Recap of 2011 achievements for Gays equality

2011 Was a Good Year for Causes of Gays

By AARON GLANTZ
Published: December 29, 2011

“We passed a ton of bills,” said Rebekah Orr, spokeswoman for Equality California, a group that lobbies for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights. “There is an understanding that inequality is real, so it is relatively easy for a number of these bills to be passed.”

Twelve bills backed by Equality California were passed by the Legislature in 2011. Gov. Jerry Brown signed 10 and vetoed 2.

“There is a new realization that today family is defined differently than it was in the past, and our law needs to reflect that,” said Assemblyman Jerry Hill, a Democrat from San Mateo. His bill making it easier for nonbiological parents to win custody of their children becomes law on Sunday.

Mr. Hill’s bill, opposed by conservative groups and passed on a mostly party-line vote, was spurred in part by the experience of Kimberly Smith, a Santa Cruz woman who nearly lost custody of her twin sons to her former partner’s sperm donor because California family law in some cases prescribed an absolute preference to biological parents.

Conservative groups expressed frustration at the process. In contrast with previous legislative sessions, “bills sailed through without serious debate or reflection and the arguments raised by others were simply ignored,” said William B. May, president of Catholics for the Common Good, a San Francisco-based advocacy organization.

Larry Gerston, a professor of political science at San Jose State University, said the shift had occurred largely because of the tone set by Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat who took office in January 2011, and by Democrats, who control both houses of the State Legislature.

Mr. Brown “showed his hand even before he became governor when as attorney general he refused to defend Proposition 8,” Mr. Gerston said, referring to the 2008 state ballot initiative banning gay marriage.

Two other bills affecting public education will take effect Jan. 1. One, sponsored by Senator Mark Leno of San Francisco, will require lessons about gay men and lesbians to be integrated into social studies classes in California public schools.

The other, sponsored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco, mandates that all schools have clear policies against bullying. It was named Seth’s Law after Seth Walsh, a 13-year-old boy in Kern County who hanged himself in September 2010 after experiencing anti-gay harassment.

Conservative groups are responding by taking their case directly to the voters. In November, two organizations asked California’s secretary of state for permission to begin collecting signatures for a June ballot initiative to repeal Mr. Leno’s bill on social studies instruction. The measure could be added to the ballot for California’s presidential primary.

Gerrard leads Liverpool to victory

Liverpool galvanised by super sub Gerrard

Liverpool's Steven Gerrard (L) shoots at goal during their English Premier League soccer match against Blackburn Rovers at Anfield in Liverpool, northern England, December 26, 2011. REUTERS/Phil Noble

Sat Dec 31, 2011 5:16am IST

REUTERS – Steven Gerrard’s huge influence on Liverpool was clearly apparent again on Friday as he took just 31 minutes to inspire a 3-1 Premier League win over Newcastle United in his team’s final fixture of the year.

Gerrard, who said he was looking forward to seeing the back of 2011 after missing several months with a groin injury and an ankle infection, was introduced as a 59th-minute substitute with the score 1-1 and Newcastle looking strong.

By the final whistle the England international had scored the third goal, provided three clear-cut chances for Andy Carroll and lifted the quality and confidence of a team that had previously won only three times at home in the league this season.

Welsh striker Craig Bellamy netted twice against his former club but so convincing was Gerrard’s cameo display that the fit-again midfielder was named man of the match.

“To get on the scoresheet and get three points was a perfect return,” the 31-year-old Gerrard told Sky Sports. “I have had a terrible year with a lot of injuries but I just want to look forward.”

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish said: “Steven has a wee bit of mileage left in him yet. Today was a great reward for him and everybody who has helped him get back to fitness.”

NARROW ANGLE

With 12 minutes remaining Gerrard made a well-timed run into the penalty area, and after being found by a neat Jordan Henderson pass, he slipped the ball underneath Newcastle keeper Tim Krul from a narrow angle.

It was enough to move Liverpool (34 points from 19 games) up into fifth place before Saturday’s main programme of fixtures. Newcastle (30) are seventh.

