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FreedomPop has begun to expand outside of the US and into Europe. The company is notable for disrupting major mobile phone carriers such as AT&T and Sprint by offering customers a completely free plan for smartphones. Under the company’s free plan a person gets 200 minutes of call time, 200 MB of data for surfing and browsing, and 200 text messages at no charge.

Its free plan has been a hit in the United States and the company has garnered over 600,000 registered users. Now the company is expanding into new market segments such as the UK. Fortune.com free mobile service in the UK was announced this summer and the company began contacting interested parties in the middle of September. “Alpha testing” is currently being done by the company through a group of people who are interested in trying out FreedomPop during a trial period. This testing will provide FreedomPop with valuable feedback that it can use to adjust its services and products to better suit the UK market. The company is planning to officially launch its services in the United Kingdom towards the end of the year once alpha testing has been completed.

FreedomPop has already divulged what plans will be available to customers in the UK. Its most popular free service will be available as well as two premium services. The premium plans will cost extra but come with extra features and additional data. A 1 GB premium plan costs an additional $13 dollars and offers voicemail, 1000 messages and 1 gigabyte of data. The 2 GB premium plan costs $18 dollars per month and gives a user 2G of data and an unrestricted amount of call time and text messages. If a user goes over his allotted data limit, FreedomPop does not levy a penalty. Instead it charges 1 penny for each megabyte of data that is over the limit. A rollover data plan is also being offered at a cost of $3 per month. It would allow a person to keep up to 500 megabytes of unused data and use it a later month, with a storage limit of 20 giga bytes.

FreedomPop has contracted with Three Network to provide its data, calling and messaging service and has stated a second network partner could be on the way. The company is also planning on beginning sales of low cost smartphones to consumers towards the end of the year. More markets in Europe are on the horizon for FreedomPop and the UK could be a jumping off point for expansion into the European market. The original article on FreedomPop’s expansion into the UK was published on Digital Trends and can be read in full there.

Sometimes I feel amazed by the amount of people who can do things with their careers that I would never be able to so much as attempt, myself. Some of those kind of people are economists. They are so smart in the things that they are doing and saying, and I know that I would never be able to be half as good at the job as they are. But that is why different people do different things, right? Some people are talented in the area of economics, while some of us should never try to do something like that.
There are people who seem to be born for the job of working in economics, and Christian Broda is one of them. He has been smart in all of the things that he has done since starting his career, and people have really begun to respect him. This man knows economics well, and I could never hope to compare with him. He is good at his job, just like a really good painter is good at painting, and he has been able to do a lot of good work because of his skills. Christian Broda really does seem to have been born to fit the position that he is in. He seems to have the natural talent and skills to take on the world of economics, and he isn’t afraid to go out there and do just that. He is using his skills for good, and we could all take a hint from his ambition.
There are a lot of skilled and ambitious economists in the world, but some seem to have a better understanding of what they are doing, and why they are doing it, than others. And some seem to fit more naturally into the world of economics than others. Christian Broda is one of the people who is a natural at what he is doing, and there are many more people out there just like him. If only we could all find our calling as easily as he has seemed to find his. If only we could all know what to do with our lives.

President Obama had an interview with the “The Steve Harvey Morning Show”, where he stated the police need to start holding officers accountable instead of the approach where they close ranks with each other. Obama says the Baltimore riots are a good indication that change is needed when officers are accused of wrongdoing. Reporter Adam Sender stated that Obama continued by stating the police need to build trust in minority communities by building accountability.

Obama feels that if all that is being done is the retraining of police and not taking care of the underlying problems, they are going to crop up again. He does acknowledge that it will not be an easy task. There are broader issues going on and not just in Ferguson and New York. Obama will not be traveling to Baltimore until things have been cleaned up so he does not draw resources away from the situation going on.

