Memo: The Washington Times could be sold for $1
Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
(08-31) 16:45 PDT
WASHINGTON (AP) --
The company that owns The Washington Times said the newspaper could be sold for $1 to a Unification Church-affiliated buyer, according to in a memo released to the media Tuesday.
Editorial adviser Michael Marshall's memo said the preliminary agreement would essentially transfer the paper from a company controlled by Preston Moon, the son of Unification Church leader and newspaper founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon, to a firm headed by Doug Joo, one of the elder Moon's allies.
Joo had been the publication's chairman, but was ousted in November 2009 along with Thomas P. McDevitt, the paper's president and publisher; and Keith Cooperrider, the chief financial officer. Joo did not immediately return a voicemail message left at his home phone number Tuesday.
News World Communications, the company controlled by Preston Moon, is also asking Joo's Delaware-based News World Media Development to assume the paper's financial and legal obligations to its employees and creditors in the tentative deal, according to the memo. The proposed deal is subject to a 30-day due diligence period.
The conservative newspaper has struggled financially. It cut roughly 40 percent of its staff this year and eliminated its sports section.
Sam Dealey, the newspaper's executive editor, confirmed the tentative deal to transfer ownership last week but declined to comment on Marshall's memo on Tuesday. Don Meyer, a spokesman for the newspaper, also declined to comment.
Tuesday, August 31st 2010, 7:26 PM
Brandon/APSarah Palin at Glenn Beck's 'Restoring Honor' rally.
John McCain shocked voters and pundits alike by picking Sarah Palin as a running mate in 2008, and McCain's daughter reveals the choice caused plenty of behind-the-scenes drama too.
In her new book "Dirty Sexy Politics," Meghan McCain says Palin brought "stress, drama, complications, panic and loads of uncertainty" to the campaign.
"She was not just an overnight success or even a political Cinderella story," McCain writes in an excerpt obtained by ABC News. "She was a sudden, freakishly huge, full-fledged phenomenon. It seemed too much. And it seemed too easy."
Speaking out about the former Alaska Gov. for the first time, McCain admits she once wondered if her father's loss "was Sarah Palin's fault."
She ultimately decided Palin wasn't responsible for John McCain's failure to win the presidency.
"I do clearly state at the end that we did not lose because of her, and I'm speaking out now because I do have conflicting feelings about her," McCain said Tuesday on ABC's Good Morning America. "She brought so much momentum and enthusiasm to the campaign."
McCain, who writes for her website McCainBlogette.com and is a columnist for The Daily Beast, describes herself as a moderate voter.
She told ABC that in the last two years she has developed a respect for Palin as a "Republican feminist," even though, "It's no secret that I'm so unlike her."
At the time, McCain says she was just as surprised as the rest of the country by her father's selection to have Palin join him on the 2008 ticket.
"In my heart of hearts, I'd always hoped my father would pick Senator Joe Lieberman as his running mate," she writes, though she remembers going to sleep the night before the announcement assuming her father would name then-Gov. of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney.
McCain also says she predicted problems on the campaign trail even before Palin joined the team.
"Drama was inevitable on a campaign and created almost out of thin air. Tempers were always flying, and feelings were always being hurt. There was no question that a running mate would add to the confusion and upset," she writes. "But I couldn't have predicted just how serious it was going to get."
One memorable stumbling block were Palin's botched interviews with CBS Anchor Katie Couric.
"Katie Couric's interview with her before the vice presidential debate had been disastrous," McCain writes. "Unhappy with her performance, Palin seemed to blame the interview on the campaign. And she continued to blame other poor interviews and snafus on the campaign too.
"Sarah Palin. She was turning out to be somebody who leaves a wake of confusion and chaos - to the point of dizziness - wherever she went."
Though McCain now says there are a lot of things she does like about Palin, she stayed cagey on where her vote would lie if the former VP candidate runs for president in 2012.
"I really don't like these hypothetical questions...It depends on the situation," McCain told ABC. "It's going to be a very interesting election, no matter what happens."
Facebook post gets Detroit-area juror in hot water
A juror has been removed from a Detroit-area trial after writing on Facebook that the defendant was guilty. The problem? The trial wasn't over.
Story Created: Aug 30, 2010 at 10:04 AM MDT
Story Updated: Aug 30, 2010 at 10:17 AM MDT
MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. (AP) - A judge removed a juror from a trial in suburban Detroit after the young woman wrote on Facebook that the defendant was guilty. The problem? The trial wasn't over.
Hadley Jons, of Warren just north of Detroit, could be found in contempt when she returns to the Macomb County circuit court Thursday.
Jons, 20, was a juror in a case of resisting arrest. On Aug. 11, a day off from the trial and before the prosecution finished its case, she wrote on Facebook that it was "gonna be fun to tell the defendant they're guilty."
The post was discovered by defense lawyer Saleema Sheikh's son.
Circuit Judge Diane Druzinski confronted Jons the next day and replaced her with an alternate.
"You don't know how disturbing this is," Druzinski said, according to The Macomb Daily.
A message seeking comment was left for Jons on Monday.
"I would like to see her get some jail time, nothing major, a few hours or overnight," Sheikh said. "This is the jury system. People need to know how important it is."
Sheikh's son, Jaxon Goodman, discovered the comment while checking jurors' names on the Internet. He works in his mother's law office.
"I'm really proud of him," Sheikh said.
Without Jons, the jury convicted Sheikh's client of a felony but couldn't agree on a separate misdemeanor charge.
GOLDEN, Colo. (NBC) -- A Colorado Walmart employee is recovering after being hit in the head by a shoplifting suspect.
Police say three men took a shopping cart full of stolen goods out of a store when the employee tried to stop them in Golden last week.
Three of the suspects have been arrested.
Police are still searching for the get-away driver.
The employee is expected to be okay.
LINK TO VIDEO
Those born on August 31st are very much concerned with being in the public eye themselves and/or helping others to make their way in society. Those born on this day are usually people who find themselves deeply involved with events occurring around them. Not only are they inevitably drawn in to the main currents of life, but they are also fated to stand out, sometimes in a quiet way, from those around them. Some August 31 people are entertaining, simply fun to be around. Others are more serious and concerned with improving the lot of those around them. The more entertaining type loves to perform and lift the spirits of his/her family and friends. The more serious type is more interested in educating others, whether through example or by actively promoting principles and/or knowledge. Regardless of how they express themselves socially, those born on this day are most often found working in the service of their fellow human beings, trying to improve the general state of things through their efforts.
August 31 people know what makes others tick. Whether as parents, performers, bosses or teachers, they are psychologically astute, able to understand and influence the thoughts and moods of others, and perhaps enlighten them.
August 31st people have an attractive air about them which most people like. They have a kind of quiet and solid charm that invariably attracts others to them. Therefore, although they are good team members, their lot is often to become leaders. Such a position of leadership suits their talents-organizational skills and decision-making ability, to name two-but on the other hand, may be stressful for their personality. Generally August 31 people display an aversion to ostentation.
Generally, August 31st people do not have difficulty finding their way in the world. Their great struggle, however, will be reconciling their public commitments and their private wishes and needs. Having a getaway to escape to, a cherished hobby or a secret role which they play far from the public eye is often essential to their psychological well-being.
Those born on the 31st day of any month are ruled by the number 4 (3+1=4). Since only 7 months have a 31st day it is a bit of an unusual number for a birthday, and the people born on these days are equally unusual and hard to fathom. Those ruled by the number 4 can be difficult or argumentative, since they so often see things differently from others. They also take rejection very hard.
Advice: Seek inner guidance. Spend more time alone with yourself and lessen your need for approval or attention. Find a good balance between fun and responsibility.
Strengths: Dynamic, influential and fun
Negatives: Frazzled, socially dependent and caustic
Born on This Day: Maria Montessori, Edwin Moses, Frank Robinson and Richard Gere
This Day In History: Aug 31, 1997 Princess Diana dies
Diana, Princess of Wales, dies in Paris' Pitie-Salpetiere Hospital after suffering massive chest injuries in an early morning car accident. Her companion, Dodi Fayed, was killed instantly in the 12:25 a.m. crash, as was driver Henri Paul, who was drunk and lost control of the Mercedes in a highway underpass. He was driving at excessive speeds in a reckless attempt to escape paparazzi photographers. Diana's bodyguard, Trevor Rees Jones, escaped with serious but nonfatal injuries. He was the only one wearing his seat belt. The death of Diana, beloved by millions for her beauty and good nature, plunged the world into mourning.
Famous Inventions: 1897 Thomas Edison patented a kinetographic camera.
Monday, August 30th 2010, 3:00 PM
Martin/APSarah Palin at Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally in Washington.
Sarah Palin is a force to be reckoned with, but the majority of Americans don’t think she’d make an effective President.
A new 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll released Monday found that despite her star status, 59% of Americans don't think Palin would be a hit in the White House.
Even among Republicans, just 40% said the former vice presidential candidate would make an effective President.
Since she broke onto the national stage in 2008, Palin has leveraged her political past into multi-million dollar book deals, high-profile speeches, and a Midas touch when it comes to endorsing Republican candidates for the House and Senate, but she hasn't convinced voters she'd be a success as President.
Results showed 75% of Democrats and 63% of independents did not feel she would be effective in office.
Only 26% of those surveyed said they felt confident she would be a successful President, including 47% of Republicans, 12% of Democrats, and 21% of independents.
Though voters may not feel ready for a Palin 2012 ticket yet, the former Alaska governor has managed to maintain her star power.
At least 80,000 people came to see her speak on Saturday at Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" event in Washington, D.C.
And out of 19 primary races in which Palin endorsed a candidate before the election, 11 won.
Despite the rumors that Palin intends to challenge Obama in the next presidential election, the Wasilla native has not confirmed her intention to run for office.
"I’ve never committed to running for President,” she told Fox News earlier this month. "That’s not where my focus is."
The extremely capable people born on August 30 are rock-solid where their strengths are `concerned. Particularly good with money, they usually enjoy dealing with finance and take great joy in the successful management of company, personal or family funds. Whatever their fields of interest, most born on this day seek tangible results in their work and prefer not to venture into speculative or unrealistic areas. Generally, the home of a person born on this day is well-ordered, comfortable and carefully arranged to meet material needs and wants.
Most August 30 people are confident in their ability to handle most any situation, sometimes overly so. Those born on the 30th of the month are ruled by the number 3 (3+ 0=3. Since those ruled by the number 3 generally seek to rise to high positions. They are often driven upward in their search for material success. Those ruled by the number 3 love their independence, which makes for a more stressful life, but also of course presents more challenges and opportunities for decisive action.
Advice: Beware of fostering dependency in others, teach your children to be self-sufficient. Be flexible when it comes to rules, don’t feel you have to control every aspect of your environment. Cultivate our spiritual side and look beyond what this world has to offer.
Strengths: Financially astute, organized and reliable
Weaknesses: Authoritarian and inflexible
Born On This Day: Mary Godwin Shelley, Ted Williams, Roy Wilkins and Warren Buffet
Invention on This Day:1968 The song "Hey Jude" by John Lennon and Paul McCartney was copyright registered.
1994 IBM announced it would not oppose Microsoft's attempt to trademark the name "Windows."
This Day In History: Thurgood Marshall confirmed as Supreme Court justice
On this day in 1967, Thurgood Marshall becomes the first African American to be confirmed as a Supreme Court justice. He would remain on the Supreme Court for 24 years before retiring for health reasons, leaving a legacy of upholding the rights of the individual as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution
Shreveport pastor who shares name with wanted Texas criminal mistakenly arrested
August 28, 2010
What's in a name? Shreveport pastor Gregory Jones can tell you that despite what Shakespeare's Juliet may say, calling a rose by its real name doesn't mean it necessarily will smell sweet. In fact, it just may stink — and include a stay at Caddo Correctional Center.
Jones was late for an appointment Monday when he was pulled over by a Caddo sheriff's deputy for speeding on Colquitt Road. Jones, pastor of Eden Worship Center on Russell Road, readily handed over his driver's license, insurance card and registration when asked.
"I thought: 'I'm going to get a speeding ticket, at worse,'" he said.
Soon, another deputy arrived. Moments later, Jones was handcuffed and in the back of a patrol car. Unsure of what was happening, Jones asked deputies why he had been arrested.
"They said: 'You are wanted out of Austin, Texas, for parole violations and some other crimes,'" Jones recalls. "I said: 'That's not me. I've never been to prison. I've never been on parole.'"
It seemed Jones shared the same first and last name and birth date with a wanted Texas man.
Deputies, who likely had heard more than one suspect make the same claim, weren't impressed with Jones' assertion of mistaken identity. And, department policy required them to be certain Jones, who has a Texas driver's license, was in fact who he said.
"Until you can verify, you can't allow a person to leave," said Caddo Lt. Don Gibbs, who noted the department was sorry for Jones' inconvenience but committed to ensuring wanted criminals weren't accidentally let go.
Jones said Caddo deputies and booking personnel treated him well and assured them they were working to establish his identity. It took nearly eight hours before a photograph and FBI fingerprint check confirmed Jones was telling the truth.
But by then his mug shot and arrest information had been published on the Caddo sheriff's website and rumors about Eden Worship Center's pastor and his criminal doings were circulating, he said.
"It's important to me that my parishioners are able to have confidence," said Jones, who is anxious to clear his name and set the record straight.
While cases of mistaken identity such as Jones' aren't common, they do happen occasionally, said Caddo Lt. Phyllis Walker. Incredibly, Jones wasn't the only case this week — another man, who shares the same first, middle and last name with his brother, also was arrested and later released after his identity was confirmed.
Jones, who experienced a similar situation years ago, isn't upset with the deputies who arrested him.
"They were just doing their job," said Jones, who will not have an arrest record as a result of the incident but did walk away with a speeding ticket.
But he has learned a lesson.
"What this has really taught me is to be less judgmental about people who are incarcerated and who plead their innocence because it can happen," Jones said. "I'm one of the fortunate ones that it was resolved this quickly."
Woman nearly crushed by train after falling onto tracks, but motorman slams brakes just in timePete Donohue, Samuel Goldsmith and Rich Schapiro
Sunday, August 29th 2010, 4:00 AM
Raymond RosarioAn unidentified woman tumbled onto subway tracks at the Fifth Ave. and 59th St. station early Saturday morning.
Raymond RosarioMotorman Francis Lusk (below) slammed the train's brakes just in time to avoid hitting the fallen woman.
Goldfield for NewsLusk, who stopped the train about 70 feet from the woman's body, said he didn't hesitate to help her.
An eagle-eyed motorman saved a straphanger from almost certain death when he slammed the brakes on a 370-ton train - missing by mere seconds a woman who had fallen on the tracks.
Stunning photographs show the unidentified woman sprawled out on the subway tracks at the Fifth Ave. and 59th St. station about 7 a.m. Saturday.
"The train was rolling into the station and I heard this scream," said Raymond Rosario, a doorman who was on his way home to Queens. "She was moaning. She couldn't get up."
Witnesses along the N train platform waved their arms frantically and screamed for the motorman to stop as the woman lay twisted and helpless. Her body was partially in the drainage trough between the tracks. A black satchel still hung over her left shoulder.
"It seemed like it wasn't going to stop," Rosario told the Daily News. "It came so so close, I never saw anything like that. She was very lucky."
Motorman Francis Lusk had spotted the woman as she plummeted onto the tracks about 300 feet in front of his speeding train.
"She walked right off the platform," Lusk, 36, told the Daily News. "I was shocked. I didn't know what was wrong."
Lusk, the grandson of a motorman, didn't hesitate.
As spectators looked on in disbelief, he immediately hit the brakes and blew his horn to deter straphangers from jumping onto the electrified train bed.
The train came to a halt about 70 feet from the woman's body, Lusk said.
The motorman called the radio control center to have the power turned off, hopped out of his train and raced to help the woman.
"I was just going on instinct," said Lusk. "If she was discombobulated, she might not have known where she was and stumbled onto the third rail."
Lusk knelt on the tracks and consoled the woman, but didn't move her because he feared he might exacerbate her injuries. Blood dripped from the woman's face. She was dazed but conscious.
"Ma'am, just relax. Don't move," Lusk told the woman, who appeared to be in her early 30s. "We have police and paramedics on the way."
The woman told Lusk she was feeling dizzy. He handed her tissues, and she blotted the blood running from a cut above her left eye.
In less than five minutes, cops and firefighters appeared on the platform. They hopped onto the railbed, secured the woman on a stretcher and hauled her out of the station, Lusk said.
The mystery woman was taken to New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell Medical Center.
Meanwhile, Lusk finished his shift and headed to his Valley Stream, L.I., home about 1 p.m.
"I was just doing my job," said the humble motorman, who joined the MTA two years ago.
N train service was suspended from 7:16 a.m. to 7:57 a.m.
"Thanks to the quick thinking and actions of one of our employees this incident - which could have had very tragic consequences - instead had a very happy ending," said Tom Prendergast, president of NYC Transit.
The bespectacled saint in MTA clothing joins a growing list of subway heroes.
Wesley leaped onto the tracks in 2007 and saved Cameron Hollopeter, a stranger who apparently had a seizure and fell from a Harlem platform.
In May, a still-unidentified good Samaritan jumped to the tracks and saved 26-year-old Jessica O<snip>a from being crushed by an L train in the Union Square station after she fainted and tumbled off the platform.
Sisco/PoolBarack Obama speaks at Xavier University in New Orleans on Sunday, the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Five years after the ravaging storm, President Barack Obama celebrated New Orleans's revival from Hurricane Katrina on Sunday and pledged common purpose with residents in the continuing struggle to protect and rebuild the Gulf Coast.
Obama declared to those who dedicated themselves to their city's recovery: "Because of you, New Orleans is coming back."
And he pledged: "My administration is going to stand with you and fight alongside you until the job is done. "
Implicit in his remarks was an indictment of sorts against his predecessor's administration for its handling of the crisis. Obama called Katrina and its aftermath not just a natural disaster but "a manmade catastrophe — a shameful breakdown in government that left countless men, women, and children abandoned and alone."
Obama spoke at Xavier University, an institution wracked with debris and floodwaters in August 2005, but soon back in operation. New Orleans, he said, has become a "symbol of resilience and community."
The storm killed more than 1,800 people along the Gulf coast, most in Louisiana, and flooded 80 percent of New Orleans.
Obama ticked off progress: A fortified levee system set to be finished next year, a dramatic decline in families still living in emergency housing, rising achievement in the city's public schools, a surge in small businesses making New Orleans one of the nation's fastest growing cities.
On the other hand, he said: "I don't have to tell you that there are still too many vacant and overgrown lots. There are still too many students attending classes in trailers. There are still too many people unable to find work. And there are still too many New Orleanians who have not been able to come home."
After years in which halting progress mixed often with setbacks and despair, the city was getting back on its feet when the BP oil spill dealt another blow. The exploded well spewed more than 200 million gallons of crude into the Gulf before it was capped in mid-July.
Obama's challenge was to reassure residents who remain skeptical of government promises after witnessing former President George W. Bush's response to Katrina, which was widely criticized as inept. Although criticism of Obama's response to the Gulf oil spill rarely reached the level of anger directed at Bush, some still saw it as lacking in speed and coordination.
To a region weary of calamity, Obama pledged, too, to "stand with you until the oil is cleaned up, the environment is restored, polluters are held accountable, communities are made whole, and this region is back on its feet. "
The first stop on Obama's visit was the Parkway Bakery and Tavern, a local institution in the once-flooded midcity. Joined by his family, Obama mingled with customers at the midcity landmark, posed with an engaged couple and ordered a shrimp po-boy from the counter of the sandwich shop that was under six feet of water after Katrina hit.
The Billionaires Bankrolling the Tea Party
August 28, 2010
ANOTHER weekend, another grass-roots demonstration starring Real Americans who are mad as hell and want to take back their country from you-know-who. Last Sunday the site was Lower Manhattan, where they jeered the “ground zero mosque.” This weekend, the scene shifted to Washington, where the avatars of oppressed white Tea Party America, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, were slated to “reclaim the civil rights movement” (Beck’s words) on the same spot where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had his dream exactly 47 years earlier.
The New York Times
Vive la révolution!
There’s just one element missing from these snapshots of America’s ostensibly spontaneous and leaderless populist uprising: the sugar daddies who are bankrolling it, and have been doing so since well before the “death panel” warm-up acts of last summer. Three heavy hitters rule. You’ve heard of one of them, Rupert Murdoch. The other two, the brothers David and Charles Koch, are even richer, with a combined wealth exceeded only by that of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett among Americans. But even those carrying the Kochs’ banner may not know who these brothers are.
Their self-interested and at times radical agendas, like Murdoch’s, go well beyond, and sometimes counter to, the interests of those who serve as spear carriers in the political pageants hawked on Fox News. The country will be in for quite a ride should these potentates gain power, and given the recession-battered electorate’s unchecked anger and the Obama White House’s unfocused political strategy, they might.
All three tycoons are the latest incarnation of what the historian Kim Phillips-Fein labeled “Invisible Hands” in her prescient 2009 book of that title: those corporate players who have financed the far right ever since the du Pont brothers spawned the American Liberty League in 1934 to bring down F.D.R. You can draw a straight line from the Liberty League’s crusade against the New Deal “socialism” of Social Security, the Securities and Exchange Commission and child labor laws to the John Birch Society-Barry Goldwater assault on J.F.K. and Medicare to the Koch-Murdoch-backed juggernaut against our “socialist” president.
Only the fat cats change — not their methods and not their pet bugaboos (taxes, corporate regulation, organized labor, and government “handouts” to the poor, unemployed, ill and elderly). Even the sources of their fortunes remain fairly constant. Koch Industries began with oil in the 1930s and now also spews an array of industrial products, from Dixie cups to Lycra, not unlike DuPont’s portfolio of paint and plastics. Sometimes the biological DNA persists as well. The Koch brothers’ father, Fred, was among the select group chosen to serve on the Birch Society’s top governing body. In a recorded 1963 speech that survives in a University of Michigan archive, he can be heard warning of “a takeover” of America in which Communists would “infiltrate the highest offices of government in the U.S. until the president is a Communist, unknown to the rest of us.” That rant could be delivered as is at any Tea Party rally today.
Last week the Kochs were shoved unwillingly into the spotlight by the most comprehensive journalistic portrait of them yet, written by Jane Mayer of The New Yorker. Her article caused a stir among those in Manhattan’s liberal elite who didn’t know that David Koch, widely celebrated for his cultural philanthropy, is not merely another rich conservative Republican but the founder of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, which, as Mayer writes with some understatement, “has worked closely with the Tea Party since the movement’s inception.” To New Yorkers who associate the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center with the New York City Ballet, it’s startling to learn that the Texas branch of that foundation’s political arm, known simply as Americans for Prosperity, gave its Blogger of the Year Award to an activist who had called President Obama “cokehead in chief.”
The other major sponsor of the Tea Party movement is Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks, which, like Americans for Prosperity, is promoting events in Washington this weekend. Under its original name, Citizens for a Sound Economy, FreedomWorks received $12 million of its own from Koch family foundations. Using tax records, Mayer found that Koch-controlled foundations gave out $196 million from 1998 to 2008, much of it to conservative causes and institutions. That figure doesn’t include $50 million in Koch Industries lobbying and $4.8 million in campaign contributions by its political action committee, putting it first among energy company peers like Exxon Mobil and Chevron. Since tax law permits anonymous personal donations to nonprofit political groups, these figures may understate the case. The Kochs surely match the in-kind donations the Tea Party receives in free promotion 24/7 from Murdoch’s Fox News, where both Beck and Palin are on the payroll.
The New Yorker article stirred up the right, too. Some of Mayer’s blogging detractors unwittingly upheld the premise of her article (titled “Covert Operations”) by conceding that they have been Koch grantees. None of them found any factual errors in her 10,000 words. Many of them tried to change the subject to George Soros, the billionaire backer of liberal causes. But Soros is a publicity hound who is transparent about where he shovels his money. And like many liberals — selflessly or foolishly, depending on your point of view — he supports causes that are unrelated to his business interests and that, if anything, raise his taxes.
This is hardly true of the Kochs. When David Koch ran to the right of Reagan as vice president on the 1980 Libertarian ticket (it polled 1 percent), his campaign called for the abolition not just of Social Security, federal regulatory agencies and welfare but also of the F.B.I., the C.I.A., and public schools — in other words, any government enterprise that would either inhibit his business profits or increase his taxes. He hasn’t changed. As Mayer details, Koch-supported lobbyists, foundations and political operatives are at the center of climate-science denial — a cause that forestalls threats to Koch Industries’ vast fossil fuel business. While Koch foundations donate to cancer hospitals like Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York, Koch Industries has been lobbying to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from classifying another product important to its bottom line, formaldehyde, as a “known carcinogen” in humans (which it is).
Tea Partiers may share the Kochs’ detestation of taxes, big government and Obama. But there’s a difference between mainstream conservatism and a fringe agenda that tilts completely toward big business, whether on Wall Street or in the Gulf of Mexico, while dismantling fundamental government safety nets designed to protect the unemployed, public health, workplace safety and the subsistence of the elderly.
Yet inexorably the Koch agenda is morphing into the G.O.P. agenda, as articulated by current Republican members of Congress, including the putative next speaker of the House, John Boehner, and Tea Party Senate candidates like Rand Paul, Sharron Angle, and the new kid on the block, Alaska’s anti-Medicaid, anti-unemployment insurance Palin protégé, Joe Miller. Their program opposes a federal deficit, but has no objection to running up trillions in red ink in tax cuts to corporations and the superrich; apologizes to corporate malefactors like BP and derides money put in escrow for oil spill victims as a “slush fund”; opposes the extension of unemployment benefits; and calls for a freeze on federal regulations in an era when abuses in the oil, financial, mining, pharmaceutical and even egg industries (among others) have been outrageous.
The Koch brothers must be laughing all the way to the bank knowing that working Americans are aiding and abetting their selfish interests. And surely Murdoch is snickering at those protesting the “ground zero mosque.” Last week on “Fox and Friends,” the Bush administration flacks Dan Senor and Dana Perino attacked a supposedly terrorism-tainted Saudi prince whose foundation might contribute to the Islamic center. But as “The Daily Show” keeps pointing out, these Fox bloviators never acknowledge that the evil prince they’re bashing, Walid bin Talal, is not only the biggest non-Murdoch shareholder in Fox News’s parent company (he owns 7 percent of News Corporation) and the recipient of Murdoch mammoth investments in Saudi Arabia but also the subject of lionization elsewhere on Fox.
No less a Murdoch factotum than Neil Cavuto slobbered over bin Talal in a Fox Business Channel interview as recently as January, with nary a question about his supposed terrorist ties. Instead, bin Talal praised Obama’s stance on terrorism and even endorsed the Democrats’ goal of universal health insurance. Do any of the Fox-watching protestors at the “ground zero mosque” know that Fox’s profits are flowing to a Obama-sympathizing Saudi billionaire in bed with Murdoch? As Jon Stewart summed it up, the protestors who want “to cut off funding to the ‘terror mosque’ ” are aiding that funding by watching Fox and enhancing bin Talal’s News Corp. holdings.
When wolves of Murdoch’s ingenuity and the Kochs’ stealth have been at the door of our democracy in the past, Democrats have fought back fiercely. Franklin Roosevelt’s triumphant 1936 re-election campaign pummeled the Liberty League as a Republican ally eager to “squeeze the worker dry in his old age and cast him like an orange rind into the refuse pail.” When John Kennedy’s patriotism was assailed by Birchers calling for impeachment, he gave a major speech denouncing their “crusades of suspicion.”
And Obama? So far, sadly, this question answers itself.
Those born on August 29th hate chaos above all things and therefore seek to bring structure and clarity to their work. This is by no means to suggest however that they are rigid or dull. On the contrary-they are impelled to action, and in addition may have great fire in their belly, but somehow express themselves in an ordered and organized way.
Improvisation is a recurring theme in the life of August 29 people. This means not only they are rarely at a loss for what to do, but will find their way out of a problem situation by thinking up new solutions right on the spot. In this respect they are positive thinkers and doers, always searching for a more efficient, elegant or consistent function.
Those born on the 29th of the month are ruled by the number 2 (2+9=11, 1+1=2 ). Since those ruled by the number 2 often make good co-workers and partners, rather than leaders, this quality will fit certain group oriented values of August 29th people. However, it may also act as a brake on individual initiative and action, producing frustration.
Advice: lighten up, get to know and like yourself. Go with the flow. Learn to make an easy transition from public to private life, and avoid making impossible demands on yourself. Take frequent vacations with those you love.
Strengths: Adaptive, imaginative and structured.
Weaknesses: Escapist, needy and unstable.
Born On This Day: Charlie Parker, Michael Jackson, Dinah Washington, and Peter Jennings.
This Day in History: Hurricane Katrina slams into Gulf Coast
Hurricane Katrina makes landfall near New Orleans, Louisiana, as a Category 4 hurricane on this day in 2005. Despite being only the third most powerful storm of the 2005 hurricane season, Katrina was the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States. After briefly coming ashore in southern Florida on August 25 as a Category 1 hurricane, Katrina gained strength before slamming into the Gulf Coast on August 29. In addition to bringing devastation to the New Orleans area, the hurricane caused damage along the coasts of Mississippi and Alabama, as well as other parts of Louisiana.
Great Inventions: 1893 Whitcomb Judson received a patent for the zipper.
Pizza deliveries lead to ID theft arrest for Georgia woman
When she realized her credit card was being used by someone on the other side of the country, a California woman called police in Georgia.
“If you order pizzas online or on the phone, they deliver it your house," Shaddix said.
When officers went to the Whitney Lane home of Tawana Bendon, the 41-year-old confessed to identity theft, Shaddix said. Bendon was placed under arrest and transported to the Carroll County jail.
Bendon faces one charge of identity theft, but that number is expected to increase, Shaddix said. The woman is believed to be responsible for using others' identities for many other purchases, he said.
Investigators removed two truckloads of evidence that Bendon was receiving credit card numbers from a person in South Africa, Shaddix said.
The U.S. Secret Service is now assisting Villa Rica police with the investigation, Shaddix said.
Craigslist: Man gets prostitute, robbed
Woman and 2 men allegedly take cash
Friday, 27 Aug 2010, 4:25 PM EDT
CEDAR PARK, Texas (KXAN) - In a twist of events unexpected by the buyer, a man who solicited a prostitute via Craigslist didn't get the joy he expected.
When the woman showed up at his apartment, she was flanked by two men -- and the trio allegedly robbed the "buyer" instead.
Cedar Park Police were called to an aggravated robbery at 2201 S. Lakeline Blvd . The unnamed victim, 25, told police he was robbed at knife point by two men and a woman -- then details about how he met them emerged.
The victim told police he was robbed of $480.
Descriptions of the three suspects are as follows:
Suspect #1: black female, approximately 5 feet 9 inches tall, with short dark hair, wearing a red shirt, blue jeans shorts and white sandals.
Suspect #2: black male, approximately 5 feet 11 inches tall, with short braided hair.
Suspect #3: black male -- no additional information provided.
The suspects were seen driving away in a black 4-door Honda Civic with tinted windows.
The case remains under investigation.
Bremerton Man in Court on Meth Charge Found With Meth
Kitsap Sun staff
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
PORT ORCHARD —
A 33-year-old Bremerton man showed up for a court appearance on a meth charge Tuesday carrying a bag of the drug in his pants pocket, according to documents filed in Kitsap County District Court.
Before making his court appearance, the man had to be booked into and released from the Kitsap County jail. That’s standard procedure for these sorts of crimes, officials said.
While at the jail, a guard performed a security pat-down and found a bag of meth in the man’s right front pocket. The 33-year-old was then booked into the Kitsap County jail on $10,000 bail on the new felony possession charge
Aijalon Gomes, American Imprisoned In North Korea, Returns To Boston
RUSSELL CONTRERAS | 08/27/10 11:57 PM |
BOSTON — An American held captive for seven months in North Korea stepped off a plane in his hometown Friday, looking thin but joyful as he hugged the former president who had helped win his release and family and friends surrounded him in a group embrace.
Aijalon Gomes was accompanied by former President Jimmy Carter, who had flown to Pyongyang to negotiate his freedom. Gomes, who had been teaching English in South Korea, was imprisoned and sentenced to eight years' hard labor for crossing into the North from China on Jan. 25 for unknown reasons.
North Korea's state-run news agency reported last month that Gomes had attempted suicide, leading his family to ask for his release on humanitarian grounds. North Korea said this week it would release Gomes to Carter if the former president went to get him.
Gomes hugged Carter and then his mother before his loved ones encircled him, praying and waving their hands skyward. One man gripped a small American flag, and others held a banner behind them that read: "Welcome home! Disciple of the Lord Aijalon Mahli Gomes. Salvation is ours."
The banner also pictured a Christian cross and contained biblical references to Acts, Psalms, and Job, an Old Testament book about a man who survived great tribulation.
Gomes' mother and family members hugged Carter and shook his hand before the group headed inside the terminal, as Gomes smiled and waved at loved ones along the way. A few minutes later, Carter reboarded the plane and left Boston.
In a statement released earlier Friday, the family thanked Carter and said it felt blessed to welcome Gomes home after what it called "a long, dark and difficult period."
"I'm just joyful and grateful that my son is home and thank President Jimmy Carter for making sure that he was home safely," Gomes' mother, Jacqueline McCarthy, said as she left her home for the airport. "I thank God, I thank God, for everything everyone has done for us."
The family also thanked the North Korean government "for caring for Aijalon during his darkest days, then agreeing to release him on humanitarian grounds."
The statement requested privacy so Gomes could recover from the ordeal, saying that although he was returning home, "the journey towards healing really just begins today." The family passed by media microphones at the airport without commenting.
But later outside McCarthy's home, several of Gomes' relatives spoke to the media and said Gomes appeared to be fine physically.
"He looks well, he looks very well," his uncle Michael Farrow said.
His 19-year-old brother, Milton McCarthy Jr., described feeling "an overwhelming amount of joy and happiness" when he hugged Gomes.
"It was just like they said, a prayer being answered," he said. "It was truly a blessing."
Family members said they'd had a limited chance to speak with Gomes and added he wasn't expected back at his mother's home Friday, though they didn't say where he was staying.
"He's just grateful to be home, and he's just thanking God for his safe return," his cousin Ron Odom said.
In Washington, the Department of State welcomed the news of Gomes' release, saying officials are "relieved that he will soon be safely reunited with his family," spokesman P.J. Crowley said.
It was unclear what led Gomes to enter the repressive nation. He may have been emulating fellow Christian Robert Park, who was detained after he crossed into North Korea in December to highlight its human rights record, said Jo Sung-rae, a South Korean human rights advocate who met with Gomes. Park was expelled some 40 days later after issuing an apology carried by North Korean state media.
Gomes attended rallies in Seoul in January calling for Park's release and was arrested in North Korea just two weeks later.
Gomes, whose full name is pronounced EYE'-jah-lahn GOHMZ', grew up the inner-city Boston neighborhood of Mattapan, then headed to college at Bowdoin in Maine before going to South Korea to teach several years after graduating.
He was the fourth American in a year arrested for trespassing in North Korea, which fought the U.S. during the 1950-53 Korean War and does not have diplomatic relations with Washington. Journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee were arrested last March and released only after former President Bill Clinton made a similar trip to Pyongyang to plead for their freedom.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed Gomes' release and commended Carter. He took the occasion to appeal to donors for emergency humanitarian aid to North Korea, which has been affected by recent flooding, U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said at U.N. headquarters in New York.
9:10 p.m. Friday, August 27, 2010
Cops nab man after finding cocaine in bologna
The Associated Press
HOLYOKE, Mass. — A Massachusetts man was arrested after a kilogram of cocaine hidden inside a hollowed-out chunk of bologna was delivered to his home. Holyoke police said they were tipped off by postal inspectors in Puerto Rico who had been investigating similar shipments. A dog confirmed the presence of drugs and the bologna was cut open.
