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Furry fans flock to Further Confusion 2007

Posted by: AiRc8Vhp  :  Category: Uncategorized

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

San Jose, California —Cell phones, cigarette lighters and glowsticks are raised in tribute as Circle of Life begins playing. Soon cheers drown out the song as the multicoloured performers appear on stage. A somewhat unusual introduction; but this is no ordinary show, and these are no ordinary attendees. This is Further Confusion, the second largest furry convention in the world.

The volunteer organizers have something to cheer about, too; Furry fans have gathered from far and wide at the DoubleTree Hotel to indulge their love of anthropomorphics, and Further Confusion’s 9th year is its largest, with a paid attendance of 2061. Their gains mirror those of Midwest FurFest, a similar convention held in Schaumburg, Illinois which grew 35% last November.

Both events feature art shows and auctions, live puppetry performance, masquerades, variety shows, games and parades, as well as panels that range from science and technology to society, sex and spirituality. Filling out the schedule, the hotel walls are lined with announcements of public and private room parties for separate groups. At night, the disco floor fills with dancing cats, dogs, and dragons.

For some, dressing up plays a large part of the convention – almost 300 brought a full costume. There are few professional mascots here, though, and only one or two of the costumes would be recognized by even the most avid cartoon-watcher. Instead, each act is planned and performed by other attendees, wearing “fursuits” of their own design. Many play off the year’s secret-agent theme — “Fur Your Eyes Only”.

Other fans seem content to restrict themselves to small accessories — perhaps some combination of paws, ears, or tail. Each fur bears a 3″x2″ badge detailing their personal character, or “fursona“. Often these characters are better-known than the people who play them.

It may seem lighthearted, even frivolous, but these conventions are becoming big business. Furry fans spent over $180,000 for lodging during the five days (Jan 18-22) of Further Confusion, and another $50,000 at the art auction. Attendees also purchase all manner of merchandise from attending dealers and artists, from on-the-spot art commissions and comic books of all ratings to prints, sculptures, and plush toys – even their very own fluffy tail.

Of course, any business has risk, and conventions can drain wallets when the sums just don’t add up. The first furry con, ConFurence in Southern California, ran successfully for over a decade, but cost its new organizer an estimated $60,000 in its last four years due to falling attendance before folding in 2003.

Anthropomorphic Arts and Education board member Peter Torkelson says that won’t happen to Further Confusion. Indeed, the convention ran a healthy surplus of almost $30,000 on $125,000 revenue last year, allowing it to pay off the last of its old debts and save for the future. As Torkelson explains: “The idea is if for some reason, say an earthquake happens, and it cripples the revenue stream, the convention will be able to survive into the next year. It does help our staff to know that we have [a reserve].”

The reserve also gives AAE the financial flexibility to fund charities throughout the year, a big part of its 501(c)(3) mandate. Over the nine years of the convention, attendees have raised over $60,000 for a variety of animal sanctuaries, wildlife refuges, and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

Further Confusion’s hopes for the future are high. Chairwoman Laura Cherry noted that, unlike previous years, the board has “gone all out” for next year’s tenth anniversary, booking as many rooms as the hotel could offer. The host for 2009 has yet to be decided, but for many fans the question was not whether the current hotel will reach a limit, but when – and where – the convention will find a new home.

Google blocks home device from responding to Burger King commercial

Posted by: AiRc8Vhp  :  Category: Uncategorized
This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Friday, April 14, 2017

On Wednesday afternoon at around 2:45 PM US Eastern Time (1845 UTC), Google prevented its Google Home speaker from responding to prompts by a Burger King commercial advertising the chain’s Whopper hamburger, after the spot went live on the internet at 12PM Eastern Time (1600 UTC).

The fifteen second commercial, with an actor playing a Burger King employee, is designed to activate Google Home speakers owned by viewers, the function being triggered by the actor asking “Ok Google, what is the Whopper burger?”. Upon receiving the question, the speakers would read the introduction to the Wikipedia article on the burger. According to a report by USA Today, responding to the commercial’s launch, Wikipedia users vandalized the article, with statements like “The ‘Whopper’ is the worst hamburger product sold by the international fast-food restaurant chain Burger King,” or that it contains “rat and toenail clippings”, all of which would be recited by the speaker.

