Thursday, November 17, 2011

cadillac 2013 XTS Price

Cadillac isn't the first to automaker to produce a high-tech entertainment and information system, but intuitive, industry-first features on its upcoming offering may one-up the competition. Coming to Cadillac dealerships next year, the luxury automaker's CUE (Cadillac User Experience) system will aim to shift the way drivers interact with their vehicles, combining a fully capacitive eight-inch touchscreen with a 12.3-inch customizable LCD gauge cluster.

The CUE system will first appear in the all-new Cadillac XTS luxury sedan, which will debut at the LA Auto Show later this month before going into production next spring. Following its launch in the XTS, CUE will also be incorporated into the 2013 Cadillac SRX crossover and the upcoming BMW 3 Series-challenging Cadillac ATS. Cadillac says all vehicles in its lineup will feature CUE by 2015.

"If you're not going to be the first, you should be the best," said Greg Connor, general sales manager of Massachusetts Cadillac dealer Mastria Buick GMC Cadillac. "Cadillac has taken its time and created a system that is more than a match for the offerings from BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz. CUE is going to change the way we look at vehicle interfaces as a whole."

As the first of its kind in the auto industry, the CUE's touchscreen is equipped with a proximity-sensing, haptic-feedback interface. When the screen isn't in use, it fades to reduce the chances of distraction, but the system's real trick is sensing when the driver's hand is within eight inches of the screen, bringing the screen back to life. The screen also provides pulsing feedback when touched to give users a clear indication of movement when scrolling, and zooming and swiping controls will be similar to the multi-touch motions used on smartphones.

While touch technology has been put at a premium in the Cadillac CUE, the system also makes voice commands easier than ever. CUE is able to recognize natural speech, which means that users can speak logically and use fewer commands when entering addresses for navigation or picking music playlists. When connected to a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone, Cadillac will offer Pandora and Stitcher radio integration, as well as 30 more internet apps within the first year.
GM engineers also poured plenty of technology into the XTS, including the automaker's new Cadillac CUE infotainment system. The XTS makes use of a massive 12.3-inch LCD screen to display its data, with a choice of four different display options that offer varying degrees of features to cater to individual needs. In other words, if your dad doesn't want to fuss with tons of options, he can opt for the least complicated interface. If you like your center stack uncluttered, the XTS features only seven buttons in total, with three allocated to audio controls.

Cadillac threw the technology book at the XTS' chassis, too, adding its HiPer Strut suspension up front, air suspension out back and magnetic ride control. The available all-wheel-drive system comes from Haldex and features an electronically controlled limited slip differential for optimal grip regardless of conditions.

Power comes courtesy of GM's ubiquitous 3.6-liter V6 mated to a standard Hydra-Matic 6T70 six-speed automatic transmission with tap-shift capability. The V6 will pump out an estimated 300 horsepower at 6,800 RPM and 264 pound-feet of torque at 5,300 revolutions. Cadillac estimates that the front-wheel-drive XTS will deliver 17 miles per gallon in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, while the AWD model should return 17/27 numbers. Virtual Bumpers, also known as automated front and rear short-distance braking, will also warn you and apply the brakes automatically if you happen to have slower than usual reflexes before your bumper makes friends with a kerb or a cyclist. There is a bunch of other safety features in this latest Cadillac model, so you might want to check it out at your nearest showroom to let technology aid your premium driving experience
Because CUE is capable of so many functions, Cadillac is able to reduce the number of physical buttons in the cockpit, creating a clean, modern appearance in line with the luxury automaker's well-received Art & Science design theme. The elements of Art & Science come to life in CUE through the customizable gauge cluster, which can display as much or as little information as desired. Drivers can view turn-by-turn directions, phone call information and music playback details directly behind the steering wheel, allowing them to keep their eyes closer to the road.