The meat was then repackaged and an undercover postal inspector delivered it to a Holyoke address at about 4:45 p.m. Thursday. A woman sitting on the front steps signed for it.
Police then executed a search warrant and arrested a 30-year-old man on a cocaine trafficking charge.
Police said the cocaine had a street value of $100,000. The investigation is ongoing.
Those born on August 28th are masters at the use of language. Normally the word language refers to the use of written and spoken word, and indeed many people born on this day are good enough at that. But in a larger sense, the meaning intended here is the language of craft, a kind of technical facility, and people born on this day who are less verbally oriented usually master the technical aspects of what they do in their profession down to the last detail. In addition, August 28 people are convincing –they know how to get others to think about what they say, admire what they do and perhaps agree with them.
August 28 people can quietly overwhelm others with the persuasiveness of their knowledge and ideas, which are deep and wide-ranging. They can also readily back up they say with fistful of facts. Too often, however, they are so convinced of the rightness of what they are doing that they misjudge their audience, its needs and desires, thus family, friends and the general public may agree with them at the time of discussion only to change their minds later, or worse yet just forget about the matter entirely. Many born on this day have an aptitude for foreign language.
It is only natural that family and friends come to the August 28 people for advice, as those born on this day often make excellent counselors, clergyman, social workers, politicians and the like. Therefore, an August 28th person’s social, family or civic responsibility is very high and great care must be taken in bringing influential opinions to bear on the problems of others.
Those born on the 28th of the month are ruled by the number 1 (2+8=10, 1+0=1). Those ruled by the number 1 like to be first, are opinionated and eager to rise to the top.
Advice: Don’t always be so sure that your answer is the only right one, learn to listen to other points of view. Avoid drowning those around you in endless facts and examples, while missing the big picture. Stay on the straight and true path.
Strengths: Convincing, articulate intellectual
Weakness: Inflexible, puritanical and unaccepting
Born On This Day: Janet Evans, Scott Hamilton, Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman
Inventions: 1951 Oral B (the famous line of dental products) was trademark registered.
This Day In History: Charles and Diana Divorce
After four years of separation, Charles, Prince of Wales and heir to the British throne, and his wife, Princess Diana, formally divorce.
On July 29, 1981, nearly one billion television viewers in 74 countries tuned in to witness the marriage of Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, to Lady Diana Spencer, a young English schoolteacher. Married in a grand ceremony at St. Paul's Cathedral in the presence of 2,650 guests, the couple's romance was, for the moment, the envy of the world. Their first child, Prince William, was born in 1982, and their second, Prince Harry, in 1984.
Wittgenstein’s, opening sentence, ‘The world is everything which is the case,’ serves as a beginning.
Palin, AFL-CIO chief spar over speech
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) hit back at AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on Thursday for calling her rhetoric "poisonous."
Trumka went to Anchorage, Alaska — Palin's political backyard — to deliver a speech in which he is expected to criticize Palin's language, which he says could incite violence from her supporters.
"And down in Tyler, Texas, she’s talking about — and I quote — 'union thugs.' What? Her husband’s a union man. Is she calling him a thug? Sarah Palin ought to know what union men and women are," Trumka will say. "That’s poisonous. There’s history behind that rhetoric. That’s how bosses and politicians in decades past justified the terrorizing of workers, the murdering of organizers."
Palin responded on her widely followed Twitter account, saying:
Know our hardworking union friends (esp from my days as an IBEW sister, Todd IBEW & USW brother) aren't sheep, they'll ask: Trumka's motive?? ?Think Trumka's frustrations r w/Obama, not me (high unemplymnt, deals w/Obama&his subsequent broken promises)so understandable Rich's ticked
AFL-CIO spokesman Eddie Vale quickly fired back, saying that she undermined her message by resigning as governor last year.
"Basically, she's having a temper tantrum, putting her hands over her ears and yelling 'la la la la la, I can't hear you,' " Vale said. "Because if she had actually read the speech the motivation and message are crystal clear. She left working families in Alaska behind when she tried to trade up to Fox News and the Tea Party. We understand that she wants to keep up her faux populism and image as caring about ordinary people, but her actions, policies and candidates she supports speak way louder than her tweets."
LINK TO PHOTO GALLERY
August 26, 2010, 9:07 pm
Nine Justices and Ten Commandments
Linda Greenhouse on the Supreme Court and the law.
While the politically manipulated controversy over the proposed Islamic center in Lower Manhattan will eventually end, there is one dispute over religious symbolism and identity that remains, apparently, endless. I’m referring to the continuing effort by state and local governments to post the Ten Commandments in public places.
Believe it or not, a familiar Ten Commandments case is now heading back to the Supreme Court. The court has spent years making a nearly complete hash out of the public display of religious symbols, and the prospect of watching lawyers and justices engage in still more contorted efforts to attach supposedly secular meaning to obviously sectarian objects and texts is not a pleasant one. But the case could provide a window on how committed the Roberts court is to the project that some justices have clearly embraced, that of carving out more space for religion in the public square.
The new/old case is McCreary County v. American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, which the Supreme Court last encountered in 2005. Its history is convoluted, which is part of the point. Eleven years ago, officials of two Kentucky counties, McCreary and Pulaski, decided to post framed paper copies of the Ten Commandments on the courthouse walls. Faced with a lawsuit, they retooled the display to make the Commandments part of a bigger collection of documents, most of which happened to be religiously oriented, including the national motto, “In God We Trust,” and a statement by Abraham Lincoln that “the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man.”
In case of separation of church and state, the retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens is likely to have the greatest impact.
When this tactic did not satisfy a federal district judge, who ordered the displays removed immediately, the counties tried again. They came up with the “Foundations of American Law and Government” displays, which included the Ten Commandments along with nine other documents, including the lyrics of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the texts of the Declaration of Independence and Magna Carta. An explanation informed viewers that “the Ten Commandments have profoundly influenced the formation of Western legal thought and the formation of our country” and have provided “the moral background of the Declaration of Independence.”
The federal courts remained unimpressed. The district court’s preliminary order to remove the display was upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and, over a stinging dissenting opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia, by the Supreme Court. Justice David H. Souter, writing for the 5-to-4 majority, cited a 1980 Supreme Court decision that overturned a Kentucky law requiring a copy of the Ten Commandments to be posted in every public school classroom. In that decision, Stone v. Graham, the court described the Commandments as “an instrument of religion.” Justice Souter said the First Amendment’s inclusion of the clause prohibiting the “establishment” of religion meant that “the government may not favor one religion over another, or religion over irreligion.” He added that when the government departs from that principle, “nothing does a better job of roiling society.”
Noting that “reasonable observers have reasonable memories,” Justice Souter said that an observer of the Foundations display “would probably suspect that the counties were simply reaching for any way to keep a religious document on the walls of courthouses constitutionally required to embody religious neutrality.”
That seemed to be that. But what happened next illustrates the tenacity of those, in Kentucky and across the country, who are bound and determined to have those Commandments on the wall. As a procedural matter, the case was only at the preliminary injunction stage when it reached the Supreme Court, with the result that the justices returned it, still alive, to the Federal District Court in London, Ky., for a potential trial. In an effort to bolster their case, the counties passed resolutions in 2007 declaring that the Foundations display was not an attempt to endorse religion. In a 2008 final judgment, Chief Judge Jennifer B. Coffman ruled against the counties. In June, the Court of Appeals affirmed that ruling over a fierce dissent by Judge James L. Ryan, who criticized the Supreme Court’s “persistent hostility to religion.” Judge Ryan’s dissenting opinion also praised Justice Scalia’s “powerful and logically compelling” dissent in the 2005 case, and added that he looked forward to the day when “the Supreme Court rediscovers the history and meaning of the words of the religion clauses of the First Amendment.”
A dissenting opinion like that is basically a memo to the four justices who dissented the last time: take this case if you think you can pick up a fifth vote. In addition to Justice Scalia, the dissenters were Justices Clarence Thomas and Anthony M. Kennedy along with Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, casting one of the last votes of his life. Looking at today’s court, substituting Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. for his predecessor, and adding Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., who replaced a majority voter, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, it is quite plausible to imagine five justices willing to take the counties at their word and conclude that the displays are about civics and not religion. That’s what the counties’ lawyer, Mathew D. Staver, dean of the Liberty University School of Law is predicting. “It’s pretty clear to everyone” that the Supreme Court has moved in his direction, Mr. Staver told the Courier-Journal in Louisville last week, after the announcement that the counties would bring their case back to the Supreme Court.
The American Civil Liberties Union has evidently reached the same conclusion. It decided against filing a Supreme Court appeal in still another Ten Commandments case in still another Kentucky county, Grayson County, in which a different three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit earlier this year upheld the Foundations of American Law and Government display.
There is no doubt the court is changing, in ways that may not be immediately obvious. Cases that concern the separation of church and state are among those on which the retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens is likely to have the greatest impact. For years, Justice Stevens was the Supreme Court’s strictest separationist. For example, in the abortion context, he was the only justice willing to articulate the position that laws incorporating the view that life begins at conception are theological exercises that should be invalidated on Establishment Clause grounds. (The fact that we may soon have to endure another debate over embryonic stem cell research makes me miss Justice Stevens and his wisdom all the more.) Justice Stevens lost most of his battles in the religion cases, but even in defeat he set a marker and made a record. For example, he wrote a powerful dissent this spring from a splintered and nearly incoherent decision that let Congress get away with swapping public land for private under the foot of a five-foot-tall cross on a hilltop in the Mojave National Preserve. In his opinion in that case, Salazar v. Buono, Justice Stevens said the cross sent a “starkly” and “inescapably sectarian message” that couldn’t be evaded by deeming the cross a memorial to the fallen soldiers of World War I.
Until I began to research the latest chapter in the Kentucky Ten Commandments saga, I had no idea that Foundations of American Law and Government displays have basically gone viral, popping up all over the place in the five years since the court’s ruling in the McCreary County case. The South Carolina Legislature enacted a law to permit the Foundations display to be erected “in a visible, public location in the public buildings of this state and its political subdivisions.” Any such display “must include” a description of the Ten Commandments as the Kentucky counties described them, as “the moral background of the Declaration of Independence and the foundation of our legal tradition.”
The rapid spread of the Foundations displays apparently stems from legal advice based on an interpretation of a single sentence in Justice Souter’s opinion in the original McCreary County case. In concluding that, when assessed in their context, the Kentucky counties’ displays lacked an authentic secular purpose, Justice Souter noted that the court did not “have occasion here to hold that a sacred text can never be integrated constitutionally into a governmental display on the subject of law, or American history.”
I think it was a misreading, in 2005, to understand this sentence as a green light for gaming the system. For one thing, Justice Souter’s response to the Foundation display’s description of the Ten Commandments as the moral underpinning of the Declaration of Independence amounted to incredulity bordering on sarcasm. The description was “puzzling,” Justice Souter wrote, because “the Commandments are sanctioned as divine imperatives, while the Declaration of Independence holds that the authority of government to enforce the law derives from the ‘consent of the governed.’?” The secular purpose “has to be genuine, not a sham,” he said, adding that the counties appeared to assume that, to the contrary, “any trivial rationalization would suffice.” I find it hard to read those words and imagine that Justice Souter, a serious churchgoing Episcopalian, meant to suggest that some other Foundations display on some other courthouse wall would receive the court’s blessing.
But that was in 2005, and here we are in 2010 — same Commandments, different court.
Jane RosenbergJudge James Gibbons (in a court sketch from one of his cases on the bench), who resigned last week after porn was found on his work computer, may face criminal charges.
Gibbons raised eyebrows with romance with Legal Aid lawyer Jeanne Emhoff.
A cleavage-crazed criminal court judge - who fathered a son with a young Legal Aid lawyer - quit after officials found a massive porn stash on his work computer, sources said Thursday.
Disgraced Manhattan jurist James Gibbons, a whip-smart ex-prosecutor who once convicted rapists and killers, fired off a terse resignation letter last week after the nasty cache was uncovered.
"There was a lot of porn on his computer - all young women," an investigator told the Daily News. "Lots of crotch and cleavage shots."
The Manhattan district attorney's office is scouring the vile files to determine if criminal charges are warranted - and are checking whether any of the women are underage.
Gibbons, 47, already had raised eyebrows with his ethics-skirting romance with Legal Aid lawyer Jeanne Emhoff, 31, who he fathered a son with weeks ago.
Emhoff's Facebook page, which was pulled down Thursday, featured a photo of a man with a boy on his shoulder.
The porn revelation staggered the baby's grandparents.
"This is going to break her heart," Emhoff's stepdad said of his wife. "She thinks the world of Jim. ... This will destroy my wife."
Gibbons - who was not arrested - was caught when a computer-monitoring system in the courthouse red-flagged his courthouse terminal, a law enforcement source said.
He was on paternity leave when the images were discovered and the computer seized.
During the 14 years he worked in the Manhattan district attorney's office, Gibbons was well-known for his efficient handling of street crimes.
He also enjoyed a good reputation on the bench after his December 2001 appointment by departing Mayor Rudy Giulini/
"He was a very careful judge on the law," lawyer Adam Freedman said. "If he was using his state-issued computer for illegal activities, it would be uncharacteristic, considering how careful he is on the law."
Despite the possible conflicts of interest between Gibbons and Emhoff, a source close to the case said, their affair was unrelated to the investigation.
"There is absolutely no link between the judge's relationship with Jeanne Emhoff and any alleged criminal activity," the source said. "One has nothing to do with the other."
It was unclear when the porn was found on the disgraced judge's computer, but sources said its discovery was just routine.
"In government agencies, and in many private sector firms, employers are able to monitor employee computer usage," a source said.
Gibbons quit his position with a simple three-paragraph letter that offered no clues to his sudden nightmare.
"It has been a privilege to serve as a judge of the Criminal Court of the City of New York," he wrote. "Please accept this letter as a statement of my resignation of that office effective today."
Mom Accused Of Getting In Middle Of Teenage Fight
6:00 PM CDT, August 26, 2010
LINK TO VIDEO
(Memphis 8/26/2010) What happened outside the Old Navy Store at Poplar and Highland started between teens, but ended with adults allegedly getting in the melee.
Forty year old Sonja Anderson and her 22-year-old daughter Jernecka are charged with aggravated assault.
Eunice Pegues' 17-year-old daughter Kendricka was one of those attacked.
"One (stab) to the neck, the chest, the head," says Pegues.
It started at a Taco Bell where Sonja Anderson's 16-year-old daughter apparently got into an argument with Kendricka and another 16-year-old.
The two girls left and the police report says Sonja and her daughters drove up, jumped out and started fighting the teens in front of Old Navy.
The report says Sonja handed her daughter what may have been a box cutter, which the teen used to cut the 16-year old's face and chest.
Then it says Sonja grabbed a high heel shoe and screw driver and began sticking Kendricka in the head.
When someone tried to help, Sonja reportedly said 'if you touch either of them I am gonna grab my pistol out of the car and shoot you.'
"It angered me so bad. I am a mother. You are mother. You don't do that. You try to resolve. I mean try to kill a child!" says Pegues
Both Sonja and Jernecka Anderson were in jail.
Sonja's 16-year-old was sent to juvenile detention.
The teen victim who suffered the most severe wounds was at home from school, but didn't want to talk.
There are reports all this started over a boy.
But parents tell us that's not true.
Pastor pleads guilty in plot to kill disabled man for insurance
Pushia, 34, had confessed to paying hit man $50,000
Justin Fenton and Kate Smith
The Baltimore Sun 2:31 p.m. EDT
August 27, 2010
A 34-year-old Baltimore pastor who worked with the developmentally disabled pleaded guilty Friday to his role in a conspiracy to kill a blind man for life insurance money.
Kevin Pushia faces life in prison in the death of Lemuel Wallace, who was found shot in the head in a Leakin Park bathroom in February 2009. Prosecutor Robin Wherley said Pushia confessed to taking out multiple life insurance policies in Wallace's name, then paying a hit man $50,000 to kill him.
That money had come from the treasury of a small East Baltimore church where Pushia was a pastor.
Pushia, who had worked as an operations manager for the Arc of Baltimore, confessed after police serving a search warrant found a notation in his planning calendar for Feb. 5, the day after Wallace was killed, that read, "L.W. project completed," prosecutors said.
"Mr. Pushia made some poor decisions, and got himself in a very difficult position," said defense attorney Russell Neverdon outside the courthouse, speaking of the circumstances leading to the killing. "His plea was an effort to purge himself, emotionally and spiritually."
Sentencing was not disclosed at Friday's hearing in Baltimore Circuit Court. A co-defendant, James Omar Clea, is scheduled to stand trial on Nov. 8.
Prosecutors would not comment on the plea due to the pending case.
Pushia told police that Clea, 32, helped arrange a meeting with the hit man, which both attended, but investigators have not been able to link anyone to the shooting and the murder weapon has not been recovered. Clea told police that Pushia said he had only said he wanted someone to beat Wallace up.
Pushia, wearing glasses and sporting a beard, did not speak at the hearing except to answer questions from his attorney and the judge. When asked his highest level of education, he said, "Master's degree."
Detectives investigating the case had few solid leads after handing out fliers in Wallace's neighborhood and visiting places he was known to frequent.
But on March 31, an agent for Globe Life Insurance made a routine check with police to inquire whether Pushia, listed as Wallace's brother on a $200,000 policy, was not a suspect in the death.
The call gave police a suspect. They searched Pushia's newly-built townhouse in Frankford and found the planning calendar and numerous insurance policies that Pushia had applied for in Wallace's name on the Internet, according to records.
Pushia's plea included seven counts of insurance fraud. Prosecutors said one of the policies listed a man named Jason McFarland, who has not been charged. Neverdon said McFarland was a "friend" of Pushia.
Neverdon said last year that Pushia had taken out policies on at least two other disabled people who died, though their deaths were the result of natural causes and the policies had been canceled before their deaths.
In addition to his involvement in the ministry since his teens, Pushia had worked at several other area homes for disabled people.
Pushia also cared for two foster children who were removed two weeks before Pushia's arrest, state officials confirmed last year. Pushia had become a foster parent through a private agency after his application with Baltimore City had been denied.
Politician raffles breast implants
CARACAS | Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:58pm EDT
CARACAS (Reuters) - A Venezuelan politician is offering breast implants as a prize in a raffle to raise funds for his parliamentary election campaign.
"Some people raffle TVs and we decided to offer this. It's an interesting prize and there's a lot of interest," Gustavo Rojas, an opposition candidate for a National Assembly position, told Reuters while campaigning in Caracas.
Cosmetic surgery, especially breast enlargement, is widespread in image-conscious Venezuela, whose beauty queens have won numerous international pageant titles.
Even a recession has not diminished Venezuelans' appetite for cosmetic surgery, with many people taking out loans for operations.
Rojas, of the opposition First Justice party, said he was not too worried about potential feminist criticism or the medical details of his offer.
"The raffle is a financing mechanism, nothing else. It's the doctor who will do the operation, not me," he said.
"When someone raffles a TV, some people think it's a good TV but others don't like it. It's the same. I'm not showing disrespect to anyone."
Venezuelans vote on September 26 for a new parliament.
No matter what their station in life, those born on August 27th tend to identify with the common man, the underdog and the downtrodden. They are painfully aware of the inadequacies of this world. Therefore, as regards everyday life, they are constantly asking themselves how it may be bettered. Though their upholding of ideals may be unselfish, however, most born on this day do have a personal stake in the admiration or even adulation they receive from those whom they nurture or defend.
August 27 people run the gamut from intellectuals and idea people who value principles for their own sake to more pragmatic types whose focus is on impacting in a tangible way on life around them. For both types, it is human nature and human needs, both material and spiritual, that concerns them. Also, for both types the same danger presents itself, that in confronting the shortcomings of the world, they man grow frustrated or negative.
Many August 27 people need to feel that they are indispensable to the well-being of their family or social group. Indeed, they cannot suffer the thought that things will run smoothly without them. However, the more evolved of this day gradually develop an ever greater capacity for unconditional giving, asking few rewards if any in return for their help.
Those born on the 27th of the month are ruled by the number 9(2+7=9). August 27th women may seem pushy to those who have traditional ideas regarding feminine rules and behavior.
Advice: Don’t wallow in your personal problems. If you are not helping others, begin at once. The energy you receive from these endeavors will light your way and help you find your place in the world. Don’t allow fixed ideals to limit your thinking and creativity.
Born On This Day: Mother Teresa, Georg Hegel, Lyndon B. Johnson, Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, Alice Coltrane and Ira Levin.
Strengths: Socially Aware, Caring and Idealistic
Weaknesses: Over involved, Depressed and stress-prone
This Day In History: Krakatau explodes. The most powerful volcanic eruption in recorded history occurs on Krakatau (also called Krakatoa), a small, uninhabited volcanic island located west of Sumatra in Indonesia, on this day in 1883. Heard 3,000 miles away, the explosions threw five cubic miles of earth 50 miles into the air, created 120-foot tsunamis and killed 36,000 people
Famous Inventions: 1855 Clara Barton becomes the first female federal employee to achieve equal status when she was hired by the Patent Office as a clerk
Everything is related.
This is for entertainment only.
South Union Street
The Montgomery Advertiser newspaper's blog on all things related to Alabama politics and state government, featuring the writings of Sebastian Kitchen and Markeshia Ricks
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Eggs and Issues: Bright's Comments about Pelosi Draw Laughter
Roberts/BloombergFormer GOP Sen. Alan Simpson is cochairman of President Obama's fiscal commission.
Former Sen. Alan Simpson needed only a few ill-chosen words to udderly infuriate a lot of Americans.
He compared Social Security to "a milk cow with 310 million t-ts."
The barnyard boo-boo by the cochairman of President Obama's fiscal commission outraged feminists, Social Security recipients and many liberal Democrats.
Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Peter DeFazio, a Democrat, called the comments "beyond comprehension" and asked the President to remove Simpson from the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.
The National Organization for Women said Simpson was unfit to lead the reform effort.
Simpson, 78, quickly apologized for his not so bons mots.
The Wyoming Republican, known for his biting sense of humor, goofed-up in an e-mail earlier this week to Ashley Carson, executive director of the Older Women's League.
He took issue with a column Carson wrote accusing him of "ageism and sexism" for weighing Social Security cuts.
"If you have some better suggestions about how to stabilize Social Security instead of just babbling into the vapors, let me know," wrote Simpson and added: "Call me when you get honest work."
In his apology, he told Carson he had put his "size 15 feet" in his mouth. adding "when I make a mistake, it's a doozy."
The White House on Wednesday night said it was satisfied with Simpson's apology and will keep him on the commission.
Those born on August 26
Those born on August 26th rarely assume the conspicuous position in a business, family or social function, generally preferring to work along with others toward a common goal. More specifically, many August 26th people have to struggle for recognition. Inside they know their own worth, but the world is not always quick to recognize it. If those born on this day remain content with a supporting role, or are patient enough to wait for their time to lead, they will be happy and industrious if not they may become frustrated and unproductive.
August 26 people generally make excellent parents, as they understand the importance of structure and organization in the lives of children. Those with little ambition are usually pretty relaxed in the demands they make on their offspring.
Many August 26 people enjoy working behind the scenes, and in exceptional cases can be the moving force behind of a well known individual or group. Not only team players, they actually take satisfaction in remaining unseen and anonymous rather than fretting for lack of attention, they may actually luxuriate in the freedom, as they see it, of doing their work without much ego interference. Such dedicated individuals are usually worth their weight in gold to a family or business.
Those born on the 26th of the month are ruled by the number 8 (2+6=8 ). Those born on this day are usually charismatic and determined to succeed; the negative qualities include complacency and the misuse use of power.
Advice: Sometimes being too accepting is not good. Learn to stand up for yourself, be more forceful in demanding rights in return for the work you do. Don’t live through others, take the lead yourself sometimes.
Strengths: Selfcontaining, accepting and cooperation
Weaknesses: passive, regressed and self sacrificing
Born on this day: Geraldine Ferraro, Branford Marsalis, and Lee De Forest
This Day in History: On this day in 1939, the first televised Major League baseball game is broadcast on station W2XBS, the station that was to become WNBC-TV. Announcer Red Barber called the game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, New York.
Famous inventions on this day: 1902 Arthur McCurdy obtained a patent for a daylight developing tank for roll film.
Two shapes in a painting, happening in the same space, create a time between them-a kind of rhythmical occurrence.
This is for entertainment purposes only.
Meet the scofflaw who allegedly owes more than $172 million to the IRS -- a broke, former Alphabet City hipster who has had to borrow money from relatives to make ends meet.
Garage-band guitarist Marcos Esparza Bofill quit his floundering job as a day trader in the city after less than a year -- and left the tiny tenement apartment that he shared with roommates on East Sixth Street to move back to his native Barcelona, Spain, in hopes of having better luck with music career there, friends said.
"The first thing he said to me [yesterday after learning of the tax bill] was, 'What's the IRS?' " one pal told The Post.
"He was shocked. He's trying to figure out what's going on.
"It's something that can easily be cleared up," the friend added. "It's crazy. He's a very chilled, relaxed guy. I think he's making music right now. He plays guitar and I think is doing some deejay stuff.
"In the end, he wasn't even making money [as a trader]. He was definitely taking a loss. He arranged to get some money from a family member and wound up borrowing money again.
"He had a very modest apartment. I think he was in a room that all you could fit in was a bed.
"It's ridiculous," the pal said of the tax lien. "[The IRS] is just out of control. It makes my stomach turn."
Esparza did not return requests for comment.
IRS officials refused to talk about his case, citing federal privacy laws.
According to IRS documents posted on The Smoking Gun Web site, Esparza owes $172,101,056.48 on his unfiled 2006 tax return.
But experts said he clearly doesn't owe that amount.
The number was likely generated by the total amount of trades he made, instead of the profit he earned from them, one tax expert said, adding that's a typical move by the IRS when returns aren't filed.
Read more and photo: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/irs_says_this_broke_ny_hipster_better_YO0mGaltl4KryhYx53iU8L#ixzz0xgDKCTZe
Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2010
A body's journey in the back of a hearse is grim but usually brief.
That was not the case, though, for Linda Walton.
On Friday, nine days after a mortuary service picked up Walton's corpse from an apartment in Carrboro, police were called to investigate a foul odor in downtown Graham, a small Alamance County town about 55 miles west of Raleigh.
Investigators traced the pungent smell to a hearse owned by David B. Lawson Mortuary, the undertaker that picked up Walton's body Aug. 11. Walton, 37, who investigators think died about a week before she was discovered, was still in the back of the undertaker's vehicle.
The gruesome find set off an investigation by police and the Alamance County district attorney's office. Their findings have sparked an inquiry by the N.C. Board of Funeral Service, which is responsible for the administration and regulation of the profession of funeral service in North Carolina.
Police do not suspect foul play in Walton's death. But investigators had not determined whether Lawson, the owner of the mortuary service that had her body, had run afoul of the law.
Lawson, a licensed funeral director and embalmer in North Carolina for 34 years, did not respond to phone calls seeking comment.
Over the past decade, the state Board of Funeral Service has investigated several complaints against Lawson, but they centered on problems with his failure to turn in timely annual reports about "pre-need contracts" through which people can make arrangements with funeral homes in advance of their deaths.
Lawson was disciplined for his mistakes, according to state board records, and in 2008 surrendered his license that permitted him to enter into pre-need contracts.
Paul Harris, executive director of the state funeral board, said he did not know of any complaints similar to the one that came to their office Saturday about the decomposing corpse in the back of the hearse. He declined to discuss the case, other than to say the board would investigate.
Capt. Joel Booker of the Carrboro police department said Lawson's was called after investigators couldn't find Walton's next of kin. Police believed that she had died of natural causes so there would be no autopsy ordered by the state medical examiner.
'Not a problem'
Lawson's, Booker said, was on a list of mortuaries that would pick up bodies. Carrboro investigators said when Lawson's showed up at the apartment in western Carrboro, investigators told the driver that they were having difficulty finding Walton's family.
"What the investigators told me is Lawson's said, 'Not a problem. We'll put her in deep-freeze,' " Booker said. "So off they go, and that's the last we know of it until we heard from Graham police last week."
It was unclear whether Lawson's had a refrigerated unit for storing bodies.
The most recent visit to Lawson's facilities in Graham by state investigators was in 2004, according to Harris, and there would have been no reason for them to note whether the mortuary service had a refrigerated unit.
"They're not required to have a refrigerated unit by law," Harris said.
In North Carolina, when a body goes unclaimed for 10 days, a mortuary director is required to contact the N.C. Commission of Anatomy, which finds cadavers for the medical and mortuary schools in North Carolina. If the commission does not want the body, then the mortuary director is required to contact the head of county social services for authorization to cremate the body.
It was unclear whether Lawson had made either of those calls.
Recently, Harris said, mortuary directors and county social service agencies are seeing an increase in unclaimed bodies. Occasionally, after county-supported cremations occur, bodies are claimed by family members.
It is rare, Harris said, to hear about bodies being left in hearses.
"I would say it's an isolated incident," Harris said.
FOLLOW UP STORY
Posted: Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2010
GRAHAM, N.C. Police and North Carolina regulators are investigating why a woman's body was left in a hearse for nine days.
Police found the body of Linda Walton last week after they were asked to investigate a foul odor in the city of Graham, about 32 miles west of Durham.
The 37-year-old died earlier this month in her apartment and police were unable to locate her next of kin. They called David B. Lawson Mortuary to pick up the body.
Lawson has been a licensed funeral director for more than 30 years and is part of a rotation of funeral homes used by police. He refused to talk about the case early Wednesday.
The funeral service's disciplinary committee meets next week to discuss the complaint
Man Shot In Head, Notices 5 Years Later
Polish Man Says He Was Partying, Drunk At Time Of Shooting
|Cutbacks force police to curtail calls for some crimes|
8/25/2010 2:19 AM ET
Budget cuts are forcing police around the country to stop responding to fraud, burglary and theft calls as officers focus limited resources on violent crime.Cutbacks in such places as Oakland, Tulsa and Norton, Mass. have forced police to tell residents to file their own reports — online or in writing — for break-ins and other lesser crimes.
"If you come home to find your house burglarized and you call, we're not coming," said Oakland Police spokeswoman Holly Joshi. The city laid off 80 officers from its force of 687 last month and the department can't respond to burglary, vandalism, and identity theft. "It's amazing. It's a big change for us."
MORE: State police forces shrink BUDGET CUTS: Mounted police fading in sunset? Jim Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, the nation's largest police union, said cutbacks are preventing many police agencies from responding to property crimes.
"The chiefs are putting the best face on this they can," Pasco said. "But think of this: that next property crime could involve a junkie who killed someone the night before."
In Tulsa, which lost 110 officers to layoffs and retirements, the 739-officer department isn't sending cops to the scene of larceny, fraud and car theft.
Tulsa police spokesman Jason Willingham says some residents have said they won't bother to report those crimes any more. "They think nothing is going to be done, so why mess with it," he said.
In the Boston suburb of Norton, police told residents there may be delays or no response at all to some calls, including vandalism. The department posted the new policy on its website.
"We wanted to let people know about this," Norton Police Chief Brian Clark said. "We didn't want people to be surprised."
Bernard Melekian, director of the Justice Department's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, said the actions reflect are a reflection of the hard economic times across the country.
LOS ANGELES - A Labrador that ate a beehive containing pesticides and thousands of dead bees won an award on Monday that recognized the most unusual pet health insurance claim in the United States.
Ellie, who fully recovered from her encounter with the beehive in southern California, beat a border collie that ran through a window to get at a mailman, and a terrier that bit a chainsaw.
She won a bronze trophy in the shape of a ham, and basket of toys and doggie treats.
The winner was announced on Monday by the Veterinary Pet Insurance Co (VPI) and selected from a dozen pets nationwide.
"Ellie may be a young dog, but she's already managed to eat everything from wooden toy train tracks to laptop computer keys," said the VPI. "So the beehive in the backyard was just another culinary adventure for this insatiable pooch.
LINK TO PHOTO:
Read it on Global News: Dog who ate beehive wins insurance award
August 25th people have an overwhelming desire to reveal themselves to others, whether in public or private. Those born on this day are capable of carrying secrets around with them for years, only to one day disclose or even flaunt them publicly. Most August 25th people are by nature exhibitionists of all types, but they can play the role of highly private people when it suits them.
Although they are generally blessed with active, intelligent minds, August 25th people are intensely physical and are emotionally forward. Those born on this day are not afraid to make their wishes known in a dramatic fashion. Both men and women born on this day know how to employ their best features to win a mate-whether it is beauty, brains or personality.
Those born on the 25th day of the month are ruled by the number 7(2+5=7). Those ruled by the number 7 generally enjoy change and travel, but the number 25 also has associations with danger, so they must be vigilant where potential accidents are likely.
Advice: You are a valuable person. Don’t spend so much effort in attracting or winning the approval of others. Get to know yourself better. Do you like yourself? If not, work on it.
Strengths: Flamboyant, sexual and energetic
Weaknesses: Needy and Insecure
Born On This Day: Leonard Bernstein, Ivan the Terrible, Sean Connery, and Althea Gibson
This Day in History: On this day in 1835, the first in a series of six articles announcing the supposed discovery of life on the moon appears in the New York Sun newspaper.
Known collectively as "The Great Moon Hoax," the articles were supposedly reprinted from the Edinburgh Journal of Science. The byline was Dr. Andrew Grant, described as a colleague of Sir John Herschel, a famous astronomer of the day. Herschel had in fact traveled to Capetown, South Africa, in January 1834 to set up an observatory with a powerful new telescope. As Grant described it, Herschel had found evidence of life forms on the moon, including such fantastic animals as unicorns, two-legged beavers and furry, winged humanoids resembling bats. The articles also offered vivid description of the moon's geography, complete with massive craters, enormous amethyst crystals, rushing rivers and lush vegetation.
The New York Sun, founded in 1833, was one of the new "penny press" papers that appealed to a wider audience with a cheaper price and a more narrative style of journalism. From the day the first moon hoax article was released, sales of the paper shot up considerably. It was exciting stuff, and readers lapped it up. The only problem was that none of it was true. The Edinburgh Journal of Science had stopped publication years earlier, and Grant was a fictional character.
Famous Inventions: 1814 The British burnt Washington, D.C., however, the Patent Office was saved by the British Superintendent of Patents, Dr. William Thornton
Repeatedly falling in love can be an expression of an individual’s inability to love himself or herself.
For entertainment purposes only.
Hulton Archive/GettyDNA tests of 39 living relatives of Adolf Hitler suggest the leader of Nazi Germany may have had Jewish and African relatives.
The repulsive leader of Nazi Germany may have had Jewish and perhaps African relatives, according to DNA tests conducted on nearly 40 living relatives.
The report comes from the Belgium magazine, Knack, which says it obtained saliva samples after tracking down 39 relatives from throughout Europe, as well as in America.
"One can from this postulate that Hitler was related to people whom he despised," Jean-Paul Mulders, the journalist who wrote the article, stated in his report.
Working with historian Marc Vermeeren, the samples were tested and were found to contain a chromosome called Haplopgroup E1b1b (Y-DNA), which is rarely found in Western Europeans.
"It is most commonly found in the Berbers of Morocco, in Algeria, Libya and Tunisia as well as among Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews," Vermeeren said in the article.
Hitler's heritage has been called into question before, with some suggesting his grandfather was Jewish. But this is the first claim with any scientific data to support it.
Similar reports have been made against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has repeatedly denied the Holocaust occurred and regularly bashes Israel.