Manchester United (45) can go three points clear at the top if they beat Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.

Leaders Manchester City, on the same points as neighbours United but with a superior goal difference, travel to Sunderland on Sunday.

France midfielder Yohan Cabaye headed Newcastle in front after 25 minutes but Bellamy equalised four minutes later with a precise low finish from the edge of the box that went through a ruck of players.

Eight minutes after Gerrard left the bench, Daniel Agger was fouled and Bellamy bent a free kick past Krul from 25 metres.

Newcastle went close in the 70th minute when Demba Ba’s improvised flick was heading for goal until Martin Skrtel raced towards his own line to pull off a dramatic clearance.

England striker Carroll, bought from Newcastle in January for a fee of 35 million pounds, had another frustrating night, fluffing one clear chance and sending a header from a Gerrard cross against the bar.

(Writing by Stephen Wood, editing by Tony Jimenez. To comment on this story: sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

U.S. to sign missile sale to United Arab Emirates

U.S. in $3.5 billion arms sale to UAE amid Iran tensions

By Jim Wolf

WASHINGTON | Sat Dec 31, 2011 10:42am EST

(Reuters) – The United States has signed a $3.5 billion sale of an advanced antimissile interception system to the United Arab Emirates, part of an accelerating military buildup of its friends and allies near Iran.

The deal, signed on December 25 and announced on Friday night by the U.S. Defense Department, “is an important step in improving the region’s security through a regional missile defense architecture,” Pentagon press secretary George Little said in a statement.

The U.S. Congress had been notified of the proposed sale in September 2008 by former President George W. Bush’s administration. At that time, the system built by Lockheed Martin Corp had been projected to involve more missiles, more “fire control” units, more radar sets, all at a cost roughly twice as much to UAE.

It marks the first foreign sale of the so-called Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), the only system designed to destroy short- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles both inside and outside the Earth’s atmosphere.

The United States, under the government-to-government deal, will deliver two THAAD batteries, 96 missiles, two Raytheon Co AN/TPY-2 radars plus 30 years of spare parts, support and training with contractor logistics support to the UAE, Little said.

“Acquisition of this critical defense system will bolster the UAE’s air and missile defense capability and enhance the already robust ballistic missile defense cooperation between the United States and the UAE,” he said.

Lockheed Martin did not immediately respond to a request for its delivery timetable for THAAD, part of a layered bulwark being built by the Obama administration in Europe and the Middle East against Iran’s growing missile capabilities.

IRAN TENSIONS

UAE lies across the Gulf from Iran. The announcement of its purchase underlined rising tensions since a November 8 report from the U.N. nuclear watchdog that Iran appears to have worked on designing a nuclear bomb and may still be pursuing research to that end.

Iran delayed promised long-range missile tests in the Gulf on Saturday and signaled it was ready for fresh talks on its disputed nuclear program.

Tehran on Tuesday threatened to stop the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz if it became the target of an oil embargo over its nuclear ambitions.

The THAAD follows a $1.7 billion direct commercial contract this year to upgrade Saudi Arabia’s Patriot antimissile missiles, and a sale this year of 209 advanced Patriot missiles to Kuwait, valued at roughly $900 million, the Defense Department said.

On Thursday, the Obama administration announced it had sealed a deal on December 24 to sell $29.4 billion in advanced Boeing Co F-15 fighter jets to Saudi Arabia, the priciest single U.S. arms sale yet.

The Saudi sale involves 84 new F-15SA models to be delivered starting in 2015 plus upgrades to 70 F-15s already in the Saudi fleet and new munitions. Congress had been notified of that deal in October 2010.

The ongoing U.S. buildup of Saudi Arabia as a counterweight to Iran is projected to total as much as $60 billion over 10 to 15 years, including the F-15s, three types of helicopters and advanced missiles, bombs and other hardware and services.

Saudi Arabia was the biggest buyer of U.S. arms from January 1, 2007 through the end of 2010, with signed agreements totaling $13.8 billion, followed by the United Arab Emirates, with $10.4 billion, according to a December 15 report by Congressional Research Service analyst Richard Grimmett.