"Once again, Cadillac is raising the bar," Connor noted. "While some automakers have rushed to get similar hardware out just to say they have it, Cadillac has spent years refining the design and function of CUE. The result is a system that is more usable and integrated better than anything the competition offers." Virtual Bumpers, also known as automated front and rear short-distance braking, will also warn you and apply the brakes automatically if you happen to have slower than usual reflexes before your bumper makes friends with a kerb or a cyclist. There is a bunch of other safety features in this latest Cadillac model, so you might want to check it out at your nearest showroom to let technology aid your premium driving experience.. The XTS is larger than the CTS and will provide significantly more second row space, where it has 40 inches of legroom. It also has 18 cubic feet of trunk space.

The XTS will arrive with a slew of other advanced technologies ranging from magnetic ride control suspension to adaptive cruise control, which adjusts the car's speed depending upon the vehicle in front of it.
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White House Shooting Suspect is Oscar Ortega

An Idaho man wanted in connection with a White House shooting incident was arrested Wednesday in western Pennsylvania, police and the U.S. Secret Service announced.

Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, who was detained by Pennsylvania State Police, was allegedly involved in a shooting Friday night that may be responsible for two bullets found at the White House, according to the Secret Service.

One bullet hit a window and was stopped by bulletproof glass, and another was found on the White House exterior, the Secret Service said. Both bullets were found Tuesday.

Ortega-Hernandez is to appear in federal court in Pittsburgh at 2 p.m. Thursday, according to the Justice Department.
White House shooter suspect in custody

Lt. Brad Shields of the Pennsylvania State Police identified the arrested man as Oscar Ortega-Hernandez, 21, originally from Idaho. Ortega-Hernandez was being questioned by federal authorities, Shields said at a news conference.

Ortega-Hernandez was arrested under a U.S. Park Police warrant issued Sunday in Washington "based on a shooting that occurred at the White House on November 11," Shields said.

According to Shields, a tip came in Wednesday that the man sought by federal authorities in the Washington shooting was at a Hampton Inn in Indiana, Pennsylvania.

Ortega-Hernandez had stayed at the hotel with another person for a few days before the Friday shooting incident, Shields said.

When Ortega-Hernandez returned to the hotel on Wednesday, staff members recognized him from a photo provided by authorities and notified police, Shields said.

Ortega-Hernandez was arrested without any resistance in the hotel lobby, asking why he was being detained, Shields said. A bag of his was checked by sniffer dogs, but no weapons were found, according to Shields.

The suspect apparently returned to the hotel to locate what Shields called "his friend," and Shields said the suspect's companion was not from the area. He provided no further details of the companion's identity or whereabouts.

In Idaho Falls, Idaho, police spokeswoman Joelyn Hansen said the man -- identified there as Oscar Ramiro Ortega -- was reported missing October 31. Hansen said Ortega is the same man that the Secret Service is calling Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez.

The bullets were found on the south side of the White House, a Secret Service official not authorized to speak on the record told CNN.

"A round was stopped by ballistic glass behind the historic exterior glass," a Secret Service statement said. "One additional round has been found on the exterior of the White House. This damage has not been conclusively connected to Friday's incident, and an assessment of the exterior of the White House is ongoing," A U.S. Park Police crime bulletin issued before Ortega's arrest said he has mental health issues and "should be considered unstable with violent tendencies."

Authorities are investigating his mental health and say there are indications he believed his attack on the White House was part of a personal mission from God.

There are also indications the man had become obsessed with Obama and the White House, according to two officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

A tip from someone who saw and ID'd Ortega, who was captured Wednesday at a hotel near Indiana, Pa. led to his arrest, a Secret Service spokesman said.
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sopa is Stop Internet Piracy Act

SOPA, or the Stop Online Piracy Act, is another one of those bills that sounds like it's going to do something mildly positive but, in reality, has serious potential to negatively change the internet as we know it. It puts power in the hands of the entertainment industry to censor sites that allegedly "engage in, enable or facilitate" copyright infringement. This language vague enough to encompass sites you use every day, like Twitter and Facebook, making SOPA a serious problem. Here's how it works and what you can do about it. Opponents of a bill designed to protect the rights of film companies and music labels say it could be perverted to censor the Internet in the United States.