It was suggested in the British press in 2009 that the nuke-hungry leader's name was changed from Sabourjian, a Jewish name meaning "cloth weaver," when it was converted to Islam after his birth.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2010/08/24/2010-08-24_nazi_leader_adolf_hitler_had_jewish_and_african_relatives_dna_test_suggests.html#ixzz0xZg58juP
In this photo provided by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Aug. 23, 2010, a seized article involved in an attempt to ship more than 50 pounds of marijuana inside a tombstone is shown. (AP Photo/U.S. Customs and Border Protection)
Marijuana found in tombstone in Ohio
Marijuana's street value estimated at about $52K
Tuesday, 24 Aug 2010, 7:07 AM CDT
CINCINNATI (AP) - Customs officials say they seized more than 50 pounds of marijuana from inside a tombstone being shipped from Jamaica to England through Cincinnati.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers made the discovery with help from a narcotics detection dog at the Cincinnati DHL Express hub at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.
Officers questioned last week why someone would ship a tombstone from Kingston, Jamaica, to London. An x-ray machine revealed packages of the drug in a metal box, wrapped in metal mesh and hidden inside the hollowed-out concrete marker.
The stone bears the name of 35-year-old Delroy Senior. Part of its inscription reads, "your place no one can fill."
Authorities estimate the marijuana's street value at about $52,000. They have no suspects.
Monday, August 23, 2010
The Associated Press
A Pittsburgh woman is facing charges after she allegedly left her 6-year-old son with a stranger on board a bus while she was being arrested on a shoplifting charge.
Police say Portia Scoggins had two children with her Friday when she boarded a bus after taking items from a pharmacy, but just one when they pulled it over and arrested her.
Officers say Ms. Scoggins left the older child on board, giving a stranger the address for one of the boy's friends and instructions to drop him off there.
Police later learned the boy had been on the bus and found him at the address Ms. Scoggins supplied to the stranger.
The children are in the custody of county social workers
in the Bronx over the weekend for assault was one of "America's Most Wanted," on the lam for 15 years over an attempted murder.
Police responded to a call of an assault in progress Saturday afternoon and found the woman attacking a 30-year-old man with a blunt object near the corner of Sheridan Ave. and E.169th St., police said.
They arrested the woman, who gave her name as Yesima Hernandez, and through fingerprinting identified her as Patty Carrion, 40, wanted for attempted murder and weapons charges, a police source said.
Carrion shot a 20-year-old man point-blank in the chest and continued firing as he tried to get away, hitting him four times, on Sept. 20, 1995, in Meriden, Conn., police say. The victim survived.
Cops in Connecticut found a .32- caliber gun and 82 packets of cocaine in the trunk of a vehicle where the shooter ditched the weapon. Carrion went on to elude the police for a decade and a half.
She has been living for the past six years in a rundown brick apartment building onthe Grand Concourse with a boyfriend,twin daughters and another smallchild, neighbors said.
She hardly kept a low profile, said neighbors, who knew her as Jocelyn and were in the dark about her violent past.
"She's been a troublemaker the whole time she's lived here," said the building's super, who declined to give his name.
The super said Carrion threatened his wife when he wasn't immediately available to make a repair.
"She's an angry lady," said neighbor Alex Encarnacion, 37. "A lot of people were afraid of her. I didn't know she tried to kill someone, but that doesn't surprise me. She had a very bad attitude."
Carrion may have disguised her appearance with wigs and makeup and by dressing as an old lady or a young boy, according to true-crime television show "America's Most Wanted," which has aired a story on her.
Carrion was arraigned yesterday in Bronx Criminal Court and remanded to Rikers Island.
The man Carrion was attacking Saturday, who may have been her boyfriend, has refused to cooperate with cops, and the assault charges may be dropped, a police source said. But she will soon face a hearing at which authorities will seek to move her to Connecticut to face charges.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/08/24/2010-08-24_most_wanted_woman_is_nabbed_in_attack_on_man.html#ixzz0xX7KY13q
Roca/NewsPatrick Murray, pictured in 2009, is a city firefighter accused of growing over 100 marijuana plants.
A city firefighter was caught "red-handed" tending more than 100 marijuana plants - each worth $5,000 - in the basement of a Queens house, a prosecutor said Monday.
Patrick Murray was not only running an illegal drug operation, but he was also endangering three young kids living above the drug den, exposing them to harmful fumes from powerful chemical fertilizers and carbon dioxide gas, said Assistant Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Soumya Dayananda.
"While most firefighters enter a house to save lives, the defendant entered this house to take care of business," Dayananda said in her opening statement to the jury.
Murray, a seven-year veteran of the FDNY, is also a reputed member of a notorious gang called "The Master Race" which is heavily involved in marijuana growing and trafficking, according to court papers.
Federal Judge John Gleeson has precluded any references to the firefighter's alleged gang affiliation.
Murray was nabbed by NYPD cops who were checking out an anonymous tip that marijuana was being grown in the rented house on 237th St. in Bellerose.
The government's star witness will be another disgraced firefighter, Matthew Cody, who worked in Engine 292 with Murray and pleaded guilty to drug charges in connection with the marijuana operation.
Cody owned the house along with his brother, Michael, a city sanitation worker, and allowed Murray to use the basement to grow hydroponic pot plants.
Defense lawyer Lee Ginsberg told the jury that Cody is testifying to avoid a five-year sentence.
"Matthew Cody if he tells any truth on the witness stand...will tell you that Patrick Murray was helping him for months and months to build an apartment in the basement," Ginsberg said.
"Patrick Murray had nothing to do with this marijuana operation," he added.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/08/23/2010-08-23_city_firefighter_grew_over_100_marijuana_plants_endangered_kids_living_over_drug.html#ixzz0xWOuDZ2q
This is for entertainment purposes only!
Those born on August 24 have the urge to untangle mysteries that capture the imagination. Not only students of the human condition, those born on this day often pursue objective knowledge for its own sake, whether philosophical or scientific, material or theorectical. Their never-ending quest for information and details which can help them make sense of life and enrich their world takes them far and wide.
Unraveling complexity is something that comes naturally to August 24 people. They love puzzles of all types, paradoxes and riddles. To say that they themselves are sometimes difficult to follow is an understatement. Those born on this day may be difficult to pin down or understand, they themselves rarely feel lost.
In order to uncover the truth, it is possible that an August 24 person will not only dig into books and human character, but also literally dig into the earth, search the skies and look into the seas to explore the wonders of nature. Their hobbies and perhaps their careers reflect this desire for discovery.
Those born on the 24th day of the month are ruled by the number 6 (2+4=6 ). Those ruled by the number 6 are magnetic in attracting love and admiration.
Advice: Don't make a production out of small matters. Occasionally allow things to run their course. Follow your heart more often, while respecting the wishes of others. Some secrets are better left unrevealed.
Strengths: Observant, investigative and thorough
Weaknesses: Overanalytical, stifling and obscure
Born on This Day: Luis Borges, Cal Ripken, Jr., William WIlberforce, Gerry Cooney and Buster Smith
On This Day In History: August 24, 0079
After centuries of dormancy, Mount Vesuvius erupts in southern Italy, devastating the prosperous Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum and killing thousands. The cities, buried under a thick layer of volcanic material and mud, were never rebuilt and largely forgotten in the course of history. In the 18th century, Pompeii and Herculaneum were rediscovered and excavated, providing an unprecedented archaeological record of the everyday life of an ancient civilization, startlingly preserved in sudden death.
Inventions On This Day: 1993 Patent # 5,238,437 for a Bubble Dispensing Doll was issued to Vowles, Barad, Smith and Stern.
Meditation: Some of the finest dancers and musicians are members of the animal kingdom.
August 23, 2010
U.S. Judge Rules Against Obama’s Stem Cell Policy
WASHINGTON — A federal district judge on Monday blocked President Obama’s 2009 executive order that expanded embryonic stem cell research, saying it violated a ban on federal money being used to destroy embryos.
The ruling came as a shock to scientists at the National Institutes of Health and at universities across the country, which had viewed the Obama administration’s new policy and the grants provided under it as settled law. Scientists scrambled Monday evening to assess the ruling’s immediate impact on their work.
“I have had to tell everyone in my lab that when they feed their cells tomorrow morning, they better use media that has not been funded by the federal government,” said Dr. George Q. Daley, director of the stem cell transplantation program at Children’s Hospital Boston, referring to food given to cells. “This ruling means an immediate disruption of dozens of labs doing this work since the Obama administration made its order.”
In his ruling, Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth of Federal District Court for the District of Columbia wrote that his temporary injunction returned federal policy to the “status quo,” but few officials, scientists or lawyers in the case were sure Monday night what that meant.
Dr. Daley was among those who said they believed that it meant that work financed under the new rules had to stop immediately; others said it meant that the health institutes had to use Bush administration rules for future grants.
Steven H. Aden, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, which sued to stop the Obama administration rules, said the judge’s ruling “means that for now the N.I.H. cannot issue funding grants to embryonic stem cell research projects without any further order from the court.”
Officials at the health institutes said that lawyers at the Department of Justice would interpret the ruling for them. Tracy Schmaler, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, wrote in an e-mail, “We’re reviewing the decision.”
The judge ruled that the Obama administration’s policy was illegal because the administration’s distinction between work that leads to the destruction of embryos — which cannot be financed by the federal government under the current policy — and the financing of work using stem cells created through embryonic destruction was meaningless. In his ruling, he referred to embryonic stem cell research as E.S.C.
“If one step or ‘piece of research’ of an E.S.C. research project results in the destruction of an embryo, the entire project is precluded from receiving federal funding,” wrote Judge Lamberth, who was appointed to the federal bench in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan.
In other words, the neat lines that the government had drawn between the process of embryonic destruction and the results of that destruction are not valid, the judge ruled.
For scientists, the problem with the judge’s reasoning is that it may render all scientific work regarding embryonic stem cells illegal — including work allowed under the more restrictive policy adopted by President George W. Bush in 2001.
For years, private financing has been used to create embryonic stem cell lines, mostly from discarded embryos from fertility clinics. The process destroys the embryos. President Bush agreed to finance embryonic stem cell research, but limited federally financed research to 21 cell lines already in existence by 2001.
Under the Obama administration, private money was still needed to obtain the embryonic stem cells, but federal money could be used to conduct research on hundreds more stem cell lines, as long as donors of embryos signed consent forms and complied with other rules.
Ron Stoddart, executive director of Nightlight Christian Adoptions, an agency that was one of the original plaintiffs in the lawsuit that led to Monday’s ruling, said he was pleased with the judge’s ruling.
“We do not want to see stem cell research that would destroy embryos,” Mr. Stoddart said. “Embryos are preborn human life that should be protected and not destroyed. If there was a way of extracting the stem cells without destroying them, I would not be opposed to it.”
Mr. Stoddart said he would be surprised if the judge’s ruling led to a complete ban on embryonic stem cell research. Rather, he said his group hoped the government’s policy would return to the balance struck by President Bush.
Mr. Aden, the plaintiff’s lawyer, said Judge Lamberth would have to clarify whether President Bush’s rules were legal.
Dr. Irving L. Weissman, director of the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, said the ruling was “devastating to the hopes of researchers and patients who have been waiting so long for the promise of stem cell therapies.” Dr. Weissman said he hoped that the judge’s ruling would be overturned.
The lawsuit at issue was brought last year on behalf of the adoption agency; two stem cell scientists, Dr. James L. Sherley and Dr. Theresa Deisher; embryos; and others. The judge dismissed the suit last year, ruling that the plaintiffs lacked standing, meaning they were not materially affected by the rule change.
But the Court of Appeals reversed that ruling last year, saying the two researchers could be harmed by the new policy since they worked exclusively with adult stem cells and would face increased competition for federal financing under the new policy. After the appeals court ruling, all but Dr. Sherley and Dr. Deisher were dropped as plaintiffs to the suit.
With the case back in his court, Judge Lamberth ruled that the administration’s policy violated the clear language of the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, a law passed annually by Congress that bans federal financing for any “research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death.”
In rules announced last year, the administration allowed financing of research into any embryonic stem cell lines that either were allowed by the Bush administration or had been created using embryos discarded after fertilization procedures and in which unpaid donors had given clear consent for the embryos to be used for research purposes.
The Obama administration said that its rules abided by the Dickey-Wicker Amendment because the federal money would be used only once the embryonic stem cells were created but would not finance the process by which embryos were destroyed. The judge disagreed, writing that embryonic stem cell research “necessarily depends upon the destruction of a human embryo.”
Dr. Leonard I. Zon, director of the stem cell program at Children’s Hospital Boston, said he was surprised by the ruling. “The Obama administration’s permission to use federal funds is critical for embryonic stem cell research to move forward and has set a great standard for the United States,” he said.
Mr. Aden said he hoped the ruling would lead to increased financing of adult stem cell research, which his clients have argued is more scientifically promising than embryonic stem cell research anyway.
Giant Baby Is Weight Of A Six-Year-Old
Monday August 23, 2010
Sky News Online
A 10-month-old boy has been named the "Michelin baby" after ballooning to the weight of a six-year-old, Chinese state media has reported.
When he was born in China's southern Hunan province, Xiao Lei weighed in at around 3.5kg (7.7lbs), only just above the average weight of a newborn baby, according to Hunan television.
But a fierce appetite has seen him expand to 20kg (44lbs) - double the size of most babies of his age.
His mother, Cheng Qingyu, has said he is fed only with her breast milk.
"I've never had him take any milk powder or anything that contains hormones. Why would I need to worry?"
LINK TO VIDEO
However, doctors at Hunan Children's Hospital have said unless Xiao Lei loses weight, it will cause future problems for his heart and blood pressure.
Heathcote, Squire/GettyTiger Woods' secret sex life was first exposed after he crashed his SUV outside his home near Orlando in November 2009.
Tiger and Elin are history.
The girl-crazed golfer and his stunning Swedish spouse have divorced, the Associated Press reported Monday.
The not-unexpected announcement quietly capped a sordid sex scandal involving a parade of party girls and porn stars that turned Tiger Woods from pro-golder extraordinaire into a punchline - and stripped the veneer off his image and supposedly perfect marriage.
Details were scare about the settlement, but Elin Nordegren was expected to walk off with a huge chunk of Woods' fortune.
Woods and his spurned spouse were expected to share joint custody of their daughter Sam, 3, and son, Charlie, 1, according to various reports.
Woods' golf game has never recovered since his secret sex life was first exposed nine months ago after he crashed his SUV outside the family home near Orlando.
Since then, Woods lost his good name, millions of dollars in endorsements - and now his wife
Officers: Child dials 911, parents passed out
Austin L. Miller
Published: Sunday, August 22, 2010 at 6:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, August 22, 2010 at 12:33 a.m.
A 42-year-old man and his 39-year-old wife were found passed out in their Southwest Ocala home after their 6-year-old son called 911 from a cell phone, according to Marion County sheriff’s officials.
The parents, Michael Dean Patrick and his wife, Nicole, were arrested Friday by sheriff’s deputies and charged with child neglect, according to officials.
Sgt. David Hopkins was the first to arrive on scene and said he noticed the juvenile was in front of the home. The boy called the Sheriff’s Office and told a dispatcher that his father was asleep on the floor near the bed and his mother was sleeping on the kitchen floor, authorities said. The boy told the dispatcher he could not wake up his parents.
Entering the residence, Hopkins said he saw the man, later identified as Patrick, in the master bedroom lying on the bed. Marion County Fire Rescue personnel were summoned. Officials were able to wake up Patrick, who they say had slurred speech and difficulty standing.
Patrick told officials he takes medications and showed them the prescription bottles. Officials say the man told them he drank one alcoholic beverage.
Covered with a blanket and lying on the kitchen floor in a puddle of milk was Patrick’s wife, Nicole, authorities said. The little boy said he poured milk on his mother in an attempt to wake her up.
Disoriented and her speech slurred, the woman told officials she also took medications, but was unable to provide any proof, deputies said. Officials say she had a hard time staying awake, and when she did, she kept asking her husband why she was on the kitchen floor, how long had been she passed out, and where was her medication.
A couple who live nearby told officials that on more than one occasion they saw the little boy outside between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m., deputies said. The couple said when they asked him if his parents knew he was outside, he told them no.
Another neighbor told officials she rarely sees the boy’s mother, and that the boy’s father would keep the 6-year-old outside or playing in the garage for several hours because his wife was frequently sleeping.
Deputy John Gernert noted in his report that last December, they went to the residence after the little boy was struck in the head by a 35-inch television that fell in the boy’s bedroom. The little boy was flown to Shands at the University of Florida Hospital in Gainesville for treatment.
The Department of Children and Families was notified and the child was handed over to a family member, authorities said.
The Patricks were then arrested and charged with child neglect. Both were released from the Marion County Jail early Saturday morning on $2,000 bond each.
Contacted by phone, Michael Patrick denied any child neglect and hung up.
It’s the second time in two days that a parent has been found passed out inside a home by a child unable to wake the parent up.
On Friday, deputies arrested Amanda Branda and charged the pregnant 31-year-old Summerfield woman with inhalation of a harmful chemical substance.
It was her third arrest for the same offense since April.
In Friday’s incident, her two boys were unable to wake her up after she had locked herself inside a bedroom, authorities said. When medics kicked open the door, they said they found her lying on the bed with an aerosol can beside her. The can was later identified as Maxwell “Blast Away” multi-purpose duster, authorities said.
Branda was released on $250 bond Friday night.
A staffer at a Bronx elementary school lied about her mother dying to cover for missing three days of work -- but got canned after probers found mom alive and bowling at a local Thursday night league, The Post has learned.
To document her days absent from PS 55, school aide Dawn Singletary submitted a pamphlet announcing her mom's funeral at a fake South Carolina cemetery -- and then maintained the ruse by accepting a $150 gift that was collected by concerned staffers, schools investigators found.
But among the dead giveaways that something was awry were documents Singletary submitted to the school that misspelled "St. Mary Cemetery" as "cemetary" and named the nonexistent Cunningham Funeral Home in Salters, SC.
After she was confronted by the Office of the Special Commissioner of Investigation, Singletary copped to the grave deception -- and to bowling with mom weekly at Ball Park Lanes in The Bronx.
She was given the boot shortly after the never-made-public probe was completed.
"There's nothing to defend because what I did was my fault," Singletary told The Post when asked about the incident. "The only person that got bit in the butt was me."
Actually, though, Singletary was among more than a dozen city school workers who have been terminated since January 2009 after documents they submitted to excuse sick or bereavement days were exposed as flimsy fakes. According to investigators:
Queens school aide Teresa Mandalas was recommended for termination from PS 143 earlier this year after she submitted a medical note with a co-worker's name crossed out and her own name scribbled in.
Grace Lebron, a school aide at IS 190 in The Bronx, also suffered a medical-scam snafu when she left a blank Mount Sinai Hospital doctor's note sitting on a copy machine shared by school staffers.
After school supervisors and investigators matched the blank note to Lebron's file of medical excuses, they identified eight fakes over a two-year period.
LINK TO PHOTO:
This is for entertainment purposes only!
Those born on August 23 often stand aloof from life, and thus appear to be detracted and cool. Whether due to disinterest in mundane affairs or preoccupation with their own needs and wants, they can strike others as selfish. In reality they are not so selfish as self-motivated, thoroughly taken up with their interests and what they wish to accomplish in life.
Many August 23 people are adept at making money and amassing material possession. Ultimately, however, it is their need to lead or direct those around them which is more important to them. Those born on this day tend to be compact, driving, intense personalities completely focused on their goals. The means they employ to accomplish their ends are most often straightforward and bluntly effective. Most people who stand in their way back off.
Technical skills are often granted those born on August 23. They have a knack for discovering how things work, are often handy around the house and generally bring expertise and a command of their medium to whatever profession they choose.
August 23 people have tremendous stores of energy as well as a combative streak, they will rarely back down from confrontation. Often they see themselves as defenders of the weak or disadvantaged but must not get too enthusiatically involved in such protective behavior.
Those born on the 23rd of the month are ruled by the number 5 (2+3=5). Whatever hard knocks or pitfalls those ruled by the number 5 encounter in life, they usually recover quickly. The number 23 is associated with happening, and for August 23 peole this emphasizes their attraction to exciting people and experiences.
Advice: Try to stay sensitive to the feelings of others but, more importantly, get in touch with your own needs on a deeper level.
Born on This Day: Gene Kelly, Louis XVI, Shelly Long, and Sonny Jurgensen
Strengths: Intense, poised and technical
Weaknesses: Self-involved, detached and emotionally blocked
This Day In History: Aug 23, 1902
Fannie Farmer opens cooking school
On this day in 1902, pioneering cookbook author Fannie Farmer, who changed the way Americans prepare food by advocating the use of standardized measurements in recipes, opens Miss Farmer's School of Cookery in Boston. In addition to teaching women about cooking, Farmer later educated medical professionals about the importance of proper nutrition for the sick.
Famous Inventions on This Day:
1977 The name Cincinnati Bengals was trademark registered.
1904 The automobile tire chain was patented.
Nichols Woman Arrested for Allowing 12-year-old to Drive
Aug 22, 2010 at 1:42 PM CDT
IOWA CITY, Iowa — A Nichols woman is in the Johnson County Jail after allegedly allowing a 12-year-old child to drive her and her three children from Nichols to Iowa City.
Melissa Garcia, 21, was arrested on Saturday night in connection to three counts of child endangerment and operating a vehicle with no consent.
According to the arrest report, officers were called to an undisclosed location in Iowa City in regard to a fight in progress. During the investigation, officers discovered Garcia allowed the 12-year-old to drive her and her three children – ages three, two, and one — in a minivan. The officers found the children were not properly restrained in the vehicle and noticed a large amount of debris in the back seat.
Garcia, who is seven months pregnant with her fourth child, told officers the 12-year-old was weaving all over the road and almost went into a ditch. Garcia allegedly began yelling at the child and told her to stop driving the minivan. Garcia then began to drive the vehicle herself. Officers say the owner of the minivan did not give permission to Garcia or the child to operate the vehicle.
As of Sunday, Garcia remains in custody on a $10,000 cash only bond
Husband accused of pumping gas into wife's car, lighting it
Explosion sends both to hospital; man charged with attempted murder
The Baltimore Sun
5:29 p.m. EDT, August 22, 2010
An Eastern Shore man pumped gasoline into the car in which his estranged wife was sitting and then set it on fire Friday night, causing an explosion and sending both to the hospital, according to Maryland State Police.
An arrest warrant was issued for Pernell Clanton Jr., 47, of the 100 block of Forest Drive in Grasonville, charging him with attempted first- and second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, first-degree malicious burning, first- and second-degree arson, and two counts of malicious destruction of property over $500.
Clanton is under guard at Bayview Hospital, where he is being treated for injuries he sustained from the fire.
Police identified the victim as Yolanda M. Clanton, 43, who was taken to a hospital for burns to her face and arm. Court records show that on Aug. 14 she was granted a protective order, which was made final Thursday, requiring her husband to surrender firearms and to stay away from their home and his wife's workplace.
At about 10:30 p.m. Friday, police from the Centreville Barracks responded to a call at a convenience store in the 100 block of Main St. in Stevensville and found a 2002 Dodge Intrepid engulfed in flames next to a gas pump. Yolanda Clanton told police that the pair had stopped for gas. When her estranged husband began pumping fuel while smoking a cigar, she said she told him he should not be smoking around the pumps, according to the release.
She told police that she was still belted into the driver's seat when her husband removed the pump nozzle from the gas tank and began pumping gas into the car through an open rear window. According to the release, Pernell Clanton used a lighter to ignite the gas in the car, and she escaped the vehicle just as it exploded.
A nearby motorist was able to use the emergency cutoff switch to turn off the pumps. Crews from the Stevensville Volunteer Fire Department put out the fire. The car was destroyed but neither the gas pumps nor the store caught fire.
The investigation is continuing.
Howard Dean: Obama aides need to spend 'some time outside Washington'
"The people around the president have really misjudged what goes on elsewhere in the country, other than Washington," D.C.Dean told Candy Crowley on CNN's "State of the Union."
"I don't think this is true of the president, but I do think his people, his political people, have got to go out and spend some time outside Washington for a while."
The comments came in response to recent criticisms lodged by White House spokesman Robert Gibbs against what he called the "professional left" — liberals who "wouldn’t be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president," Gibbs told The Hill earlier this month.
"I don't know what he meant by that," Dean said Sunday. "The average Democrat is a progressive. And, you know, there are some things that are upsetting about the kind of deals that were made by the president's people on health care."
Dean — who opposed the Democrats' health reform bill because, among other things, it didn't include a public insurance option — urged party leaders to put aside differences and shift their focus to November.
"This is the time to put that stuff behind us," he said. "We've got to win this election."
Dean's comments came just a few days after Charlie Cook, a prominent election handicapper, predicted the November midterms would shift House control back to the Republicans.
"We're just seeing every sign in the world that this is going to be a wave — and a pretty good sized wave," Cook told the Wall Street Journal Friday. "It's more likely than not that the House is gonna tip over."
Dean disagreed, arguing that the party is "in much better shape" that the pundits say. He's predicting the Democrats will keep control of the House this November, even if their majority is "as small as five or 10 [seats]."
"We're going to have some pick-ups; we're going to have some losses," Dean said. "But at the end of the day, I think we control both houses."
The reason, Dean said, is that the Democrats have a wildcard: President Obama.
"This election, for better or for worse, depends on how hard the president fights between now and election day," Dean said. "For the president to be out there fighting, as he has been for the last two or three weeks, and sounding like Harry Truman, people love that stuff.
"They want to see a fighter. They want to see strength in their leaders, and I think president Obama is showing that strength. … He appears to want to win this."
Dean did, however, concede one caveat. "Obviously," he said, "I'm partisan about this."
Busacca/GettyKim Kardashian and Justin Bieber attend the 2010 White House Correspondents' dinner pre-party.
Corkery/News, RichardFox News host Bill O'Reilly slammed the pals for taking inappropriate photos.
Jennifer Aniston isn't the only one facing the wrath of Bill O'Reilly.
Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber were slammed by the Fox News host for sexy photos recently taken of the two, Us Magazine reported.
O'Reilly questioned if "The Graduate"/"Mrs. Robinson" themed photos were too risqué. He said Kardashian is "42" (she's really 29) and 16-year-old singing heartthrob Bieber "looks like Ringo Starr."
The two friends recently posed together for Elle magazine. They were seen frolicking soaking wet, hand-in-hand on a beach in the Bahamas.
"I think it's gross," Republican strategist Margaret Hoover said during O'Reilly's show. "It's a 16-year-old having an affair with a celebutante."
O'Reilly added "If a 16-year-old girl was pictured with a 29-year-old man in any of that, he'd be in big trouble."
After the photo shoot, Kardashian wrote on her website "I just received the pics from the shoot and I absolutely LOVE how they turned out! Justin and I had a fun time together at the shoot," according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Just a week ago, O'Reilly slammed Jennifer Aniston, claiming the former ‘Friends' star's statements about single parenthood set a bad example for children.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/2010/08/22/2010-08-22_bill_oreilly_fox_news_host_slams_kim_kardashian_and_justin_bieber_for_sexy_photo.html?obref=obnetwork#ixzz0xNCzHbgt
For entertainment purposes only.
Most August 22 people are extremely patient, not wanting to rush for fear of spoiling their well- laid plans. They generally map their future, sharpen their skills, or theorize in private for years and then at the proper moment act with great decisiveness and years of preparation behind them.
August 22 people are fearless in carrying out their ideals. Whether their natural talent is great or modest they use it to the fullest. They are rarely jealous of other in this respect knowing that "genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration."
Those born on August 22 are very loyal to their friends, family, associates, and co-workers. While displaying a frank, tough and outspoken exterior, they rarely allow others access to their sensitive interior.
Making discoveries, solving mysteries and finding out secrets can amount to a mania with the curious types born on this day. Many August 22 people are also fascinated with antiquity. For them history is a vast uncharted adventure just waiting to be explored. However, when they go off the deep end with hobbies or interests, they may risk neglecting family and friends.
Those born on the 22nd of the month are ruled by the number 4 (2+2=4). They often take the minority point of view with great assurance, they can arouse antagonism and make enemies. Since 22 is a double number, people born on the 22nd of the month may be fascinated with twins, coincidences, and doubles of many kinds.
Those born on this day have a great love of food.
Advice: Remain open to suggestions.
Strengths: Imaginative, patient and seasoned
Weaknesses: Domineering, egotistical and inflexible
Born on this day: Denton A. Cooley (implanted first artifical heart). Carl Yastrzemski, H. Norman Schwarzkopf and W.A. Christiansen (developed the seeing eye-dog).
This Day in History:
Aug 22, 1950-- Althea Gibson becomes first African-American on U.S. tennis tour
Dog in wheelchair scales N.H. mountain
August 21, 2010
A wheelchair did not stop one dogged canine from climbing Mount Washington in New Hampshire.
On Wednesday morning, Lucy, a 4-year-old mixed breed whose back legs were paralyzed after she was hit by a car as a pup, became the first disabled dog to scale the highest peak in the Northeastern United States.
“She just kept at it,’’ said Lucy’s owner, Courtney Dunning. “She was very determined. It blew my mind. I had no idea she had it in her.’’
Dunning, her boyfriend, and her Chihuahua-dachshund mix, Topper, accompanied Lucy on the 4,500-foot ascent.
A representative from the Nashua-based organization HandicappedPets.com and a filmmaker also climbed with them. HandicappedPets.com donated the wheelchair to Lucy two years ago.
The 7.6-mile path is mostly paved, but has some sections of gravel, said Ryan Triffitt, director of marketing for the Mount Washington Auto Road. The party took breaks along the way.
But neither the rocky terrain nor the steep slope deterred Lucy on the six-hour climb. Dunning, a marathon runner, said she had prepared Lucy all summer, training her on nearby mountains.
“All manners of ways we’ve seen people try to go up the mountain, but this is the first time we’ve ever seen a dog in a wheelchair attempt it,’’ Triffitt said.
Dunning, a 28-year-old nurse from Peterborough, N.H., said she adopted Lucy more than two years ago after seeing her photo on an animal rescue website. Lucy, who was living in a shelter in Puerto Rico, was using a hand-me-down, duct-taped wheelchair that she constantly slipped out of, Dunning said.
But in her current custom-made wheelchair, Lucy gets around “as well as a normal dog,’’ said Lisa-Marie Mulkern, a spokeswoman for HandicappedPets.com who pitched the idea for the Mount Washington climb.
Dunning said she would not rule out any more mountain escapades for the steadfast pooch.
“She’s been a lot of fun to have, and she’s given me a lot of fun adventures,’’ Dunning said. “I’m sure something will come up.’’
A year after claiming the economy as his own, Obama points finger
President Obama this summer has repeatedly blamed George W. Bush for the nation’s economic woes, a year after he took ownership of the economy and criticized those who “carp and gripe.”
The White House’s effort to tie congressional Republicans to Obama’s predecessor comes less than three months before the midterm elections. But the president’s campaign speeches this summer contrast to a speech he delivered in Michigan last year when his approval ratings were 17 points higher.
During a July 14, 2009, address in Warren, Mich., Obama said, “Now, my administration has a job to do, as well, and that job is to get this economy back on its feet. That's my job. And it’s a job I gladly accept. I love these folks who helped get us in this mess and then suddenly say, ‘Well, this is Obama’s economy.’ That’s fine. Give it to me. My job is to solve problems, not to stand on the sidelines and carp and gripe.”
At the time, the AP wrote, “With four simple words -- ‘Give it to me’ – President Barack Obama took possession of the economy.”
Throughout this year, Obama has blamed Bush and the criticism has intensified this month.
On Aug. 9 in Bush’s home state of Texas, Obama said the ex-president’s “disastrous” policies had damaged the economy, noting that Bush inherited budget surpluses and ended his time in the White House with a budget deficit.
During a fundraiser with Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) in Seattle this week, Obama said, “Eighteen months ago I took office after nearly a decade of economic policies that had given us sluggish growth, sluggish job growth, falling incomes, falling wages and a record deficit.”
Obama has explained that the reason he is highlighting the record of the previous administration is because the GOP is offering “retreads” of Bush’s policies.
Congressional Republicans have not spent much time talking about how they would govern differently than Bush did, though some conservatives have faulted the 43rd president for his record on government spending.
In a recent interview with The Hill, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) did not directly answer a question on differences with Bush.
“The voters are interested in what’s happened in the last year and a half,” McConnell said. “They know who’s in charge… It is naïve of our friends on the other side to assume they can run again the ’06 and ’08 elections. This is going to be about the present, not the past.”
As Obama’s approval ratings have fallen though the year, more voters blame him for the state of the economy. A Rasmussen poll of 1,000 likely voters found that 48 percent blame Obama for the nation’s economic problems while 47 percent fault Bush.
Nearly six months ago, a similar Gallup poll reported that 42 percent of voters blamed Bush a “great deal” while only 26 percent said Obama deserved a great deal of blame.
Eugene Milhizer, the president and dean of Ava Maria School of Law, said, “I think Obama has got ownership of the economy, whether he wants it or not.”
Milhizer said it’s not unusual for a new president to inherit a struggling economy.
For months, Obama has said Republicans drove the economy into a ditch.
He recently said, “We’re slipping and sliding and sweating, and the other side, the Republicans, they’re standing with their Slurpees watching us.”
He added, “Finally we get this car to level ground…and what happens? [Republicans] want the keys back. Well, you can’t have the keys back…You got us in the ditch.”
With the nation’s unemployment rate at 9.5 percent and jobless claims at their highest level in nine months, Milhizer said, “Many people would say we’re in the ditch now.”
Republicans have repeatedly noted that the White House predicted the stimulus package would keep unemployment at 8 percent.
Congressional Democrats, including Reps. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.) and Barney Frank (Mass.), have publicly criticized the administration for making those predictions.
And while Obama and other Democrats claim the stimulus saved the country from another depression, Frank has said in politics, “you don’t get credit for a crisis averted.”
While there is much unease about the direction of the country, Obama is optimistic that the U.S. will rebound.
During his speech in Seattle, Obama said, “The truth is it’s going to take a few years to fully dig ourselves out of this recession. It’s going to take time to bring back 8 million jobs. Anybody who tells you otherwise is just looking for your vote. But here’s what I can tell you: After 18 months, I have never been more confident that our nation is headed in the right direction.”
The White House did not comment for this article.
Man Tries To Rob Eden Bank; Suffers Wardrobe Malfunction
August 19, 2010
EDEN, N.Y. (WGRZ) -- Eden Police continue their search for a would-be bank robber who tried to hold up the HSBC on South Main Street, but who instead suffered a wardrobe malfunction.
The man walked into the branch just after 1 p.m. Wednesday. Police say he brought along a dust mask to try to conceal his identity; however, he left it around his neck, apparently forgetting to pull the mask over his face.
While handing the teller a demand note, the suspect's cell phone rang. Surveillance video shows the suspect startled by something. He then grabbed the note and ran out of the bank.
Police believe the mystery caller may have been a get-away driver informing the suspect that he forgot to cover his face with the mask. Officers say the driver may have also tipped off the suspect that the Eden police station sits just feet from the bank.
The suspect is described as an African-American man in his 20s with a stalky build and a goatee. He was wearing jeans, sneakers, a white tee shirt and a baseball cap with the word "NAVY" on the front.
LINK TO PHOTO AND VIDEO:
GUTTENFELDER/APThe average age of Japan’s population is on the rise, according to government statistics.
A Japanese man stored his mother's remains in a backpack, police discovered. And mama had company.
This isn't the first such case, and now police are searching for centenarians to see if they're really still alive. So far? Nearly 300 100-year-olds are dead or missing.
Why? Cops fear family members aren't reporting deaths on purpose in order to get their loved ones' pension payouts.
Similar, grisly cases included the police discovering the remains of a body that was registered as being 111 years old. But the man had died nearly three decades prior, BBC reported.
And the home address of a woman supposedly 125 years old was discovered to have been turned into a park nearly 30 years ago.
In the latest case, police said the dead woman's 64-year-old son admitted to authorities that his mother died nine years ago. He said he couldn't afford to bury her, so he placed her in a backpack.
Their names were not released.
