Saturday, October 22, 2005

President Discusses Mehlis Report from United Nations

THE PRESIDENT: Today, the United Nations issued what is called the Mehlis Report. It's a report into the death of Prime Minister Hariri of Lebanon, and the report is deeply disturbing. The report suggests that it is -- strongly suggests that the politically motivated assassination could not have taken place without Syrian involvement.

I called Secretary Rice this morning and instructed her to call upon the United Nations to convene a session as quickly as possible to deal with this very serious matter. We have made it clear that the position of the United States is that there be no foreign involvement in Lebanon. The United Nations made that clear through Resolution 1559. And today, a serious report came out that requires the world to look at it very carefully and respond accordingly.

Thank you all, very much.
END 11:52 A.M. PDT

U.S. Announces Charges in Connection With Secret Kickbacks to the Iraqi Government Related to the United Nations' Oil-For-Food Program

WASHINGTON, Oct. 21 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The following was released today by the United States Attorney Southern District of New York, regarding an indictment related to the United Nations' Oil-for-Food program:

MICHAEL J. GARCIA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and MARK J. MERSHON, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Office of the FBI ("FBI"), announced the unsealing today of a superseding Indictment arising from a scheme to obtain oil under the United Nations' Oil-for-Food Program by paying millions of dollars in secret kickbacks to Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. The superseding Indictment names three individuals and three corporate entities in addition to persons and entities previously charged.

The three newly charged individuals are OSCAR S. WYATT, JR., a Texas business executive and the former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Coastal Corporation, CATALINA del SOCORRO MIGUEL FUENTES, a/k/a "Cathy Miguel," a Swiss business executive, and MOHAMMED SAIDJI, a Swiss business executive. The three newly charged corporate entities are NAFTA PETROLEUM COMPANY LIMITED and MEDNAFTA TRADING COMPANY LIMITED (collectively, the "WYATT FOREIGN COMPANIES"), two Cyprus-based oil trading companies operated by MIGUEL and SAIDJI in close consultation with WYATT, and SARENCO, S.A., a Swiss consulting firm operated by MIGUEL and SAIDJI.

According to the superseding Indictment, WYATT, MIGUEL, and SAIDJI obtained oil under the United Nations' Oil-for-Food Program by paying millions of dollars in secret kickbacks to Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. These kickbacks were allegedly paid to the Government of Iraq for oil allocated by the Saddam Hussein regime to the WYATT FOREIGN COMPANIES and the Coastal Corporation. As set forth in the Indictment, the United Nations imposed comprehensive economic sanctions on Iraq following its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

These sanctions were modified by the United Nations Security Council's April 14, 1996 adoption of Resolution 986, which authorized the Government of Iraq to sell oil, provided that the proceeds from any oil sales were deposited into a United Nations-monitored bank account in Manhattan. Funds deposited into that account were to be used only for the purchase of humanitarian goods to benefit the Iraqi people. The price at which Iraqi oil was sold under the Oil-for-Food Program -- the Official Selling Price -- was recalibrated regularly as advised by a group of oil "overseers" at the United Nations.

However, as stated in the Indictment, Saddam Hussein's regime chose who purchased the oil and who sold the humanitarian goods. Iraqi oil could be purchased in the first instance only by people or entities that had been granted -- or "allocated" -- the right to buy Iraqi oil by the Government of Iraq.

During December 1996, WYATT, on behalf of the Coastal Corporation, allegedly received the first allocation of oil -- approximately 11.35 million barrels -- awarded by the Government of Iraq under the Oil-for-Food Program. During the fall of 2000, while WYATT was Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Coastal Corporation, Coastal representatives were allegedly told by Iraqi officials that any future allocations of Iraqi oil would be provided only on the condition that the recipients pay an illegal surcharge to the Saddam Hussein regime.

It is alleged that these payments were not made to the United Nations-monitored bank account from which humanitarian goods could be purchased for the Iraqi people. Rather, it is alleged, these surcharge payments were illegal kickbacks made -- in violation of United Nations sanctions and United States criminal law -- to front companies and bank accounts designated and controlled by the Saddam Hussein regime.

During the operation of the surcharge scheme, WYATT, MIGUEL, and SAIDJI allegedly continued to obtain allocations of millions of barrels oil from the Government of Iraq. In exchange for their oil allocations, WYATT, MIGUEL, and SAIDJI allegedly directed millions of dollars in illegal surcharge payments to the Government of Iraq. To conceal these payments, WYATT, MIGUEL, and SAIDJI caused them to be made in cash to a bank account in Jordan controlled by the Government of Iraq.

For example, as stated in the Indictment, over the course of three days during August of 2001, WYATT, MIGUEL, and SAIDJI caused over $500,000 in cash to be deposited into the referenced Jordanian bank account, and from March 27, 2002 through April 1, 2002 WYATT, MIGUEL, and SAIDJI caused over one million euros, again in cash, to be deposited into the Jordanian bank account controlled by the Government of Iraq.

In another example described in the Indictment, WYATT caused SARENCO, S.A. to make an illegal surcharge payment of approximately $200,000 to the Saddam Hussein regime, in connection with oil obtained from the Government of Iraq by the Coastal Corporation during the year 2000. After causing this payment to be made, WYATT allegedly sought reimbursement for the payment from the Coastal Corporation's successor, El Paso Energy Corporation. Speaking on a recorded telephone line, WYATT allegedly asked an El Paso representative whether El Paso had approved reimbursement to SARENCO, S.A. of the $200,000 surcharge he had already paid.

WYATT's alleged participation in Iraq's surcharge scheme was not limited to making kickback payments. As set forth in the Indictment, WYATT lobbied the United Nations to select an Official Selling Price at a level that would allow recipients of oil allocations to pay the required surcharge and still retain a profit for themselves. A below-market Official Selling Price would enable the Government of Iraq to collect the illegal surcharges on oil allocated pursuant to the Oil-for-Food Program. In lobbying the United Nations, WYATT allegedly conspired with Iraqi officials and with DAVID B. CHALMERS, JR, who was named in the first Indictment in this case.

If convicted of the charges contained in the Indictment, WYATT, MIGUEL, and SAIDJI would each face a maximum imprisonment of 62 years and a maximum fine of one million dollars or twice the gain or loss resulting from their offenses. If convicted, the WYATT FOREIGN COMPANIES and SARENCO, S.A., would each be required to pay a maximum fine of two million dollars or twice the gain or loss resulting from their offenses. The defendants would also be required to make restitution to the victims of their criminal conduct -- namely, the Iraqi people. The Indictment also announces the Government's intention to seek criminal forfeiture of at least one billion dollars in assets from the defendants.

The superseding Indictment adds these defendants to charges brought during April 2005 against three other business people and two other corporate entities: DAVID B. CHALMERS, JR., a Texas businessman; two entities in which CHALMERS was the sole shareholder, BAYOIL (USA), INC., an oil company based in Texas, and BAYOIL SUPPLY & TRADING LIMITED, a Bahamas company (collectively, the "BAYOIL COMPANIES"); and two individuals who worked with CHALMERS to purchase Iraqi oil for the BAYOIL COMPANIES, JOHN IRVING, a British citizen, and LUDMIL DIONISSIEV, a Bulgarian citizen and legal permanent resident of the United States, currently residing in Houston, Texas.