Hearings in the House of Representatives on the Stop Internet Piracy Act (SOPA) began Wednesday, sparking a campaign by dozens of companies to keep the bill from becoming law.

"We support the bill's stated goals," says an open letter signed by nine Internet companies, including Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, AOL and eBay.

"Unfortunately, the bills as drafted would expose law-abiding U.S. Internet and technology companies to new uncertain liabilities."

The companies believe the government should "consider more targeted ways to combat foreign 'rogue' websites dedicated to copyright infringement and trademark counterfeiting."

SOPA was designed to "promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes," according to the bill’s sponsor Rep. Lamar Smith, the GOP chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

It would allow the government to order service providers to shut down websites it finds have violated copyright laws by illegally distributing protected material. The government’s reach would also extend to search engines, which would be required to remove those websites from its results.
Currently Twitter, Google, Reddit, Kickstarter, Tumblr, Mozilla, Yahoo, AOL, eBay, Zynga, Facebook, and several other sites have spoken out in opposition of SOPA. If you'd like to as well, there are a couple of things you can do.
SOPA would also grant the Justice Department the right to target internationally operated websites, as well as domestic ones.

A similar bill, PROTECT IP Act, has been drafted in the Senate.

"The solutions are draconian," Google chairman Eric Schmidt said during an appearance at the MIT Sloan School of Management. The bill "would require (Internet service providers) to remove URLs from the web, which is also known as censorship last time I checked."

Rep. Smith says his bill "will stop the flow of revenue to rogue websites and ensures that the profits from American innovations go to American innovators."

However, despite the good intentions, Internet companies such as Linkedin, Mozilla and Reddit say the bills as they exist now are "censorship."

“As written, they would betray more than a decade of U.S. policy and advocacy of Internet freedom by establishing a censorship system using the same domain blacklisting technologies pioneered by China and Iran,”
House Judiciary Committee members expressed their support of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) Wednesday. SOPA is a bill drafted in late October that would give copyright owners greater control over how their intellectual property is distributed via the internet. At a hearing Wednesday, members of the House Judiciary Committee debated SOPA, which is aimed at shutting down websites that distribute pirated intellectual property.

Despite the 8 members of the bipartisan group that stood by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith in drafting SOPA, the Washington Post reports that Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), led 10 other House lawmakers in writing a letter to Smith ahead of the hearing to protest SOPA. First, call your congressperson on the phone. This is especially important if you live in Texas, Michigan, Vermont, or Iowa. You can also send a letter to your congressperson by visiting the American Censorship Day web site. To activate the contact widget, you have to click the "Try it out" link that's wedged between two screenshots of a censored logo and the "Website Blocked" widget you're trying to open. This will provide you with a form and allow you to send a letter.

Second, get the word out. Post this article, the American Censorship Day web site, or any other information about SOPA on your social media accounts. Send emails to friends and family. If you oppose the bill, help others to understand why they should oppose it as well.

SOPA is on the fast track, so if you want to fight it you need to do so today. We do, however, recommend you get to know the bill so you you can make an informed decision regarding how you feel about it.
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Wall Street clashes Restart Occupy's day of action

Police arrested protesters who sat on the ground and blocked traffic into New York's financial district on Thursday, part of a day of mass gatherings in response to efforts to break up Occupy Wall Street camps nationwide.

Police in riot helmets hauled several protesters to their feet and handcuffed them one block from Wall Street.

"All day, all week, shut down Wall Street!" the crowd chanted. The march comes after anti-Wall Street activists in San Francisco Wednesday swarmed into a Bank of America branch and tried to set up camp in the lobby. About 100 demonstrators rushed into the bank, chanting "money for schools and education, not for banks and corporations."

In New York, after several arrests, most of the protesters retreated down the street. A line of riot police followed them.