"I laid out her body for awhile, washed it in a bath, then broke up the bones and put them into a backpack," the man said, according to the AFP.
But police are suspicious and are investigating the son for fraud because his mother continued to receive pension payments long after her death.
The average age of Japan's population is on the rise too, which may tempt family members even more.
According to government statistics, the country's average life expectancy for women is the longest in the world at 86.44 years old. Japanese men came in fifth place at 79.59 years old.
There are more than 40,000 registered residents that are more than 100-years-old.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2010/08/20/2010-08-20_son_in_japan_stores_dead_mom_in_backpack_cops_fear_many_are_hiding_dead_relative.html#ixzz0xFNa2rIs
Man steals from girlfriend to buy her engagement ring
August 16, 2010
Caddo Parish authorities have arrested a Shreveport man for stealing a credit card from his girlfriend's purse and using it to purchase her an engagement ring.
Larry Hill, also known as Timothy Butler, 40, was booked into the Caddo Correctional Center for unauthorized use of an access card, stated a news release.
Hill is accused of using the credit card, which belonged to his fiancee's employer, to make over $6,405 in purchases.
Hill's bond was set at $150,000.
For entertainment purposes only.
Those born on August 21 fight a losing battle to protect themselves from the world's scrutiny. Very private individuals, they want to be left alone but are rarely allowed that luxury. Many born on this day find it natural to conceal their deeper feelings, thoughts and ideas from any except those they absolutely trust.
Those born on this day can be a rock of stability, yet they will not hesitate to make their presence felt, their views known, or assert their indendence, even when this action cause turmoil. They are extremely giving.
Those born on the 21st of the month are ruled by the number 3 (2+1=3). Those ruled by the number 3 are generally ambitious, even dictatorial. Often the number 21 has associations with physcial beauty.
The primary task of August 21 people is to make their way in the world in a constructive fashion.
Usually, August 21 people manifest a protective and nurturing nature which is greatly beneficial to the good health of their families.
Advice: You don't have to prove yourself. Be more trusting, more open.
Strengths: Composed, supportive and protective.
Weaknesses: Overprotective, withdrawn and elusive.
This Day in History: Aug 21, 1959 Hawaii becomes 50th state
The first practical adding & listing machine calculator was patented by William Burroughs in 1888.
Born on this day: Count Basie, Wilt Chamberlain, Kenny Rogers, Jim McMahon and Arthur Janov
Reporter fired over hat speaks out
Ark. broadcaster wears Gators hat, loses job
Updated: Friday, 20 Aug 2010, 8:21 AM EDT
Fayetteville, Ark. (CNN/KHOG) - A former Fayetteville, Ark. radio personality who wore a Florida Gators hat to a University of Arkansas Razorbacks news conference is speaking out about the incident that led to her firing.
On her Twitter account, Renee Gork said she planned to apologize on the air Monday, but was fired before she could.
Gork has written an apology to the school and coach. She says she meant no harm -- she just grabbed the hat that day without thinking, because it was raining.
"Obviously I want to apologize to the University of Arkansas and Coach Petrino I didn't mean any disrespect by wearing a Gator hat, it was a dumb mistake, I know better, I've had the experience in the field before, I know you don't generally wear any team, especially a conference rival, it was just a silly mistake and I hope that I, I didn't mean to offend anyone, I didn't want it to be malice, I didn't have any sort of bad intentions, it was just a silly mistake and it's something I apology for to the fans, to Coach Petrino and to the University of Arkansas," said Gork.
The general manager of KAKS confirms the firing, saying it was a personnel issue that had nothing to do with the Razorbacks. The GM says the hat incident was the last in a list of incidents.
In a statement, the university said it has no connection to the radio station and it did not ask that she be fired.
LINK TO VIDEO:
U.S. restaurants starved for business
The number of restaurants operating nationwide dropped this year for the first time in more than a decade, a survey shows, with California accounting for almost a third of the losses.
Los Angeles Times
August 20, 2010|4:58 p.m.
With consumers and businesses keeping a lid on expenses, more and more small and mid-size restaurants are throwing in their dish towels and closing up shop.
Southern California lost nearly a thousand more restaurants than it gained during the 12 months that ended in March, representing a net 2% drop that was twice the national average, according to the New York research firm NPD Group.
Nearly all the closings were among independently owned restaurants: small, family businesses that just couldn't hold on as customers held back. Earlier in the year restaurants reported modest increases in business, but the jumps in sales were too li
ttle too late for many.
"We were going in reverse," said Ken Rausch, who last month made the wrenching decision to close his family's 65-year-old San Gabriel Valley restaurant, Edward's Steakhouse. The restaurant had weathered previous recessions, but this downturn drained the family's resources — and showed few signs of letting up, Rausch said.
Other well-known haunts have also succumbed: Orso on 3rd Street near Robertson Boulevard, a trattoria popular with the entertainment crowd, closed last winter after a nearby movie studio laid off a big chunk of its employees; across the nation, Koo Koo Roo, Bennigan's, Bakers Square, Tony Roma's and other chains have shut dozens of locations.
Even in good times, the restaurant business is a difficult one. Many close simply because they fall out of fashion or favor, and most run on slim margins. But this downturn seems especially brutal.
"It's been a miserable 21/2 years," said Chuck Keagle, who has closed six of the 10 restaurants in his family's Rancho Cucamonga-based Cask 'n Cleaver steakhouse chain since the downturn began.
Customers began spending less when the economic crisis hit in late 2007, he said. Business started to stabilize this year but diners are still spending about 25% less than they did during the economic boom, Keagle said.
Overall, customers spent about 7% less in 2009 than the previous year, and business is still slow, said Darren Tristano, analyst with the food industry research firm Technomic Inc. The company expects consumers to spend just 0.5 percentage point more on restaurant food this year than last year.
California, with its high unemployment, has been disproportionately affected.
"Most restaurateurs are just living on the edge," said Jot Condie, president of the California Restaurant Assn. Despite an uptick in business this year, prolonged unemployment and a rise in food prices could hamper any recovery, he said.
Matt DeMasi, who co-owns Zach's Cafe in Studio City, figures he can make it through another 18 months of hard times before he has to shut the place down.
"We're in survival mode — have been for a while," said DeMasi, who is burning through savings trying to keep Zach's afloat. "My employees are on bare minimum hours. It's been really difficult."
If hard times persist — or if the price of food goes up — the restaurant's 20-year run may come to an end, he said.
Despite the economy, new restaurants also opened during the 12-month period analyzed and some are doing well. At downtown's L.A. Live complex, where several eateries came on line last year, business is up considerably now that new hotels there have also opened, providing a supply of diners, according to spokesman Michael Roth.
But Bonnie Riggs, NPD Group's restaurant industry analyst, said most companies are holding off opening new locations until the economy improves. "Restaurant owners stop building restaurants and close the underperforming stores so the can make the bottom line look better," she said.
Restaurants are particularly vulnerable to economic cycles because their product is usually discretionary. When people cut back on expenses, meals outside the home often go first. Add to that the cutbacks businesses have made in their travel and entertainment budgets, and the drop in restaurant sales becomes severe.
At the flagship location of the Farm of Beverly Hills, business dropped dramatically after layoffs at big Hollywood agencies and other nearby entertainment companies, said owner Fran Berger. For years, the agents and producers have come as if on cue at 1 p.m. for lunch — sometimes waiting up to an hour for a table. In 2009 there was little or no wait, even at the most crowded times, she said.
"We were really affected by what happened with the businesses around us," Berger said. Sales at the Beverly Hills location, one of three she owns, dropped about 10% last year, she said, although business has recently started to pick up.
Guy Gabriele, who owns three restaurants, including Cafe Pierre in Manhattan Beach, said regulars are coming in less frequently and spending less when they do come. To encourage more traffic, he said, Cafe Pierre has introduced a three-course dinner for $35 and a happy hour.
"This is the weakest that the restaurant business has been," said Riggs, the NPD analyst. Year over year, the number of patrons coming to restaurants has declined for each of the last seven quarters — the most prolonged drop in the 22 years that the company has been keeping track, she said.
Nationwide, the number of restaurants dropped in 2010 for the first time in more than a decade, according to NPD, falling 5,202 to 579,416.
California accounted for nearly a third of that drop, Riggs said. Including fast food, there were about 73,800 restaurants in the state in March, down about 1,500 from a year earlier. Most of the decline was in the five-county Southern California area. Hardest hit were full-service restaurants, those where waiters take orders and bring food to tables.
NPD Group counts the number of restaurants operating across the nation twice a year, in March and September. It does not look separately at the number that closed or opened.
Almost all the losses were among independently owned restaurants; nationwide, the number of chain outlets dropped by just 111.
Chains can weather the storm better than mom-and-pops because they are better able to negotiate lower prices for food, labor and other needs.
At Grill Concepts, which owns the 28 Daily Grill restaurants, 2009 was the worst in the company's 25-year history, said Chief Executive Bob Spivak. The Woodland Hills company closed restaurants in Boston and Long Beach.
"Some were hit really hard and some were hit hardly at all," Spivak said.
The company's Washington, D.C., and Texas locations were least affected by the downturn, he said.
For Mike Ilic, who owns the downtown lunch spot Gram & Papa's in the garment district, it wasn't difficult to figure out where his customers had gone: Many of them actually stopped by to show him the sack lunches they had brought from home.
The peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches saved his clients a few bucks, but they really slammed his business, he said. "It's been a real struggle to keep the doors open."
| Business has dropped precipitously at Zach's Cafe in Studio City and the 20-year-old restaurant is in "survival mode," according to co-owner Matt DeMasi. (Mariah Tauger, Los Angeles Times / August 5, 2010)
Out of the fray, onto the Vineyard
Obama begins not-so-carefree vacation
August 20, 2010
TISBURY — President Obama returned to the cooling breezes of Martha’s Vineyard yesterday to begin a 10-day break from Washington’s oppressive heat and partisan atmosphere, leaving with a parting shot at Republicans’ “obstruction’’ of a jobs creation bill.
The delay “stands in the way of small-business owners getting the loans and the tax cuts that they need to prosper,’’ Obama said at a brief White House appearance. “It’s obstruction that defies common sense.’’ Republicans struck back, calling Obama’s record on jobs an “epic failure.’’
Although Obama left the usual tit-for-tat dialogue of Washington behind, it was harder to shed worries about a sputtering economy and unhappy voters as he returned to the Vineyard for his second summer. The get-away may well prove to be less carefree than last year, when he was buoyed by popular support.
The Obamas plan a low-key family vacation with no public events scheduled, aides say — although islanders can expect the president to make occasional jaunts into villages for ice cream with his children or rounds of golf with his friends.
He arrived aboard the Marine One helicopter at Martha’s Vineyard airport, landing in a swirl of dust amid tight security at 2:40 p.m.
Obama, without a tie or jacket, was met by a convoy of five dark sport utility vehicles, which led a motorcade of police and media to Blue Heron Farm in Chilmark — the same 28-acre estate the family rented last year. He was accompanied by the family’s dog, Bo, who was flown in on a staff helicopter.
The motorcade traveled along winding island roads, which were mostly empty of people, although in some sections, a few dozen people waved American flags and cheered as he passed. One woman gave the motorcade a sour thumbs-down.
Michelle Obama and the couple’s children, Malia and Sasha, traveled separately, arriving unannounced on the island about three hours before the president on a sunny New England summer afternoon.
The family chose to return to Martha’s Vineyard in part for its natural beauty, beaches, and food, said Bill Burton, Obama’s deputy press secretary.
“And it’s someplace that the president went before he was president and likes to go back because it’s a comfortable place where he can rest and recharge the batteries a little bit.’’
Before that could start, however, the president took care of several outstanding issues. In addition to his call for action on the jobs front, Obama bypassed the Senate confirmation process and installed three midlevel agency officials and a diplomat whose nominations had been held up by partisan squabbling by as much as 14 months.
“At a time when our nation faces so many pressing challenges, I urge members of the Senate to stop playing politics with our highly qualified nominees and fulfill their responsibilities of advice and consent,’’ Obama said.
Although Obama may be able to leave the acrimony of Washington behind, much of the work of being president continues on vacation, aides say. He will still get regular security briefings and updates on the economy.
Traveling with the president yesterday were Burton, Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan, and Valerie Jarrett, a longtime friend and senior adviser and assistant to the president for intergovernmental affairs.
There could hardly be a better time for Obama to get out of Washington.
More Americans disapprove of the way he is handling his job than those who approve, according to numerous public polls. This despite the president’s many legislative and policy achievements this year — including the passage of a Wall Street financial overhaul, a $26 billion aid package for struggling state governments, extensions of benefits for unemployed Americans, and last spring’s exhausting victory on landmark legislation to overhaul the health care industry.
But the nation’s unemployment rate is stubbornly stuck at 9.5 percent, and Democrats are bracing for steep losses in the midterm elections, which could cost the party control of the US House of Representatives just four years after retaking the chamber in 2006.
“We’ve returned to a state where Americans are widely pessimistic about the future,’’ said Jeffrey Berry, a political scientist at Tufts University. “They’ve lost confidence that the president knows what direction he’s going on the economy. This president’s accomplishments are real and they’re important, but for most Americans they don’t touch them in a large way yet.’’
The Republican National Committee yesterday blasted the president for embarking on vacation after headlining several fund-raisers “on the caviar trail’’ for Democrats across the country, and Michael Steele, RNC chairman, hit back at the president on jobs yesterday.
“It is way past time for the White House to be straight with the American people and admit that $862 billion stimulus did not do what was promised,’’ Steele said in a statement. “It is clear that the Democrats’ strategy of reckless spending, ballooning deficits, and higher taxes are not the answer and that we need to pursue Republican pro-growth solutions to get our economy back on track.’’
Before the president reenters the cauldron of Washington, and resumes his push back against Republicans on pending legislative battles and for Democrats facing tough election battles, he is planning to maintain a low profile on vacation.
Plans, of course, are subject to unpredictable events. Last year during his Vineyard vacation, he took time to renominate Ben Bernanke as Federal Reserve chairman. And he left the island to speak at the funeral of his friend and former colleague, Senator Edward M. Kennedy.
Globe staff reporter Farah Stockman contributed to this report.
LINK TO VIDEO
John McCluskey and Casslyn Welch stayed on the run for weeks despite a nationwide manhunt.
After being on the lam for three weeks, the Arizona fugitive and his fiancé — who have been referred to as a modern-day 'Bonnie and Clyde' — were arrested at an Arizona campground on Thursday night.
John McCluskey, 45 and his alleged accomplice, lover and cousin Casslyn Welch, 44, were found in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in eastern Arizona.
A U.S. Forest Service ranger confronted the couple after finding an unattended campfire. He became more suspicious when he saw their silver Nissan Sentra hidden in the trees. The ranger had a short conversation with McCluskey, who seemed nervous and fidgety.
A SWAT team and surveillance unit was soon called in.
Welch reached for a weapon but dropped it immediately when she saw she was outnumbered. McCluskey, an escaped prison inmate, also surrendered after cops found him in a sleeping bag outside a tent. He told police he had a gun in his tent and would have shot them if he could have reached it in time.
"The nightmare that began July 30 is finally over," said David Gonzales, U.S. marshal for Arizona.
McCluskey was serving 15 years for attempted second-degree murder, as well as other charges. The two convicts with whom he escaped, Tracy Province and Daniel Renwick, have been apprehended.
Welch is believed to have aided their escape. Authorities say she threw a pair of wire cutters over a fence, which allowed the three to cut their way out of the medium-security, privately run Arizona State Prison in Golden Valley.
Since starting their run from the law, police believe, McCluskey and Welch also hijacked an 18-wheeler and its two drivers, who were later released unharmed, and brutally murdered an elderly couple in New Mexico.
The campsite where the duo was arrested was just 300 miles east of the jail.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2010/08/19/2010-08-19_escaped_prison_inmate_john_mccluskey_and_his_fiancee_captured_in_northeastern_ar.html#ixzz0x9BGnPbp
This is a new daily feature and I hope you enjoy it. This is for entertainment purposes only.
Those born on August 20 have a powerful imagination and must put it to a constructive use or risk being overwhelmed by it. This aspect of their personality can be so complex that it is difficult for them to share it with others. August 20 people are often sought out by needy or damaged people because of the tremendous empathy and compassion they display for suffening. Many born on this day are stronger than the average person in that they have fully confronted and overcome not only their personal fears but also those presented by others.
As a rule, August 20 people are quiet and soft-spoken, and prefer not to draw attention to themselves. However, those born on this day can be very natural, even uninhibited when with intimates and in situations where they feel a sense of trust and warmth.
Those born on the 20th of the month are ruled by the number 2(2+0=2). Those ruled by the number 2 tend to be gentle, imaginative, and easily hurt by criticism or inattention of others.
For an August 20 person to stay healthy is a matter of self-control. Exercise, however, usually presents no difficulty for those born on this day, for when their energy is high they naturally seek out activities such as walking and swimming.
Born on this day: Connie Chung, Issac Hayes, Led Zeppelin and Sen George Mitchell.
Best advice for those born on August 20 forget about the past. Let go. Don't dwell on things, today can be a new beginning. Seek joy. Allow yourself the very best that there is.
Cash falls from man's posterior during strip search
August 18, 2010 10:28:00 AM
News Herald Writer
BAY COUNTY - A man being booked into jail gained another charge when detention officers found dollar bills falling out of his posterior.
Nicholas Ryan Harris, 19, of 503 Wood Trail, was undergoing a strip search after being booked into Bay County Jail on charges of driving under the influence, possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia when “several dollar bills … fell from Nicholas’ buttocks area,” according to an incident report. There were $45 total recovered.
According to the report, Harris had been asked prior to the search if there was anything hidden on his body and he said no.
Officers added introducing contraband into a county facility to his charges.
Hudson man tried to sell in-laws' home, deputies say
Posted: Aug 18, 2010 05:27 PM
HUDSON: A 28-year-old man tried to sell his in-laws' home — without their permission, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.
A report states Louis A. Dunbar collected payments on the Hudson home from the buyer from June 16 till July 29 for a total of $1,000. "The money was from the victim to the defendant to secure the residence for a final sale," the report says.
Dunbar, of 12800 Parkwood St. in Hudson, is charged with scheme to defraud. He is being held in the Pasco County jail in lieu of $10,000 bail.
A massive drug sweep in Queens yielded a pile of cash, three luxury rides - and a 12-year-old dealer, cops said.
Police said Wednesday they caught the preteen girl dealing crack and marijuana.
"She was picked up outside a drug location," said Inspector Michael Bryan, commander of the Queens narcotics unit.
The unidentified girl was charged with felony drug sales.
"She had previously sold to undercover officers," Bryan said.
Cops collared 43 dealers in 10 morning raids at the Ocean Bay Houses, the Ocean Village Apartments and three homes along Beach Channel Drive between Beach 51st St. and Beach 58th St. in the Rockaways, cops said.
The undercover investigation started in March. In those undercover buys, cops collected 9 pounds of marijuana, 118 grams of crack and 20 grams of heroin.
Wednesday, investigators seized 11 pounds of pot, a quantity of crack, $14,000 in cash, two Mercedes-Benzes and a BMW, police said.
"We made a significant dent in drug and narcotic sales in the area," Bryan said.
Most of the dealers had prior arrests for crimes ranging from murder and robbery to narcotics and weapons possession.
But even experienced cops were shocked by the girl's arrest.
"We're still trying to determine who she was working with," Bryan said. "She certainly didn't look 12."
Detectives say Conrad Zdzierak was initially able to elude the cops because of his disguise, an expensive silicon mask called “The Player” valued at around $650.
A robber who marauded in a high-quality mask that made him appear African-American was no match for Ohio cops.
Conrad Zdzierak, 30, has been charged with multiple counts of aggravated robbery after robbing four banks and an a CVS pharmacy on April 9, reports ABC News affiliate WFTS in Tampa.
Detectives say Zdzierak was initially able to elude the cops because of his disguise, an expensive silicon mask called “The Player” valued at around $650.
"The suspect seen in the surveillance photographs and that we were looking for, we believed to be an African-American male. The suspect was actually a male, white, who was wearing an elaborate disguise," Springdale, Ohio, Police Lt. Michael Mathis told WFTS.
Investigators believe Zdzierak likely removed the mask between the robberies in order to confuse the cops who believed they were looking a black man.
The authorities caught a break when they spotted a Volvo with its interior splattered with red dye from a dye pack slipped into a bag used to hold the stolen money.
Police found Zdzierak hiding in a motel bathroom.
"He wore what I’m calling a ‘Hollywood quality’ mask," Mathis said. "These things cost $600-$700."
Police arrested Zdzierak and charged him with six counts of aggravated robbery.
"You are the type of villain we read about in novels and see in the movies,'' Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge Melissa Powers told Zdzierak in court last Friday.
Zdzierak is being held on $3 million bond.
This is a new daily feature and I hope you enjoy it. This is for entertainment purposes only.
Those born on this day are either socially or technically creative-- their discoveries can open up whole new worlds of interest for others to enjoy. The combination of these qualities may produce not only trendsetters but true inventiors and architects of the future.
More evolved individuals born on this day value the truth very highly. Yet they perhaps believe that those around them are not ready to hear or handle it. So they keep it to themselves, sometimes for years. When they feel that people are ready for what they have to say, they say it, often in a highly direct fashion.
Those born on the 19th of the month are ruled by the number 1 (1+9=10, 1+0=1), and by the sun. Because of the fact that that August 19 people are born on the first day of the Leo-Virgo cusp, there will be a strong thrust in their lives to succeed on a mental level. Those ruled by the number 1 like to be first, tend to be ambitious and dislike restraint.
August 19 people should make regular checkups with the family doctor a standard practice.
Their strengths are: self-confident, influential and patient. Their weaknesses are: overconfident and secretive.
Those born on this day:
Orville Wright, Bill Clinton, Malcolm Forbes, Bernard Baruch and Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel.
Call to Ma helps police ID burglar
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Investigators are looking for an Athens man who broke into the Howard B. Stroud Elementary School on Monday night, but left behind his cell phone, Athens-Clarke police said.
Officers responded to an 11:25 p.m. burglar alarm and saw a man in the school's cafeteria, but he ran through a back door, police said.
He dropped his cell phone, which had a programmed number for "ma," police said. When an officer called the number, he spoke with the suspect's mother who said she didn't let him live with her anymore because he always steals, according to police.
The woman told officers her son stays with his grandfather in Colbert, and that he was supposed to appear in Madison County Superior Court on a burglary charge Monday, but he didn't show up, police said.
Can you hear me now?
Teens are losing their hearing at an alarming rate, according to a recent study by the American Medical Association.
Nearly 20% of U.S. adolescents – about 6.5 million teens – have some form of hearing loss.
"Teenagers really underestimate how much noise they are exposed to," Dr. Josef Shargorodsky, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, the study’s lead researcher, told the Associated Press.
The researchers compared hearing loss in nearly 3,000 adolescents tested between 1988 and 1994 to nearly 1,800 kids tested between 2005 and 2006, and found that the prevalence of hearing loss rose from roughly 15% to 19.5% between the first and second surveys – a 31% increase, according to RedOrbit.com.
The use of the "ear bud" style of headphones while listening to high-decibel music is a possible culprit. Specific devices – such as the iPod – were not named in the study.
Kids today are listening to music twice as long as kids of previous generations and a much higher volume, said Brian Fligor, an audiologist at Children’s Hospital Boston.
In a study of about 200 college students, Fligor found that more than half listened to music at 85 decibels or greater – about as loud as a vacuum cleaner. Consistently listening to music at such high levels can turn the microscopic hair cells within the inner ear into scar tissue, Fligor told the AP.
How much are teens missing out on?
Someone with a slight hearing loss "will hear all of the vowel sounds clearly, but might miss some of the consonant sounds," lead author Dr. Gary Curhan told the AP. "Although speech will be detectable, it might not be fully intelligible," he added.
Dr. Laura Schlessinger to End Radio Show
12:43 a.m. | Updated
Dr. Laura Schlessinger, the conservative talk radio commentator under fire for repeatedly using a racial epithet, announced on Tuesday that she was ending her long-running radio show.
Dr. Schlessinger made the announcement on Tuesday night on “Larry King Live,” saying she made a decision not to renew her contract when it expires at the end of the year and suggesting that she did not want her opinions and language, however provocative, to be muzzled.
“I want to regain my First Amendment rights,” she said. “I want to be able to say what’s on my mind and in my heart and what I think is helpful and useful without somebody getting angry, some special interest group deciding this is the time to silence a voice of dissent and attack affiliates, attack sponsors. I’m sort of done with that.”
But she stressed that she was not retiring, only ending her show, and would continue to write books and appear at speaking engagements.
“I’m not quitting,” she told Larry King. “I feel energized actually — stronger and freer to say the things that I believe need to be said for people in this country.”
No stranger to controversy, Dr. Schlessinger has been under intense pressure in recent days following an exchange with a caller on her radio show last week in which she used the racial epithet — the so-called N-word — 11 times. The caller, a black woman, was complaining that she was married to a white man whose friends and family members frequently made racist comments in her presence. Dr. Schlessinger responded by arguing there was a “confusing” double standard — that blacks could use the epithet freely while whites could not.
“If anybody without enough melanin says it, it’s a horrible thing; but when black people say it, it’s affectionate,” she said. “It’s very confusing.”
Even after the caller complained — “I was a little caught back by the N-word that you spewed out, I have to be honest with you” — Dr. Schlessinger repeated it a number of times, insisting her caller had “too much sensitivity.”
A day later, as the show was generating controversy on blogs and cable news shows, Dr. Schlessinger issued an apology on her blog. She also read it on her radio show.
“I was attempting to make a philosophical point, and I articulated the ‘n’ word all the way out — more than one time,” she said. “And that was wrong. I’ll say it again — that was wrong.”
The apology, however, only generated more attention to the original comments, prompting Dr. Schlessinger to appear on CNN to make her announcement Tuesday night.
Shortly after Dr. Schlessinger made her announcement, one of the groups that had called for advertisers to back away from her show, Media Matters for America, issued a statement applauding the outcome.
“Dr. Laura’s radio career ended in disgrace tonight because of the bigoted, ugly and hateful remarks made on her show. Americans have had enough,” the group’s president, Eric Burns, said in the statement. “Listeners are now holding hosts, affiliates, and sponsors accountable for the offensive and inexcusable content on the airwaves.”
In her three decades on the radio, Dr. Schlessinger’s popular show — at its peak it was the second highest-rated radio show after The Rush Limbaugh Show — has come under fire from rights groups a number of times. In 2000, a coalition of gay activists launched a Web site, StopDrLaura.com, and organized protests and boycotts across the United States and Canada in response to her comments about homosexuality, which she referred to as a “biological error.” They were also angered by her outspoken stance against adoption by same-sex couples, and remarks in which she said that a “a huge portion of the male homosexual populace is predatory on young boys.”
Dr. Schlessinger apologized for many of her comments, but many of her advertisers left her radio show, and a television show she started in 2000 was ended a year later. On the Web site StopDrLaura.com Tuesday night, a headline at the top of the home page declared, “We Stopped Dr Laura.”
LINK TO VIDEO OF REMARKS
Benefits cheat claiming to be single mum caught out after posting on Facebook she was married mother-of-three
Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 1:45 PM on 17th August 2010
A foolish benefits cheat who claimed to be a single parent living alone was caught out after revealing on Facebook she had a husband and three children.
Greedy Kim Stokes, 36, told the Department of Work and Pensions that she been a lone parent, unemployed and separated from her husband, a court heard.
But after fraud investigators found items on Facebook showing Kim, her husband Richard, and their children involved in family activities, the shameless cheat was hauled before the courts.
Social not working: Kim Stokes's Facebook profile included pictures of her family and her husband Richard, and a personal description declaring: 'I've been with my hubby for 16 years and we're still very much in love.'
Evidence against her taken from the social networking site included pictures of a birthday cake that was made by Kim for her husband, family holiday snaps and even anniversary messages.
And in her 'about me' section she stated: 'I've been with my hubby for 16 years and we're still very much in love.'
While Richard's Facebook page proudly declared: 'I am a loving, caring dad, I live in Telford and I am married to my soul mate Kim'.
Trouble and strife: Kim Stokes also posted pictures of her husband Richard on Facebook
Stokes had been overpaid by about $15,000 in housing and council tax benefits as well as income support over the last two years, Telford Magistrates heard.
Deputy District Judge David Stott gave Stokes, from Telford, Shropshire, a 12-month community order.
She was also ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and pay $100 in costs.
She admitted two charges of failing to notify changes in her circumstances to the DWP between May, 2007 and October, 2009.
Miss Catherine Thomas, prosecuting, said Stokes had told the DWP she was a lone parent, unemployed and separated from her husband, Richard.
However, they were living together and had jointly applied for a loan and in November 2007 they purchased a car with a joint credit application, using the same address which indicated joint financial status.
Other evidence obtained showed that Richard and Kim were living as a couple after the family home was listed as Richard's place of residence.
Mr Sheikel Ahmed, defending, said the couple had been apart, but he later started regularly stopping and she should have told the DWP.
Today Stokes said from her smart semi-detached house three miles from Telford town centre: 'It's been dealt with and I have got nothing else to say about it.'
But one neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said: 'The husband drives a nice Renault Scenic people carrier, they certainly don't seem to be struggling for money and although I only know them to say hello, they seem a close and happy family - which is unsurprising really, if they have been fiddling benefits.
'The have two girls under 13 and a lad who is about 16 or 17-year-old.'
Stokes has since closed down her Facebook page but still lists herself on Friends Reunited as being married with three children.
Also under the 'about me' section - she reveals: 'I've been with my hubby for over 16 years we have three brilliant children together. I want to go to college and possibly train as a hairdresser or a teacher.'
DWP West Midlands Fraud Manager, Mark Pickering said: 'If you commit benefit theft, don't expect to get away with it. Our investigators are equipped with a wide range of powers and techniques to track you down.
'We are catching more and more of those who steal money intended for vulnerable people, and when we track them down they face heavy penalties.'
LINK TO PHOTOS
Cop Caught Shoplifting At Universal Studios
8/17/10 8:40 AM EDT Updated: 8/17/10 8:51 AM EDT
President Barack Obama's approval rating has dipped to a new low in the latest Gallup poll.
Obama's 44 percent average approval in Gallup's daily tracking polls last week marks the weakest level of support he has registered since taking office.
His weekly average had been holding steady at 45 percent approval in recent weeks.
Additionally, the share of Americans who disapprove of the president's job performance reached 50 percent for the first time over the three-day stretch of Aug. 13-15.
The drop can likely be attributed to the loss of independents. Obama's approval rating among independents now stands at 39 percent, down 4 points from June. Obama began his presidency with the support 74 percent of independents.
Eighty percent of Democrats still approve of the president's job performance, down only 2 percent from June.
Obama?s numbers among Republicans have also remained relatively constant as only 12 percent approve of his performance, the same level from this April.
The tracking surveys conducted August 9-15 were based on telephone surveys with 3,672 adults nationwide. The margin of error is plus or minus 2 percentage points.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0810/41151.html#ixzz0wsAMiXD2
The memo was brief.
The NYPD is warning cops to be on the lookout for criminals wearing underwear with hidden pockets for their stash.
Police said Monday they learned about the invention during the bust of a Brooklyn marijuana suspect last month.
"It was found that many companies carry this type of underwear with a secret pocket for males and females," police said in an officer safety alert. "The arrested perpetrator gave information that drugs and weapons are being concealed in underwear that contains secret pockets."
Several companies make such undergarments, but the memo cites the $12 Pocket Boxer Briefs made by Sta<snip>wear. The company's website shows a 2-liter bottle of Coca-Cola tucked into the 15-inch deep pocket.
There's also a demonstration of a wearer shoving money, two cigarettes, a cell phone, a wallet, a condom and a lighter, among other items, into the undies.
"I'm just trying to show you how big the pocket is," the demonstrator says, patting himself. "Can't even tell they're there. A thief would never know."
Company owner Phillip Scott did not respond to a request for comment, but he has said his targets are travelers looking to avoid getting ripped off - not drug dealers who want to hide their wares.
He said he got the idea after losing his wallet on a trip a few years ago.
The NYPD alert noted other companies are marketing similar garments, including the mind-boggling thongs with pockets.
Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne, the NYPD's top spokesman, said police have not found any criminals hiding contraband in their drawers since the alert went out.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/08/17/2010-08-17_underwhere_drug_suspect_warns_cops_of_pocket_briefs.html#ixzz0wrkboIzv
August 13, 2010
Salem police: Suspect faked death to beat court case
SALEM — Salem police are looking for a man they believe tried to fake his own death to beat a pending court case.
Michael Rosen, 42, of 181 North St., Salem, is now wanted on forgery and counterfeiting charges. And that case he tried to beat — which was initially dismissed — is back on the court's docket, as well.
Rosen, who was already on probation for other offenses, was arrested in June after a fender bender on North Street revealed that he had no license.
On Tuesday, a man claiming to be Rosen's brother walked into the Salem District Court clerk's office with what he said was Rosen's death certificate, showing that Rosen had died the week before.
A clerk put the document in Rosen's file, and the next day, a judge dismissed the case, which is what routinely happens when a person dies while a case is pending.
When Rosen's probation officer, Sean Whalen, learned of the dismissal, he was surprised, because he had spoken with Rosen a week earlier and Rosen appeared to be in good health.
Then, he and other probation officers grew suspicious. Whalen called another probation officer who is supervising Rosen in Concord District Court and learned that Rosen had checked in with that court Monday — four days after he had purportedly died.
Another probation officer, whose mother is a nurse, noticed that the death certificate listed the cause of Rosen's demise as "cardio-respiratory" arrest and knew the term that is normally used is "cardiac-respiratory."
The probation officers took the information to Salem police Lt. Conrad Prosniewski, the department's police prosecutor.
He brought the death certificate to the Salem city clerk's office, and a clerk there confirmed that it was a fake. Not only was it lacking a raised seal, but it was printed on the wrong kind of paper, the margins were not in line, and there is no original copy at City Hall.
In addition, the place of birth, Saugus, was misspelled, as was the cemetery — it was spelled "Temple Isreal" on the certificate (the correct spelling is Israel).
Prosniewski then handed over the case to Salem police Detective James Page, who did some more investigating.
Page checked and found no record of any deaths at Rosen's apartment, where the death purportedly took place.
He also called the cemetery and learned that no one named Michael Robert Rosen had been buried there.
Rosen, who has a lengthy record that includes prior forgery, identity fraud and similar charges, is also wanted by Lynn court officials in other pending cases.
This undated photo released by the FBI shows Alan J. Garrett. (AP Photo/FBI)
Alan Garrett turned himself in Friday
Monday, 16 Aug 2010, 2:11 PM EDT
GALLOWAY, Ohio (AP) - The FBI says a man arrested in an Ohio bank robbery looked familiar to bank employees.
Turns out, he had an account there and was one of their customers.
Agent Harry Trombitas says 43-year-old Alan Garrett turned himself in Friday, two days after the bank holdup in suburban Galloway. Authorities say a man wearing sunglasses and a baseball cap handed the teller a note demanding money and he got away with some cash.
The FBI says bank workers got the license plate number of the suspect's car, and the number was traced to Garrett.
Garrett was jailed on one count of aggravated robbery and a $50,085 bond. Court records didn't list an attorney.
Grandpa, 85, accused of smuggling pot
Carrie Whitaker • Cincinnati Enquirer • August 16, 2010
TURTLECREEK TWP. – An 85-year-old West Chester man was arrested Friday for attempting to smuggle a bag of marijuana to his grandson, an inmate at the state prison.
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Richard J. Heritz was confronted by investigators at the Warren Correctional Institution after they obtained information that Heritz would be attempting to convey the drugs during a scheduled visit with his grandson.
He voluntarily surrendered a large package containing 22 grams of suspected marijuana worth about $500 in the prison, according to a news release issued by the OSP.
