionals have also become the biggest supporters of House members in the Tea Party Caucus, according to Politico, donating more than $2.7 million to members in the new group, which coalesced largely around opposition to the president's health care overhaul.

Republicans have campaigned aggressively this year on the promise of "repealing and replacing" health care reform, even though a repeal effort is unlikely to succeed. The GOP could, however, chip away at the law by defunding the programs it establishes.

The insurance industry, meanwhile, has pushed back in its own ways, such as blaming the new regulations for its proposed rate increases.

NEWT the FOOL speaks! Code 'the hell with the poor and black people! ONLY IN AMERICA?

Newt Gingrich to GOP Candidates: Make Democrats the Party of Food Stamps

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich today published a memo to Republican candidates urging them to cast the Democratic Party as the party of food stamps while calling the GOP the party of paychecks.

Gingrich urged candidates to make that message their "closing argument" to voters in the final weeks of the election season.

"A closing argument is the central choice you want voters to have in mind as they head to the voting booths," Gingrich wrote. "It should be very simple and resonate at a personal, emotional level with the American people."

In 1980, Ronald Reagan offered "Morning in America" as his closing argument, Gingrich said, and in 1994, Republicans presented their "Contract with America" as their closing argument. Gingrich was a coauthor of the latter document.

This year, he said, the House Republicans' Pledge to America "has set the stage for a powerful, symbolic closing argument for candidates seeking to unseat the left-wing, big spending, job killing Democrats: paychecks versus food stamps."

The former speaker pointed out that the number of Americans receiving food stamps rose to record levels this year. "It turns out that Barack Obama's idea of spreading the wealth around was spreading more food stamps around," he wrote. Unemployment, he noted, has climbed from 4.6 percent in 2007 to 9.6 percent today.

Republicans should compare those figures to those from the era of the 1994 Republican-led Congress, Gingrich argued, stating that in four years, unemployment fell, food stamp usage dropped, and the deficit was turned into a surplus.

"You can use this vivid contrast between the record of the Pelosi-Reid Democratic Congress and the last time the Republican Party took control of Congress," wrote Gingrich, who has repeatedly suggested he is considering a presidential run in 2012.

Candidates should also highlight the fact that the Democrats have not yet extended the Bush tax cuts, Gingrich said, to hammer home the food stamps vs. paychecks argument.

"Small business owners who may be considering hiring new employees must now operate under the assumption that their taxes will rise in January," he wrote. "That means a smart businessman will decline to hire anyone new since there will soon be less money to pay their employees. In other words, more food stamps, fewer paychecks."

THE REST OF THE STORY..... the rich are getting richer but not producing jobs which earn paychecks:

Wall Street Extends Its Rally; S.&P. Rises Almost 2.1%

The rally continued Tuesday down on Wall Street. Markets
extended a surge that began in September. Shares jumped after
a better-than-expected report on the services sector in the
United States and the Bank of Japan offered a range of other
measures aimed at supporting that country's economy. The
latest snapshot on America's service sector exceeded
analysts' expectations. The Institute for Supply Management
said its service sector index rose to 53.2 last month from
51.5 in August, topping expectations of 52. At the close, the
Dow Jones industrial average was up 1.8 percent. The Standard
& Poor's 500-stock index gained 2.1 percent, while the Nasdaq
rose 2.36 percent.

FINALLY some respect for NEANDERTHALS! So love a Republican!!

Anthropologists adopt a more favorable view of Neanderthals

Scientists are broadly rethinking the nature, skills and demise of the Neanderthals of Europe and Asia, steadily finding more ways that they were substantially like us and quite different from the limited, unchanging and ultimately doomed inferiors most commonly described in the past.

The latest revision involves Neanderthals who lived in southern Italy from about 42,000 to 35,000 years ago, a group that had to face fast-changing climate conditions that required them to adapt.

And that, says anthropologist Julien Riel-Salvatore, is precisely what they did: fashioning new hunting tools, targeting more-elusive prey and even wearing identifying ornaments and body painting.

Traditional Neanderthal theory has it that they changed their survival strategies only when they came into contact with more-modern early humans. But Riel-Salvatore, a professor at the University of Colorado at Denver writing in the Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, says that was not the case in southern Italy.

"What we know is that the more-modern humans lived in northern Italy, more-traditional Neanderthals lived in middle Italy, and this group that adapted to a changing world was in the south - out of touch with the northern group," he said.