The outbreak of violence that erupted following the funeral of Freddie Gray is being condemned by President Obama. He has labeled those responsible as ‘criminals and thugs’ who tore up the city by setting cars on fire, destroying stores and injuring police officers. In his comments reported by CNN, the first he made since Baltimore erupted, he stated there is no excuse for the violence that was unleashed on this city.

The President went on to comment that people taking crowbars to open doors and loot are not protesting and they are not making statements. These people are not protestors, they are criminals and thieves. The buildings that were burnt were not making a statement- that was arson. The violence that is occurring in Baltimore is people hurting their own community by destroying business and robbing residents of jobs.

Obama says there are some police departments that will have to do some soul searching and there are some communities that will have to as well. He feels even the country as a whole should also do some; as this is a slow rolling crisis. It is something that has been going on in our country for a long time and should not be thought of as new.

 

Obama has landed himself in some hot water over the holidays as it has been reported that a couple had to more their wedding time and location to accommodate a round of golf the president was playing. According to Bloomberg, two military personal had to move back the time of their wedding and move to a backup location less than 24 hours before it was supposed to take place. What made this even more unbelievable to myself and even Sam Tabar was that the couple had invited the Obama’s to the wedding knowing they would be on the island. A few hours after receiving the regretful response that President Obama would not make the wedding they were delivered news that the would have to change the time and place due to his round of golf.

It has however been reported that people are forewarned that plans may be disrupted due to the presidents presence on the island. It was also discovered that the White House did now know of the conflict until after it had already taken place. The President did personally call the couple to apologize for making them move, which the couple described as a wonderful conversation. This is not the first time that Obama’s golf outings have drawn criticism and it surely won’t be the last.

One year ago, the biggest challenge of the Affordable Care act was to enroll as many people in HealthCare.gov as possible before January 1, 2014 in spite of tremendous technical challenges.

Fast forward to rising of 2015, HealthCare.gov technical issues are quite manageable. The action feared by many is the potential ruling of the Supreme Court that the subsidies helping Americans afford healthcare are not legal in the 37 states that have permitted the federal government to run the program.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell is not focused on the Supreme Court Case, she is focused on the rising number of enrollees anticipating healthcare and the fact that the subsidies making healthcare affordable are available today, for real. Burwell believes Americans will continue to enjoy affordable healthcare and urges healthcare shoppers to go online and beat the February 15 deadline.

Currently, there are more healthcare plan options than last year at this time. People are switching plans to save money, increase benefits or qualify for higher subsidies. This is even true for those looking to find a good plastic surgeon like Dr Rod Rohrich. The Dallas Plastic Surgery Institute is receiving more traffic from the Affordable Care Act, based on results posting to Wikipedia.

Choosing to stay uninsured will cost more in 2015. The penalty will increase to 325 dollars or 2 percent of taxable income, whichever is the greater amount.

It is undeniable that President Obama and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie have a cordial if not friendly relationship. When hurricane Sandy devastated parts of New Jersey in the waning weeks of the 2012 presidential election, Governor Christie made the unusual request of having the president accompany him to the state’s disaster areas. Photographers captured a photograph of the governor giving the president a warm embrace. The experience gave the president an additional boost in the polls which rankled many within the GOP.

Recently, the president toured the Jersey shore once more to see the progress that has been made since the hurricane devastation. While on the boardwalk, he recalled playing the game “Frog Bog” which he admits he fared poorly in. He also took the football toss challenge with the governor and lost. The president said it bothered him to lose the football toss. However, he fully expects to have another crack at beating Gov. Christie at the toss sometime in the future.

In recent months, Gov. Christie has criticized some of the president’s policies most notably on the matter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). However, Christie, who many expect to launch a presidential run later next year, is careful not to be too critical of Obama. My political buddy Jared Haftel expects the popular NJ governor to make inroads in the northeast as part of his strategy to capture the White House.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has emerged as the big winner in the recent budget battle. As Bruce Levenson points out it’s like a Forbes deal for Wahington. While she failed to win in terms of anything substantive like getting the partial repeal of Dodd-Frank stripped from the budget bill, she is touted as a winner because she spoke out against the controversial rider. Her willingness to speak to the defense of her beliefs stops short of invoking any delay tactic that might force a government shutdown. Despite that, liberal and progressive groups have become enamored with her because they view her as a pure liberal. By contract, the same groups view Hillary Clinton with suspicion over her close ties to Wall Street. 

