FBI targets 12 ‘Anonymous’ hacktivists over Koch Industries cyber attack

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/07/26/fbi-targets-12-anonymous-hacktivists-over-koch-industries-cyber-attack/

By Eric W. Dolan
Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

As part of an ongoing investigation into “coordinated cyber attacks against major companies and organizations” by members of the hacktivist collective “Anonymous,” the FBI is investigating 12 individuals suspected of participating in cyber attacks against business websites operated by Koch Industries.

Koch Industries owners Charles and David Koch were being targeted by the group, an open letter from February stated, for their attempts “to usurp American Democracy.” The two were chief financiers of the tea party movement and supporters of Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker.

According to a confidential FBI affidavit obtained by The Smoking Gun, the 12 suspects allegedly participated in distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on Koch Industries sites in February and March. The attacks attempt to disrupt sites availability by overwhelming them with meaningless web traffic, slowing the site down and sometimes knocking it offline entirely.

Federal agents launched an investigation into the DDoS attacks against Koch Industries sites after the company contacted the agency on February 27 to report that its Quilted Northern site was being attacked.
The FBI was able to identify 12 targets thanks to firewall logs provided by Koch.

They are being investigated for causing the transmission of “a program, information, code, or command” that intentionally causes damage to a “protected computer.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/07/26/fbi-targets-12-anonymous-hacktivists-over-koch-industries-cyber-attack/

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Medicare for All: Fair, Frugal, and Inclusive

From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/07/26-8

by Johnathon Ross
Published on Tuesday, July 26, 2011 by CommonDreams.org

For 30 years I’ve been teaching young doctors how to practice primary care medicine at a center-city clinic in Toledo. Every day we witness heart-wrenching scenes right out of a Charles Dickens novel — scenes that illustrate the cruelty, arbitrariness and absurdity of our health care “system.”

Imagine for a moment a 64-year-old, low-income and uninsured man whose condition requires hospitalization and specialty care. Due to the likely cost of his treatment, he and his family could soon be facing bankruptcy. As if the physical suffering were not enough, he’s now grappling with a terrible financial crisis.

Right next to him is another patient with the same condition and of similarly modest means. However, because he’s 65 and enrolled in Medicare, he’s able to get dignified and relatively hassle-free care, without the worry of a financial shipwreck. He can go to the doctor and hospital of his choice, get treated and not face overwhelming medical bills.

Two patients, two very different stories — all because one person just happened to have been born a year earlier than the other.

Medicare, whose 46th anniversary will be observed July 30, has been a lifesaver for millions of elderly and severely disabled Americans. It’s been a major pillar of financial security for our nation’s families. And yet there are those in Congress today who would weaken or even dismantle it in the name of “fiscal responsibility.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/07/26-8

 

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CODEPINK Confronts War Criminal John Bolton

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Heterosexual Privilege, Transgender Activists and Their General Pissiness Regarding Marriage Equality

Yet another major reason I want nothing to do with the so called Transgender Community,  that is more like the Borg Cult, has to do with their rampant heterosexism, partnered with their general sexism.

I do not consider woman a social construct that includes people with penises.  It has nothing to do with “gender” either performative or in the form of claimed identity.  Women are adult females based on the same criteria that are generally used to assign sex at birth.

Sex Reassignment Surgery or sex change operations are just that; operations that change people’s sex.

I am not very sympathetic towards people who want to have their cake and eat it too.  Becoming a woman or man via surgery and expecting to be legally considered a member of the sex to which one has been reassigned means living with the same set of rules other women and men have to live by.  Why should you be an exception?

Yes I do hear the pleadings of long term relationships and commitments, prior contracts.  Yet I have difficulty reconciling those pleadings with claims of always having known you really were transsexual.  That is sort of like the gay man or lesbian who enters a heterosexual marriage hoping to be cured.

Perhaps I would have less difficulty with it and the level of heterosexual privilege such an act entails if there were marriage equality or even if the heterosexual marriages of post-transsexual women and men were not so open to challenge and delegitimatizing.

