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Go Away, Daddy! The Revolting Bob Parsons and His Toxic Internet Empire

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If unbridled capitalism is the plague, Go Daddy Founder Bob Parsons and his horrible company are the infected boils on the body politic.

In late December, domain registrar Go Daddy spat on the notion of the open society by announcing support for the widely-denounced Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Technology firms and human rights activists quickly cried foul, revealing that the "copyright-enforcing" bill, with its overly broad definitions, was less about stopping piracy and more about restricting the flow of information to citizens. The firm caved to public pressure and withdrew support for the bill, which the US House Judiciary Committee will be voting on soon. The furore caused many Web sites (including AlterNet) to decide to pull their registrations from Go Daddy. And it shined a light on the notorious Go Daddy founder, cheekily and rather fondly profiled just days ago in the New York Times Magazine.

I refer to the Big Daddy himself, Bob Parsons.

Passport

France Stiffens Citizenship Requirements

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© Michel Euler / AFP/Getty Images
France's President Nicolas Sarkozy, right, and Interior Minister
Foreigners must take a tough new language test and swear allegiance to 'French values.' Critics call it a far-right ploy for votes in upcoming elections.

France has made it harder for foreigners to obtain French citizenship by forcing them to take a tough new language test and swear allegiance to "French values."

Critics of the new regulations, introduced by President Nicolas Sarkozy's government just four months before presidential and parliamentary elections, say it's a cynical vote-winning ploy pandering to the far right.

Cow

Why You Can Be Branded a Terrorist for Fighting Animal Abuse

animal rights activists
© n/a
The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act has had a chilling effect on activists scared to participate in what should be constitutionally protected activity.

Five longtime activists are challenging a federal law that defines a wide spectrum of peaceful - and in some cases, otherwise lawful - animal rights activism as acts of terrorism. They say that the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) violates their First Amendment right to free speech and has had a chilling effect on activists who are refraining from participating in what should be constitutionally protected activity out of fear of being labeled a terrorist.

They have good reason to worry. In 2009, the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested and indicted four California protesters for terrorism, each of whom faced 10 years in prison. Their crimes? They "marched, chanted, and chalked" sidewalk slogans outside the homes of animal researchers and distributed fliers about their campaign.

In 2010, federal judge Ronald M. Whyte dismissed the indictments, agreeing with the defense that the charges were too vague because the "behavior in question spans a wide spectrum from criminal conduct to constitutionally protected political protest." Nevertheless, AETA continues to pose a threat to those participating in animal rights advocacy.

Heart - Black

US, Connecticut: More Lawsuits Filed Over Sex Abuse of Haitian boys

Douglas Perlitz
© ST, Jeff Bustraan / Connecticut Post
Douglas Perlitz
Seventeen Haitian men are suing Fairfield University in Connecticut, the Society of Jesus and others alleging they failed to protect them from a man who sexually abused them when they were poor children or young adults attending a school he founded in Haiti.

The lawsuits bring to 21 the number of alleged victims suing Douglas Perlitz and the others. Perlitz was sentenced in 2010 to nearly 20 years in prison for sexually abusing children at Project Pierre Toussaint.

The victims ranged from ages 9 to 21 at the time of the abuse and are now 18 to 29.

The lawsuits seek $20 million for each victim. They contend Perlitz's supervisors disregarded warning signs of inappropriate behavior with boys.

The Rev. Paul Carrier, a Jesuit priest who was Fairfield University's chaplain, saw Perlitz show a student a pornographic video and saw boys in his bedroom, according to the lawsuits. A school board member, Hope Carter, flew to Haiti in 2008 and removed Perlitz's computer, according to the lawsuits.

Pistol

Gunmen Kill 6 in Nigeria Church Attack

Gunmen opened fire on a church service in Nigeria on Thursday, killing six people and wounding 10, the church's pastor said, the latest in a string of attacks that has raised fears of sectarian conflict in Africa's most populous nation.

"The attackers started shooting sporadically. They shot through the window of the church, and many people were killed including my wife," Pastor Johnson Jauro told Reuters by telephone from his Deeper Life church in Nasarawa, Gombe state in northern Nigeria.

"Many of my members who attended the church service were also injured," he said.

The gun attack followed a warning from violent Islamist sect Boko Haram published in local newspapers on Tuesday that Christians had three days to leave majority Muslim northern Nigeria or they would be killed.

Analysts say it looks increasingly likely the group - or factions within it - wants to trigger reprisals from Christians against Muslims to bring on a full religious conflict.

Laptop

Google, Amazon, Facebook may shut down to stop SOPA

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Despite many protests, things are still looking pretty good for SOPA to pass next month. While every little bit helps - things like writing to your representatives - the NetCoalition may be pulling out the big guns.