WYATT was arrested this morning at his home in Houston, Texas and was presented before a United States Magistrate Judge in Houston. He is scheduled to be arraigned on October 27, 2005 at 12 p.m. before United States District Judge DENNY CHIN in Manhattan federal court. MIGUEL and SAIDJI are Swiss citizens, and the United States Attorney's Office is pursuing their extradition. GARCIA stated, "The Oil-For-Food Program was designed to provide humanitarian relief to the Iraqi people; these defendants undermined those relief efforts to line their own pockets with oil profits."

GARCIA praised the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Criminal and Counterintelligence Divisions. He also expressed appreciation to the United States Treasury Department, Office of Foreign Assets Control for their assistance in this investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys EDWARD O'CALLAGHAN, STEPHEN MILLER, and MICHAEL FARBIARZ are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Feds Charge Atlanta Woman With Filing 2 False Claims For FEMA Hurricane Victims Funds

WASHINGTON, Oct. 21 /U.S. Newswire/ -- David E. Nahmias, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia; Gregory Jones, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation; Martin Phanco, Inspector in Charge, United States Postal Inspection Service; and Richard L. Skinner, Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security, today announced the arrest of JOZELL LOIS DICKERSON, 35, of Lawrenceville, Georgia. DICKERSON is charged in a federal indictment with aggravated identity theft, stealing money from the United States government, making false claims, and using a false social security number, in connection with two false claims made to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for $4,000 in relief funds available to victims of Hurricane Katrina. According to Nahmias, the indictment and information presented in court today:

DICKERSON, who was not a resident of New Orleans at the time of Hurricane Katrina, used two different New Orleans addresses and the social security number of another person within a span of one week to make two false claims for FEMA monies meant for Hurricane Katrina victims. September 8, 2005, DICKERSON made false statements about her "New Orleans" residence in a call to FEMA, and gave her actual social security number. On September 14, DICKERSON again called in to FEMA making false statements and used a false social security number.

DICKERSON received a $2,000 electronic funds transfer on September 12 and another $2,000 electronic funds transfer on September 16. DICKERSON faces a mandatory minimum of two years in prison on the aggravated identity theft charge, in addition to a potential maximum penalty of up to 20 years in federal prison on the additional charges, and a maximum fine of over $1 million.

U.S. Attorney David Nahmias said of the case: "To date, U.S. Attorneys across the country have brought more than 40 federal prosecutions as part of the Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force. This is the second Katrina fraud case filed by this office. This defendant allegedly filed not one but two false claims for hurricane victim funds from FEMA, stealing another person's identity to use in making the second false claim. We will not tolerate this sort of fraud, which steals taxpayer dollars intended to help rebuild the lives of the thousands of real victims of these terrible natural disasters."

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales recently created the Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force, designed to deter, investigate and prosecute disaster related federal crimes such as charity fraud and insurance. The Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force - chaired by Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division - includes members from the FBI, the Federal Trade Commission, the Postal Inspector's Office, and the Executive Office of the United States Attorneys, among others.

Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges. The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government's burden to prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

This case is being investigated by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation with the assistance of Inspectors with the United States Postal Inspection Service and Special Agents with the Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Inspector General.

Assistant United States Attorney Richard M. Langway is prosecuting the case.

For further information please contact David E. Nahmias (pronounced NAH-me-us), United States Attorney or F. Gentry Shelnutt, Chief, Criminal Division, through Patrick Crosby, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Attorney's Office, at (404) 581- 6016.

The Internet address for the Homepage for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia is

George Soros Funded Organizations Determine to Undermine Bryne Grant Funding, Says DAMMAD

TIOGA CENTER, N.Y., Oct. 22 /U.S. Newswire/ -- DAMMADD continues its campaign across America, calling on all Texans to sign the DAMMADD petition calling on Congress to reinstate the Byrne Grant funding to 1.1 billion dollars.

The petition can be found at

In a news article dated October 22, in the Times Record News states Will Harrell Executive Director of the ACLU a Soros funded organization, says "good riddance" to the drug task forces, and Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Washington, DC based Drug Policy Alliance also a Soros funded organization are both advocating eliminating the drug task forces.

The Drug Policy Alliance is even using hurricane Katrina to undermine the drug task forces funding that protects all American families. Steiner says " we are loosing 500 children a week to drug overdoses and we are loosing a total of 147,000 Americans a year". Steiner also says without the Byrne Grant funding you can expect deaths to go up.


DAMMADD is a 501(c)3 non profit anti drug organization founded by Steven and Julie Steiner after the death of their son from a drug overdose. DAMMADD provides a 24-hour tip hot line for the public to leave anonymous tips on drug dealing/trafficking in neighborhoods.

DAMMADD's educational component is called a Child's Story, teaching parents how to talk to kids about the dangers of illicit/prescription drug use.

In 2004, DAMMADD launched Operation Take Action, an initiative that targeted meth labs. In two weeks, law enforcement took action -- and identified 31 meth labs.

Friday, October 21, 2005

RICO Count Lodged Against Stone Park Police Officers

CHICAGO, Oct. 20 /U.S. Newswire/ -- A RICO count - the statute used to charge mob figures - was added today to the lawsuit alleging that Stone Park police officers arrested at least nine men on bogus charges of solicitation of prostitution, and then charged them hundreds of dollars to get their impounded cars back.

"It's the same story, over and over again, from every single person," said Blake Horwitz, attorney for the nine current plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed in federal court. On Thursday the lawsuit named seven more plaintiffs and added claims of conspiracy, due process violations, equal protection conversion and a RICO count to the existing counts of false arrest and malicious prosecution.

Typically, a man would pull into a car wash and a woman would approach him, saying things like she'd "do anything" and ask "how much would you give me." The man would rebuff her and drive off - then gets pulled over by police officers who impound his car without telling him what he's being ticketed for, only that he has to pay $500 plus storage fees to get his car back. Later the man gets a ticket for solicitation and is summoned to a quasi- criminal hearing.

"These men are falsely arrested and shaken down for hundreds of dollars," said Blake Horwitz, attorney for the nine plaintiffs. "Under cross examination in most cases the woman's story doesn't hold up. But some men are found liable anyway and suffer the threat of unjustly having their names published in the newspaper. Even those exonerated men still have to pay up to $500, cash, in impound fees."

Because the men are charged with a municipal violation instead of a criminal one, the village does not have to obey the rules of evidence and the burden of proof is much lower - the defendants are found 'liable' (not 'guilty') by a preponderance of the evidence instead of beyond a reasonable doubt. Every case relies solely on the word of Jenny Sanchez, an auxiliary police officer posing as a prostitute, and the hearings take place in the same building as the police department.

At least one plaintiff's car suffered damage while in impound, Horwitz said, and one plaintiff lost his job because the car that was impounded was his company's car.

"No one solicited this woman, yet they all still have to pay Stone Park to get their cars back," Horwitz said. "The village is relying on their embarrassment to keep this money-making scheme quiet, but I think they'll find that there are many falsely accused men out there who don't want to keep quiet any longer."

A press conference will be held Friday, Oct. 21, at noon at the Law Offices of Blake Horwitz, 155 N. Michigan Ave., 5th floor, Chicago IL.