"Because of this Neanderthal buffer, it seems very unlikely that the southern Italy Neanderthals learned from the more-modern humans," he said. "They needed to change, and did, apparently by themselves."

He says this finding - along with recent investigations that have determined that between 1 and 4 percent of the human genome in Europe and Asia has Neanderthal genes - means that these often disparaged humans are actually "more like our brothers and sisters than even our cousins."

Handsome redheads?

Neanderthals roamed Eurasia from current-day Portugal to Siberia and from England to Jordan for almost 200,000 years. With brain sizes comparable to modern humans and bodies more barrel-chested but otherwise similar, they thrived during a time of relatively stable climate. They were not known to be advanced in toolmaking, but some argue that was because their surroundings didn't require it.

Named after the Neanderthal, the German valley where their remains were first excavated in 1856, they evolved from the African hominid Homo erectus. They were stockier than Homo sapiens and had thicker bones and protruding foreheads. Early study of Neanderthals described them as very hairy, brutish, unable to talk or walk like more-modern humans. Later discoveries overturned those views, and recent finds suggest quite a few in central Europe were handsome redheads.

More-modern humans began entering the same area from Africa 40,000 to 50,000 years ago and, within 10,000 years, the Neanderthals largely disappeared as a subspecies. This led many researchers to conclude that the Neanderthals were unable to change and compete with modern humans and as a result dwindled and died out.

More-recent thinking suggests that they faced a number of challenges between 40,000 and 30,000 years ago, not all of which came from the newcomers.

Stressful conditions

The long hot and cold cycles that had prevailed in Eurasia for centuries sped up during this time, making it more necessary and more difficult to adapt. In addition, a series of major volcanoes erupted in Italy and what is now Eastern Europe, further degrading the environment.

And finally, faced with the appearance of newcomers skilled in some ways they were not, the Neanderthals began to mate with them. Because Neanderthal numbers were low to begin with, Riel-Salvatore said, it was easy for them and their genomes to seemingly disappear into the population of more-modern humans.

"We have found no signs of conflict between the Neanderthals and the modern humans, but we do know the conditions that they lived in became more stressful," he said. "Neanderthals in southern Italy adapted well on their own for quite a long time, but ultimately succumbed."

At archaeological sites associated with the southern Italian Neanderthals, who are called Uluzzians, researchers have found pointed weapons, tools made from bones, ochre for coloring and possibly implements for fishing and small-game hunting - artifacts not previously associated with Neanderthals.

Research debunking the position that Neanderthals were "cognitively inferior" comes from Daniel Adler of the University of Connecticut and Metin Eren of Southern Methodist University.

In 2006, Adler described evidence that Neanderthals hunted just as well as Homo sapiens, even if their weapons were less sophisticated. In 2007, Eren replicated the making of Neanderthal disc-shaped tools, or "flakes," and found they were in some ways more efficient than Homo sapiens' blade-based tools. Both researchers said that while the Neanderthals did not make the transition to more advanced tools - which generations of researchers saw as proof of Homo sapiens' superiority - they were nonetheless well adapted to their environment.

"For many, the term 'Neanderthal' is still synonymous with 'knuckle-dragging thuggish brute,' " Adler said at the time. "We're going back and rehabilitating the image of the Neanderthals."

The research he conducted with an Israeli team focused on Neanderthal populations in the southern Caucasus. They found that the Neanderthals were able to hunt Caucasian tur, large mountain goats that took considerable skill to capture. They based their conclusion that Neanderthal and Homo sapiens weapons were roughly comparable in part on the fact that the tur killed by the Neanderthals were adults, the most difficult to track and bring down.

But while Adler argues strongly that late Neanderthals were more capable than traditionally believed, he is not convinced by Riel-Salvatore's scenario in Italy. He said the data described are limited, and he does not believe the southern group was uniformly Neanderthal.

"At the moment, the trend in our field is to think of the Neanderthals as being more like ourselves rather than the quintessential 'other,' " he said. "Julien's paper follows that trend, but it claims more than the data can actually deliver."

Dirty and smelly, but . . .

In 2007, Erik Trinkaus of Washington University in St. Louis published research into prehistoric fossil remains in Europe that showed a significant number of attributes associated with both the Neanderthals and more-modern humans.

"Both groups would seem to us dirty and smelly, but, cleaned up, we would understand both to be human," he said when the paper was released in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "There's good reason to think that they did as well."

