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Google Bombs Used in US Election
U.S. Legal News | 2006/11/07 19:30

Voting began last night for the U.S. mid-term election to select 33 senators and 435 congressmen. But this time many candidates chose to campaign with their fingers, rather than on their feet.

Thanks to "Google Bombing," or "Google Washing," an attempt to influence the page ranking in search results by clicking on certain articles or Web sites purposely and repeatedly, candidates' supporters can influence the kind of exposure their opponents get in the online world.

Since the 2004 U.S. presidential election, this new campaign tactic has become another major means for election campaigning along with the "old school" television advertisements.

It's the same kind of attack method, but a bit more subtle.

The new method became so popular that the term "Google Bombing" was introduced in the New Oxford American Dictionary in May 2005.

This is how it works: Depending on how many times a link is clicked in Google, its page rank goes up, and when the same words are searched, the search engine automatically generates on top of the list the page that was visited most often.

Taking advantage of this function, "Google Bombers" purposely click away on the same negative articles on candidates their choice is competing against, so that when voters log on to find out more information on candidates, they are met with unpleasant stories.

One famous example is on the U.S. President George W. Bush. You type in "miserable failure" and you are directed to many results linking you to the president.

It is unclear where those words came from but its first public application related to the Bush administration was by Dick Gephardt, who claimed during a discussion, "This president is a miserable failure on foreign policy; and on the economy. And he's got to be replaced."

The mid-term election is not an exception for manipulating Google data.

If you google George Allen, a Republican U.S. senator from Virginia who is running to keep his seat, many negative articles such as "Allen Quip Provokes Outrage, Apology" show up right below the link to his official Web site.

Google, one of the most powerful search engines, has responded that it will not alter the results (or other Google bombed results) because it wished to preserve the integrity of its search engine.

As for the new tactic's effectiveness, Chris Bowers, who is an author of the popular liberal blog MyDD.com and conceived of the Google Bombing project aimed at 70 Republican candidates, cast doubts.

"I think Internet users are very smart and most are aware of what a Google Bomb is," he said in an interview with the New York Times. "And they will be aware that results can be massaged a bit."



Sex Offender Ordered to Wear "Sex Offender" T-shirt
Court Feed News | 2006/11/06 17:50

Delaware Superior Court Judge Jan Jurden ordered a man who twice exposed himself to a 10-year-old girl at his workplace to wear a T-shirt with the words: "I am a registered sex offender" in bold letters, a prosecutor said.

Russell Teeter, 69, who pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent exposure, also was sentenced to 60 days in jail.

Deputy Attorney General Donald Roberts said Teeter had at least 10 prior convictions dating back to 1976 for exposing himself to children and had been diagnosed as a compulsive exhibitionist. Roberts requested the unusual T-shirt punishment because he was concerned about Teeter exposing himself to children at the gardening business he runs with his wife. "This is a unique way to let his customers know that he is a sex offender," Roberts told Reuters.

Teeter, will have to wear the T-shirt at work for 22 months after he gets out of jail. He has 30 days to appeal the sentence. Teeter's attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.

Breaking legal News.com
Robin Sheen
Staff Writer



Employee of U.S. Military Contractor Pleads Guilty
Business Law Info | 2006/11/06 17:41

WASHINGTON - (USDOJ) A former employee of a construction company that has contracts with the U.S. Air Force in Iraq, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Michigan to a one-count criminal information, the Department of Justice announced today.

Samir F. Mahmoud, 56, of Bloomfield, Mich., pleaded guilty to charges of making a false statement stemming from an investigation into possible violations of the Anti-Kickback Act. U.S. District Judge Gerald E. Rosen set a sentencing date for February 2, 2007.

According to the information filed in September 2006, on July 17, 2006, Mahmoud was interviewed by special agents from the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regarding allegations of illegal payments and gifts offered to company employees in exchange for promised assistance in obtaining, retaining or altering the Air Force contracts and subcontracts associated with the reconstruction of Iraq. During the interview Mahmoud willfully made materially false statements in that he denied providing gifts to other company employees when he had offered and provided things of value to at least one company employee.

The maximum sentence for a charge of making a false statement is up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

In October 2006, Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty announced the formation of a National Procurement Fraud Task Force designed to promote the early detection, identification, prevention and prosecution of procurement fraud associated with the increase in contracting activity for national security and other governmental programs. The Procurement Fraud Task Force chaired by Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division includes the FBI, the U.S. Inspectors General Community, the Executive Office of the United States Attorneys and others.

The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Nathaniel Edmonds and Stacey Luck of the Criminal Division's Fraud Section.



Ringler Kearney Alvarez LLP
Law Firm Press | 2006/11/03 22:05



Ringler Kearney Alvarez LLP specializes in high value, highly sophisticated litigation in the areas of class actions, business torts and catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death matters.

The attorneys of RKA have achieved over $200 million in jury verdicts and hundreds of millions in settlements for their clients.

The firm deploys its well-honed trial abilities, in-depth legal knowledge, and vast investigative resources to provide tenacious and highly focused representation to every client. Each client is represented by a highly skilled legal team lead by experienced trial attorneys specializing in the specific legal issues surrounding the case. Our courtroom victories and proven results position the firm as leaders in the practice of trial law.

VERDICTS AND SETTLEMENTS

$156 million class action verdict on behalf of doctors defrauded by an insurance company.

$30 million for the parents of an infant who suffered damage due to hospital negligence.

$20 million recovery in a class action lawsuit for individuals financially harmed by a major corporation.

$16.5 million recovery in a class action lawsuit on behalf of workers denied full pay for all overtime and other benefits.