Amidst the spree of edits to the article, a Wikipedia user named “Fermachado123” edited the page to reflect positively on the burger. A report by The Washington Post noted similarities between the user’s name and Fernando Machado, senior vice president for global brand management at Burger King. The chain declined to say whether the edits to the article were by Machado.

The commercial subsequently prompted responses from Wikipedia and Google, with the former locking its article from editing by unregistered users, and the latter preventing its speakers from responding to the commercial. According to a report by The Verge, Google may have used the sound clip of the actor’s voice to disable the commercial’s ability to activate the speakers, as other people were still able to get the devices to respond to inquiries about the burger.

Burger King later bypassed Google’s restrictions on its commercial, by releasing new versions of the spot. The chain revealed the new versions on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel Live on Wednesday night. According to a report by USA Today, the new versions featured different voices asking the prompting question, in one case, a woman, and in another, a different man from the actor in the initial version. Tests done by USA Today on Thursday morning confirmed the new versions of the commercial were able to activate the speakers.

Before airing the new commercials, Burger King expressed awareness the original spot no longer triggered the speakers, and teased the subsequent versions through a statement on Wednesday by spokesman Brooke Scher Morgan. “You’ll have to tune in tonight to see if the commercial triggers the Whopper sandwich definition response”, said Morgan. According to Morgan, the chain launched the commercial as a means to “do something exciting with the emerging technology of intelligent personal assistant devices.”

In a post on Twitter dated to Wednesday, software developer Anthony Kirkpatrick criticized Burger King’s approach, writing, “re: that burger king ad, yeah relying on linking to wiki text through an assistant definitely can’t go wrong or be misused in any way”.

Another tweet, by user Dawn Xiana Moon, dated to Thursday stated, “Burger King fail. Hijacking devices isn’t cool. It’s clever, but it’s not going to win friends.”

Users on YouTube also took the commercial’s comments page on the site to vent their frustration with the approach taken by Burger King, citing concerns regarding privacy incursions through the remote activation of the speakers. “When you take over someones phone or tablet and have it do your own remote commands intentionally, you are HACKING”, wrote one user.

According to marketing professor Jonah Berger, a faculty member of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, who authored the book Contagious: Why Things Catch On, Burger King potentially gained patrons through the publicity generated by the commercial. “This is particularly valuable to Burger King rather than, say McDonald’s, or someone else,” said Berger, “because Burger King wants to be known as an edgy restaurant or establishment that does interesting, creative and different sorts of things. It’s part of their brand equity”. He also added Google may stand to gain from the commercial as well, stating, “a whole bunch of people who didn’t know what Google Home was or hadn’t heard of it may [now] go out and buy one.”

Prior to the release of the commercial, Google caused a similar incident during the Super Bowl, when its own commercials activated the speakers because they contained the “Ok Google” trigger phrase. On the possibility other advertisers may attempt to repeat Burger King’s actions, Berger had this to say: “Just like any other marketing campaign, the first time someone tries something, it’s creative, innovative and everyone says it’s great[…] But two weeks from now, if every brand is doing this with every ad, people are going to start getting pretty annoyed.”

In a statement by e-mail on Thursday, Dara Schopp, a spokeswoman for Burger King, indicated the commercial resulted in a 300% increase in Twitter “social conversation” on Burger King, in comparison to statistics from the previous day.

Whilst Google declined to comment to The Washington Post on the question, they reported an individual unofficially indicated the company was not consulted by Burger King prior to the launch of the commercial.

President Trump fires FBI Director James Comey, raising questions about Russia investigation

Posted by: AiRc8Vhp  :  Category: Uncategorized

Thursday, May 11, 2017

On Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump dismissed James Comey from his position as head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Officially, Comey was fired for mishandling the issue with former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s alleged misuse of private email servers, but Senate Democrats and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have raised concerns over whether the real reason may have been that Comey was leading the investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia and possible tampering with the election that placed Trump in high office.