Subsequent research this year concluded that 1 to 4 percent of the modern human genome comes from Neanderthals, making the link tighter. And while the percentage may seem small, Riel-Salvatore says it has to be understood in context. Neanderthals, he said, probably never reached a total population greater than hundreds of thousands, while Homo sapiens came in far greater numbers.

"At one point I would imagine the amount of Neanderthal in modern humans was much greater," he said. "But with the numbers and generations, that percentage declined. Still, most Neanderthals were gone from the Earth by 28,000 years ago, but clearly some of them remain in many of us."


America's 25 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods

Violent Crime is Most-Likely to Occur in These Areas

Where in America are people most likely to be murdered, raped, robbed or have their car stolen?

A new list, based on police reports, says that one Chicago neighborhood around West Lake Street -- is the most dangerous in America, but also notes that Atlanta is home to four of the 25 worst neighborhoods.

Other hot spots include parts of Las Vegas, Cleveland and Memphis, Tenn.

So why look at neighborhoods and not cities? Well, even the cities with the highest crime rates can have relatively safe neighborhoods, making it less useful to generalize about an entire city.

NeighborhoodScout.com takes crime data from the FBI and from all 17,000 local law enforcement agencies in the U.S., and sorts it to pinpoint events to the 61,000 neighborhoods in America, based on ZIP code. It then sells that data to individuals looking to buy a home.

Stay Up to Date on the Latest Travel Trends from ABC News on Twitter

The ranking below is based on the predicted number of violent crimes in the neighborhood per 1,000 people in the neighborhood calculated by NeighborhoodScout.com.

#25: Orlando, Fla.

Neighborhood: West Central Boulevard

Found Within ZIP Code(s): 32805, 32801

Predicted Annual Violent Crimes: 299

Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000): 79.83

My Chances of Becoming a Victim Here (in one year): 1 in 13

#24: Cincinnati, Ohio

Neighborhood: Moore Street

Found Within ZIP Code(s): 45210

Predicted Annual Violent Crimes: 150

Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000): 81.92

My Chances of Becoming a Victim Here (in one year): 1 in 12

#23: Kansas City, Mo.

Neighborhood: Independence Avenue

Found Within ZIP Code(s): 64106

Predicted Annual Violent Crimes: 82

Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000): 81.97

My Chances of Becoming a Victim Here (in one year): 1 in 12

#22: Atlanta, Ga.

Neighborhood: Humphries Street SW

Found Within ZIP Code(s): 30310

Predicted Annual Violent Crimes: 119

Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000): 82.96

My Chances of Becoming a Victim Here (in one year): 1 in 12

#21: Galveston, Texas Neighborhood: Church Street

Found Within ZIP Code(s): 77550

Predicted Annual Violent Crimes: 84

Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000): 88.10

My Chances of Becoming a Victim Here (in one year): 1 in 11

#20: Cleveland, Ohio

Neighborhood: Chestnut Place

Found Within ZIP Code(s): 44104, 44115

Predicted Annual Violent Crimes: 156

Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000): 90.38

My Chances of Becoming a Victim Here (in one year): 1 in 11

#19: Memphis, Tenn.

Neighborhood: North Danny Thomas Boulevard

Found Within ZIP Code(s): 38105

Predicted Annual Violent Crimes: 147

Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000): 90.42

My Chances of Becoming a Victim Here (in one year): 1 in 11

#18: Chicago, Ill.

Neighborhood: 4000 South Federal Street

Found Within ZIP Code(s): 60609

Predicted Annual Violent Crimes: 202

Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000): 93.04

My Chances of Becoming a Victim Here (in one year): 1 in 11

#17: Atlanta, Ga.

Neighborhood: Richardson Street

Found Within ZIP Code(s): 30312, 30303

Predicted Annual Violent Crimes: 119

Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000): 94.94

My Chances of Becoming a Victim Here (in one year): 1 in 11

#16: Winston Salem, N.C.

Neighborhood: East 21st Street

Found Within ZIP Code(s): 27105

Predicted Annual Violent Crimes: 175

Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000): 95.79

My Chances of Becoming a Victim Here (in one year): 1 in 10

#15: Fort Worth, Texas

Neighborhood: East Lancaster Avenue

Found Within ZIP Code(s): 76102, 76111, 76103

Predicted Annual Violent Crimes: 284

Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000): 98.12

My Chances of Becoming a Victim Here (in one year): 1 in 10

#14: Louisville, Ky.