"You do not have a parade permit! You are blocking the street!" a police officer told protesters through a bullhorn. Occupy Wall Street vowed to mark the two-month anniversary of its protests with a "day of action" Thursday, beginning with a march to the heart of the financial district -- the New York Stock Exchange -- that drew hundreds of chanting, sign-waving supporters to lower Manhattan.

By 8 a.m., demonstrators had gathered near Zuccotti Park, their former encampment, chanting "All day, all week, Occupy Wall Street!" as they prepared to march the few blocks to the stock exchange. They vowed to later occupy about 16 subway stations before carrying their protest to Foley Square outside Manhattan's courthouses.

But scores of police blanketed the area near Zuccotti Park, setting the scene for possible clashes similar to those that have led to hundreds of arrests in past demonstrations. Stocks fell on Thursday as concerns over rising yields on euro zone debt outweighed another round of improved U.S. economic data.

Spanish bond yields hit 6.98 percent, their highest level since 1997, at a 10-year auction, while a French bond auction also saw high yields.
 Losses were capped after data showed U.S. claims for jobless benefits hit a seven-month low last week, while permits for future home construction rebounded strongly last month, bolstering views the economy was gaining traction.

"You can focus on the good data here, the corporate data, the economic data saying we are not in a recession. We are probably growing a little bit faster in the fourth quarter than we were in the third quarter, and that is a good sign," said John Canally investment strategist and economist for LPL Financial in Boston.

"But at the end of the day, bond yields in Europe will rule."

The 7 percent mark is viewed by investors as unsustainable, with both Greece and Portugal forced to seek bailouts after yields hit similar levels.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 49.87 points, or 0.42 percent, at 11,855.72. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index took off 7.00 points, or 0.57 percent, at 1,229.91. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 14.57 points, or 0.55 percent, at 2,625.04.

Investors have recently struggled to weigh the threat of a deepening European crisis against U.S. economic data that has been better than expected.

Economic data still on tap includes the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank's November business activity survey at 10 a.m. EST.

Sears Holdings Corp's quarterly loss almost doubled as weak demand at its Sears and Kmart stores hurt sales, it reported early Thursday. Shares slumped 8.7 percent to $62.35.

Applied Materials Inc lost 3.6 percent to $12.02 as the chip gear maker gave a cautious revenue outlook late Wednesday and warned it expects to be affected by a tough economy.
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Springfield’s green ReBuild Warehouse set to close

Everyone who walked into the ReBuild Warehouse in Springfield thought it was just a great idea, a great place. A place where discarded building materials — doors, windows, sinks, flooring — could be recycled rather than trashed. A place where residents could take weekly workshops on how to remake their homes and communities into green, sustainable spaces. A place that provided jobs to folks who otherwise had a hard time finding work. But thoughts and deeds are different things. And ReBuild is closing Sunday, the victim of a lousy economy and an indifferent government, executive director Paul Hughes said. Sitting in a 12,000-square foot warehouse in an industrial park near Edsall Road and I-395, Hughes is making plans to unload hundreds of surplus doors, stacks of oak floor panels, gas stoves and other seemingly valuable stuff that just couldn’t find a home in a time when people aren’t remodeling and building like they used to.

Hughes hopes they can find a new space, or a new source of funding to keep ReBuild alive in some way. He plans to keep offering the workshops and training workers. But unless a savior steps up soon, the best non-Home Depot place to go for building supplies will mostly vanish.
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DeMorning Leverage