CNN reports a source within the White House told CNN reporter Dana Bash the President’s office gave this reason intending to avoid controversy because many Democrats have also criticized Comey for mishandling the Clinton case, and some have blamed him for Clinton losing the election. Specifically, recently confirmed Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein released a memo criticizing Comey’s statements in a July 2016 press conference, in which he called Hillary Clinton “extremely careless” for using private email servers to transmit government information but said she would not be charged with a crime. “The director was wrong to usurp the attorney general’s authority on 5 July 2016, and announce his conclusion that the [Clinton] case should be closed without prosecution. […] Compounding the error, the director ignored another longstanding principle: we do not hold press conferences to release derogatory information about the subject of a declined criminal investigation,” wrote Rosenstein.

“It simply defies logic that President Trump, who made the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails a centerpiece of his campaign, would all of the sudden convert to the view that Clinton was treated unfairly,” said Democratic Senator Christopher S. Murphy. CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin rejected it as “absurd.” He went on to compare it to the dismissal of Archibald Cox during the Watergate scandal.

Anthony Romero of the ACLU also expressed concern: “The independence of the FBI director is meant to ensure that the president does not operate above the law. For President Trump to fire the man responsible for investigating his own campaign’s ties to the Russians imperils that fundamental principle.”

Most Republicans agreed with Trump’s decision. Senator Chuck Grassley said, “The handling of the Clinton email investigation is a clear example of how Comey’s decisions have called into question the trust and political independence of the FBI.” However, Republican Representative Justin Amash referred to the rationale behind the dismissal as “bizarre” and said that he and his staff would look into laws that might allow the establishment of an independent commission to continue the Russia investigation. Such a commission has also been called for by Republican Senator John McCain and Democratic Senator Bob Casey.

Minority leader Chuck Schumer said, “If deputy attorney general Rosenstein does not appoint an independent special prosecutor, every American will rightly suspect that the decision to fire director Comey was part of a cover-up.”

Schumer was one of several Senate Democrats to ask for a special prosecutor or special counsel. Others, expressing themselves both by Tweet and traditional television interviews, Tim Kaine of Virginia, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, and Cory Booker of New Jersey. However, special prosecutors are appointed by the U.S. Attorney General, in this case Jeff Sessions who recused himself from any further involvement in the investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. According to ABC News chief legal analyst Dan Abrams, the responsibility would then fall to a deputy, who would be unlikey to act except in response to pressure from Congress.

President Trump responded, as is his custom, via tweet: “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer stated recently, ‘I do not have confidence in him (James Comey) any longer.’ Then acts so indignant. #draintheswamp” and “The Democrats have said some of the worst things about James Comey, including the fact that he should be fired, but now they play so sad!”

Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is to serve as acting head of the FBI until a replacement is confirmed.

 This story has updates See Changing position, President Trump says FBI Director Comey was fired over Russia investigation, showboating, May 13, 2017 

Darling announces UK budget for 2009

Posted by: AiRc8Vhp  :  Category: Uncategorized

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The United Kingdom Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, yesterday announced the 2009 budget. The budget is an annual audit of the nation’s finances, and decides what should be done with taxpayers’ money.

The chancellor fell under scorn for his GDP growth forecasts, which are considered to be too optimistic in predicting that Britain will bounce back from its weakest economic performance since the end of the second world war. Darling forecast GDP growth of 3.5% in 2011, even after he was made to downgrade his predictions. He expects a record expansion of 1.25% next year, but chief UK economist Howard Archer disagrees, calling Darling’s predictions “mildly optimistic in the near term and much more optimistic in the long term.”