Neighborhood: East Breckinridge Street

Found Within ZIP Code(s): 40203, 40204

Predicted Annual Violent Crimes: 226

Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000): 106.01

My Chances of Becoming a Victim Here (in one year): 1 in 9

#13: North Charleston, S.C.

Neighborhood: Echo Avenue

Found Within ZIP Code(s): 29403, 29405

Predicted Annual Violent Crimes: 233

Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000): 108.86

My Chances of Becoming a Victim Here (in one year): 1 in 9

#12: Memphis, Tenn.

Neighborhood: Florida Street

Found Within ZIP Code(s): 38106

Predicted Annual Violent Crimes: 203

Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000): 108.91

My Chances of Becoming a Victim Here (in one year): 1 in 9

#11: Charlotte, N.C.

Neighborhood: North Tryon Street

Found Within ZIP Code(s): 28206

Predicted Annual Violent Crimes: 352

Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000): 108.94

My Chances of Becoming a Victim Here (in one year): 1 in 9

#10: Chattanooga, Tenn.

Neighborhood: King Street

Found Within ZIP Code(s): 37402, 37403, 37408

Predicted Annual Violent Crimes: 114

Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000): 110.79

My Chances of Becoming a Victim Here (in one year): 1 in 9

#9: Washington, D.C.

Neighborhood: L Street SE

Found Within ZIP Code(s): 20003

Predicted Annual Violent Crimes: 240

Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000): 111.34

My Chances of Becoming a Victim Here (in one year): 1 in 9

#8: Las Vegas, Nevada

Neighborhood: D Street

Found Within ZIP Code(s): 89106, 89101

Predicted Annual Violent Crimes: 392

Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000): 113.53

My Chances of Becoming a Victim Here (in one year): 1 in 9

#7: Atlanta, Ga.

Neighborhood: Marietta Street

Found Within ZIP Code(s): 30313, 30303

Predicted Annual Violent Crimes: 307

Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000): 114.18

My Chances of Becoming a Victim Here (in one year): 1 in 9

#6: Philadelphia, Pa.

Neighborhood: North 13th Street

Found Within ZIP Code(s): 19123

Predicted Annual Violent Crimes: 488

Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000): 117.19

My Chances of Becoming a Victim Here (in one year): 1 in 9

#5: Atlanta, Ga.

Neighborhood: Carter Street

Found Within ZIP Code(s): 30314, 30313

Predicted Annual Violent Crimes: 118

Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000): 126.77

My Chances of Becoming a Victim Here (in one year): 1 in 8

#4: Las Vegas, Nev.

Neighborhood: North 28th Street

Found Within ZIP Code(s): 89101

Predicted Annual Violent Crimes: 875

Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000): 135.09

My Chances of Becoming a Victim Here (in one year): 1 in 7

#3: Las Vegas, Nev.

Neighborhood: Balzar Avenue

Found Within ZIP Code(s): 89106

Predicted Annual Violent Crimes: 351

Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000): 145.98

My Chances of Becoming a Victim Here (in one year): 1 in 7

#2: Cleveland, Ohio

Neighborhood: Scovill Avenue

Found Within ZIP Code(s): 44104

Predicted Annual Violent Crimes: 307

Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000): 165.56

My Chances of Becoming a Victim Here (in one year): 1 in 6

#1: Chicago, Ill.

Neighborhood: West Lake Street

Found Within ZIP Code(s): 60612

Predicted Annual Violent Crimes: 297

Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000): 257.72

My Chances of Becoming a Victim Here (in one year): 1 in 4

© 2010 ABC News

I'm so tried of polls getting the exposure they do in the media. NOV 4th is REAL poll?!

Dems Gain in Polls

Democrats have cut in half the Republicans' advantage in the generic ballot—which party's candidate voters prefer—since early September, but more people still say they would rather vote for GOP candidates than Democrats, 49 percent to 43 percent, according to a Washington Post poll.

Four years ago, when Democrats regained a congressional majority, they had a 12-point advantage on this question. At the time, voters thought Democrats were the party they trusted more to deal with the biggest problems facing the country by a 19-point margin.

Today, the parties are almost evenly split on that question—just as they were in 1994, when Republicans swept into office.
Meanwhile, a Rasmussen poll shows the GOP leading the generic ballot 45 percent to 42 percent (last week the pollster showed a 6 percentage-point spread between the parties).
But a Gallup poll shows Republicans with a comfortable margin in two voter-turnout scenarios: With higher turnout, the GOP's advantage runs 53 percent to 40 percent, and in case of a lower turnout , Republicans lead 56 percent to 38 percent.

