Americans vote online in the primary




MEXICO CITY &

This year, for the first time, expatriate Democrats can cast their ballots on the Internet in a presidential primary for people living outside the United States.




Democrats Abroad, an official branch of the party representing overseas voters, will hold its first global presidential preference primary from Feb. 5 to 12, with ex-pats selecting the candidate of their choice by Internet as well as fax, mail and in-person at polling places in more than 100 countries.




Democrats Abroad is particularly proud of the online voting option &

which provides a new alternative to the usual process of voting from overseas, a system made difficult by complicated voter registration paperwork, early deadlines and unreliable foreign mail service.




"The online system is incredibly secure: That was one of our biggest goals," said Lindsey Reynolds, executive director of Democrats Abroad. "And it does allow access to folks who ordinarily wouldn't get to participate."




U.S. citizens wanting to vote online must join Democrats Abroad before Feb. — and indicate their preference to vote by Internet instead of in the local primaries wherever they last lived in the United States. They must promise not to vote twice for president, but can still participate in non-presidential local elections.




Obama to correct belief he's a Muslim




COLUMBIA, S.C. &

Barack Obama is stepping up his effort to correct the misconception that he's a Muslim now that the presidential campaign has hit the Bible Belt.




At a rally to kick off a weeklong campaign for the South Carolina primary, Obama tried to set the record straight from an attack circulating widely on the Internet that is designed to play into prejudices against Muslims and fears of terrorism.




"I've been to the same church &

the same Christian church &

for almost 20 years," Obama said, stressing the word Christian and drawing cheers from the faithful in reply. "I was sworn in with my hand on the family Bible. Whenever I'm in the United States Senate, I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. So if you get some silly e-mail ... send it back to whoever sent it and tell them this is all crazy. Educate."




Obama is referring to a debunked chain e-mail circulating widely on the Internet that suggests he is hiding his Islamic roots and may be a terrorist in disguise. It says he was sworn into the Senate on the Quran and turns his back on the flag during the pledge.




There are some truths in the e-mail's details. Obama's middle name is Hussein. His father and stepfather were Muslim. And he spent part of his childhood in Indonesia, a largely Muslim country. But he attended secular and Catholic schools, not a radical madrassa.




King's legacy being lost in pop culture




NEW YORK &

Nearly 40 years after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., some say his legacy is being frozen in a moment in time that ignores the full complexity of the man and his message.




"Everyone knows &

even the smallest kid knows about Martin Luther King &

can say his most famous moment was that 'I have a dream' speech," said Henry Louis Taylor Jr., professor of urban and regional planning at the University of Buffalo. "No one can go further than one sentence. All we know is that this guy had a dream. We don't know what that dream was."




King was working on anti-poverty and anti-war issues at the time of his death. He had spoken out against the Vietnam War and was in Memphis when he was killed in April 1968 in support of striking sanitation workers.




King had come a long way from the crowds who cheered him at the 1963 March on Washington, when he was introduced as "the moral leader of our nation" &

and when he pronounced "I have a dream" on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.







L.A. Times fires editor over budget cuts




LOS ANGELES &

The Los Angeles Times fired its top editor after he rejected a management order to cut $4 million from the newsroom budget, 14 months after his predecessor was also ousted in a budget dispute, the newspaper said Sunday.




James O'Shea was fired following a confrontation with Publisher David D. Hiller, the Times reported on its Web site. The story didn't say when the confrontation took place.




"The Los Angeles Times, like all newspaper companies, is facing major challenges in charting a course that will be successful for the future. The path ahead is going to be difficult and requires that our people and our organization be aligned behind what we need to do," Hiller said in a statement. "As a result of these changes, Jim O'Shea will be leaving the Times."




O'Shea's departure comes just a month after the Times' parent, Chicago-based Tribune Co., was taken private in an $8.2 billion buyout by real estate magnate Sam Zell.




The departure also follows that of his predecessor, Dean Baquet, who was forced to resign after he opposed further cuts to the newsroom budget in 2006.




"" The Associated Press