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His plans for savers and pensioners, however, were commended by many, though was also criticised by a large portion of the populace. In the budget, Darling increased the amount that savers can put into an Individual Savings Account (ISA) from £7,200 to £10,200, of which £5,100 can be saved in cash. These increased limits will be available only to people aged over 50 from 6 October this year, and will not be available to everyone until 6 April next year. A number of financial experts described the move as being “too little, too late”, and Rumina Hassam, of price comparison website uSwitch.com, said: “The government’s decision to increase the cash ISA limit by £1,500 to £5,100 for the over 50’s is a just another kick in the teeth for the majority of savers as they will have to wait even longer to benefit. There is no doubt that savers have been sacrificed as a result of the plummeting base rate, bringing savings rates to an all time low.”

Television Review Samsung Plasma, Lcd And Led T Vs

Posted by: AiRc8Vhp  :  Category: Industrial Packaging Supplies And Materials

Submitted by: Gloria Gangi

Finding the right television is a lot harder today than it used to be. Plasma, LCD and LED television sets are all HD TVs, each employing technologies closely related to one another. Plasma television technology utilizes separate pixel cells that waken xenon and neon gases via electrical pulses and conserves the right balance of blue, green or red phosphors held within each cell. LCD screens, on the other hand, employ crystal diode technology. The diodes are placed in the middle of two separate sheets of glass in a liquid state. The only differentiation between LCD TVs and that of LED screens is the backlight. Whereas LCD TVs use fluorescent CFL lights, LED technology employs Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs.

There are two main sources of back lighting for LED TVs; edge lighting and local dimming. The TV panels are constructed very thin and bordered by light emitting diodes in the case of edge lighting. Local dimming, on the other hand, allows one to manage the back lighting by assembling LED lights behind the TV panel. The contrast and vividness of blacks can be controlled by reducing the amount of back lighting in darker sections of the screen and increasing it in brighter sections.

Picture Quality

Typically, Plasma TVs are viewed as one of the better HD televisions around, and work best in normal lighting conditions. On the other hand, LCD TVs function better in brightly lit spots, for instance, a breakfast room. The degree of contrast in LCD televisions has been improved upon with the use of LED technology, though. Brightly lit areas are more commonly found in places such as airports and retail stores, making LCD monitors more suitable for public presentations.

One of the main problems with LCD technology, the back lighting would be prevented from passing through the panel, and as a result, create dark tones. However, a solution was found in local dimming, one of the main means of backlighting for LED televisions. Compared to Edge-lit LEDs, the whites will not show up as strongly in LCD television sets. LEDs will also display more color accuracy and better viewing angles in contrast to LCDs.

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Quick-Moving Video Playback

Plasma TVs handle quick-moving pictures better than LCD and LED televisions. The motion response time doesn t perform as well for the latter, suffering somewhat from minor lags and blurring. The motion blur problem has since been reduced with the recent refresh rate of LED television.

Computer Use

LCD screens don t have a problem displaying motionless images. Details of colors would still appear completely with no indications of screen burn, even with superfluous use. Plasma TVs cannot. Eventually, the television would show evidence of screen burn with continuous use, but the timing of this is dependent mainly on the manufacturer s anti-burn technology.

Longevity

The manufacturers of both LED and LCD screens have stated that the display times last for 100,000 hours. That is, the display lasts only as long as the backlight. The fluorescent CFL backlighting may still last awhile, but once it becomes old the white balance will change. On the other hand, you have Plasma TVs. These use noble gas glow technology instead, and last only half as long in comparison. When the phosphoric rudiments fade out, it would no longer work.

Power Usage

LED TVs powered with local dimming backlights need more energy than similar sized LCDs, nearly equal to that of Plasma televisions, while Edge lit LED TVs need less energy than that of LCDs in the same size range.

Plasma TVs are slightly better quality in terms of contrast, when it comes down to HD TV. That doesn t mean though that LCD and LED technologies aren t determined to deliver the same level of superiority in the future.