Law Offices of Blake Horwitz, Blake Horwitz, 312-616-4433; email:

93 Schools Across U.S. to be Recognized for Efforts in Character Education

ATLANTA, Oct. 21 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Character Education Partnership -- -- announced today that 93 schools across the country have been named as recipients of its 2005 Promising Practices Award. CEP is a Washington D.C.- based nonprofit organization that works to make universal values an integral part of the K-12 curriculum and school culture. Its Promising Practices Awards recognize selected schools and districts that have implemented unique and specific strategies for effective character education.

These schools will be recognized in CEP's annual National Schools of Character publication and honored at CEP's National Forum: Building Cultures of Character, which is taking place in Atlanta, Ga., Oct. 20-22, at the Hilton Atlanta Hotel. All awardees also receive a certificate and a copy of the 2005 NSOC Award Winning Practices publication.

The 2005 schools and districts to be honored include: Amador County Unified School District (Jackson, CA), Arlington Traditional School (Arlington, VA), Avenel Street School (Avenel, NJ), Aventura City of Excellence School (Aventura, FL), Barclay Brook School (Monroe Township, NJ), Birmingham Covington School (Bloomfield Hills, MI), Boulton Elementary (Bountiful, UT), Bower Hill Elementary (Venetia, PA), Brennen Elementary School (Columbia, SC), Bridge Point Elementary (Austin, TX), Brook Avenue School (Bay Shore, NY), The Cambridge School (Tampa, FL), Canaan Elementary School (Patchogue, NY), Carroll County Public Schools (Westminster, MD), Centennial Arts Academy (Gainesville, GA), Chesterfield Elementary (Chesterfield, MO), Christa McAuliffe School (Jersey City, NJ), Christa McAuliffe Elementary (Palm Bay, FL), Colorado Elementary School (Muscatine, IA), Cornelia Elementary School (Edina, MN), Corning Painted Post High School Learning Center (Corning, NY), Cranford High School (Cranford, NJ), Cross Bayou Elementary School (Pinellas Park, FL), Dr. Charles P. De Fuccio School (Jersey City, NJ), Ezra L. Nolan Middle School (Jersey City, NJ), Fred W. Martin School (Jersey City, NJ), Freewill Elementary School (Ontario Center, NY), Gainesville Middle School (Gainesville, GA), Gebhardt Elementary School (Black River Falls, WI), Girls Preparatory School (Chattanooga, TN), Grace Hartman Elementary (Rockwall, TX), Green Meadow Elementary School (Castleton, NY), Harry S. Truman Elementary School (St. Louis, MO), Highland Park (Highland Park, NJ), Hiram High School (Hiram, GA), Horace Mann Elementary School (Washington, D.C.), Hudson PEP Elementary (Longview, TX), Jacobs Fork Middle School (Newton, NC), Jericho Elementary School (Centerach, NY), John Dewey High School (Brooklyn, NY), Joseph Brensinger School (Jersey City, NJ), Krahn Elementary (Spring, TX), Lincoln High School (Jersey City, NJ), Lindbergh High School (St. Louis, MO), Mary H. Matula Elementary School (La Plata, MD), Massapequa High School--Ames Campus (Massapequa, NY), Maude Aiton Elementary (Washington, D.C.), Maude Wilkins Elementary School (Maple Shade, NJ), Medford Elementary School (Patchogue, NY), Memorial Middle School (Fair Lawn, NJ), Midland School (Los Olivos, CA), Millard Hawk Primary School (Central Square, NY), Monte Cassino School (Tulsa, OK), Norwich Free Academy (Norwich, CT), Oregon Middle School (Medford, NY), Pearson School (Modesto, CA), Peninsula Heritage School (Rolling Hills Estates, NY), Pequannock Valley Middle School (Pompton Plains, NY), Peters Township High School (McMurray, PA), Peters Township Middle School (McMurray, PA), Pocomoke Middle School (Pocomoke, MD), Queen Anne School (Upper Marlboro, MD), Radix Elementary School (Williamstown, NJ), Randleman Middle School (Randleman, NC), Richland County School District One (Columbia, SC), Ridgewood Middle School (Arnold, MO), Robert Frost Elementary School (East Brunswick, NJ), Robert R. Lazar Middle School (Montville, NJ), Roosevelt-Perry Elementary (Louisville, KY), Rosedale Elementary School (Chico, CA), Saint Amelia School (Tonawanda, NY), Sappington Elementary School (St. Louis, MO), Shades Cahaba Elementary (Homewood, AL), South Amboy Elementary School (South Amboy, NJ), South Side Middle School (Rockville Centre, NY), South Weber Elementary (South Weber, UT), Saint John's School (San Juan, PR), St. Stephens Elementary School (Conover, NC), Stillwater Elementary School (Stillwater, NY), Thomas B. Conley School (Asbury, NJ), Valley School (Van Nuys, CA), Van Schaick Grade School (Cohoes, NY), Walnut Grove Elementary (Pleasanton, CA), Washburn Edison Junior Academy (Duluth, MN), Washington Grove Elementary School (Gaithersburg, MD), Waterloo Middle School (Waterloo, NY), Westwood Elementary (Friendswood, TX), William Halley Elementary School (Fairfax Station, VA), Woodrow Wilson SHS (Washington, D.C.), Wilson Magnet High School (Rochester, NY), Woodview School (Grayslake, IL) and Zane North Elementary (Collingswood, NJ).

The National Schools of Character program annually recognizes K-12 schools and districts demonstrating outstanding character education initiatives that yield positive results in student behavior, school climate and academic performance. All winners of this honor exhibit core ethical values such as honesty, respect and caring.
About Character Education Partnership

CEP is dedicated to developing young people of good character who become responsible and caring citizens. Founded in 1993 and chaired for 12 years by Sanford McDonnell, former Chairman and CEO of McDonnell Douglas Corporation, the Washington D.C.- based Character Education Partnership is a national, nonsectarian, nonprofit coalition of over 1,000 companies, organizations and individuals working to create schools and communities that foster ethical, responsible and caring young people. More information about CEP, the NSOC award recipients and the forum is available at

U.S. Census Bureau Daily Feature for Oct. 22: Women Entrepreneurs

Profile America for Saturday, Oct. 22. There are 23 million businesses across the U.S. ranging from giant corporations with thousands of employees down to one-person enterprises. The chances are increasing that the business you deal with is owned by a woman. That's why this is Women's Small Business Month.

Events across the country include seminars for would-be entrepreneurs and award presentations for the most innovative and successful business owners. Six and a half million U.S. firms are owned by women, a 20 percent rise in just five years. In that period, the revenue generated by these firms rose 16 percent, to $951 billion. Over half of women-owned businesses are in service-related industries, including health care.

Find these and more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau on the Web at

Sources: Chase's Calendar of Events 2005, p. 515; U.S. Census Bureau Press Release, CB05-108,

Thursday, October 20, 2005

FTC Bans Top Distributor from Multilevel Marketing

A top distributor in a multilevel-marketing program, who deceptively led prospective recruits to believe they would be applying for marketing jobs and that they would make a substantial income, has been banned from the multilevel marketing industry and has paid $5,000 to settle Federal Trade Commission charges. In addition, the defendant is further prohibited from making any material misrepresentations about other business opportunities she may promote in the future.