In another pending arms sale to the region, the Obama administration formally proposed in November to sell 600 “bunker buster” bombs and other munitions to UAE in an estimated $304 million package to counter what the Pentagon called current and future regional threats.

Israel, the closest U.S. regional partner, is also being built up. It is to get Lockheed Martin’s new radar-evading F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet, the first country in the region that will fly it. Israel views Iran’s nuclear program as a threat to its existence.

Dennis Cavin, a Lockheed vice president for missile defense programs, told Reuters in August that, in scaling back their planned THAAD purchase, UAE officials had identified some elements “that they think they can do without right now.”

Lockheed, the Pentagon’s No. 1 supplier by sales, is being awarded an initial U.S. government contract worth up to $1.96 billion for the two THAAD batteries under the government-to-government sale to UAE, the Defense Department said in its contract digest on Friday. It said the work was to be carried out through June 30, 2016.

Raytheon’s related deal is valued at up to $582.5 million for radars and services, with details expected to be finalized in June 2012, the digest said. It said Raytheon also was getting a Pentagon deal worth up to $363.9 million to start building two more AN/TPY-2 radar sets.

Lockheed Martin is pleased that the U.S. government and the United Arab Emirates have reached an agreement on the first foreign sale of the THAAD weapon system, Tom McGrath, a company vice president and program manager, said in a release.

“We look forward to working with our customers to deliver this important capability,” he said.

(Reporting By Jim Wolf; Editing by Will Dunham)

Bachmann needs to go away

Bachmann Highlights Antigay Positions

By Trudy Ring

MICHELE BACHMANN 20110811 (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COM

In the final days leading up to the Iowa presidential caucus, Michelle Bachmann is touting herself as more anti–marriage equality and anti–abortion rights than her opponents.

At a campaign stop Tuesday in Council Bluffs, Bachmann sought to set herself apart from the rest of the Republican field, The New York Times reports. “Mitt Romney has defended gay marriage and even signed marriage licenses for same-sex couples, and Ron Paul doesn’t believe the government should protect the institution of marriage,” she said. “I have a record of defending life, marriage, and the family, and I’ll protect them as president of the United States.”

Bachmann’s campaign staff also sent out a press release quoting longtime right-wing activist Phyllis Schlafly as saying, “Michele has the courage to be a leader among her peers. … She has a 100 percent pro-life record and is a strong supporter of traditional marriage.”

Iowa voters will make their preference for the GOP candidate known in the caucus next Tuesday.

World LGBT News of Continued Repression

2011 International LGBT Roundup: Backlash and Repression

by Paul Canning
2011 International LGBT Roundup: Backlash and Repression
I’m rounding up the year in a series of posts, in which no doubt I’ve missed something, so please let me know what I’ve missed in the comments!

Backlash and repression

A whole new country, South Sudan, was born with a sodomy law and exclusion of LGBT from rights supposedly promised to ‘all.’

Turkish LGBT groups suffer repeated attempts to legally shut them down and to block their websites.

The increasingly visible LGBT organizing in Malaysia suffered a backlash, including law change proposals in two states and the banning of events.

An attempt to use gay rights as a ‘wedge’ issue failed in Zambia as the opposition leader Michael Sata was elected President. Gay rights was also used as a ‘wedge’ in Zimbabwe, most awfully to divide the Anglican Church leading to Church resources like orphanages closing and children going hungry.

Malawi criminalized lesbians. This was an issue, but a minor issue, in a subsequent aid reduction by the country’s biggest donor, the UK. It was mainly the Malawian government’s other walk-backs on human rights and a diplomatic spat which caused the UK’s change of approach on aid, but it was played up by them as a wedge issue against the opposition with protests against the state of the economy and human rights abuses called ‘gay rallies’ in state media.