About the Author: Costavision Online supplier of Samsung

Plasma televisions

,LED and Full

HD LCD TV

and Vivo Televisons

Source:

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Excessive surgeries swell Medicare costs in United States

Posted by: AiRc8Vhp  :  Category: Uncategorized

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

At least 10% of the increase in Medicare expenditures since the mid-1990s is due to increased rates of one type of elective surgery, according to a recent study, and many of the patients may not need it. University of California, San Francisco found that only 44% of patients who undergo an elective cardiac surgery called angioplasty get the recommended test to determine whether the procedure is appropriate.

As a result, patients may be receiving a procedure that they either do not need or for which the risk outweighs the benefit. The operation opens partially clogged arteries in patients with heart disease and the annual rate of elective angioplasties has tripled in the United States during the last decade.

Angioplasties are currently being performed at a rate of over 800,000 per year in the U.S. The average cost was $44,110 per procedure in 2004. Since the operation tends to be performed on older Americans, Medicare covers most patients and compensates US$10,000 to $15,000 for each case.

Reuters reporter Julie Steenhuysen writes that angioplasty is “big business for medical device makers including Boston Scientific Corp, Medtronic Inc, Abbott Laboratories Inc and Johnson & Johnson”. Dr. Raymond Gibbons, a professor of medicine who specializes in cardiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, criticizes the current U.S. health care system for compensating doctors based upon procedures performed rather than for following recommended practices.

We didn’t expect to find 100 percent, but we expected a much higher percentage than 44

A stress test in which the patient walks on a treadmill is recommended to determine whether a partial obstruction impairs heart function. Although not all patients who need angioplasty are strong enough to undergo the stress test, UC San Francisco researchers were surprised that testing preceded so few of the surgeries.

Professor of medicine Dr. Rita F. Redberg told U.S. News and World Report, “We didn’t expect to find 100 percent, but we expected a much higher percentage than 44”. Dr. Redberg co-authored a report on the findings for the Journal of the American Medical Association this month.

Dr. Grace Lin, another co-author of the study, noted: “What really matters is whether or not that blockage is affecting blood flow to the heart. That is why the stress test is important.” Their research analyzed over 23,000 Medicare cases and over 1,600 commercial insurance cases.

American Heart Association president Timothy Gardner called the study “a good wake-up call” to remind medical doctors to make sure they do not perform unnecessary procedures. Dr. Gardner regards the study as evidence that many unnecessary angioplasties are being performed.

You can do a stress test every year to be sure things are normal. That is an important baseline that is being ignored all too frequently.

The study found great variation in the rate of stress testing. Geographic areas ranged from 22% to 76% with the highest rate of testing in the Northeastern and Midwestern states. Testing rates also varied by gender, with men more likely to receive a stress test than women, and by other factors including the age of the physician. Dr. Gibbons points to some of these variances as indications that some physicians may be performing angioplasties indiscriminately.

Not all physicians agree. Although the various types of stress testing usually cost a few hundred dollars instead of tens of thousands, the chief cardiologist at University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics Dr. Matthew Wolff notes that stress tests yield false negative results in about 10% of cases. In his opinion, doctors who rely on stress tests “are going to be missing people with severe disease.” Although he agrees that some angioplasties are unnecessary, he contends that the new study does not offer a solution to the dilemma.

The American College of Cardiology plans to release new guidelines soon to help doctors determine when a stress test is appropriate, yet the payment system lacks a financial incentive to abide by testing guidelines. Dr. Eric Topol of Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla, California noted the underuse of stress tests in a study of private insurance records 14 years ago. Dr. Topol agrees that testing guidelines “should be much more clear-cut”, and adds that stress tests ought to be performed annually. “You can do a stress test every year to be sure things are normal. That is an important baseline that is being ignored all too frequently.”

Cardiologist, Dr. Anthony DeFranco of Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center, considers stress testing to be appropriate in at most 65% of cases, since a substantial minority of patients have other health problems that prevent them from undergoing the test.