The defendant, Sandra Lee Jacobson, was a high-level distributor for Trek Alliance (Trek), a multilevel-marketing company that sold water filters, cleaning supplies, nutritional supplements, and beauty aids. Jacobson had previously been a distributor for Equinox International, a company operating an alleged pyramid scheme that the FTC sued in 1999. The FTC sued Trek and its principals in December 2002. That case is still in litigation.

Jacobson helped start and manage numerous Trek training centers, which functioned primarily as recruitment centers. Distributors who worked in these training centers often used classified ads, in the Help Wanted section, to solicit new recruits. The FTC’s complaint alleged that, in numerous instances, prospective recruits were deceptively told that they could expect to receive substantial income, and that salaried employment positions were being offered. The complaint further alleged that Jacobson participated in making these misrepresentations and provided the means and instrumentalities for other distributors to make these misrepresentations. It also alleged that Jacobson participated in Trek's marketing of an illegal pyramid scheme.

In addition to the ban on multilevel marketing and the prohibition against making future material misrepresentations, the order also prohibits Jacobson from helping others make misrepresentations when selling business opportunities. As part of the stipulated final order, a judgment was entered against Jacobson in the amount of $804,813 – the amount Trek paid her in commissions. The amount was reduced to $5,000 based on financial documentation provided by the defendant. If it is found those documents were falsified, she will be responsible for the full amount. Finally, the order contains standard monitoring and record-keeping provisions.

The State of Maryland was a co-plaintiff in this case with the FTC. The order announced today settles all of the FTC's and all of the State of Maryland's charges against Jacobson. The FTC appreciates the assistance of the Maryland Attorney General’s office in this case.

The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the stipulated final order was 4-0. The stipulated final order for permanent injunction was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland on September 6, 2005.
NOTE: This stipulated final order is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the defendant of a law violation. A stipulated final order has the force of law when signed by the judge.

Copies of the stipulated final order are available from the FTC’s Web site at and also from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580.

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish (bilingual counselors are available to take complaints), or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at

The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

Jacqueline Dizdul,Office of Public Affairs202-326-2472

Understand credit report’s relevance in mortgage

One might be wondering why some lenders turn down a mortgage application while some others might consider it fit for approval. The answer may well lie in the credit report and the credit score to be precise which plays a crucial role in loan sanctioning.Credit history is an important factor affecting loan granting decisions by the lender or mortgagee. As part of the pre-approval process a detailed investigation is carried out into your financial history whereby the lender assesses your finances, your credit history and your investments.

Your debt ratios are compared with the lender’s standard while deciding on the loan approval. Your level of debt or credit history is taken as a parameter for judging your ability to make the monthly repayments. The credit history as represented by your credit report plays a very crucial role since some lending institutions may even turn you down because of incompatibility with their lending standards.

Too much debt and poor credit rating is a common reason cited for turning down a mortgage application.At times your application may not be rejected altogether but you may have to settle for a loan amount lower than what you desired or expected.

The other terms and conditions of the loan might also not have proved worthwhile for you. All these could have been avoided had you been a little more careful and vigilant while placing your documents about your personal finances as reflected by records of your earnings, monthly expenses and debts. Among these documents the credit report is of prime importance which reveals your credit score.

While considering your application the lender will also get to analyze your credit report. This provides all details about your financial history, payment records, total debts and bankruptcies (if any).

This information is used to work out your credit score or FICO score (a rating of Fair Isaac and Company). This is a composite number-a numerical rating of your credit worthiness. These scores may range from 300-900.

However, most people’s score fall between 600 and 700.

Higher credit scores make you more appealing to the lender. Thus, you will be more likely to be offered better rates and loan terms.A number of factors can affect the credit score.

They can be broadly classified as:
a) The length of time you have had credit, outstanding credit, methods to repay this and how close you are to your credit limits.

b) Problems with credit which you may be having like late payments and bankruptcies. The number and frequencies of your delinquencies is to be considered.It may be noted that almost 80% of credit reports contain errors. Getting for yourself a copy of the report beforehand will enable you to take steps for improving your score.

You will be availed of the opportunity to review the report and rectify the score to quite an extent.

Some steps which can be taken in this regard are:
a) Finding out credit cards which are not needed anymore and closing the corresponding credit accounts.

b) Settling outstanding accounts, if any.

c) Paying out your bills, debt payments on time and in full and reduce your outstanding credit.

d) Verifying all listed account numbers and getting assured that they are yours.It may be noted that minor credit problems or problems cropping up due to illnesses or temporary loss of income due to some unpredictable occurrence will restrict your chances of getting the aspired loan only from some high-cost lenders. Other lenders will hopefully be considerate enough to overlook such minor problems.

In spite of the best efforts there may still be certain negative indications in the report which could not be done away with. In such case you need to explain the situation to the lender. If at all it cannot be explained then, perhaps, you have to make greater down payments.

Getting to know how credit record affects loan prospects, proceed towards making improvements in your credit report. Your loan prospects will improve, no doubt. It will take you a long way towards securing your desired mortgage loan.

The Fall and Rise of the Home-Based Business

Home-based businesses are not new. In fact, throughout most of human history, people have earned their living working from where they lived. It was technology that got people out of the house and into separate workspaces, and it is technology that will bring us home again.

Before the industrial revolution, most people worked from home. The butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker all lived on top of or behind their businesses. And all businesses were small as well, at least by today’s standards. Everyone shared in the effort of maintaining the living/working space. It was fun for the whole family, except that it wasn’t that fun.

When the industrial revolution arrived in the 18th Century, it brought new technologies that changed the way people earned a living. With the rise of mass production, and the expansion of markets, it became more practical to concentrate economic endeavors in centralized places, like a factories and offices. Also, businesses could grow to the point where the owner would need employees, people who he had no personal relationship with. This model came into it’s own with the 20th Century, as corporations spread across the country and across the globe, in so doing creating legions of wage slaves, cubicle dwellers, and middle managers.

By the late 20th Century, the economy of the western world started to shift away from manufacturing towards services. Machines started taking jobs from people, and soon enough it only took a few people to build a car, and small crowd to get the car to consumers, and an army of people to tell them why they needed a new car in the first place.

It was a functional way of doing business, and fighting two world wars, but new technologies once again upset the apple cart, and gave us new way to sell the apples. In the early 1990’s, personal computers arrived at work and at home. Almost immediately, computer and software manufacturers began peddling dreams of working in sunny loft spaces or the beach. The rise of the Internet fueled that fire, promising the ability to operate a business with no more than a computer and a website. It was a pretty persuasive promise. Hey, I fell for it.

Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet, or any promise made by computer and software manufacturers, but you can believe this: the return of the home-based business is here, and it will once again dominate the global economy. You can believe it because that’s where the technology is headed. So if you’re working from home today, work hard. The future is yours.

Five Thoughts about Effective Communication

Communicating effectively can sometimes be difficult to do. So here are some thoughts, based on borrowed wisdom, on how to communicate clearly – and make a better connection with the other person too.

“To get your ideas across use small words, big ideas, and short sentences.” ~ John Henry Patterson

Keep it simple and don’t use jargon. Adjust your style according to who you are communicating with. Take responsibility by checking frequently that the other person understands the message you are trying to convey – don’t assume that your message is always clear.

“People who talk only of themselves think only of themselves.” ~ Dale Carnegie

Find out about the other person. Focus on the other person – their needs, their wants, their situation. Build rapport instead of barriers. Show respect for them and for their views.