But we do not live in a perfect world, but rather one that religious fanatics and their political allies have made extremely difficult for people, who fall outside of prescribed boundaries.

Same sex marriage achieved via sex reassignment surgery isn’t new.  I knew of one such family in 1972 when I went through surgery in the Stanford Program.

When I have had the opportunity to observe the internal family dynamics many have seemed more like those of heterosexual couples than either gay or lesbian couples.  At times they seem to closely resemble the dynamics of families where the husband is a heterosexual transvestite.  While this is probably not the case in all or even most of these continued marriages, it is true within a significant percentage of those which I have observed. Indeed it seems more prevalent in the marriages which have been in place for many years and where transsexualism was not on the table from the start.  The partner who had surgery to become a woman is still considered the husband by the woman who was the wife.  There tends to be a guarded tolerance for the foibles of a husband who appears to be considered a transvestite who has taken transvestism to its logical conclusion.

On the other hand those marriages which played the system with conscious awareness of the transsexualism of one partner seem more born of the queer world than the straight and seem to be an act of fucking with the Taliban Christer mind set.

Unfortunately, unless such marriages are entered when the partner is pre-op they also fuck with our being recognized as legitimate members of the sex to which we have been reassigned.

One of the major elements of the transsexual vs transgender wars has been the fact that both Transgender Inc and the Transgender Borg Collective have their roots in the heterosexual transvestite world.  This is true no matter how much Christan Williams asserts otherwise.

For the record I was barred from further comment on a thread where Christan held forth about the important role in the transsexual community played by Angela Keyes Douglas, an egotistical self serving mentally disturbed prick who caused post-transsexual lesbians no end of grief during the 1970s when he penned the letter to “Sister” proclaiming the superiority of transsexuals over assigned female at birth women.

He also wrote letters to various police agencies aimed at bringing police harassment down upon legitimate transsexual organizations and later bragged about doing so while claiming paid informant status.

Should I believe what Angela actually said about being a paid informant?  I don’t know.  He was a compulsive liar.  BTW I use he out of respect for his life choices not as a slur because after getting SRS from Dr. Brown at some point in the 1970s, he reverted to living as a man, dying as a man a few years back.

He was never my sister.

In spite of Christan’s assertions of the long history of transsexual embrace of the term “Transgender” and the random evidence shown for those ties, (Such as a review of the Film “Myra Breckenridge”, a film that aroused the same sort of anger and disgust as the recent “Ticked Off  Trannys with Knives”) transsexuals did not embrace the term, “transgender” as applying to them during the 1970s. It was, however, a useful term for those who lived full time but did not get SRS.

Nor was there much of a “Transsexual Community”, if one considers a community based on more than having had an operation.  There were various circles of friends.  Those of us who were hippie dykes tended to have hippie dyke friends.  The same was true of sex workers. The same was true of heterosexual sisters, who embraced a heterosexually married middle class life.

Which brings us back to the “Transgender Community” with its heterosexual transvestite roots.

I’ve been hearing the continuing marriage entered into prior to coming out arguments for the fifteen years or so that I have been on line.

What I haven’t much heard is any acknowledgement of how those marriages undermine our claims of just being ordinary women or men after we have had SRS.  Nor, have I heard much  discussion as to how these marriages undermine the inclusion of post-transsexual women in the lesbian community, where we still have to combat the arguments of male privilege and heterosexism.

Wanting to both have your cake and eat it too.

At the same time I haven’t seen all that much defense of post-transsexual women’s heterosexual marriages on the part of Transgender Inc.  Some seem to give lip service but just as often I have heard the sniping directed at those who were “gay males  made heterosexual by surgery”.  Along with the general hatred directed toward those of us who have the audacity to think of our cunts as really being vaginas and not neo-vaginas or inverted surgically altered penises.

This makes the claims of lesbian solidarity on the part of many late emergers seem sketchy at times. But let’s be generous and give the benefit of the doubt.  If you are lesbian that means putting the interests of women and lesbians first.  It doesn’t mean exercising heterosexual privilege and then rubbing it in when there are those of us who met after SRS and who can not marry in many locales.