The so-called ‘Kill the Gays’ bill failed to pass at the end of Uganda’s parliament in May, probably more by luck than design. It has been reintroduced into the current parliament. The bill provoked the biggest international petition drive for LGBT rights ever, with well over two million people supporting different efforts. Activists pleaded for such support to be offered in the context of the general human rights problems in the country, but most solidarity work continued to single out the gay issue from the bigger crisis. Protests against the bill raised, again, the use of development aid redirection from governments and other government-to-government ‘leverage’ by Western countries in front of and behind the scenes. The atmosphere generated by the bill led to increased government and societal repression of Ugandan LGBT, highlighted by the murder of leader David Kato in January. Three brave Ugandan activists won international human rights awards, including one described as the most important after the Nobel Peace Prize.

There were a series of arrests of gays in Cameroon, followed by convictions including some based solely on people’s appearance, not their acts. There was violent rhetoric, organized hunts for gay people using entrapment and the government ended the year proposing a ‘tightening’ of the anti-gay law.

Anti-gay rhetoric in Ghana’s media and agitation by religious leaders over the past few years produced a proposed witch-hunt by a state leader – and subsequent international attention. In the ensuing fallout, local human rights and civil society groups failed to defend LGBT people. The year ended with proposals in parliament for further criminalization of gay people.

Nigeria reintroduced anti-gay legislation which was then extended in the parliament to attack any pro-LGBT human rights organizing, potentially fatally undermining HIV/Aids work, among other impacts.

There were sporadic reports of death sentences for homosexual offenses in Iran but little follow-up on these reports by either media, human rights or LGBT groups due, in part, to issues with verification and dangers to sources in Iran.

Honduras finally acted on the large number of unsolved murders of LGBT people in that country, after US prompting. The rate of murders of LGBT elsewhere in Latin America — particularly in Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela — drew little international attention. As did the failure of the international community to support devastated local LGBT in Haiti following the earthquake, though the UN finally pledged a response.

Safety and security concerns for Times Square NYE raise questions

New Year’s Eve security main focus for NYPD

By Khara Lewin, CNN
updated 1:16 AM EST, Fri December 30, 2011
Before event-goers enter Times Square they will have to pass through a comprehensive security checkpoint, New York authorities say.
Before event-goers enter Times Square they will have to pass through a comprehensive security checkpoint, New York authorities say.
New York (CNN) — Security in Times Square will be the priority for New York Police Department this weekend as crowds pack the streets to herald the New Year.

NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told CNN Thursday that he plans to strategically deploy thousands of resources, including 35 mounted horses, explosives-sniffing dogs, and uniformed as well as plainclothes officers on Saturday.

Kelly said the precautions are essential to combating the serious terror threat the city continues face in a post-9/11 world.

COBRA teams to handle chemical, biological and radiological threats will be pre-deployed to key locations, according to the commissioner.

“We operate under the assumption that we’re at the top of the terrorist target list, and we’ve had 14 attempts at terrorist-type attacks.” Kelly said.

To that end, before event-goers enter Times Square they must pass through a comprehensive security checkpoint.

These checkpoints will be erected at each of the 16 entrances to Times Square and will include metal and radiation detectors as well as bag searches. Backpacks and alcohol will not be permitted.

Past the checkpoints, at least 500 cameras and numerous helicopters with infrared capacity will survey the 65 pens, constantly scanning for security threats and breaches, according Commissioner Kelly.

For Kelly, coordination will be crucial, so the Joint Operations Center “will be activated, where we have representatives from units throughout the department and federal, state and local agencies. So you can get face-to-face coordination, which is very important aspect of what we do.”

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to watch the ball drop, according to Times Square’s official website.

Kelly said that the department will seek to ensure the security and safety of the public so they can enjoy the festivities.

“I think it’s something you have to do at least once,” he said. “It’s sort of a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s a happy event. It’s an exciting event.”

T-Mac to Howard: Be careful what you wish for

NEWARK, N.J. – Tracy McGrady forever will be remembered on the wrong side of the superstar alliances, a career of what-ifs with those Grant Hill and Yao Ming partnerships perishing with fractured bones and twisted ligaments. Between Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard, McGrady had been the smaller, sleeker franchise star wanting to leave the Orlando Magic.