Thus far, the calls for Warren to seek the presidency are growing louder. Moveon.org is hoping to raise $1 million to draft her into the 2016 presidential race. This led Steve Inskeep of National Public Radio (NPR) to ask her four times if she was going to run for president. Warren answered unequivocally each time that she has no plans to do so. 

It is unlikely that the political left will take heed. Despite all of her prior denials about running, the left continues their efforts to draft her to run. In a way, their quest resembles the grassroots movement of the early 1950s to draft General Dwight D. Eisenhower to run for president. He too was reluctant to do so, but a nationwide effort forced his hand. It remains to be see if Warren will similarly get swayed by progressives within her party.

You have to ask yourself ‘Why’ when you see that the Senate Democrats released the CIA report detailing how the U.S. intelligence officials used what’s considered as ‘torture’ while gathering information from suspected Islamic terrorists.

Is this a decoy or a shiny object to distract the public from other goings-on in the ongoing shell game that the Obama Administration plays with the citizens of the United States?
For example, Paul Gruber, the architect of the wildly-unpopular socialist healthcare program that was bum-rushed through the U.S. legislature on Christmas Eve 2010 through unscrupulous procedures, testified before a hearing committee to explain himself after being caught by true journalists for boasting about how he helped fool the American people, the legislature and the Supreme Court in order to get the landmark legislation passed through and signed by Obama. No one in the news covered this side-story, which shocked some skeptical users on Skout.  Go figure.

The Patriot Act has thus far been used in only 15 terrorism cases but in a whopping 1,618 drug-related cases.

Drug dealers are not our friends, but they have not been traditionally classified as “terrorists,” and so we can say that the Patriot Act is not being used as it was intended to be used when first passed.

The act makes it easier than ever to wiretap Americans, to go through business records without notifying anyone, and to proceed with implementing search warrants without first notifying suspects. It also does not provide for judicial review since judges have no right to refuse permission to federal officials who ask to treat a case under the law’s provisions.

As pointed out by friend Brad Reifler, while certain information-sharing provisions in the law that made it legal for the FBI, CIA, etc. to share data on ongoing cases were a common sense step forward, the law in general clearly violates the 4th Amendment protections against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” It does not require that the things to be searched and seized and the location where this is to take place be specified as the 4th Amendments says must take place.

Getting tough on terrorists is a priority, but there is no reason this can not be done without compromising the Constitutionally-specified rights of all American citizens. If the 4th Amendment no longer applies to drug cases, how long will it be before it ceases to apply in every other type of case?

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) recently announced his intention to introduce legislation that would turn Election Day in November into a national holiday.

Disappointed by the lack of voter turnout during the recent national election, Senator Sanders stated that,

“In America, we should be celebrating our democracy and doing everything possible to make it easier for people to participate in the political process. Election Day should be a national holiday so that everyone has the time and opportunity to vote. While this would not be a cure-all, it would indicate a national commitment to create a more vibrant democracy.”

According to the US Elections Project, the national election that was held on November 4th, 2014 had only a 37% turnout, making it the lowest voter turnout since 1942.

Although voter turnout during midterm elections in the US is traditionally lower than presidential elections, the US still ranks below 120 other countries when it comes to presidential voter turnouts. Thanks to friend of the site Keith Mann for helping me find these statistics.

Senator Sanders went on to say that, “We should not be satisfied with a ‘democracy’ in which more than 60 percent of our people don’t vote and some 80 percent of young people and low-income Americans fail to vote.” His bill, entitled “Democracy Day Act of 2014,” will be introduced to Congress after it reconvenes from November’s national election.