“One of the most valuable things we can do to heal one another is listen to each other's stories.” ~ Rebecca Falls

Giving someone space in which to talk and allowing them to follow through their ideas without fear of interruption is a most valuable gift. Listen. And switch off your mobile phone!

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” ~ Stephen Covey

Be in the moment and give the speaker your full attention. Say “what else do you need to tell me about this?” Summarise key points that show you have been listening actively and ask questions that will help clarify your understanding of the issue.

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." ~ Mother Teresa

Be nice! Acknowledge someone’s efforts and achievements, praise them, pay them a sincere compliment.

The Top 16 Bad Merger Ideas

16. Mennen Black & Decker
15. Brother Cannon Sperry Daimler
14. Rubbermaid Snap-On Genuine Parts
13. Olde McDonald's Hickory Farms
12. Eaton Apple Caterpillar
11. Good 'n' Plenty Johnson Wax
10. Motel 6 Hostess
9. Camel Apple
8. Hershey Gateway
7. Microsoft Weinerschnitzel
6. Star-Kist Tuna Aqua Net
5. Blue Cross Dresser Industries
4. Pfizer Wang Boeing
3. Yahoo! Wendy's Intuit
2. Playboy Staples Busch

and the

Number 1 Bad Merger Idea...

1. Zippo Johnson & Johnson Hertz

FEMA And SBA Urge Disaster Victims To File Disaster Loan Applications

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Residents of Louisiana who have been impacted by Hurricanes Katrina and/or Rita and need financial assistance should be sure to complete a loan application with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Homeowners and renters who receive an SBA loan application after they register for disaster assistance with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) should complete the home disaster loan application and return it as soon as possible, even if they are not interested in accepting a loan. People who apply and do not qualify may be referred to other programs, but they must complete the SBA loan application before they can be considered for certain other grants and programs .

"If a homeowner or renter doesn't return their SBA application, they will have inadvertently stopped some parts of the assistance process," said SBA Public Information Officer Ken Shuman. "We won't be able to approve a loan or make a referral if they don't submit their applications."

It is important for private citizens to know disaster loans from the SBA are not just for businesses. Homeowners may also qualify for low-interest loans to help rebuild or repair their homes and personal property. Renters may qualify for loans to repair or replace personal property. In fact, the majority of SBA loans are made to homeowners and renters.

FEMA has been urging residents to complete and submit an SBA loan application. The SBA provides low-interest disaster loans to qualified homeowners, renters, businesses of any size and certain private non-profit organizations that suffered losses due to the disasters.

SBA loan amounts are based on the actual cost of repairing or rebuilding a damaged home and personal property, minus any insurance reimbursements for the same loss. However, disaster victims do not have to wait for their insurance settlement before applying for an SBA loan.


For more information about how to complete the loan application, or for more information on SBA assistance, call the SBA at 1-800-659-2955, log on to or visit a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC).

For information on how to apply for assistance through FEMA call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) , or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for people who are speech- or hearing-impaired. Lines are open 24-hours a day, seven days a week until further notice. Hurricane victims may also register online at , or they can get assistance in registering at any DRC.

FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.

SBA is the federal government's primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private non-profit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts, and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property.

These disaster loans cover uninsured and uncompensated losses and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.


Washington, D.C. – Today the FBI released its 2003-2004 Operations Report highlighting significant improvements and achievements of its National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), run out of the Criminal Justice Information Services Division (CJIS) in Clarksburg, West Virginia. The NICS background check system was established in November 1998 to ensure that those seeking to buy guns from gun dealers or explosives are not criminals or other persons prohibited by law from possessing firearms to consistently provide its users with a highly effective and efficient level of quality service.

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller stressed his commitmentto NICS “in the spirit of protecting national security and public safety by reviewing and analyzing available records in accordance with the provisions of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993.” He added how, “Each year NICS raises the bar and improves its capabilities and success as illustrated by over 480,950 dispositions NICS obtained for updating criminal history records as of December 31, 2004.”

The report notes accomplishments in several areas, including the following:
From NICS inception in November 30, 1998, through December 31, 2004, a total of 53,107,772 background checks have been conducted.

In 2003 and 2004, the NICS Index added 788,654 record entries, increasing the number of available and immediately prohibiting records by approximately 300 percent. As of December 31, 2004, there were a total of 3,664,847 records in the NICS Index.

The Immediate Determination Rate was improved from the 91 percent previously reported in 2001-2002 to almost 92 percent by year end of 2003 and remained at that level through the end of 2004.

The Explosives Background Check Initiative, pursuant to the Safe Explosives Ac, enacted on November 25, 2002, was developed and implemented with the processing of the first explosives background check in February 2003. As of December 31, 2004, a total of 65,593 explosives background checks had been processed by NICS.

In November 2003, NICS developed the procedural and technical requirements for the facilitation of the NICS Section's processing of background check transactions that result in a hit on a National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Violent Gang and Terrorist Organization File (VGTOF) record. The initiative was successfully implemented on February 3, 2004, and by December 31, 2004, a total of 3,086 NCIC VGTOF hits had been reviewed and evaluated by the NICS Section and the POC states.

To parallel the processes employed by the NICS Section's Transfer Process via the telephone, the NICS E-Check Transfer Process was developed and ultimately implemented on September 21, 2004. The NICS E-Check Transfer Process will provide the NICS Section employees with the capability to conduct a speedy review of incoming NICS E-Check transactions in an attempt to determine a final status in an expeditious manner. Within a few months, the number of transactions processed through the NICS E-Check (via the Transfer Process) had increased by 6 percent.

In September 2004, the NICS processed its 50 millionth background check since implementation in November 1998.

The report URL is:

A Peek at 2006 Health Insurance Plans

Health insurance rates will increase by an average of 10% nationally, based on a consensus of reliable industry sources. This is a modest price increase compared to health care inflation trends over the past 25 years. In fact, next year’s price increase is expected to be the second smallest of the past decade. High deductible insurance plans including health savings account qualified insurance will increase by more than 10%.

Average short term health insurance rates will not increase in price and costs may actually drop slightly due to the introduction of new lower-priced plans.

Insurance Carriers.

Three of the nation’s largest low cost health insurance companies nationally are expected be bumped from that position and surpassed by more innovative and lower cost health plans. Large national health plan administrators (independent of health insurance companies) will be more likely to be able to use their power to “kick out” an insurance company but continue to market the same or slightly improved health plan to their existing member base. This emerging shift of power in the health care delivery system may have significant positive long term implications for consumers. Residents of some state including Minnesota and Washington will find fewer low cost health insurance choices available as some leading low cost health plans withdraw from the state in 2006.


The trend toward “limited benefit” or “basic” health insurance policies will accelerate. Limited benefit plans typically have a maximum dollar limitation built into the insurance policy. Traditional health insurance typically provides maximum coverage amounts reaching into millions of dollars but basic health insurance limits maximum benefits to a few hundred thousand dollars. More than a dozens new limited benefit health insurance policies will be introduced by insurance carriers in early 2006.

A second significant change will be the re-introduction of 36 month short term medical insurance plans in most states. "Short term" insurance is significantly less expensive than continually renewable health insurance. Data indicates that more than 98% of health insurance buyers change their coverage in less than 36 months, so this type of coverage is suitable for most health insurance buyers. Most short term health insurance policies are purchased directly online.