Now at 32 years old with the Atlanta Hawks, the knee operations behind him, McGrady has been seared with the scars of professional regret. He won scoring titles, earned tens of millions of All-Star votes and made tens of millions of dollars. As history goes, it’s never worked out right for T-Mac. No titles, no finals, no significant advancements in the playoffs.

Tracy McGrady, now with the Hawks, joined Grant Hill in 2000 to chase a title in Orlando.
(NBAE/Getty Images)

Nevertheless, McGrady was one of the originals who inspired franchises to clear salary-cap space, to partner with another All-Star, and few have lived the free-agent frenzy like him. Yes, McGrady knows of Howard requesting a trade to the New Jersey Nets to play withDeron Williams, but he doesn’t care about the Nets’ shiny new arena in Brooklyn, the Russian billionaire owner willing to spend and spend. For whatever it’s worth, T-Mac doesn’t see Howard and the Nets.

“I can’t see him coming here,” McGrady told Yahoo! Sports late Tuesday inside the visiting locker room at the Prudential Center. “If it’s just Dwight and D-Will, he’s better off just staying in Orlando. You want to go to a team that’s championship caliber, and just him and D-Will won’t get it done. There’s got to be other pieces around to make it look sweet.”

In the most awkward game of the young season, the depleted Nets play the Magic on Thursday night in Orlando. The Nets’ Brook Lopez is out several weeks with a broken foot, and the starting five and bench surrounding Williams is beyond brutal. The Nets have gutted themselves for the cap space to re-sign Williams and sign Howard this summer, entrusting the franchise’s future on the belief they will secure the best center on the planet.

If Howard goes elsewhere, so does Deron Williams, and, yes, general manager Billy King’s plan would come tumbling down. It’s a bold gamble, the highest risk-reward scenario in memory – the kind that unfolded with Orlando and the Chicago Bulls in the 2000 free-agent market for McGrady, Grant Hill and Tim Duncan.

It’s so hard for players to visualize a different day for the Nets, a Brooklyn arena that still is under construction. And so much easier to make a case for the defending NBA champion Dallas Mavericks and an owner, Mark Cuban, who is fully engaged in the championship chase. After watching the Nets offer no resistance to the Hawks in a 106-70 dismantling Tuesday night, T-Mac’s vision of Howard’s future had been further validated in his own mind.

“D-Will is from Dallas,” McGrady said. “You’ve got Dirk Nowitzki there. They’re going to have [cap space] there. That looks sweet. Dirk. D-Will. And then you get Dwight Howard. That’s it, right there.”

The Mavericks will have space for one star, but after possible contract buyouts and an amnesty waiver, it would still take a team to accept the final two years left on Shawn Marion’s contract to get the Mavericks near $30 million in room next summer to sign Williams and Howard. “And that would be really hard because they don’t have a first-round pick [to send with Marion] until 2014,” one league executive said.

Now in the late stages of his career, McGrady has tried to climb aboard one of these super-teams, one of these championship contenders. There was no room for him in Miami, nor Los Angeles, nor Chicago. The Hawks are a good fit, a team that needs him for its bench. McGrady played a pain-free, productive season for the Detroit Pistons a year ago, and there was life in those legs as he scored 12 points against the Nets on Tuesday. He’s come to peace with his standing in the sport, a superstar no more. Still, McGrady has been dutiful in his work with renowned trainer Tim Grover at Attack Athletics in Chicago, and the reward has been a second act for his reconstructed knee.

“There’s so many stars in this league, and we come and go,” McGrady said. “I’m not what I used to be, but I’m still able to go out and help a team win ballgames.”

In retrospect, McGrady is realistic with what could’ve been. He doesn’t speak of missed championships with the Magic and Rockets, but of the genuine possibilities. “If Grant had been healthy when I was in my prime in Orlando, just think of what we could’ve done when the East was so weak,” he said. “And there’s no doubt in my mind we would’ve played in the Finals in [2009] when Yao and I got hurt in Houston. We had Ron Artest,and [went seven games] with the Lakers. … I wish it would’ve worked out.”

