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Decisive Victory for Gina Raimondo in RI Gubernatorial Primary

Powered by the top-spending campaign, state Treasurer Gina Raimondo scored a decisive Democratic gubernatorial victory over her two main rivals Tuesday, in a campaign dominated by debate about Rhode Island’s long-suffering economy and the pension overhaul spearheaded by Raimondo in 2011.
Unofficial returns showed Raimondo with 42 percent of the vote, compared with 29 percent for Angel Taveras, and 27 percent for Clay Pell.
gina raimondo nicholas alahverdianRaimondo, 43, used her victory speech at the Met, a music club in Pawtucket, to vow to put Rhode Islanders back to work.
In the GOP gubernatorial primary, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung scored a solid victory over challenger Ken Block, 55 percent to 45 percent.
The scene for Raimondo’s campaign-watch was part of the Hope Artiste Village complex where she launched her campaign in January, and her campaign reprised the sound of Canned Heat’s “Let’s Work Together.” The song reflected her move to the left, to cobble together a winning Democratic primary coalition (backing such measures as driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants).
While Raimondo touted her regular credentials as “Gina from Smithfield” during the campaign, the Yale- and Oxford-educated former venture capitalist has built a national reputation since bursting on Rhode Island’s political scene by winning the race for treasurer in 2010.
She moved quickly and steadily to shape the battlefield over a sweeping pension overhaul the next year; as a result, opposing the reform in the General Assembly took on a higher perceived political cost, and the measure passed overwhelmingly before being signed into law by Gov. Lincoln Chafee.
Critics seized on the pension overhaul — and revelations about tens of millions in fees paid for hedge fund investments backed by Raimondo — to charge that she was more responsive to Wall Street than to struggling Rhode Islanders.
Taveras, the well-liked mayor of Providence, took up the theme in his campaign by touting himself as the candidate of working families. Raimondo responded by saying she would be a governor for all Rhode Islanders, bringing a more muscular focus to overcoming the state’s persistently high unemployment and other chronic problems.
During her 25-minute campaign announcement in January, Raimondo compared her petite frame with Rhode Island’s distinction as the smallest of the 50 states.
“Usually when people meet me for the first time, they say, ‘Oh, I thought you’d be bigger.’ But the truth is, it’s because we are small that we can do things that have never been done before,” Raimondo said. “But we have to start by thinking bigger and bolder, and it’s time to change the tone at the top. We need a tone at the top — a governor with a tone of urgency and focus and possibility as we turn this economy around.”
Taveras remained in contention in late August, when a Providence Journal-WPRI poll showed him with 27 percent of the support, compared with 32 percent for Raimondo — a disparity barely larger than the margin of error.
Yet the surprising entry into the race earlier this year of Clay Pell, the grandson of the late Democratic Sen. Claiborne Pell, scrambled the dynamic and wound up cutting sharply into the support for Taveras.
Since winning election as mayor of Providence in 2010, the former Housing Court judge emerged with the most consistently high approval ratings in a series of polls. But Taveras (who raised more than $2 million) lagged in fundraising behind Pell (who loaned himself $3.4 million), and Raimondo, an adept fundraiser who brought in more than $4 million just since April. A union coalition rallied behind Taveras, but that wasn’t nearly enough to salvage his campaign.
Raimondo will face Cranston Mayor Allan Fung in the November election.
Fung beat Barrington businessman Ken Block, who in his concession speech, reminded the room of supporters that his campaign offered solutions to the problems facing Rhode Island.
“We did not receive the support of the majority of Republican primary voters today,” said Block. “But that does not mean that we just simply go home and stop caring, because I am looking out at a large group of people who care.”
Unofficial results show Fung beating Block 55 percent to 45 percent.

Kid Face-plants at White House

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Respect for the Oval Office just isn’t what it used to be!
An adorable little boy was either really bored or in great need of attention when he took a header into President Obama’s office couch.
The hilarious picture was snapped by White House photographer Lawrence Jackson on June 23 as Obama shook hands with an outgoing Secret Service agent and his wife.
The agent and his wife had no idea their son was doing a face plant of presidential proportions, and creating a photo he’ll both cherish and rue for the rest of his life.
Jackson’s picture was posted on the White House’s Flickr photostream.