But more over being post-transsexual and lesbian should mean at least putting the interests of Transgender Inc. on the back burner or ignoring them completely when those interests conflict with either the interests of women in general or the interests of lesbians in the specific.

I support a Trans-Inclusive ENDA albeit one that covers people who live 24/7/365.  I do so on the basis of human rights and social justice, not on the blither that comes from Transgender Inc.

At the same time I am  fiercely opposed to homophobia.  My support for gay and lesbian rights dates from the mid-1960s, about the same time I became part of the anti-war movement.

I denounced homophobia when it came from within the anti-war movement and when it came from the Black Nationalist Movement.

Just as I started denouncing sexism and misogyny after coming out.  Perhaps it was a matter of the personal being the political.

I also denounced the homophobia I heard from other transsexual women whether it was directed towards gay men or towards lesbians.

I have been an out lesbian for most of my post-SRS life even though I could cop out and claim bisexuality based on my having had lovers of both sexes.

In what appears to be an emerging war between Transgender Inc and “Gay Inc.” (which conveniently erases lesbians) I have to stand with gay and lesbian people.  You see I do not have the same needs as those who have recently come out nor do I identify with either Transgender Inc or the Transgender Borg Collective.

As much as I hate the whole concept of “identity” and “identifying”, I identify as lesbian.

I am extremely disappointed hearing homophobic crap on the blogs of people I other wise respect for their willingness to fight for their principles and stand for what they believe  in.  I can’t say how saddened I am by what I hear on Transgriot and on the ENDABlog.

It seems to be a part of the mindset that requires one identify as a particular group and work only for the benefit of that specific group.

Where is the snottiness directed at those engaged in the struggle for marriage equality coming from?

Why not a little fucking joy over the fact that pre-ops who are in heterogendered but technically same sex marriages can now marry in New York State along with those of us who are post-transsexual lesbians or gay men.  How about a little happiness over the fact that neither post-transsexual heterosexual marriages nor those above mentioned same-sex after SRS marriages can be challenged in NY.

Both Tina and I are from NY.  She is from NYC and I am from upstate.  We have been filled with joy watching the videos on You Tube, reading the announcements and stories in the New York Times.

We go around asking each other, “Will you marry me?  Saying, “Let’s run off to NY and get married.”

The reality is just that fucking awesome…

Christan called me a “Separatist” with regards to Transgender Inc. How can I be a separatist with regards to something I was never a part of is a mystery to me.  Perhaps I am a heathen with regards to the Cult of the TG Borg, someone who never believed.

Part of my non-belief is due to the homophobia that seems to reside at the core of something that grew out of the heterosexual transvestite organizations that were contemporary with the pre-Stonewall Gay and Lesbian organizations.

Or maybe some of my sense of not belong dates from an encounter with the Prince of many names, when he told me I couldn’t be a transsexual and had made a mistake in getting SRS because I came out as lesbian afterwards.

Call it homophobia or call it heterosexism but I think I’ll stick with being part of the gay and lesbian movements as their needs and agenda are closer to my needs and agenda than is the agenda of Transgender Inc.

If Transgender Inc ever manages to get beyond the self-centeredness of identity politics and starts to realize there are issues beyond one’s being either transsexual and/or transgender then perhaps they will learn how to be part of some sort of coalition that works towards serving a variety of people with similar needs.

But I am afraid that Transgender Inc and those involved would rather attack gay men and lesbians for failing to put aside gay and lesbian priorities to focus on the late-comer Transgender Community.

One advantage to having been around the Lesbian/Gay Communities for all these years is having been present to watch as events occurred.  One of the advantages of having paid attention to the development of the Transgender Community is that I have watched its ideological growth all these many years.

Being post-transsexual and a lesbian I have also watched how it spews hate at anyone who either rejects being categorized as transgender or who fails to devote their entire lives to the cause.

The targets of the focused hate have included lesbians and gay men as well as WBTs, Classic Transsexuals, HBS supporters and people who simply reject all labels. Even failure to live up to expectation resulted in the trashing of Mara Keisling.