Dwight Howard has told the Magic there are three teams he’d sign a contract extension with: the Nets, Lakers and Mavericks.
(NBAE/Getty Images)

As the original owner of a lifetime shoe deal with Adidas, a man with no championships, no glistening playoff legacy, McGrady rejects the idea that Howard ought to let his endorsement-earning power with the shoe company dictate anything about his desire to play for the Bulls. For Adidas, there’s far less of a return on Howard’s stardom to have him sharing the Chicago stage with the company’s biggest endorser, Derrick Rose.

“You’re going to have other endorsements because you’re playing in a big-ass city like Chicago, and because you’re [bleeping] Dwight Howard,” McGrady said.

And a Howard-Rose combination?

“Hell yes, championship,” McGrady said. “Championship. There’s no doubt about it.”

At the end in Orlando in 2004, there came a threshold of no return between McGrady and the organization. He had to leave, and the Magic finally moved him to Houston. Clearly, the Magic are rightfully resisting that moment of truth with Howard, but it’s probably inevitable they’ll have to trade him before they lose him to free agency. Superman’s a different kind of franchise star, an irreplaceable Hall of Fame center.

“I’ve been watching Orlando play, and I think they let it go too far – to where they can’t compete for a championship,” McGrady said. “Dwight’s going to find a sweeter spot for him next year with him being a free agent, with D-Will being a free agent, and Dallas already having an established star there. … Yup, Dallas.”

And then he laughed and said, “You heard it from me first.”

McGrady doesn’t have to do the heavy lifting on Dallas’ salary cap to make it happen – that’s someone else’s job. He took one look at the Nets, and made an understandable declaration. Williams won’t handle this losing well this year, and everyone knows that. This is the highest-risk, highest-reward gamble of all with the Nets: Howard or bust.

“If you think another place looks sweeter, it might not be sweeter than where you are,” McGrady said. “If you’re competing in the playoffs, and you’re a couple pieces away, sometimes it’s better to try and make it work there. In the Dwight situation, though, I think Orlando has made some bad moves.”

McGrady shrugged and smiled. He finds this scenario so fascinating, perhaps because he sees it all through the unique prism of experience. Once, the whole NBA was clearing salary-cap space for Tracy McGrady, and now it’s Dwight Howard. Now it’s someone else. McGrady knows the drill. As he said, so many stars in this league, and they all come and go. On his way out, T-Mac watches one more go down that jagged journey chasing a championship, and he’s living proof this pursuit often ends with far more regret than it does rejoice

Rapper Drake degrades all rappers, claims to be the example for kids

Drake degrades all previous rappers in the world.

Drake is the only rapper ever to positively influence kids.  According to Drake and his own words, this is what he claimed in front of Stevie Wonder’s sold out Nokia Center Christmas charity event prior to Christmas.

That is quite an announcement considering there’s been a lot of influential rappers in the music industry and it is a form of music that will live on forever.

As a parent sitting in the audience watching this immense and historical event with one of the greatest singers of all times Stevie Wonder, IJR News couldn’t help but exhibit some concern as others seemed to join when Drake made this preposterous remark. The person to this writers, right, Kenny Tomlin said this, “Although I’m not going to sit here and say that all rappers have had a great influence on our children, there are indeed rappers that have had a very positive influence on children and many are still practicing that art of music today. If that’s the kind a message he’s going to send out to the kids I don’t think I want him influencing them.”

Stevie wonder not only with his own money paid for additional hour and a half to pay the union workers at the LA Live arena but also performed an outstanding musical performance, and yet again put on a astonishing show.

Even though the loudest part of the audience was obviously there to see that teenage phenomenon Justin Bieber, about 90% of the audience stayed well into the next day to listen to the legend himself, Stevie Wonder

Besides raising money for toys for children, those that couldn’t have a great Christmas without it, Wonder brought in legends such as Michael McDonald who seemed to not even lose a beat at the age of 60.  Numerous other talented entertainers delivered some magnificent performances as well, including New Strings who had the crowd rocking like no other.