Heritz was charged with conveying drugs and possessing criminal tools, felonies that carries a penalty up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
Former butler Indra Tamang, who inherited $8M from actress Ruth Ford, misses his old, simpler lifeCorky Siemaszko
Friday, August 13th 2010, 2:33 PM
Indra Tamang, the Nepalese-born butler who inherited two apartments in The Dakota, poses outside the building.
This is rich.
The lucky butler who suddenly became a millionaire when his boss left him her estate - two sumptuous apartments in The Dakota plus an art collection, all worth an estimated $8 million - pines for his old life.
"Mud house dweller as I was I rather live in own cocoon," Indra Tamang wrote on his blog. "I rather be Indra of yore. I rather live my own life than try to be someone else."
The Nepalese immigrant, who was rewarded for three decades of faithful service to actress Ruth Ford, wrote that the media blitz that followed revelations of his good fortune "hit me hard as hell."
He admitted that suddenly being in the spotlight went straight to his head.
"The stars in my head lingered quite some time," he wrote. "It still comes back sometimes - the sporadic media interviews, invitation to host talk shows, chair a program hosted to recognize my own 'success.'"
Still posted on Tamang's blog Friday was a Happy Birthday from July to his late benefactress that ended with the words, "Miss you."
Tamang, 57, who lives in a modest Woodside, Queens, two-family house with his wife and three kids, was not taking calls Friday. One of his Dakota apartments, a three-bedroom, is on the market for $5 million.
The butler's tale is literally a rags-to-riches story.
Born in a Nepalese farming village, Tamang was actually raised in a mud hut. His life took its first fortuitous turn when he met Ford's brother, poet Charles Henri Ford, who brought him to the U.S. in 1974.
"I was always hearing about America," Tamang told the Wall Street Journal. "I took my chance and I came. I had no idea how the work was going to go and how long I would stay."
They moved into the Dakota studio Ford also owned and Tamang wound up cooking and cleaning for both sister and brother. He even took up photography and travelled the world with his employer.
Thanks to the Fords, Tamang also got to meet some of the brightest cultural lights in the big city, everybody from Leonard Bernstein to Andy Warhol. And he continued to faithfully serve the Fords in their declining years.
Before Ruth Ford died, she cut her daughter Shelley Scott and her two grandchildren out of the will. The disinherited daughter contested the will and eventually got a settlement. She also let it be known that she was "very happy" for Tamang.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/08/13/2010-08-13_former_butler_indra_tamang_who_inherited_8m_from_actress_ruth_ford_misses_his_ol.html#ixzz0wpduCEb3
Roessler/PoolNadja Benaissa, German pop singer with the girl band 'No Angels,' awaits the start of her trial in Germany.
Beier/GettyBenaissa poses in January in Munich, Germany.
Nadja Benaissa, of the best-selling girl group No Angels, told a German court on Monday that she knowingly exposed multiple men to the HIV virus without telling them she was a carrier.
Benaissa, 28, is on trial this week, accused of "grievous bodily harm and attempted aggravated assult," British newspaper The Guardian reports.
The singer allegedly hid her illness from three men she had sex with between 2000 and 2004, one of whom later became infected with the HIV virus.
The 34-year-old man says he and Benaissa had unprotected sex multiple times, and that her aunt ultimately told him the singer was HIV positive, causing him to get himself tested.
"You have unleashed a lot of misery into the world," the man said to Benaissa in the courtroom Monday.
During the five-day trial, the Daily Mail reports, AIDS expert Professor Josef Eberle of Ludwig-Maximillian University in Munich is expected to testify that the man was infected by someone else.
Benaissa tested positive for the virus when she was 17, but kept it a secret from her sexual partners because she didn't think it was likely that she would infect them.
"I'd been told the likelihood of infecting someone or that I would develop the illness [AIDS] was more or less zero," she said in a statement read aloud by her lawyer.
"For that reason, I kept the news even from my close group of friends [as] I didn't want my daughter to be stigmatised," the statement continued. "I never made it public because I feared that it would mean the end of the band."
In Germany, not telling your partner that you are HIV positive before you have sex is punishable by jail time.
If convicted, Benaissa could face between six months and 10 years behind bars. She could even be sentenced to life imprisonment if the man who claims she infected him dies, the Guardian reports.
In the face of the accusations, an emotional Benaissa expressed her regret on Monday.
"I never wanted this to happen to any one of my partners," she said. "In those days I was careless...I'm sorry from the bottom of my heart."
No Angels shot to fame in 2000 when they were discovered on an "American Idol"-type talent show.
They are Germany's most successful female band to date, and have had four No. 1 singles and three No. 1 albums.
A verdict is expected August 26.
A jobless couple living in a $1,200-a-month house paid for by taxpayers is expecting a 12th child, it has been reported.
Gary Bateman, 46, and his partner Joanne Sheppard, 36, moved this year to a new privately-rented five-bedroom home in Staple Hill, Bristol.
Mother-of-11 Ms Sheppard became pregnant again shortly after moving into the new property and is due to give birth at the end of the year, The Sun reported.
Referring to the pregnancy, Mr Bateman told the paper: "It was an accident. Something happened that wasn't supposed to. We've enough for a football team."
The couple complained last year that their previous three-bedroom council house in Yate, near Bristol, was too small for their large family.
South Gloucestershire Council officials visited in October and agreed they were suffering from overcrowding and needed somewhere bigger to live.
But the main local social housing association, Merlin Housing Society, had no five-bedroom properties, so they were told to find a new home on the private market to be paid for by housing benefit, a council spokesman said.
Matthew Elliott, chief executive of campaign group the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "It's disgraceful that this family is being given more than taxpayers earn. Our benefits system needs real reform."
A South Gloucestershire Council spokesman said: "Our input was to do an assessment. They said they were overcrowded. We have a statutory obligation if there are children involved to have a look.
"In this particular instance it was assessed that the children were suffering from overcrowding. Therefore we have a statutory duty under legislation laid down by central Government to help them get rehoused."
Read more: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/uk/jobless-couple-expecting-12th-child-14912767.html#ixzz0wliIOdOy
Superheroes like Iron Man are sending out the wrong message to susceptible young boys, say researchers
A generation ago they stood up for the highest principles of fairness, courage and decency, but today's tough-guy superheroes are sending out the wrong message to susceptible young boys, say researchers.
The "macho" role models in comic books and movies may be damaging the social skills of teenagers and even affecting their performance at school, it is claimed.
US psychologist Professor Sharon Lamb, from the University of Massachusetts in Boston, said: "Today's superhero is too much like an action hero who participates in non-stop violence; he's aggressive, sarcastic, and rarely speaks to the virtue of doing good for humanity."
"When not in superhero costume, these men, like Iron Man, exploit women, flaunt bling and convey their manhood with high-powered guns."
"There is a big difference in the movie superhero of today and the comic book superhero of yesterday."
Although the old-style heroes fought criminals, "these were heroes boys could look up to and learn from because outside of their costumes they were real people with real problems and many vulnerabilities," said Prof Lamb.
The superhero's flip side - the "slacker" - was equally dangerous, she maintained.
Slackers are individuals who revel in underachievement and "save face" by not even trying.
The archetype slacker is Jeff Bridges' character "The Dude" in the film The Big Lebowski.
Garfinkel/PoolPhilip Markoff, the alleged 'Craigslist Killer,' was found dead in an apparent suicide in his jail cell, authorities say.
The Boston medical student who preyed on Craigslist escorts and murdered a Manhattan model last year was found dead in prison Sunday - an apparent suicide on what would have been his first wedding anniversary.
Philip Markoff, 24, was found dead Sunday morning in his Nashua St. Jail cell in Boston, where he was awaiting his March murder trial.
He may have died Saturday, the exact anniversary of his canceled wedding.
A prison source told the Daily News that Markoff was found with a plastic bag over his head, stabbed in the neck and legs. There was a lot of blood.
Prison officials would not confirm that report.
A separate source, a guard at the prison, told the News that Markoff's training in anatomy might have helped him beat anti-suicide measures.
"He's one step beyond other inmates and can do things other inmates can't, because he knows about the human body," the guard told the News. "He's a medical student so if he gets a sharp instrument, he might be able to bleed himself out."
Markoff was arrested in April 2009 for the murder of Julissa Brisman, 26, a model and aspiring actress from the Upper West Side.
Brisman, who moonlighted as an erotic masseuse, was shot dead when she fought Markoff's attempts to tie her up and rob her in the plush Marriott Copley Place hotel in downtown Boston.
Police said Markoff had answered her ad on Craiglist.
When Markoff, a native of upstate New York, was arrested, he was about to start medical school and marry Megan McAllister, his college sweetheart at the University of Albany.
They had a ritzy Jersey Shore wedding planned for Aug. 14, 2009.
McAllister initially defended her fiance, telling the media he "couldn't hurt a fly" and was "a beautiful person inside and out."
Within weeks, as evidence emerged that Markoff had panties and restraints hidden in his boxspring and a handgun hidden in a hollowed-out copy of the medical textbook "Gray's Anatomy" under the bed, she changed her mind and canceled the waterfront wedding in Long Branch, N.J.
Markoff had been on a brief suicide watch just after his arrest last spring when he reportedly tried to hang himself with his shoe laces and slice his wrists with a sharpened spoon.
The prison guard told the News that Markoff had no friends in prison and kept to himself in his cellblock, which was restricted to murderers.
"He secluded himself. He (did) a lot of reading. The other guys are not like him. He's educated; most of these guys come from the street," the guard said.
Police said the former Boston University medical student robbed escorts on the theory that they would not call the cops. Brisman fought back, so he killed her, cops said.
Markoff was charged with the armed robbery of another escort in another fancy Boston hotel, and a third assault of an escort at a Rhode Island motel.
Police said he might have had other victims who were too afraid to come forward, some of them men or transsexuals.
Police nabbed Markoff after trailing him through cyberspace: tracking his emails, pinpointing the location of his phone calls and watching security camera footage.
Sadly, Markoff appears to have spawned some copycats.
A Massachusetts man was arrested just last week for arranging to meet an escort through Craigslist and robbing her.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2010/08/15/2010-08-15_alleged_craigslist_killer_philip_markoff_found_dead_in_jail_police.html#ixzz0wjeUF3BM
Rollins: RNC Chairman Steele a “disaster”
August 15, 2010
Noting the absence of Republican National Chairman Michael Steele, CBS host Bob Schieffer remarked on Sunday that former GOP Chairman Ed Gillespie was filling in for the chairman on "Face the Nation."
“He’s so immersed in controversy that he’s kind of in a bunker these days,” Schieffer said.
Responding to a question on whether Republicans will have to deal with Steele, Republican strategist Ed Rollins said Steele was a “disaster” as chairman.
“You have three men on this show who have all been party chairmen, and very distinguished party chairmen,” Rollins said, referring to Democratic National Chairman Tim Kaine, Gillespie and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who served as DNC chairman a decade ago.
“Michael Steele has failed miserably to do the things he’s supposed to do — raise money and basically go out and articulate a message,” Rollins said. “It’s not going to matter though. What he says or does in the next 11 weeks is not going to matter.”
LINK TO VIDEO
Obama wraps up short Gulf trip, ready to hit road for fundraising
President Obama wrapped his visit to the Gulf Coast on Sunday and headed back to Washington, where he’ll spend only a few hours before getting back on the road.
Obama has a busy fundraising travel schedule next week that takes him across the country. He starts off in Milwaukee on Monday, where he’ll headline events for Democrat Tom Barrett, who’s running for governor, and the Wisconsin Democratic Party.
Barrett was the White House’s hand-picked candidate to replace the retiring Gov. Jim Doyle (D). Polls show him in a tough race. Obama later on Monday will be in Los Angeles to raise money for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
On Tuesday the president will travel to Seattle, where he will headline events for Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.).
Obama goes back to Ohio on Wednesday for another speech on the economy and to headline a fundraiser for Gov. Ted Strickland (D) and the Ohio Democratic Party. Afterward, he’ll fly south to Miami for an event benefiting the Florida Democratic Party.
The first family then leaves for a weeklong vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, the exclusive island off the coast of Cape Cod. Much of his trip to the Gulf this weekend seemed to be aimed at muting any criticism the president would get for vacationing in Massachusetts while telling Americans to return to the Gulf.
While some might say his latest visit to Florida lasted only about 24 hours, the first family certainly wasn’t shy about exploring Panama City Beach. On Saturday, Obama swam privately with daughter Sasha in Saint Andrew Bay, which was captured by a White House photographer and released to the press. On Sunday, he was out on the water again, this time taking a short boat cruise that also included wife Michelle.
On their way to the airport Sunday afternoon, the motorcade stopped for a final ice cream run. It seem to have caused more of a stir than the first family’s other outings. Waitresses from the nearby Hooters came rushing out in their orange shorts to get a glimpse of the Obamas, but were kept at bay by Secret Service, according to the pool report.
After ordering a cup of mint chocolate chip from Bruster's ice cream stand, Obama offered to buy a round for the reporters accompanying him. For a visit that has been as much about a vacation as a photo-op, it was a symbolic gesture. There weren’t any takers.
A staff report
A Cumberland County judge didn't find it funny when a man kept laughing in her courtroom Friday.
Judge Toni King asked Johnny Montgomery, 47, what was so amusing.
According to the Sheriff's Office, Montgomery told her, "It's none of your business."
King ordered him removed from her District Courtroom. As deputies searched Montgomery, they found more than 3 grams of crack cocaine on him, Sheriff's Office said.
Montgomery originally was in court on misdemeanor charges of communicating threats and trespassing. Now he is charged with felony possession of cocaine.
Montgomery, who lives on the 800 block of Dwain Drive, was taken to jail where his bail was set at $1,500.
LINK TO PHOTO
Strange but interesting Self-Burying Screw-In Coffin
August 15th, 2010
Oddly I’ve had a debate in my own mind as to what I’d want done with my remains when I die. I have the tendency to worry that cemeteries are going to end up taking up far too much space at some point and something will have to be done. After all, people take up about 6 feet of space, which is fine, but that adds up. In small towns it’s not a big deal, but in cities it makes you wonder if they’ll ever have to be dug up and moved elsewhere. That situation may take longer to come around if everyone started using these self screwing coffins.
The coffin was made to cut down on labor and the amount of space the person takes up. A small coffin is pushed inside of the screw, then it’s just basically drilled into the earth. It’s purely a concept design by Donald Scruggs who was awarded a handy little patent for this design. Hopefully the design has a way that makes it difficult for random people to screw the body back out of the earth again. The design is a little bizarre, but it’s a happy medium between being cremated and getting a traditional burial. Plus, perhaps somehow the top of the screw could double as a headstone.
LINK TO DIAGRAM
2 Visitors Arrested At Lerdo Detentions Center
POSTED: 1:02 pm PDT August 13, 2010
UPDATED: 1:27 pm PDT August 13, 2010
LERDO, Calif. -- Two people were arrested while attempting to visit the Lerdo Jail.
On Thursday, a detentions deputy at the Lerdo Detentions Center said the deputies arrested two people while attempting to enter the Lerdo grounds to visit.
Lerdo deputies said the first visitor, Donelle Flores, 29, was arrested after it was discovered that she had outstanding felony warrants.
During a search conducted after the arrest, deputies said they found three syringes, two pouches containing suspected methamphetamine, a pill case containing suspected marijuana, a handcuff key and a small knife hidden on Flores.
Flores was accompanied by a second visitor, Billy Evans, 24, who deputies said was found to be a felon on jail grounds without prior permission. During a search, deputies discovered that Evans was in possession of checks that were suspected of being stolen.
Flores was arrested on charges of bringing a weapon into a jail, possession of a controlled substance, possession of controlled substance paraphernalia and bringing drugs into a jail.
Evans was arrested on charges of being a felon on jail grounds and receiving stolen property.
Both visitors were booked into the Kern County
Meth user flees court: 'She just got up and ran'
Peninsula Daily News
Clallam County Superior Court Judge George Wood told a 35-year-old woman she was going to go to jail for violating the terms of a drug treatment program. But Travis Louise Dinius had other plans.
Story Published: Aug 13, 2010 at 11:25 AM MDT
Story Updated: Aug 13, 2010 at 2:17 PM MDT
PORT ANGELES, Wash. - Clallam County Superior Court Judge George Wood told a 35-year-old woman she was going to go to jail for violating the terms of a court-mandated drug treatment program.
But Travis Louise Dinius, who lives west of Port Angeles, had other plans.
Upon being told she was to spend 16 months in jail for using methamphetamine, she bolted from the courtroom on Wednesday, said Gary Gorss, head of court security.
"She just got up and ran," he said.
She remains at large. A warrant has been issued for her arrest.
Dinius is the third person to attempt to flee a Clallam County courtroom this year, and the second to be successful.
Gorss said she was able to escape because, other than a parole officer, there were no law enforcement officers in the courtroom.
He said he is the only court security staff person, and was on vacation at the time.
Gorss said there were no jail staff members in the courtroom because Dinius was not in custody when she appeared at the court hearing.
Clallam County Sheriff Bill Benedict initially said he had authorized overtime for someone to cover for Gorss when he's on vacation, and that there was no replacement due to an oversight.
Later on Thursday he phoned the Peninsula Daily News to say that he found that Gorss took a "floating holiday" and that the security officer and the Superior Court clerk agreed that no replacement was needed since Wednesday was a "light court day."
Benedict said a deputy will fill in for Gorss next week when he's on vacation.
Benedict also said that, since Gorss is the only security officer for the county's five courtrooms, all courtroom escapes can't be prevented.
"She's not the first and she won't be the last," he said of Dinius.
Benedict said the sheriff's office doesn't have enough funds to hire another court security officer.
He said if there ever is a security issue in the courthouse, as in someone threatening harm, there are always deputies in the sheriff's office, at the north end of the courthouse, to respond.
Gorss said Dinius' husband, who was in the courtroom, told her to stop.
21 years of house arrest for theft
Lanette Sansoni will have to pay her former employer $750 a month in restitution for almost a half-million dollars she stole from the company.
A Warminster woman will not be allowed to leave her home, other than to go to work or find a better job, for the next 21 years.
During that time, Lanette Sansoni will have to pay her former employer $750 a month in restitution for the almost a half-million dollars she stole from the company.
Montgomery County Joseph A. Smyth Wednesday acknowledged that his sentencing of Sansoni to 21 years of electronically monitored house arrest was unusual.
While saying that he had been inclined to send Sansoni to prison for her crimes, Smyth said he was responding to the victim's request for a "creative sentence" that would enable him to recoup some of his losses.
Sansoni, of the 600 block of Whittier Drive, has already placed $180,000 she and her family received after selling off property into an escrow account to give to Kenneth Slomine.
Slomine was the owner of the now-defunct JRS Settlement Services Inc., a real estate settlement company that had its offices in Lower Moreland.
Although Sansoni in January pleaded guilty to ripping off $476,686 from the company, she and Slomine have since entered into a civil agreement for her to pay a total of $380,000 in restitution.
Smyth's sentence requires Sansoni to turn over the $180,000 in the escrow account to Slomine and pay an additional $200,000 in monthly installments of $750.
The sooner she pays off the restitution, the more quickly her house arrest sentence will come to an end, the judge said.
However, should Sansoni stop making her monthly restitution payments, he will put her in jail, Smyth said.
County Assistant District Attorney Steven Bunn had requested a jail sentence with work release eligibility for Sansoni.
"This is a case where it is going to take years to pay off the restitution," said Bunn. "While jail time will delay the payments, it would not be that much of a delay."
Slomine was not the only victim in the case, said Bunn. Claiming that Sansoni's theft from the company contributed, at least in part, to the company going belly up, Bunn argued that other employees in that company lost their livelihoods because of Sansoni's selfish actions.
"Her crimes were outrageous and egregious," said Bunn. "She was not taking this money to make ends meet. She was taking this money for luxury vacations, to buy designer handbags and designer jewelry, all at the expense of these other employees."
Smyth said the reason he did not send her to prison with work release eligibility is because that a portion of what Sansoni earned would have to be paid to the prison to cover the costs of incarcerating her. The money would be better going toward restitution, the judge said.
LINK TO PHOTO, RELATED STORY AND VIDEO
The Salt Lake Tribune
Aug 13, 2010 03:29PM
Cops: Woman tries to deposit cocaine
Bank staff in Connecticut call police
Friday, 13 Aug 2010, 11:31 AM MDT
SOUTH WINDSOR, Conn. (WTNH) - A Wethersfield woman is facing charges after police say she handed a bank teller an envelope containing cocaine.
It happened at Rockville Bank in South Windsor Thursday afternoon.
Kendl Murphy, 43, pulled up to the drive-up teller and handed over a deposit envelope that contained a small bag with white powder. Bank staff asked Murphy to wait for her transaction to be completed and called police.
A field test of the substance revealed that it was cocaine.
Murphy has been charged with possession and possession within 1,500 feet of a school or day care. She was later released on a $1,000 bond.
Democrats Blast Ben Quayle As The 'Son Of The Worst Vice President EVER'
Terrell Brown may be the largest football player you've ever seen
Since I went out of my way to highlight the relative shrimpiness of Brett Favre's nephew, Mississippi State freshman Dylan Favre, earlier this week, it's only fitting I return to the Magnolia State to bring you the first look at the largest player in the country. Meet Ole Miss walk-on Terrell Brown, who at 6-foot-11 and 390 pounds, is, according to The Clarion-Ledger, "almost too huge to play football." I was going to make a joke about the guy straining to water Mssr. Brown being the tallest guy in his high school or something, but that's probably too close to the truth to be funny.
If the 6-11/390 measurements are accurate, Brown is without question the tallest football player I've ever heard of. He's also only a few donuts away from the mythical 400-pound mark, reportedly achieved by a handful of immobile heavyweights over the years – most notably Gilbert Brown, Leonard Davis and Terrence Cody – but never (to my knowledge) recorded on an official roster for posterity. Even if Brown eats his way to one-fifth of a ton (he's already listed in less reliable corners of the web as high as 410), he's unlikely to ever match the unofficial record for gridiron heft. That mark was established by former Wisconsin behemoth Aaron Gibson, who allegedly arrived in Madison weighing 435 pounds in 1995. Not that Brown can't get there, but he won't be on anyone's roster when he does. (Though I could conceivably see Brown, like Gibson, eventually requiring a custom-made helmet he has to carry around to each new team for his entire career, because no standard models will fit his head.)
As for his prospects as a player, well, there's a reason he's walking on. Brown's football experience is "very limited," according to co-offensive coordinator Mike Markuson. That may be something of an overstatement. Brown transferred to Ole Miss from Mississippi Delta Community College, but isn't listed on the 2009 MDCC and has no profile on any of the major recruiting sites. Like more celebrated Rebel predecessor Michael Oher, he seems to be a giant who appeared from nowhere.
Evander Holyfield got a surprise visit from local boxing legend Tommy (Hit Man) Hearns shortly after a news conference in the Olympia Club today to announce a heavyweight title fight at Joe Louis Arena on Nov. 5.
Holyfield, 47, will fight contender Sherman Williams for the WBF title. For every ticket sold, five meals will be donated to Forgotten Havest, which delivers surplus prepared and perishable food to 158 emergency food providers in metro Detroit.
“I really came out to talk to Evander about his cause,” said Hearns, adding he misses boxing but does not plan to fight again. “I think it's a great cause. I told Evander I'm definitely on board.”
Holyfield announced he will train at MotorCity Casino leading up to the fight.
Holyfield said he's on a quest to become the unified heavyweight champion once again.
“I've taken care of myself,” Holyfield said. “If you don't believe me show up to the ring on the 5th. See another guy go down.”
In their last fights, Holyfield (43-10-2, 28 KOs) knocked out 41-year-old Frans Botha in the eighth round in April, and Williams (34-11-2, 19 KOs) lost a 10-round decision to Manuel Charr in October.
Dana Warg, the president of Olympia Entertainment, said Holyfield doesn’t look 47 and believes he can still fight.
Joe Louis Arena hosted a boxing card televised on Showtime in March.
"We’re starting to get back into the fight business," Warg said. "I’d like to get to the point where we can do six fights a year, four to six fights. Not every fight is going to be a Joe Louis (Arena) size fight, but we can still do it at MotorCity Casino.”
Organizers said ticket prices haven’t yet been determined and an announcement would be made in the next few weeks on when tickets would go on sale.
Read more: Holyfield will be fighting for a cause Nov. 5 at Joe Louis Arena | freep.com | Detroit Free Press http://www.freep.com/article/20100812/SPORTS18/100812029/1320/Holyfield-ready-to-fight-Nov.-5-at-Joe-Louis-Arena#ixzz0wSICAN3e
Egg in an egg
12. 08. 10. - 13:00
Farmer's wife Maria Baldescu thought she was cracking up when she peeled the shell off this egg fresh from her barn - and found another one inside.
Maria has put the bizarre egg on show on her home in Iasi, Romania, after a local vet warned her it could have been caused by nuclear fall out from the nearby Chernobyl reactor disaster.
"When I first saw it I thought good, two eggs for me. Then I thought about it and asked my vet who warned me off," said Maria, 68.
"I don't want to eat a mutant egg and that radioactive material is still causing many strange births and freaks of nature here," she added.
Alleged 'Granddad Bandit' caught
In this Dec. 2008 surveillance image, a man dubbed the "Granddad Bandit" holds up a SunTrust in Richmond.
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER
August 12, 2010
A prolific bank robber dubbed the "Granddad Bandit" may have been retired by the FBI yesterday with the arrest of 52-year-old Michael Francis Mara in Baton Rouge, La.
In less than two years, the bandit allegedly held up at least 25 banks in 14 states -- three in Virginia and two in the Richmond area -- starting Dec. 19, 2008, with the robbery of $1,850 from the SunTrust branch at 919 E. Main St.
The most recent robbery attributed to the bandit occurred Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C., according to The Charlotte Observer.
The robber, caught on a number of surveillance videos, typically entered banks without a disguise, waited in line and then presented a note to a teller demanding money, authorities allege. He then would leave the bank with the money and the note.
According to an FBI affidavit, in a June 22 robbery of the Union First Market Bank at 11263 W. Broad St., the robber handed over a note that the teller recalls as saying: "This is a holdup, give me $5,000.00 no bait money, no alarms, don't say anything to anybody."
The teller turned over $1,980 to the robber, and he left.
In addition to Virginia and North Carolina, Mara is alleged to have robbed banks in Alabama, Texas, Georgia, Arkansas, Kansas, New York, Florida, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri.
After the June 22 robbery in Richmond, the FBI coordinated an extensive fugitive publicity campaign through the use of digital billboards to solicit help from the public in identifying and locating the robber.
The FBI said its Norfolk Field Office received a tip Aug. 2 that the Granddad Bandit was Mara. The tipster gave agents photographs of Mara and a previous cellphone and work telephone number for him.
"In the photographs provided by the caller, Mara is wearing a hat, eyeglasses, and wristwatch that appear to be identical to those worn by the 'Granddad Bandit' in bank robberies throughout the nation," FBI Special Agent Michael K. Termyn said in his affidavit.
Further investigation showed he previously worked or still worked for "a vehicle transportation company" for which he traveled from state to state.
He rented a car in Baton Rouge on March 8 and returned it April 29. During the 52 days he had the car, the FBI said, 9,669 miles were logged. During the same time frame, three banks were robbed in three states "in the same geographical area."
It is not clear when he will be brought back to Richmond for a court appearance.
"A tip to the FBI made today's arrest possible," said U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. "This is a great example of how the public and law enforcement must work together to keep our communities safe."
LINK TO VIDEO
Girl leads police on 100-mile chase
14-year-old facing charges in Colorado
Updated: Wednesday, 11 Aug 2010, 7:48 AM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 11 Aug 2010, 7:48 AM EDT
AURORA, Colo. (AP) - Authorities say a 14-year-old girl faces several charges after a nearly 100-mile chase at speeds reaching more than 100 mph at times.
The Colorado State Patrol says the girl, whose name wasn't released, led officers on a chase Tuesday from Arriba in eastern Colorado to Aurora. State Patrol spokeswoman Health Cobbler says the chase started at about 7 a.m. when the teen allegedly failed to pay for $35 in gas.
Cobbler says the girl's car was stopped when "stop sticks" put down by the State Patrol punctured the tires.
Authorities say the girl was reported missing the previous night and the car she was driving was reported stolen out of Westminster.
She faces charges of eluding, speeding and theft. Her hometown wasn't available.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Smashed windshields, staged accidents, and suspicious fender-benders and vehicle fires might remain relatively common tactics for deceiving insurance companies—and might be more rampant in a down economy—but insurers are definitely catching on.
Last week, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) released a questionable claims analysis for the first half of 2010 and found that overall, referrals of claims to law enforcement were up 18 percent from 2009 to 2010; and from 2008 to 2009 they'd already risen by 31 percent.
The only types of law enforcement referrals that were down in 2010 so far have been agent and adjuster fraud, as well as informant tips.
Criminals are clearly seeking creative ways to pad their coffers, at the expense of those who pay their premiums and use insurance only for honest accidents. Some crime rings involve deliberately damaging vehicle windshields and file a damage claim, then don't fully fix the windshield. Inflating towing or storage bills is another tactic.
Faked damage, questionable vehicle theft, and suspicious vehicle fires remained among the most frequently referred to law enforcement officials, while other reasons included agent or adjuster fraud, unperformed repairs, and inflated repairs.
Instances of inflated towing or storage bills went up a remarkable 92 percent. Questionable auto repair or auto-body claims were up 29 percent, and VIN manipulation was found up 22 percent.
So if faking a receipt for towing, or setting that vehicle you regret buying ablaze sounds like a good idea…um…it's not.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Preparing for his day in court, Gary Guy Mathews took off his red dog collar and left his squeaky toy at home. It is now up to a judge whether he will wake up one day as Boomer the Dog and find his furry dreams come true.
The sight of "furries" dressed in animal costumes has become commonplace in Pittsburgh, which for five summers has hosted Anthrocon, the largest annual convention of the anthropomorphic enthusiasts. But it is exceedingly rare -- even among a group committed to attributing human characteristics to animals -- to legally change one's name to that of a made-up dog.
Meet Mr. Mathews, a barking trailblazer.
When he was a teen, the now 44-year-old Green Tree man became obsessed with a short-lived NBC show called "Here's Boomer," about a stray mutt that saved people in trouble. In high school other kids began to call him Boomer and he broadcast a radio show about the dog from his basement. By adulthood he was dressing as the shaggy-haired dog at conventions and parties, for the last few years in a full-sized Boomer suit made of shredded paper.
Early this year he began the process of legally changing his name to Boomer The Dog, noting many of his friends already called him that: one of his exhibits in a hearing Tuesday before Allegheny County Common Pleas Court Judge Ronald W. Folino was a letter addressed to his adopted name from a friend named Hobnose Bordercollie.
His own father, Guy Mathews, had legally changed his name from Orlando Matteucci, he told the judge. (He eventually got his late parents to call him Boomer, too, but it wasn't easy. Life as a furry "is good and it's bad. It's hard to get people in your life to adjust," he said in an interview.)
After years of thinking about the name change, Mr. Mathews, who is single, began the legal process early this year, which included getting his fingerprints checked through a state police criminal records database. "It took some time to work up the nerve. I treated it like a science project," he said. He filed for the name change in June.
Judge Folino questioned Mr. Mathews on if he might just change his first name to Boomer and if he has been paid to perform as the dog. (The unemployed computer technician said he had not been paid, "but it would be nice if I would be.")
The judge said he would issue a ruling in a couple days, saying he might rule against the name if it "causes confusion in the community" or raises the "likelihood of unintended consequences," such as being "seen as bizarre."
Dr. Samuel Conway, the CEO of Anthrocon, said he knew of only two others in furry fandom who had legally changed their names out of the several thousand involved in the movement.
"I do not believe it is any more common among our number than one would find in the rest of society, where people are often driven to change their names out of religious fervor, a sense of cultural identity, or other reason of personal interest," he said in an e-mail.
"I wish Mr. the Dog luck in his pursuit, with the earnest hope that he has chosen a career path for which such a monicker would be of benefit."
LINK TO PHOTO OF BOOMER THE DOG
Chastain/APFormer Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin waves to supporters in May,.
A New Hampshire Democrat is under fire after reportedly posting a public death wish for Sarah Palin.
Keith Halloran, a Democratic candidate for state representative in New Hampshire, took a swipe at Palin on Facebook after former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens died in a plane crash on Monday.
"Just wish Sarah and Levy were on board," Halloran wrote, apparently taking aim at the former Alaska Gov. and her daughter's ex-fiancée, Levi Johnston.
The New Hampshire Republican party quickly fired back with a statement "denouncing" the posting.
"Mr. Halloran's outrageous comments are a new low, even by the standards of the New Hampshire Democrat Party," a spokesman for the party said in the statement.
"His publicly stated death wish for Governor Palin and her family is abhorrent, and has no place in our public discourse."
The New Hampshire GOP is rallying supporters to call New Hampshire Governor John Lynch and Congressional Candidate Ann McLane McLuter and ask them to "immediately denounce Mr. Halloran's hateful remarks and demand that he personally apologize to the Palin family."
Halloran, meanwhile, has refused to confirm he wrote the message.
"It's just a tempest in their Tea Pot," he told The Associated Press.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2010/08/11/2010-08-11_nh_democrat_under_fire_for_reportedly_saying_sarah_palin_should_have_crashed_wit.html#ixzz0wLZjiILZ
Thief tries to sell ladder to guy he stole from
updated 8/11/2010 9:17:59 AM ET
This all started July 28th when the thief was caught with a ladder stolen from a Cedar Mill area man. The victim saw the thief, recognized his ladder, and turned the thief in to the Washington County sheriff's office.
Kevin Gilman was taken to jail on accusations of burglary and theft, said sheriff's office spokesman Sgt. David Thompson.
Gilman was released from jail on Aug. 3, then he called the victim and asked him if he was still interested in buying a ladder posted on Craigslist, Thompson said.
Apparently, Gilman had listened for a second time to voicemails he received before the arrest. He didn't realize that he had already called the same man who had turned him in, Thompson said.
The victim called the sheriff's office, and detectives took his place in the purchase. When Gilman was arrested the second time, the detectives bought three stolen ladders from him, Thompson said.
Gilman told detectives that he did door-to-door marketing for a painting company. If he came across a home with packages on the porch signaling no one was at home, he would steal the packages, Thompson said.
Sometimes he stole ladders, he told police, and would leave them resting against vacant homes. He said he once entered a home and stole DVDs and a guitar which he pawned, Thompson said. Most of what Gilman has stolen has been sold.
Gilman remains in jail this time, with bail set at $100,000.
LINK TO PHOTO
Obama is no FDR
Circumstances and GOP gainsaying have throttled the president's ambitions
6:01 PM EDT, August 10, 2010
Even before taking office nearly 17 months ago, President Barack Obama was being touted by hopeful Democrats as the next Franklin D. Roosevelt — he of the fabled "first hundred days" and the New Deal that was credited, with some dispute, with pulling the country out of the Great Depression.
Mr. Obama's own spurt of action and remedial legislation upon taking office was not quite so swift. But in his second year, by pushing and shoving, by coaxing members of his own party in Congress, he did achieve historic health insurance reform.
He has continued with a list of other notable accomplishments to make the case, also amid dispute, that he is slowly but surely pulling the country out of what's now widely being called the Great Recession.
But because of the grinding pace of recovery, accompanied by nagging joblessness that has inhibited public optimism about progress on Main Street, the early comparisons with FDR have waned — with the lively assistance of the Republican leadership in Congress, which has been all too ready to answer no to Mr. Obama's every overture.
The Democratic president has made various attempts to deal with the unemployment rate, currently stalled at 9.5 percent (or much higher if workers who have stopped looking are included). Legislation to help localities and states to keep teachers and first responders on their payrolls is an example, as is the push for extended jobless benefits.