That’s what Wal-Mart foes are wondering about now that Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) has endorsed the company’s plans to open two more stores in addition to the four the mega-retailer already has planned. What incentive does Wal-Mart now have to strike a community benefits deal with the city? A good question, but consider what little leverage the city has in the first place: Four of the six Wal-Marts are on private land whose developers can already host the retailer as a matter of right or have already secured necessary zoning changes. As for the other two, Gray literally begged Wal-Mart’s U.S. CEO to come there. The calculation for Wal-Mart and its developer partners goes like this: Their community benefits agreement will be about as much as it would take to hire the lawyers they’d otherwise have to hire to hurdle the regulatory barriers erected by hostile politicos. More Wal-Mart reaction from WAMU-FM, Examiner, DCist. In “sweeping series of orders,” federal judge orders city to fix special education for preschoolers
Fascinating interview with former MPD special operations chief on handling long-term protests — or, how Occupy D.C. is unlike aggrieved farmers
On Occupy D.C.: “It’s worrisome that, as sources have told us, federal officials, who have sole jurisdiction over the plaza and square, and city officials, who are most impacted by the occupations, aren’t really talking about the next step.” ”Jack Evans seems terribly unhappy in a job he desperately wants to keep. He wants to be a big player in a city government he can’t stand. He curates a public vanity wall featuring snapshots of colleagues he privately disdains.” Why Eric Holder probably regrets swearing in Kwame Brown and saying he voted for Gray
Attention parents of DCPS elementary schoolers: There is some evidence it won’t hurt your kids’ college chances to leave them in public school
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Pregnant teen, elderly woman among pepper sprayed

A 17-year-old woman swung a stick at an officer, and as police moved to arrest her, others tried to intervene on her behalf, prompting a blast of pepper spray.

Authorities arrested at least six people before quickly restoring order.

Occupy Seattle organizers said the downtown march was in solidarity with other Occupy Wall Street protests around the nation.

The skirmish Tuesday was the first clash in weeks.

Occupy Seattle moved its encampment to Seattle Central Community College late October. Before that, the group had been camping at Westlake Park, leading to tense standoffs with police and dozens of arrests.

A downtown march and rally in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement turned briefly chaotic as police scattered a crowd of rowdy protesters — including a pregnant 19-year-old and an 84-year-old activist — with blasts of pepper spray.

Protest organizers denounced the use of force, saying that police indiscriminately sprayed the chemical irritant at peaceful protesters.

The Occupy Seattle movement released a written statement late Tuesday expressing support for "a 4-foot 10-inch, 84-year-old woman, a priest and a pregnant woman who as of this writing is still in the hospital."

Dorli Rainey is an activist who has supported liberal causes in the Seattle area for decades. A photo showing Rainey being cared for by fellow activists in the immediate aftermath of the police incident appeared on news websites around the world.

Seattle police spokesman Jeff Kappel said he didn't have specifics on the Rainey incident, but he said pepper spray is "is not age specific. No more dangerous to someone who is 10 or someone who is 80."

He added, that if it were harmful, "we probably wouldn't be using pepper spray if that was the case."

Kappel said police had not yet established whether a pregnant woman was involved.

Paramedics examined a handful of people, including a 19-year-old woman who was three-months pregnant, Seattle fire department spokesman Kyle Moore said. The Seattle Times reported on its website that the woman was taken by ambulance to Harborview Medical Center.

Her identity and status were not immediately available.

Moore added that the protester's own medical response team had taken care of others.

"These protesters are well organized, they're using homemade remedies to counter pepper spray," he said.

Seattle police said plenty of verbal warnings were given to demonstrators attempting to block intersections and streets during rush hour.

"Pepper spray was deployed only against subjects who were either refusing a lawful order to disperse or engaging in assaultive behavior toward officers," Kappel wrote on the department's blog.

Kappel also noted that one man threw an "unknown liquid" at an officer's face and was arrested. The officer was not injured.
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Justin Bieber May Still Sue That Chick

If Mariah Yeater thinks she's dodged the Justin Bieber lawsuit bullet by dismissing her paternity lawsuit, she needs to do some re-thinking.

TMZ broke the story, Yeater dismissed the suit last Thursday, after Justin and his team made it clear ... they were going to sue Yeater and her lawyers for filing a malicious claim.

Despite the fact that Yeater's claim has now been dismissed and the 2 lawyers who filed it have quit, Justin is not backing down from his threat.