$16 million for corporation which was the victim of theft of their trade secrets.

$12 million recovered in a products liablity action for the wrongful death of middle-aged spouses due to defective recreational vehicle design.

$11.9 million for a paraparetic victim of a truck vs. train collision where there were no lost wages and the plaintiff could walk with the assistance of a walker.

$10 million for an injured construction worker who fractured his hip due to the negligence of a general contractor.


Selected Settlements

$20 million recovery in a class action lawsuit for individuals financially harmed by a major corporation.

$16.5 million recovery in a class action lawsuit on behalf of workers denied full pay for all overtime and other benefits.

$12 million recovered in a products liablity action for the wrongful death of middle-aged spouses due to defective recreational vehicle design.

$10 million recovered in a products liability action for the wrongful death of a spouse due to defective tire design.

$9 million recovery in a class action lawsuit for individuals financially harmed by a major corporation.

$6.8 million for a construction worker who suffered a spinal cord injury due to the negligence of a general contractor.


The firm's areas of legal expertise and case achievements are detailed throughout this site. Ringler Kearney Alvarez LLP looks forward to an opportunity to assist you or your business with its legal needs.

www.rkallp.com

Tel: (213) 473-1900




Undocumented Workers Petition for Non-Discrimination
Law & Politics | 2006/11/03 19:35

NEW YORK - (ACLU) The American Civil Liberties Union, the National Employment Law Project and the Transnational Legal Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law today filed a petition urging the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to find the United States in violation of its universal human rights obligations by failing to protect millions of undocumented workers from exploitation and discrimination in the workplace.

The petition was submitted to the commission on behalf of the United Mine Workers of America, AFL-CIO, Interfaith Justice Network and six immigrant workers who are representative of the six million undocumented workers in the United States labor force.

"The most poorly paid and least desirable jobs in the United States are filled by undocumented immigrants, yet the government increasingly limits the safeguards available to this population, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation and workplace discrimination," said Claudia Flores, an attorney with the ACLU Women’s Rights Project. "The United States government has an obligation under universal human rights norms to protect vulnerable populations, such as immigrant women, and has failed in this regard."

Undocumented immigrants make up nearly five percent of the U.S. labor force. However, employment and labor protections under state laws have been either eliminated or severely limited for undocumented workers in some states. These include such basic workplace protections as freedom from workplace discrimination and entitlement to hold an employer responsible for a workplace injury.

"International human rights law requires the United States to apply its workplace protections equally and without discrimination based on immigration status. We bring this petition to cast a global spotlight on the U.S. government’s poor human rights record in protecting undocumented workers from discrimination and to demand accountability from states and the federal government, all of whom are obligated to protect and defend human rights," said Chandra Bhatnagar, a staff attorney with the ACLU Human Rights Program.

The individuals named in today’s petition have each tried to assert their workplace rights but were unsuccessful. They are:

Jesus L., a Michigan poultry worker who suffered severe injuries, requiring spinal reconstruction surgery, after falling from the top of a chicken house onto a concrete floor. The insurance company for Jesus’ employer refused to provide workers’ compensation to cover time off work because he was undocumented.

Yolanda L.R., a widow whose husband was killed on a construction site in New York because of his employer’s criminal negligence. Yolanda’s compensation for her husband’s wrongful death compensation will be affected by his immigration status.

Francisco Berumen Lizalde, a painter in Kansas who was prosecuted and deported, likely as a consequence of filing a workers’ compensation claim after he fell from scaffolding and fractured his hand.

Leopoldo Z., a Pennsylvania farm worker who underwent three surgeries and continues to suffer nerve damage and chronic pain as a result of a workplace accident. Leopoldo’s employer suspended his medical benefits when it became clear he would not be able to promptly return to work.

Melissa L., a woman who had to leave her job in New Jersey when workplace sexual harassment became intolerable. She filed a claim against her employer, but because



Michael J. Fox Campaigns for Stem Cell Research
Law & Politics | 2006/11/03 18:35

Michael J. Fox rallied Thursday with about 100 people for Maryland's Democratic Senate candidate, Congressman Ben Cardin. Fox says he campaigns for candidates who support embryonic stem cell research.

Fox has appeared in television ads for Cardin and other candidates around the country who support federal funding for such research, to find cures for diseases such as Parkinson's, from which he suffers, "I'm supporting candidates who support embryonic stem cell research in races where their opponents simply don't," he said.

Cardin's Republican opponent Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, opposes research that would destroy a human embryo.

"We are who we are, we have what we have, we want what we want, and we have the right to seek representation that will get it for us," Fox said, encouraging voters with such debilitating diseases to become active in politics. Fox had plans to campaign for Democrat Jim Webb in that state's Senate race in Virginia that evening.

According to Cardin , "We're losing our best scientists to other countries" that fund embryonic stem cell research. Cardin opined that Republican opposition to the research is hurting the nation.

After the Fox rally, Cardin was headed to Baltimore for a rally with former vice presidential candidate John Edwards, a Democrat from North Carolina.

Cardin attended a rally in rally Prince George's County - a counter to a Steele endorsement earlier in the week by Demorats in the predominantly black county. Steele is the first African-American elected statewide in Maryland; Cardin is white.

Backing Steele, the lieutenant governor introduced a group of ministers who are suuportive of Steele.

"I don't know anyone who wants to be poor. I don't know anyone who wants to be illiterate," Steele said to applause from the ministers, most of whom were black.

Steele's election platform focused on his promises to reduce poverty and push for more foreign aid to Africa and the Caribbean. He also promised to try to increase federal aid for small business development and college tuition.

Breaking Legal News.com
Sheryl Jones
Staf Writer



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