Maryann Tobin

Tampa 1080
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Joined August 2010

Free speech is what the internet and journalism is all about.

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What if America’s top 1 percent got everything they wanted?

It is not that hard to figure out what America’s top 1 percent want. A passing glance at contemporary history and political maneuvering pretty much lays it all out. It seems that they want to exempt themselves and their business endeavors from all government regulations. It would also be nice if they could fix things so they didn’t have to pay any taxes either. Any attempts to predict exactly how America would look if the one-percenters got their wish is pure speculation at this point. But there are trends already in progress that offer more than a few clues. They start with the explosive growth of income inequality in the wake of the 2008 financial market collapse. As The Nation notes, “A new report from the Economic Policy Institute demonstrates. ...  In the vast majority of US states, the top 1 percent of earners captured at least half of the income gains during the first three years ...
By on Jan 28, 2015

Top dogs prep for Westminster dog show

It started as a way to show off the best dogs around in 1877. Today, it the second oldest continuously running sporting event in America, but only because the Kentucky Derby beat it by two years. In the 139th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, hosted at Madison Square Garden in New York, nearly 2,800 dogs representing 192 breeds will strut their stuff on live television with an audience of more than 3.5 million viewers. However, despite the naturally playful nature of our canine friends, none of these dogs will be chasing toy balls on Feb.16-17. They are after the coveted title of Best in Show. Before making it to the Best in Show ring, each dog has to win top dog in their breed class. Then they have to compete against other breed winners in groups that include, toy, herding, sporting, non-sporting, terrier, hound and working. The winners of each group then get to compete for Best ...
By on Jan 26, 2015

ISPs versus everyone else

In a world exploding with technological advances, devices to access to the Internet are getting smaller, faster and more affordable. Yet even the most powerful device is useless if the "pipelines" that lead to the Internet are deliberately slowed, clogged with traffic, or completely inaccessible. At the helm of this vast tangle of superhighway pipes are Internet Service Providers, whose primary mission is to make money for their stockholders. What seems to be emerging in the 21st century is a battle between ISP’s and everyone else who wants and needs access to the Internet. “A growing volume of business relies on the Internet, from tourism to financial services, and the Web has empowered firms, especially smaller ones, to find customers in foreign markets who would otherwise be out of reach,” Reuters reports. From advertisers competing for customers, to students and everyone else looking...
By on Jan 24, 2015

Retina MacBook Pro rumored to get upgrade to powerful Broadwell Core M chip

Apple’s Retina MacBook Pro has not seen an update since July 29, 2014, so the Apple rumor mill is ripe for speculation on a refresh early this year. The most heavily touted change is likely to include Intel’s newest Broadwell processor, which is expected to hit the production lines in mid-January. This fifth-generation processor will shrink the 22nm Haswell chip to a 14nm Broadwell Core M powerhouse. “If Apple releases products roughly in-line with when chips are available, then I would expect the rumored new Retina MacBook Air, as well as an updated Retina MacBook Pro 13-inch, to be available by the end of the first quarter of 2015,” Motley Fool reports. But size alone is not what’s driving the excitement about Broadwell processors coming to MacBooks. The new chips will boost speed on already fast machines and stretch battery life by up to 90 minutes. If that were not enough to get Mac ...
By on Jan 23, 2015

What Obama doesn’t want you to know about the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal

Republicans have made no secret of the fact that their prime mission in life is to make Barack Obama’s presidency a failure. Why, then, are they salivating at the prospect of joining forces with Obama on the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal? There are a lot of reasons, but the one that seems to stand out is that allegiance to the corporate donor base absolutely trounces party lines. But wait, you say. This is a free-trade deal that is supposed to be good for America, right? Well, not exactly. As with all secrets, there is a reason to keep it hidden from public view. “TPP has proven to be controversial on a number of levels, but the primary concerns revolve around the results of previous free trade agreements and provisions within the agreement that surrender US sovereignty to corporate tribunals. Not surprisingly opposition is coming primarily from Obama’s own party and lab...
By on Jan 22, 2015