The overall effect of the changes will be that the average dollar amount spent on health insurance policies purchased is expected to decrease by more than 10% compared to 2005 as more people replace full coverage health plans with limited benefit plans. This is not because the insurance costs less, but rather because of the widely increased ability of buyers to buy different types of health insurance with less expensive "trimmed down" coverage provisions.

Employer Trends

The largest growth area in the health insurance industry in 2006 will be firms that specialize in providing benefits to low income workers as more employers offer limited health benefits to part-time workers.

The dollar amount of the employee’s contribution will increase by more than 10% over 2005. This change is consistent with the long-term national trends to shift the balance of cost of health coverage from the employer to the employee.

Most large employers will begin offering health savings accounts in 2006. The availability of free health savings account administration and low cost investment account options with firms makes this option more popular with employees. Affiliated Web sites like offer free assistance and support to those who wish to start a health savings account online.

Katrina Casualties Could Speed Bankruptcy Of Social Security Benefits To 2008

If 18% of victims paid disability benefits as a result of 9/11 holds true in the Katrina disaster, then 234,000 survivors will receive Social Security disability benefits, drastically reducing the time horizon for solvency of the Administration.

Columbia, MD (PRWEB) October 20, 2005 -- At the rate of $3 million per month for every 498 individuals, as is being paid to survivors of 9/11, the Administration is on the hook for $4.4 billion per month - $52.8 billion per year- in disability benefits.

The Administration now sends $100 billion a year to 10 million people. Add to this the 15 million (20%) out of 76 million baby boomers who will become disabled over the next 10 years, the inescapable conclusion is that the Administration will run out of enough workers to pay for the disabled and retiring 5 years sooner than the 2014 year previously forecast by the Government Accounting Office (GAO).

In a statement released in 2003, the Social Security Administration said that as of August of that year, monthly benefits are being paid to 498 individuals disabled by the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and 81 of their dependent spouses or children for a total of $3 million per month. The Administration received 5,629 individual benefit claims from 2,281 families. Benefits are being paid to 2,375 surviving children and surviving spouses. One-time payments were made to 1,800 members of victims’ families. As of August 2003, nearly $67 million in benefits had been paid to people affected by the September 11th tragedies.

If past studies of disaster survivors are valid, as many as seventy-four percent of the 1.3 million Katrina survivors could develop long-term depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), making them eligible for Social Security disability benefits.

Two studies of the long-term psychological effects of survivors have been published; one in the "Journal of Traumatic Stress" (August 2002), the other in "The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease" (March 2003).

The first study of 1,000 survivors found that the rates of PTSD and depression were 43% and 31% respectively. The second ,with a group of 500 individuals, found rates of 39% and 18%, respectively. Both studies were based on the devastating earthquakes which hit Turkey in 1999. The first quake left 17,000 people dead and tens of thousands homeless. The second killed hundreds more. (BBC News, 11/24/99)

Both studies found that the most severe occurrences of depression and PTSD were those who were female, older age, participation in rescue work, death of a family member, past psychiatric illness, and lower education.

If the 18% of victims paid for disability as a result of 9/11 holds true to the Katrina disaster, then 234,000 survivors will receive Social Security disability benefits. If the higher percentages are used, then $5.8 million per month –$69.6 billion per year in disability benefits will be paid to the survivors.

Using the lower numbers, this would increase SSA’s payout by 50% in one year. But, if the lower percentages of victims revealed in the 2nd study of Turkey earthquake survivors is used, then 57% -741,000 - of the Katrina victims would qualify for Social Security disability benefits on the basis of depression and PTSD. If the higher percentages uncovered in the first Turkey earthquake are used, then as many as 962,000 could qualify for the long-term effects of PTSD and depression.

Dr. Peter Hodgkinson from the Centre For Crisis Psychology in North Yorkshire says, “Death in war can be given some meaning if there is a feeling that the victim was fighting for a cause. But, with a natural disaster on this scale, there is a sense of hopelessness, of being totally overwhelmed by the force of nature.” (BBC News, August 23, 1999)

Lorraine Sherr, a consultant clinical psychologist at the Royal Free Hospital of London, said after the Turkey earthquakes, “The most difficult things to cope with after a tragedy are the feelings generated because you have survived while others have not. Also, there has to be a realization that life will never be the same again.”

About Frederick A. Johnson:Frederick Johnson has been helping the disabled get Social Security disability benefits since 1989. He is author of, “How To Apply For & Win Social Security Disability Benefits” published with yearly updates since 1994. (ISBN: 1-888752-28-9)


Frederick Johnson March 3rd Books/Disability Income Associates1-800-536-0454

Copyright 2005, Frederick A. Johnson. All rights reserved. 5430 Lynx Lane, PMB 194, Columbia, MD 21044

Colin Powell spilled the beans on Cheney?

This is supposed to be an e-mail that is circulating around among Capitol Hill liberals.

"below, some extremely sensitive information about the impending conclusion of the valerie plame investigations. the sources include two senior members of senate and key staffers; counsel for individuals that have been called before the grand jury; and two journalists taking a lead position in investigating the case. the following represents a composite of the information from those sources.

plamegate coming to conclusion. the investigation has focused mostly closely on vice president cheney and his staff, as well as us ambassador to the un (and former undersecretary of state for arms control) john bolton and his staff. we are told that eight indictments have already prepared, with the possibility of another ten.

these indictments include senior white house staff, most notably vice president cheney's chief of staff scooter libby, fred flights (special assistant to john bolton), and--very surprisingly--national security adviser steve hadley. apparently, libby and hadley have both been told by their lawyers to expect indictments. the indictment of senior bush political advisor karl rove seems highly probable.
most critically, a plea bargain process has evidently been opened with vice president cheney's lawyer. that does not mean that an indictment is coming. but i've some critical background around the issue.

in the past several days, former secretary of state colin powell had a meeting with senator john mccain (R-AZ), primarily about the mccain-sponsored amendment on inserting a rider prohibiting torture onto the us defense budget (a bill which powell has himself been lobbying heavily for, against objections of president bush). during the meeting, powell recounted to the senator that he had traveled on air force one with bush and cheney, and brought to their attention a classified memorandum about the issue of whether there was indeed a transaction inolving niger and yellow cake uranium.

the document included ambassador joe wilson's involvement and identified his wife, valerie plame, as a covert agent. the memorandum further stated that this information was secret. powell told mccain that he showed that memo only to two people--president and vice president.

according to powell, cheney fixated on the wilson/plame connection, and plame's status. powell testified about this exchange in great length to the grand jury investigating the plame case. according to sources close to the case, powell appeared convinced that the vice president played a focal role in disclosing plame's undercover status.

in his conversation with mccain, powell felt that--at a minimum--there would be a serious shakeup at national security council as a consequence. in particular, vice president cheney would no longer hold a pivotal role in us national security affairs. powell apparently did not discuss the potential of a cheney resignation. lead prosecutor patrick fitzgerald has apparently been looking at the precedent of formerly indicted nixon vice president spiro agnew. this shows the likely path, because addressing executive immunity and privilege questions would necessarily begin start with a plea-bargain deal that would entail a resignation. this is all likely to occur within the next week. 28 october (next friday) is the last day of the grand jury, and no requests have been made to extend their session. the investigator is expecting to wrap up by then.

there are enormous implication for what would be the biggest white house shakeup since the iran-contra scandal in the reagan era. president bush's approval rating at 39% has already led to a significant decrease in policy efficacy with key legislators in congress (which i've already discussed at length elsewhere).

i'll spin out the broader policy implications when i have some time to write at greater length, but i wanted to get this out immediately. one interesting point though--it is worth noting that a parade of senior republican senators have evidently been privately pushing mccain to lobby to be cheney's replacement. senator lindsey graham (R-SC) has also been mentioned. meanwhile, the white house has already been developing countermeasures--notably including senior white house officials privately voicing president bush's disappointment in karl rove's involvement in the case, calling it 'misconduct.' an urgent search for a rove replacement is already underway."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Expresses 'Cautious Optimism' Over Chertoff Vow to Expel Illegal Aliens

BELLEVUE, Wash., Oct. 18 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) expressed "cautious optimism" today following Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff's vow that his agency will increase efforts to expel illegal aliens from this country.

CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb last month started a nationwide "Border Control, Not Gun Control" campaign on the heels of a Zogby poll that showed that 70 percent of likely voters believe that tightening security along the nation's borders is far more important to national security than tightening the country's gun laws.

"We're going to want to see just how serious an effort this is," Gottlieb said, "but it is certainly a step in the right direction. Our members have responded overwhelmingly to our campaign to flood the White House with mail and telephone calls. Demand for our 'Border Control, Not Gun Control' bumper stickers has been phenomenal.
"Frankly," Gottlieb added, "American gun owners are tired of taking the political rap for gun crimes that are being committed by people who shouldn't even be in the country."

Chertoff's promise to the Senate Judiciary Committee is that his agency will put an end to what he called "catch and release" enforcement, and send back "every single illegal entrant, no exceptions." The effort should be fully realized within a year, he said.

However, Chertoff also said the Department of Homeland Security will spend $90 million more in the next budget to increase bed space at detention centers for illegal aliens.

"The idea is not to house these people," Gottlieb said, "but to kick them out of the country, and keep them out. This is a crime control issue, as well as a national security issue. Nearly 30 percent of our state and federal prison population consists of illegal aliens for committing violent crimes, frequently with firearms, and the solution to this problem is to secure our borders, not to pass more gun laws. Law-abiding gun owners know we're in a crisis, and the only answer is border control, not gun control."


With more than 650,000 members and supporters nationwide, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms ( is one of the nation's premier gun rights organizations. As a non-profit organization, the Citizens Committee is dedicated to preserving firearms freedoms through active lobbying of elected officials and facilitating grass-roots organization of gun rights activists in local communities throughout the United States.

Did IDG lie about feeding HBO, the Gilden Globes, or the Grammy Awards

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 18 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Today, a former employee of Los Angeles based Innovative Dining Group, Inc. ("IDG") filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the company and several of its high ranking partners/officials: Lee Maen, Phillip Cummins, and Michael Cardenas. The Los Angeles Superior Court assigned the lawsuit Case Number BC 34180.

According to its website (, IDG, which owns Sushi Roku, Katana, and Boa restaurants, also provides catering and special events for the Hollywood entertainment industry including:

(1) "Friends" Final Episode After-Party for Warner Bros. Studios;

(2) "Everybody Loves Raymond"Final Episode After-Party for Warner Bros. Studios;

(3) 2005 Golden Globes Awards Pre-Party for L.A. Confidential Magazine;

(4) 2005 Grammy Awards VIP Dinner for Virgin Records.

Laura Holycross -- the Company's former Director of Catering and Special Events -- alleges that she was wrongfully terminated after she complained that IDG was engaged in illegal and fraudulent conduct including:

(1) charging its clients (including HBO, Credit Suisse, and Virgin Records) for non-existent services and products;

(2) hiring undocumented workers so that it could pay them less than it would have to pay individuals authorized to work in the United States and that it paid its workers "under the table" so that it did not have to pay federal, state, and local taxes;

(3) refusing to allow its workers to take the meal and rest periods to which they were entitled under California law;

(4) instructing its employees, including Ms. Holycross, to falsify and forge legal documents and information that was to be provided to its clients, their lawyers, their security companies, and various police departments; and

(5) instructing its employees not to book events that would include African-American and Persian guests.
Commenting about her lawsuit, Holycross' attorney, Andrew H. Friedman of Venice-based Helmer Friedman, LLP said "California law clearly prohibits employers, and certainly their highest level officials, from firing an employee for complaining about illegal conduct. We look forward to vigorously representing our client and obtaining the remedies to which she is entitled under the law."

For additional information or a PDF copy of Holycross's complaint, contact Gregory D. Helmer (, Andrew H. Friedman, or Helmer Friedman, LLP at 310- 396-7714.


Bono Joins House and Senate Democrats in the Capitol

U2 lead singer and DATA co-founder Bono joins House and Senate Democrats in the Capitol on Tuesday (Oct. 18, 2005) to urge Congress to appropriate $3.6 billion to fully fund America's commitments to global AIDS for FY06, including $600 million for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. Bono linked waging a war on poverty and AIDS in Africa to improving global stability, which is in America's national security interest.

From left to right: Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.); Sen. John Kerry (Mass.); Senate Democratic Whip Richard Durbin (Ill.); House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.); Bono; House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.); Rep. Nita Lowey (N.Y.); Sen. Patrick Leahy (Vt.). (File Photo/DATA via U.S. Newswire)

House Passes Bill to Meet Needs of Children Orphaned by AIDS

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Today the US House of Representatives passed a landmark initiative to help orphans and vulnerable children in developing countries. The bill is entitled, "The Assistance for Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children in Developing Countries Act of 2005" (HR 1409).

Congress is taking bold action on an issue that has moved the hearts of many Americans: the suffering of millions of children orphaned by the deadly AIDS epidemic and other causes. The bill was championed by Representatives Henry Hyde, Barbara Lee, and others, and had 130 cosponsors. It received strong backing from Global Action for Children.

"There is too much at stake for the United States to take a haphazard approach to the global crisis facing orphans and vulnerable children," said Rep. Lee. "This bill is an important step in creating a coordinated, more effective response to a crisis that impacts the futures of millions of the world's children."

"Prospects for Senate passage of a companion bill look good," noted Dr. Paul Zeitz, Executive Director of the Global AIDS Alliance. "That's great news for millions of children in poor countries."

"I applaud the House for passing this bill, and I call on the Senate to follow suit," said The Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold, Presiding Bishop and Primate, The Episcopal Church, USA. "This bipartisan legislation is an important step in fulfilling our nation's commitment to fighting the global HIV/AIDS pandemic and building a more sustainable future for all God's children."

The bill breaks new ground by requiring the Administration to develop a comprehensive strategy for meeting the needs of orphans and vulnerable children. It also establishes the position of Special Advisor for Orphans and Vulnerable Children within the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to better coordinate and provide assistance in support of basic care. When fully funded, the bill will help provide children with basic care and support, educational opportunities, and medical care, including AIDS treatment.