So, according to Drake the music industry and especially the rock industry can single-handedly think Drake for setting the example for the children and is already an icon according to well, himself.

MH Jennings

Guest write IJR NEWS

ContactIJRnews@gmail.com

Google will risk defeat to compete with Apple

5 Reasons Android Actually has a chance against Apple in 2012

By Louis Bedigian
Benzinga Staff Writer
December 28, 2011 11:01 AM
 Every month, Android inches closer to smart phone dominance. But how? And why?

Now that Sprint (NYSE: S [FREE Stock Trend Analysis]) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) have the iPhone, you would think that consumers would be ready to make the switch to Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) beloved platform. But Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) remains a strong competitor. With 10 billion app downloads from the Android Market and more than one billion apps downloaded every single month, Google’s mobile OS is quickly gaining on Apple, which sold its 15 billionth app in July.

Yesterday it was revealed that Android and IOS achieved a new Christmas day record with a combined total of 6.8 million activations. While it is unclear how the activations were divided among smartphones and tablets, TechCrunch reported this morning that Google activated 3.7 million Android devices on December 24 and December 25. If Google had achieved this number in just one day, it would have easily eclipsed Apple’s activations. Spread over two days, however, and it’s hard to imagine that Google matched Apple’s numbers. For that to occur, Android would have needed 3.4 million activations on December 25 (half of the 6.8 million Android/IOS activations for the day). This would have left only 300,000 Android activations for Christmas Eve, which just happens to be one of the biggest smart phone activation days of the year. Considering that Android has an average of 700,000 activations per day, this scenario seems very unlikely. Android wouldn’t suddenly drop on one day – least of all Christmas Eve – and rebound the next. Thus, Android likely scored somewhere around one million activations on December 24 and 2.7 million on December 25, leaving Apple as the Christmas 2011 leader with 3.4 million IOS activations in just one day.

This, however, does not mean that the Mac maker can rest easy – far from it. The fact that Android has grown so quickly proves that Apple has something to worry about. It’s enough to make you wonder: which OS will be the first to cross the 30 billion download mark?

In the coming months/years, it could be Android. And that’s not the only reason Android is a threat to Apple. Here’s why.

5. Google Has Money to Blow

If anyone can compete with Apple financially, it’s Google. The company can afford to spend billions acquiring new firms that will make it a stronger and more competitive entity. Without Android and YouTube – two of Google’s most prominent acquisitions – the company’s profit margins would be much, much lower.

Considering this, Google has continued to make major acquisitions in 2011, and will likely to continue to do so in 2012. Which company will the search engine giant acquire next? In looking at the pattern of acquisitions thus far (Android Inc. in 2005, Motorola (NYSE: MMI) six years later), it appears that Google will not make another device-related acquisition for a while. Rather, the company’s next acquisition is likely to be one that complements its existing portfolio.

4. Google Isn’t Afraid to Fail

How many times has Google attempted to get into the music industry? How many times has the company created a social media site, closed it, and started anew? If it had a choice, Google would be successful in everything. But when it fails, the company picks itself up off the floor and tries again.

This makes Google the most dangerous opponent Apple will ever face. It may not end up being the most powerful opponent – in many ways, that title still goes to Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), whose Windows 8 platform could be a game-changer for tablets. But Google isn’t afraid to lose. If it fails to produce a great tablet in 2012, it will just try again in 2013, and again after that until the day comes when it has finally produced a serious iPad competitor.

3. Google is Willing to Buy Your Love

Just a few days ago, All Things reported that Google had agreed to pay Mozilla nearly $300 million per year to maintain its status as the default search engine in Firefox.

As silly as this sounds (you could start 300 new startups for less!), Google is fully aware of the importance of maintaining that status. When consumers search with Firefox, they either type keywords directly into the URL bar or enter them into the Google search box. In either case, Google gets the traffic. With millions of people using Firefox everyday, Google stood to lose a lot of visitors if Bing or Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO) were to become the default search engine.

If Google was willing to pay for Firefox’s support in this scenario, who knows what it will do in other situations. Google may be willing to buy its way into any venue – including those that Apple holds most dear.