But with the Republicans intensifying warnings of federal deficit catastrophe — something they seemed not to worry about while running through the Bill Clinton surplus and beyond during their late administration — Mr. Obama's inclinations to emulate FDR are being throttled.
If ever there was a time for a massive federal job-creation program akin to those of the early New Deal, this is it. Indeed, projects such as road building, parks improvement and a range of other public works are going forward under the Obama stimulus package, but somehow they're escaping wide public awareness.
Mr. Obama regularly mentions them now that he is aggressively on the campaign trail, looking to the November congressional and gubernatorial elections. And Vice President Joe Biden, the man in charge of overseeing the implementation of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, has been trumpeting them in his sometimes overboard fashion.
But for all of Mr. Obama's references to how the nation was driven "into the ditch" by the Republicans in the Bush years, and how they have stood aside while the Democrats have struggled to push it out, the idea that everything possible is being done to put America back to work has not begun to come through.
It's hard for unemployed workers, who on average have been jobless for a year or more despite their skills, to understand the sudden concern over the mounting federal deficit. They wonder why it should be taking precedence over Uncle Sam putting the jobless to work on a grander scale, especially with so much decaying infrastructure at home needing attention.
Particularly grating is how billions of taxpayer dollars continue to pour into propping up governments in Iraq and Afghanistan amid endless political bickering there and tales of widespread corruption to boot. For all the Obama administration's denials that it is trapped into nation building in both places, that's what it looks like to many on Main Street America.
If there weren't midterm elections on the calendar less than three months from now, Mr. Obama could afford politically to wait for the results of his economic recovery to bear fruit in terms of the rising employment he insists will materialize if only voters can be patient.
But in an environment where many corporations that were given a government hand are accumulating major profits but not hiring, choosing to squeeze more productivity out of fewer workers, not only impatience but public anger is inevitable.
Inevitably, too, these sentiments are being focused not on tight-fisted corporate management but on the man who sits behind the Oval Office desk where, as Harry Truman so accurately said, the buck always stops.
August 11, 2010
Baltimore Crime Beat
Man faked seizures to get out of restaurant tabs
City prosecutors say that for three months, 43-year-old Andrew Palmer dined and drank at city restaurants but never paid a tab - by faking seizures.
Palmer, of the 500 block of S. Broadway St., pleaded guilty to one count of theft scheme on Aug. 3 and received 18 months in jail. Prosecutors filed a criminal information against Palmer, who pleaded guilty and received the maximum sentence.
Prosecutors say Palmer dined at restaurants including Capital Grille, Burke's Cafe, Ding How Restaurant, Maisy's Restaurant, and Borinken Bar and Restaurant between April 26 and July 21. In each case, he feigned a seizure requiring the presence of medical personnel.
We're working to get the court file to figure out just how investigators caught on to the scheme.
Lombard for NewsAngel Alvarez's sister, Tisch Claff, outside Harlem Hospital. Alvarez was shot at least 21 times during a gunfight with police in Harlem.
HOShooting victim Angel Alvarez.
The scene of the chaotic gunfight in Harlem this weekend.
The gunman who survived at least 21 bullet wounds in a Harlem shootout with cops probably broke a record, a forensic expert said Sunday.
"I would say more than 20 gunshot wounds is a record," said Dr. Vincent DiMaio, 69, a forensic pathologist and author of "Gunshot Wounds: Practical Aspects of Firearms, Ballistics, and Forensic Techniques."
"Of course, the real issue is where you get shot," he added. "One bullet can kill you, but believe it or not, a body can survive a lot of bullet wounds."
Angel Alvarez, 23, shot Luis Soto of the Bronx before falling in a hail of gunfire in a wild shootout with NYPD officers early Sunday, police said.
Alvarez's sister, Kimberley Creer, 29, said doctors confirmed they had removed at least 21 slugs from his body.
"That's ridiculous," she said. "In the arms, legs, abdomen, jaw. ... He's doing all right. He's talking."
Alvarez's lawyer, John Carney, put the number of shots at 23, but said his client was "awake and responding."
"He had chest and abdomen shots," Carney said. "It's a miracle. They missed the heart and major arteries."
DiMaio predicted that Alvarez would survive since the bullets missed vital organs and didn't cause excessive bleeding. The risk of infection remained the gunman's biggest hurdle.
"Listen, if you make it to thehospital and you can talk, 99% of the time, you'll make it," DiMaio said. "He'll survive."
DiMaio said the most gunshot wounds he'd ever examined in one person was 17, in aTexas man a decade ago. "Theguy was complaining about thepain," he said. "I told him, 'You're lucky to be alive.'"
In New York City, Joseph Guzman was struck at least 11 times in the 2006 police shooting that killed Sean Bell. Guzman received $3 million in a settlement with the city.
Is it 'school' zone, or 'shcool' zone?
Is it 'school' zone, or 'shcool' zone?
Road crew flips the 'c' and the 'h' in N.C.
Updated: Tuesday, 10 Aug 2010, 10:34 AM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 10 Aug 2010, 10:34 AM EDT
GREENSBORO, N.C. (CNN/WGHP) - A road painting crew in North Carolina might want to take a little trip back to elementary school.
Crews misspelled the word "school," flipping the "c" and the "h," while marking a school zone outside Southern Guilford High School in Greensboro.
A spokesperson says this is just a temporary paint used on the freshly paved road.
Hopefully, the crews spell check before putting the permanent coat of paint down.
LINK TO VIDEO
Pea plant found growing in man's lung
Pea plant found growing in man's lung
'God has such a sense of humor'
Updated: Tuesday, 10 Aug 2010, 1:04 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 10 Aug 2010, 1:04 PM EDT
BREWSTER, Mass. (CNN/WHDH) - It was not the diagnosis Ron Sveden was expecting. He had prepared himself to hear the words "cancer" and "tumor." Instead, doctors told him he had a pea plant growing inside him.
"I was told I had a pea seed in my lung that had split and had sprouted," Sveden explained. "Probably about a half-an-inch, and, uh, which is a pretty big thing."
Sveden had been sick for months. He was already fighting emphysema, and when his health took a turn for the worse on Memorial Day, his wife called 911. He was rushed to the hospital where doctors took X-rays and found his left lung had collapsed.
For two weeks they ran lots of tests but they all came back negative for cancer. Then, one doctor found the plant growing in his lung.
"Whether this would have gone full-term and I'd be working for the Jolly Green Giant, I don't know. But, I think the thing that finally dawned on me is that it wasn't the cancer," said Sveden.
He said he never felt anything growing in his chest. Doctors suspect he had eaten a pea at some point in the past couple of months and it went down the wrong way, and then began to grow.
Through it all, Sveden hasn't lost his sense of humor. "One of the first meals I had in the hospital after the surgery had peas for the vegetable," he said. "I laughed to myself and ate them."
"God has such a sense of humor. I mean it could have been just nothing, but it had to be a pea, and it had to be sprouting," Ron's wife Nancy said.
Ron Sveden continues to recover at home. His friends and neighbors have had fun with this as well, sending him pea seeds and canned peas all in good fun.
LINK TO VIDEO
Fed-Up Flight Attendant Makes Sliding Exit
ANDY NEWMAN and RAY RIVERA
August 9, 2010
It has been a long time since flight attendant was a glamorous job title. The hours are long. Passengers with feelings of entitlement bump up against new no-frills policies. Babies scream. Security precautions grate but must be enforced. Airlines demand lightning-quick turnarounds, so attendants herd passengers and collect trash with the grim speed of an Indy pit crew. Everyone, it seems, is in a bad mood.
Steven Slater on MySpace.
Yana Paskova for The New York Times
The home of Steven Slater, a JetBlue attendant, in Belle Harbor, Queens. He was arrested there after using a plane’s chute.
On Monday, on the tarmac at Kennedy International Airport, a JetBlue attendant named Steven Slater decided he had had enough, the authorities said.
After a dispute with a passenger who stood to fetch luggage too soon on a full flight just in from Pittsburgh, Mr. Slater, 38 and a career flight attendant, got on the public-address intercom and let loose a string of invective.
Then, the authorities said, he pulled the lever that activates the emergency-evacuation chute and slid down, making a dramatic exit not only from the plane but, one imagines, also from his airline career.
On his way out the door, he paused to grab a beer from the beverage cart. Then he ran to the employee parking lot and drove off, the authorities said.
He was arrested at his home in Belle Harbor, Queens, a few miles from the airport, and charged with felony counts of criminal mischief and reckless endangerment.
“When they hit that emergency chute, it drops down quickly within seconds,” a law enforcement official said. “If someone was on the ground and it came down without warning, someone could be injured or killed.”
In a statement, JetBlue said it was working with the Federal Aviation Administration and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to investigate the episode. “At no time was the security or safety of our customers or crew members at risk,” the company said.
According to his online profiles, Mr. Slater has been the leader of JetBlue’s uniform redesign committee and a member of the airline’s in-flight values committee. Neighbors in California, where Mr. Slater grew up, said he had recently been caring for his dying mother, a retired flight attendant, and had done the same for his father, a pilot.
The contretemps on Monday unfolded as JetBlue Flight 1052, a regional Embraer 190 jet, landed at Kennedy around noon — on time — with 100 passengers aboard and pulled up to the gate, said another law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation was continuing.
The official offered the following account:
One passenger stood up to retrieve belongings from the overhead compartment before the crew had given permission. Mr. Slater instructed the person to remain seated. The passenger defied him. Mr. Slater reached the passenger just as the person was pulling down the luggage, which struck Mr. Slater in the head.
Mr. Slater asked for an apology. The passenger instead cursed at him. Mr. Slater got on the plane’s public-address system and cursed out the passenger for all to hear. Then, after declaring that 20 years in the airline industry was enough, he blurted out, “It’s been great!” He activated the inflatable evacuation slide at a service exit and left the world of flight attending behind.
In short order, his gray two-story house on Beach 128th Street in the Rockaways, just off the ocean, was swarmed by detectives and uniformed officers from New York City and the Port Authority. “It was like there was a hostage in there,” said Curt Krakowski, who was working on the deck of a house across the street.
Mr. Slater, Mr. Krakowski said, “had a smile on his face when the cops brought him out, like, ‘Yeah, big deal.’ ” Mr. Slater was taken to a Port Authority police building at the airport and was expected to be held overnight.
One person familiar with the investigation said JetBlue took more than 20 minutes to notify the Port Authority police, allowing Mr. Slater time to get home. A spokesman for the airline declined to comment when asked about the delay, and a Port Authority spokesman said, “In matters of criminality, the Port Authority Police Department should be notified immediately.”
The episode is the latest round in what is seen as an increasingly hostile relationship between airlines and passengers.
A few weeks ago, an Air France flight attendant was arrested for stealing the wallets of first-class passengers. Last year, a Canadian singer parodied United Airlines on YouTube in a series of songs about how the airline broke his guitar.
A new study by the International Air Transport Association found an increase in instances of disgruntled passengers and violence on planes, with the chief cause being passengers who refuse to obey safety orders. By the same token, frequent-flier blogs echo with tales of “flight attendant rage.”
While JetBlue’s flight attendants are not unionized, a spokeswoman for the Association of Flight Attendants, Corey Caldwell, said anxieties were common on planes. “Anyone who has traveled since Sept. 11 understands that being in the cabin is stressful these days,” Ms. Caldwell said.
The portrait of Mr. Slater that emerges from interviews with neighbors and friends and from profiles on MySpace, Facebook and LinkedIn shows a man with mixed feelings about his job.
Photographs show him in the mountains of El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico and sitting behind the wheel of a convertible. “Steven Slater has visited 22 percent of the countries in the world!” the MySpace page announces.
Yes, and Pittsburgh, too. “Chances are I am flying 35,000 feet somewhere over the rainbow on my way to some semifabulous JetBlue Airways destination!” the MySpace page says. “Truly, some are better than others. But I am enjoying being back in the skies and seeing them all.”
A former roommate, John Rochelle, said Mr. Slater was seldom home. When Mr. Slater was not working, Mr. Rochelle said, he was usually in Thousand Oaks, Calif., a Los Angeles suburb, caring for his sick mother.
A neighbor there, Ron Franz, said Mr. Slater also cared for his father as he was dying from Lou Gehrig’s disease. Mr. Franz, 72, was hard-pressed to explain Mr. Slater’s actions on Monday. “It could be the pressure of his mother’s illness, because that’s not the type of behavior or conduct that Steve exhibits,” he said. “He’s a very conscientious, responsible individual.”
But a former flight attendant, Janet Bavasso, who lives next door to Mr. Slater in Queens, found nothing mysterious at all.
“Enough is enough — good for him,” Ms. Bavasso said. “If he would have called me, I would have picked him up.”
LINK TO STORY AND OTHER INFORMATION
Ekeythia Dunston (right) shot Erica LeGall (left) during a fight that was sparked by a text message.
An off-duty cop fired two rounds into her girlfriend early Monday after a suspicious text message sparked an all-out battle between the pair, police sources said.
Ekeythia Dunston, 32, and her 42-year-old partner, Erica LeGall, had returned to their Harlem home from a night on a Circle Line boat tour when Dunston - a police officer for eight years - got a text message from another woman about 3:15 a.m., the sources said.
An argument soon erupted between them, as their two sons - Jayleen, 7, who is LeGall's, and Daichoi, 13, who is Dunston's - were asleep in their room, sources and witnesses said.
"I heard them arguing," said neighbor Connie Sedgewick, 41. "It sounded like it was over another woman."
LeGall grabbed a clothes iron and whacked Dunston across her skull, leaving a "tennis-ball-sized welt" on her head, a source said.
Then Dunston grabbed her pistol.
Lisa Evans, 41, whose apartment is below the couple's, said she heard shouts: "No! No! No! Don't shoot!"
Dunston squeezed off two shots, striking her gal pal once in the thigh and once in her shoulder, cops said. The boys and their 32-year-old baby-sitter were unharmed in the dispute, police said.
"It's horrible," said Dunston's mother, Ekeythia, 51. "It's been a fog on me all day. I hope everyone's okay."
LeGall was taken to Harlem Hospital, where she was in critical but stable condition. She was charged with assault and endangering the welfare of a child.
Dunston, who is works out of the 108th Precinct in Long Island City, was treated for her head injury at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Columbia.
She was arrested and charged with assault, criminal possession of a weapon and endangering the welfare of a child. She was suspended without pay. The city's Administration for Children's Services took the boys away, the elder Dunston said.
Woman faked cancer to raise money
Fri Aug 6 2010
They all thought she was dying of cancer — and they all handed her cash.
Ashley Anne Kirilow, a 23-year-old Burlington native, admits she faked cancer, ran a bogus charity and collected thousands of dollars from hundreds of people.
She shaved her head and eyebrows, plucked her eyelashes and starved herself to look like a chemotherapy patient. She told anyone she met she had been disowned by drug-addicted parents, or that they were dead.
Both parents are alive and well, each in separate marriages with three young children. They both say they did all they could to support their troubled child.
“What I did was wrong,” Ashley said Thursday night. “I was trying to be noticed. I was trying to get my family back together. I didn’t want to feel like I’m nothing anymore. It went wrong, it spread like crazy, and then it seemed like the whole world knew.”
Over the last year, Ashley endeared herself to the all-ages music and skateboard scenes across the GTA and befriended groups of idealistic and energetic teenagers looking for an outlet for their optimism.
They embraced Ashley’s simple cause — pocket change for cancer research — and were inspired by her heartbreaking story. Teams of volunteers organized benefit concerts in her honour, designed T-shirts and made online tribute videos.
“I thought she was an angel,” said Nikki Jumper, 19. “I wanted to be a friend for her because she didn’t seem to have anyone.”
All donations were made in cash and given directly to Ashley in rolls of coins and stuffed envelopes. Nobody asked for a receipt.
The charity was never registered and consisted of little more than a Facebook page.
Over the course of a year, Ashley convinced local businesses and small-scale music promoters to join the cause. She persuaded a legitimate Toronto-based cancer-awareness organization — led by Newmarket skateboarding heartthrob, Rob Dyer — to fly her to Disney World.
Dyer refused to be interviewed for this story, but his organization, Skate4Cancer, released a statement earlier this week disavowing itself of Ashley and denying any formal or informal affiliation.
“Skate4Cancer’s involvement with Ms. Kirilow was based solely on fulfilling what the organization believed to be a legitimate final wish from a terminally ill individual.”
Her dedicated followers say they are shocked, betrayed and furious.
But Ashley’s parents are not surprised.
They say the latest allegations follow a pattern of behaviour since childhood, and that Ashley is manipulative, desperately craves fame and uses people to get what she wants.
“She loved playing the victim,” said her father, Mike Kirilow, a self-employed home renovator. “Because it gave her control over people.”
Late Thursday night, Ashley contacted the Star and admitted to the allegations against her, but disputed the amount of money volunteers say she raised through her charity.
While volunteers claim she raised $20,000, she said it was less than $5,000. She does not dispute the $9,000 raised at a Burlington benefit last September, saying that money was for her personally and not connected to the charity.
“I dug myself a big hole that I couldn’t get out of,” Ashley said. “And there’s nobody to blame but me.”
She said she wants to find a way to give all the money back.
In late 2008, Ashley was treated in hospital for a benign lump in one of her breasts. After that procedure, she began telling people she had breast cancer.
She also said she had brain cancer, liver cancer, stomach cancer and ovarian cancer, at various stages and in various combinations. She claimed to have only a few months to live.
In mid-January, Ashley called her father. They had talked only once in the previous four years. She told him she had breast cancer and a brain tumour, and that she needed a bone-marrow transplant or she would be dead within six months.
“At this stage I thought this was another story, but I went along,” said an exasperated Kirilow.
The next day, Kirilow tried calling his daughter to find out her oncologist’s name, but she wouldn’t answer his calls.
After 10 days of trying to reach Ashley, he said he called and left a message on her cellphone saying that if she did not call back he would call the police, tell them she had collapsed and they could knock down the door.
He said Ashley called him back right away and told him: “Stay the f--- out of my life.”
Kirilow did not hear from his daughter again for more than a year.
In the meantime, Ashley’s father and stepmother called the hospitals where Ashley said she had been treated for cancer, but they had no record of her.
In April 2009, Ashley called her biological mother — with whom she has had little contact since she was 14 — to say she had cancer and needed money for chemotherapy.
“The only thing she ever wanted from me was money, and I couldn’t ever give it to her,” said Cindy Edwards, a former school bus driver who now lives in Brantford.
Edwards said she told Ashley that chemo was fully covered in Canada and she could not give her any money. “I was crying, I didn’t know what was going on, I tried to tell her she was beautiful,” Edwards said, adding that Ashley responded: “Well, I’m just calling right now to tell you, before I die, that you’re the worst mother in the world.”
When Adam Catley, 22, heard Ashley was broke, alone and dying of cancer, he found her a place to live rent-free with some of his friends.
“Obviously I wanted to do what I could to help her,” Catley said.
On Sept. 27, Catley and a group of friends organized a benefit for Ashley at The Queen’s Head, Catley’s father’s pub in downtown Burlington.
They charged a $20 cover, bands travelled in from out of town at their own expense, Labatt donated the beer, staff donated all of their tips, and the bar itself donated the night’s profits.
Proceeds totalled almost $9,000, Catley said, and he gave the cash to Ashley in an envelope the next day.
Photos from the event show Ashley completely hairless, with a scarf around her head. “She’s good, I’ll tell you that,” said Catley. “She had me 100 per cent.”
Weeks after the benefit at The Queen’s Head, Ashley started a Facebook group to announce a charity she was starting called Change for a Cure.
“Together we can ‘Change’ the world one penny at a time! ?” reads the tagline. In two days, the group amassed 1,000 members. Within a few months, it had more than 4,000.
Ashley claimed she was raising money to donate to the University of Alberta’s research into dichloroacetate, or DCA, a prospective cancer treatment. She said she would walk from Burlington to Edmonton — starting April 29, her 23rd birthday — to deliver the money to the university in person and petition Canadians along the way.
On Tuesday, a communications associate for the university’s Faculty of Medicine said they were not affiliated with Ashley in any way. But on Thursday, the director of communications for the faculty said they could not confirm, one way or the other, whether Ashley had ever made a donation.
Ashley set up Change for a Cure booths at all-ages concerts across the GTA and collected coins in glass jars.
A performer and promoter in Newmarket, Jamie Counsell organized two benefit concerts for Ashley at the Sharon Hall in January and March, raising a total of $1,550 from the $10 cover charge and cash donations. He handed the cash directly to Ashley.
Counsell, 17, said Ashley told him an accountant was handling the money.
“We figured that if she’s got an accountant dealing with it, we don’t need to worry about it.”
The group’s core volunteers say at least $20,000 was raised in the name of Change for a Cure, based on coins rolled by volunteers, individual donations and benefit concerts — in addition to the nearly $9,000 given to Ashley personally from The Queen’s Head benefit.
During this time Ashley was also using four credit cards and running up massive personal debts.
Last summer, Ashley flew to Australia “to live out her last days in paradise,” according to friends. She returned two weeks later, saying she had contracted an infection and was surely to die soon.
By the end of 2009, Ashley had accumulated $30,803 in credit card and bank debts, including a $15,950 personal loan from TD Canada Trust. She declared bankruptcy in January with $1,000 in reported assets.
“I was told she had cancer,” said Mahmood Chagani, Ashley’s bankruptcy trustee. Chagani said Ashley did not mention Change for a Cure or any money she had received in the previous months.
Ashley was born in Burlington on April 29, 1987.
Her parents admit their marriage quickly turned dysfunctional, and after their second child was born — less than two years after Ashley — they separated.
A bitter custody dispute followed. Police were often called to enforce visitations.
Ashley ended up growing up with her mother and had little contact with her father.
Ashley’s mother, Cindy Edwards, said Ashley was a sweet child, but desperate for attention.
“She always wanted to be the princess.”
Edwards said Ashley became greedier in adolescence.
“She just wanted more and more, no matter what I gave her.”
After disappearing for three days after her Grade 8 graduation, Ashley came home said she didn’t want to live under her mother’s rules anymore.
She briefly lived with her maternal grandparents in Paris, Ont., before moving in with her dad and stepmother, where she stayed until she was 16. When she didn’t like her father’s rules, she moved in with a friend’s family for three months and then back with her grandparents for a year.
“You couldn’t trust anything she was saying,” said Mary Edwards, Ashley’s grandmother.
Ashley then lived with a boyfriend’s family before moving back in with her father and stepmother.
“She made this house a living hell,” said France, Ashley’s stepmother, citing constant lying, stealing from her siblings and flagrant disobedience.
Ashley’s parents and stepmother say although she saw a number of therapists and psychiatrists, Ashley has never been formally diagnosed with any mental illness.
“She has lived in a fantasy world as long as we’ve known her, where she’s a princess and everyone adores her,” said her stepmother.
Toward the end of 2009, friends say, Ashley started becoming distant. She stopped returning phone calls and would cancel plans at the last minute.
In March, she posted on Change for a Cure’s Facebook page that her cancer had come back — she had told people, at various times, that she was in remission — and that this would be her last post.
Events were still being held in her name at this time, but she would rarely attend.
Ashley’s father had been following the Facebook page, saw the post, looked at the pictures of his hairless daughter, and wondered if perhaps she was telling the truth. He said he called Ashley and she admitted she had faked having cancer.
“I said flat out: ‘You don’t have cancer, do you?’ There was silence on the phone and she very quietly responded: ‘No.’ ”
Kirilow said she admitted shaving her head and plucking her eyebrows, and said she wanted to come clean and turn her life around — but she needed time. She asked to move back home for a few days.
At this point, Kirilow said although he knew Ashley had faked having cancer, he thought the charity itself was legitimate.
“We didn’t think that she had full control of the money.” When she got home she was evasive and jittery. But Kirilow said he believes she was faking that, too.
“She started to use this anxiety issue and really started playing that up.”
He said he admitted her to the local hospital’s psychiatric ward on April 27 because of the anxiety she was exhibiting. She stayed there for about three weeks.
“They saw no reason why she should be staying,” Kirilow said. “At that point I pretty much felt I’d figured out what she was up to.”
On the Saturday of the Victoria Day long weekend, Kirilow said, Ashley abruptly left a family barbecue to go camping with a guy she met while she was in hospital. She was gone for three days.
When she came back, he confronted her:
“ ‘You have to do this walk to deliver the money. But you don’t have it, do you? You spent it. Now you need a place to hide, so you came here. ’ ”
Kirilow told Ashley she had 30 days to come clean or he would tell everyone the truth.
She left May 28, and Kirilow hasn’t heard from his daughter since.
Halton Police confirmed that a uniformed officer received a complaint on June 28 from three volunteers about an alleged fraud run by Ashley, but the complaint has not yet been forwarded to the fraud unit.
Ashley’s parents say they hope she is caught.
“This is so embarrassing to all of us,” said Ashley’s mother.
“The only way she’s going to straighten out the rest of her life is if she gets caught,” her father said. “I just hope she does the right thing.”
Police: W. Pa. woman used diaper in traffic beef
Posted: Aug 09, 2010 3:58 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 09, 2010 8:38 PM EDT
CONNELLSVILLE, Pa. (AP) - State police said a woman wiped a dirty diaper on the window of another woman's vehicle during a dispute in a traffic jam as both were leaving the Fayette County Fair. Jessica Hollis, 23, of Mount Pleasant, has been charged with harassment in the incident which state police in Uniontown said happened about 10:50 p.m. Saturday.
Police said Hollis smeared the diaper on the rear window of a vehicle driven by 36-year-old Melanie Campbell, of Hopwood.
Police said the women began arguing while they were stuck in traffic leaving the fairgrounds in Dunbar Township.
Online court records don't list an attorney for Hollis, and a phone number listed in her name was disconnected Monday.
Ga. pastor arrested protesting 'Demon' mascot
WARNER ROBINS — Warner Robins police say they've charged pastor Donald Crosby with picketing without a license for protesting Warner Robins High School's "Demon" nickname and mascot.
Police spokeswoman Tabitha Pugh says 36-year-old Crosby was arrested on Monday after police told him he didn't have a permit, as required by the city.
Crosby and supporters set up the protest outside the school on the opening day of classes because of their opposition to the nickname. He says his son attends the school and he doesn't want him exposed to the name's connotations.
Pugh says Crosby, of Kingdom Builders Church of Jesus Christ, is charged with picketing without a license and disorderly conduct for not leaving when asked. Crosby was released from the Houston County jail on bond. He did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.
LINK TO PHOTO OF MASCOT
Friday August 06, 2010
Sky News Online
Police in Sussex have revealed examples of ludicrous emergency calls, including one woman who became so distressed about losing her slippers she dialled 999.
Ah! There they are...
Another phoned up as an unexpected delivery was under way - her gerbil had gone into labour.
Call handlers at Sussex Police expect to deal with life-threatening situations, but have recently had to field calls about smelly drains and an unsatisfactory hotel room.
The examples of time-wasting - which occured between November 2009 and January of this year - have been released by the force to remind people only to call in cases of real emergencies.
A statement from the force said: "Every day, our communications staff can answer up to 1,000 emergency calls from the public: if you dial 999, we'll do everything we can to speak to you within ten seconds but sometimes our operators are faced with calls which don't quite come under the category of 'emergency'.
"Just bear in mind that if your gerbil has gone into labour, you're not sure where your slippers have gone, your drains smell or you don't like your hotel room, you might want to try another route before calling the emergency services."
A spokeswoman for the force told Sky News Online that in some cases the people calling in were physically and mentally vunerable.
Devon and Cornwall police released a similar list in January.
One man phoned up because his Chinese takeway was late, while a woman panicked and called police after she woke up with a duvet around her head.
Other calls to Sussex Police included:
Police: Man in family feud posts fake ad on Craigslist that sister giving away belongings
11:45 a.m. CDT
August 6, 2010
Social Security in the red this year
The Washington Times
12:08 p.m., Thursday, August 5, 2010
Social Security will pay out more this year than it gets in payroll taxes, marking the first time since the program will be in the red since it was overhauled in 1983, according to the annual authoritative report released Thursday by the program's actuary.
Meanwhile President Obama's health care overhaul has given Medicare's basic Hospital Insurance an extra 12 years of financial stability, though it did not solve all of the program's long-term challenges.
"The financial status of the HI trust fund is substantially improved by the lower expenditures and additional tax revenues instituted by the Affordable Care Act," the program's actuary said in its annual report. "These changes are estimated to postpone the exhaustion of HI trust fund assets from 2017 under the prior law to 2029 under current law and to 2028 under the alternative scenario."
But the actuary said the programs' finances are still troubled in the near and long terms, and warned that Congress is making things worse by putting off scheduled doctor fee cuts.
The Obama administration said the report shows the success of the health care overhaul, which passed earlier this year on the strength of Democratic votes.
"The impact of health care reform is made clear by the Trustees Reports, which show some very positive developments for Social Security and especially Medicare," said Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner. "But they also remind us that we must continue to make progress addressing the financing challenges facing the long-term solvency of these programs."
Some of the grimmest immediate news comes in Social Security, where benefit payouts will exceed revenues this year for the first time since Democrats and Republicans came together to overhaul it in the 1980s.
The deficit will last through 2011, then an improving economy will put it back into balance for three years, then it will dip back into the red in 2015, the actuary said. The program has enough money in its trust fund to cover the annual deficit for two decades beyond that.
LINK TO PHOTO AND STORY
The RNC's least favorite reporter
August 6, 2010 09:23 AM EDT
The Republican National Committee, embroiled in an internal squabble over the leadership of Chairman Michael Steele, is leaking like a sieve.
In an indication of just how bad it’s gotten, CNN reported — via a leak, naturally — that one of the first orders of business at the RNC summer meeting in Kansas City on Wednesday was a resolution by the Republican state party chairs urging the RNC executive committee to launch an investigation into the leaks.
“It is a unanimous move to strike against the repeated consistent leaking in regards to committee finances,” said a committee source, speaking anonymously to CNN’s Mark Preston and Peter Hamby.
While there have been a series of leaks to several different outlets, including POLITICO, anyone following the RNC’s internal knife fight knew these words were aimed at the reporting of one man: The Washington Times’ veteran political writer, Ralph Z. Hallow, who has broken a steadier stream of stories about the RNC than anyone else.
Hallow, who has covered the RNC for The Washington Times for decades, has forged an entire beat out of the infighting of the RNC, which is divided between the supporters of Steele and critics of his spending and leadership style. That latter, which includes many major GOP donors, has been feeding Hallow internal documents damaging to Steele almost since the moment Steele was elected in the spring of last year.
Those leaks culminated in a particularly damaging story by Hallow on July 20th, based on a leaked memo by RNC Treasurer Randy Pullen accusing Steele of trying to hide $7 million in debt from the Federal Election Commission in an attempt to make the RNC books look healthier than they actually were.
As MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow reported in a segment about The Washington Times’ reporting on Steele shortly afterward – which didn’t mention Hallow by name – “If you want to know how badly the Republican establishment wants Michael Steele to go away, take a look at The Washington Times, where you will find that reporting dirt on Michael Steele has become a beat all its own.”
Steele supporters believe that Hallow is too close to his sources to be objective, and charge that he overlooked stories about Pullen’s own debt-hiding controversies — published in the Huffington Post and the local press in Arizona, where Pullen is state party chairman.
But Hallow’s editor, Sam Dealey, said the paper had another investigative reporter look into those charges against Pullen and found them to be without merit.
Other reporters on the RNC beat say Hallow cuts a familiar, if someone mysterious, figure at RNC events, where the he is as likely to be hobnobbing with RNC members as in the press pen with his fellow scribes.
But there is no question that Hallow’s relationship with members of the RNC goes beyond the professional. Hallow and his wife, Millie, were listed as guests of outgoing RNC member David Norcross at a farewell party in Norcross’s honor Thursday night, according to an e-mail obtained by POLITICO.
Millie Hallow said her family and Norcross’s family became friends when their children were RNC interns together during Haley Barbour’s tenure as RNC chairman in the mid-1990s.
“Ralph and Millie are attending as friends,” Norcross said. “They are old friends.”
Norcross said there was also an NRA connection. “Millie works for the NRA, and I’m a member of the NRA. I don’t remember if we met at a convention.”
Hallow declined to comment on his relationship with Norcross, saying only that he had been a newspaper reporter since 1965 and didn’t get into it to be in the spotlight himself.
“Came into the craft believing it was a secular priesthood whose members sought the truth without fear or favor,” he said. “Journalism’s practitioners were not newsmakers and news breakers. I still believe that.”
Dealey said Hallow is simply a well-sourced reporter who is doing nothing inappropriate by attending the dinner. “Ralph’s stories are based on committee documents and on-the-record quotes,” he said. “I do not believe that The Washington Times should regulate the private lives of its reporters and editors. They are free to marry, vote and socialize as they like.”
Norcross has been critical of the RNC’s fundraising under Steele’s leadership, telling The Washington Independent earlier this week that he was “disappointed” by the results to date. The $12.5 million the RNC had in May was less than a third of what it had raised by the same time in either the 2002 ($47 million) or the 2006 ($44.6 million) midterm election cycle.
But he believes Pullen’s disclosure will likely help the RNC turn a corner.
“Given the opportunities that we’ve got, I think fundraising has got to pick up, because I think Republicans are really, really excited,” he told POLITICO. “And the whole stuff about the treasurer coming out, that ought to make people feel more comfortable, because things are being fixed.”
He also thinks the RNC is spending too much of its energy obsessing about the leaks.
“Today, I said to the membership in the members-only meeting that spending a lot of time worrying about leaks is a waste of time,” he said.
Hallow’s reporting has been one of the few bright spots of a bumpy year so far for The Washington Times, which went through significant layoffs in January, the freezing of 401K contributions and the loss of its publisher and president, Jonathan Slevin, in April.
The paper has also had to kill its sports section and focus on international, national and cultural issues. In a symbolic move, the White House Correspondents Association voted Sunday to move the paper’s White House correspondent back a row in the White House briefing room.
'F' student graduates
B'klyn diploma outrage
GRAD TOWORSE: Brooklyn student Tatiana Reina, 21, graduated high school in June despite never showing up.
But that didn't stop the principal, Jacqueline Boswell, from granting Reina a diploma.
In June, Reina showed up for the last five days and was given some health and chemistry assignments in the guidance office, school staffers said. "She sat at a computer and Googled her answers," a worker said.
Finally, teachers were pressured into giving Reina -- and a half-dozen other failing students -- minimally passing grades of 65, the equivalent of a "D," to get the credits needed to graduate, sources told The Post.
"They're giving out diplomas like it's a lemonade stand," one disgusted staffer said.
The city Department of Education referred The Post's findings to its Office of Special Investigation, said spokesman Danny Kanner.
What happened at Lafayette HS, one of five city high schools that closed their doors for the last time last week, is not a fluke, critics say.
"This is happening all over the city, especially at closing schools," said Leonie Haimson, executive director of Class Size Matters. "If you're a principal or a teacher and your chances of getting another job depend on how many kids you successfully graduate, the vast majority will give these kids credit, whether they deserve it not,"
That's exactly what a Lafayette teacher did, describing "coercion" by an assistant principal.
"I was told to consider raising a failing grade because the principal might not give me a favorable recommendation," said the distraught teacher, who admitted changing a final grade of 55 to 65.
The teacher also said Principal Boswell brought the student's mother into the classroom and then asked if the kid's grade would be changed. Boswell refused to speak to The Post.
Reina first entered Lafayette in June 2004. Four years later, her credits fell short. But she bought a cap and gown and "snuck into the line" to walk on stage. A staffer noticed, but told the announcer to call out her name so as not to "make a scene." Reina, like the others, was handed a piece of paper with instructions to pick up her diploma later.
Still enrolled at Lafayette in 2008, Reina flunked everything but Spanish, earning a single credit and then another in summer school, records show. She then enrolled in Borough of Manhattan Community College, a CUNY campus, but got kicked out when officials finally got her high-school transcript.