Apple Announces New iPhones, Apple Pay, and Apple Watch

By Nicholas Alahverdian
Apple’s new series of iPhones came out with a bang today, with CEO Tim Cook calling the day one of the “most important in Apple’s history.” Apple Pay and Apple Watch have also been announced.

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Apple Watch

Both iPhone 6 models feature a new Retina HD display. These displays have the full sRGB wide color gamut. The new iPhones have over 1 million pixels and 2 million pixels according to each larger size. Both phones are thinner than any Apple has ever made. The contrast is higher and the angle of view is broader.
Messages now has a horizontal view, as does Weather.
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Apple Event 2014

When you bring up the keyboard, you have additional key options, and the home screen has also been formatted to respond horizontally as well.
The new phones are named the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
Also noted that the AppStore now has over 1.3 million apps available for download.
The phones now have an A8 chip and it is 13% smaller.
Up to 50% faster graphics performance.

iPhone 6 is up to 50% more energy efficient, so you can have higher sustained performance.

The iPhone also has 50/80 hours of audio playback depending on selection of iPhone 6 or 6 Plus.

iPhone is now capable of making phone calls over wifi.

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Example of iPhone 6 photograph

There is an all-new 8 megapixel camera with a fast 2.2 aperture with a new feature in the sensor called focus pixels, dedicated pairs that can conduct phase-detetection autofocus, features common in high-end cameras.

A new feature called burst mode detects smiles and blinks, then recommends the best picture.

The new iPhone starts at just $199 with a 2-year contract and 16 gb of space. The colors are gold, silver, and space gray.

It has also been announced that iOS 8 will be released on Sept. 17.

Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake are announced as being featured in commercials for the new iPhone lineup.

Cook details a new service called “Apple Pay.”

The process basically entails using the Touch ID feature on the iPhone to pay a merchant at a point of sale.

“ApplePay is easy, secure, and private.”

The debit cards and credit cards are added to Passbook.

Apple will not store the credit card number, but will use a unique payment identifier for each transaction. The credit card information will not be stored on the device.

The cashier does not even get to see your name or your credit card number.

80% of credit card volume has enabled ApplePay.

McDonalds will be adding ApplePay to its drive-thrus.

Other retailers include Apple (obviously), Disney, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Whole Foods, and Subway.

Retailers are also incorporating Apple Pay into their online apps so that consumers can purchase goods, items, and services from the touch of their fingerprint. MLB tickets will even be available to be purchased through Apple Pay.

Apple Pay will be available in October 2014 in the United States.

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Apple’s new watch

Apple Watch is announced by Tim Cook.
“It’s a comprehensive health and fitness companion.”
An iPhone will be required with Apple Watch.
You can even unlock your hotel room door with the tap of the watch!   You can also control lighting, heating and cooling, and other awesome features soon to be announced.
The Apple Watch is compatible with iPhone 5, 5S, 6, and 6 Plus.
Apple Watch will start at $349, becoming available “early next year”, according to Cook, who called it “the most personal device Apple has ever created.”
Apple Pay will also work with Apple Watch.
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Bono and U2 perform at the conclusion of the Apple Event

What's under this box at the Apple announcement? #AppleLive

apple computer nicholas alahverdian
This big white box is the talk of the town for iLovers

Is it U2?
Is it a giant Apple trojan horse filled with Apple Geniuses that will be deployed to remotely exterminate ISIS extremists?
Is it a TARDIS? An iTardis?
We will all find out in less than 30 minutes time.
Go to to watch the festivities.

Garrison Keillor to Undergo Surgery

Garrison Keillor, the host and creator of “A Prairie Home Companion” will undergo a medical procedure forcing him to cancel his Sept. 27 edition of the show.