2. Google is Making its Own Tablet

The cat’s out of the bag – Google wants to destroy the iPad 3. The company is determined to build a significant tablet competitor to Apple’s long-awaited 10-inch device.

While many will argue that it can’t be done and that Apple will rule 2012, Android has never been about immediate success. Google is a gradual, sneaky, deadly beast. Just a few years ago, Android was nothing in the smartphone market. Now it’s the number-two player in America.

If Google becomes as serious about tablets as it is about smartphones, Apple had better watch out.

1. Google Wants to be a Content Leader

“Content is king.” You’ve heard that a million times, I’m sure. But as annoying as that statement may be, it is 100% accurate. Without an amazing App Store, a digital warehouse that’s jam-packed with video content, and a music library unlike any other, Apple wouldn’t have been able to convince us to buy an iPad. Sure, the tablet is the most intuitive available. But it’s the content that sealed the deal and sold the device to millions of consumers worldwide.

Google could produce a similar success story. In addition to YouTube, one of the biggest streaming video sites in the world, Google has considered the potential of a Hulu acquisition. There have been numerous reports suggesting that Google will go the extra mile and hire Hollywood talent to produce original and exclusive content for YouTube.

As Google becomes a stronger player in content delivery, the company will offer new reasons for consumers to choose its tablet over the iPad.

Another tech giant is already making progress in this department. While it is no secret that the Kindle Fire’s $200 price tag is the primary reason for its success, Amazon’s (NASDAQ: AMZN) massive video library – which includes both free (via Amazon Prime) and paid content – surely played a significant role.

If Amazon can accomplish so much with a tiny, lower-priced tablet, just imagine what a higher-quality, 10-inch Google tablet could do.

ACTION ITEMS:

Bullish:

Those who believe that Google will rise above the competition and become the number-one iPad competitor should:

  • Remember that Apple performs better when the competition is fierce. Thus, Google’s rise could actually improve the quality of the next iOS, as well as future iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch iterations.
  • Understand that Google still has a lot of work ahead of itself. Even if it becomes the leading iPad competitor, it will take an enormous amount of effort to maintain that success.

Bearish:

While Google’s tablet venture might be a win-win for some within the tech industry, there are a couple of losers to watch out for:

  • Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ), Dell (NASDAQ: DELL), and other computer manufacturers, who are finding it increasingly difficult to sell laptops now that tablets have arrived.

Greenman’s UFC 141 Predictions and PIcks

Greenman’s UFC 141 MMA Picks

From Radio to HDNET, Chris Greenman’s UFC and StrikeForce predictions have racked up the highest win percentage among all known and documented MMA experts. The difference is that when you train among some of MMA’s elite, inside information surfaces that don’t quite make it to ESPN, FOX, Spike, and others.

For the last 3 years he is 429 correct and 68 wrong, that is 86.5% for those of you can’t do the math too well.  We finally will publish as a service to our viewers.

 

Chris Greenman’s IFC 141 picks

 Lesnar – Overeem, Unfortunately I have to bow out and go against the All-American wrestler, Alistair Overeem simply brings in too much diversity

 Diaz – Cerrone, I am not a Cerrone fan simply because when I met him at the Arnold Classic behind the exhibitors staff area, he was a punk and I almost had to beat his 150 lb ass.  However, Diaz is even a bigger punk and is no Nick.  Cerrone beats Diaz in this bout.

 Fitch – Hendricks, Two world class wrestlers, two great fighters, but experience prevails and Fitch takes home this victory.

 Gustafsson – Matyushenko, Gustafsson 100%, this is a bad matchup for Mr. Henko.

 Assuncao – Pearson, I am actually on the fence on this one, if I had to pick I would take Pearson, but I betting man doesn’t force bets so I will lay low on this.

 Greenman’s latest UFC 140 Predictions results – 4 – 0 “This is a free service I offer anyone that follows my stuff, so if you’re in Vegas you can buy me dinner or something email me ProFightNetworkCEO@gmail.com and ask about my Pick of the year”