So she returned to Lafayette last year. On Jan. 12, a school day, she was arrested for buying goods at Bloomingdale's at Roosevelt Field, LI, with $400 in fake traveler's checks; the felony charge is pending.
She failed everything until the second term, when she snagged the last two required credits.
"I got my diploma!" she said last week, but didn't want to comment further.
Asked about her atrocious attendance, she explained, "There wasn't no problem. I just didn't go."
Hot mocha saves manager from burglar
August 06, 2010 10:36 am
An attempted burglary at the Englund Marine and Industrial Supply earlier this week resulted in coffee thrown on the face of the suspect.
Chris Hegnes, manager of the supply store, was going into work at 5 a.m. on Monday when he encountered a man wearing a mask charging at him with a hammer.
“I hit him in the face with a hot mocha,” said Hegnes.
He then turned around and began running away while the hammer-wielding man pursued him.
After a few strides the man turned around and ran into a recreational vehicle park behind the store, Hegnes said.
The man had apparently spent the weekend trying to break into a safe using the store’s hardware tools.
“He basically hid himself before we locked up Saturday night,” said Hegnes.
The man had access to the store until Monday morning, when Hegnes discovered him.
“He didn’t really get away with much, other than damaging a bunch of tools,” said Hegnes.
There are no leads in the case but the Sheriff’s Office is still processing evidence, a sheriff’s spokesperson said.
Siegel for NewsRaphael Golb rejects no-jail plea offer in Manhattan Criminal Court on Friday.
It's was a virtual deal-breaker.
A Manhattan lawyer charged with impersonating Dead Sea Scrolls experts on the Internet turned down a no-jail plea offer - because he'd have to stop posting on line.
That means the case against Raphael Golb, a real-estate lawyer turned amateur religious scholar, is headed to trial in September.
Prosecutors say Golb created dozens of e-mail accounts in other people's names and used the accounts to harass academic enemies of his father, an expert on the scrolls.
They offered the son 80 hours of community service if he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors - and the judge said three years probation would have to be a condition.
Golb turned it down because probation would bar him from contacting his victims - including posting on blogs where the scrolls' origins are debated.
"If someone is giving a lecture on the Dead Sea Scrolls, can the complainants and Raphael go?" said his lawyer, Ron Kuby "If they're both on a blog, is that contact?
"They're past treading on Mr. Golb's free speech rights," Kuby said. "They're stomping on Mr. Golb's free speech right with big, thick boots."
The elder Golb believes that the Dead Sea Scrolls, the earliest surviving copies of biblical texts, came from Jerusalem.
The traditional view is that that they were written in Qumran, near the Dead Sea, where they were first discovered in 1947.
The people his son allegedly impersonated includes Dr. Lawrence Schiffman, a professor at New York University's Hebrew & Judiac Studies Department.
Prosecutors said Golb created the email address [email protected] and used it to send bogus messages in which Schiffman purportedly admitted to plagiarism.
Kuby said even if he did send the email under the name Schiffman, it would be protected by the Constitution.
"Do you have any idea how many Sarah Palins there are?" he demanded. "How many Michael Bloombergs there are?"
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2010/08/06/2010-08-06_manhattan_lawyer_raphael_golb_charged_with_impersonating_dead_sea_scrolls_reject.html#ixzz0vsgbW0hu
8/6/10 6:39 PM EDT
President Barack Obama left the White House this morning for a six-mile trip to a sign factory on the Maryland-D.C. border. But instead of taking the presidential motorcade, he took Marine One – the presidential helicopter.
A quick search on Google maps shows the drive would have taken at least 20 minutes, but the helicopter trip took just eight. And, according to one unofficial estimate, it was the 300th trip Obama has taken in Marine One since taking office 20 months ago.
The Secret Service declined to discuss any details about the President’s travel plans, which they say fall under “ways and means”—information that, if made public, could threaten the President’s safety. Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton said that Obama decided to fly instead of drive to the sign factory “probably because it's easier than [taking] a motorcade through the city in the middle of the day.”
Tom Schatz, President of Citizens Against Government Waste, says that it is impossible to calculate how much presidential travel costs or even how much energy is consumed.
Schatz says that whether by motorcade or flight, the cost of transporting the President includes factors such as the use of local police details, military staff, fuel and even the cost of inconveniencing travelers on the road.
“There’s not a lot to say about how presidents travel and how much it costs because nobody knows,” Schatz says. “You can’t really say, ‘Oh, if he took the motorcade, it might be less money.’ ” Obama has traveled by motorcade – each of which features Secret Service vehicles, an ambulance, a bomb-squad detail and several police motorcycles for traffic control – for short, in-town trips, including a visit to a community center in Washington’s Anacostia neighborhood for a Father’s Day speech.
Still, “It would be very helpful to the taxpayers if there was a distinct White House travel budget and everybody could look at it,” Schatz added. “Is it really a state secret to know how much is being spent on his travel?”
The travel between the White House and Andrews Air Force Base and back likely accounts for most of the 300 Marine One flights that Obama has taken since assuming office. From there the President will board Air Force One to travel longer distances.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0810/40771.html#ixzz0vsYBnh8k
Bealefeld – the citizen – seeks change in state's attorney election
Support may be unprecedented and controversial; some say he's right to speak up
Bernstein for State's Attorney sign. (August 5, 2010)
The Baltimore Sun
11:20 a.m. EDT, August 6, 2010
Pelosi blames GOP, Bush for unemployment
August 6, 2010 12:46 PM EDT
Republicans are “fighting against the economic recovery every step of the way,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday after worse-than-expected job numbers were released.
Pelosi also took a shot at former President George W. Bush, saying the 71,000 private-sector jobs added to the economy in July is a “sharp turnaround from the 700,000 jobs per month lost under President Bush.”
Nowhere in the statement, though, does Pelosi characterize what exactly she makes of the jobless numbers.
“Today’s report shows our teachers, police officers, firefighters, and nurses are still feeling the worst of the Bush recession — while Republican leaders demean them as ‘special interests’ and try to block legislation that will grow our economy,” Pelosi said. “Democrats will return next week to save or create hundreds of thousands of jobs for our teachers, nurses, firefighters and police officers — and close loopholes that allow corporations to ship American jobs overseas.? This is critical as over the last three months, state and local governments have cut more than 46,000 jobs in education.”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) called the numbers “encouraging.”
“That fact shows that our economy is making progress. Nevertheless, total employment fell this month, due largely to the end of temporary census jobs. As long as millions of Americans remain out of work, we clearly have more work to do,” Hoyer said in a statement
First lady under fire for her glitzy Spanish vacation
Holly Bailey – Thu Aug 5, 6:43 pm ET
As her husband celebrated his 49th birthday in Chicago with Oprah, first lady Michelle Obama was halfway around the world, on vacation with her 9-year-old daughter, Sasha, in Spain. The two are traveling on what the White House has described as a four-day "private trip" with several Obama family friends along the country's ritzy southern coast.
Of course, no first lady's life is truly ever private, and already plenty of drama is swirling around Michelle Obama's foreign jaunt. Some critics have laid into the trip's price, while others are highlighting an apparent diplomatic gaffe between the United States and Spain.
Fox News reports that prior to the first lady's arrival, the State Department had issued a travel warning to Americans advising that "racist prejudices could lead to the arrest of Afro-Americans who travel to Spain." The wording was reportedly removed from the State Department website Monday, ahead of Michelle Obama's arrival in the country Wednesday.
Yet the bigger public furor concerns the cost and appearance of the trip. In a scathing editorial published Thursday, New York Daily News writer Andrea Tantaros trashed Michelle Obama as a "modern day Marie Antoinette" for taking such a glitzy vacation while most of the country is struggling to make ends meet. The Obama entourage is staying at the luxury Hotel Villa Padierna, a Ritz-Carlton property often described as one of the world's top 10 hotels. Rates range between $500 and $2,500 a night. It's not clear that the Obama delegation picked this hotel specifically, or if the Secret Service — which often gets final say over where a protectee stays — made the accommodations call.
Either way, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters that the first lady will pay her personal expenses — as will the friends who are traveling with her. But that only covers a small part of the ultimate expense, given that she has full-time Secret Service protection and has to travel with an entourage of staff. That cost, as well as her travel on board an official Air Force charter plane, is covered by taxpayers.
As the Chicago Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet reports, by the end of the summer, the first lady will have taken eight vacations. That includes a June trip to Los Angeles, where she and her daughters attended the NBA Finals, as well as an upcoming trip to the Florida Gulf Coast next weekend and a 10-day visit to Martha's Vineyard later this month with the president.
Michelle Obama is hardly the only first lady to travel overseas without her husband. Laura Bush and her daughters, Barbara and Jenna, traveled to Africa in 2007, where they went on safari. Yet her trip was regarded as an "official" visit and included several public events. According to the White House, this trip is entirely private, save for a photo-op with the Spanish royal family, who has invited the first lady and her daughter for an official visit.
Mages/NewsMayor Rudy Giuliani and then-wife Donna Hanover with children Andrew and Caroline in 1995.
Robinson/GettyCaroline Giuliani enjoys Fashion Week in 2004. Below, after her bust for shoplifting on Wednesday.
You're Caroline Giuliani and you shoplifted 150 bucks worth of makeup from Sephora when you had $320 in your wallet?
Your estranged father, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, is worth up to $60 million, and your mother, Donna Hanover, got $6.7 million in their messy divorce.
So money's not an issue. Come on, couldn't you at least have paid for the snag-free hair elastics. They cost only $3.50.
Another question: Do they give blowouts at the 19th Precinct? Because you looked stunning when you left there with your distraught mother Wednesday, with perfect waves, cropped cranberry cardigan, designer shades perched LiLo-like atop your head. That was in stark contrast to your arrest ensemble: sneakers, pants, and a big ol' baggie NYU T-shirt. Your college, Harvard, must have appreciated that.
Which begs another question: Did you really think you'd get away with it?
You've done well in the Ivy League school's theater department, getting good reviews for plays you've directed, like "Fashion" and "Fat Men in Skirts."
Surely, you're smart enough to know there are cameras and security people everywhere in Sephora. It's stocked with nothing but small but pricey items like the $89 Bliss moisturizer.
"We deal with shoplifters every day," one staffer said. "We can always pick them out. They often have large but half-empty purses, or baggy clothes with a lot of pockets."
Not since Winona Ryder lifted $5,500 in clothes from the Beverly Hills Saks has a shoplifting spree been so eyebrow-raising.
But you had to know that, too, because your father was the law-and-order mayor.
After bringing down murder, rape and robbery rates with the help of top cops Bill Bratton and Jack Maple, he kept on going.
He went after the squeegee men and the fare-beaters. He went after jaywalkers, in a city that sees jaywalking as a solution, not a problem.
He told cops to ticket people who tossed chewing gum on the sidewalk. If you wanted to hurt the father who's barely spoken to you or your brother since he publicly dumped your mom for another woman a decade ago, breaking the law was the most embarrassing way to do it.
You also knew you wouldn't go to jail, if caught. A spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney said there were 11,022 NYPD petty larceny arrests in the borough last year. Nearly half of the first-timers, like you, got a desk appearance ticket.
Top New York child psychiatrist Dr. Clarice Kestenbaum says shoplifting among children of wealth and privilege "often has nothing to do with the value of the item," but is an attempt to hurt a parent.
Dr. Gregory Jantz, the author of "Gotta Have It," said you could be hurt and angry at your father, "but [you] still want his attention. This is a way of getting back at him."
For a guy who wanted New Yorkers to pay big bucks for throwing their gum in the street, it sure is.
But then again, you knew that.
Man accused of break-in, then garage sale
Last Updated: August 5, 2010 12:57pm
SARNIA, Ont. — Police have identified a suspect who is alleged to have broken into a home in June and then held a garage sale on the front yard.
Greg Kemmis, 62, was out of town on June 17 when someone broke into the rental home and garage and sold thousands of dollars worth of woodworking machinery and tools in broad daylight.
"It's one thing to steal stuff in the middle of the night ... but to be selling the stolen property right on the premises," the woodworking enthusiast told QMI Agency in July.
Witnesses told police the thief set up a wooden sign offering "tools for sale" and stayed in front of the home from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The suspect even placed price tags on the stolen merchandise.
"He took duct tape and my magic marker and stuck it to the machine or the items he was selling," Kemmis said, estimating the tools sold were worth $40,000.
One person who attended the yard sale returned the item he bought to police. The man told police he bought a $3,000 jointer for $110.
Kail Russell Stokes, 26, who is currently in custody on other matters, was arrested and faces charges.
'Eat s--- and die' principal sent to another school
The principal who told a parent to ``eat s--- and die'' in an e-mail has been permanently moved from Coconut Grove Elementary.
Eva N. Ravelo, 45, was transferred to Coral Terrace Elementary in West Miami-Dade on Wednesday.
She will be replaced by Sharon Lopez, who previously served as principal at Riverside Elementary in Little Havana.
Ravelo first raised controversy in May, when she included the phrase in response to an e-mail from a parent.
Speaking on Ravelo's behalf, a school employee said the message was meant for an assistant principal -- and that Ravelo had apologized for the mistake.
Still, parents at Coconut Grove Elementary were adamant that Ravelo ought to be removed.
A 20-year district veteran, Ravelo received positive reviews throughout her career, public records show. During her two-year tenure at Coconut Grove, students made significant improvements on the state tests in reading and math.
Ravelo could not be reached for a comment Wednesday.
-- KATHLEEN McGRORY
LINK TO ORIGINAL STORIES
'The View' host Whoopi Goldberg, left, said that she said 'choice words' to White House gatecrasher Michaele Salahi, right, but did not hit her
Whoopi Goldberg isn’t letting a "housewife" get the last word.
Tempers flared Wednesday morning after Goldberg unexpectedly walked onto "The View" set to interrupt an interview involving White House gatecrasher and "Real Housewives of D.C." cast mate Michaele Salahi.
Tareq Salahi was upset that Goldberg touched his wife during the live segment of the show, where he had an "elevated and heated" exchange of words backstage with the host.
Goldberg addressed the newly-formed feud during the first few minutes of Thursday morning’s show.
"Things got very heated on the air and backstage," Goldberg told the audience. "I come out [on set] sometimes just ‘cause I wanna. That’s the way I do it here."
As Michaele recounted a drink-throwing dispute between her husband Tareq and one of the "Real Housewives" on Wednesday’s show, Goldberg walked on stage, touched her shoulder, and said, "Excuse me, can you get back to the White House [discussion], please."
"Oh, if you'd like us to, we can," Michaele replied as Goldberg walked away. After the show, a sobbing Michaele said she felt attacked.
Tempers flared after Goldberg caught wind of the claim and approached the reality star couple backstage.
"Michaele was very upset about what was said about her on the air," the host said Thursday morning. "She thought I hit her. I went up to her and told her that she knew I didn't hit her."
Goldberg said she unleashed some "choice words" at the couple that were "so choice you could have taken them with a knife and eaten them."
She added that she became more irate after Tareq took out his cell phone during the argument and began snapping photos of the angered host.
"I make no apology for my choice words," the host said.
"As the broadcast clearly shows, the accusation was completely unfounded," a "View" spokeswoman said. "After being told she was being accused of hitting Ms. Salahi, Whoopi proceeded to defend herself verbally."
A lawyer for the accused White House gatecrasher couple says producers of "The View" turned on the applause light for the audience when co-host Sherri Shepherd told Michaele that "you should be in jail," according to The Associated Press.
Lawyer Lisa Bloom says her client's appearance Wednesday on ABC's "The View" was "degrading and demeaning."
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/2010/08/05/2010-08-05_whoopi_goldberg_on_the_view_i_used_choice_words_but_did_not_hit_gatecrasher_mich.html#ixzz0vkiQaV6c
Torres/APFirst Lady Michelle Obama smiles while she visits Marbella, southern Spain.
Sacrifice is something that many Americans are becoming all too familiar with during this economic downturn. It was a key theme in President Obama's inaugural address to the nation, and he's referenced it numerous times when lecturing the country on how to get back on its feet.
But while most of the country is pinching pennies and downsizing summer sojourns - or forgoing them altogether - the Obamas don't seem to be heeding their own advice. While many of us are struggling, the First Lady is spending the next few days in a five-star hotel on the chic Costa del Sol in southern Spain with 40 of her "closest friends." According to CNN, the group is expected to occupy 60 to 70 rooms, more than a third of the lodgings at the 160-room resort. Not exactly what one would call cutting back in troubled times.
Reports are calling the lodgings of Obama's Spanish fiesta, the Hotel Villa Padierna in Marbella, "luxurious," "posh" and "a millionaires' playground." Estimated room rate per night? Up to a staggering $2,500. Method of transportation? Air Force Two.
To be clear, what the Obamas do with their money is one thing; what they do with ours is another. Transporting and housing the estimated 70 Secret Service agents who will flank the material girl will cost the taxpayers a pretty penny.
Perhaps it could be that the Obamas, who seem to fancy themselves more along the lines of international celebrities than actual leaders, espouse a different view of sacrifice. When Michelle Obama accompanied her husband to Copenhagen along with best buddy Oprah Winfrey, she billed the trip - an ultimately unsuccessful bid to bring the Olympics to Chicago - as follows: "As much of a sacrifice as people say this is for me or Oprah or the President to come for these few days, so many of you in this room have been working for years to bring this bid home."
A quick jaunt to Denmark is a sacrifice? What portraits in courage!
The Obama modus operandi is becoming clear. From lavish trips to Spain to reportedly flying Bo, the President's Portuguese water dog, on a separate aircraft to vacation with them in Maine, to a date night in New York City that perhaps cost nearly $100,000, their idea of austerity is really just the lap of luxury, at least for ordinary folks.
Incredibly, the Obamas have long portrayed themselves as precisely such commoners. Just this month, Obama told ABC the First Couple is "not that far removed from what most Americans are going through." And that "it was just a few years ago that we had high credit card balances, we had two kids, thinking about college. We had our own retirement accounts, wondering if we were going to be able to get enough assets in there."
" WARNING THIS MAY BE OFFENSIVE TO SOME"
Last Updated: 8:24 am | Thursday, August 5, 2010
Atheist billboard greets state fair-goers
Group 'inspired' by similar billboard in CincinnatiPeter Smith • The Courier-Journal • August 5, 2010
LOUISVILLE - A coalition of secular groups and advocates for church-state separation have unveiled a billboard that will be in full view of Kentucky State Fair goers with the message: "Don't believe in God? You are not alone."
The billboard was installed Monday at Interstate 65 and Phillips Lane under the sponsorship of the newly formed Louisville Coalition of Reason.
The message is intended to draw fair goers to a booth at the state fair sponsored by the coalition, said Edwin Hensley, coordinator of the coalition. The billboard also refers viewers to the coalition's website, louisvillecor.org.
The billboard will let people know "that we are here, and we wish to be accepted as an equal part of the community," said Hensley, who is also active in some of the coalition's groups, such as the Louisville Atheists and Freethinkers.
Numerous cities have seen similar messages on billboards, buses and subways in recent months. Hensley said he wasn't aware of any similar billboards before now in Kentucky, where billboards and other prominent signs have often proclaimed religious messages such as the imminent return of Jesus Christ.
Hensley said he was inspired by news of a similar billboard in Cincinnati. That sign had to be relocated in November 2009 from a building to a freestanding location because the building owner was receiving threats, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
"After reading that article, I got the idea that if they could do it in Cincinnati, we could do it in Louisville," Hensley said.
The Louisville billboard site is owned by the CBS Outdoor, and there were no problems getting permission to install the sign, according to Fred Edwords, national director of the United Coalition of Reason. CBS Outdoor did not return a call for comment.
The local coalition received $4,100 from the national group to install the billboard for August, timed to coincide with the annual Kentucky State Fair with its hundreds of thousands of visitors. The group's booth at the fair will provide information about local groups advocating for a secular world view and separation of church and state. It will also tout "famous atheists and freethinkers and their accomplishments," Hensley said.
Edwords added: "Non-religious people sometimes don't realize there's a community out there for them because they're inundated with religious messages at every turn. So we hope this will serve as a beacon and let them know they aren't alone."
Religious groups contacted said they disagreed with the billboard's message but endorsed the group's right to spread it.
"I don’t think there'll be any kind of protest or anything, because that tends to popularize it rather than deter," said Wesley Pitts, executive director of missions for the Long Run Baptist Association, a local Southern Baptist group with offices near the billboard.
He said he found the billboard "confusing" and thought at first it offered a "pro-Christian" message by offering companionship to those searching for God.
Given the state-wide draw of the fair, the group is sending word of the billboard to Baptist churches throughout Kentucky.
"We're trying to inform our people across the state that it's there and that they might have an opportunity to encounter some of these people” at the fair booth, Pitts said. "We just hope they'll be Christ-like and present a positive witness rather than a negative one."
MaryAnn Gramig, director of policy at the local group ROCK (Reclaim Our Culture Kentuckiana), said freedom of expression is one of the "inalienable rights that come from God and not from man," she said. The group has been active in promoting public expressions of the view that the nation has a Judeo-Christian heritage and limits on sexually oriented businesses.
"ROCK would differ from the Louisville Coalition of Reason in that it is because of America's founding principles and acknowledgement of Providence and God as giving rights to man that they are able to live in a country that is tolerant and respectful of those types of views," she said.
The coalition says on its website that member groups support "science, reason, skepticism, civil liberties, separation of church and state, and the improvement of the human condition."
Coalition members include: Louisville Atheists and Freethinkers, Louisville Secular Book Group, Kentucky Secular Society, Atheist Women of Louisville, Secular Parents of Louisville, Louisville Atheists and Freethinkers Adopt-A-Mile and the Kentucky Association of Science Educators and Skeptics.
The site also lists "friends" of the coalition, including the Socrates Café of Louisville and the local chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
Forty U.S. billionaires pledged on Wednesday to give away at least 50 percent of their wealth to charity as part of a campaign by investor Warren Buffett and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
Among the billionaires joining the campaign are New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, entertainment executive Barry Diller, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, energy tycoon T. Boone Pickens, media mogul Ted Turner, David Rockefeller and investor Ronald Perelman, according to "The Giving Pledge" website.
Gates and Buffett launched "The Giving Pledge" in June to convince hundreds of U.S. billionaires to give away most of their fortune during their lifetime or after their death and to publicly state their intention with a letter of explanation.
Microsoft Corp co-founder Bill Gates speaks as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg sits during a news conference announcing joint efforts to combat the global tobacco epidemic in New York, July 23, 2008.
The full list of billionaires and their letters can be seen at www.thegivingpledge.org.
The Giving Pledge does not accept any money; it simply asks billionaires to make a moral commitment to give away their wealth to charity.
The billionaires announcing their pledge on Wednesday join real estate and construction billionaire Eli Broad, venture capitalist John Doerr, media entrepreneur Gerry Lenfest and former Cisco Systems Chairman John Morgridge who have already committed to giving away most of their wealth.
Buffett, who made his fortune with insurance and investment company Berkshire Hathaway Inc, Gates and his wife, Melinda, held several dinners with a couple of dozen rich Americans in the past year to urge them to make the pledge.
Buffett pledged in 2006 to give away 99 percent of his wealth to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and family charities. Bill and Melinda Gates have so far given more than $28 billion of their fortune to their foundation.
Since the foundation began in 1994, it has given away more than $22 billion for health improvements in poor countries and to improve access for Americans to opportunities they need to succeed in school and life.
Gates was ranked the second-richest man in the world by Forbes magazine this year with $53 billion, while Buffett came in at No. 3 with $47 billion. Forbes said the United States is home to 403 billionaires, the most in the world.
August 04, 2010
CBS responds to leaked Couric video
As Jonathan Martin reported this morning, Sarah Palin’s supporters have been circulating leaked footage from 2008 showing their least favorite journalist, Katie Couric, expressing wonder at Palin’s children’s names while rehearsing.
The clip, posted to the Palin fan site Conservatives4Palin under the headline “EXPLOSIVE: New Video of Couric Mocking Palin on the Day She was Named as McCain’s Running Mate!,” shows Couric fact-checking the pronunciation of Wasilla and pausing after reading “Trig” and “Track” to say: “Where the hell do they get these names?”
Conservatives4Palin’s editors write that the clip “shows some tantalizing hints of Couric’s attitude toward the governor,” adding that the real story is the unserious way that Couric’s script frames Palin’s life story on the day she was tapped as John McCain’s running mate.
But what in this impressive biography did CBS News and Couric choose to focus on? Moose burgers and beauty pageants.
By their choice of the framing of the story, it’s evident Couric and CBS had an agenda here: They wanted to diminish Gov. Palin because her impressive record of accomplishments towered over the nonexistent record of the guy at the top of Democrat ticket.
CBS News, reached for comment, said only: “It must be a very slow news day.”
(The clip is the latest in a series of unscripted moments by CBS News anchors that have become YouTube fodder. Dan Rather was caught fretting about his trench coat before a taping in Seattle, and Couric’s own joking about the incident went viral on its own.)
Conservatives4Palin says that, in the background, you can hear the reaction of “CBS news employees who were in the control room as Couric said that about the governor’s kids.” But it’s not clear that the clip was leaked by CBS employees. In the background, a voice says, “They turned her down, dude, did you hear that? Katie, I’m getting you on YouTube,” suggesting the leaker might be watching on a monitor outside CBS.
The clip was originally posted by the College Press Video Network, whose inactive website says it will launch next year as a “selective website featuring the work of our nation's future pundits.”
Rob Brynaert at The Raw Story tracked down the website’s founder, Daren Copely, who said, "Our site is not a conservative or liberal website.” But Brynaert observed that all the blurbs on the impact of a previous incarnation of the site, launched in 2001, came from figures on the right such as Joseph Farah, editor and CEO of WorldNetDaily.com, and David Limbaugh, Rush Limbaugh’s brother.
Couric has been unpopular among Palin supporters ever since her series of interviews with the then-governor of Alaska proved to be one of the most damaging moments of Palin’s candidacy. In her book, “Going Rogue,” Palin writes in detail about the experience, calling Couric “a reporter who clearly had a partisan agenda.”
I couldn’t have known it then, but what transpired during the series of interviews and what CBS actually aired were two different breeds of cat. Camera crews shot hours of footage across the U.S.; Katie and her producers decided on which fraction America would see — and let’s just say the emphasis was on my worst moments. Editing footage is nothing new, of course; I created video packages when I worked as a sports reporter. But responsible editing means you keep the substance and context, and trim out the fat. When I saw the final cut, it was clear that CBS had sought out the bad moments, and systematically sliced out material that would accurately convey my message. The sin of omission was glaring.
Women charged for kindergarten graduation fight
August 03, 2010 5:09 PM
VICTORVILLE • Prosecutors filed misdemeanor charges against two women whose argument reportedly sparked a brawl during a kindergarten graduation ceremony in June.
Queiona Burt, 31, of Victorville and Marina Ruth Vargas, 29, of Hesperia were charged with interference with peaceful conduct on campus and unlawful acts committed at school grounds, according to court records.
If convicted, they could face up to six months in jail on the former count and up to 90 days in jail or a $400 fine on the latter count.
The two women got into an argument on June 23 at Puesta del Sol Elementary in Victorville over a Facebook comment about the Los Angeles Lakers, according to Burt. It developed into a physical fight and several men jumped in, turning the incident into a brawl.
Burt and Vargas are scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 25.
LINK TO ORGINIAL STORY
Toe typist demonstrates how on national TV
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Amy Windom demonstrated for a national television audience Wednesday how she used her toes to type a desperate message for help on her laptop.
The southeast Atlanta woman, who had been tied to her bed by an armed intruder, typed "HELP" and "CALL 911″ to her boyfriend, who summoned police to free her early Tuesday.
ABC's "Good Morning America" interviewed Windom and her boyfriend, John Hilton, about the harrowing ordeal.
Host Robin Roberts noted some were skeptical about Windom's story, "but after seeing this demonstration I think you've proved you are capable of something like this."
"It never occurred to me that anybody would be suspicious until I saw some reference to it in one of the articles," Windom replied. "There's no way I could have done this other than the way I described, the way I was restrained."
When police arrived at her Glenwood Avenue home, Windom had been tied to her bed by her hands for more than five hours. Her attacker had struck her in the forehead with a handgun.
He had gone through the house stealing valuables but left her laptop at the foot of the bed. After he was gone, she used her toes to open the computer.
On GMA, Windom showed how she had used her right big toe as a mouse. With her left foot, she grasped the power cord between her toes and used it to type.
"I learned very quickly that using both of my [big] toes wasn't going to work," she told Roberts. "It's not the easiest thing, but that's how I did it."
Windom said she was glad to hear police had recovered her 2009 Acura TSX, though the robber remains at large.
Hilton described his girlfriend as "very creative" and "a fighter."
"All things considered," Windom said, "I'm doing remarkably well."
LINK TO PHOTO
LINK TO STORY, PHOTOS OF THIEF AND BILLIONAIRE
Panel allows mosque close to ground zero
No sign of Muslim-9/11 healing
The Washington Times
9:41 p.m., Tuesday, August 3, 2010
An Islamic cultural center that the Cordoba Initiative and the American Society for Muslim Advancement hope to build near ground zero has been trumpeted as an effort toward building bridges between Muslims and the families of Sept. 11 victims.
But that wasn't in evidence Tuesday as a key vote by a New York City panel prompted cries of "shame on you" and charges of "disaster," countered by protestations of "How big is the Muslim-free zone around ground zero?"
In its 9-0 vote before an emotional crowd Tuesday morning, the Landmarks Preservation Commission denied landmark status to the 150-year-old building currently occupying 45-47 Park St., a few blocks from the former World Trade Center.
According to the Associated Press, some members of the audience greeted the vote with applause, while others shouted "shame" as panel Chairman Robert B. Tierney called for the vote.
In rejecting the bid to declare an Italian Renaissance-style structure a historic building, and thus constrain major changes at the site and make the current plan impossible, the Cordoba Initiative can go ahead with plans for a proposed Muslim cultural center and mosque it will call the Cordoba House.
The project has become fuel for heated accusations from local and national politicians, from religious freedom and Muslim groups, and from anti-jihad activists.
After the vote, author Pamela Gellar, a popular anti-jihad and pro-Israel blogger, blamed New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a supporter of Cordoba House, for the unanimous vote in the face of so much public controversy.
"They're all Bloomberg appointees," she said. "Not one voted off the reservation; it's like Mike's toolbox."
She said Mr. Bloomberg had pushed the mosque because he is focused more on "political correctness than patriotic correctness."
But Ibrahim Hooper, national spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, called the effort to get the building declared a landmark a "smoke screen" for "Muslim bashers" — he specifically named Mrs. Gellar among them — who he says are using the cultural center and mosque to promote an anti-Muslim agenda.
"How far away would they have to build?" said Mr. Hooper, pointing out that New York City and Manhattan already have several mosques. "How big is the Muslim-free zone around ground zero?"
Mr. Hooper said his Washington-based Muslim civil rights and advocacy group supports the Cordoba Initiative and that the protesters inadvertently show how "these people would deny American Muslims their constitutional rights."
He said a different vote Tuesday would have violated property rights and said religious and political conservatives fight for such rights for themselves but too often "cast off that belief when it comes to Islam and Muslims."
The Cordoba Initiative hailed the vote as a victory for the organization.
"Our faith community is indebted to them, and to our local community board, for their commitment to the democratic and constitutional ideals we all hold dear and which the community center we hope to create on the site will honor," said Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam who is chairman of the Cordoba Initiative.
Mr. Rauf called Cordoba House an opportunity for "healing, peace, collaboration, and interdependence" in his statement, but Mrs. Gellar said the effort to build what she called a "victory mosque" has caused enormous pain to families of Sept. 11 victims.
"It's a grave insult, and the idea of this being outreach and healing and building bridges — frankly, it rings hollow," she said. "It's astounding, but it's not surprising."
One demonstrator during the New York vote held up a sign that said, "Islam builds mosques at the sites of their conquests and victories." Another read, "Don't glorify murders of 3,000. No 9/11 victory mosque."
"I lost 3,000 American brothers and sisters, including courageous policemen and firemen, and this is a betrayal," Linda Rivera, who held up the latter sign, told an Associated Press reporter through tears.
Critics noted that shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Mr. Rauf said that "United States policies were an accessory to the crime that happened" and cited his refusal to refer to Palestinian group Hamas as a terrorist organization.
Mr. Bloomberg celebrated the vote with a news conference with the Statue of Liberty as a backdrop.
"The World Trade Center site will forever hold a special place in our city, in our hearts," he told reporters. "But we would be untrue to the best part of ourselves, and who we are as New Yorkers and Americans, if we said no to a mosque in Lower Manhattan."
The New York Civil Liberties Union and the American Civil Liberties Union also praised the vote as "promoting our nation's core values."
"The free exercise of religion is one of America's most fundamental freedoms," they said in a statement Tuesday. "For hundreds of years, our pluralism and tolerance have sustained and strengthened our nation. … We see the center as a monument to pluralism, symbolic of America's commitment to religious freedom."
The American Center for Law and Justice, which opposed the mosque project, said after the vote that "we're planning to file an Article 78 petition in state court to challenge the city's actions. We will allege that there's been an abuse of discretion in the Commission's decision."
The proposal had prompted months of contentious debate in New York and across the nation, with the highest-profile criticisms from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin. Both Republican primary candidates for New York governor — Carl Paladino and Rick Lazio — have said they would try to stop the mosque project, and former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani also has been critical.
Perhaps the most surprising criticism came last week from the usually liberal-leaning Anti-Defamation League. In a statement Friday, the Jewish civil rights group said that while the Muslim group had a legal right to build, the specific site is "counterproductive to the healing process."
When Maria Elizabeth Chrysson was arrested at a Miami restaurant Monday night, she was concerned about the ``bad hair day'' she was having, police said.
And Chrysson, 29, of Miami Beach, was disappointed the news media were not at the Latin Café 2000, at 2501 Biscayne Blvd., to document her arrest on charges of stiffing a Miami cosmetic center after getting about $4,000 worth of treatments and cosmetic creams, police said.
``She likes the attention, apparently,'' Miami police spokesman Napier Velazquez said Tuesday.
Authorities say Chrysson received Botox and other cosmetic work at South Florida facilities over the past year and either bounced checks or walked out without paying.
The media nicknamed her the ``Beauty Bandit'' (also the ``Botox Bandit'') and she adopted the term herself, said Chrysson's lawyer, Daniel Lurvey. He said Chrysson was having money problems, but still planned to pay.
``We were in the process of making restitution when the arrest occurred,'' Lurvey said. ``We will continue to attempt to resolve the matter of the alleged victim.''
A Miami Beach facility that wasn't paid in December also has a pending court case against Chrysson, Lurvey said.
In the Miami case, she bounced checks in February and kept promising the Miami Institute for Age Management and Intervention that she would pay, but she never did, a police report said.
Chrysson was charged with three counts of grand theft and one count of scheming to defraud, all of them third-degree felonies.
``It seems foolish to steal this type of service,'' said Stephen Watson, co-founder of the Miami Institute.
Meanwhile, Fort Lauderdale police are investigating whether Chrysson was the woman who walked out of the Shino Bay Cosmetic Dermatology & Laser Institute on July 23 without paying a $3,300 bill.
She has not been charged in that case, Fort Lauderdale police said Tuesday.
At the Miami police station where she was taken Monday, Chrysson asked if she could access her Facebook account to see if people knew she had been arrested.
No access, police said.
President’s numbers drop again
President Obama’s job approval numbers fell to a new low Tuesday as the White House struggles to convince voters it is leading the economy out of recession.
Unemployment stands at 9.5 percent but is widely expected to rise in the coming months, starting with the monthly report for July, set for release on Friday.
Economic growth is also slowing, which makes it tougher for the White House to argue the economy would be in far worse shape without its policies, including last year’s $787 billion economic stimulus package.