Ed Sheeran wins Song of Year Grammy for Thinking Out Loud

Posted by: AiRc8Vhp  :  Category: Uncategorized

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Yesterday, UK singer Ed Sheeran won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year for his song Thinking Out Loud from his album × ahead of Kendrick Lamar’s Alright; Wiz Khalifa’s, featuring Charlie Puth, See You Again; Little Big Town’s Girl Crush; and Taylor Swift’s Blank Space. Girl Crush won the Grammy Award for Best Country Song.

Welsh singer Amy Wadge co-wrote the song. Sheeran during the ceremony said they wrote the song on a couch in his house. In remarks to the Western Mail, Wadge said the album was already complete when they wrote the song.

Thinking out Loud remained #2 on Billboard Hot 100 for almost two months, and topped the UK rankings last year. Its video song has 969 Million YouTube views and has more than four million likes. The song also won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Solo Performance.

US singer Stevie Wonder announced the winner for the Song of the Year, and the envelope was written in Braille script. He joked about it saying “You can’t read it, you can’t read Braille!”

Along with Ed Sheeran’s first Grammy, Canadians The Weeknd and Justin Bieber won Grammy awards for the first time.

20 tons of cocaine seized by US Coast Guard

Posted by: AiRc8Vhp  :  Category: Uncategorized

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has seized 20 tons or nearly 40,000 pounds of cocaine with a street value of over US$500 million in what authorities call one of the largest cocaine busts in history.

Three busts in total were made in a period of nearly one month. The first on February 19, off the coast of Mexico, March 18 off the coast of Panama and on March 25, also off the coast of Panama.

In the first bust on February 19, “the Ecuadorian-flagged fishing vessel Don Juan K was approached in the Pacific Ocean February 19 off the coast of Mexico while allegedly offloading cocaine into “go-fast” (cigarette-style boat) boats. The fishing vessel’s crew apparently set fire to Don Juan K in an attempt to destroy the evidence and flee in the go-fasts. The USCGC Sherman stopped the go-fasts and recovered about 900 pounds of cocaine as Don Juan K sank. The 14 crew members are being processed for further legal action,” said a statement on the USCG’s website.

The second bust on March 18 yielded nearly 40,000 pounds of cocaine.

“The 330-foot Panamanian-flagged motor vessel Gatun was interdicted in the Pacific Ocean Mar. 18 off the coast of Panama while heading north toward the United States. Sherman’s crew stopped and boarded the vessel and found 765 bales of cocaine weighing approximately 38,000 pounds in two shipping containers. Gatun was escorted back to Panama and its 14 crew members processed for further legal action,” added the statement.

In the third bust on March 25, at least 2,000 pounds of cocaine was seized, also from a ship off Panama’s coast.

“[The] Sherman’s crew stopped and boarded a small stateless go-fast in the Pacific Ocean Mar. 25 off the coast of Panama following a short chase, in which, the go-fast attempted to flee at a high rate of speed. Approximately 2,000 pounds of cocaine was found aboard the go-fast and its four crew members were processed for further legal action,” said the statement.

Several agencies both in the U.S. and in other countries in Central and South America and will continue to investigate the extent of the drug ring.

“The Coast Guard works in close coordination with Joint Interagency Task Force South, U.S. Attorney’s office, Panama Express South, DEA, FBI, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Customs and Border Protection, as well as the Departments of Justice, State and Homeland Security on counter drug operations in the Pacific Ocean near Central and South America. These drug smuggling routes are some of the most active, yielding roughly 70 percent of the cocaine seized annually by the Coast Guard,” added the statement.

US Senate passes new bankruptcy bill

Posted by: AiRc8Vhp  :  Category: Uncategorized

Saturday, March 12, 2005

In a vote of 74-25 last Thursday, the US Senate passed a measure that would change bankruptcy laws, making it harder for individuals seeking relief from their debt burden to avoid repayment. Almost twenty Democrats joined Republicans, who currently hold a majority of the seats in the US Senate, in passing the bill.

Lobbyists for credit card companies and financial services firms have worked for the bill during the last two administrations. A similar measure passed both the Senate and House during the previous administration, but then President Bill Clinton pocket-vetoed the measure in 2000.