Veterans at risk in GOP plan to cut Social Security disability

On the first day of the Republican-controlled congress, a rules change set the stage for yet another manufactured crisis by the GOP. This time, the target is directly aimed at Social Security disability. Regular Social Security is also under threat, but in a more round-about way, likely as part of a bigger, negotiated deal. What few lawmakers seem eager to mention is that among those facing a potential 20 percent cut in benefits are America’s disabled veterans. Some democrats believe the new GOP rules are intended as a first step toward dismantling the entire program, which is seen by many conservatives as a government handout, even though it has always been funded by payroll taxes. During a press conference Friday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) said: Let’s be clear on what the Republican plan is. What they are saying is that either there will be cuts to the disability program, or if that f...
By on Jan 20, 2015

Allegations of Gov. Rick Scott’s cronyism bring a national problem to light

Florida Department of Law Enforcement commissioner Gerald Bailey resigned in December. Or was he fired? The answer depends on who you ask. Florida Gov. Rick Scott claims Bailey decided on his own to retire months ahead of his planned exit in April. The Tampa Bay Times reports that Bailey said he was forced out because he refused to go along with requests from the governor’s office to falsely target the political enemies of Gov. Scott in criminal investigations, and objected to the hiring his political allies for state jobs. Who is telling the truth matters because what Bailey is alleging has serious legal and perhaps criminal implications for Gov. Scott. What the allegations suggest is at least as important because it furthers the suggestion that the American government has a real problem with cronyism, corruption, and abuse of power. Granting political favors is not new, nor is it illeg...
By on Jan 19, 2015

What animals can teach us in life and in death

Pope Francis recently came under fire from his more traditional-thinking Catholic colleagues after he told a young boy grieving over the loss of his dog that he would see him again in heaven. According to the pope, “Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.” Of course, it is difficult to know for sure what happens to anyone after death. Psychics and mediums claim to have the ability to communicate with the dead, both human and animal. Whether those claims are authentic is often decided by personal belief. The notion that animals have a spirit or a soul that continues in some form after physical death is an ancient one. Not only did Egyptians, dating back some 10,000 years, have firm beliefs in an afterlife that included animal spirits, but other cultures have evolved around these beliefs as well. To this day, Native American culture remains rooted in the spiritual connections between a...
By on Jan 15, 2015

What makes marketing to animal enthusiasts different?

Animal enthusiasts are a unique group of people, particularly when it comes to how they respond to nonprofit marketing and fundraising. What motivates an animal advocate to support nonprofit organizations is rooted in profound emotions. They relate to the plight of unwanted pets at animal shelters and often become outraged when they learn of animal abuse. Moreover, their compassion does not end at the door to the local animal shelter. From concern for neglected pets to elephant poaching and loss of wildlife habitat, devoted animal lovers are thoughtful and passionate about making the world a better place for animals. This generosity of the heart often leads to the opening of their wallets in a big way. Animal welfare and environmental causes are among the fastest growing categories in the fundraising realm, taking in just over 13 percent of the $12.5 billion recorded in the 2013 Charitab...
By on Jan 08, 2015

Solar panel growth sending utility company lobbyists into panic mode

There is a fundamental flaw in America’s profit-based power grid. It is becoming obsolete. The energy companies that have made billions by selling electricity to the public are afraid of the rapid growth of solar panels on homes and businesses. So much so, they are working on the state level to tax it, block it and financially penalize just about anyone who dares to consider moving off the grid. So far, their efforts have been at least partially successful. From AlterNet: In Arizona, Americans for Prosperity and First Solar were successful in securing fees on rooftop solar installations for the state’s energy utilities. Initially, the utilities asked for a $100-a-month surcharge, which would have utterly destroyed any economic incentive to opt for home-generated power. But with some pushback from state regulators, a compromise was reached, and the new fees for putting solar panels on a h...
By on Jan 06, 2015