But over and above that many gay men and lesbians have been targeted in a manner that suggests extreme homophobia.

This is horizontal hostility of the same sort that has prevented progressive movements from waging an effective defense against the massive ultra-right wing onslaught of the last 40 plus years.

If you look for me at any L/G event I be with the rest of the dykes, I don’t need a “T” or a Trans-Label.  A Purple/Black Star and double Venus are quite enough for me.

Capitalism mugs Greece. Who is next?

From 21st Century Manifesto:  http://21stcenturymanifesto.wordpress.com/2011/07/26/capitalism-mugs-greece-who-is-next/

by Zoltan Zigedy
July 26, 2011

To understand the fate facing the people of Greece, you have to imagine an intruder coming to your home, putting a gun to your head and demanding that you turn over your earnings, surrender your savings, and sell off your car, your television, and your refrigerator t. Greek citizens neither benefited from the profit frenzy of international bankers nor encouraged their irresponsible behavior, yet they are being asked – no, forced – to pay the price for the damage incurred in the collapse of the world capitalist system.Greece – a small corner of the European Union – and its people know little of the exotic instruments concocted in the world’s financial centers to overproduce massive amounts of phantom capital fueling the growth of this rapacious system. They are only indirectly acquainted with the arrogant, irresponsible actions of giant investment banks like Bear Stearns, Lehmann Brothers or Goldman Sachs. Very few Greeks see their future tied to the success of the predatory financial behemoths that roam the global economy. And yet they are being forced, at gun point, to pay for their losses.

When the media fog lifts, this is clearly the plight of Greece’s eleven million citizens.

If home invasion, armed robbery, and extortion are crimes, then surely Greece is a crime victim. And the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund are the criminals. They are aided and abetted by the bond bandits who prey on debt, pouncing on a country struggling to revive its sinking economy. And their puppets – pathetically willing accessories to the crime – are the PASOK leaders and parliamentarians who attempt to legitimize the crime.

With few exceptions, countries have been obliged to take on additional debt to stimulate economic growth in the face of a severe drop in global investment and broad demand. Capitalist economies have no option other than sinking further in decline. In earlier times, deficit, debt-producing spending produced improved growth and accompanying inflation. Growth and inflation, in turn, increased tax revenues and cheapened debt, allowing the public debt to shrink in proportion to the economic product. This has long been a feature of capitalist recoveries from mild to severe recessions. Conventional economists teach this as though it were a universal law.

But we live in exceptional times and conventional economists are seldom right about anything any more.

Today, two factors have changed this dynamic. First, the near-total domination of neo-liberal ideology has shaped opinion to fear public debt of any degree. What was once the dogma of the fringe right has, thanks to over forty years of focused, class-based intellectual encroachment, spawned a uniformity of thought among the media, politicians, and opinion makers bordering on faith and defying history and facts. What began as the so-called “Washington Consensus” in 1989 has become an international consensus, gaining near-theological obeisance. International capitalist institutions like the International Monetary Fund have eagerly embraced its tenets.

Continue reading at:  http://21stcenturymanifesto.wordpress.com/2011/07/26/capitalism-mugs-greece-who-is-next/

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Jose Antonio Vargas: my secret life as an undocumented US immigrant

From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/26/jose-antonio-vargas-undocumented-immigrant

guardian.co.uk,
Tuesday 26 July 2011

Scenes from an undocumented life, number one. Jose Antonio Vargas is in his late 20s, a remarkably successful journalist, covering the 2008 presidential campaign for the Washington Post. He takes a call from his editor. There’s a political meeting he needs to attend. Vargas leaves the gay bar he has been visiting for a story in Gun Barrel City, Texas, gets in his car and starts speeding along the highway. A sheriff stops him. Vargas hands over his driving licence, secured through a social security number that was in turn secured through a fake passport. He waits. He tries to control his nerves. He is worried he might wet himself. Only a few of his close friends know he’s what some Americans disparagingly call “an illegal” and others call an undocumented immigrant.