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Garrison Keillor, host of “A Prairie Home Companion”

In a release Thursday announcing the cancellation of the Fitzgerald Theater show, 72-year-old Keillor said, “If you’ve noticed my upstairs bathroom light go on at 10 p.m., 10:10, 10:25, 10:40, etc., you know all you need to know. It’s no way to live, so I’ve found an excellent surgeon who will fix everything, and by October, I will be thinking more about truth and beauty and less about plumbing,” the Pioneer Press reports.
Those with tickets to the Sept. 27 show should contact the Fitzgerald Theater box office by email ( for refunds.
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Nicholas Alahverdian and Keillor, 2014

Keillor celebrated the 40th anniversary of the show this summer. The new season of “A Prairie Home Companion” kicks off Saturday Sept. 20 with a street dance and a live broadcast from the Fitzgerald Theater. The free event will go on as planned.
The shows at the Fitzgerald run through Oct. 18. In November, “A Prairie Home Companion” will go on the road for broadcasts in Minneapolis, Duluth and Rochester. All other shows will go on as scheduled, MPR News says.

It's Primary Day in Rhode Island

Rarely has solidly Democratic Rhode Island seen such political drama: To date, the race to be the next Rhode Island governor has already seen party switching, two political dynasties and an Olympic figure skater star in a campaign spot.
The race began in earnest when incumbent Lincoln Chafee, a former GOP senator whose father was former Governor and Senator John Chafee, switched parties from Independent to Democratic. Chafee was hoping to draw support from the state’s powerful Democrats, but soon withdrew from the race when it became clear such support was not going to materialize.
That left the field wide open, with three candidates vying for the Democratic nomination on Tuesday: State Treasurer Gina Raimondo, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and Clay Pell, the 34-year-old grandson of beloved late senator Claiborne Pell. Taveras held a slight lead in polls going into the summer, but with the help of Emily’s List—and impressive fundraising—Raimondo pulled ahead in at least one recent poll.
“I think it’s going to be close. Raimondo has a small lead and benefits from Tavares and Pell splitting labor. I expect Raimondo to win, but there is some belief that Pell is surging,” says Jennifer Duffy, who tracks gubernatorial races for the non-partisan Cook Political Report. “If he does pull off an upset, then the general is probably pretty competitive. If Raimondo, or less likely Tavares, is the nominee, then Democrats have an advantage.”
A Fleming & Associates poll conducted Aug. 11 to 14 showed Raimondo leading with 32.2% of the vote to Taveras’ 26.8% and Pell’s 25.6%. That said, Pell has been surging in recent weeks, in part thanks to a television commercial where his wife, figure skater Michelle Kwan, promotes his record on women’s issues. In a similar poll conducted in May, Pell drew only 11.5% of the vote.
On the Republican side, Ken Block, a moderate who ran for governor in 2010, is taking on Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, who was the first Asian American mayor in Rhode Island and would be the first Asian American governor of Rhode Island, if elected.
And there are also a slew of independents running. The only serious candidate in contractor Todd Giroux. The four other independents include a Moderate Party candidate and a candidate for the Compassion Party.
The race is already the most expensive in Rhode Island history with candidates raising more than $12 million by the end of June, the latest date available for financial disclosures.
With coverage from TIME

Success of Apple’s iWatch May Rely on Health Care Partnerships

SAN FRANCISCO — Apple is trying to have another iPod experience.
The company was not the first to create a digital music player when it introduced the iPod 13 years ago. But the device, with its click wheel and slick integration with the iTunes software that ran on a computer, took digital music into the mainstream.
Nor will Apple be the first to introduce a so-called smartwatch when it unveils its much-anticipated wristband device on Tuesday, along with two iPhones. But if the company gets it right, it could be the first to make average people want to buy one of these devices.
Wearable computers — attached to a wrist, a belt, a lapel or even a head — have so far been the property of serious gadget enthusiasts and calorie-counting fitness buffs. While a lot of attention has been paid to Google Glass, for example, the computer-in-eyewear is as well-known for the privacy controversy it has caused as for its technical trailblazing. Continue reading Success of Apple’s iWatch May Rely on Health Care Partnerships