The coalition, which includes AOL, Google, Facebook, eBay, PayPal, Twitter, Wikipedia, and Yahoo! (among others), is considering a complete black-out - temporarily shutting down their sites with a message informing visitors about the dangers of SOPA and urging them to take action before it's too late. From CNET:
True, it would be the political equivalent of a nuclear option - possibly drawing retributions from the the influential politicos backing SOPA and Protect IP - but one that could nevertheless be launched in 2012.

"There have been some serious discussions about that," says Markham Erickson, who heads the NetCoalition trade association. "It has never happened before."

Alarm Clock

America Doomed

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© Lasha Darkmoon
“I realized America was lost. Evil had prevailed.”
Writers who are critical of Washington's illegal wars and the overthrow of the US Constitution could soon find themselves in indefinite detention. This is because criticism of Washington's policies can be alleged to be aiding Washington's enemies - which might include charities that provide aid to bombed Palestinian children and flotillas that attempt to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza.

The Bush/Obama regimes have put the foundation in place for imprisoning critics of the government without due process of law. The First Amendment is being all but restricted to rah-rah Americans who chant USA! USA! USA! Washington has set itself up as world prosecutor, forever berating other countries for human rights violations, while Washington alone bombs half a dozen countries into the stone age and threatens several more with the same treatment, all the while violating US statutory law and the Geneva Conventions by torturing detainees.

Washington rounds up assorted foreign politicians, whose countries were afflicted with civil wars, and sends them off to be tried as war criminals, while its own war crimes continue to mount. However, if a person exposes Washington's war crimes, that person is held without charges in conditions that approximate torture.

Pistol

Wave of Shootings Baffle Swedish Police

A new wave of execution-style shootings in Sweden's third largest city has left police puzzled, raising concerns that Malmo has become a magnet for gang-related killings.

On Thursday dozens of police took to the streets in the southern Swedish city of 250,000 to try calm the public and to collect tips about the attacks, which come only a year after a suspected serial shooter was arrested there.

"We've never experienced anything like this before. It's exceptional that there have been so many murders in such a short period of time," police spokesman Lars-Hakan Lindholm said. "People are worried of course and want to talk about it."

In less than six weeks, five people have been shot dead in execution-style killings, prompting local police to ask for back-up from national investigators and for Malmo Mayor Ilmar Reepalu to call on the country's justice minister to implement tougher gun laws.

Sweden's gun control laws are fairly strict. Penalties for possessing illegal arms typically involve fines or up to one year in prison, but serious breaches of the law can result in a four-year sentence.

Stormtrooper

US: Texas police kill 8th-grader carrying pellet gun

Brownsville Police officer directs a parent
© AP Photo/The Brownsville Herald, Brad Doherty
A Brownsville Police officer directs a parent to a building at Dean Porter Park in Brownsville,Texas, Wednesday, Jan. 4,2012. The park is across the street from Cummings Middle School, where a 15-year-old student was shot and killed by Brownsville police at the school after he was seen brandishing a weapon inside the school.

Brownsville - The parents of an eighth grader who was fatally shot by police inside his South Texas school are demanding to know why officers took lethal action, but police said the boy was brandishing - and refused to drop - what appeared to be a handgun and that the officers acted correctly.

The weapon turned out to be a pellet gun that closely resembled the real thing, police said late Wednesday, several hours after 15-year-old Jaime Gonzalez was repeatedly shot in a hallway at Cummings Middle School in Brownsville. No one else was injured.

"Why was so much excess force used on a minor?" the boy's father, Jaime Gonzalez Sr., asked The Associated Press outside the family's home Wednesday night. "Three shots. Why not one that would bring him down?"

Camera

US: Kodak Teeters on the Brink

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© Bloomberg News
A box of Eastman Kodak Co.'s Tri-X 400 film.
Eastman Kodak Co. is preparing to seek bankruptcy protection in the coming weeks, people familiar with the matter said, a move that would cap a stunning comedown for a company that once ranked among America's corporate titans.

The 131-year-old company is still making last-ditch efforts to sell off some of its patent portfolio and could avoid Chapter 11 if it succeeds, one of the people said. But the company has started making preparations for a filing in case those efforts fail, including talking to banks about some $1 billion in financing to keep it afloat during bankruptcy proceedings, the people said.

A Kodak spokesman said the company "does not comment on market rumor or speculation."

A filing could come as soon as this month or early February, one of the people familiar with the matter said. Kodak would continue to pay its bills and operate normally while under bankruptcy protection, the people said. But the company's focus would then be the sale of some 1,100 patents through a court-supervised auction, the people said.