“I remember thinking,” he says, “I’m a political reporter for the Washington Post. I’m in Texas, I’m covering the primaries, he’s going to go back to his car, and he’s going to put my details into the system, and how long is it going to take him to find out?” Vargas is certain the sheriff is about to discover his secret: that he was sent to the US from the Philippines by his mother, aged 12; that he then grew up with his grandparents, naturalised US citizens, and only learned he was undocumented by accident, aged 16; that he has been trying to make his way as best he can, not always lawfully, ever since.

He confides to the sheriff that he’s on his way to an important story. The sheriff takes pity. Vargas drives on.

Scenes from an undocumented life, number two. Vargas finds out he has a Wikipedia page. This shouldn’t be surprising. Since riding his bike to a fire for his first story, for his local paper, the Mountain View Voice, in 1999, he has pursued his career with blistering drive. His editors at the Washington Post put him forward for a Pulitzer nomination for his moving, deeply researched series about the city’s Aids crisis when he is in his mid-20s. Two years later, aged 27, he actually wins a Pulitzer, as part of the team that covers the Virginia Tech massacre for the paper. After this triumph, he sits in the office bathroom thinking (he mimes slumping despair): “What do I do now? What else can I do?”

He interviews Al Gore for Rolling Stone magazine. He is assigned to interview one of the most famous and famously private men in the world, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, for the New Yorker (a magazine that tops the wishlist for young, ambitious American writers who hope to be noticed). And all the while he is feeling sick at the growing scrutiny. He chose to become a journalist because it represented a form of validation. “I remember the first article I ever wrote, and I saw my name in the paper, and I already knew I was undocumented and I was thinking: how can they now say I don’t exist?” But this validation came with extraordinary risks. “The more successful I got, the more scared I got,” he says, when we meet on a sultry summer day in Manhattan. “My name was all over Google. I had a Wikipedia page I was terrified to look at. And so I just snapped. I thought: if I’m going to come out with this, I’m going to do it in a big way. And not just for myself. This can’t just be my story.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/26/jose-antonio-vargas-undocumented-immigrant

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Obama returns to the fraud of “equal sacrifice”

From World Socialist Web Site: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/jul2011/budg-j26.shtml

By Patrick Martin
26 July 2011

The back-to-back nationally televised speeches delivered Monday night by President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner were a political fraud on every level. The so-called debate in Washington on the federal deficit is rigged in advance. All of the participants take as their first principle the imposition of massive cuts on programs that benefit working people.

The Democratic administration and the congressional Republicans are using an orchestrated crisis over the raising of the federal debt ceiling to create the conditions for an unprecedented attack on the living standards and social rights of working people.

The two parties do not represent the American people, but rather the American financial aristocracy, whose wealth and income they defend at the expense of the broad masses. They will see basic social programs on which they rely—Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, food stamps—devastated by spending cuts.

Obama delivered a cynical speech whose purpose was to appeal to the American people to support spending cuts that will drive millions of them into poverty while leaving the gargantuan wealth of the financial aristocracy untouched. Virtually every sentence in his 15-minute address was a lie.

Obama described the two sides in the debate in terms that underscore the essential unity of the two big business parties. He noted that both sides “agree on the amount of deficit reduction” but disagree on what form that should take.

Continue reading at: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/jul2011/budg-j26.shtml

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Surprise! Crisis Pregnancy Centers Don’t Separate Education, Religion

From RH Reality Check: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2011/07/26/surprise-crisis-pregnancy-centers-don-separate-education-religion

by Andrea Grimes
July 26, 2011

The Texas Independent reports today on violations ranging from fire safety to client privacy in Texas’ many “alternatives to abortion” contractors. You know them as crisis pregnancy centers, and also as one of the few state-funded programs that saw their funding increase in this atrocious budget year–from $4 million to $4.15 million, despite the fact that they provide no medical care, no medical advice and are staffed by religious-motivated volunteers who undergo a minimum of training. Actual medical care that serves women and children in Texas been slashed, and Planned Parenthood has lost $47 million in funding.