Among other innovations, the bill authorizes the US to help countries eliminate school fees. According to UNICEF, abolishing fees would help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Global Action for Children is a civic-engagement campaign to ensure comprehensive support for orphans and vulnerable children. The coalition includes major religious organizations, student groups, as well as groups focused on health and education (list at

U.S. Announces Major Clean Air Act Settlement With Lucite International

WASHINGTON, Oct. 17 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency have reached a major Clean Air Act (CAA) settlement with Lucite International, Inc. (Lucite) requiring the chemical manufacturer to install pollution controls on three emission sources at its Memphis, Tennessee plant, which will eliminate 6,500 tons of pollution each year.

Under the terms of the settlement announced today, Lucite will install an estimated $16 million worth of new pollution controls, in addition to paying a civil penalty of $1.8 million and performing a supplemental environmental project worth $1.3 million.

The federal government alleged that the company violated CAA provisions of the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs), and the Protection of Stratospheric Ozone. Today's settlement resolves allegations that the company violated the CAA at its Memphis facility.

"The settlement announced today demonstrates our commitment to aggressively enforcing the laws that protect our environment and our citizens," said Kelly A. Johnson, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "This agreement will significantly improve the air quality for the people of Tennessee."

Lucite will install a $16 million dual absorption control system on its Sulfuric Acid Regeneration Unit, which will result in the elimination of approximately 2,500 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions per year, to comply with NSPS standards.

In addition, Lucite will implement a supplemental environmental project to reroute emissions from two other plant emission sources. This will result in a 90 percent reduction of previously permitted emissions from these sources. Implementation of this project will cost Lucite approximately $1.3 million.

"The people of Tennessee and others downwind of this facility will soon benefit from this settlement," said Granta Y. Nakayama, Assistant Administrator of EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "Reducing harmful emissions from Lucite's Memphis facility is a major step toward achieving cleaner air."

"As a result of the settlement, Lucite will reduce emissions of pollutants that contribute to acid rain, cause severe respiratory problems and exacerbate cases of childhood asthma, which are of great concern to EPA," said Jimmy Palmer, EPA regional administrator in Atlanta.

Lucite is a subsidiary of Lucite International, Ltd.-a chemical manufacturing company headquartered in Southampton, UK- and is the world's leading supplier of methacrylates. Lucite's Memphis plant produces methyl methacrylate and acrylic sheeting. The pollutants addressed in the settlement are sulfur dioxide, sulfuric acid mist, carbon monoxide, and volatile organic compounds.

The settlement lodged today in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee is subject to a 30-day public comment period and court approval before becoming final.

A copy of the consent decree lodged today is available on the Department of Justice website at

American Jewish Committee Asks President Bush to Press Libya to Release Bulgarian Nurses

NEW YORK, Oct. 17 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The American Jewish Committee (AJC) today urged President Bush to mobilize international pressure on Libya to release the five Bulgarian nurses and the Palestinian doctor who have been sentenced to death.

The Libyan Supreme Court is to hear the nurses' final appeal on Nov. 15.
"The prosecution and incarceration of those medical workers -- and the death sentences hanging over them -- are an outrage," wrote AJC President E. Robert Goodkind and Executive Director David A. Harris in a letter to President Bush. International experts have found the charges of infecting more than 400 children with the AIDS virus baseless.

The letter was sent in advance of President Bush's meeting today with Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov.
AJC urged Mr. Bush to make it clear to the Libyan government that its unacceptable behavior in this matter will not help it achieve its goal of normalizing relations with the U.S. and European Union.

Win Nascar Tix; Picture Contest; Grand Prize: Tickets To The Races

(PRWEB) October 18, 2005 --, your number one source for race fan pictures, videos and stories is sponsoring a picture contest. One lucky winner will win 2 tickets to the race of their choice among the 36 scheduled races. All you have to do to enter is to submit a digital picture on the website.

It is so simple even Tony Stewart’s monkey Mojo could enter to win.

Step 1: Submit a digital picture of your favorite Nascar race day moment at

The first 500 submitters will receive a free gift.

Step 2: Visit our site to see if your picture was selected as a daily favorite. Also feel free to make comments and tell us which pictures are your favorites. Racefanonline will select a daily favorite every day until the contest deadline.

Step 3: will select our favorite picture from all of the daily favorites, taking into account comments from our visitors.

Step 4: will post the winning picture and contact the winner to arrange for the grand prize: two tickets to the 2006 race of your choice.

Notes: In order to receive your submission gift, remember to fill in your address on the submission page.

Feel free to enter as many times as you like.

Absolutely no submissions after November 30th will be considered for the contest.

About RF Online, LLC:In August 2004, one of our co-founders attended a Nextel Cup Race at Watkins Glen in upstate New York. He returned to New York City a fanatic! As a result of this new interest, he started to scour the web for racing related content. Specifically, he was trying to recapture the excitement of actually being at the race track. He was very surprised to find that most of the content on the web was focused on statistics as opposed to his favorite part, the fans and the culture of race day.

In order to rectify this “tragedy”, Rich (the aforementioned co-founder) and Steve (the just mentioned other co-founder) decided to build a website where race fans could share their experiences online.

This site is a sidelight for both of us. Neither of us are web developers or men of leisure. We’ve asked our friends, relatives, associates and anyone else to help us in this labor of love. We are sharing this site with you but you are also helping us make it interesting and compelling for others to come and visit and share their experiences with us.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Can I have a hundred dollars, God?

A little boy wanted $100 badly and prayed for two weeks, but nothing happened. Then he decided to write God a letter requesting the $100. When the postal authorities received the letter addressed to GOD USA, they decided to send it to President Bush.

The president was so impressed, touched, and amused that he instructed his secretary to send the little boy a $5 bill. President Clinton thought this would appear to be a lot of money to a little boy.

The little boy was delighted with the $5 and sat down to write a thank you note to God, which read: Dear God,Thank you very much for sending the money, however, I noticed that for some reason you had to send it through Washington, D.C., and, as usual, they deducted $95.

5 Sure Ways To Eliminate Internet Identity Theft From Your Computer

(PRWEB) October 16, 2005 -- Identity theft affects as many as 10 million Americans and costs individuals and businesses $55 billion annually. With a 34% increase in broadband users for last year and 45% increase in DSL subscribers, online attacks continue to rise.

According to Andre Bell, Microsoft Certified Professional and former system builder, “I estimate 90% of all home computers and many business computers have already been compromised. Every computer I’ve looked at over the past five years has been infected with spyware or Trojans or both.

The problem is especially dangerous for home computer users because most people don’t know how to check for dangers that may be lurking in the background of their computers even when they are no longer connected to the internet.”According to Andre there are five critical areas every person running any version of Microsoft Windows must take to secure their computer against hackers, spies, and ID thieves.

“After I lost all of my personal and business files to an aggressive virus attack I spent years learning how to protect myself from becoming a victim of malicious exploits. That eventually led to my Microsoft Certification.” Andre said.Andre has authored a new and common sense approach to Internet Identity Theft Protection based on what he’s learned and seen while providing support to other computer users over the past 14 years.

“I originally created the Internet Identity Theft Protection DVD to show my friends and family in plain language how to use mostly free and open source software to protect themselves from the five most common threats everyone faces -- so my friends would stop dropping their computers off at my house.

Now they can protect themselves without my help and without paying a computer tech several hundred dollars to do what they can now do for themselves.”

For a free copy of Andre’s new DVD go to (No ID Theft Dot Net)

To schedule a user friendly, non-“geek speak” interview or to get more information call 805-275-2374.