The singer's publicist, Matthew Hiltzik, tells TMZ, "We intend to still hold them accountable."

As we first reported, Justin and his team wanted to go after Yeater and the lawyers to set an example that people who file baseless claims against celebs do so at their own peril.
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'Twilight Saga' and Robert Pattinson

Could it be possible that "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1" might actually be ... adult?

The fourth film adapted from a Stephenie Meyer novel about a teenage girl/vampire/werewolf romantic triangle goes places where the first three blockbusters in the series didn't dare.

Like the bedroom.

Yup, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson's achingly chaste Bella and Edward finally get hitched and take a honeymoon in this one.

New-to-the-franchise director Bill Condon -- whose frank approach to sexuality was prominently displayed in "Gods and Monsters" and "Kinsey" -- doesn't shy away from passionate expressions of young marital love. And it's really kind of beautiful in its bed-breaking way.

But then, oh my.

Pattinson, who shot to fame playing the courtly, lovestruck bloodsucker, is still trying to wrap his head around where the tween-adored, carnally toothless fantasy has gone this fourth time around.

"This series has an incredibly strange mindset about sexuality," says the 25-year-old English actor. "You spend three movies setting up the absolute, terrifying fear of sex. Then in this one, you have sex, and there are devastating consequences. I don't really know what it's supposed to be saying."

Whatever it is, it ain't wolf cub love anymore. Millions have read what happens, but if you still want to be surprised, better skip the next couple of paragraphs.  Quick. With something that no one -- not even her wise and good new vampire in-laws -- can predict. They didn't even know an undead and a living person could conceive.

Whatever Bella's carrying, she wants to keep it, even though it's growing so fast and voraciously that it's clearly destroying her from within.

The movie, which opens Friday, crescendoes with perhaps the ickiest birth scene ever filmed. And it's pretty much just Pattinson and Stewart left to play the ghastly scenario out. (Taylor Lautner's lycan third wheel Jacob, as ever, protectively lurks nearby.)

"That was the first time I've been nervous since the first movie in the series, really," says Pattinson, who still hasn't officially copped to dating Stewart for the past three years. "There was no easy way, at all, that you could hide from the reality of it. Basically, it was Kristen lying there. It was her head with this emaciated dummy; it just looked so authentic lying there, covered in blood. You just realized human beings' frailty, and there's no way not to feel that when you're looking at it.

"There were basically two takes, but we shot the entire sequence in one go. That was actually kind of nice, got it over with fairly quickly."

Other than that, Pattinson appeared quite pleased with the emotionally, as well as physically, more mature "BD1."

"What made the first one connect with people in specific ways was that the story was so small," he observes. "There was no adventure or anything, just a small cast in a small town. And it kind of came back to that in this. It wasn't going all around the world, there was no huge army or anything.

"It was a completely personal story. And it's always more interesting to play that, especially if you're doing a fantasy movie. There's less and less to play, really, if you keep introducing characters and just having battles. And this was, like, the biggest spectrum of emotions you could possibly have."

Pattinson was also impressed with the new director, who shot Part 2 of "Breaking Dawn," which will hit theaters a year from now, simultaneously.

"Bill didn't freak out!" says Pattinson. "Before we started shooting, he really made an effort to get on the same page as the whole cast. He came around and visited with each of us individually when the script wasn't even finished, and he just wanted our notes for it. Which is nice, especially for a big studio movie. That normally doesn't happen.

"It was such a huge movie with so many potential disasters and an enormous amount of pressure, but he stayed very good-natured."

Now the question is, how will Pattinson cope with the end of the franchise that's made him a superstar? Before getting cast as Edward Cullen in the 2008 movie "Twilight," the actor's main claim to fame was playing Cedric Diggory in a Harry Potter film, "The Goblet of Fire."

The rest of his screen credits were obscure at best. He was even seriously considering dropping acting for a music career shortly before landing the Edward gig.