I don't understand people like these protesters.

Editor's note:
With so many REAL problems facing people in this country from
depressed economy, violence, bankruptcy causing health care and
the corporate takeover of the USA.
HOW can disrespecting someone's grief and dancing on someone's grave be God's wish?

Supreme Court Set to Hear Arguments on Protests at Military Funerals
Are Protesters Protected by First Amendment?

The Supreme Court will hear one of the most controversial cases of the term on Wednesday regarding protests at military funerals by members of a Baptist church.

The case concerns the Westboro Baptist Church and its Pastor, Fred W. Phelps, whose congregation travels the country and protests at the funerals of fallen servicemen. The congregation is made up mostly of Phelps' family members who believe that soldiers are dying in part because there are gays serving in the military. The church members get permits for their protests near funerals and carry signs with slogans such as, "God Hates You" and "God Hates Fags."

The Supreme Court will have to weigh the privacy concerns of families mourning the deaths of their loved ones against the protesters' First Amendment rights of free speech.

In 2006 the church members protested outside the Maryland funeral of Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq. He was not a homosexual. A few days later the church posted what it called an epic poem on its Web site entitled, "The Burden of Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder. " It was addressed to his parents and said in part, "They taught him to support the largest pedophile machine in the history of the entire world, the Roman Catholic monstrosity."

Matthew Snyder's father, Albert Snyder, sued the Westboro Baptist Church in federal court arguing that the church had violated his family's privacy and inflicted emotional distress. Snyder ultimately won a judgment of $5 million.

But a federal appeals court threw out the judgment finding that the protest signs weren't aimed at Snyder specifically and said the statements are protected by the Constitution because they contained "imaginative and hyperbolic rhetoric" meant to spark debate.

The three judge panel wrote, "We are constrained to agree that these signs are entitled to First Amendment protection."

Free Speech: How Far is Too Far?
According to Jeffrey Rosen, a professor at the George Washington University Law school, "This case might not have huge constitutional dimensions but it does raise this very important question, namely: how much protection do relatively private figures have against hurtful, outrageous, insulting, emotionally-aggravating speech."

Margie J. Phelps, who is Pastor Phelps' daughter and serves as the counsel of record for Westboro Baptist Church, said the case provides an "excellent platform for the words that we've faithfully delivered to the nation for twenty years." She says that the church has attended over 600 funerals of soldiers because members of the congregation are trying to get out the message that if the military stops accepting homosexuals, soldiers will stop dying.

"The issue about these dead soldiers is an issue of acute public importance," Margie Phelps said.

Craig Trebilcock, a lawyer for Albert Snyder, detailed how his client was devastated that the members of the church invaded his privacy.

"Mr. Snyder felt that he had one opportunity, a few hours, to say goodbye to his son and they were torn away from him. He can't think about his son's passing and can't get closure because every time he thinks of his son's death and his funeral, he sees the Phelps family carrying a sign saying "you're in hell," said Trebilcock.

The attorney hopes the court will look at the case as a balancing test and rule in favor of Snyder's claim to the right to peaceful and religious assembly.

"We don't believe there is an unlimited First Amendment right to engage in outrageous conduct intended to inflict harm on a private person," said Trebilcock.

"The core of this case" said Professor Rosen, "is whether or not this speech was directed at particular individuals, whether they were captive in a particular enclosed setting and also whether or not the speech was about matters of opinion or of falsifiable facts, and those are the kind of questions the case might turn on."

The case has attracted a flurry of friend-of-the-court briefs on both sides. Lawyers for the 40 states which have passed laws regulating protests at funerals, have weighed in on Snyder's behalf.

"The States should be accorded their traditionally recognized police powers to adopt and enforce reasonable time, place, and manner regulations on activities that may disrupt funerals, and to define civil tort liability for conduct that intentionally inflicts emotional distress and invades sacred privacy interests," said the brief, written by the Attorney General Steve Six of Kansas, who was joined by the other states.

The American Civil Liberties Union, however, has weighed in on behalf of the free speech concerns of the Phelps and their church. In court papers, lawyers for the ACLU wrote, the " First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion are designed to protect the right of speakers to voice their views on matters of public concern and to express their religious convictions."

The case is called Snyder v. Phelps.

ABC News