So far that argument has fallen flat with voters, judging from polls, but political strategists say the administration has few options for changing its message.
“It’s a millstone around Democrats’ necks, and there’s not a lot they can do about it,” Cook Political Report author Charlie Cook said of the economy.
The White House awoke Tuesday to dismal numbers from USA Today and Gallup, which found only 41 percent of those surveyed approve of Obama’s job performance.
Such numbers are trouble for House and Senate Democrats, because low presidential approval ratings are generally disastrous for the president’s party in a midterm election. President Clinton hit 37 percent, the low for his presidency, in June 1993, according to Gallup’s poll. A few months later, Democrats lost the House and Senate.
Cook’s most recent projection is that Republicans will pick up between 32 and 42 seats in the House this fall. The GOP needs to win 39 seats and lose none to win back the majority.
Jamal Simmons, a Democratic strategist who worked in the Clinton White House, said Obama needs to offer a more compelling narrative about his agenda that will convince voters there is a strategy in place to improve their lives. Such a strategy will overcome even unemployment numbers, he said.
“Unemployment is important, but more broadly, President Obama has to offer the country a compelling and consistent narrative for his agenda,” Simmons said.
“The Clinton presidency was about ‘the economy, stupid,’ and George W. Bush’s was about the ‘war on terror.’ Until we know the overarching strategy of this White House for our country, it is hard for the public to judge the merits of individual policies.”
The White House has tried to tout good news in the economy.
On Friday, Obama visited GM and Chrysler auto plants in Michigan to highlight a strengthened U.S. auto industry, which the administration said has added 55,000 jobs in the last year. Obama also made the auto industry the centerpiece of his weekly address and criticized GOP critics who had opposed the industry bailout.
In a speech to party donors on Monday, Obama looked to rally his base by arguing that the economy was expanding under his policies after contracting in the final months of the Bush presidency.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs acknowledged Tuesday that Obama’s approval rating is being dented by high unemployment, even as he said the president hopes voters will look at his entire record.
That should include the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, as well as the economy, Gibbs said.
“Whether it’s adding jobs in the auto industry, whether it’s taking 94,000 soldiers out of Iraq, I think that the president only hopes that people look at what he’s done and base their conclusions off that,” Gibbs said.
The White House’s theme that the economy would be worse if Obama had not taken the steps he has is thin gruel, but Democrats’ options are limited, according to Cook.
“They’ve got to say something,” Cook said. “It may not be the most effective argument, but it may be the only argument they have.”
Larry Berman, a professor of political science and expert on the presidency at the University of California-Davis, said Obama’s theme will not get through to people when the unemployment rate nears 10 percent.
“People aren’t buying it, and that’s the disconnect,” Berman said.
911 Call Leads to Caller's Arrest in St. Augustine
George D. McMurrian
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- A man called 911 looking for a ride, and he got it - in the back of a police car.
According to the St. Augustine Police Department, 57-year-old George D. McMurrian called 911 twice Saturday asking for a ride to the liquor store.
After the second call, police responded and told him 911 was for emergencies only and he would be arrested if they had to come back.
At 8:04 p.m., another call came in from McMurrian's location, the Budget Inn on Anastasia Boulevard, and the caller hung up.
Police came to his room to arrest him for misuse of 911, and while they were talking to him, saw marijuana in his room.
McMurrian now faces an additional charge of possession of marijuana.
Shoplifter runs out of JCPenney but forgets baby, police say
The Palm Beach Post3:21 p.m. EDT, August 3, 2010
After stealing merchandise from JCPenney's junior department Saturday, two women made it through the store's exit doors without being caught, according to a police report.
But when JCPenney employees saw the women left a 10-month-old behind, it was over.
Crystal Whitaker, 23, of Lake Park, was charged with child abuse without great harm, child neglect without causing great harm, contributing to the delinquency of a dependent and theft, police records show.
Whitaker, and an unidentified woman with her, went into a dressing room with clothes to try on and came out with $256 worth of merchandise hidden in a JCPenney bag, police records show.
An employee tried stopping the women but they ran outside too quickly, the police report states.
The employee saw the 10-month-old standing on the sidewalk, all of the stolen merchandise on the ground and Whitaker's purse — providing the store with her identification.
The baby and a 16-year-old seen with Whitaker were taken inside for questioning, the police report said. The 16-year-old told police she was not involved in attempting to steal the items.
The Florida Department of Children and Families came to the store to pick up the baby, the report said.
Whitaker was released on her own recognizance while being supervised, records show.
Post staff writer Eliot Kleinberg contributed to this story.
Person with knowledge of situation tells AP Brett Favre informs Vikings he will not return
AP Sports Writer
11:41 AM EDT, August 3, 2010
MANKATO, Minn. (AP) — Brett Favre's stint with the Minnesota Vikings appears to be over after a single season.
Favre has informed the Vikings he will not return to Minnesota this fall, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Tuesday.,
The 40-year-old Favre called coach Brad Childress to say his injured ankle is not responding as well to surgery and rehabilitation as he had hoped, according to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team had not made an official announcement.
With Favre, of course, nothing is ever necessarily final after 19 NFL seasons. He told the Vikings last year he wouldn't play, but changed his mind and joined them immediately after they broke training camp. Camp this year ends on Aug. 12.
Favre has waffled on retiring every summer since 2006. It led to an ugly parting with the Packers that got him traded from Green Bay to the Jets in 2008. After a so-so season in New York, he announced his retirement in early 2009 for the second time, then reconsidered and signed with the Vikings.
He had one of his best seasons last year, with career bests in completion percentage (68.4), quarterback rating (107.2) and fewest interceptions (7), while throwing for 33 TDs and 4,202 yards to lead the Vikings to an NFC North title. He hurt his left ankle in the NFC championship game loss to the New Orleans Saints and had arthroscopic surgery in May.
Favre was under contract for $13 million this season, but only if he plays.
Nearly everyone had assumed Favre would return and he did nothing to discourage that. He threw passes for a second straight summer with high school students in Hattiesburg, Miss., joked about playing until he's 50 and said playing another year wouldn't worsen his already-damaged ankle.
Childress shrugged off all the questions and admitted he didn't know whether Favre would really come back. The Vikings didn't pursude a trade for Donovan McNabb and declined to select a quarterback of the future in the draft.
Still, Favre took a beating in the loss to the Saints and said afterward that he would not take long to make a decision on returning for the second year of his contract. As the months ticked by, Favre posted a statement on his website reminding everyone that his ankle problems didn't mean his career was over.
If Favre doesn't play next season — and if he decides to actually retire for good — it will end one of the most storied careers in NFL history. A three-time MVP, he holds every major NFL career passing record.
Aug 2, 2010 5:33 pm US/Eastern
New Billboard Causes Controversy
There's a new controversy in Baltimore and you have to look towards the sky to see it. The city's fire and police unions have put up a billboard with a heated message.
The message of the billboard is that it's all about pensions. It's located right across the street from police headquarters. A lot of police officers say they were stunned to see the billboard--but also pleased.
At the base of the JFX, drivers all over the city are now greeting to a politically charged billboard.
"Oh, that's an interesting statement," said a driver.
The billboard was bought by the city's police and fire unions, outraged over recent pension reform.
"I don't know how to voice the frustration any deeper--they've just had it," said Bob Sledgeski.
Earlier this summer, the mayor and city council raised the retirement age, raised member contributions and cut cost of living raises.
"It's unfair, it's wrong, it's illegal. And what's happening right now is you have a bunch of thieves at City Hall, period," said Bob Cherry.
The mayor responded to the billboard in a statement, defending pension reform, calling the changes "dignified," "secure" and "affordable."
One thing that's certain is that the billboard has elevated interest in this issue.
"It's a good idea. Maybe wake people up a little bit, get them to pay attention to what's happening in the city," said one person.
"I think police and firefighters should have a little more respect for Baltimore council," said one.
But the union says it's not disrespect--it's democracy.
"That's what government is all about. If you don't like the elected officials, you let it be known and you leave it up to the citizens to decide if they're the people you want in office," Sledgeski said.
The police and fire unions have already filed a federal lawsuit to try to overturn the pension reforms. Additional legal action is now in the works.
City leaders say the pension reform will save taxpayers more than $400 million over the next five years.
LINK TO VIDEO
Ex-LA mortuary worker guilty of faking funerals
The U.S. attorney's office said Monday that 67-year-old Jean Crump was found guilty of two counts of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud.
Prosecutors say she and three accomplices took out bogus death certificates, purchased a burial plot, buried an empty casket and staged a funeral, then billed $1.2 million to insurance companies.
They say that when insurers investigated, Crump and her cohorts exhumed the coffin, filled it with a mannequin and cow parts and cremated it.
Her accomplices have pleaded guilty in the scam. Crump is to be sentenced Nov. 29.
LINK TO ORIGINAL STORY
Woman charged with attempted first-degree murder after baby is tossed from window
Reisterstown mother, 21, accused of throwing infant into bushes; child is unhurt
The Baltimore Sun
8:00 p.m. EDT
August 2, 2010
A 21-year-old woman was charged Monday with attempted first-degree murder after Baltimore County police reported that she threw her newborn baby out of a second-story window.
Rebecca Diane Himes, who later told a doctor that she had not known she was pregnant before she delivered the child, was also charged with child abuse and reckless endangerment in connection with the July 22 incident at her home on Virginia Avenue in Reisterstown. The full-term baby girl, who appeared to have been born only seconds before she was discovered crying in a bush outside the house, was unhurt.
"After reviewing the details of the case, the decision to charge was a no-brainer," Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott D. Shellenberger said by phone Monday afternoon. He said his office had instructed police to charge Himes and that a District Court commissioner had issued a warrant for her arrest.
STRANGE BUT TRUE
July 29, 2010
Updated August 2, 2010
Siberian granny hurls hatchet at prosecutor general
A psychiatric ward RIA Novosti. Vladimir Vyatkin
A 73-year-old woman in Siberia, who hurled a hatchet at a city prosecutor general after she was denied a meeting with him, has been placed in a psychiatric ward.
The elderly woman had appeared at the prosecutor's office in the city of Omsk on July 27 and requested a meeting with him. After being denied the opportunity of having a talk with him, the woman pulled a hatchet out of her purse and hurled it at the prosecutor.
The prosecutor reacted quickly and blocked the hatchet with his arms, though he was injured in the process.
The woman was initially charged with attacking an official with the purpose of causing bodily harm.
Psychiatrists concluded that the woman suffers from extreme psychosis and is unable to control or understand her actions.
The woman has been placed in a local psychiatric ward.
Tech and Science
Aug 2, 2010
Cold cuts could cause cancer
The Straits Time
Red meat was found by a team of US researchers to be a possible cause of bladder cancer.
WASHINGTON - RED meat is being raked over the coals again.
Already linked with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers, including cancer of the pancreas, red meat was found by a team of US researchers to be a possible cause of bladder cancer, a study published in the journal Cancer said. For those who can't do without their bacon-cheeseburger, some good news: scientists found no associations between beef, bacon, hamburger, sausage or steak and bladder cancer.
But they did observe a 'positive nonlinear association for red meat cold cuts' and bladder cancer, they said. The culprits in the cold cuts are nitrates and nitrites which are added to meat when it is processed to preserve and enhance color and flavor.
'Nitrate and nitrite are precursors to N-nitroso compounds (NOCs), which induce tumors in many organs, including the bladder, in multiple animal species,' the study says. For the study, scientists assessed the intake of nitrates, nitrites and other components found in red meat, in some 300,00 men and women aged 50-71 year, in eight US states, and its relation to cancer.
The study participants were followed up for up to eight years. During that time, 854 were diagnosed with cancer of the bladder. The scientists found that people whose diets were high in nitrites from all sources, not just meats, and people who got a lot of nitrates in their diets from processed meats, like cold cuts, had a 28 to 29 per cent greater chance of developing bladder cancer than those who consumed the lowest amount of either compound.
The scientists also found that people who ate the most red meat were younger, less educated, less physically active, and had lower dietary intake of fruits, vegetable, and vitamins C and E than those consuming the least red meat. The researchers, led by Dr Amanda Cross of the National Cancer Institute, also found that the biggest carnivores among us were more likely to be non-Hispanic white, current smokers, to have a higher BMI, and to consume more beverages and total energy daily. -- AFP
Miccosukee tribe launches counterattack against IRS
The Miccosukee Tribe has launched a counterattack against the IRS, saying that millions of dollars in gambling profits distributed to members are not subject to federal income taxes.
In a legal showdown with the IRS, the Miccosukees say their members don't owe any taxes on income they receive from the tribe's gambling operation -- a stance that sets them apart from possibly every Indian tribe with casinos in the United States.
Every year, the Miccosukees distribute millions in profits from the tribe's West Miami-Dade casino to their 650 members. They say that distribution constitutes a ``tax'' by a sovereign government, so, they argue, the IRS cannot tax the income, too.
The Miccosukees may be the only one of about 240 Indian tribes with American gambling facilities to deploy such a defense, which has failed in the past, according to legal experts and Indian regulatory authorities.
Tribe lawyers, in a new Miami federal court filing, accuse the Internal Revenue Service of ``abuse of authority'' in its ongoing investigation into the tribe's gambling distributions and former chairman Billy Cypress.
But the Miccosukees' counterattack seems to fly in the face of a key federal law regulating Indian gaming operations, the experts and authorities said.
The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, passed by Congress in 1988, requires tribes with gambling facilities to report all member payments to federal authorities. It also requires tribes to notify the recipients that they may have to pay income taxes to the government.
The law specifically says such ``payments are subject to federal taxation.''
Unlike the Seminole Tribe, which operates the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood and Tampa, the Miccosukees have never filed a required ``revenue allocation plan'' with the Bureau of Indian Affairs to show how much gambling income from their bingo-style slot machines and poker games is distributed to members.
Attorneys for the Miccosukees, represented by the Jorden Burt law firm in Miami, declined comment.
In court filings, IRS officials also cited federal law saying that while Indian tribes and their businesses are exempt from paying taxes, tribal members who receive income from such operations -- including gambling casinos -- are subject to federal reporting and taxes.
An often-cited analogy is nonprofit organizations, which are tax exempt. Such organizations' earnings are not taxable, but salaries paid to staff are subject to income taxes.
Historically, Indian tribes have imposed taxes on non-Indian timber or mineral companies operating on their reservations to pay for public services such as roads or police -- but they have not taxed their own gambling operations, said a Washington, D.C., attorney who specializes in Indian and income tax laws.
Lawyer Dennis Whittlesey described the Miccosukee Tribe's defense against the IRS' probe as ``disingenuous and pettifogging.''
``It's basically legal chicanery. They're trying to scrub the gambling payments of their casino character,'' said Whittlesey, who is involved in a wrongful-death lawsuit against a Miccosukee Indian in Miami-Dade court. ``There's no such thing as a nontaxable gift.''
Miami attorney David Garvin, who successfully represented Indy 500 champion Helio Castroneves in a criminal tax-evasion trial last year, said the tribe's legal argument ``is not novel and has been rejected in the past.''
Garvin said that many appellate cases have held that tribal income derived from any business on tax-exempt Indian land is not subject to taxes. But as soon as a tribe distributes any of that income to members, it becomes taxable under federal law, he said.
He cited a major federal appeals court case in which a Yakama Indian in Washington state was ordered to pay taxes on $18,000 he had received as income in 1976 for his duties as a tribe council member and smoke shop operator.
``There are a number of well established and often-cited cases that hold that individual tribe members' payments are taxable,'' Garvin said.
Garvin, a tax specialist, said he understands the Miccosukees' legal strategy, describing it as ``damage control.''
``It's a slippery slope once the financial records for Mr. Cypress are turned over,'' he said.
In April, the IRS issued a civil summons to Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, the tribe's Miami bank, seeking Cypress' credit card statements and other tribe financial records from 2003 to 2005. The summons also demanded the tribe's credit card records and the names of members authorized to use the Morgan Stanley account for the same three-year period.
After the tribe refused to turn over the records, Justice Department lawyers and IRS agents disclosed that an earlier investigation into the Miccosukees' unreported gambling distributions led them to the related probe of Cypress.
The former chairman, deposed in January, is suspected of charging at least $3 million on tribe credit cards for personal travel to casinos in Las Vegas, Foxwoods and other glitzy gaming venues, records show.
As a sovereign nation, the Miccosukees argue they don't have to turn over any records on Cypress or the tribe to the IRS, though they agreed to hand over some of the tribe's financial records in 2006 during the earlier probe.
In their latest court filing, the tribe's lawyers said the U.S. government's intent is to ``harass'' the Miccosukees and ``punish'' them for objecting to the summons, adding that the IRS improperly disclosed ``confidential'' records in court filings in the current case.
They also took umbrage at the IRS' allegations that the Miccosukees have used armored vehicles to deliver up to $10 million four times a year to members, attacking the agency for trying to ``malign the tribe by making public accusations based upon rumor and innuendo.''
``No armored trucks are ever used to transport currency from Miccosukee Resort and Gaming to the Miccosukee reservation or to any other place other than local banks,'' Magdalena Salinas, a casino treasury manager, said in court papers.
According to court records and people familiar with the Miccosukees, the tribe has handed out millions in cash payments from the gambling operation to every member on a quarterly basis for years.
Last August, for instance, the Miccosukee police delivered $18 million in cash from the casino off the Tamiami Trail to the tribe's government center about 20 miles west, according to one person aware of the transport. SWAT team members accompanied the motorcade of three unmarked black Chevy Tahoes.
Miccosukee police officers carried the cash packed in five burlap sacks, each weighing over 100 pounds, to the government center's safe, the person said.
Early the following morning, hundreds of tribe members -- mothers, fathers and children carrying IDs -- lined up outside the building to collect their quarterly payout,in a manila envelope or check.
Each received about $48,000, the knowledgeable source said
Lindsay Lohan is released from jail
Actress left through an undetected side entrance at 1:35 a.m., NBC reports
August 2, 2010
Los Angeles sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said actress was discharged at 1:35 a.m. Monday after serving 14 days of a 90-day sentence for violating her probation in a 2007 drug case. She is now required to begin a three-month stint in rehab. The actress left through an undetected side entrance, NBC reported.
Lohan's attorney, Shawn Chapman Holley, did not immediately return an e-mail message seeking comment.
A judge in Beverly Hills, Calif., had ordered Lohan to report to rehab within a day of her release from jail, but shortened that time last week after conferring with Lohan's attorney and a prosecutor. Whitmore said Monday that the actress was required to report directly to rehab.
Celebrity website RadarOnline reports that she was picked up by staff from the UCLA Medical Center, where she will begin her treatment.
Lohan's abbreviated stay was not unexpected, although it was considerably longer than the 84 minutes she spent at the same facility in 2007. The judge said during Lohan's surrender on July 20 that she had no control over how long the actress would be jailed, but did require her to serve her time a women's jail operated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Inmates such as Lohan who are serving time for nonviolent offenses typically have their stays reduced due to overcrowding and credits for good behavior.
Media have been camped outside the jail since Lohan was booked July 20, catching shots of her mother and sister coming to visit. Holley has also frequently visited Lohan.
The actress' sentence has put several of Lohan's projects on hold, including her starring role in as Linda Lovelace in a biopic on the porn star's life.
Lohan pleaded guilty in August 2007 to two misdemeanor counts of being under the influence of cocaine; no contest to two counts of driving with a blood-alcohol level above 0.08 percent and one count of reckless driving. She was sentenced to three years of probation.
The plea came after a pair of high-profile arrests earlier that year.
The jail facility in Lynwood has hosted several starlets, including actress Michelle Rodriguez and socialite Paris Hilton. Lohan spent 84-minutes there in 2007 after being sentenced for her original case.
Fox News to move to front-row White House briefing room seat
The White House Correspondents Association voted unanimously Sunday afternoon to move Fox News to the front row of the White House briefing room.
The seating change was prompted by the resignation of veteran UPI reporter Helen Thomas.
According to Ed Henry, the senior White House correspondent for CNN and member of the WHCA board, the Associated Press will move to the front-row middle seat formerly occupied by Thomas.
Fox News will replace the AP in its former seat, also in the front row, and NPR, which lobbied for Thomas' seat along with Fox and Bloomberg News, will take Fox's former seat in the second row.
The 2010-2011 WHCA board includes representatives from USA Today, Reuters, C-SPAN, the New York Times, Politico, Time Magazine, NPR and the DC Examiner.
Thomas, a longtime critic of Israeli foreign policy, had resigned in late May after a video clip in which she said that Israelis should "get the hell out of Palestine" and "go home" -- to Europe, the United States and other places -- surfaced on the internet.
Liberal groups had lobbied for NPR's placement in the front row over Fox, which one petition called a "right-wing propaganda outlet."
Police: Wendy's robber complains about skimpy haul
Aug 1, 2010 at 1:23 PM PDT
ATLANTA (AP) - Police say a man who robbed a fast-food restaurant with a gun was so mad about the amount of loot that he called back twice to complain.
The man walked up to the drive-through window of an Atlanta Wendy's late Saturday night, wearing a ski mask and holding a gun.
He demanded the cash drawer, grabbed it and ran away.
But police say he later called the fast food restaurant to complain about the amount of cash.
Police say in one call he said that "next time there better be more than $586."
He called again with a similar complaint.
Pelosi strikes confident note on midterms: 'I'm not nervous at all'
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) defended House Democrats' prospects for November on ABC's "This Week" Sunday, saying that her members have a series of legislative victories to take home to constituents in August.
Christiane Amanpour, the new host of "This Week," quickly confronted the Speaker about comments made by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs' comments in June that Republicans could be successful in their effort to reclaim the House.
"I don't spend a whole lot of time thinking about what the president's employees say about one thing or another," Pelosi said of Gibbs' remark.
"We feel very confident about where we are, whether that's well known to that gentleman [Gibbs] or not," she added later.
House members begin their district work periods on Monday.
Pelosi was reticent when asked how she would have voted on the $33 billion supplemental appropriations bill for Afghanistan and Iraq, which passed the House 308-114 on Tuesday.
Amanpour noted that 102 Democrats voted against the measure this year, or 70 more than last year. Many were members of the leadership or committee chairmen.
Members who voted against the bill have said that there was less pressure than last year from Democratic leadership to support. Pelosi had said in advance that it would be "a different kind of vote."
Pelosi explained on Sunday that there were "varying degrees of expression" in the 'nay' votes.
"How does this [the war] figure into our protecting the American people? Is it worth it? That's the question," she said.
She also responded to Vice President Biden's recent estimate that a 2011 drawdown could amount to "as few as a couple thousand troops."
"I know it's not going to be turn out the lights and let's all go home on one day," she said. "But I do think the American people expect it to be somewhere between that [a full-scale withdrawal] and a few thousand troops."
In discussing ethics charges against Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), Pelosi gave no personal opinion.
"What we have done is to wait and see what the [House Ethics] Committee decides. I respect what they do. I'm totally out of the loop. It is independent. It is confidential, classified, secret, whatever."
Study finds divorce is contagious
Times Staff Writer
Aug 01, 2010 07:34 PM
The divorcees field the same old joke, usually from the mouths of smug married friends.
"They think we have something catching," said Carla Tempesta. "They kind of tend to avoid us."
Tempesta helps lead a Tampa Bay support group of 200 divorced people, so the jokes aren't too shocking. Then again, neither were the results of new research that kind of, well … confirmed the smug married joke.
Divorce is contagious.
It's not exactly the black plague, but the concept is pretty intuitive. The report, "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, Unless Everyone Else Is Doing It Too," comes from researchers at Harvard, Brown and the University of California at San Diego.
"These social networks, they have influence on everything," said James Fowler, one of the study's authors. "Our health, who we marry, our economy, our political behavior. Most of the research shows we tend to do what our friends do."
The report, which tracked thousands of people from Framingham, Mass., for 32 years, offers a few revelations:
• Divorce can spread between friends, siblings, co-workers. It can even go two deep — your friends' friends can affect your marriage.
• You're 75 percent more likely to get divorced if a close friend is divorced.
• Having children helps. Every child makes you less susceptible to being influenced by divorced friends. It takes five children to completely negate the virus effect.
• Popular people are less likely to get divorced. Divorcees have deeper social networks and remarry other divorcees.
Half of all U.S. marriages will end in divorce during the first 15 years, according to the Census Bureau, and the examples are all around. Al and Tipper Gore separated in June after 40 years of marriage. The next week, their daughter Karenna Gore Schiff announced her own separation from her husband, which had happened quietly months earlier. And if you want supershaky anecdotal data, just watch any of the Real Housewives.
"Women are especially outgoing," said Howard Iken, a lawyer with the Divorce Center of Tampa Bay. "The genders approach divorce totally different. Men curl up in a hole and get ready to die when it's approaching and don't talk with anyone. Women talk with a thousand other women. There's no such thing as a group of women where half of them haven't used a divorce lawyer or know of people who are getting divorced. A lot of times they egg each other on."
Ask Dennis Deocampo, a computer consultant from Wesley Chapel.
He didn't have friends during his marriage, he said. But his wife did.
"A couple of her sisters went through a divorce," said Deocampo, 41. "A couple of her personal friends were going through a divorce. I think this whole divorce thing really got into my ex's head once she started talking to one of her friends who was going through a divorce."
Carla Tempesta split from her husband three years ago. They had moved to Clearwater from New York after losing a family member in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The grief strained the marriage, eventually to its demise.
She didn't have friends egging her on, but she can see patterns.
"A lot of my ex-husband's friends are divorced," said Tempesta, 47. "We weren't the first. And shortly after we divorced, a couple that we were very close friends with in New York split up, too."
She has a new circle now, other divorcees she met in the support group. They go to $5 burger night at the Green Iguana, sip beers at Peabody's in New Tampa, spend Sundays at the beach.
She's dating another divorcee, which the study found is common.
"We're totally in love and we make everybody sick," she said. "My boyfriend likes to say he knows what he did wrong the first time."
If the study sounds scary, it has a silver lining. Your own relationship can benefit from a friend's rocky road.
"People have a choice in what kind of relationship they have," said Fowler, one of the authors of the study. "Some of it is out of their control and some of it is in their control. We should try as much as possible to help our friends have happier relationships."
After her own divorce, Tempesta counseled her sister through a cracking marriage.
In the end, her sister decided to stay married and work it out.
Chicago police seize $5.7M in cocaine, marijuana
August 1, 2010 4:34 PM
Chicago police announced today that the department has seized about $5.7 million of cocaine and marijuana from a Southwest Side man who authorities say likely is connected to drug trafficking organizations in Mexico.
Francisco Gonzalez-Nieto, 22, of the 7700 block of South Kilbourn Avenue, was arrested Friday at his home. Police found more than $87,000 in cash and more than 4,000 grams of cocaine and about 1,900 pounds of marijuana packaged in cardboard boxes stacked in a bedroom, said Nick Roti, chief of the organized crime division.
Gonzalez-Nieto is being held at the Cook County Jail on a $25,000 cash bond.
Led by a tip, police were investigating Gonzalez-Nieto for about two weeks. He likely was a middle man working with a Mexican drug-trafficking groiup, Roti said. "It's not the biggest (drug seizure) we've ever had, but it's substantial," he said.
Gonzalez-Nieto is not a U.S. citizen, and police did not know how long he has been in the United States.
Drug traffickers usually transport a load of drugs as large as the stash found in Gonzalez-Nieto's home in a semi-truck or a moving van, Roti said.
"They typically don't keep drugs in one place for a long period of time," Roti said. "It was getting ready to be moved out onto the street."
In other developments:
--Police continue to ask the public for help to solve the murder of Chicago police Officer Michael Bailey. He was shot July 18 in front of his Park Manor home. Nearly $130,000 in reward money is available.
--Police said Sunday they are looking for a suspect 18 to 22 years old in connection with the slaying of Robert Freeman Jr., 13. He was shot more than a dozen times last week in the 11500 block of South Perry Avenue in the West Pullman neighborhood. Police Deputy Superintendent Steve Peterson would not say what the relationship is between the suspect and Robert. The boy's family has said they think the slaying was a case of mistaken identity, but Peterson said police don't yet know the motive.
Cops break from lunch to stop car thief
July 31, 2010 10:12 PM
Officers who were in line at a restaurant waiting to pay for lunch cut short their break Friday night and caught a teenager who had just stolen a car from the restaurant's parking lot, Chicago police said tonight.
The 17-year-old now faces a felony charge of possession of a stolen vehicle after the members of the Mobile Strike Force caught up with him a little more than two miles from the restaurant, according to a police news release.
The officers were in a restaurant with a supervisor in the 1500 block of West Taylor Street about 9:20 p.m. Friday, waiting in line to pay for their lunch, when employees at the restaurant told them an auto had just been stolen from the restaurant's rear parking lot, police said.
After getting a description of the car and the two teens who may have taken it, the officers left the restaurant, police said. The officers also found out the auto owner was being driven by a coworker, following the vehicle, according to the release.
The officers caught up with the auto owner and his coworker as they followed the stolen vehicle, as all drove in the 1300 block of South Albany Avenue, and activated their emergency lights and sirens, police said. The teen and a younger boy, 14, jumped out of the car and ran off, but they were caught after a short foot chase, police said.
The 17-year-old, who was driving when the auto was found, also faces a misdemeanor battery citation and several traffic citations, according to police. The younger teen was cited in a juvenile delinquency petition with criminal trespass to vehicle.
Although under Illinois law 17 year olds charged with felonies are tried as adults, the Chicago Police Department does not release the names of juveniles accused of crimes, so the 17-year-old name and address information were unavailable this evening.
WEEKEND INVESTOR JULY 31, 2010
The New Credit-Card Tricks
Just months after historic legislation banned certain billing practices, card issuers have dreamed up new ones designed to trip up consumers.
The Wall Street Journal
Whomever President Barack Obama taps to head the new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection could find it difficult to keep ahead of the credit-card industry.
The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, known as the Card Act, was intended to reshape the contours of consumer finance. Among other things, it forces card issuers to give customers more notice about interest-rate increases and restricts certain controversial billing practices such as inactivity fees.
Bloomberg News The Card Act forces issuers to give customers more notice about interest-rate increases, and restricts certain controversial billing practices such as inactivity fees.
Yet some of the biggest card issuers in the U.S., including Citigroup Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Discover Financial Services, are already rolling out a slew of fees designed to recapture some of their lost income, in part by skirting the new rules. Some banks may even be violating the law outright, say consumer advocates.
"Card companies are figuring out how to replace old fees with new ones," says Victor Stango, an associate economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and a professor at the University of California, Davis, who has been analyzing how the Card Act will affect consumer banking. "It's a race between regulators writing ever-more-complex laws and credit-card companies setting up ever-more-complex fees."
The banks have a big gap to fill. The Card Act is expected to wipe out about $390 million a year in fee revenue, according to David Robertson, the publisher of industry newsletter Nilson Report. On July 16, during its second-quarter earnings call with analysts, Bank of America Corp. Chief Financial Officer Charles Noski warned that the Card Act and other regulatory changes would prompt the bank, the nation's largest in assets, to write off up to $10 billion in the third quarter.
"If you have every major issuer saying that we are losing our shirt, then that speaks volumes," Mr. Robertson says. "Proportionately, these fees should be understood as almost inconsequential compared to the losses."
So the banks are getting aggressive. According to a July 22 report from Pew Charitable Trusts, a nonpartisan research group, the industry's median annual fee on bank credit cards jumped 18% to $59 between July 2009 and March 2010. At credit unions, annual fees soared 67% to $25. During the same period, the median cash-advance and balance-transfer fees jumped by 33%.
All of these increases are perfectly legal, of course. Banks and other issuers would have a difficult time extending credit to consumers, even at high interest rates, if they couldn't augment those revenues with fee income. "We're coming out of a deep recession that issuers are still working through," says Peter Garuccio, a spokesman for the American Bankers Association.
But some banks may be going too far. In a July 7 letter to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which regulates many of the biggest U.S. banks, a coalition of consumer groups including the National Consumer Law Center, the Consumer Federation of America and Consumer Action flagged several "potential violations of the Credit Card Act."
Other banks are ramping up their marketing of so-called professional cards. These are like corporate cards but can carry the same terms as consumer cards—and aren't covered under the new law. In the first quarter of this year, issuers sent out 47 million professional-card offers to U.S. households, up from 13.2 million in the corresponding period last year, according to research firm Synovate.
"This can be a very easy way around the Card Act," says Josh Frank, a senior researcher at the Center for Responsible Lending, a consumer group.
The upshot: Borrowers must be more vigilant than ever—even before they make their first charge on a new credit card.
'Saddled With Late Fees'
Alan Condon of Woodstock, Ga., says he carefully reviews his card statements each month, and even read the Card Act—all 33 pages—after it was passed in May 2009.
Josh D. Weiss for The Wall Street Journal Alan Condon, a self-employed computer programmer in Woodstock, Ga., is one of many who was hit with a fee that was made illegal upon by the Card Act.
Among other things, the Card Act stipulates that late-payment fees shouldn't be triggered on a Sunday or holiday, when there is no mail delivery.
The rule "is clearly meant to offer cardholders some semblance of relief so that they don't get saddled with late fees for making a reasonable payment on the next business day," says Chi Chi Wu, a consumer credit lawyer at the National Consumer Law Center.
Mr. Condon says he was shocked when he opened his credit-card statement dated June 18 and saw that Discover had charged him $39 for a late payment—and had upped his interest rate on future purchases from 17% to 24.99%. He says the company considered him late because he paid on June 14, instead of June 13, a Sunday.
"I just got mad," says the 56-year-old computer-software developer, who says he had never before been late on a Discover payment.
"We were in compliance with the Card Act," says Discover spokesman Matthew Towson. "The law states that if a creditor does not receive or accept payments on weekends or holidays, then the date is extended. But we accept payments seven days a week."
Nevertheless, Discover reviewed Mr. Condon's account at The Wall Street Journal's request and decided to waive the late fee and reduce Mr. Condon's interest rate to its earlier level.
The Card Act also stipulates that issuers can't jack up rates on existing balances unless a cardholder is at least 60 days late. But there is a creative maneuver around that: the so-called rebate card.
Citibank rolled out rebate-card offers to some of its customers last fall, offering to refund up to 70% of finance charges when customers pay on time. The problem: Rebate offers aren't governed by the Card Act, and an issuer can revoke them suddenly and hit cardholders with high charges.
The net result is the same as raising rates—and because it is perfectly legal, customers have little recourse. "Rebates on finance payments may seem like a good deal, but you could end up with a very high interest rate suddenly," says Mr. Frank, of the Center for Responsible Lending.
"The rebate offer is clear, transparent, and we believe fully within the spirit of the Card Act," says Citigroup spokesman Samuel Wang.
Shortening the billing cycle is another new tactic some banks may be using. The Card Act requires companies to provide a window of at least 21 days from when a statement is mailed and when payment is due.
Yet the National Consumer Law Center and Consumer Action say they have received complaints from borrowers who allege that their billing cycles have been shortened to fewer than 21 days.
"Since the passage of the act, we've heard from numerous borrowers alleging that they are shortchanged on billing cycle time," says Joe Ridout, a consumer-services manager at Consumer Action.
WALKER, La. -- Livingston Parish sheriff's deputies arrested a man who passed out while allegedly trying to break into a mobile home where an 82-year-old woman was calling 911, crowbar in hand. Deputies said 24-year-old Derrick Gauthreaux of Denham Springs was checked at a hospital Thursday, then booked into the parish jail on one count of attempted burglary.
Investigators said the woman reported an attempted break-in about 10:30 a.m. Thursday, and said she was recovering from a broken leg but had a crowbar for protection.
Chief of Operations Perry Rushing said Gauthreaux told deputies he had been released from the New Orleans jail around midnight, and records showed he'd received a summons for an open alcoholic drink about an hour before his arrest.
He remained jailed Friday in lieu of $50,000 bond. It was not clear whether he had an attorney.
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