"There's still another one coming out," he cautioned, well aware of the promotional insanity that accompanies every "Twilight" film's release. "I still feel like there's a lot to do. It felt like I stepped on this runaway train on the first one and I haven't really had any time for reflection.

"But it's been nice to know, just in terms of doing jobs, that I've been doing a 'Twilight' film and then been able to fit in another movie every single time for the last 31/2 years."

Pattinson feels the new "Twilight" handles the transition to a more candid approach as tastefully, and maybe even elegantly, as could be expected with all of those monsters hanging around.

"Even if we don't want the fans to know that this series is about abstinence -- I mean, it was not even about that, but that was the thing that people picked up on -- and then this is the one where they have sex, it's tricky," the actor notes. "We were a little bit afraid of it being a kind of puerile, voyeuristic thing.

"But Bill went out of his way to share every thought that he had about the direction he was taking.
Check out our new Justin Bieber May Still Sue That Chick ... And Her Lawyers
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Obama asserts US a Pacific power

countering china obama asserts us a pacific power
Signaling a determination to counter a rising China, President Barack Obama vowed Thursday to expand U.S. influence in the Asia-Pacific region and "project power and deter threats to peace" in that part of the world even as he reduces defense spending and winds down two wars.

"The United States is a Pacific power, and we are here to stay," he declared in a speech to the Australian Parliament, sending an unmistakable message to Beijing.

Obama's bullish speech came several hours after announcing he would send military aircraft and up to 2,500 Marines to northern Australia for a training hub to help allies and protect American interests across Asia. He declared the U.S. is not afraid of China, by far the biggest and most powerful country in the region.

China immediately questioned the U.S. move and said it deserved further scrutiny.

Emphasizing that a U.S. presence in the Asia-Pacific region is a top priority of his administration, Obama stressed that any reductions in U.S. defense spending will not come at the expense of that goal.

"Let there be no doubt: in the Asia Pacific in the 21st century, the United States of America is all in," he said.

From Canberra, Obama flew to the northern city of Darwin, where some of the U.S. Marines bound for Australia will be based. His visit marked the first time a sitting U.S. president has been to Darwin, where U.S. and Australian forces were killed in a Japanese attack during World War II. He opened his quick stop there by laying a wreath at a memorial for the USS Peary, a Navy destroyer that was sunk during that battle.

"It was here in Darwin where our alliance was born during Australia's Pearl Harbor. Against overwhelming odds, our forces fought back with honor and courage," Obama said during remarks to Australian and U.S. troops at a military base.

For Obama, Asia represents both a security challenge and an economic opportunity. Speaking in broad geopolitical terms during his speech to Parliament, the president asserted: "With most of the world's nuclear powers and some half of humanity, Asia will largely define whether the century ahead will be marked by conflict or cooperation, needless suffering or human progress."

Virtually everything Obama is doing on his nine-day trip across the Asia-Pacific region has a Chinese subtext, underscoring a relationship that is at once cooperative and marked by tensions over currency, human rights and military might.

China's military spending has increased threefold since the 1990s to about $160 billion last year, and its military recently tested a new stealth jet fighter and launched its first aircraft carrier. A congressional advisory panel on Wednesday urged the White House and Congress to look more closely at China's military expansion and pressed for a tougher stance against what it called anticompetitive Chinese trade policies.

The expanded basing agreement with Australia is just one of several initiatives Obama has taken that is likely to set Beijing on edge at a tricky time. The U.S. is China's second largest trading partner, and the economies are deeply intertwined. Chinese leaders don't want the economy disrupted when global growth is shaky and they are preparing to transfer power to a new leadership next year.

Over the weekend while playing host to Chinese President Hu Jintao and other Pacific rim leaders at a summit in Hawaii, Obama said the U.S. would join a new regional free trade group that so far has excluded China. That added an economic dimension to what some Chinese commentators have called a new U.S. containment policy that features reinvigorated defense ties with nations along China's perimeter, from traditional allies Japan and the Philippines to former enemy Vietnam, all of whom are anxious about growing Chinese power.
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