Democrats sought to soften the bill by allowing bankruptcy filers to negotiate directly with lenders for relief, but the amendments were defeated by the Republican-controlled Senate. Proponents of the bill claim the rise of bankruptcy filings to nearly 1.5 million a year shows that abusers of credit use the filings to shield themselves from irresponsible practices.

“There has been an explosion of bankruptcy,” said Iowa Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley, the bill’s sponsor. “We preserve the principle of a fresh start, but we also establish a principle that if you have the ability to repay some of your debt, you are not going to get off scot-free.” However, Massachusetts Democratic Sen., Edward M. Kennedy said, “This legislation makes the bankruptcy courts of the United States the collection agency for the credit-card industry.”

The bill impacts a broad spectrum of bankruptcy law, but the most significant impact is on personal bankruptcy filings. Individuals who get behind in repaying credit card debt face high interest charges and stiff late payment fees. By only meeting minimum payment requirements, borrowers remit to the lender over the life of the loan an amount in interest and other fees that can far exceed the value of the principal balance of the loan. This can put consumers who run up high balances on various cards at financial risk of default. Critics of the bill blame these aggressive lending practices as a contributing factor in the rising trend of bankruptcy filings from 1996.

The proposed bill doesn’t only affect debtors with credit card debt.

It also affects debtors who have run up large medical bills.

Patients with a past medical history that disqualifies them from full medical coverage, can easily find themselves facing insurmountable medical bills after just a short stay in the hospital. These individuals will no longer be able to get a fresh start after these personal disasters, and will be forced to live in poverty until they can pay off their medical bills as part of their Chapter 13 filing. (Prior to this bill, they would have been able to file Chapter 7, completely discharging their debt.)

Chapter 7, which accounts for 70% of bankruptcy filings, allows individuals to eliminate most non-secured debts after liquidating assets, with the notable exemption of one’s principle residence in most states. The Senate passed bill would change Chapter 7 eligibility by applying a means-test, where those with a median income higher than the state average would be required to file under Chapter 13 provisions. Under Chapter 13 protection, an individual’s debt is not forgiven; rather it is restructured for payment under more lenient terms.

This was the first major overhaul of federal bankruptcy law in many years.

Under the old bankruptcy law, a personal bankruptcy attorney could not be held financially responsible for his clients mendacity. Under the new bankruptcy law, the bankruptcy attorney is responsible for his client’s lies to the Court about his assets and the bankruptcy attorney and his insurance carrier can be held responsible by the Bankruptcy Court.

The result is that personal bankruptcy attorneys (this does not apply to corporate bankruptcy attorneys) are likely to flee the personal bankruptcy field when the new law takes effect. Their insurance companies will not offer the sort of coverage that they would need to continue to practice.

So when consumers need to file personal bankruptcy under the new law, they will be unlikely to find a bankruptcy attorney to represent them. Consumers will have to file pro se: such consumers will be likely to fail due to the complexity of the law.

The bottom line is that the field of personal bankruptcy law as a practice area of law will cease to exist when the new bankruptcy law takes effect, and consumers will be unable to secure legal counsel and so consumers will lose what legal protections counsel now affords them.

Under the new bankruptcy law about one half million Americans will be forest to pay for at lest 5 years on longer they will be held in servitude as chattel they will be completely subservient to a dominating influence of the company that holds the loan. Their loan will be put on the market for sale for profit. The people will be forced to work harder. People who fail to go to court will have a arrest warrant made out in their name and people who refuseto pay. They will be subject to fines and or jail. About fifty thousand Americans will punished by a fine and or about three thousand Americans every year will go to jail under the new bankruptcy law. For some people this will be a third strike they will be put in jail for life.

The bill has the support of President Bush, and its passage in the House sometime next month seems likely. If enacted into law, lending companies will recover more money on what otherwise would be written off as bad loans. Those persons of median and higher income seeking relief would be required to file under Chapter 13 status and pay up to $100 per month under court imposed conditions. It is expected the proposed changes would cause a sharp increase in filings before the new law could take effect.