The Texas Pregnancy Care Network conducted what amounts to an internal audit–with faith-based, religious-motivated inspectors looking into violations in clinics they have a vested interest in keeping afloat. There has not yet been an official third-party, or even Texas Department of Health and Human Services inspection into these CPC’s.

The Independent has the entire CPC inspection report available to read, but I’d just like to pluck out one totally not surprising finding: 15 percent of contractors did not, during supervised inspections, separate religious and educational material:

Official records of TPCN follow-up visits — conducted after they’ve begun receiving state money — show violations ranging from fire safety to possible breaches of client privacy. During 15 percent of inspections (which were not undercover visits), subcontractors had failed to separate and label spiritual and educational materials properly.

Do you know why this doesn’t surprise me? Because the entire point of “alternatives to abortion” programs is not, in fact, to help pregnant women in need but to ensure that they feel the appropriate amount of God-sanctioned guilt so that they don’t abort. Full stop. That is the beginning and end of what CPC’s are interested in, and while they talk a big game about adoption services and prenatal care, the fact is, many if not most of them aren’t licensed to provide either. We can take “alternatives to abortion” very literally–any alternative to abortion is alright by these folks, regardless of the impact it has on a woman’s life. As long as it’s not abortion, the means aren’t exactly important.

Complete article at:  http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2011/07/26/surprise-crisis-pregnancy-centers-don-separate-education-religion

The Lookout Job listings say the unemployed need not apply

From Yahoo News: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/job-listings-unemployed-not-apply-133143362.html

By Liz Goodwin The Lookout
July 26, 2011

Hundreds of job opening listings posted on Monster.com and other jobs sites explicitly state that people who are unemployed would be less attractive applicants, with some telling the long-term unemployed to not even bother with applying.

The New York Times’ Catherine Rampell said she found preferences for the already employed or only recently laid off in listings for “hotel concierges, restaurant managers, teachers, I.T. specialists, business analysts, sales directors, account executives, orthopedics device salesmen, auditors and air-conditioning technicians.” Even the massive University of Phoenix stated that preference, but removed the listings when the Times started asking questions.

The concerted shunning of unemployed Americans by prospective employers was a common theme that cropped up in the thousands of responses that poured in when we asked Yahoo! readers to share their experiences of unemployment for our “Down But Not Out” series.

Reader Susan W. said she was being treated “as if it were my fault I was unemployed, regardless of the fact that I had put out hundreds of resumes and applications.”

Continue reading at:  http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/job-listings-unemployed-not-apply-133143362.html

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Wealth Gap Between Whites, Minorities Widens To Greatest Level In A Quarter Century

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/26/wealth-gap-whites-minorities_n_909465.html

By HOPE YEN
07/26/11

WASHINGTON — The wealth gaps between whites and minorities have grown to their widest levels in a quarter-century. The recession and uneven recovery have erased decades of minority gains, leaving whites on average with 20 times the net worth of blacks and 18 times that of Hispanics, according to an analysis of new Census data.

The analysis shows the racial and ethnic impact of the economic meltdown, which ravaged housing values and sent unemployment soaring. It offers the most direct government evidence yet of the disparity between predominantly younger minorities whose main asset is their home and older whites who are more likely to have 401(k) retirement accounts or other stock holdings.

“What’s pushing the wealth of whites is the rebound in the stock market and corporate savings, while younger Hispanics and African-Americans who bought homes in the last decade – because that was the American dream – are seeing big declines,” said Timothy Smeeding, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor who specializes in income inequality.

The median wealth of white U.S. households in 2009 was $113,149, compared with $6,325 for Hispanics and $5,677 for blacks, according to the analysis released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center. Those ratios, roughly 20 to 1 for blacks and 18 to 1 for Hispanics, far exceed the low mark of 7 to 1 for both groups reached in 1995, when the nation’s economic expansion lifted many low-income groups to the middle class.

The white-black wealth gap is also the widest since the census began tracking such data in 1984, when the ratio was roughly 12 to 1.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/26/wealth-gap-whites-minorities_n_909465.html

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